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Have a Handmade Holiday

We decided not to buy anyone gifts this year — everyone will receive handmade items or canned/dried goods from our garden.  This meant that I would be working overtime on dishcloths, homemade soap, and little rounds of fabric (with lace edging) to top canned goods like shower caps.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely.

First up: Basketweave Dishcloth

This sweet and easy to knit design was an adaptation of a scarf pattern that I came across and declared perfect for a dishcloth.  You know how I love all things woven so this pattern really spoke to my inner pioneer.  It also doesn’t contain any tricky knitting moves — all straight knitting and purling.

Second: Canning Jar Fabric Lid Covers

A classic way to make a gift of garden goodies a little more glamorous, these scrap fabric jar covers say: “gift” to me.  I love the snazzy little bit o’ lace (not real lace… the cheapo stuff) on the edge and the bright festive colors.

Third: Barley Soup Mix

Just dried beans, veggies, and spices — this simple but useful gift may be decorated with the canning jar fabric lid covers or with a bow.  I like to add an ornament and I dress up my labels (printed from the computer with cooking directions) with festive clip art.

Last but not least: Drawstring Soap Sack

Having made a small ton of soap this year, I have quite a few bars to give out to our friends and family.  Wrapping soap seems like a very silly idea so a plush drawstring bag seems appropriate.  Don’t you think?  These are made with two fleecy washcloths sewn together with some string.  So much better than wrapping paper… useful, too!

A Handmade Holiday is my favorite part of simple living.  The act of trading costly gifts during the holidays may be open for debate but the act of giving gifts that are from the heart, full of love, and made by hand — there’s nothing trite or commercial in that.  No one ever went into debt with a Handmade Holiday.

  • Maureen - This year we’ve decided to give our circle of friends – salad greens out of the garden, homemade dressing, and fresh baked bread ….in a canvas grocery bag 🙂

    ps and I’m going to use your idea for fabric jar covers for the dressing…thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Simple Livin' gal - I love your gift idea!!! WONDERFUL!!! Useful, thoughtful, and VERY creative!


  • kerry - this reminds me of the scrubbies and dishcloths that my grandmother would make every year to give to family at christmas. i remember being so pleased to receive a set when i got married. unfortunately that was the last time my grandmother made any as she had a stroke that summer and has been unable to sew ever since. you’ve made me realize i should take up her tradition. thank you. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Fishing Guy - Lacy: That is a nice thing to do and you should have a lot of happy family and friends from this kind act.ReplyCancel

  • Simple Livin' gal - Kerry — Perhaps there is a knitting circle in your area that you could join. Knitting circle attendees are often delighted to teach others how to knit and crochet. It really isn’t difficult and it is so soothing to sit and do.

    Fishing Guy — Gosh, I hope that they are happy with their gifts! We did a Handmade Holiday last year, too. Everyone seemed very pleased with their gifts. I baked bread, cookies, and whatnot, too. I may do that again this year.

    Blessings and thanks for your comments!

  • Meadowlark - The dishcloths are just what I’m looking for, thanks.

    And I have a terrible time gifting anything in a canning jar because they’re not nearly as easy to find out here, and they can be expensive when you have to buy them from BiMart/Fred Meyer/etc.

    However, I have been saving all my empty other kinds of jars.. I think those covers could be adapted, so that’ll help. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

  • CrossView - Gifts that we would love to be on the receiving end of! =D

    We’ve done homemade in the past and have been talking of doing it again. More work, more heart. I just got lazy…
    But this year, money has gotten tighter so we’ve been revisiting the idea. ;o)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - AMEN Lacey- great idea! I love them all!ReplyCancel

  • Kath - I have given a “goodie a month for a year” before!! My MIL loved it!!! Thinking of doing it again for her. I would make it for her when she had company coming over. She dislikes baking but loves baked goods.

    I also make up dip mixes. They seem to go over well for gifts and to sell at the church bazaar.

    Great ideas you have there!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - Good ideas! I think handmade is great.ReplyCancel

  • CC - This is so awesome that I’m hoping it’s going to be a giveaway. Please? Please?ReplyCancel

  • YDavis - Great ideas! We only give gifts to just a hand full of very close friends and they are all homemade. We usually give them our homemade pasta sauce, raspberry jams or whatever jams I made that year, and cookies or quick breads.ReplyCancel

  • Michele - It’s a painting for everyone this year at our house.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! Your canning toppers are awesome and I love the dangle charm on the Ribbon!!


  • Judy - Good for you, Lacy! It tickles me to see young people who recognize what an abomination the holidays have become and seek to return it a special time of love plain and simple and not a frenzy greed and pride.


  • Momisodes - I just LOVE that basketweave dishcloth.

    A ex co-worker made something similar for me as a housewarming gift years ago. I still have it, and use it all.the.time.

    I’ll have to give it a try 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Paulette - I think you have a great idea. I’m working toward that very thing with my large family. The baby step this year is that we draw names (only one gift) and can’t spend more than $10. I’m hoping that will bring out the creativity in everyone (well it for some, it won’t work for all).

