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 corded rope kit.
All of the gifts below riff on the two tutorials Rose and I created using corded rope. But if you’re not feeling crafty yourself, you can give the gift of a kit to a friend or family member to make themselves. All you need is a bundle of ~18-feet of cotton rope, a drawstring bag, and a note pointing the recipient in the direction of the corded rope tutorials. 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.
This beautiful and sturdy rope wreath base is made following the instructions for the corded rope, but instead of making two figure eights resulting in two loops on your fingers, you create three. Bring the bottom loop over the top two loops and carry on! The result is a boxier style rope that’s perfect for sticking in sprigs of holiday botanicals. Here, we used tiny parvafolia eucalyptus, juniper, and dried grasses to create a subtle holiday wreath. If you prefer the look of a swag, just leave longer tails on each end of your rope and tie the tails together at the top to create a triangle.
a kitchen tool organizer.
Strung up below kitchen cabinets, or hung from hooks on a wall, a corded rope can serve as a flexible and customizable organizer for kitchen implements. Paired here with a bar of solid dish soap, handmade by the folks at Fountain House + Body,* and a wooden scrub brush with a replaceable head also found in that shop, it’s a gift that might kickstart or complement a low-waste kitchen habit. We included a few extra brass hooks from Fog Linen that the recipient might use for hand towels or additional scrubbers, or anything else that might need hanging. *If you can’t visit Fountain House + Body in person yourself, send them a note or give them a call and they’ll be happy to ship items not listed in their web shop.
a tiny gift display.
Strung up with eight tiny gifts at Hanukkah or twenty-four sweet surprises for Advent, this tiny gift display hanger uses simple spice sacks and cotton macrame cord. You can add tiny stamped numbers to the spice sacks like we did (or any other kind of stamp you’d like) to customize the gift. Give stuffed or empty, decorated or plain, as you like best.
a kraft paper roll holder.
Here are the full instructions for this kraft paper roll project, but we tied it together for gift giving with a bundle of colored pencils from Acorn Toy Shop and a magnetic brass hook from Collyer’s Mansion. If a steel apartment door or magnetic refrigerator might not be available for hanging, you can swap the magnetic hook for an over-the-door brass wreath hanger from Schoolhouse Electric, or an iron wreath hanger from Terrain.
a stackable scarf hanger.
This variation on Roses’s clothes hanger uses the same boxy rope technique as the wreath shown above (instead of creating two figure eights on your fingers, just create three and bring the bottom loop over the top two)! Paired with the gift of a simple cashmere bandana from Everlane and a circular scarf hanger from Fog Linen, the package is refined and useful. Simply slip the hanger through the rope (or include multiple hangers in the case of many scarves)!
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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Thank you for this post. I grapple with my own consumption and carbon footprint, and it was refreshing to be reminded that simple, natural, lovely, and well-made are also markers for a great gift.
Wow I love this so much!!
this is so beautiful and amazing – thank you!! i’ll be adding some of these ideas to my gift making list: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2018/12/0025-tps-gift-making.html
thanks so much, steph!
Beautiful and inspiring, as always. Thank you both. And so lovely to see the Hanukkah suggestion!
Please give a tutorial showing how to make the boxier wreath rope-I can’t seem to figure out where the bottom loop is? I love the idea of dried botanicals like you have shown!
Hi Michelle: The process is exactly the same as those shown in the corded rope tutorials (here’s one of them: https://readingmytealeaves.com/2019/06/make-your-own-corded-clothes-hanger-rose-pearlman.html) except instead of having two figure eights on your fingers and lifting the bottom loop over the top one, you’re wrapping the rope in one additional figure eight and lifting the bottom loop over the top two. Will be sharing more tips on social in the days and weeks to come, so follow along at @readtealeaves for those!
Hi! Just wondering if you can recommend another online retailer, or local NYC shop, to buy the rope? As an alternate to Amazon. Thank you!
All you need is to take a quick trip to your neighborhood hardware or craft store!
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