Have Yourself a Merry, Scrappy, Christmas

I know, I know, Halloween just ended and already I’m talking about Christmas.  I hate going into a store in September to see Christmas items for sale (yes that really happens here) but when you give handmade gifts you do have to start early.


Since the gifts I make are the types of crafting I enjoy I work a little at a time year round on making them.  I know many of you also make gifts to give each year so from time to time between now and Christmas I will be sharing ideas for making lovely gifts from scraps you probably have around the house. Today, I’ll share a few of the gifts I’ve made from my scrap drawer.

A few years ago I spotted a bag of aida cloth (designed to cross stitch on) at a yard sale.  I grabbed two gallon sized plastic bags full of aida cloth.  I’m still working my way through it and today only have one very full bag left.


What do I do with small pieces of fabric?  I make ornaments to give.  I give one to each of my grandchildren which I attach to their “fabric” gift wrapped packages and give a couple to friends.


The stuffing I use comes from many different sources.  This year I used polyfill left here by my daughter-in-law after making unicorn headbands for a birthday party. Other years I’ll cut up fabric scraps really tiny or wash stuffing from old pillows that have seen better days.


The ribbon I use for the hanger was given to me by a friend who was cleaning out her craft closet.


Not all the ornaments I make are mini pillows here’s a door pull I hope one friend will love.


The backs of the mini pillow ornaments are also scraps that were in the fabric drawer because I can’t bring myself to throw out the end cuts from other projects.

Old PJs from my son that were too worn to keep wearing were used on a few.



A while back I trimmed down a set of curtains for my son’s family room, his wife told me I could do what I wanted with the excess fabric.  You guessed it, they completed a couple more ornaments.


Sometimes you need to think outside the box.  A friend had offered to let me go through some maternity clothes she was throwing out. I spotted a red jersey knit top and while I will never be pregnant again, the fabric has gone to good use.  A small scrap was used on one ornament.


Turning from ornaments to actual gifts, I began with this piece of 1 by 6 pine board, an end cut from the pantry shelf I built for the kitchen.


I gave this a quick painting with a tablespoon of leftover milk paint and then added a stencil.


I wish I could show you how it turned out but I can’t as I want to protect the privacy of my family member’s names.  This is a joint gift for my son and granddaughter.  My granddaughter has for the past few months taken a shine to drawing pictures for her dad which are then taped to his home office wall.  I wanted to give them each a prettier way to display the art pieces while giving my son some way to limit the number of pieces up at any one time.

This is where the idea came from

Image from Pinterest

Instead of purchasing letters to spell out my granddaughter’s name I decided to use what I had which was wood and stencils.  I don’t have any clipboards so I’m considering  using clothes pins to hang the art pieces.

Image from Pinterest
Image from Pinterest

One granddaughter asked for a crochet blanket. Yes, I had to purchase the pink yarn but she also asked for blue trim, that I had leftover from a baby blanket I made a year ago.


A few weeks ago, my daughter-in-law showed up with fabric and supplies and asked me to help her recover her desk chair.  When finished she looked at the scrap of fabric and wondered aloud what could be made from it (I love that the first thought wasn’t to throw the scraps out).  Anyway, she mentioned a Barbie doll couch for her daughter.  Since she left a bag of polyfill here back in February I knew I could pull this off.


The tiniest of scraps I could still work with were used by creating throw pillows for the couch.


Finally, for today, how will I wrap these homemade gifts? I have not used paper in years. I have plenty of reusable holiday gift bags I’ve made over the years but this year I’m doing something different. For each of the children I am making them a pillowcase to hold their gifts this way the gift wrap has a purposeful use.


This particular pillow case is made from a holiday fabric from my good friend Marlene and more of the maternity shirt I saved from the trash.

I’ll have more for you as we get closer to Christmas but for now I’d love to hear about your gift giving or recent craft projects.

What is your favorite type of gift to receive, and to give?




  1. Wow! I’m totally impressed, especially with the cross stitch ornaments. Did you come up with the designs yourself? I’m so impressed with people who have the patience for that sort of work – I totally love the idea of relaxing in a chair working on projects like that, but the reality is it always ends up with tangled yarn, and pricked fingers, and lots of cursing. So perhaps I’ll just stick to baking. 😉 Anyhow, happy crafting! I’m sure the recipients will all love their gifts!


