Loving and Inexpensive Holiday Gifts By Angela Hoy

Each year, I share an idea or two for inexpensive homemade gifts that creative folks (writers!) can make for loved ones for the holidays. Last year’s article brought in lots of great ideas from readers! You can see links to those at the end of this article.

Here are two new ideas for this year:

1. Quilted Felt House

Has one of your friends or a relative moved into a new home this year? Take a snapshot of the home and then recreate it with a simple felt quilt that looks like their home. Start with one piece of plain felt for the background and start cutting out pieces to build on top of it, building from the farthest thing in the photograph to the closest. Don’t worry about shadows and small details. Simple primary colors in bold shapes will work just fine.

I used a piece of 8.5 x 11 light blue felt for the sky background and then cut out basic oval and bumpy shapes for trees and shrubs and square, rectangle, and triangle pieces for the actual house. You can cut out shapes in brown for the roof, red for brick or another color for siding or paint, gray or white for the windows, etc. On the one I just finished, I tucked batting under each piece of felt before sewing it to make it have a 3-D effect. It turned out really cute, much better than I expected.

You can buy small sheets of felt for about 20 cents each at your local discount department store’s craft section or your local craft store. If you start with an 8 x 10 or 8.5 x 11 piece and build on top of that, you’ll be able to easily find an inexpensive frame. (You can usually buy these standard-sized frames at The Dollar Store.) But, if you stuff too much batting under the pieces while sewing, you might have to discard the glass and use only the outer frame. My quilted felt house was too fat for the frame, but it actually looks kind of interesting poking out of the frame with no glass in front.

2. Photo Ornaments

I got this idea when I ran into a huge display of scrapbook supplies at the local craft store. They sell themed packages of items for scrapbook pages and you can find them to complement just about anybody on your list. I found some Christmas-themed ones and one was a Santa suit with a little pack of presents. I printed a picture of Max at just the right size, cut his head out of the photo, and placed it in the little, bitty Santa suit. I then attached a string with needle and thread so it can be hung from a Christmas Tree. I made Ali putting an ornament on a tiny Christmas tree and I made Frank holding a pile of gifts (the gifts are from the scrapbooking kit and are made out of pretty paper and ribbons and even have tiny tags).

You can see a photo of the Photo Ornaments I made here:

Happy Holidays, Everybody!