Saturday, December 29, 2012

the gifts

Some of the gifts given and received this year were so special, I thought they deserved a blog post.

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An exquisitely crafted wood utensil caddy my parents made for us:

A beautiful wooden rattle, handmade by my parents for Nell:

The darker wood is walnut, and is originally from an end table my grandfather made in woodshop when he was young.  Now Nell has a rattle with wood that once belonged to her great grandfather... pretty neat.

{We skyped with my parents while Nell opened her gift from them.  Hurrah for technology.}

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From Nathan's parents, Nell's Grandma Carol and Grandpa Steve:

A great bedtime book

The cutest little stuffed goat

And an ornament made by Grandma Carol for Nell's first Christmas

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From Nell's Uncle Andrew, a beautiful traditional German lullaby that he arranged for four voices just for Nell, and wrapped with strips of paper perfect for a baby to tear into:

Gute Nacht, Gute Nacht, Mein Feines Lieb

Such a special gift!

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As I mentioned in my Christmas post, I picked out three little things for Nell from myself and Nathan.  

This little turtle squirts water... she already loves playing with it during her baths in the kitchen sink!

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From Nell's godparents, Cara and Gregg, wooden stacking rings and a very special book.

{I was tearing up a bit when I first read it to her!}

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And here's what I made for family members this Christmas: felt mitten garlands!

This year I found myself with my hands a little more full than in previous years, so not only are they not finished yet, but most of my siblings, as well as my parents and Nathan's parents, are getting variations on the same gift.  I've been cutting out and blanket stitching mittens together for weeks, each embellished with different buttons, rick-rack, stitches, or felt pieces.

They are hung with tiny clothespins on strands of jute twine, to be hung over mantels or doorways or wherever you want when you decorate for Christmas.

{Okay family members, now you know what to be watching for in the mail.  Know that they were made with love, and wishes for each of you for many happy Christmases to come.}

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P.S.: Since I never posted them, here's what I made for family members last year.

Framed scrapbook paper Christmas trees with wooden button stars:

Monogrammed coasters made from stone tiles:

{I've since been told by my brother that apparently the waterproof sealant I used after inking them was not as effective as it claimed.  How disappointing!  Sorry about that, family members.}

Stenciled tee shirts for my three nephews:

It wasn't my first time doing freezer paper stenciling for them, but it was definitely my most complicated!

This is the first year in several years that I haven't made those boys gifts of their own (among other things, there were previous stenciled shirts, and before that, there was an alphabet magnet board).  I felt badly that this year things were just too busy to do things just for them, although their family does have a mitten garland coming their way.  Hopefully they'll forgive me.

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Did you do handmade gifts this Christmas?  Got any crafting ideas to share?  What are some ideas for things to make for men?


  1. I'm very impressed with your mitten garlands, late or not. I had many plans for handmade gifts this year, since we also had a simpler (and cheap) Christmas, but i had far less success. :) I did dye some floursack towels for my sister - after a terrible failure using koolaid, but in the end turmeric came to the rescue. And i framed a recipe from my great-grandma and baby spoon from my great-grandpa to give to my mom...although my husband ended up finishing that one last-minute for me!

    1. I love that idea of framing a recipe and a baby spoon! How special to do something like that. I may 'steal' your idea for the future... I love family recipes, and especially treasure the ones I have in my grandparents' handwriting.

  2. I love all your handmade gifts (late or not!). The shirts you made the boys are still great favorites - Jonathan is still squeezing into his zebra shirt. The garlands look beautiful and we will enjoy using them in our new home next Christmas!

  3. I've heard a lot about the kitchen canister - I'm glad to see a picture of the finished project! And that rattle is gorgeous. Your parents are pretty special people, but I'm sure you knew that already!!

    Your mitten garland is adorable! I think Emma and I may make one of those for my mom. I know she'll really like it and it is something Emma and I would enjoy doing together too. (Just you wait a few years... you and Nell will get to do fun projects like that together too. Isn't that amazing to think about??)