These five gift ideas use simple, inexpensive supplies. Most take only an hour or two to make.
Fill a quart Mason jar with pretty buttons, seashells, or rocks. Decorate a lid with enamel paint, fabric, or lace for a quick gift. I have a gallon Mason jar filled with old wooden spools of thread from a dear one’s sewing box. The thread was too old for sewing, but makes a nice sewing room decoration.
One year I made Christmas gift jars filled with small items in the recipient’s favorite colors: a bag of red candy, red comb and brush set, and red nail polish, for example. A scrapbook hobbyist or card maker might enjoy a jar filled with stickers. A seamstress can always use needles, an extra tape measure, and other notions packed into a gift jar. Think of hobbies and interests; then shop for small items that will fit in your jars.
A small cardboard box with a lid, a jar of Mod Podge glue, a paintbrush, and some pretty pictures, paper, or fabric are all you need to make a special box for jewelry or other treasures. Use Mod Podge to paste photographs, fabric scraps, wrapping paper, or magazine pictures to the box and lid. After the outside surfaces are covered, coat the entire outside surface with a thin layer of Mod Podge and let dry. Add a second coat of Mod Podge, let dry, and your gift is finished.
When synthetic fleece goes on sale at your local fabric store, stock up. One yard of 60-inch wide fleece will make three to six scarves, depending upon how wide you make them. Using a ruler or T-square, mark rectangles the width of the fabric by the desired width of the scarf, e.g. 60 inches by 8 inches. Cut the rectangles out; then cut the selvedges (the finished edges of the fabric that may have tiny holes from the loom) from the ends of each scarf. Use masking tape to mark a line 6 inches from each scarf end. Make cuts in each end up to the taped line to create fringe. Remove tape and the scarf is finished.
Relatives will probably love to receive your children’s best art work in a nice frame. Save those sketches and paintings from art class, Sunday School, and summer camp. Shop for pre-cut mats and frames whenever they go on sale; then spend a few hours turning loose papers into lovely gifts.
Stock up on balls of cotton yarn such as Sugar ‘n Cream or Kitchen Cotton. Carry a ball and a short pair of size 8 to 10 knitting needles with you everywhere you go. A basic garter stitch square makes a durable and attractive dishcloth. Wrap a dishcloth or two around some wooden spoons, tie with ribbon, and always have a housewarming gift or stocking stuffer ready to go.
Enjoy these gift ideas all year long. With advance planning, you can buy supplies on sale. Using small bits of time, you could always have a shelf full of gifts ready for any occasion.