Not Martha

A Hip Handmade Holiday (and a giveaway!)

My friends Freshly Picked and The Alison Show got together as The Craft Pack and made a book full of delightful and easy (really, seriously) DIY holiday gifts. The book is called A Hip Handmade Holiday: Gifts For Everyone On You List For $10 Or Less and I super duper love it. It’s a PDF download and includes nine how-to videos, pro tips and lots and lots of printables.

Susan and Alison gave a presentation at Camp Mighty last month and Alison said (to applause) that if your idea of crafting is printing something onto sticker paper and slapping it on a jar, then this book is for you. There are also project with great instructions that teach you a technique and give some room to improvise if you’d like.

There are projects for women, men, pets, the house, things to treasure for years and those gifts for last minute print-and-glue moments. Susan and Alison have curated their offerings incredibly well so the book offers just a few projects for each category but every single one is gorgeous, clever and well explained. If you want to follow each project by the numbers they’re great, but there is also room to use the technique as a starting point. There are pro tips and how-to videos scattered throughout the book. The printables include every holiday card you could wish for, all the stencils you need and stickers to cover treats served in jars, paint cans and bottles.

I’m highly impressed with the balance they’ve struck here and if this is the type of quality that can come through non-traditional forms of publishing I clearly need to be paying closer attention. Susan and Alison have labeled this book “No. 1″ and I hope there are many more to come.

I’m a little obsessed with the Ho Ho Ho pillows.

Just so you know: If you buy the book through the link here I get a percentage. That percentage goes right back into hosting costs for this here website which are doubling due to higher traffic. This isn’t something I’m complaining about. Just, you know, noting. So thanks.

As a way of saying hello The Craft Pack is offering a $50 Michael’s gift card to Not Martha readers. Yay, thank you The Craft Pack!

If you’d like to enter just leave a message with this post, and if you want answer this question: Have you ever sent a DIY gift to a family member? What was the most successful or the least? (My answer: a trio of candied nuts were beloved, but the hand knit scarves mostly got a polite thank you.) You’ve got until next Tuesday, Dec. 18th at 12 noon Pacific (my) time to enter, at that point I’ll close comments. The fine print applies. Good luck! Closed, thanks to everybody for entering!

· comments [180] · 12-13-2012 · categories:books · christmas ·

180 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kristin // Dec 13, 2012 at 3:59 am

    I try to do a handmade stocking stuffer every year.

  • 2 Serene // Dec 13, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Oh yes, I have! I recently slaved away for 3 weeks knitting a baby’s blanket for my cousin’s newborn. And another time I made a sweet little bunting for a birthday cake. Strangely, the bunting received a more enthusiastic response.
    It goes to show DIY doesn’t have to be complicated. Just have to try! People generally appreciate the effort.

  • 3 Megan P // Dec 13, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Fun! I made some christmas card holding-cork boards that were well received, but a few years ago I gave my dad a framed art print that he used to cover up the prior years mosaic frame! Hand crafted gifts are now reserved for the girls in the family :)

  • 4 Alexis // Dec 13, 2012 at 5:29 am

    I almost always give handmade gifts because I feel like it’s better to spend time than money to show people how much I love them. (and I’m pretty short on the money bit anyway…)

    I have some friends that still wear the scarves I made them in high school, but I have yet to catch my dad wearing anything I’ve made him. Maybe dads are just tough nuts to crack.

  • 5 Ruth Ann // Dec 13, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I made my brother-in-law a desktop fountain out of old computer parts one year. It turned out really well and I think he liked it. I also made him a set of magnets out of an old computer keyboard.

  • 6 Sophie // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:02 am

    I made natural linen napkins hemmed in gold and stamped with a gold branch pattern for my mother. I think she really loved them, but you know how mothers are ;)

  • 7 Andrea // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

    One year I made my brother a memory shadow box with special momentoes of him and our mom. It included $100 inside because I had bet him (back when I was 13) that I would never marry (and I had). He seemed to really like that gift. I would love to know if the $$ is still in the box.

  • 8 Andrea // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

    One year I made my brother a memory shadow box with special momentoes of him and our mom. It included $100 inside because I had bet him (back when I was 13) that I would never marry (and I had). He seemed to really like that gift. I would love to know if the $$ is still in the box.

  • 9 Cole // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I created many scrapbooks/photo books for family and friends and those always seem to go over well. I know I have crashed and burned on other handmade gifts but my mind is drawing a blank…

  • 10 Tom S. // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:30 am

    I made a cool clock out of recycled bike chain rings for my mother in law, she is a rider like us.

  • 11 Beth // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I have put together “edible” gift baskets, with purchased gourmet goodies. That’s as crafty as I get, but I do aspire to do more!

  • 12 Laura // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:42 am

    I kinda adore the HoHo pillows too! I have red as an accent color in my living room already so it would be an awesome holiday addition. Thanks for sharing.

    The best DIY gift I ever made was a felt appliqued tree skirt for my mother a few years back with woodland animals. She keeps it in her hope chest and cherishes it! Also, I got married this summer, so now I am making a tree skirt this Christmas for my mother in law! So excited to see the finished product.

  • 13 Sheila // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:45 am

    My brother and I exchange handmade gifts instead of buying each year, and I always make my mom something. I think she likes my drawings best but I’ll agree, it’s very difficult to tell with moms!

  • 14 Joanna // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Oddly (because I love to bake and knit and quilt), I don’t think I’ve ever given a DIY gift to a family member. I think I’m always a little too afraid that it won’t go over well, that they’ll look down on it for being handmade. Though I do give handmade baby gifts all the time.

