Handmade Christmas gifts 2015

Octopus soft toy

The commercial Christmas machine brings out the Grinch in me. My solution to this in recent years is to avoid shops wherever possible and focus on the things I do love about the tradition. Spending time with loved ones, crafting/baking with the girls and taking to time to make gifts for family or sourcing things second-hand. (Ironically enough one of the few things bought was an alternative energy electronics kit!).

First up, and an absolute delight to make, was this octopus soft toy for my sea creature enthusiast nephew. Last year’s denim whales have had pride of place on his pillow all year but this olive octopus has demoted them to the bottom of the bed, for the time being at least.Octopus soft toy

I used free pattern pieces for the octopus which I downloaded from a russian site called Pretty Toys Handmade adding beads for the eyes with hand sewn eyelids.Octopus soft toy

I chose the most octopus looking fabrics I could find in my scraps bag, an olive-green showerproof polycotton left over from a parka jacket and dungaree set and some slightly puckered shiny silver fabric for the underside.octopus softie

Next up were some sets of  screen-printed tea towels. I enlisted my older daughter to work on the design, giving her small rectangles of paper to design a series of motifs. She chose the theme of trees and came up with these beauties which she then cut out and traced into a grid pattern on the back of a pieces of vinyl. I then cut out the stencil using a craft knife and applied the vinyl to a small screen for printing. diy screenprinted teatowel

I had bought some good quality linen in green and grey and was all for printing the motif in white on both colours for the sake of ease. My daughter, in her wisdom, insisted we print green on grey and vice versa. Of course, she was right but washing the screen half way through did mean the template got a bit soggy, so the second colour run was a considerably less sharp than the first.diy screenprinted teatowels

The last gift I remembered to photograph was this storage box/doll’s house. The girls have been collecting playmobil characters and animals but had nowhere to store it, so, in the vain hope I can avoid standing on endless bits of plastic I made this multi-purpose storage box from a wine box.

…until next year… (I will start earlier, I will start earlier)

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