Handcrafting Gifts.

First, a note to my family. Mom, Dad, Titi, Pete: LOOK AWAY! In fact, any close friends and family should avert their eyes lest they spoil the surprise of what's coming.





Anonymous blog readers only.











I mean it.


Oh, the crafting that has gone on around here in the past few weeks. There has been so much baking and sewing and painting and mod podging… we've been busy. Pete, the kids, and I.

A few trips to the thrift store (and one to the craft store) and we had all the supplies we needed. Many of these projects were surprisingly quick, so there's still time for some handcrafting if you are inspired!

What have we been up to? Here's a sampling…



Inspired by this, he kids each decorated a thrift store coffee cup for my dad.



Using upcycled coffee bags from our local roastery and lining fabric from my stash, I quickly sewed up some buckets for my mom's onions, potatoes, and other kitchen produce. I didn't use a pattern, but simply traced a salad plate for the bottom and then measured it around for the length of the sides. Simple, rustic, and sweet.



By modifying my zip bag tutorial and using the sides and lining for the buttercup bag instead, I made my sis a sweet little zip purse. Oh my I love this pattern. If time permits she might just get a little matching coin purse too.



This is one of my favorite, most simple gifts. Its for Pete. 12 envelopes, one fore each month. Inside is a "coupon" for a date (something we normally make time for just once or twice a year). They are season-specific, and include dates like snowshoeing, canoeing, picnicking, dinner, hiking, and cross country skiing. I'm looking forward to these myself.


For my boy, the chef, I made him a refined new apron. Hemp on one side, green oh the other with bias tape ties made of an elegant geometric pattern (and a pocket to match). He's a serious one, so it's very grown up. Because, well, he is too.



And for my girl, I thrifted a (rather ugly Disney) music box and covered the outside with origami paper and mod podge. I removed the plastic little mermaid from inside the box and painted a few peg girls/fairies. The baby will go inside, twirling away where the mermaid was, and I think one of the ladies will be attached to the top of the box, just for cuteness. Another one will become a necklace for Lu with a piece of cording and a screw eye.


Edited to say: I changed my plans a bit tonight on the jewelery box. The baby became the necklace (more size appropraite for a 5 year old) and one of the big peg girls became the dancer. I caked the whole thing in glitter, which is almost always a good idea in my opinion, inside and out. So the blue fairy girl above who is now dancing inside the box. She's crooked, but that makes it cuter in my non-perfectionist opinion. (So much cuter than that plastic mermaid, if I do say so myself.)

There has also been a lot of knitting (socks for my dad) that needs to be finished, but we're in the home-stretch. Happy crafting everyone!

xo Rachel

P.S. This was all very budget-friendly too. The total cost of items above: $1.00 per mug; $.50 for the awesome Lotta Jansdotter stationary set (thrift store score!); $12 for three porcelain markers; $1 zipper; $3 for the music box; and about $1.75 for peg people. The rest was in my stash. Total holiday budget: $20.25 (8.25 if you don't count the pens.)

P.P.S. I'm experimenting with setting comments to post only after approval. If you don't see your comment right away, please be patient! I'll get them up as soon as I can. Thanks for understanding!

28 thoughts on “Handcrafting Gifts.

  1. Kim says:

    The gifts look great! Rachel do you remember where you got your peg people? I’ve never seen the chubby little baby one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amanda says:

    These are awesome gifts! I love them all; especially the music box. Did you use a pattern or tutorial for the burlap baskets and the apron?

  3. Rachel Wolf says:

    I made up the bucket pattern by tracing a plate (for the round bottom), measuring the circumference (adding seam allowance) and cutting out from both fabrics (lining and burlap). Then I put it all together like a lined hat: sew burlap side, then attach bottom; sew lining side, then attach bottom; insert lining into bucket with right sides facing, and sew raw top edges together leaving a 3 hole for turning. Turn and top-stitch. The apron I also winged, but had a vintage pattern as my jumping-off-point.  Hope this helps!

  4. Mousy Brown says:

    I am totally inspired – I love your date envelope idea and as my wedding anniversary is on Christmas eve I think that is one idea that I might find time to make….Happy Christmas to you all and thanks for all the wonderful ideas! 😀

  5. Renee says:

    Fantastic ideas! As the years go by, I feel less and less like slogging through malls needlessly buying stuff, so I’m just not doing it this year 🙂 The kiddos are getting a select few things purchased from small online shops (including the doll from you!), parents and grandparents get photo calendars that I make every year, and several other family and friends are getting our homemade granola in canning jars, covered with pretty fabric scraps. Next year when I don’t have a babe constantly in arms, I hope to have a completely handmade Christmas!

  6. I Wilkerson says:

    The coffee bags are such a good idea and so lovely. As a CSA devotee, I can totally relate to needing to stash the onions et al. Thanks for the short instructions; for the very non-crafty you might even consider a future post with step by step pictures.

  7. megan says:

    wow! im crazy about the buckets! that burlap is a total score! we found some of those bags in the trash at a produce store, but the print isnt nearly as cool as yours! great merry making…

  8. angie says:

    Great job! I find that even though I’m thrifting and making lots I still end up spending money on things for the kiddos and the hubby…bugs me a bit, but I keep trying.

  9. Pamela R says:

    So cute. So fun.

    I have got to make myself one of those bags…I need something cute now that I’m not lugging around quite so much kid stuff! Maybe we can have a craft get together.

    Have a wonderful holiday. The gifts…perfect. Enjoy.

  10. Casey says:

    I really love all your crafts. Last year I did felted wool (LuSa) soaps and wool dryer balls from local roving. This year I did glass etching — cookie jars for the grandparents and a baking dish for my brother and sister-in-law. Maybe next year the coffee mugs will be the craft of the year!

  11. Rachel Wolf says:

    Oooh! Casey! I bought an etching liquid and was going to make some special thrift store drinking glasses. Youve inspired me to get off my butt and do it. Merry christmas, lady.

  12. Amanda says:

    I ‘pinning’ these ideas for next year. This year was a bit of madness and I gave up on handmade holidays. It left me with a kind of sick feeling these past few days. I’m looking forward to reclaiming all things thrifted and handmade next year. It may have been simpler to “Amazon” my way through gifting, but it just didn’t feel right. ya know?


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