eight gifts for a handmade hanukkah.

December 9, 2020

Tomorrow is the first night of Hanukkah and in celebration, Rose thought up eight suggestions for simple handmade gifts to offer this year. All of these can be paired with other treats, offered solo, or presented in a neat little parcel as a project for someone to make themselves.

Scrubby Cloth + Soap

A simple and effective body scrubbing cloth can be knit up quickly and beautifully with linen or hemp string. No need to worry about the exact gauge of needle or fiber; this is a forgiving project with lots of wiggle room. Pair your finished cloth with a bar of lovely soap and tie it up with a bow (or a knot).

For knitting and needle instructions, see: Make Your Own: Potholder and Knitting Needles

Bag of Booze

The nights are long and cold, the pandemic woes are many, giving the gift of something boozy or bubbly might be exactly the right choice this year. String bags cinch perfectly over glass bottles and can be used long after the last drop is gone. You can make a bag using butcher’s twine from the hardware store, or up your game a bit with the Habu Textile’s gorgeous wide cotton gima that Rose used here.

To make the bag, see: Make Your Own: String Bag

Stationery Set

If social distancing has you far from your beloveds and fatigue has you shying away from the computer, now is the perfect time to resurrect the art of letter writing. A simple stationery set tucked into a canvas satchel might include handmade envelopes made from kids artwork, a packet of stamps, a special pencil, and other things useful for would-be letter writers.

To make the bag, head to Make Your Own: Canvas Satchel
To make a miniature version, head to Make Your Own: Canvas Kit Case
To make the envelopes, head to Make Your Own: Kid Art Envelopes

Cook’s Companion

We’re spending more time at home, which may or may not translate into more time with hobbies. For work or for pleasure, you might consider the gift of a hard-wearing tool apron with tools of whatever the trade included. The sizing of this simple drop cloth apron can be easily adjusted to fit an adult or a child and the pockets can be filled with anything from cooking utensils to artists’ brushes, to a new screwdriver set in sizes big or small.

To make the apron, head to Make Your Own: Tool Roll Apron

Cozy Carrier

Presented solo or cinched around a cozy throw or yoga mat, you could make one of these for each of your relatives in less than the time it takes to watch an episode of your latest binge. All you need is two hands and a length of cotton clothesline.

To make the carrier, see: Make Your Own: Yoga Mat Strap.

Quarantine Cat Toy

We have a new kitty niece in our family that we plan to set up with a magical cat toy of her very own. If you or yours find yourself with a quarantine cat, consider making a simple cat teaser. We guarantee it’s prettier than anything on offer at a big box store and can be practically free to make yourself. Tie on a little sack of cat nip if the spirit moves you.

To make the cat toy, head to: Make Your Own: Fabric Scrap Cat Toy

Pandemic Puppy Lead

Pandemic puppies might no longer be lap-sized so here’s a little something to help them get out some energy—a stylish leash made from turning the humblest mini blind cord into a dainty and durable dog leash. Pair with a bag of locally made dog treats, and tie with a bow.

To make the leash, head to Make Your Own: Corded Dog Leash

Lemon into Lemon(aid) Banks

It’s been a year for turning lemons into lemonade and then some. Add a bit of cheer to a room and collect loose change at the same time with a lemon bank. Offer in a set of three to kiddos (or adults) learning the lessons of saving, spending, and offering to someone else.

To make the lemons, see: Make Your Own: Lemon(aid) Banks


Thanks to Rose Pearlman for developing these projects and capturing the imagery. Rose is an artist, teacher, and textile designer. With a background in fine arts and a love of well designed functional objects, her creations blur the lines between art and craft and pushes the boundaries with non-traditional techniques and materials. Rose teaches monthly rug hooking workshops in and around her home in NYC, and also welcomes commissions for one of a kind constructions in decor and home furnishings. Her work has been featured in fiber magazines, galleries, and numerous online design sites. Her book Modern Rug Hooking is available wherever books are sold. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.

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  • Reply Judith Ross December 9, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    This is beautiful. Thank you!

  • Reply Jenny December 9, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    I love these projects so much ❤️ I have a preschooler in outside school and decided to knit a stack of teacher hats. It was so nice to think of these kind caregivers while I knit and to contribute to bringing warmth to the people warming my child’s education in this strange year.

  • Reply Jenna December 9, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Such great gift ideas! I always like to add a handmade element to my Christmas gifts as it adds a personal touch 🙂
    Jenna ♥

  • Reply Vania December 10, 2020 at 12:45 am

    Maybe you and Rose could suggest a DIY minimalista menorah? Thanks.

  • Reply Allison December 10, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for the Hanukkah post! Love these ideas. Wishing everyone happy holidays.

  • Reply AD December 10, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you for this series! I’m wondering if you could point to an example of the linen or hemp string to use for the scrubby cloth. I’ve found linen yarn—would that work? (What I’ve found when searching online for hemp string is more like a cord that I don’t think would work—but maybe that’s a wrong assumption.) Thanks for any tips you may be able to share!

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