    • I had to laugh, Cat, because the Barbie couch was way harder than the cross stitch ornaments. 🙂 No, I’ve never been creative enough to create my own patterns for cross stitch. I’ve collected a stack of patterns from magazines I pick up at sales. Another couple of years and I’ll need to find a source for more patterns to continue the tradition of giving them out.

      Your experience with the threads and cursing reminds me of my attempts to knit, not relaxing at all. The worst damage I’ve done with needles always comes during quilting. I’ve put the needles through my fingers and even pushed one through the tip of my nail. My boys got a good laugh out of that one.


  2. That’s impressive alright. Your Grand daughter will love that Barbie sofa. I haven’t even started making mine yet, but am thinking that I’ll be making a few tote bags to put them in. I’m like you, have to keep every little piece and feel very pleased when I get to use them.


    • I would think tote bags will be very welcome. One of these days I might try making totes to give away but I don’t know enough people who use them. My neighbor gave me a whole stack of cloth tote bags she got from a store because she says they are too much of a pain to use. I thought, sure plastic bags that rip as you carry them is so much easier. 😦

      I look forward to seeing your totes, Anne.


  3. The cross stitch ornaments are so pretty. I love how you have reused so many materials to create new things. And your granddaughter is going to love that Barbie couch!
    I have not made one thing yet for Christmas this year. We took a half a day and traveled an hour and 20 minutes each way to get to a real fabric store last week (the only one close is Walmart and they don’t have what I wanted ). The prices nearly sent me running back to the car! $12.99 and even 19.99 for cotton fabric! We bought 3 yards for curtains for the guest room with the 40% off coupon I had and fled! I wanted to make pjs for the boys but that is not going to happen.
    When you can buy clothing so cheap, I do not understand why fabric is so expensive.


    • I hope she gets a lot of use out of the Barbie couch but the idea came from her mother, I just used that suggestion.

      Well, now I can’t complain about how far I would need to travel to find a fabric store. I can go to a JoAnn Fabric that is about 35 minutes away.

      I don’t understand the gouging of prices for fabric, most isn’t made in the US so paying a living wage isn’t the difference. I suspect fabric today is considered hobby supplies and therefore they can charge more than they do clothes. Sad isn’t it?


  4. Love all of the things you’ve made so far especially the pillowcase idea. Easy to do, but the kids will love their own special one. Also, how did you finish the edges of the door hanging? I can’t tell from the picture. Aida cloth can really unravel.


    • Live and Learn, I used to give gifts in reusable bags which was convenient because Christmas was held at my house. Once I moved sending the bags out and expecting to get them back was not going to happen which led me to think of ways the bag could be considered another present, hence the pillowcases.

      The door hanging I didn’t finish. Usually I pull a few strands to give them a fringe look but being that I cut a lot of it on the diagonal and it won’t get a lot of wear I left it raw.


  5. Haven’t started on Christmas yet,Lois but I will start this week. Taking my niece and great niece to the airport this morning and then putting the house back right to start working again. I thought I recognized the last fabric. Thanks for the pingback. Your cross stitch is phenomenal! I still treasure the bookmark you made for me and see it everyday. I have some cross stitched ornaments made by my boss when I worked in a fabric store in 1985-86. I’m a sucker for keepsakes. My home is filled with them. Loved the little couch. You make miracles with scraps. I’ll take some lessons from you as I never throw away little pieces. 🙂 They have wonderful U-tube videos on easy ways to make pillowcases. That’s how I learned to make them.


    • Your fabrics have been used often and are slowly dwindling. 🙂 I was at my son’s house for Halloween and spotted the little one still carrying around and using a pillow his cousin made this summer from one.

      Glad you are enjoying the bookmark, cross stitch is something I picked up when I had broken my ankle and had to adjust to not only being out of work but being in a wheelchair for six months. It helped me to ignore the frustration I was feeling. I still find it soothing at the end of a long day, it’s my meditation.

      I’m sure you don’t need me to show you how to use up your scraps, can’t wait to see what you make this year for gifts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bowl cozies for the microwave or just to keep a soup bowl from burning your fingers is big on my list. They are great for dishes of ice cream or other frozen things.I have a quilt in the plan for my son and an embroidered shirt as well as a regular shirt. The regular one I’ve been procrastinating over. Have to adjust the pattern a lot. It gets harder every year to come up with something.


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