Category Archives: homemade

7 Years of Homemade Christmas Gifts

For several years now I have been making Christmas gifts and that is what I am spending a lot of time doing right now. I can’t tell you what I am making this year because it would ruin the surprise (my daughters do occasionally read my blog) but I thought I would tell you about some of the gifts I made in years past.

Making something for the girls (our daughters) has always been my first priority, but now that we have grandchildren and sons-in-law they are also recipients. The growing family is really challenging my creativity. 🙂 Since we have four girls I usually (but not always) make four gifts, the same – but different, for them.

My very talented sister K.C. inspires my sewing projects and is always on stand-by ready to counsel and console me when I call about sewing projects. Some of the things I have learned from her are:

  • Fleece and flannel are forgiving fabrics (I am thankful for this because if there is a “sewing sin” I will undoubtedly commit it.)
  • Use LOTS of pins.
  • Press seams.
  • When you get frustrated take a break and come back later.

My Mom is my inspiration when I crochet. She taught me the basics of crochet, but she was the one that always had crochet projects going for the whole family. She passed away in 2011 and now when I crochet I feel connected with her.

Some of the gifts were made before I started blogging and taking photos so there are no pictures to show but I will do my best to describe each.

 

Fleece Bath Robes – I think this was the first year I decided to make Christmas gifts for the girls. I had an old sewing machine that I decided to learn how to use. My husband saw me struggling and decided I needed a new sewing machine. At least this one came with directions – LOL.

This was a fun project because there are so many colors and patterns of fleece to choose from. The bath robe pattern that I selected was a simple wrap around with a tie closure, so I would not have to deal with buttons or zippers. I then selected a  different fleece for each of the girls.

Most of the girls were still living at home at this point which meant I had to schedule my sewing time when they were at school; it also meant that I got to see them wear their gifts often. 🙂

Flannel Pillow Cases – Notice I again choose a “forgiving” fabric to work with. The pillow cases were made with a solid color for the main part and a complimentary pattern for the trim.

Each girl or couple got a set of two pillow cases and I purchased new bed pillows for them as well.

Sister Shirts – This was one of my favorite projects and it involved neither sewing or crochet.

Here is a little background on sister shirts – I have 3 sisters, and like my parents, I have 4 daughters. When my sisters and I were growing up my parents, especially my dad, often got our names mixed up. One year when we were teenagers my sister J.B. and I (jokingly) decided to give dad a hand with that problem. We had t-shirts made for each of us. We each had a different color shirt. On the front it had our name, on the back it had the year we were born and our DD# (darling daughter #).

Several (more than 10) years ago I decided to have our shirts remade as sweat shirts this time (yes, Dad still gets us confused). I wear my “sister” shirt often, not necessarily for dad’s benefit, mostly because it is comfortable.

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One day one of my daughters, I can’t remember which one, said “we need sister shirts” and that got the wheels spinning. I had to come up with a “sister shirt” design for them. Even though I do have the “parent with too many kids to keep straight syndrome” I decided my girls needed something different. The girls are very close and I wanted to make something to express how they feel about their sisters.

At this point I was well into the DIY Christmas gifts so I had to figure out how to make them instead of having them made. I found printable iron on transfer paper at the craft store and purchased plain hooded sweatshirts for each of the girls. I found a picture of all four girls together and printed it as an iron on (4x). I also printed the words “SISTERS ROCK!” and ironed that message under the photo on the shirt.

I have seen each of the girls wear their shirt many times over the years and it always made me smile. 🙂

 

Slippers – This is a pattern very similar to the ones my mom used to make. Her pattern called for two strand of worsted weight yarn held together and she would usually use two different colors to give the slippers a variegated effect. I began using heavy weight yarns (only one strand required) to make these.

The year my mom passed away I made these for everyone – all of my daughters, sons-in laws, sisters, mother-in-law and even my husband now has a pair. I wear mine in the house throughout the cold seasons and like to keep a couple of pair made up incase I (or someone else get a hole) in one. 🙂 I will be making more as soon as I finish this years Christmas projects.

