Tis the season to…buy gifts and spend lots of money? Well, maybe, but why not try a “home-made” approach to the holiday and winter season this year!? As the cold weather creeps upon us, I find myself turning to indoor activities, such as crocheting, to get me through the winter months. After the energy of summer and autumn days has left, it causes me to turn inward, not just in the sense of being indoors but also time for reflection and tranquility. Some of my favorite indoor winter pastimes include reading, crocheting, baking, watching movies and listening to music next to a warm fire. Some of the simple things you love to do could easily be turned into a gift for friends and family. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always cherished and been more excited over a hand-made gift from someone than I am from store-bought goods. In Made From Scratch (640 WOG) by Jenna Woginrich, twenty-six year old Jenna takes us into the homemakers lifestyle chapter by chapter. Whether she is telling us about beekeeping, growing and making our own foods, or designing your own clothes she keeps the informative nature of the story alive with her wit and humor. She offers some great resources and places where you can find information if you want to start a homemaking life yourself–which, according to Jenna isn’t all that hard if you’ve learned some of the basics!
Here are some gift ideas that are simple, fun and cost efficient:
Crocheting-A nice warm scarf, hat or gloves or even something even more advanced like a sweater or skirt would make a lovely, not to mention impressive, gift for someone this holiday. Even if you are just beginning, a simple scarf would not only be a great gift but you can add to the gift card that he/she is the recipient of your first project! For some ideas, check out Hip to Crochet (746.434 SWA) or Crochet in No Time ( 746.434 GRI) from our knitting/crocheting collection. If you enjoy sewing, Crafy Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing has tons of bright, colorful and innovative projects.
Food: Baked Goods/Canning-Mmmmm, who doesn’t love receiving a home-made gingerbread, holiday cookies, or some canned preserves from the garden?! Baking and canning is an age-old tradition that has somewhat gotten away from our society with all the boxed and microwaveable “food.” I love to look through my grandma’s collection of cookbooks, old and new, and find something different to surprise people with. Since I’m on a budget this Christmas, many of my friends will be receiving tasty treats, created by my hands, wrapped up on a plate with a nice bow rather than something store-bought. (Hope they like it!) OWL has an expansive collection of cookbooks to browse through, starting in section 641. To get you started on home-made preserves try the Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving (641.42 U.S.) or Canning and Preserving Without Sugar (641.42 MAC). The nice part about canning is you can place a bow or sticker on top of the jar and it has its own cute packaging that is reusable later!
Jewelry/Accessories: I like to make simple bead bracelet’s strung on hemp string. It’s inexpensive and fun, especially picking out the beads. If you like to and have the patience for more detailed projects, The Complete Encyclopedia of Crafts (745.5 COM) has some great jewelry projects, as well as many others including pinch pots and simple quilts.
Spa Inspired-With some simple ingredients that you probably have at home, you can make a lovely body cream or bubbly bath for someone special! One of my favorite facial masks is Yogurt and Oatmeal with a touch of honey–it makes your skin so soft and smooth, and those two ingredients are always in stock at my house. Face Cream, Hair Rinses, and Body Lotions: Recipes for Natural Beauty 668.55 (FAR) is a fabulous book loaded with all kinds of body pampering recipes. It even includes a chapter on gift wrapping and storing techniques.
Ornaments and Decorations: Ornaments and decorations can be made from basic household items and from things found in nature, like pine cones and red berries. Simply Handmade: 365 Easy Projects for Every Occasion (745.59 SIM) contains an abundance of fun ideas, not only pertaining to the winter holidays. I like the “singing star ornaments” (made from old sheet music) and the “glorious gift bags” made from any kind of fabric (they recommend sheer or satin though). Try making your own wrapping paper this year by using a brown paper bag decorated with stamps, glitter or your own design…or recycle a magazine or comics page that already has color and design.
A fun website to browse on living the old fashioned way: http://oldfashionedliving.com/kitchen109.html
These are just some small ideas to get you started…there is so much that you can do with a little creativity, patience and time. The possibilities are endless. Start with a book from OWL’s collection and then add your own magic touch for a special holiday gift this year.