Guest Post: Crafting for the Holi-DIY’s, by Andrea C. Neil

November 16, 2015

aboutace

Please welcome my friend and guest post-er Andrea C. Neil to my blog! Andrea is an multi-talented writer and story-teller, who has a passion for all things coffee! Along with the writing projects she crafts for her business clients, she writes novels and magical children’s stories, creates humourous and informative podcasts on literary goodness and more, enjoys and soon will be teaching yoga, and has a fun and creative blog and website full of great info you won’t want to miss!
Today she’s sharing some tips and links for some last minute crafty gifts you can make for the lucky peeps on your holiday gift list (or even just for yourself!), read on to be inspired…!

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Whether you’re new to the DIY / Crafting world or a seasoned veteran, we all run into the same problems right around this time of year.
You know it’s true: one of the major selling points of becoming and being a crafter, is also one of the biggest fallacies. That selling point is a phrase that you’ve probably heard many times and most likely, have said yourself many times. It’s a statement that can strike both excitement and fear into your heart, depending on what month it is.
“I should make all my Christmas gifts this year!”
Yes, we all think this at one point or another. Sometimes it’s as early in the year as an post-Christmas and New Year’s sale at the craft store. You know, that time from January to March when it’s cold outside, you’re alternating between crafting and shopping for craft supplies (let’s not go down THAT rabbit hole right now!). Perhaps those words, “I should make all my Christmas gifts this year” are an honest attempt to get out of the mass consumer nightmare that the holidays have become. Or perhaps its just an excuse to go buy more craft supplies. Either way, when you utter these words, you know you mean well, your heart’s in the right place, and THIS is gonna be the year that it actually happens. Uh huh.
Then spring comes and we’re all distracted by shiny new leaves on the trees, warmer weather, and the impending doom otherwise known as “swimsuit season.” So the yarn or the fabric or the scrapbook paper gets chunked in the closet and we venture outside for the forseeable future. Maybe during the summer you have a brief affair with jewelry making, or buy a few “grown-up” coloring books to take to the pool, but really, we don’t start thinking of crafting in terms of gifting until the fall…

When the weather turns cooler, the leaves change, and we see that long line of cars waiting to turn into the mall entrance… right around then we go, “oh yeah, I was going to make all my presents this year…” and we remember that huge fabric stash, or the bag of scented pine cones in the attic, or the coupon for the craft store we have tacked to the fridge. Yeah, let’s DO this!

Which is really great, because conventional wisdom tells us that people appreciate hand-made gifts. They convey thoughtfulness and generally reflect more meaning and generosity than a gift card or a Hallmark tchotchke. There’s just One Problem with all this.
By the time we think of making all our presents, it’s too late. And the next thought right after “I should make all my Christmas presents” is “oh, crap, I should have started in March.”

Granted, there are some people out there who actually DO think about this in March, and they’re wonderful and proactive and have all their crafty projects done by Labor Day. But for the rest of us, well – we are not so lucky, and my feeling is that we are in the majority.
So what can be done? Here it is, 2 weeks from Thanksgiving and we actually managed to sit down and at least make a list of everyone we need to make something for. What now? Panic mode?

No need to panic! There’s still hope. There are plenty of cute, thoughtful, simple crafts you can turn into gifts in time for the holidays. There’s a BILLION out there, but here are just a few ideas from a smattering of craft disciplines:

Create Some Homemade Tea
Tea is a great cold-weather gift, and it’s even better when it’s homemade! You can make herbal blends, black tea blends, you can add fruit, spices to make chai – it’s a veritable free for all. Here are a few recipes I found that look very enticing:
Homemade Black Apple Tea Mix Recipe – A The Greenbacks Gal

And here’s some heath-boosting herbal recipes from the Wellness Mama

And if you’re really adventurous you could go free-form and not use a recipe, with these guidelines!

Your tea can be loose-leaf, given in a cute little box or package or jar, or you could buy tea bags and fill them yourself!

 

Crochet a Tawashi – or Two
Tawashis are Japanese dish scrubbie thingies. They work GREAT and are perfect if 1) you crochet, and 2) you are a practical gift giver. They’re pretty easy to make if you know your crochet basics.
Here’s one pattern you could follow, but there are many more on Ravelry – a popular social site for yarn enthusiasts. The recipient of one of these will want “tawash” their dishes with their sweet new tawashi…

 

A Super Cute Hand-sewn Treasure
Our mutual friend and awesome human Cynthia has lots of great ideas and tutorials for things you can sew for the holidays. Many are available as tutorials on this very web site!

 

An Alternate Plan
Maybe, despite your best efforts, you end up having to admit to yourself that you’re just not going to be able to get anything made this year. But there’s still something awesome you could try – if you can’t make gifts yourself, how about buying gifts hand-made by others?
Wouldn’t you know it, Cynthia has all kinds of amazing things in her shop that would make great holiday gifts. 2016 Calendars!  And coming soon- Cards! Prints! Even some original artwork.

It also so happens that I have an Etsy shop where my friend Karen and I sell notecards and some blank journals. We’ve got all kinds of Holiday card designs coming out soon, as well as a great selection of other cute, nerdy things!

When you buy things that have been made by an artist or crafter, you’re supporting the community that you’re also part of.
So if you need to still shop instead of make, you can still shop local, or shop small!

And as far as making your own crafty gifts… well, there’s always next year!

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You can find Andrea online here and find out more about her writing services here.
You can also find her here:
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Thanks so much Andrea!

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1 Comment

  • andrea

    no no, thank YOU! that was fun, thank you for letting me come hang out with you over here!

    November 16, 2015 at 5:59 pm Reply
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