  • 15 Aarika // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I made cutout cookies in the letters of two of my friends’ names and shipped it to them across the country as a DIY Cookie Set. Lots of work, not really as appreciated because they were both going off sugar, unbeknownst to me. Ooops.

  • 16 Evelyn R // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:59 am

    This year I am giving my mom a painting of a peacock that I did

  • 17 Lindsay P // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:02 am

    The most appreciated DIY holiday gift I’ve given (out of dozens over the years) was a pair of mittens with intarsia rude hand gestures on the back. It helps to know your recipient and their sense of humor.

  • 18 Julie B. // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:25 am

    My boyfriend has a big family, so to avoid going broke, I make big batches of goodies to give to the many aunts, uncles and cousins. My cookies and dipped marshmallows always go over well, but the year I made his mother a scarf in her favorite colors, she just smiled, nodded and put it to the side. Sweet lady, but doesn’t have a non-polite bone in her body.

  • 19 cs white // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I made some monogrammed tiles last year for my husband’s aunt, but I haven’t seem them out any time we’ve been over there…

  • 20 karen w // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I’ve knitted washcloths, which I think were fairly well received, and I’ve tried to sew a little satchel, which I think was less well received. I always start with lofty plans to make gifts and then run out of time. Some day I’ll actually be more organized about it.

  • 21 amy // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I made my best friend a cross stitch iphone case. She absolutely loved it. I also embroidered hankies for my father. They said things like “bless you” in Italian, an idea I stole from that same best friend who got the iphone case;-) My dad loved them because they are useful and hidden in your pocket.

  • 22 AB // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I’ve found that food gifts usually go over pretty well. Other DIY gifts get mixed reviews. You really have to make sure it’s something they’ll love or you’re wasting your time and money!

  • 23 jennybookworm // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I’ve made many many knit projects that have had varying levels of success. One gift I made that I thought was not so well received recently resurfaced in a picture my brother sent — I made and gave them a ‘snowman kit’ — scarf, stuff for eyes etc… and I sewed a top hat out of felt.

  • 24 Rebecca K // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I’ve made scarves and hats before with mixed thankyous. However I will see them wearing years later and I know they are appreciated. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • 25 Katie // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I bought A Hip Handmade Holiday and LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! I have already made two of the things in it and have plans for more! I love doing handmade Christmas gifts… last year, I did only knitted goods for everyone and they were a hit.

  • 26 Aryn // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

    I knit lots of gifts, some go over better than others! My favorite recipients are the ones who post photos of themselves (or their babies) wearing the gifts… They get knit for again! The ones who don’t even send a thank you note, are not repeat giftees. Most recently I made a shawlette for my mother’s birthday, and she loved it so much, she wore it for 3 days straight!!

  • 27 Janna // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I mostly bake gifts – cookies, breads… – for people, and those always go over really well. I’m just not crafty enough to make anything else that would be nice enough to give away!

  • 28 Juniper // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

    As a kid I did a ton of DIY gifting — gifts I remember people loving include a hand-sewn purse, knit scarves, and of course fudge. For some reason though, now that I’m “grown up” (whatever that means!) I have a harder time with the idea… guess I’m worried about the reception handmade gifts might get when you’re an adult. This year I have tons of crafty ideas though, so I think I’m going to go for it!

  • 29 Tiffany // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Last year I made my nephews and my son fort kits and this year they are getting freezer paper stenciled star wars shirts.

  • 30 Signe // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I made tea cozy’s out of felted sweaters over wool-stuffed liners for the tea drinkers and I think they were happy to be able to keep their tea pots warm. I also routinely make and give Danish braided hearts filled with candy for presents – something the Danes traidtionally hang on their Christmas trees. http://www.haabet.dk/users/julehjerter/making.html shows you how to do it.

  • 31 Joy // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I make chocolates every year and those are always well received.

  • 32 Laurie // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

    A few years ago I made aprons for friends and family. Some people really liked them and have used them quite a bit; others, not so much.

  • 33 Caroline // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

    My mom still uses the apron and lunchbag I made her. Least successful – a hand knit scarf which was deemed ‘too scratchy.’

  • 34 Rebecca // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:57 am

    The handmade jewelry I have given my mom has been very well-received, but one year I made beeswax candles that got more of a “meh” reaction.

  • 35 Ana // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:57 am

    That’s so funny, because last year I gave my mother candied walnuts that I made myself and just put into a sweets bag and she loved it, whereas she’s always stuffed my knitted items in a bottom drawer. That’s why dad gets handknit socks this year and she doesn’t haha.

  • 36 sangeetha // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I agree I make scarves and while they are received with enthusiasm I hardly ever see anyone wearing them :(

  • 37 lisa // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

    every year I give handmade (NOT HOMEMADE) gifts…flavored vodka and/or rum, knitted scarves and mittens, spiced nuts, jams and jellies. The list goes on. My friends call me the “Hippy Dippy Martha”. I’ll take that as a complement. ;0)

  • 38 Pamela // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:34 am

    This year I decided to “practice what I preach” and hand make/craft all of my family and friend gifts. There are hand knit scarves for the men, felted purses and lace scarves for the women and everybody is getting homemade salted caramel sauce, chocolate sauce and an assortment of holiday cookes and candies. It’s taken longer for me to prepare than it would if I went to the mall, but I think the gifts are much more personally and (I hope) more appreciated.

  • 39 terry // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Best would be Hand knit hat/scarf/mitten set. Worst would be smores in a jar.

