Some of the ideas listed below are a creative reuse of items you already have and some use scraps of fabric or felt left over from other projects. All of them should inspire you to look around the house and make something great!
Today’s Guest Curator:
Sarah E. White from Our Daily Craft
Sarah E. White is a freelance writer, editor, crafter and mom based in Arkansas. She writes about creativity for moms and other busy people, crafting with and for kids and creating the life you’ve always wanted at Our Daily Craft and loves creating with her seven-year-old daughter, who just got her first sewing machine for her birthday.
I love making as many holiday gifts as I can, and it’s always great when those gifts can include an element of upcycling. I’m working on a quilt for my daughter made out of some of my husband’s old shirts, which inspired me to investigate other DIY upcycled gift ideas.
Upcycled Denim Apron
There are so many great ideas for using old jeans, but I really love the look of this denim apron from Vicky Myers Creations. Using wide-legged jeans and some additional fabric for a pocket, this easy project comes together in about an hour and is sized for kids up to adults.
I have a box of old T-shirts from my youth that I’ve intended for years to make into a T-shirt quilt. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll bet I could manage a T-shirt pillow like this one from Kelly’s Classroom. Make one for your child out of a favorite old T-shirt, or scour the thrift stores for fun shirts you can use to make pillows for friends.
A weighted blanket can help kids (or anyone) with sensory issues to calm down and feel more secure, but they can also be really expensive. Teach Me Mommy has a great tutorial for making a weighted blanket using a comforter you already own, which makes the process a little bit easier.
Upcycled Sweater Owl
This sweet owl made out of an old sweater from Rainy Day Mum is a great introduction to the process of using sweater material to make toys and dolls. Take this idea and cut out any shape you like for a softie any little one will love.
Woodland Play Mat
This lovely little small-world play mat from Adventure in a Box was done in a no-sew version (she used needle felting to attach scraps of felt to a felt background to make pebbles, flowers and a pond), but you could sew these little embellishments by hand or machine if you’d rather. This idea is a great jumping-off point for lots of different scenes you could make, such as an ocean or forest. Make it for a favorite little one or an early-years teacher.
DIY Ocean Ceiling
Another fun idea for kids, which uses scraps of fabric and ribbons, is this cool ocean “ceiling” cover for a table from Little Worlds. Even if you didn’t do this as an ocean theme, wouldn’t it be a fun alternative to the busy blankets and such that are so often given as baby gifts?
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Author: Maria Alexandra Vettese
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
An exploration of 365 days of shared experiences between two friends on opposite sides of the country, inspired by their blog, 3191 Miles Apart.
Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes share a love of art and design, handmade pleasures, and a well-lived domestic life. Almost a decade ago, they began their first year-long project together, posting a photo from each of their mornings on their blog, 3191 Miles Apart, named for the distance between their homes in Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon. 3191 Miles Apart quickly acquired a worldwide following of readers drawn in by the delicate intimacy of their shared experiences.
A Year Between Friends celebrates their most recent project together—a visual representation of 2015, month-by-month, side-by-side, but miles apart. In addition to 400 photographs recording their daily inspirations and creative undertakings and a foreword from New York Times bestselling author Molly Wizenberg, this unique collaboration expands on their prior work with over 25 handmade crafts and seasonal recipes, notes on simple living, and personal stories that follow the tide of a year filled with new life, change, and loss. It is an intimate joint portrait revealed through photographic snippets—mending a sweater, making a mobile from a cherished collection, creating fabric dyes from natural materials, baking scones—that defies distance through the celebration of shared moments of calmness, warmth, and family.
Both aspirational and down-to-earth, A Year Between Friends is an inspiring visual love letter to friendship and creativity, a timeless reminder to appreciate life one day at a time, to slow down, to cherish simplicity, and to make the extra effort to do things with care and with the people we love.
Author: Minki Kim and Kristin Esser
Publisher: C&T Publishing / Stash Books
Use free-motion stitching and appliqué to embellish charming handmade gifts! Make and share 16 small projects in the popular Zakka design style, including bags, coasters, pincushions, a cosmetic roll, and a mini sewing kit. Learn how to transfer and sew any of the 35 adorable sketches–printed on iron-on transfer paper–or branch out and try sewing your own doodles (or a child’s!), a stamped image, or a traced photo.
The Mighty Lucky Quilting Club is the first monthly subscription club of its kind that focuses on challenging you with design concepts in the quilt making process. It’s like a gym membership for quilters! From playing with surface design techniques to improvised quilt (and quilting!) designs to finding inspiration …and everything in between… you’ll be challenged each month with a new skill to try, with pages of instructions, examples, and inspiration from one of your favorite quilters.
Check out our 2015 Handmade Holidays list for more fun, creative ideas.
Here are our 2016 themes:
November 27: Sweet Softies
November 26: Luxe Gifts
November 25: Gifts for Crafters
November 24: Gifts for Fitness Lovers
November 23: Wonderful Wreaths
November 22: Gifts for Design Lovers
November 21: Bags to Make and Give
November 20: Lacey Christmas
November 19: Gifts for Artists
November 18: Scrap Busters
November 17: Gifts for the Dapper Gentleman
November 16: Gifts for the Girl Boss
November 15: Easy to Ship Gifts
November 14: Table Runners
November 13: Gifts for the Cook
November 12: Gifts for the Entertainer
November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts
November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers
November 9: Heirloom Gifts
November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays
November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents
November 6: Gifts for Geeks
November 5: Stitched and Sewn Stocking Stuffers
November 4: Gifts for Playtime
November 3: Gifts for Four-Legged Friends
November 2: Gifts for Travelers
November 1: Gifts for Students
We respect the copyright of all crafters. All photos are used with permission from the artist.