As with most my crafts… I’ve been making hand made gifts all this week. Its my passion. The thing that gives me the most joy. I guess if I did that5 Languages of Lovegift giving would be pretty high on my list. However I have worked myself into a corner with gifts: I actually don’t enjoy being given thoughtless stuff. I don’t like to receive stuff- any old stuff- I like gifts that mean something to me or to the giver. I would rather get a thoughtful heartfelt card than a diamond ring (except from you M.- don’t you get any funny ideas- you still have to buy me a diamond ring AND give me a heartfelt card). I ‘recon there are probably others out there like me who feel cold opening a gift picked up in a rush or panic with no real thought put in. Seriously if the cosmic forces ever bring the moment where (strangely) you feel its necessary to get me a gift and it comes to buying something in a rush: don’t bother.
So on my finished list this week:
The delicious but tediousOmbre Cowlfor my mother-in-law’s birthday
Saturday was the day where little owls across the planet were settling down in the branches of their TOKmas trees to share gifts and celebrate all things Tiny Owl Knits. Its the day they Hoot and Holler and drink hot sweet stuff and nibble little treats sent by their friends. I’ve had so much fun joining in the swap and I just need to say thank you to Walterbear for the lovely package she sent me: I have finger-less mitts!! Hoot Hoot!!
Part of the Tokmas swap rules was that one of your gifts would be TOK related and my spoilee had in her wish list Stephanie Dosen’s adorable “Gnome Home DPN Holders” which featured in my secret knitting (remember the lovely spilling bundle of gnome hats?). Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the 5 little gnomes that flew off with a helpful owl to Canada but I have gone wild with ideas to use the pattern for!. The pattern is sooo easy and sooo fun!
First I made my mother in law some needle tidy’s inspired by the Gnome Home pattern:
My mother in law is not whimsical in the least but I thought she might find some needle tidy’s useful because she does travel and knit a lot. As I say this was “Inspired By” so its only loosely related… I just used some of the same felt-able fingering wool (from Knit Picks) and knitted up a few rectangles 12/14/16 stitches wide and about 4 inches long, sewed them into a tube and felted them around a pencil or several pencils where they needed to be bigger. The largest rectangle (16 st wide) fits 10 mm needles when stretched a little. Basically whatever size and shape you leave the wet felted wool in it will stay in.
THEN (and this is really really fun) I adapted the pattern for a Gnome Home for BIC pens:
These are for my girls. I used Stephanie’s pattern but shortened the body of the gnomes to 2 inches. The felting takes care of any other size issues! I used BIC crystal pens and cut off the little arm on the lid to make the lid fit on nicely.
Once everything was perfectly dry a little bit of hot glue on the bottom of the pen and on the lid holds all the knitting to the pen parts. It is not a permanent fix (so then you can move it to another pen later).
I’m not sure how I got roped into pretty much all the things that have been taking up my week… K. has been obsessed with getting some leg warmers… we went shopping last weekend and somehow we came home with an inexpensive ball of yarn and K.’s expectant smile instead of leg warmers. I did what every mother does in these circumstances:
“Yes yes of course darling! I only have 40 other knitting projects on the go and two very pressing gifts to finish!! Of course I have time!!”
And then I have a lot of unexpected paperwork associated with being a 4-H leader … again, I’m not quite sure how that happened. One minute I am happily but halfheartedly helping my kids out and the next I’m club treasurer and leading three club projects. So I have read a little more of S(but not much) and rolled a few more layers of Manos del Uruguay (but not much) and tried to finish M.’s biker cowl (but not much) and attempted to knit my mother-in-law a birthday gift in time for this Sunday (but not much).
M. turns 39 this week and I have his solemn word that he will not peek at any posts before then… so M. if you are reading this:
You only have yourself to blame!!
Buying gifts for men is so hard! Either they don’t want anything, or the stuff they want is so technical they have to buy it! Which is why- men- you get socks, ties and chocolates.
M. falls into the “wants nothing” category but perversely I think he actually would be disappointed to get nothing! I now realize that when he says he doesn’t want anything he means he wants me to think up what he might enjoy… that is almost worse than him wanting something highly technical.
So this year I am giving him a year of presents which works like this:
12 cards all labeled with the date he is to open each card. Each one contains a note and a gift (gift cards/ tickets/ planned days out/ etc). On every month’s anniversary of his birthday he gets to open a new card from his stash. Thus giving a whole year of gifts in one small slim packet. Because one of his jobs is planning and paying for date nights more than half of his cards this year have date nights- prepaid or gift cards (cinema gift certificates/ dinner out/ money for drinks at a free concert). The other cards have ideas for things we can do as a family (picnics/ swimming/ hiking/ camping/ etc). They can be free gifts like- M. loves cooking over a fire out of doors so its easy to incorporate that into a free date night or family fun day.