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Fingerless Gloves and Ear Warmers – This was the year I realized that all of the girls had smart phones and were spending lots of time swiping their phones for one reason or another. Fingerless gloves seemed a practical gift since they were probably swiping even when they were out in the cold.  I found this beautiful, free crochet pattern online.  http://www.beatriceryandesigns.com/2015/02/09/amazing-grace-fingerless-gloves-free-crochet-pattern/

I also made the matching ear warmers using the same stitch pattern.

Incidentally, when the girls were over for Thanksgiving, Kara mentioned that she lost her ear warmer. She said she wore it all the time and asked if I could make her a new one in the same color. I happened to have one (a different pattern but same color) already made up and she was wearing it when she left. It is a wonderful feeling when you know your gifts are used and appreciated. 🙂

Memory Quilts – This was a challenging but super fun project. The idea came to me after my youngest daughter, Lindell, moved out and I discovered that she had left behind all of her t-shirts from high school. When the girls were in school they had t-shirts from every activity that they participated in; homecoming shirts every year, sports shirts, band or choir shirts, drama club shirts, there was a whole stack of t-shirts that she hadn’t worn in a while an apparently didn’t plan on wearing again. They didn’t seem like the kind of thing you would want to donate to a charity since they wouldn’t hold any meaning for the person wearing them, yet they held too much meaning to my daughter to just throw them away.

While looking through the pile of shirts I discovered that there were two separate piles, one belonging to Kara and one belonging to Lindell. I decided to make them into keepsakes for the girls.

Below are the girls with their “High School” memory quilts. There are many online tutorials for these. Lindell’s (on the left) was made as a rag quilt with flannel  backing and Kara’s (on the right)was made with a fleece backing. Perhaps their smiles in the photo give you an idea how much the girls liked these blankets.

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T-shirt Bags – Last year I was in a quandary about what to make for the girls. I thought I would like to make them market bags or tote bags. It seemed like a practical gift that could be used for so many purposes. I looked at several crochet patterns but realistically I knew I did not have time to crochet 4 of them. I  started searching for other ideas and found this https://www.mommypotamus.com/no-sew-t-shirt-tote-bag-tutorial/. It was super simple.

I had used all of the girls t-shirts for their quilts the year before and I did not want to buy new shirts for this project, so I went to the Salvation Army resale shop. I was able to find shirts that matched each girls personality for only a couple dollars each. There is one for the Disney lover, one for the MSU fan, one for the musician and one for the girl who loves to visit the Aquarium. 🙂

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This was a quick easy project and I filled the bags with homemade treats – banana bread, honey or jam, and soaps and balms.

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I am not certain if the girls use these bags but I am sure that they enjoyed the contents of them. 🙂

I am certainly not a master crafter and I admit that some of my projects have flaws but there is much to love about homemade gifts

  • There may be a cost savings, though this is not necessarily the case.
  • I find joy in creating things and especially for those I love. (I rarely find joy in shopping.)
  • The gifts can be one of a kind and tailored specifically for the individual.
  • They are always made with Love or TLP as I like to call it – Tender Love and Prayer.

Thank you for reading. If you have ever thought about making Christmas gifts I hope you have found some inspiration here. If you are a crafter who makes Christmas gifts please tell me about your favorite project that you have made, I am always looking for new ideas.

God Bless.

Some Recent Crochet Projects

I haven’t written about crocheting in a while, so if you haven’t been following my blog for long you may not realize that this is a craft that I really enjoy. Unlike last year when I completed a major crochet project, this year I have kept it pretty simple.

When it comes to crocheting, scarves are about as simple as it gets. Below are three of the scarves I have created.

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The one on the left is a pattern I made up combining two rows of double crochet followed by two rows of broom stick lace and repeating that pattern throughout.

