Just about one year ago, Rose Pearlman and I began collaborating on simple, useful craft projects that could be easily made from inexpensive hardware store materials and that can serve a practical purpose in your home. In celebration of the past year of working together, we’ve designed a series of holiday gift guides that showcase just some of the ways that these humble crafts can become a part of a special holiday gift—or simply be the gift itself.
a braided belt kit.
All of the gifts below use the tutorial Rose and I created for making a simple 4-strand braided belt. But if you’re not feeling crafty yourself, or you’re short on time, you can give the gift of a kit for a friend or family member to make a braided belt for themselves. Here’s what you should include: ~15 yards of hemp twine. Wrap the twine around a clothespin as shown above and tuck it into a small muslin spice sack with a note pointing the recipient in the direction of the braided belt tutorial. (If you’d like to recreate the tag we made here, this is the customizable rubber stamp set we used to stamp the url onto a piece of card stock.)
a bundle of tapers.
Hands down the best gift I’ve ever received was James buying himself a 10-inch Taper Mold from Betterbee, a bunch of beeswax, and wicking, and committing to keeping me stocked in candles for the duration of the winter months. But whether you make them yourselves, or gift a set of beeswax beauties made by someone else, a generous bundle of beeswax tapers is the kind of luxury that deserves a special presentation. Enter the braided belt with a bit of wintry magic tucked through its loop.
an accessory organizer.
I’ve got myself two kids very into wearing their hair in braided pigtails lately. The bigger the bow, the better. Here’s something to offer any other accessory lovers in the crowd: a braided belt turned organizer. Recipients can hang the braid from a nail in the wall or from a simple hook and clip their favorite bows to the braid for safekeeping. (Also works beautifully for earrings!) These beautiful corduroy Pigtail Sets are made by Wunderkin, where festive holiday accessory options abound.
a set of napkin rings.
Rose let me in on her secret of using affordable dishtowels from Ikea as amply sized cloth napkins. Dressed up with napkin rings, they make a lovely gift for someone hoping to shift a habit. Here, we made four short braids with the same looped end as seen in the original tutorial to create simple braided napkin rings that can be wrapped around a napkin and cinched tight.
a tiny tether.
Contraptions abound for making it less miserable to lose a pacifier, but Rose and I both preferred using something discreet we could make ourselves. A short braided belt secured to a brass suspender clip makes the perfect foil for a pacifier with an escape plan.
a wish for sweet dreams.
I’m a sucker for the kinds of gifts that sometimes get ridiculed as basic. But to me, there’s nothing sweeter at the holidays than something useful and beautiful, and even better if it’s something I really need. A brand new set of pillowcases might be just what someone you love needs for cozying up their winter bed or adding a bit of color to brighten the dreary winter months. Here, we bundled a stack of Moss Yellow, Light Grey, Charcoal Grid, and Rust Pink pillowcases from Magic Linen with one of our braided belts.
As always, we’re hoping these ideas serve as a guide in the truest sense of the word and provide a bit of inspiration for making a gift yourself, with the budget you have and the holiday spirit that best suits you. If you decide to tackle any of these projects on your own—for giving away or keeping close to home—we’d love to see! Tag @readtealeaves and @rosepearlman on Instagram and share with the hashtag #simplehandmadeholidayrmtl.
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