Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Talk-Time : DIY Presents

This month columnist Donna Alward chats about one of her favorite things: homemade presents. And why sometimes her ambition is stronger than her execution...

I love homemade presents. Two of my favorite gifts ever are from my sister. One is a binder full of knitting patterns. Another is a recipe book she made me with favorites from our childhood plus others that she really likes. I know it took her a lot of time to put them together, and I use them all the time. She also knits me socks every year, so I can keep my toesies warm while I'm writing in the winter. Socks are one of those things I don't knit. I know I should, but they're her specialty so I leave it to her.

I like making homemade presents, too. Tins of cookies, chex mix, shortbread; wire and bead ornaments (usually made by my girls with my help. Even now that they're nearly grown, we still have an "ornament afternoon".).  Knitted mitts or hats or scarves, dishcloths, maybe a baby blanket if someone is expecting. I make my own wine and have been known to stitch up wine bags and give a few bottles away as presents. One year we made tea candles, and had a great time except for me cutting my fingers on the molds so much. I did a cross stitch for one of my sisters one year. And let's not forget jellies, jams, and pickles. Last year I tried making an ornament from the pages of one of my Christmas stories, a clear plastic ball, and some wired ribbon. I think it looks cute!

There are a few challenges, though. For one, I don't seem to have the time to sit in the evenings and stitch or knit like I used to. I'm busier than ever. Then there are the group projects that are difficult because both kids are working these days and finding an afternoon not taken up by shifts or homework is really challenging. When we do get those days, we tend to want to pop in a movie and drink hot cocoa...or BOYS are in the house. I suppose I could get them to make wire and bead ornaments, what do you think?

As far as the knitting, it's no secret that I'm a slow knitter. When my husband and I were dating nearly 25 years ago (oh my word), I knit him a sweater for our first Christmas together. I started it in late September. I finished it on December 23rd, I think, when the sock-knitting sister helped me stitch in the sleeves.

Sometimes the presents I do aren't even really homemade, but they're put together into a "collection". Like a few years ago when I did Christmas baskets for everyone. Books, wine, coffee, ornaments, little doodads...all in a basket wrapped in cellophane with a big bow. That was fun.

I know it's only October, but since I tend to be ambitious and, well, slow, I've been slowly putting things together for a while now.

How about you? Are you a one stop shopper or do you like making presents? And how about receiving homemade gifts? Yes or no?

Donna's next release is THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS FAMILY, out on November 6, and the next book in her Gibson, Montana series. You can get the previous book, THE COWBOY'S HOMECOMING, for 0.99 or less for a limited time! Check out all the latest one her website at www.DonnaAlward.com.


  1. I love receiving home made presents - especially baked goods!

  2. My husband makes a killer chocolate shortbread, Avril!

  3. Love hand crafted !! But I'm not so crafty... so I bake cookies...