The one in the middle was a pattern that was on the yarn wrapper. It is a combination of V-stiches and shell stitches. I absolutely love the royal colors of this scarf.

The one on the right is an infinity scarf made using a broom stick lace pattern. It is made with Lion Brand Landscapes yarn and is very soft.

You can probably tell I enjoy using variegated yarn for creating scarves. It is fun to watch the piece come together as the colors transition and each scarf becomes a one of a kind.

Thanks for stopping reading. 🙂

 

 

 

A Recipe To Remember

I made a dish very similar to this last year, or perhaps it was even two years ago, when we had an abundance of banana peppers. I remember that we really enjoyed it, I just didn’t remember the exact recipe because I did not write it down. Last week when our neighbors sent over a bunch of banana peppers from their garden I decided to try it again. This time I am writing it down and sharing it with you as well.

I wasn’t sure what to call this and my first thought was stuffed banana peppers. That name reminded me too much of stuffed bell peppers but this really has no similarity. It is much closer to the jalapeno poppers that I love, so I decided to call it banana pepper poppers. Besides that is just fun to say. 🙂

* It is really not necessary to have the exact amount of any ingredient listed – a little more of this or a little less of that will not make a great difference. Feel free to add the word “about” in front of the amount of each ingredient.

Banana Pepper Poppers

8 Fresh Banana Peppers

4 oz. cream cheese softened

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

2 or 3 jalapeno peppers

3 slices of bacon cooked crispy

bread crumbs

Slice the banana peppers in half long ways a remove seeds. Remove core and seeds from jalapeno peppers and chop them into small pieces. Chop bacon into small (bacon bit like) pieces. Mix cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, bacon bits and jalapeno peppers. Place banana pepper halves on baking sheet and fill each one with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of each pepper. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to thirty minutes.

ENJOY! 🙂

Asparagus For Breakfast

In my last post about asparagus season I asked if anyone had any great recipes for asparagus I didn’t get too many replies to this question so I thought I would share some of the ways that we eat asparagus this spring.

This morning when my husband went to open up the chicken coop I asked him to go to the garden and cut the asparagus that was ready. I knew there were at least a few shoots that were the right size. He came back with four or five shoots and that was just the right amount for what I had planned.

Now when I think breakfast I usually don’t think vegetables. I’m sure it’s because of the way I was raised and perhaps even a cultural thing but veggies are usually eaten later in the day. The exception is when I make an omelet.

My recipe this morning included –

3 Eggs (farm fresh)

4 shoots of Asparagus

1 pre-cooked Sausage Patty – (This was left over from yesterdays breakfast)

Asiago and Swiss Cheese

I started by putting a little oil in the pan and lightly cooking the asparagus. I beat the eggs then added them to the pan and covered it and let it cook a little while I cut the sausage into small pieces. I then added the sausage and covered it again and let it cook on low. I cut some asiago cheese and tore a slice of Swiss cheese into a few pieces. Once the egg looked mostly cooked (no more runny stuff) I placed the cheese pieces on top and covered it to let the cheese melt. I am really am not good at folding an omelet and making it look good so I usually just leave it open.

My husband wanted his to go so I made it into a sandwich.

Delicious!!!

 

Soap Of The day

I made a new soap yesterday.

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When it was all mixed and ready to pour into the mold it very much resembled tomato soup. It is not something to leave unattended in the kitchen for fear that the first person who walks in would grab a bowl, ladle some in, add some crackers and be very disappointed with their lunch. Don’t Eat It!

This soap recipe has six ingredients and all but one of them are included in my diet on a regular basis, they are olive oil, coconut oil, water, yogurt and turmeric. The sixth ingredient is sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, and that is what turns oils and liquids into soap.

This soap will be ready in about six weeks, and I will be sure to let you know how it turns out. I am certain that the yogurt will give it the same bubbly, creamy lather that we have experienced with both Salad Bar and Aloe but I am very curious the see what properties turmeric brings to the table shower.

Until next time be well.