    Most enjoyed would be assorted cookie tray.

  • 40 Kendreia // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Have you ever sent a DIY gift to a family member? What was the most successful or the least?

    The only DIY gift I ever gave to family members were DIY favors I made for my wedding. I felt they were successful. I gave them a custom burned CD of our favorite songs and wrapped them in a really cute cardboard styled paper and wrapped the whole thing with a raffia ribbon and custom printed label off my home printer. It was a lot a of work (100 of them) but it was well worth it.

  • 41 Rachel // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I always give baked goods to my family as gifts!

  • 42 Robin (not ever sewing) // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I have mostly only DIYed for my kids. My daughters are old enough to be appreciative, genuinely, but about a month ago I worked really hard to sew a doll for my son. It has a tiger face and he always calls himself a tiger so I knew he’d love it. And he does. The thing is, though, he’s two-and-a-half. So mostly he loves to throw it down the stairs and yell BOOM! or bash you in the head with it while he growls. He hasn’t exactly snuggled it like I imagined in my head.

  • 43 michelle warnke // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I love making gifts. This year I am making little lap quilts for my nephews and I made an apron for my sister. This year I also plan to make and give bacon jam to a few select people. DIY forever!

  • 44 Emjay Kay // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I’ve made necklaces from single pieces of earrings
    which would have been useless unless crafted or made into something else. Those were fun. Anything that is baked by me or my husband is always welcomed. I also made a “memory gift” for a relative that was very appreciated.

  • 45 Katie Lynn // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

    For the last several years no-one has gotten anything that isn’t handmade. It’s a lot cheaper for me to produce something amazing than it is to purchase. My dad gets a knit wool cap every year (he spends a lot of time outdoors and loves wool), my brother is getting a cross-stitch of Ron Swanson, and my mother is getting a shawl I made earlier this year that she said she liked while I was knitting it. Everyone else gets homemade goodies, like Almond Joys and hot chocolate on a stick and the famous cinnamon-almond biscotti.

  • 46 Lisa H // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I send homemade gifts to friends and family every year. I love making something special for them and spending all the time that I am creating it for them thinking about them and our relationship. The most requested is the goodie baskets I put together with every gift. This year I made each person an apple butter sampler with 4 types of apple butter – spiced, caramel, salted caramel and rum vanilla.

  • 47 Aimee // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I spent like a month making flavored sugar, body scrub, and various other goodies, using fresh lavender and rose, for my mother and mother-in-law for a particularly budget-tight mother’s day. I got an “Oh.” And I’d made enough to try myself, so I know it was good stuff. Oh well.
    For good presents though, I’ll splurge on a little of the good velvet and hand-sew a stocking with trim that matches the recipient’s personality. That’s never gone wrong.

  • 48 Laura // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I made a homemade snuggie for my sister-in-law when she was pregnant. I think she liked it because she runs cold, but it wasn’t the most stunning gift ever.

  • 49 Sara P. // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

    I made mint infused honey (from the honey from my backyard beehive), wrapped it up with pretty twine and a card, and gave it to friends last year.

  • 50 Sarah // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

    I made my mother a glass beaded bracelet that she loved. However, I used a magnetic clasp on it and it was a little too heavy

  • 51 Katherine // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I do DIY gifts a lot. I just finished making cornbread mix and chili mix in jars for our pastors, and hot chocolate snowmen (3 baby food jars stacked on top of each other – one with hot chocolate powder, one with mini marshmallows, and one with M&Ms) for the kids. Super excited to see the reaction to those!

  • 52 cc // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

    worst: tried to make shortbread for my family but it turned out all wrong (tasted like butter and flour…but it had plenty of sugar!)

  • 53 simone // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    We’ve made a lot of gifts over the years–clocks out of tea tins, freezer stenciled tshirts, fridge magnets, bowls made out of records (remember those?) I’ve kind of decided that people want me to buy instead of make but most years I can’t help myself!

  • 54 tammy d. // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Yes, I have..bath fizzies and soap.

  • 55 sara // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I’ve done DIY gifts on occasion – they work better, it seems, for kids, who really get a kick out of personalization and don’t have the same kind of attachment to a store label. I’ve made capes and dresses and pillows and etc; put their names on it and you’re gold.

  • 56 Cara // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I’ve knit a few things, which went over well, and anything edible seems to be a hit. One year I attempted to make DIY chia pets as a stocking stuffer, and from what I hear, they didn’t work AT ALL. What a shame. Obviously I need some help!

  • 57 Heidi C. // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

    One year I made everyone in my family gifts for Christmas. Everyone loved their matching hat & scarf sets except my brother’s new girlfriend. She wasn’t around next year. ;)

  • 58 Heather // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    last year I made ice cream toppings – hot fudge, dulce de leche, and chocolate shell. Those were really well received by all!

  • 59 Alysia // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    My scarves have also gotten a luke-warm reception, but my hand knit vest went over swimmingly.

  • 60 cindi // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

    most of my gifts to family are DIY, and most have been well received! Embellished scarves, personalized glasses and more!

  • 61 KC // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Fudge has been the hands-down winner at most-excited-recipients (when giving to I’m-not-sure-what-you’d-like people). Caramel popcorn is a pretty good runner-up in that category as well, though (slightly less immediate enthusiasm, but more addicted snacking and hm-can-I-have-some-more-ness). It is also great for mailing, inexpensive, and if you use a turkey roasting pan, fairly easy to make in giant batches.

