Sunday, January 20, 2013

A very pinteresting Christmas.

As previously mentioned, it was a very handmade Christmas for my family. Not for any other reason than the fact that they mean more, and I've got the means. When you hand-craft a gift, for the entire time you plan/design it, shop supplies, and whip it up, you're thinking about the recipient. About as personal as personal gets. So why would I buy gift cards for my favorite people on the face of the earth?! (Except for teenage girls. They're aliens. And not impressed by anything, itunes cards for all!)

I spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest. It's what I do on my phone when I have a few minutes to waste. My usual strategy is to click the 'everything' button and see what thrills me. I started seeing things that reminded me of my people, and started a board for it. It's secret.

I figured I'd just show, for fun, some non-minis that I made along with the 'pinspiration'. (I hate when people say pinspiration. But it is an appropriate non-term. Damn.)

One big victory, was the bike clock for my brother (a nationally ranked cyclist, brag brag brag). I'd planned on making this for the previous Christmas, but encountered logistical and part-sourcing issues. I'd bought the movement, the extra-long hands, and picked up a junked wheel rim at his favorite bike shop.

There was one spoke missing so I decided that spot could be 12 o'clock, and I'd make a marker of sorts. And I wanted to hang it differently, wishfully out of bike chain, but actually out of brass chain.

The inspiration:
Recycled Bike Wheel Clock by Pixelthis on Etsy

Leather and brass.
It was a hit. I'm proud of it, it was worth the wait to do it up properly.

My sister has a toddler (boy), and a baby girl due any time now. I knew with her husband out to sea soon (Navy) she'd have her hands full. For the soon-to-be big brother, I made this toy/snack bandolier. That way he'd have everything he needs at his fingertips, and mom can maybe have her hands a little bit free-er. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but try anything once. Right?

The inspiration:
Snack Bandolier, by WhipStitchFabrics

I went with a heavy but soft meanswear fabric in grey. A go-with-everything accessory, for sure. Granola bars, cars, 7 loops and a gusseted pocket for all his nescessities. What a big boy.

 And for the wee babe, one of those door mufflers so mom can look in on sleeping baby without the door latch clicking and completely blowing her cover. I'm only assuming the baby will sleep behind closed doors since there's a tornado toddler and a terrorist australian shepherd sharing the same roof.

I combined two designs for what I thought was a better combination of form and function.

The Inspiration(s):

I liked the ease of the elastic over ties, I imagine it would be a nuisance to get it positioned tightly and keep the ties even. And I also liked the look of the leather. I asked my mom to find out a little about the nursery for me, and she mentioned fucsia. I have a beautiful piece of magenta leather. That'll do.

Door Muff by sweetdreamsbytami on etsy
  I liked the bows for a girls' room, so I added additional ribbon to cover the less attractive elastic after the strap was positioned. I also went with the leather to keep it a no-sew project.


For my equestrian inclined sister who just got a new apartment, I decided on a set of six leather napkin rings. Unfortunately, I never got a photo of the finished product (if she can send me one, I'll update the post). Mine came out similarly, but instead of a rivet, I used snaps. That way she could choose the suede side or the smooth side. I recycled a nice belt in a rich caramel harness leather that I thrifted, with silver hardware. I got some pretty charcoal gray cloth napkins and put a ring on each for presentation.

The inspiration:
Napkin rings by Greenbelts on etsy

And for my princess of a niece (she's four), tea bags for regular luncheons with her "babies". Every little girl loves a tea party, So I got her a beautiful bone china cup and saucer, and made half dozen fabric tea bags that she can dunk in the water without destroying. They just dry out. Brilliant.

The inspiration:

 I filled them with glass seed beads for weight, and realistic feel. The strings are baby rick-rack, and little pink felt hearts for tags. I also whipped up a cotton cinch wash-bag to keep them in case they should get soiled.

For my dad, it was food. What do you buy for a guy who has everything, and if he doesn't he'll buy it for himself before you can?! His favorite candies are pecan caramel turtles. I saw these pretzel things, and knew he had to try them. They were super quick to throw together, and mindblowingly addictive. We'll be making these again. On the regular.
Another one without a picture of my own, but you really can't make them look much different.

The inspiration:
Rolo Turtles on so wonderful, so marvelous blog.

And then, because I hate myself, I volunteered to make an "american girl" doll bed for a work friend. This was the one that nearly sent me over the edge, but I couldn't disappoint a 5 year old. The more we talked, the more involved the design got. She preferred something colonial style, and then it would be awesome to have a canopy, and then stained dark, rather than paint. Ummm, I guess I thought I had time at first. I delivered it to her at work on Christmas Eve with the Polyurethane still tacky after staying up until 4 am to complete it. I did the best I could, I felt bad though.

The bed that supposedly goes with the doll is outrageously priced, which is why I originally intervened.

The original:
American Girl Doll Store

The inspiration:
Tosalena Furniture


 Solid oak, with Minwax English Chestnut stain and a couple of coats of satin poly. High-quality cell phone shots under fluorescent light at work.

And then, since clearly I'm the sucker around here, I also volunteered to create a rather large display for our office Christmas luncheon. It took a lot of time but luckily, besides supply shopping, I did most of it on company time. Nice little arrangement. I made the conference room credenza look like a fireplace. Here it is, the marketing department came down and took a snap for the hospital website. Otherwise, there would be no picture. Again.

So that was ridiculous. I absolutely love making gifts for my family. I will likely continue to do so in future years when I find the right items for the right people. But new rules: politely and gracefully refuse other peoples' project requests within two months of Christmas. No exceptions. Here's to a more enjoyable Christmas, 2013. And to knowing my new workshop will be ready for the task!


  1. Some awesome gifts there Meagan! Love the little fabric tea bags. Have a great year in your workshop!

  2. fantastic gifts and projects all round, i love the clock and the tea bags are too cute. and I think I could do with a bandolier filled with chocolate (erm I mean hand tools)...
    the time competition is something we all have to play, I am amazed at how well some do. I am trying to take some time but my friends have started rolling their eyes when they suggest an outing or social event and I say, but I have all these cool ideas for the doll house or my craft room or...

    Here's to loads of time to do all the things we want and can do for everyone including ourselves!

  3. What an amazing haul from your family. I might be stealing some ideas for gifts next year for my fam. Love the bike clock!! My brother would absolutely love that. I might try tinkering with that. I am absolutely stealing the teabag idea. My kids would jump up and down for those. You need a deadline free Christmas for sure, I hope next year you just get to work on projects for you and your fam.
    Oh and very cool office set up. Merry Christmas to everyone of us. :D

  4. It seems to me that people who don't make things just don't get it, about the time it takes. When I wear hand crocheted items they say 'Oh you can make me one, I'm too busy' as if I am NOT busy. Grrrrr...... anyway, well done, your gifts are lovely.

  5. Some awesome gifts there Meagan! Love the little fabric tea bags. Have a great year in your workshop. i have beautiful collection, please visit to