Handmade Gifts

This weekend we are once again looking after my mother’s house in the country while the vegetarian child holds the fort back home. As I am away from my store of photographs I thought I would update this post from last year given there is still two weeks till Christmas and therefore still enough time to make some gifts if you feel so inclined.

In our ongoing quest for a simpler life we are constantly looking for new ideas on how to re-use, re-purpose and recycle. But that doesn’t mean we avoid spending altogether. We both have careers where looking professional is an expectation, we also enjoy socialising and going out for dinner.

So to try and keep things simple we use everything until it runs out, breaks beyond repair or can be re-fashioned into something else. We only have one car, we maximise appliances and, if possible, we buy second-hand goods. If we ever do get that shopping urge we visit our local op shops or buy hand-made goods from fairs and markets. Choosing to buy handmade is just like choosing to buy local produce. Mass produced products cannot compare to the creativity, quality, superior workmanship, and attention to detail of a handcrafted or artisan created product. A hand-made item is made with a spirit that is missing from the mass produced; they are one of a kind and personal. Buying hand-made also helps small business and therefore the economy. A hand-made item is something to be treasured and enjoyed. Here are 101 more reasons to buy handmade.

This year I have been making lavender sachets – very similar to the photograph from flickr below – using vintage linen, doilies and buttons, which I fill with organic lavender from the garden.


I am currently transforming an old bookcase into a dollhouse for Miss Ruby for Christmas. I am hoping it will look a little something like this, instructions can be found here and here.


I finally finished a colourful crochet blanket for Miss Ruby earlier this year; they are easy to make once you know how. This is just one big granny square!


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Two years ago I bought this gorgeous hand-made quilt from a tiny craft shop in Wirrabara and a hand-made dress from an Australian seller on Etsy for Ruby’s second birthday.


Etsy has a wealth of handmade artisan items from all over the globe. The site is easily searchable for items only in Australia, or even just from your local area.

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Madeit is a great place to find Australian handmade items. Little Letty received these gorgeous rattles, as well as other hand-made goodies, when she arrived in March this year. These are from Love from Annie.

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Handmade gifts are extra special because every gift you make includes a little piece of yourself. Here are some of the gifts I have created over the past few years.


I taught myself how to crochet using books and you-tube videos. As a house-warming gift I crocheted 8 dish cloths for my sister-in-law.  I used this pattern in a variegated cotton in her favourite colours.


I have made a number of terrariums for family and friends. These are a little less frugal given the individual parts need to be purchased; however, they are all still unique and one of a kind.



I liked them so much I even made one for my classroom (a rarity as I rarely make anything for myself).


A recycled olive oil tin makes a quick and easy gift. Use a good tin opener to neatly remove the top. Drill or punch a couple of drainage holes in the bottom, add a few handfuls of gravel, top it up with compost or potting soil and plant a herb. This one has a lovely lemon thyme.

For Christmas gifts last year the vegetarian child and I made a variety of orange and lemon body scrubs, bath bombs, bath soaks and bath fizzes using all natural ingredients. I forgot to take a photo so the above are from one of the websites we used for recipes. We packaged them up in baskets and added a purchased candle, handmade soap and a couple of face washers in matching citrus colours, they looked great!


For sewing friends an embroidered needle-book is a special gift.


Whilst a sewing kit makes a great gift idea for the non-sewer. There are plenty of websites with instructions on how to put these together. The above is one of my own devising.

Bottlecap pincushions are easy to make and a great recycling idea. Instructions can be found here.

Handmade Christmas ornaments are always appreciated.


I also occasionally hand-sew art dolls; this is Neisha made for a special friend’s daughter.

If I had more time I would make all my own gifts. My pinterest is brimming with loads of ideas of things I want to make…one day.



About A Kailyard in Adelaide

A Kailyard in Adelaide! We are working hard to be domestically sustainable in the foothills of Adelaide. As we both work fulltime this is not an easy task, but we do our best growing much of our own produce in our yard and in our community garden plots. We reduce, recycle and reuse as much as possible and try hard to not consume mindlessly. We have 5000 l of rainwater, a 5 kw solar system, and use a green energy provider for all our excess needs. Rachel: Mother, partner, teacher, writer, reader, crafter, cook, gardener, artist. Jamie: Father, partner, lecturer, therapist, would-be-politician, gardener, photographer, music lover.
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2 Responses to Handmade Gifts

  1. The Lighthearted Kitchen says:

    These are such cute ideas! 🙂

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