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 woven pouch kit.
All of the gifts below use the tutorial Rose and I created for a woven pouch. 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 pouch for themselves. Here’s what you should include: a rectangle of corrugated cardboard (roughly 3 ¼” x 4” for a small pouch), cotton string or yarn for weaving (roughly 5-6 yards), 3 yards of strong string to create the warp (even dental floss will do!), ¾ yard of leather cord or extra string of your choice for the cord tie or necklace strap (we wrapped all of our strings around wooden clothespins to keep things organized), a darning needle, and tape. Tuck the supplies into a drawstring bag, and include a note pointing the recipient in the direction of the woven pouch 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 tiny paint set.
For someone who has creative pursuits and hobbies high on their list of resolutions, these handmade paint stones from Beam Paints might offer the perfect push in the right direction. They’re made from lightfast pigments, tree sap, Manitoulin honey, and gum arabic and they come beautifully packaged in their own protective beeswax wrappers. Tucked into a woven pouch, they make for the sweetest portable set for taking artistic diversions on the road.
a secret spot.
Offering a very small gift is a lovely thing to do, no matter if it’s been poured from precious metals or a more humble variety of gold—honey, say, or beeswax. Presenting such a gift in a handmade pouch makes it feel all the more festive, and we could all use a place to secret away our necessities (or our indulgences). Here, we included Marble & Milkweed’s Rosy Lip Tint, something I personally try to never leave the house without.
a beginner’s felting essentials.
The pleasure of having a little project nearby to satisfy creative whims and to keep other distractions at bay was the inspiration for this gift. To create the kit, tuck a bit of roving, a few felting needles (slip them into a paper straw or poke the ends into cork to keep fingers safe from pokes!), a wooden needle felting handle, and a link to some simple instructions into a handmade portable project pouch.
a budding botanist’s tool pouch.
What’s better for small scientists (and urban detritus scavengers) than a handheld magnifying glass slipped into a tiny collection pouch? This wooden dual magnifying glass (5x and 10x) from Bella Luna Toys is made of shatterproof glass and framed in beech wood and it’s makes for a sweet and sturdy entry point to scientific wonder and discovery.
a promise of something to come.
No matter if it’s a handmade voucher for a hot cocoa date or a gift certificate to Stories Bookshop (insert the local indie of your choice!), bundling up a little IOU in a tiny pouch makes the promise of a gift to come even more magical.
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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