Handmade Gifts are the Best Gifts

 

lampwork beads by Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

The thing I most wanted to blog about over the last couple weeks has been the handmade gifts I gave and received for Christmas. I was so spoiled with handmade this year! However, since it's supposed to be better to give than receive, I will start with the handmade gifts I gave this year. 

Because I've been taking college classes this semester, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to make gifts. Here are the few I did make. 

First up, my Art Jewelery Elements team had a Secret Santa exchange. It was really fun. We were to make a bead/jewelry related gift like a focal or bead set, and then something else we made.

I was assigned Kristi Bowman. I had posted the above bead set on my Facebook Page after I knew who I had been assigned. She stated she loved them and wanted to buy them if I decided to list. Bead set portion of the gift? Check. 

The next part was a little more difficult. I know Kristi loves birds. At first I went on etsy and just typed in random bird related words for ideas. Then I thought about knitting a bird or something bird related when I came across this felted knitted nest pattern on Ravelry

knitted and felted bird nest and eggs Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

I had SO MUCH fun going through my ribbon and novelty yarn stash, and finding 100% wool yarns that felt in my extensive yarn stash. Knitting this was fast and fun, and I was so excited for Kristi to get it. I also tucked some feathers and some small pieces of driftwood I picked up along Lake Erie in Cleveland from a wonderful Mothers Day spent with my kids and husband. 

knitted and felted bird nest and eggs Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

 

Next up is a gift for my mom. She is the one person who seems to love every piece of jewelry I make. Also, she's willing to wear it. LOL! She has a thing about dragonflies. So whenever I see something special with a dragonfly that I think she will like, I buy it. That's how I ended up with this pendant by Birgitta Lejonklou.

components necklace pendant by Birgitta Legonklou Angel Whisperer Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

The original design was going to be more complicated than it ended up, but I saw this strand of faceted agate in the perfect blues, creams and grays...like it was made for this pendant, and just did simple wire wraps. I used a gorgeous sterling silver moonstone box clasp I've been hoarding for years and added some chainmaille "rosettes" to break up the monotony of bead bead bead bead. And to make the design a bit assymetrical. I think Mom liked it. 

pendant by Birgitta Legonklou Angel Whisperer necklace by Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

I definitely did NOT make this next one. I commissioned this one from Niky Sayers for my 13 year old daughter who has ruby as her birthstone and loves everything having to do with England. She has worn this necklace several times since Christmas. It can be difficult to find jewelry she loves enough to wear more than once. I succeeded with this one. Mom (with help from Niky...lol!) for the win! 

pendant by Niky Sayers

The last jewelry gift I made was for my step-mom. She prefers lightweight earrings. Sue Kennedy gave me these beaded beads (more on this in a moment) and these two are totally my step-mom's colors and light as feathers. I crafted ear wires and headpins from gold filled wire, added some czech glass, and voila! Easy handmade gift that my step-mom loves. 

earrings by Jen Cameron Glass Addictions beaded beads Sue Kennedy

I gave other handmade gifts I purchased from other artists....ceramic mugs, a gorgeous vase, a pen from a woodworker, but I didn't get photos of those. 

So now for what I received (my personal favorite part...)

Sue Kennedy was my AJE Secret Santa. She spoiled me with this lampwork ornament she made. It's so beautiful and sparkles in the sunlight. I have it hanging in my studio. 

ornament by Sue Kennedy

At Bead Fest I traded her some headpins for some beaded beads because I love her beaded beads. So she sent me a few more sets. One of which made a perfect pair of earrings for my step mom (see above). 

Beaded Beads by Sue Kennedy

In addition to all that, she also made me this beautiful pair of earrings, which I've worn several times over the holiday. My daughter has threatened to walk off with them...lucky for her that hasn't happened yet. 

Earrings by Sue Kennedy

 

Then I was majorly surprised when I received a package from Jenny Davies Reazor, another AJE team mate who was NOT my Secret Santa. I can't even tell you how special thoughtful handmade gifts are to me. She made this ceramic frame and added this print because it made her think of me...her "knitty friend" lol!

by Jenny Davies Reazor

 

by Jenny Davies Reazor

Jenny also sent me this felt ornament. ornament by Jenny Davies Reazor

And she made this felt "clutch" which I think of as an envelope for some reason. But it perfectly fit my hobnichi journal and lives on my nightstand so I will write in it every single day. It's small enough to stash in my purse when we are traveling.

felt clutch by Jenny Davies Reazor

I placed an order with Lesley Watt when she was running a special shop update. When she sent the parcel, there were several surprises. First was this gorgeous pair of earrings

earrings by Lesley Watt

And a grab bag of bronze components

bronze components by Lesley Watt

My kids know Lesley as the "chocolate fairy" because she occasionally sends them Mars bars, which is their favorite candy bar and not available in the States. She sent them Mars bars and me some of these chocolate coins that I've shared with my family. 

chocolate coins

When Niky sent the necklace I had commissioned for  my daughter, she also sent this little thank you gift, which I'm totally obsessed with. I haven't worn it, but I pick it up and fondle it a lot. Probably more than is socially acceptable. 

locket by Niky Sayers

And last, but not least, my mom made the most amazing knitting bag ever. It's super reinforced (so knitting needles won't puncture it), it has a gazillion pockets on both sides (including clear pockets on both sides)

amazing knitting bag by Mom

and the interior is very roomy, with two snap tabs to control two different balls of yarn to keep them from getting tangled or from being pulled out of the bag. There is also a drawstring. The above photo was to demo the pockets. But I've filled this thing with two different projects. And I've showed it to several people because it's so amazing. 

Did you incorporate handmade into your holiday gift giving/receiving? How? Share links if you've got them! 

Comments

Cassi

You artists, with artist friends --very lucky! I think that nest you made is so amazing. The way you embellished it is just magical.

I was lucky enough to receive one of Nicky's charms, and I immediately strung it on a chain for Emma (also a total Anglophile), and she wears it constantly. All the gifts you gave and received are really wonderful.

I have been making jewelry as gifts for a few years, especially for my mom and sister. Unfortunately, the flu knocked me out right after Thanksgiving, so the only handmade gift I managed this year was a necklace and earring set for my sister --and I finished it so last minute and was so eager to get it in the mail that I never even took a photo. I did, however, give both Rob and Emma journals that have hand-embroidered covers (from Etsy) and Rob requested another handmade item from Etsy: a steampunk USB stick made from a vacuum tube of the type he has in his stereo system amplifiers.

Happy New Year!

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