Christmas Gift Crafting: Stocking Fillers

Friday, November 09, 2012

I don't celebrate Christmas, but I do love this time of year. Everybody gets festive, the twinkling Christmas lights come out and the snow starts to fall (unless you're in South Africa, where Christmases are spent around the swimming pool).

It's also a good opportunity to buy things that you've spent the year saving up for. We don't buy "big things" very often (except craft things, and they don't count - right?) so if there's something you've had in mind for a while, it's a good time of year to look out for it because it's likely to be on sale. I've never seen anything quite like the Christmas buying frenzy you get in the UK - people really do camp outside shops here, they buy things online en masse, and they flock to the shops like mobile sardines in a great big shopping mall can.

And so, we come to the (ahem) problem of Christmas gifts for those members of our family who do celebrate Christmas. This year, like most, we're going hand-made. Maybe it's just my experience of Christmas here in the UK, or maybe it's universal: Christmas gifts pile up and becoming an overwhelming collection of things that you really don't need. Wouldn't it be nice to receive things that you want? Things that somebody cared about, and lovingly put together through hours of effort? We've carefully chosen some things we're going to make together (he volunteered, I didn't say anything) and some other things we're going to buy (mostly for the kids) but I'm still on the lookout for small "stocking fillers" that we can add to the gifts to make them extra nice.

Aside from some sewn gifts like pouches and other goodies, I've also spied a few other crafts that I really quite like. Thanks to the magic of the internet, inspiration strikes when you'd least expect it - and is swiftly followed by a "now why didn't I think of that?" moment. Here are some of my favourite stocking fillers from this year's crafty internet inspiration hunt.

1. Bakerella's Cowgirl Cookies

Jars of cookie mix are pretty standard, but how nice would it be if you themed the cookies? Bakerella's cowgirl cookies are definitely on my present list this year - only I'm going to swap the pink m&ms for blue ones, and make them "cowboy" cookies for a little boy who likes to make.

These keyrings are really sweet! I'm definitely going to make initialled keyrings for the new mum in our family. These could be equally nice with another motif - like a flower, or a penguin, or a Pacman. Just saying.

I was wondering how long these would last with the pinked edges, but thanks to the tutorial, I now know that they're reinforced with Pellon Peltex or Timtex. Now, where do I get that kind of heavy duty interfacing around here?

These would make a really nice "family gift" for the fridge. In fact, I'm going to make some for my fridge too. I would use modge podge instead of spray mount and clear packaging tape (especially as I actually have the former, but not the latter) and a few vintage Photoshop actions to get the Polaroid look.  

4. Shrimp Salad Circus's Wooden Buttons

I have a thing for wood buttons. I seem to buy a lot of them from here and they seem to make their way onto almost all of my knitted items. Shrimp Salad Circus (aka Lindsay) wrote up a tutorial on how to make them. It's not rocket science, but I wasn't sure how to finish them off to make them safe for washing, so it's really handy! I'd definitely sand them down a bit better so they don't catch on the yarn or other fabrics. This may not make it on the Christmas Makes list, but it's definitely on my To Do List for the new year. I suppose we'll see...

5. Hair clips for little girls (and big ones too)

I'm suddenly surrounded by lots of little girls (and some big ones too) who need pretty things in their Christmas stockings. I found some great images for inspiration on Pinterest, so here's a quick round-up of my favourite ones (which translates to: easiest ones to make).

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