In the imaginary profile of my “ideal self,” I make lots of things. I sew lovely dresses, cook gourmet meals (complete with garnishes) and send handmade thank-you cards to everyone I appreciate. But my real self… doesn’t quite get there. What to do when I wanted to make as many handmade Christmas presents as possible this year. Cue light bulb. Make stuff with friends! And what if we got together weekly to do it.

And shared our skills, ideas, inspiration and supplies, making everything we do better than if we’d done it alone?

Last weekend me and my lovely friends kicked off our own “handmade holiday,” and let me say, I am SO excited to get handy! The weekly thing is huge for me: ACCOUNTABILITY. (Procrastination, what.) Here on FLP I’m going to log our progress, hopefully with a few DIY instructions for the rest of you. And if our merry *making* still isn’t enough to inspire you to get hands-on this season, I’ll be sharing some great socially responsible gift ideas and deals as well. DIY letterpress. I’m a sucker for blind-embossing! My friend Heather actually has a letterpress, but many local arts centers have them available for classes or open studio. These gift tags from Old Tom Foolery on Etsy. (Crazy that this is my first plug ever for my husband’s web startup company. With innovative online stores plus screen printing services, we can put anyone in business!) My crew is printing a custom design on these beautiful reusable grocery bags, and almost all of us are giving two or three to almost everyone on our lists. The more we order, the lower our price is… and we help our loved ones save 300 to 700 plastic bags per year, per person.

DIY biscotti. I have a fabulous recipe, complete with chocolate dipping, that I’ve been using for a few years. DIY mini scarves (a.k.a. neck warmers) — you can get several of these out of a spool of yarn, and just think what fun you could have with those buttons! Left “necky,” which adjust-ably loops through itself, from Stewart+Brown. Right “neck warmer” from PrettyLilStars on Etsy. DIY cross stitch. This “WTF?”  DIY luggage tags! These from stiksel on Etsy.DIY dog toys. I might make some stuffed toys from scrap fabric and wool — double-stitching the seams for sure. I think stuffing them with old T-shirt scraps would work well, so the stuffing can’t really get pulled out. These cuties from Cuore on Etsy. DIY fabric gift bags that can be reused from year to year! BRILLIANT! This from Jenny Wren Paperie. DIY magnets. Of course, had to throw in an oh-so-simple option. Just be on the look out for great paper to show through the flat marbles. These from Ashbury Lane on Etsy.



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