Saturday, January 2, 2010

More handmade gifts

Now that Christmas is over and presents have been delivered and opened, I can disclose the items I made this year for my sister, Stacy (co-author here) and her family. She has an adorable son who is almost a year and a half and she is expecting another baby in February.

For my nephew:

A plush alphabet. Originally, I was going to put little magnets inside these. Until the project template said to never, under any circumstances put magnets in a toy for a child under 3 years old. The instructions were so emphatic, I was too scared to do it anyway. So, I left them out. I had a charm pack of baby-ish fabrics so I used all the boy appropriate ones and backed the letters with yellow flannel. I fringed the edges of the letters. Sorry, the photographs of the letters is a crappy one. The bag was an afterthought. I had all these letters, and was so excited to have them completed. I laid them all out and then wondered how on earth I would send them and how on earth my sweet nephew would keep them all in the same place. So, I grabbed a white scrap out of my basket, some stray blue ribbon, and some green fabric scraps (from another handmade gift I had made for this nephew), and set to work. It didn't take long. I had appliqued the letters on - and not very neatly or precisely, but it did the trick. I was pretty proud of the little bag. It's nothing great, but I did it without a pattern and it only took me an hour or two.

For nephew #2 after he joins us later this year:

A flannel rag quilt. It took 12 flannel fat quarters and 2-ish yards of plan flannel. Each fat quarter was cut into 3 rectangles, 2 small squares, and 1 large square. The 2 yards of plain flannel were cut into as many shapes. You make a 3-layer stack: patterned square, right side out, plain flannel in the middle, and then another patterned square, right side out. Sew an x across the stack. Make a similar stack for each shape, then piece them together (I suppose you'd have to buy the pattern at this point), making sure all seams are on the outside. Snip all the seams every 1/4 inch or so, then wash to get it nice and frayed. This was a really fun and pretty simple little blanket to make...and so cute for a baby gift.

For Stacy and her hubby:

Crocheted dishrags. Great for cleaning off dishes. Can be thrown in the wash to avoid stinkiness and used over and over again.

I had all kinds of other ideas swimming around my head for Christmas things I wanted to make, but time got away from me. Maybe next year...I honestly feel like I'll have to start in June to get all the decorations and things I want by Christmas next year.


  1. As the lucky recipient of these wonderful creations, I would like to say that as good as everything looks in the pictures, it's all even better and cuter in person. Ben has already had lots of fun playing with his letters (mostly taking them in and out of the bag!), and the soft, cozy quilt is in the baby's room ready for snuggling. We also plan to put the rags to good use, though they almost seem too cute to be used for the dirty work of dishes! Thanks again Jen - you outdid yourself. :)

  2. I love the presentation of each gift. You must have put in a lot of time to get all of these done! They look great - its very inspiring.
    I have a Christmas crafting book and the first thing it mentions in the intro is to not worry about making everything you want. Just pick a few that you like the most and go from there. Else, you will be frustrated, overwhelmed, and not enjoy your Christmas. I can totally relate to that this year. You seem to have accomplished so much, though.