Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Have a Handmade Christmas ~ Week 1

  It is time!   Time to have a handmade Christmas Carnival!  I hope you all have lots of ideas to share!

    If you have something handmade a gift, decoration or food that is for Christmas (or would work for Christmas) please consider linking it up here. I just ask that you link back to my blog when you link up please. And if you would put the above logo in your post I would really appreciate that! Scroll to the bottom of the post for linking up.

 As I have been thinking about Christmas gifts recently (and birthday and anniversary gifts as many fall in this season for us) I am faced with the same old question: How do I give something that the recipient likes, stays within my budget and doesn't end up just being clutter? Do you ever struggle with this? I do all the time. Some people (most men in my life for instance) I just have trouble thinking of good gifts for, and when I try to go handmade it is even harder!!

 Here are some of the things I was thinking about to help me make and give meaningful gifts:
  • What hobbies or interests does the recipient have? Can I give anything that would go along with that?
  • What sort of things do they actually use? With my kids I am thinking back to remember what gifts get used often and what sort of things just end up sitting around.
  • Do they have something that they like that is worn out and needs replacing?
  • What things do the like that are consumable? (food, stationary, things of that nature) These get used up so they make practical and welcome gifts.
Do you have any other tips for figuring out good gifts? Some people are really gifted in this area and I would love to have their insight!

 I was trying to think of a good present for Aaron (I will confess, it is for his birthday- I still need to work on Christmas!) and the inspiration came from the boys. We got a book on drawing in History and in it is a picture of a revolutionary soldier and the boys decided it would be fun to dress up like one. So they got busy and went to work (The picture below is before Aaron did much to his outfit, his later look was more authentic). I helped them transform their cowboy hats into tricorns. They have had fun drilling like soldiers do all over the yard with their sticks and being very imaginative.

   Anyway that got me to thinking... it would be fun to make a little better outfit for a gift. It is obviously something he would enjoy (he wasn't quite satisfied with he and Jonathan's workmanship) and also it would help him enjoy learning about history even more- and this Mama always likes to encourage learning! :-)

So I found some odds and ends...
An old leather coat, some tan ladies slacks I didn't like, a blue wool skirt, some red/orange wool pants, an old white t-shirt, an old white dress shirt and the picture in the book for inspiration and I went to work.

This is the finished product:
A wool jacket (made from the skirt and pants), breeches (made from the ladies slacks) with leggings (made from the old t-shirt) attached, White straps (made from the dress shirt) and a haversack (made from the leather coat).

  Inside the haversack we decided to put a map. Mara googled revolutionary war maps and found one of the 13 colonies that we could print out. Mara also wrote a pretend letter to go in his haversack as well. Both of those we smudged with furniture scratch cover (or you could use brown shoe polish) to make them look old.
  I am also thinking about putting some hard bread in it and possibly a tin plate and cup and playing cards. All things that they might have carried. We are also thinking about making a drum and then he could pretend to be the drummer boy. The ideas of what we could add to this are very numerous.
  I think what makes this really fun is not just having a costume but having a "story" to go with it. I am going to share the letter that Mara wrote with you to give you an idea of what I mean:

  Dearest Aaron,             May 15, 1776
  I do hope you are not faring too badly in that God-forsaken army.
 Ah, well it 'tis for a good cause.

  Mother still insists that you are much too young, brother dear, but it is an adventure I am sure.

  If I were a boy, I would come with you, and keep you out of mischief, but I suppose Father will have to do that now. I do hope Father is not busy with his duties as captain to keep at least half an eye on you.

  Can you play "Yankee Doodle" ,the new song, on your drum yet?

 I am sure life at home is very dull, compared to what you are doing.

 However, five count days ago, minutemen came, and to Mother's very great dismay, they took most of our silverware, and all of our pewter bowls. Mother is now sure that the Revolution will not suceed in getting even one seat in Parliament. She says we dine like beggars, with "woodware" and wood bowls. I personally think it will do us no harm to give a little to the men who are doing so much for Maryland - and also the rest of the colonies.

 Little brother, I swear the cows do not give as much milk with you gone. At least, it does not seem so. I most probably do just imagine it. Yesterday was churning day, and we did get less butter than usual, I know that for certain.

 I hear Mother telling me to come shell peas!

  Your ever patient sister,

P.S. Give Father a thousand hugs for me!
 I think most children love to dress up and imagine. A trunk, suitcase or box of dress up clothes would be welcomed by many a child. You don't have to know how to sew either. Start looking around at second hand stores and vintage shops and you could find some treasures. I do think it makes it even more fun if there is a theme to it however. Think about a book character (and then include the book too), a time in history (pioneer, knights and princesses, etc.) or something of that nature and then have everything go with it. I think most children would love it!

