Creating Keepsakes for Christmas Gifts

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You can create some memorable and low-cost gifts for this holiday. Your family and friends will be so happy you did!

The most appreciated gift I made was an appliquéd picture of my sister’s two story English cottage. They had gone through some financial difficulties in which the loss of their home had been a possibility. I had not framed my gift and when she opened and unfolded it, she was so touched that she cried. She framed it and put it over their fireplace.

For this project I purchased only fusible webbing. I had everything else on hand. My design was very simple. I used an old photograph and did a simple sketch from that onto tracing paper. I traced each separate section on another sheet of paper, then I cut them out.

Place the pattern pieces and the fabric both right side up. Choose a heavier fabric such as corduroy for your background. Iron the individual sections to the background material using the fusible webbing. Machine or hand appliqué around most of the individual pieces with coordinating thread. Where they overlap another piece, you need only stitch around the top piece. You could add your own touches, such as your appliquéd signature or perhaps some hand embroidery.

My finished product was about a foot and a half by two feet, but you can make ours any size you desire. Choose a geometric or floral design. Find pattern books in a crafts store. You could even use a design from your child’s coloring book!

Other Gifts

One year, while my older girls read aloud for homeschool, I crocheted afghans. I chose colors that coordinated with the recipient’s home. Crocheting is easy. You can learn from how-to or pattern books from your library. The cost for yarn is reasonable too, and nothing can compare to the love of a hand-made gift! I also enjoyed this time of creating. It was relaxing and yet we were being efficient in doing two things at once.

I made cookies and candy every year when the children were home. One year we took the whole month of December off from school and baked nearly every day. As soon as they were finished and cooled, they went into the freezer. Then, about two days before Christmas they were thawed in their covered containers. The ones we wanted to frost and decorate were placed on the counter to dry. We gave away many plates to family and friends that year… at least thirty!

You could create Christmas baskets with your own home-canned or purchased jellies. Include hand-written recipes, home-made breads and anything else you would like to include, perhaps a bread knife or butter knife. You can make up home-made mixes, such as for muffins, and include the recipe. Perhaps you would like to include a bag of coffee.

Use your creativity! Nothing, to me, is as much fun as being creative. And believe me, the recipients will love your home-made gifts!

Lorraine Curry

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