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 trivet kit.
All of the gifts below use the tutorial Rose and I created for making a simple twine trivet. 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 trivet for themselves. Here’s what you should include: a ball of 2-ply Jute Twine and some tape. Tuck the supplies into a drawstring bag, and add a note pointing the recipient in the direction of the trivet 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 place at the table.
Gather your loved ones, or encourage others to host gatherings of their own, with what will no doubt become the most useful and used item on the table: the Weeknight Serving Bowl from East Fork Pottery. It comes in four colors (soapstone is shown above), and it’s the perfect size for serving salads or pastas family-style or for keeping a mountain of clementines handy for snacking.
an invitation to breathe.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Holidays can be hard, especially at the tail end of a difficult year, and especially in the midst of a climate crisis. Here’s a gathering of items that might offer a friend or family member gentle permission to rest and breathe: a bag of tea and tea strainer, both found locally at Salter House, a copy of Kate Weiner and Kailea Frederick’s Compassion in Crisis, and, of course, a handmade trivet.
a place to hang a towel.
On a table, it’s a trivet, but hung on the side of the fridge or secured to the wall, it becomes a loop for hanging a dish towel, a hand towel, a scarf! We paired our trivet with sweet finds from local shops: a simple Linen Dish Towel from Salter House and a Magnetic Hook from Collyer’s Mansion.
a celebration of everyday objects.
We can all use a reminder to celebrate simple beauty of everyday objects. For bookish friends, offer a copy of Soetsu Yanagi’s classic, The Beauty of Everyday Things alongside a handmade trivet—itself inspired by an everyday Japanese object. (Regifting of read and worn copies encouraged!).
a cup of cocoa.
Make your own homemade mix, or offer your preferred speciality hot chocolate mix up from a local purveyor, like BKLYN Larder. Presented with a simple wooden spoon from Muji, or a very special hand-carved maple teaspoon from Two Tree Studios in Brooklyn, you can elevate the gift according to your taste and budget. To make the gift especially magic for little ones, consider the addition of a Children’s Parade Mug from Acorn Toy Shop (making a miniature trivet encouraged)!
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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