    Next year, I’m going to suggest your idea. Even the most non-creative person can bake a cookie, right?!ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - Great ideas! You are a crafty person! I admire your patience ;-P…



  • ang - Call me crazy! But I was wondering if the soap sack couldn’t actually be a washcloth. If the fabric is light enough then the soap would come through… I don’t know. I’m bad about brainstorming out loud.

    Mom and I use pinking shears around the fabric on our canning jars. We always put up way to many tomatoes to … 😉ReplyCancel

  • Jeni Hill Ertmer - Two or three years ago -not quite sure which now -I did a small tablecloth and table runner -Christmas designs -and gave to my older daughter. (Both were embroidered by hand -by ME!) I also gave my son some hand embroidered pillow cases and he very much appreciated them as he had just started driving tractor-trailer (team) so was sleeping in the truck while his co-driver was working. He said they were perfect as he had no pillow cases to use for in his truck. My younger daughter was the recipient too of a Christmas table runner and some pillow cases as well. All three of the kids really liked their gifts -especially the older daughter. And, since I had finally found something she likes -no sizes involved there -and the other kids were pleased too, I decided this year to do more of the same. That’s pretty much what all these embroidery projects I’ve been working on will be then -gifts under the tree! A little piece of me, ya know. And maybe someday they will look at those items and remember me through them.
    BTW -I loved the knitted dishcloth! I made a baby afghan for my oldest friend when she had her third (and last) child -oh, about 28 years ago in the same pattern as you used for the dish cloth. ! Used a pink/blue/white verigated yard and it turned out beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - Hi Lacy,
    So glad to see that people like you are starting a trend to making gifts from the heart. Now a days that is rare or should I say it is rare to publicly say this is a great thing. Keep up the great work. Also glad things got fixed up here. lol…..Love AlwaysReplyCancel

  • kerry - i know how to crochet, though i haven’t done it for some time now, but i can’t quite get the hang of using knitting needles. my husband can knit, but he’s not very good at teaching me. 🙂 my mother in law almost did, but i didn’t practice enough before she had to go back home.

    maybe if i could figure out how to translate the pattern for crochet, i’d give it a try. goodness knows i could use some form of relaxation! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • marky - great gift ideas.. straight from the heart!
    I love those dishcloths. I ususally look at craft fairs for them and then buy at least 5 to get me through the year! Yes..I buy them b/c I don’t know how to make them!ReplyCancel

  • Tipper - Handmade is always nice!!ReplyCancel

  • Ann - I love handmade gifts and think they’re absolutely lovely! Yours are no exception! They’re beautiful!!!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Sue - As always – wonderful and practical ideas from our gal Lacy. I normally do a LOT of baking and with ingredients so expensive this year I will have to cut back on the general excesses. Not a bad thing – just a reality for now. I am planning on some of those “jar” recipe things for gifts to neighbors (several are diabetic and do not need or want dozens of cookies or a pie!).
    Thanks for the cool Ideas – we don’t do many gifts but like to have some little sumpin’ to give our much loved friends.ReplyCancel

  • Amish Friendship Bread : Razor Family Farms - […] some great gift ideas and tutorials?  Check out our Handmade Holiday.  Lonely without goats or curious about how our adoption is going?  It’s all at your […]ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Very nice array of gifts. I have my 13 dishcloths up that I received from another blogger after winning a prize last year. I have a couple basket weave ones she made. I like to tie some raffia or jute around the neck of the jar for everyday giving when it doesn’t need to be fancy.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Such great ideas. 🙂

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to get busy on making dishcloths.ReplyCancel

  • Barb - Hello Lacy…
    I used to make cross-stitch/stuffed/ribbon “lid” covers. They turned out really cool, but they are very time consuming, so don’t do that anymore. These are very pretty! For the few neighbors that help around here, the past 2 Christmases I made french bread, bread stix, mocha mix, and sweetbreads in baskets. Oddly, a few of these farm women here, are ‘nervous’ about home canned stuff!!
    I haven’t figured that one out!! Their Moms and grandmothers all canned, yet they don’t!
    I need to start making your soaps! They can’t be scared of that!
    Love you Sweet Lacy and hope you have a wonderful week! IF I don’t get back here..(have lots to do this week)…Please have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember you and Josh are in my thoughts daily!
    Momma BarbReplyCancel

  • Applie - A homemade gift Christmas is a great idea. I am making some gifts, but mostly I am buying. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Paula - Those are wonderful gifts! Love your dishcloth pattern. I’ve been doing handmade, especially for the women in our family for several years now. Last year I made a set of cloth napkins for them all with handwritten copies of some of my mom’s recipes. Everybody loved them and now my daughter has asked for a set.
    Happy Handmade Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - We did lots of homemade too. Your soap looks awesome, do you have any posts on it? I will keep peeping around your site for it.
    What do you use for a mold?ReplyCancel

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