  • 62 Julie // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

    My family is “eh” about most of the things I make for them – but the handmade cards are used enthusiastically, and I also made a cool springtime wreath (which I gave to my grandmother-in-law at Christmas, so she would have something to look forward to using just a few months in the future). That was a good.

  • 63 Kath U // Dec 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I made homemade Body Souffle hand cream for Christmas gifts last year.

  • 64 k // Dec 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Rosebud baby bonnet, hit. Infinity scarves, hit.
    Reverse appliqued kids’ clothes, miss. (They were cute, dammit!)

  • 65 Toni // Dec 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    When I was a kid my mom, sister and I would spend hours rolling handmade candles from sheets of bees wax. She would package them in slim boxes filled with tissue paper. I am not sure how my family liked them, but making them was a ton of fun.

  • 66 Gini // Dec 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I love giving handmade items! My brother cherishes the scarf I made him, and that makes me tear up with love. Last year it was all about food– probably will be this year, too. I started a sweet little knit vest for my niece, but that probably won’t be done til Valentine’s Day. Oops!

  • 67 Lisa F // Dec 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve given glass jar sets in the past with the tops covered in Japanese washi paper. I get a lot of use out of mine holding rubber bands, paper clips, etc, so I find them useful at least. This year my husband is trying his hand at limoncello. We approve of the taste tests so we hope others enjoy the final product!

  • 68 amber // Dec 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I love getting homemade gifts. My desserts always get a great response from friends and family.

  • 69 shawna // Dec 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    everyone loves a scarf…most of the time :)

  • 70 Billie-Ann // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Flannel pj pants! Always a hit and gratefully received in chilly Beijing (brother). Also have done homemade oven mitts – I still smile when I see my friends use them!

  • 71 Maggie // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I am mostly giving things handmade by other people this year– though homemade cinnamon break has always been an old standard, and there was a memorable year in middle school where I made beaded bracelets for all of my friends!

  • 72 Natie // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I just sent my brother a little care package full of all sorts of treats we used to snack on as kids and a DIYified drug store birthday card… he really loved it. =) One year I crocheted my dog a sweater… he wasn’t as appreciative… it was a little itchy and it was my first time crocheting anything, so, well, you can imagine the shape wasn’t the best. =)

  • 73 EllenQ // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I knit my brother a scarf with his name spelled out in binary. It took two years to finish (mostly because it was boring) – but he loves it!

  • 74 Jessica // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m making porcelain snowflake ornaments this year – I hope everyone likes them!

    In the past, I’ve made homemade truffles which went over very well.

  • 75 Rachael // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I make my grandpa a batch of peanut brittle every year for Christmas and he loves it. I made my husband pillowcases when we were living on opposite sides of an ocean before we were married and he still insists on using them (even though I want all the bed sheets to match), so I’d say it was a success.

  • 76 Karen // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Food is my most successful DIY gift. I once slaved away secretly for *weeks* on a knit necktie for my husband and I think he’s worn it once …. despite loving another knit tie he has! Oh well. At least I got in a lot of knitting practice.

  • 77 Veronica // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I have made baked goods and handknits for gifts. Appreciation levels have depended upon the recipient.

  • 78 Kat // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I knit my sister some fingerless gloves, those were a win. I crocheted her a hat and it went to the thrift store. So I told her it was her turn to make me a gift. (Not dinner, something crafted.) I’m still waiting for that though. She’ll get another handcrafted gift from me when I get one from her. :P

  • 79 Kelly // Dec 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    About 15 years ago I made fleece stocking/jester style hats. I used up all my scraps and added ribbon and bells. I made 3 for my kids and 11 more for nieces and nephews. When my younger daughter opened her stocking style hat she imeadiately stuffed wrapping paper into it before she put it on. I have a picture of everybody in hats that are standing up. It is still referred to as the “Conehead Christmas” I just received a card from my niece and her 5 year old son is wearing the hat I made her. All on his own, he thought to stuff the hat with newspaper! I am still enjoying the gift that was supposed to be for them:)

  • 80 Linnea // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I come from a super crafty family, so we do all handmade gifts. This year I embroidered hankerchiefs, made red wine vinegar and spice mixes from my herb patch. I would love to have fresh ideas for next year!

  • 81 Amanda W // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I’ve given several family members hand knit socks.

  • 82 KiWi // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    one year, I slaved hours and hours to knit my brother a Doctor Who scarf (using the official BBC pattern) and that was greatly appreciated. This year, I painted a close-up of a plumeria for my SIL….we’ll see how that’s received.

  • 83 Matilda // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I bake cookies for the neighbors and I used to make mix CDs for friends, but I’m so short of time these days since I have 3 kids under 6!

  • 84 Polly // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    One year I made my special fudge for some friends I was visiting. I was especially proud of the extraordinary packaging and how crafty it was. The present was “oohed and aahed” over, opened, sampled and enjoyed. The next night I went to a party at another friend’s house and imagine my surprise when I saw my exact package of fudge, rewrapped in my crafty package, given as a gift to the hostess! I was so embarrassed (not sure why, but I was) and my original recipient was horrified to see me at the same party. You can imagine the fumbling over the explanation. But can you believe they gave a partially-eaten gift away? Regifting at its worst!

  • 85 holly // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I made nail polish pendants this year for my friends and neices. Hope they are well received!

  • 86 Marci // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I normally give handmade gifts to my sister and neice (usually a knitted or crocheted scarf or jewelry). They go over very well.

  • 87 Jess // Dec 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I knit (A. Lot.) so the most loved gift tends to be hand knitted socks. However, bourbon balls are a close second.

