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 macrame basket kit.
All of the gifts below use the tutorial Rose and I created for a structured macrame basket. 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 basket for themselves. All you need is a bundle of 2 oz paper covered floral wire, a 12-inch ¾” wooden dowel, a drawstring bag, and a note pointing the recipient in the direction of the structured macrame basket 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.)
Note: Like most everything in this year’s giving series, these structured baskets are super simple to customize and you can easily tweak the size by extending or shortening the length or width (or both!). Just remember to measure the size of your gifts before crafting your bag, to make sure everything will fit!
a new hobby.
In some circles, there’s nothing more precious than the gift of a few spoonfuls of sour dough starter. Give of your own bounty if you have some to spare and once the starter has been sufficiently coddled, the simple basket can serve as a place to stash potholders—or anything else the receiver’s heart desires. (We’re also minimalist-friendly gift givers: re-gifting encouraged!) If you’re absent the starter, but have a newbie sourdough enthusiast in your midst, a copy of Brooklyn baker Sarah Owen’s Sourdough and a black walnut lame would make a lovely pairing.
a wee market basket.
These wire-reinforced baskets are strong enough to use for storing real-life veggies like shallots and onions, but a pint-sized version filled with beautiful wooden play vegetables makes an inspiring market basket for make-believe farmers’ markets runs. Carrots, radishes, mushrooms, fennel, and spring onions are all available locally or online at Acorn Toy Shop.
an at-home spa treatment.
Whether it’s a homemade salt scrub or an exquisitely crafted rose, cardamom, and sandalwood velvet salt polish from Marble & Milkweed, pair an indulgent scrub with an organic washcloth, or mother of pearl spoon, for the person on your list needing a little extra care. Bundle everything together into a wire basket that can later serve as the perfect spot for storing rolled washcloths or reusable cotton rounds.
a breakfast companion set.
Give the promise of breakfast in bed along with a set of unbelievably delicious Vermont-made preserves (or a jam of your own making!). These 2-ounce jars provide the perfect opportunity for taste-testing the magic of V Smiley’s honey sweetened preserves. We paired them here with a cloth napkin from My Drap and a beech dessert spoon from Muji. If you’d like to up the gift-giving ante a bit, swap the simple spoon for this gorgeous handmade butter and jam knife from Brooklyn’s Two Tree Studios.
a stationery bundle.
Encourage an analogue start to the new year with the gift of beautiful and useful stationery. Rose and I are both fans of Appointed’s clean aesthetic and superior quality. Shown here: Their pencils, gum eraser, pencil sharpener, pocket notepad, a bundle of mini linen jotters, and paper tape. All packaged together, they might be just the encouragement someone needs for a fresh start in 2020.
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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