Now it is your turn! Please link up you ideas of handmade gifts ideas, decorations and more!

 Also, be sure to come back the next few week for even more handmade Christmas ideas!
This post is linked to Tea Rose Home's link party.



Vickie said...

Hey Abbi, Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed this last year and got a lot of great ideas. I went ahead and linked up the earrings I had already posted. Take Care :)

Abbi said...

Sorry I am having issues with my post layout! I will have to try to fix it later!

Greg and Donna said...

The costume is adorable. What about adding a little tin or plastic recorder to play music on also. Sometimes these can be found at Dollar Tree.

thecurryseven said...

What a beautiful costume you made. I'm sure your son will love it. I'm trying to figure out how I can join your Handmade Christmas link up... I have plenty of things and ideas I'm making for Christmas, but my children read my blog and it will spoil the surprise if I post about it before. Hmmm... I'll have to think about this.

Nony the Slob said...

Thanks so much for hosting this! I linked an older post, but now this has me thinking about how I can go ahead and get started on some things for this Christmas! But like curryseven, I now have more family reading my blog than I did last year, so I'll have to be careful what I show!

Jillbert said...

What a wonderful gift! It's the details that make it so special and a gift to treasure for years.

Felicia said...

You did a great job! Thank you for the linky as well!

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Well, crumb - I can't get the linky to work right now. I posted about a Beauty Shop In A Box for little girls that isn't handmade but is homemade. I'll try to remember to stop by later and see if I can get it linked up.

PS - Abbi, thanks for letting me know that this was going up! I've popped in a few times over the past couple of months to see if you were getting started yet. :>) Looking forward to seeing what everybody else is doing!

Abbi said...

Thanks to everybody who commented and the ideas shared and to everybody that linked up!

Curryseven and Nony, I understand the difficulty in blogging about gifts. I am able to tell about my childrens gifts as I really watch over their use online and they don't often go on my blog but with most everybody else I have to wait to blog about it after it has been given.

Anonymous said...

I was randomly searching the Internet and came across your handmade Christmas posts. Perfect timing! My sister and I were just talking about how to have a budget-friendly yet thoughtful Christmas. I love how creative you were with the soldier's uniform and letter! I've bookmarked this to check back in the coming weeks.
God bless you!

Miranda said...

The costume is fantastic!! I have a question for you, Abbi. I find it hard to work on specific gifts for my kids because they are always right there with me. How do you find time for these projects so the recipient doesn't see it?


Abbi said...

Miranda, thanks! As far as working on projects for the kids: I try to do sneakily work on them when they are off playing elsewhere or sometimes after they have gone to bed but that doesn't always work. For this particular gift I had thought I could do that but Aaron just started following me around that afternoon. He saw me looking at the Revolutionary war books and wondered why and so I had to give some evasive answer and then he just seemed to want to hang around and visit. Finally I went and found Mara to see if she could distract him and she kindly got him involved in some outdoor play.

I do have a room set aside for working on projects and so when birthday time comes around and before Christmas if the door is shut the kids know to stay out. They often know I am working on something but it is a secret.

Nola said...

What great ideas! I'm not able to do homemade gifts much at this season of my life but there are some neat ideas here. Consumable craft supplies all set up and ready to go (like in ziplocs) are a good idea for kids of that age. Things they can do independently. I'm thinking some fancy shapes and fancy paper and a glue stick (maybe a purple one)(scissors if they have none), cut out magazine pictures to paste with, new crayons, some stickers, that sort of thing all presented in a small box they can decorate or something like that.

Molly @ A Bit O' Shine said...

That turned out amazing!
I struggle with all those issues every time I need to give a gift. I usually make a list - well in advance of the occasion - if ideas of gifts I can make for the person or persons. This way I can brainstorm and then still have enough time to gather materials and work on the project!

Rebekah said...

Those costumes are GREAT!!!! I've been thinking about adding some dress up clothes for my boys to my Christmas sewing this year. Thanks for your comment yesterday at 3 sillymonkees! I love seeing what you've made and am glad to return the favor :o)

Jason and Danielle said...

I am so excited for this segment on your blog. I have been thinking a lot about starting on Christmas and this has totally kick started me. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas:>

Tasha said...

I love your idea of the costume. I am actually working on making up a trunk of costumes for my twin boys for Christmas. It never dawned on me to look at thrift stores. Thanks for the tip!
I will come back and add a Christmas gift. Hopefully Monday.
Have great weekend!

Sparta Savings said...

I am looking forward to all the ideas! I am doing a Homemade Christmas link on my blog called "Saving Christmas." I hope you will join me there! http://spartasavings.blogspot.com/2010/10/saving-christmas-week-1.html

Anonymous said...
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PurpleSlob InRecovery said...

Here from Nony's blog. I love this! I'm glad she shared. That costume is perfect!


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