  • 88 Chelsey V. // Dec 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    those look like awesome DIY gifts! I would like to give a DIY gift but haven’t thus far

  • 89 Jen // Dec 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I’ve given the glow globes (described on your site awhile ago) for two years in a row. They are a great hit for neighbors and friends.

    Another year it was knitted caps in different colors for everyone in the family….

  • 90 Carol // Dec 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    in my circle of knitterly friends, we often refer to those who are “knit worthy”. Hand made gifts go only to the worthy

  • 91 Shila // Dec 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    My most well received holiday gifts are definitely consumables like jam! I’d love to do homemade tea blends at some point.

  • 92 just barrie // Dec 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    i always make gifts for the holidays. usually it’s something knitted (a bearded hat, a superhero mask, a scarf, and mittens this year), something canned or baked (pickled zucchinis, cake in a jar, brownies), something transformed (any old frame can become new again when i just put some paint on it), and/or something totally hippie (my own deodorant, cough syrup, lip balm, soap, face mask, etc). no one has ever complained–at least not to my face. i always seem to get oohs and ahhs and i’m definitely no pro knitter, pro cook, pro artist, or pro hippie. i love that i can make stuff, not spend a dollar in a mall or on amazon, and still make friends and family happy. hope to win this great book! happy holidays, notmartha.

  • 93 Sharon Kugler // Dec 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve handmade folded-paper wreaths as gifts; that seemed to go over well. Food gifts have not been as welcomed, usually because they’re candy and everyone is trying to lose weight…;(

  • 94 Brianne // Dec 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I gave my aunt a purse, and then about 2 months later she bought a new one. Her old one had worn out and she completely forgot that I made the one I did! Best gift was probably some glasses I etched for my dad with an image of him flyfishing. He shows them off to all their guests!

  • 95 Shannon H Like Happy // Dec 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Probably half of the gifts I give are handmade. I don’t knit but I sew a good deal and do other crafty things. I did aprons one year, hats last year, this year is all over the place.

  • 96 Claire in AZ // Dec 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    My homemade toffee in Chinese take-out boxes is always a hit. I’ve conveniently forgotten the flops!

  • 97 Kristin A. // Dec 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    One year I made homemade hot cocoa mix. That was an example of a DIY project that cost me more than if I’d just bought mix and packaged it prettily. And people did not really seem to care that the hot cocoa was homemade. lesson learned.

  • 98 Stephanie S // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I DIY constantly! Hot chocolate spoons, hot chocolate mix, cookie mix in a jar, homemade vanilla extract, and jams/jellies are all in my repertoire.

  • 99 diane // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    As an obsessed knitter, a lot of my friends receive knitted love for birthdays and holidays and just because. This year I sent my recently divorced sister a pair of hand knit socks and a darling little shawl – Afternoon Tea pattern on Knitty, and heard zilch. I guess hand knitted love is not for all,

  • 100 Liz J in Central Illinois // Dec 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I have made some knit scarves and they have seemed to get a pretty good reception. I am sure there are some DIY things I have given that probably didn’t go over well, but apparently everyone has been too kind to tell me! :-)

  • 101 Kirstin // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    The first craft I did with my 1 1/2 year old son was definitely the best received. After my sister got engaged I used craft tape to outline her and her fiance’s initials, let my son finger paint all over the board, and then took off the tape. I took pictures of him during the process and used those to create a photo card to send with the engagement present.

  • 102 Alison // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I give DIY gifts a lot, and they often don’t get the response they deserve. Oh well!

  • 103 starla // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Every year I like to make gifts for all the people that I work with. This year I made star ornaments that were decorated to fit everyone’s personality. They all loved them.

  • 104 Laura B // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I knitted my nephew a stegosaurus last year. He still sleeps with it every night so I’m guessing its a hit.

  • 105 Mol // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Food gifts are definitely the most popular! My father demands spiced nuts every year, and cousins drop hints about getting the raspberry conserve I make for my mom. Like many people here, I said “never again!” to time-consuming knitted gifts after a large, fine-gauge baby blanket got a disinterested response from a mom-to-be (and she was a knitter!).

  • 106 Rachel // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    My scarves have been well-received. My homemade lip balm…not so much :)

  • 107 Rachel W // Dec 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Best received? No contest. A totally non-ironic sock monkey. His name is Fred. He and Professor Bear became a couple. My daughter was a very early marriage equality activist.

  • 108 Daniela // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Hot chocolate on a stick was warmly received, but the marble magnets were graced only with “oh, how functional”!

  • 109 isabel // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I’ve made things for my in-laws in years past, but honestly, I don’t think they’re into it. Now I only make handmade for people I know will love it! This year I’m only giving a few gifts to people other than in-laws, but all are at least partially handmade — artwork, photography, food.

  • 110 Nancy // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Lots of things— beaded necklaces, earrings, eyeglass chains, lots of cookies, feather fascinator, crocheted baby hats. I love being crafty and making things, so it is just a matter of finding a craft or project that looks interesting.

  • 111 Allison // Dec 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Most successful: Handmade aprons
    Meh: Neck pillow filled with rice. My sister still uses hers to this day, but most of the recipients didn’t seem too excited.

  • 112 mirabelle // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    basically a scarf for everyone – over the years, so in varying degrees of perfection. received nicely but hardly ever seen worn.

  • 113 Rebecca // Dec 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I’ve made many things for people over the years. I think the most appreciated was a shirt for my dad. I’ve made many bound books, scarves, sandblasted dinner plates/glasses, and jewelry. Most are well received.

