Gifts born at home

December 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Gifts “born at home” are my favorite gifts to receive and my favorite gifts to give. Usually I’m spending this week each year hurriedly finishing-up the gifts I’m making for family and friends. So I thought I’d share some homemade gift ideas from my repertoire, in case anyone out there is looking for a last-minute way to hand-craft some born-at-home love.

1. Magnets

These have been a total hit with everyone I have given them to. My aunt found the idea at Notmartha.org, made a bunch, and put them in cute little tins she found at Michaels. So I copied her. I have been making these for several years now, so I always stock up on gift card tins after Christmas when they’re really cheap in anticipation for making more down the road. I love seeing them all lined-up in their tin, ready to brighten someone’s day.

2. Rosemary Oatmeal Milk Bath Pouches

We have a giant rosemary plant in our front yard, so one year I decided to use dried rosemary for my gift-making. I found the idea for the oatmeal milk bath at this website. The recipe and instructions are there. I also typed-up a little info sheet with instructions on how to use the mix and the health benefits of the main ingredients. I put the powder mix into ziploc baggies and then made some little fabric pouches with some course burlap-ish fabric I got in the remnant bin super cheap. They looked nice all tied up with a little sprig of fresh rosemary.

3. Herb and Spice Scented Trivets

This idea came from a website with a bunch of homemade herbal gift ideas. The inner herb/spice pouches are removable so the trivet can be washed as necessary. I made the outer pouch/trivet with scraps of fabric I had from years of sewing projects (sort of quilted onto some scraps of fleece to give it some insulation) with some of the cheap burlap-ish fabric I mentioned above as the bottom side of the trivet. I’m wasn’t sure whether the trivets would actually release their scents when hot dishes were placed on them, but, if nothing else, they were cute and probably made some kitchen drawers smell nice.

4. Home Dried Apple Slices

We got a (free!) food dehydrator a few years ago from someone on Craigslist. I have fond childhood memories of eating home-dried fruit and fruit leather from my grandparents’ orchard. And I thought dried apple slices would be a nice, healthy treat for the neighbors in lieu of cookies or candy. I wish I had my own apple trees, but store-bought was still a tasty substitute, and they were a big hit with the friends who received them. We love to do tart apples like granny smith. Yum.

5. “Microwave Popcorn”

I taught the letter P for our preschool co-op a couple of years ago, and we made our own “microwave popcorn” for snack (I learned how to do it at Make and Takes… so cheap and easy!). All you need is a brown lunch sack and a quarter cup of popcorn kernels. For a couple of years now we have given homemade microwave popcorn packages as gifts, decorated with love by my budding artists. If nothing else, they were adorable.

6. Granola

This was another healthier neighbor treat idea. I’ve shared our family recipe here on the blog before. I’ve never met a grown-up who didn’t love this stuff, and usually they promptly ask for the recipe. It really is that good. We gave it away in some gently-used canisters from a second-hand store, mason jars, and other plastic containers. Everyone loved it.

7. Covered Composition Books

I learned how to make these from a friend five or six years ago. All you really need is a composition book, paper, and some sort of adhesive. We also added silk flowers and buttons to some of ours. We gave these journals to friends, teachers, and my girls each loved theirs for drawing and writing stories. Stock up on composition books when they’re cheap at back-to-school sales to make these already cheap gifts even less expensive.

Some other home-birthed gift ideas I like…
Aloe vera plants (seen at Organic Mama Cafe)
Monogram mugs (seen at Design Mom)
Fingerprint snowman ornaments and Vintage paper doll sets (seen at My Insanity)

What have been your favorite homemade gifts over the years?