What was the best homemade gift you ever gave / received?

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With the holidays right around the corner and money tight (with everyone), I was wondering what the best homemade gift you received was? Also, what homemade gift that you gave someone seemed to be the biggest hit?

My Mom made me a cookbook, with all the recipies I remember her making while I lived at home. She typed them all up on decorated paper and put them in page protectors so they could be wiped off if (when!) they got dirty. At the bottom of each recipie, she put notes like "This recipie doubles good -- make two and put one in the freezer", or "This is Daddy's favorite" or gives a little story about who she got the recipie from. She continues to add a few pages for different occassions. One of these days I will have all of the "important to us" recipies to share with my son (who already loves to help me cook!).

As for the best gift I ever made, I think it would have to be last years craft. I made cookie cutter bird feeders. I took big metal cookie cutters and ran wire through them, then filled it with a bird seed/honey/peanut butter mixture. Big hit! I got the idea from a catalog that was charging $36 for a set of three!!!!! Cost me pennies to make. (he!he!he!) I have gotten the cookie cutters back with a request that I refill them for gift this year.

Looking forward to getting some new ideas!

Amy in Va.

-- Amy (amya@cstone.net), October 22, 2001


I am sooooo glad that you posted this question! I asked roughly the same thing on the Christian Homesteader's Forum because $$$$$$ just is not here this year and I have very few ideas for homemade gifts! I always bake alot of goodies to put in the packages for the grown children, but since I cannot buy any gifts, am frantically waiting to hear somemore ideas.

-- lesley (martchas@bellsouth.net), October 22, 2001.

I make all my own mixes. Everything to taco seasoning to cakes and cookies. I will put them in quart jars,decorate the top, put a recipe card attached by a string and if it's a cookies recipe I'll put a cookie cutter hanging with the card.You can get creative.Last year I made my sister a basket with everything to make a romantic dinner. Homemade noodles,sauce,bread mix, cake mix, veggies,homemade placemats,candles and I did throw in a bottle of 2.00 white grape juice.She loved it. I alway try to do something like this for everyone.My cousin is 14, so I went through my stationary,stickers anything that went with that, made some personalized stationary for her. Get crative.I have tons..... of books and magazines if you think of anything imperticular.

-- Micheale from SE Kansas (mbfrye@totelcsi.net), October 22, 2001.

Last year I made a basket for everything to make a spagetti dinner,I used a colander for the bottom and ingredients plus spagetti spoon and two bottles of Sparling Champange. Use the decorative Plasic wrap and tie with ribbon. Looked really nice and usefull. This year I'm doing popcorn popper and popcorn and hot chocolate, a family type game and M&M's. I like to crochet an afagan each year for a gift.

-- Jo (farmerjo@kvalley.com), October 22, 2001.

We have friends that adopted 2 teenage boys. They had no other children, so we decided to throw them a "baby shower". In addition to the gag gifts,one gift that they received was a popcorn popper, bowl, popcorn, sodapop and gift certificates to the local video store. This way they could all enjoy an evening of family entertainment.

Oh, BTW, they passed out cigars at the baby shower and if you crossed your legs, you lost your clothespin.

-- Charleen in WNY (harperhill@eznet.net), October 22, 2001.

I love doing arts and crafts and creating things. Last christmas , i couldn't think of anything to get for my best friends mom, but i was painting in art class, so i asked the teacher for an extra board, and i painted her a picture of flowers . Making memory collages is really easy too. If you have a thin but durable board, you can use newspaper cut outs or magazine cut outs to create a personal collage. Use clear glew and paint it over your arrangement , how ever you may have it. If you have rose petals, shells, sand, glitter, little flowers, ribbon, anything small enough and delicate; glew it around as a frame, or just here and there for some decoration. I made one with love birds in the middle that was black and white, and then coloured comics around the side. Painted everything over with clear glue, sprinkled some shiny sand on top. Added rose petals and shells around it. it makes a cute collage for anywhere.

-- jillian (sweetunes483@yahoo.com), October 22, 2001.