  • 114 Carrie @ Rhubarb Sky // Dec 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve done lots of hanade gifts. Early in my marriage, I made my FIL a simple machine seen fleece hat. He still wears it every day of the winter. :)

  • 115 Chelsea // Dec 14, 2012 at 3:17 am

    My parents are always intrigued by my creations… but never when they’re gifted! Last year’s offering of gallons of hard cider were quietly left on the porch to ferment into vinegar. Ah well!

  • 116 Jenny // Dec 14, 2012 at 3:20 am

    I always do handmade gifts. This year I made my mom and embroidery piece that says “The best moms get promoted to grandma” since I’m expecting my first baby next month. I think she liked it a lot.

  • 117 courtney // Dec 14, 2012 at 3:53 am

    My christmas gifts are almost always entirely handmade and have been for several years. I enjoy the holidays so much more when I don’t have to shop shop shop. The best present was a book my husband and I made for my father. A journal that he uses to keep information about the cemetaries he visits and the note worthy people that are buried there. It was quite an accomplishment to design, print and bind the book entirely by hand.

  • 118 Mel // Dec 14, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Every year I make a point to send out cookies and fudge to my family members and friends that aren’t local. They love getting one of my crazy concoctions in the mail!

  • 119 emily // Dec 14, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I love DIY gifts! I’ve knit hats for my parents, sisters, cousins and friends.

  • 120 Eugenia // Dec 14, 2012 at 7:08 am

    A photo book of black & white pictures, (which I developed and printed myself) of my nephew’s first year.

  • 121 Kim // Dec 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I’m not very crafty so I’ve never sent a family member a gift like that.

  • 122 Cindy M // Dec 14, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I have done pieces of art for family members- usually drawings of something they enjoy. I think they like them- they’re hanging in their places, but hopefully not out of obligation!

  • 123 mrs.charlemagne // Dec 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I knit an ornament every year for our tree – so far we have {all miniature…} a sweater, scarf, hat, snowpants, mittens, and long underwear.

  • 124 Cynthia // Dec 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Cookies are always a big hit. Turns out pie in jars didn’t ship quite as well as I’d hoped….I should have called it ice cream topping, instead!

  • 125 Grammie Jennifer // Dec 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I made a quilt for my daughter with seashore fabrics and hand embroidered a square for each of my daughter’s family with names, special little appliqued items that were related to living by the ocean, and made it big enough that it can be taken to the beach. I spray painted some picture frames in bright colors (too bright I think) and put cork board inside them. Every person I gave one to asked me what it was for…

  • 126 Alison // Dec 14, 2012 at 9:55 am

    My Mom has been the recipient of a couple of knitted and crocheted items that were not that awesome. But they were functional! And as Mom, she wore them that winter anyway.

  • 127 Kimberly // Dec 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I’ve knit many many gifts for loved ones but I’ve never given a DIY gift to anyone. But I loved receiving a grow-your-own mushroom kit. That was fun. :)

  • 128 Christy S // Dec 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Yes. Parents often have everything so I give them food gifts like lasagna.

  • 129 Jenagain // Dec 14, 2012 at 11:10 am

    My baklava is always a big hit. And one year I did a tradeout with a chocolatier. I made her some graphics and she sent handmade chocolates to everyone on my gift list!

  • 130 Jenagain // Dec 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

    OMG – I just remembered… in 5th grade I filled a jar with blue bubble bath and a rainbow assortment of bath oil beads. It was so pretty! I labelled it “World Peace”, wrapped it up and gave it to my best friend for Christmas. But when she opened it, the beads had dissolved into the bubble liquid, the colors had all melded, and it looked like a jar of brown, flaccid mini-footballs in tobacco juice. With a sweet label reading “World Peace” on it! We still laugh about that one!

  • 131 valerie // Dec 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

    One year I hand knit scarves for all my sisters!

  • 132 mary // Dec 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Hand-knitted sweater for my god-daughter. It had to be sneaked out of her crib at night in order to wash it. The digital book looks wonderful.

  • 133 Emily // Dec 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    My cookies are always well received… my homemade Rumtopf was, well, gross.

  • 134 Beth Rang // Dec 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My big hit is my annual Christmas mix CD. Sometimes I pull out my rubberstamps and get all creative with the CD cover, and it’s always a bizarre mix of the beautiful and the humorous. The worst was when I created homemade stationery using clip art.

  • 135 Moineau // Dec 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I remember a smocked dress I spent hours sewing, that ended up in the back of my niece’s closet. But DH adores the waldorf doll I made. Lesson learnt: now I make fun things and toys, edible gifts are quite a success too.

  • 136 Anna // Dec 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I always try to make something handmade even if it’s small. Last year I made heart-shaped tea bags which were SUPER labor intensive but a big hit. Admittedly, some recipients still haven’t used them because they’re just “too pretty.” Wuh-wuh.

  • 137 cakest // Dec 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Homemade food gifts always go over much better for me than anything else. Super labor-intensive gifts like knit/crocheted goods never have the impact I want them to.

  • 138 Beth // Dec 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Do a lot of homemade gift giving! My personal favorite that was also well-received was a set of wooden dolls that sat in little wooden cups. I painted each different colors and a different number of dot around the wooden cup edge for my 2 YO granddaughter to learn colors and numbers!
    You can see them here
    http://artcricket2.blogspot.com/2012/05/its-been-while-and-these-are-just-so.html

  • 139 chie // Dec 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I’ve done chalkboard mugs, freezer paper stencil polar fleece scarves emblazoned with “indie” designs, scented soy candles, sugar scrubs (for the women) and beer soap (for the dudes). All of the gifts have gone over well and my partner and I always scour the internet well in advance of the holidays to try to come up with new and interesting gift ideas.

