Gift Ideas - Handmade and Other

Monday, December 30, 2013

Handmade Gifts - Week Four

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas!! I had a quiet time with loved ones and enjoyed it very much.

Recently someone asked if I make handmade gifts for others. The answer is yes! In fact, this is the first year in many years that I didn't make any handmade gifts for Christmas . . . although I baked more cookies than I know what to do with! :)

Today I thought I would share with you a few of the gifts I have made with love and care over the years . . .

A plastic bag holder for my teddy bear collector mom.

A "Busy Book" for a young nephew.

A lap quilt and matching pillows as a wedding gift for a dear friend and her new groom.

A matching towel and dishcloth set.

A "Puppy Book" (much like a baby book only for a dog) for a 9 year old who had just received his much hoped and prayed for puppy.

A blanket to welcome a precious new life into our family!

How about you? Do you like to craft? 
What gifts have you made for others?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Handmade Gifts - Week Three

Christmas is now just one short week away. I am dashing to and fro with not one, but multiple to do lists that all seem too long. But in the midst of this hustle and bustle I want to pause for a moment and remember a few more handmade treasures that grace my home and the beloved people who made them for me.

The first is a handmade, prayer shrug. A few years ago our pastor's wife initiated a prayer shawl ministry at our church. Women from our church joined together to knit or crochet prayer shawls, lap blankets, baby blankets, scarves, hats and prayer shrugs to be given to people in times of difficulty and heartache. When this couple left our church about a year ago, Mrs. Pastor (as she was sometimes affectionately known) gave me a beautiful prayer shrug that she had crocheted. I often wear it on cool mornings while I am having my quiet time. I appreciate the beauty of the gift and the meaning behind it, and even more the prayers that I know this dear woman and her husband have prayed for me in the past and continue to pray for me still.

Another friend made me several painted items that I enjoy and appreciate. One is a wall-hanging with the verse "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you" inscribed on it surrounded by cheerful flowers. The second is a heart shaped box, painted a cream color with a lovely floral design on the top. And last but not least is a little friend that comes out at this time of year and stays around until spring - a fun snowman that keeps me company and brightens my day through the long winter days.

Do you have homemade decorations that grace your home?
What are they like? Who made them for you?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Handmade Gifts - Week Two

I have been blessed to be part of a creative and talented family who throughout my lifetime has blessed me with many meaningful hand crafted gifts.

A few years ago, one of my sisters made me a decorative pillow. I love the colors she chose and the labor of love that went into designing and crafting it.

When I was a young child, my oldest sister made me two heirloom gifts. One year she made a wardrobe for my Barbie. She made a wedding dress, an evening gown, a matching dress and cape, she even knitted tiny sweaters, skirts, and stockings for her. There were pants, skirts, blouses, and dresses in this finely crafted wardrobe. I loved to dress my Barbie in these clothes and they were an inspiration to me to make other clothes for my doll myself.

A few years later my parents bought me my last baby doll. Again my oldest sister went to her sewing machine, pulled out her crochet hook and made a wardrobe for my doll. There were dresses, pajamas, play suits, and a crocheted ripple baby blanket for me to dress Abigail for any imaginable occasion. All beautifully handcrafted.

When my parents house burned a few years ago, both of these wardrobes were in storage at their house. I was very relieved to find them undamaged in their tote among the debris.

My mother too handcrafted many things for me over the years. She made many of my clothes and I remember looking forward to a new dress at Easter and Christmas, to new clothes each year for school, and the delight of choosing patterns and fabrics for those clothes. Just a few years ago, she finished a project that she had been working on for some time - a Hobby Holly Applique patchwork quilt.

Perhaps another day I will share about the ceramic and woodworking projects my family has blessed me with. So very thankful for these gifts of time, love, and creativity!!!

Do you have special gifts crafted for you by parents or siblings? 
What special ideas have they come up with to bless you?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Reflect

On Fridays Lisa Jo Baker invites people from around the world to link up for Five Minute Friday where we write unfettered and unedited for five minutes. The words flow from our minds and hearts through our fingertips to the keyboard and we WRITE. On this the last Five Minute Friday of 2013 before we take a break for the month of December, the prompt is "REFLECT".

Ready . . . set . . . write . . .

On this last Five Minute Friday of 2013, it is just the right time to reflect back on the year that is coming to a close.
My key word this year has been "emerging". The year 2012 was filled with tumult, loss, and profound grief. More tears were shed in 2012 that I thought I had within me to shed. As I reflect back on 2013, it has truly been about emerging from the pain to find peace even where there is no resolution or reconciliation. Emerging from conflict to stability and from loss to hope.

For some time I have had one word that seems to capture a year, to summarize its general direction. What will be my key word for 2014? Ummm . . . I don't know yet. Freedom . . . Choosing Life . . . these are themes that have emerged in 2013 and seem to hold portent for the future. I am not yet sure. I will reflect more on this in the coming weeks . . .

How about you? What word would you use to describe 2013?
What word do you hope will describe 2014?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Handmade Gifts - Week One

I love handmade gifts, especially ones that have a special significance. During this month when so much of our focus is on gifts, each Wednesday I want to share with you some meaningful handmade gifts that have been given to me over the years.

In my living room, I have three beautiful cross-stitch wall hangings made for me by a dear friend. All of them are special and meaningful, yet of the three this is my favorite - a sampler of "A Virtuous Woman" from Proverbs 31. Not only was this a labor of love - there is so much detail in this sampler - but it came with wonderful words of encouragement.

My friend has a rare understanding of and love for her single friends. When she gave me this treasure, she explained that she wanted me to know that she saw me as a Proverbs 31 woman. In her eyes having a husband was not necessary to be a virtuous women, a woman who honors the Lord. Her words of encouragement meant a great deal to me and every time I see this work of art, I am reminded of her love and encouragement.

Another dear friend created a lovely friendship wall hanging. Using a greeting card and my favorite colors, she chose a lovely picture with a saying about friends. Then she framed it with a pink mat (pink is my favorite color), a wooden frame, added embellishments in the corners and a beautiful reminder of our friendship was created.

This picture hangs over my bed where I am regularly reminded of this dear friend and the way she has walked through life with me, even when she is many miles away

On March 2, 2009 I received news of the unthinkable. My parents house was on fire. The house my father and brother had built. The house my mother had lovingly decorated. The house that had been my home more than any other was on fire.

By the time the firemen put the fire out, there was little left to salvage. The insurance company declared it a total loss. This was a grave loss to my parents in their mid-eighties and to me as well.

A couple of years ago, one of my nieces painted a picture of that house for me. It is in my living room and the first picture I see when I enter the room. Seeing it there comforts me time and time again.

As I look around my home, I am reminded of dear friends and family members who have expended their time and energy to share their love for me with me. I cherish these handmade works of art and the people who made them for me.

Do you have a homemade gift that has a special meaning to you? 
I invite you to share your story about it.