Candle Sweaters and Pin Cushions (homemade gifts)

Well, the craft room is done.  Christmas time is upon us.  This year with our friends and family, and with some of the kids’ gifts we have agreed to give and receive homemade gifts.  This an economical approach as everyone is trying to get by.  It keeps gifts incredibly local.  And it is really nice to get and give gifts from the heart.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on homemade gifts:

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I made these for someone I hope doesn’t read my blog!  Click here to see how to make candles.  It is easy and most folks like candles.  Especially us homesteader types.  I made some in dollar store mugs and some in canning jars.  Put the lid on after the candle sets and you have an instant gift.  I wanted to do something a little extra.

I love the look of a cable knit sweater.  The cable knit throws at Pottery Barn and the pillow shams speak to me of mountain cabins and cozy evenings in.  I am still working on knitting (straight) so I crocheted some little candle sweaters.  They whip up in no time and add a festive and wintery appeal.

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Chain enough that the strand fits around the largest area of the vessel.  Then in the following rows do a combination of double crochets or triple crochets.  Add in spaces, chains, three triples in one hole, create your own pattern!

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Next, a pin cushion for those on your list that enjoy sewing or would like to learn to sew.  Find an old cup and saucer in the cupboard or the thrift store.  Glue the cup to the saucer using a hot glue gun or other good glue.  Next, cut a Styrofoam ball (from the craft store, often used to make planets) in half.  Wrap a piece of beautiful vintage fabric around the ball and use pins, glue, or other means to attach it to the bottom.  Glue the Styrofoam ball into the cup.  Okay, you’re done!  Put a few pins in it so the recipient knows that it is a pin cushion.

For other ideas, visit last year’s post here on homemade, heartfelt gifts.

Happy crafting!

Spring Decor Farmgirl Style

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We love each season and each of their gifts.  Renewal, Sunshine, Harvest, Rest.  Each season in our house looks differently.  To switch from winter to spring a house needs but a few touches.  Trade heavy blankets and pillows for lighter ones on furniture.  A bold Indian blanket was replaced with Kat’s grandma’s beautiful quilt.  Still nice to curl up with during movies but cheery enough to emote spring.  The pillow was a Pottery Barn Christmas pillow.  Adorable.  Perhaps time to cover the Christmas stockings on it though!  A vintage pillow case does the trick.  Stacks of gardening books surround the chairs.

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A simple pair of humble galoshes can whisper springtime is approaching!  They are good for trekking through the snow to the chicken coop or standing in the garden.  I like them by the door.  An invitation for springtime to come on in! (And springtime mud indeed will.)

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Look closely at this picture!  It is easy to be distracted by the seventeen year old “farm dog” there guarding the rug.  Look at the tablecloth.  For ten dollars I was able to get two yards of vinyl for our six foot table at the craft store.  It lasts a whole lot longer than the cheap plastic tablecloths at Walmart, standing up to cat scratches, stains, and daily wear and tear.  It just washes off.  I have a vintage New Mexican tablecloth underneath it to keep it protected.  There are lady bugs all over the vinyl tablecloth creating a look of picnicking on the dining room table.  Lady bugs and bees welcome spring.

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Lanterns and warmer weather decor is replaced with bird cages and flowers.  I bought this bird cage at a thrift store for next to nothing to house vases of spring flowers (which I am yet to get) to protect them from nibbling kitties.  Pots of daffodils look great tucked inside as would a bird’s nest or Easter eggs.

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The indoor garden is still brightening the window sill to the south.  The petunias simply love it.  A package of petunias can be arranged in pots and placed throughout the house in sunny locations.  They are so easy to grow.  They love sun, water every three days, and dead head the plant so the blooms keep coming back to show off.

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This lovely peasant dress arrived in the mail early yesterday.  Something sassy to wear to Santa Fe next week (along with her four sisters I may have purchased in a spring fever frenzy.  Beautiful.  Where creamy whites and piney greens are show stoppers in winter, nothing beats bright colors to infuse the spirit in time for spring.

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Mine aren’t quite this glorious yet, my daffodils are merely peeking their arms up out of the soil, but I do hope you planted bulbs last fall!  Nothing sings spring like birds raucous and loud outside the window and fields of daffodils and tulips.

So, out with knits and winter reminiscences, and in with bright, happy decorations, clothing, and flowers.  Welcome Spring!