The cards I’m using are an SVG design available through my Etsy Shop– which includes the 12 card designs card lining (which are cut from patterned paper) and envelope pattern. Obviously you could use any 12 cards!!
All this week we have had copious amounts of rain (for California). Sadly it doesn’t come anywhere near ending our drought but it has been so wonderful all the same. Today was dryer but I finally got the chance to go through the photos I’ve been taking, edit out all the blurred and boring ones (!!! so many!!!) and pick out my favorites.
Something happens in the Pacific Northwest when it rains that rarely (or never) happens where I grew up in the mountains or in England. The low clouds settle into valleys and gorges creating layers of mountains and cotton-candy in the shifting light; and then among the tops of the pines you see rising tufts of cloud clinging to the tree tops like roving on a carding brush. At first I thought it was a fantastical and rare moment I was seeing but literally every time it rains the countryside is magically transformed by mists and light!
I love wrapping presents. I feel like the wrapping IS half the present! But I really really hate spending a huge amount of money on the cutest roll of paper only to find that it will barely wrap two gifts! So I like to use frugal methods instead: craft paper, plain paper, brown paper shopping bags, value tissue paper packs and cellophane which can be gotten free, at the dollar store or come on practically endless rolls. And even better: there are a few ideas here for the person who wraps gifts like they are still three years old! (Yes even YOU can wrap a pretty present!)
1: The Personalized Paper
Use plain wrapping paper- white, craft and shopping bags all work well for this. Lay the paper on a flat surface and using different color pens write descriptive words in lines over the paper to identify the recipient. This is particularly nice if you can get the kids in on it! M. loves this wrapping and gets gifts covered in silly family jokes like his Super Hero name: Pant Man!! Oh darn! Now you know his secret identity… time to move again…
2: The Big Sweetie Wrap (this is for you wrapping haters!)
So easy! Roll your item (any oblong shape soft or hard) in several layers of tissue- the more the better leaving all open ends. Wrap a large piece of cellophane around the tissued gift tape the edge down and then tie off the ends like a giant sweetie packet! I like to write a message with Sharpie on the cellophane but it looks uber cute however you do it. Don’t worry about making the tissue tidy its nice a little rumpled.
3: The Gift is the Wrap -or- Container Shaped Wrapping (another wrapping haters treat!)
There are two ways to play this one: either you use the container (I used a little Target Bucket) as part of the gift or you just use it to shape your cellophane: either is easy easy easy to do. Cut a big square of cellophane and shove it in your container (which should be big enough to fit the gift with a little extra room) approximately centered and flatten it down in the base. Put in as many layers of tissue as you can fit in (and still fit your gift) with the center approximately in the middle of the container and press it down into the base . More is better. Put your gift in gather all the extra tissue and cellophane into a bundle at the top and tie off… sweet. The cellophane parcel will come out and look lovely and stand on it own so long as you used a flat bottom container.
4: Washi Paper (for little gifts)
This one is good for little guys to do too and it makes a nice patterned paper when you haven’t got any around. But if you haven’t got a huge load of washi around- or make it cheaply yourself- this is probably best on little gifts. Tape your paper down and tape up as many stripes as you like.
5: The Little Cereal Gift Box (for the frugal but ambitious wrapper!)
This is my personal favorite it looks really awesome, costs next to nothing and so easy with just a ruler, scissors and some glue!
Open up your box flat and cut away the flap edges so you are left with the front, side and back panel of your box in one piece:
Measure and mark the width of your little house centered on the side panel of your box- this will be the base of your house. My box is cut with a 3 1/2 in wide base as I plan on filling it with a set of cards (more on that Monday). Draw a cut line strait line from the base up to the edge on both large box panels taking care not to cut into the middle panel:
The four edge flaps can be trimmed to about 1/2 to 1 in. The long side panel is the base and sides of your house and the two front/back box panels are the front/back of your house. Measure the side portion of your house as marked on the photo below and score the front and back panels at that height and again about 1/2 in from the top:
Draw on your house details. If you wanna get really fancy try cutting out the windows:
Glue the 1/2 in flaps to the inside of your front/back panels you can use tape to stabilize it till it dries. I also help my sides all together temporarily with rubber bands:
At this point I painted the inside of my box but you can leave it plain (cereal box) or paint it before gluing it all together which would make more sense than what I did! Punch two holes above the top score line and tie your little house closed.