Have a Handmade Christmas ~ Week 1

  It is time!   Time to have a handmade Christmas Carnival!  I hope you all have lots of ideas to share!

    If you have something handmade a gift, decoration or food that is for Christmas (or would work for Christmas) please consider linking it up here. I just ask that you link back to my blog when you link up please. And if you would put the above logo in your post I would really appreciate that! Scroll to the bottom of the post for linking up.

 As I have been thinking about Christmas gifts recently (and birthday and anniversary gifts as many fall in this season for us) I am faced with the same old question: How do I give something that the recipient likes, stays within my budget and doesn't end up just being clutter? Do you ever struggle with this? I do all the time. Some people (most men in my life for instance) I just have trouble thinking of good gifts for, and when I try to go handmade it is even harder!!

 Here are some of the things I was thinking about to help me make and give meaningful gifts:
  • What hobbies or interests does the recipient have? Can I give anything that would go along with that?
  • What sort of things do they actually use? With my kids I am thinking back to remember what gifts get used often and what sort of things just end up sitting around.
  • Do they have something that they like that is worn out and needs replacing?
  • What things do the like that are consumable? (food, stationary, things of that nature) These get used up so they make practical and welcome gifts.
Do you have any other tips for figuring out good gifts? Some people are really gifted in this area and I would love to have their insight!

 I was trying to think of a good present for Aaron (I will confess, it is for his birthday- I still need to work on Christmas!) and the inspiration came from the boys. We got a book on drawing in History and in it is a picture of a revolutionary soldier and the boys decided it would be fun to dress up like one. So they got busy and went to work (The picture below is before Aaron did much to his outfit, his later look was more authentic). I helped them transform their cowboy hats into tricorns. They have had fun drilling like soldiers do all over the yard with their sticks and being very imaginative.

   Anyway that got me to thinking... it would be fun to make a little better outfit for a gift. It is obviously something he would enjoy (he wasn't quite satisfied with he and Jonathan's workmanship) and also it would help him enjoy learning about history even more- and this Mama always likes to encourage learning! :-)

So I found some odds and ends...
An old leather coat, some tan ladies slacks I didn't like, a blue wool skirt, some red/orange wool pants, an old white t-shirt, an old white dress shirt and the picture in the book for inspiration and I went to work.

This is the finished product:
A wool jacket (made from the skirt and pants), breeches (made from the ladies slacks) with leggings (made from the old t-shirt) attached, White straps (made from the dress shirt) and a haversack (made from the leather coat).

  Inside the haversack we decided to put a map. Mara googled revolutionary war maps and found one of the 13 colonies that we could print out. Mara also wrote a pretend letter to go in his haversack as well. Both of those we smudged with furniture scratch cover (or you could use brown shoe polish) to make them look old.
  I am also thinking about putting some hard bread in it and possibly a tin plate and cup and playing cards. All things that they might have carried. We are also thinking about making a drum and then he could pretend to be the drummer boy. The ideas of what we could add to this are very numerous.
  I think what makes this really fun is not just having a costume but having a "story" to go with it. I am going to share the letter that Mara wrote with you to give you an idea of what I mean:

  Dearest Aaron,             May 15, 1776
  I do hope you are not faring too badly in that God-forsaken army.
 Ah, well it 'tis for a good cause.

  Mother still insists that you are much too young, brother dear, but it is an adventure I am sure.

  If I were a boy, I would come with you, and keep you out of mischief, but I suppose Father will have to do that now. I do hope Father is not busy with his duties as captain to keep at least half an eye on you.

  Can you play "Yankee Doodle" ,the new song, on your drum yet?

 I am sure life at home is very dull, compared to what you are doing.

 However, five count days ago, minutemen came, and to Mother's very great dismay, they took most of our silverware, and all of our pewter bowls. Mother is now sure that the Revolution will not suceed in getting even one seat in Parliament. She says we dine like beggars, with "woodware" and wood bowls. I personally think it will do us no harm to give a little to the men who are doing so much for Maryland - and also the rest of the colonies.

 Little brother, I swear the cows do not give as much milk with you gone. At least, it does not seem so. I most probably do just imagine it. Yesterday was churning day, and we did get less butter than usual, I know that for certain.

 I hear Mother telling me to come shell peas!

  Your ever patient sister,

P.S. Give Father a thousand hugs for me!
 I think most children love to dress up and imagine. A trunk, suitcase or box of dress up clothes would be welcomed by many a child. You don't have to know how to sew either. Start looking around at second hand stores and vintage shops and you could find some treasures. I do think it makes it even more fun if there is a theme to it however. Think about a book character (and then include the book too), a time in history (pioneer, knights and princesses, etc.) or something of that nature and then have everything go with it. I think most children would love it!

Now it is your turn! Please link up you ideas of handmade gifts ideas, decorations and more!

 Also, be sure to come back the next few week for even more handmade Christmas ideas!
This post is linked to Tea Rose Home's link party.