  • 140 Jennifer // Dec 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    If I give cards I always make them myself! Gifts like cookies and cakes are well received. Back in high school when I first discovered DIY, I gave my cousin a DIY felt Ipod case that would probably just make me cringe now..

  • 141 Shelley bb // Dec 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    When I first learned to knit, I made my sister a raglan sleeve turtleneck. I was baffled at why the armhole looked remarkably long, but proudly gave it to her anyway. Later, I learned that you have to match the gauge of the yarn to the pattern. Oops….

  • 142 Erin // Dec 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I made blackberry bars last year that were a HUGE hit with my family. My family needs nothing (including sweets), so bars were an easy call.

  • 143 Caroline B // Dec 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I love sending homemade gifts when I have time. Everything from aprons to brownie mix, quilts and toys.

  • 144 molly // Dec 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    yes, I have given many handmade gifts. Knitted baby items, scarves and a felted purse have been well received..as well and hand painted pottery. I love being on the receiving end of handmade gifts. Thank you!!!!

  • 145 Cheri // Dec 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I buy wool sweaters at the thrift shops me have my son help me unravel them. We wash and dry them to get all the kinks out and then i knit them up into felted slippers. Everyone in the family hopes they will be lucky enough to get a pair at Christmas.

    An added benefit is the enjoyment the unraveling brings my son. He is 25, with multiple disabilities and loves all the tactile sensations of that job. He holds the knit fabric up to the ear that has some hearing left and giggles at the quiet pop sound the yarn makes as each stitch is undone. He likes the soft cushy feel of the mounds of unravelled yarn and enjoys watching my movements as I wind the loose yarn into skeins with the yarn winder. Seeing him so full of joy when doing simple tasks like these really makes me happy too.

  • 146 scrapper al // Dec 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I used to give handmade gifts to special relatives. Since they put them out on display, they either loved me or loved the gifts or maybe both?

  • 147 Steph N // Dec 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I make most of my presents (whether it’s a cookie sampler or a knitted lace shawl). The most successfully have probably been the socks I knit for my brother, since he likes them so much.

  • 148 Liz // Dec 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    cookies, crocheted snowflakes, felt bags, and cards just to name a few! I love DIY gifts!

  • 149 jessicac // Dec 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I made handknit sweaters for my sisters a few years back… one gushed about hers, the other said, “that must have taken you a long time.”
    So no more major handknits.. but everyone loves my homemade caramels!

  • 150 Sara // Dec 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I make numerous homemade gifts for the holidays and have had many successes. I don’t claim to be brilliant – i just read the right blogs. One of my successes was magnets that I learned to make from your blog here. Another was homemade vanilla. This year, I’m making hot cocoa packets. I love DIY projects!

  • 151 Amy Tappen // Dec 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Now that we are all grown up we do a lot less gifts and we do what we call Handmade Holiday, where we bake, craft or whatever for each other so long as we make it ourselves.

  • 152 Sherri S. // Dec 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Oh yeah, I’m partly over it–most of my family and friends are just not that appreciative of handmade gifts. Food gifts seem to go over best, so now I just make big batches of chocolate-dipped ginger pieces, put them in wax paper bags, and attache a cute tag.

  • 153 Morgan // Dec 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I’ve had non-enthusiastic responses to hand-crocheted scarves, so I feel your pain! But I’ve had very good responses to photo calendars, which are semi-DIY!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • 154 monster // Dec 16, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I really like to make things for my friends and family, and it seems to go over well. Here is a list of some Christmas gifts from the last few years. Maybe it will give yall some more ideas too.
    - etched drinking glasses – for my sister last year, such a hit that I’m making them for my cousins this year.
    - shadowbox of a glow-in-the-dark clay moon and light-up stars – for my boyfriend, now fiance.
    - knit hat and booties – for my future niece, and also my friend’s new baby.
    - poured resin trivet with fall leaves embedded inside – for my mom.
    - ornaments made of wine corks with little knit hats and shirts – for everyone.
    - blank notebooks with hand-drawn covers – for my grandpa.
    - colored pencil drawing of my friend’s cat – for my friend
    - keyrack with the hooks made of cowboys and indians plastic figures – for my friend after he admired the one I made for myself.
    - moustache necklace made of shrinky-dink material – for a friend.
    Working on a few things to add this year too. Happy Crafting!

  • 155 jarsica // Dec 16, 2012 at 9:00 am

    a lot of scarves i’ve made have never seen the light of day, but my sister in law loved the painting of her dog i did for her, even though it looked like a 12 year old did it in art class…so it IS the thought that counts!

  • 156 MB Davidson // Dec 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I’ve given photographs, put together gift baskets, but homemade ornaments have been the most popular.

  • 157 Ellen // Dec 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    As a middle school student in suburban Houston in the 1980′s, I made cheese tortellini from scratch (spinach pasta! rolled by hand!), and then dried it, put it in jars, and had everything prepped for handmade holiday gifts. Of course, in humid south Texas, nothing had dried adequately, and so when the recipients opened their jars, they had some impressive mold colonies. Major fail.

  • 158 Pearl // Dec 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I come from a crafty family, so most of my gifts have been hand made and well received, but I once spent weeks and weeks on a hand stitched, tiny flower purse from an Omiyage book for my sister, and when she opened it she said, “This is it? This took you that long?” Ouch.