Most cherished homemade gifts for me have been the baby quilts made by my grandmother. Sure, I can make a quilt, but these are special because they were made by her hands for my children... Since I really enjoy photography(and always get double prints), I have sometimes made photo albums for my parents for Christmas, which I think they appreciate...One year(at my behest, I admit), Mom gave me an album with copies of old family portraits. That's a prize.(I had hinted to her that a copy of one of those portraits each year would be a cherished gift, but Mom is never to be outdone, and set about to copy and label them all. Some are just xerox copies, but still great.)

-- mary (marylgarcia@aol.com), October 22, 2001.

I have made each one of my grandaughters a really cute doll with yarn hair and all. They absolutely love them, sleep with them and one grandaughter always takes hers with her every place she goes. One grandaughter last year was to bring to school their favorite toy. Guess what she took! This year for my daughter for Christmas I am refinishing a wooden chair that belonged to my mother. She has hinted before that she would love to have that chair so I think this will be a big surprise, I hope! It is that personal touch that makes homemade gifts so special. Anyone can go out and buy something but not every one gets a homemade gift. Last year my sister made me some place mats and matching napkins. I love them! This year for the people I just want to give a little something to, I'm making quilted potholders. When my children were little and I had little money, I used to make a lot of their toys and always made them some clothes too for Christmas. They never felt underpriviledged!

-- Barb in Ky. (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), October 23, 2001.

My children have always enjoyed hat-mittens-scarf sets made to match their coats. Also, they get real excited about knitted slippers! The best homemade present I got for mother's day one year was a rough, crudely cut, slightly warped piece of scrap wood. There is a five point star carved out in the middle and colored in with red crayon. MOM is written in black marker in the center of the star with the initial of each of the five children I had then at each point. Around the star is a frame colored with every color in the crayon box. There are two holes drilled in the top corners with red yarn strung through to hang it by. The child who made this was 8 at the time.

-- Cathy N. (keeper8@attcanada.ca), October 23, 2001.

I am not a crafty person, but I do have a few things I can do! I like to make homemade baskets with paper twist (hard to explain, but you start with a box and weave it around, then line the inside with fabric). I like to give any kind of canned goods, dried herbs, baked goods, garlic bulbs and flavored vinegar. I can make quilts, fleece scarfs, scrap fabric Christmas wreaths. and that is about it.

I am going to make my kids an organizer to hang over their doors with pockets from old jeans and fabric that matches their rooms. I saw one at Aldi's that was $10, and I know I have enough stuff stashed away to make them for free.

I like to get any home-made items, other peoples cookies taste much better to me! Home canned goods, home-made christmas crafts, anyhting for the house!

-- Melissa (cmnorris@1st.net), October 23, 2001.

I wrote a whole long answer to this earlier today and I guess with all the computer server troubles today it is lost somewhere! I will wait a while and if it doesn't show up I will re-post. I know I hit submit, and it said it was a success, so I don't know what happened. I know this has happened to some of you before, and I don't know how to fix it. Sorry!

-- Melissa (me@home.net), October 23, 2001.

I bought blank journals and picture frames at the dollar store and then covered them with paper using decoupage glue. This isn't too hard, you just wrap the corners the same way you would a gift. If you buy fancy origami or other decorative paper from a craft store, it might cost you a few dollars, but there is plenty of paper floating around, so be creative. One of my roommates is a big Philadelphia sports fan and the other adores New York City, so I put these items into themed gift baskets for them. My mom is a Triple-A member, so she picked up a Philadelphia map and a Manhattan Subway System map for free, and I used this as the paper. You could also use fabric, posters, magazine pages (for small items) wrapping paper....

-- Jess (jmp4429@rit.edu), December 04, 2001.

Another thing I made this year requires a sewing machine, but not a lot of complicated sewing. I bought muslin (If you wait until it's on sale, it costs about $0.50 a yard) and sewed rectangular bags. Mine were about 5" x 24" I think. Fill the bags with feed corn (I paid $6.50 for a 50-pound bag) and toss in some dried lavender or other soothing herb. Then make a pillowcase for it out of a fabric that suits the recipient. The pillow can go in the freezer for an hour to make an ice pack, or the microwave oven for 2-3 minutes to soothe tired muscles. If you only nuke it for a minute or so, it will be warm and cozy for a child to take to bed (I've even seen these in the shape of bears and puppies for kids). Put an instruction tag on the pillow and give it as a gift.

-- Jess (jmp4429@rit.edu), December 04, 2001.

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