  • 159 barbara n // Dec 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I made crochet scarves for each of my sisters and they loved them….and they continue to wear them every year!

  • 160 Nik // Dec 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    One year I made framed mirrors for my mother and aunts that said, “‘Mirror Mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all” My mom laughed, one aunt found it amusing and one aunt wouldn’t talk to me for over a year. So I would say mixed response on that one.

  • 161 Kari // Dec 17, 2012 at 1:40 am

    As a child I used to give gift coupons to my parents which could be redeemed for free labor around the house, or specific tasks, like emptying the dishwasher, a back rub, weeding the garden or washing the car. Fortunately, my parents were judicious in cashing these in as I often made up a whole sheet of coupons in my zest to impress. I’d still be working them off 30+ years later if they hadn’t “misplaced” any over the years!

  • 162 kim n. // Dec 17, 2012 at 1:52 am

    as my sisters and I were growing up, out mother made all types of sweets for christmas. but the best were the hand made cut out sugar cookies, that we got to decorate with colored icings, she passed the tredition on to our children. now they make the goodies and give as gifts,and tell how it was started.

  • 163 Bubbles // Dec 17, 2012 at 4:23 am

    The jewlery I make has been better received than the lumpy scarves.

  • 164 Heather // Dec 17, 2012 at 5:06 am

    My family was in awe of socks I crocheted for my grandmother. Normally we just hold gifts up for everyone to ooh and ahh over- these grandma passed around the room.

  • 165 Seanna Lea // Dec 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I do some hand knits and usually boxes of cookies. This year is no cookies, but more hand knits. They are often appreciated, but the cookies are always gobbled up.

    This year I’m also sewing a narwhal (today and tomorrow).

  • 166 Jessica // Dec 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I take on the task of making handcrafted items every couple of years. The one that people liked more were drawstring bags I sewed by hand; i did not know how to use a sewing machine then. I added decorative lace to make them a little more fancy. I then filled them with homemade cookies and treats. The bags could be washed and reused as travel bags to hold makeup or jewelry.

  • 167 Lauren // Dec 17, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I’m famous (or maybe notorious) for DIY gifts. One year everyone got a cross-stiched item from me, the next year was an afghan for each person, and the next a crocheted name doily. I’m not sure how much my gifts are (were) appreciated, but they warm my heart and hope they do those I gift them to.

  • 168 LindaSonia // Dec 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I do handcrafted ornaments every year for the women of the family gatherings (they seem to appreciate them more than the guys…LOL)

  • 169 Amy // Dec 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Homemade candles were politely, but not enthusiastically received. Handmade paper made in the blender was pretty awful too. But my home made cookies are *always* a winner!

  • 170 kelli // Dec 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Yay to the wire and magnet photo holders. Boo to the melty peppermint bark.

  • 171 Heather // Dec 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve done several sets of fingerless mitts that were well received. I’m really excited about the scarf for my niece this year — fluffy, bright pink and bits of silver sparkles in the yarn. She’s gonna love it.

  • 172 Aimee // Dec 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    We do an array of confections every year–truffles, marshmallows, cocoa mixes, infused sugars, salt rubs, infused salt, graham crackers, and so on. We have friends and family asking to be on our gift list starting in February, so they go over fairly well. I design labels/packaging each year–it’s kind of a big project.

    I actually spent the past year and a half writing a cookbook of all my recipes with a bunch of printable labels, so we are scaling way way back on the gifts this year as I am a little burnt out. :)

  • 173 Megan B // Dec 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I love making handmade gifts — cookies and caramels are a hit with the coworkers! But my favorite handmade gifts I did last year for my niece and nephew: decoupaged wooden boxes with their names on them and their favorite things (a cat for my niece, a robot for the boy). When I visited the last time, they were nowhere to be seen. Wah wah.

  • 174 Jillishness // Dec 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I used to give the kids in my family surprise balls, so that they had to unwrap the entire roll of streamer to get all the little gifts I put inside. It was a project just to get their presents.

  • 175 Shannon // Dec 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I am hurriedly making some hand printed napkins & matching tea mugs for a few friends this year!

  • 176 Joanne // Dec 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    We are a family of hand made gifts.
    Just a few of the items I have made-
    Hand knit socks ( big hit and requests are common)
    Hand knit fingerless gloves ( another big hit with requests)
    Quilted table runners
    Quilted hot pads
    Quilted lap quilts
    Tote bags & funky cloth recycled bags
    Baked goods- my shortbread brings tears to the eyes of my Scottish friend
    Found items re-purposed
    Rice & corn heat packs
    Summer jams
    felted cashmere sweaters into pillows…

  • 177 Dawn // Dec 18, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Due to being laid off, I am doing a Craft-acular Christmas this year. I’ve sewn bed warmers that I’ve designed into the shape of a Totoro and a dachshund. I’ve made rumtopf, rum balls, fudge & caramel popcorn. I made a bunch of jars of sugar scrub and vanilla extract. Hopefully they’ll be well received.

  • 178 Athena's Grove Trims // Dec 18, 2012 at 5:30 am

    I super love the nutcracker cover art!

    Holiday DIY…I made an apron for my whole family after taking sewing in 7th grade. Everybody said they loved it….my mom still asks for another one to this day!

  • 179 Ariane C // Dec 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

    For the past couple of years, I’ve been making baby quilts for both relatives and friends who are expecting. Everyone has appreciated the gesture and I’ve seen a good number of them in action, either in photos or in person!

  • 180 Jen R // Dec 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I often make handmade gifts….the best was a messenger bag for my sister in law.