April 5, 2014

Freezer Paper Stencils and Other Gift Ideas

 Making gifts is one of my all-time favorite hobbies.  So when a birthday, Christmas, or wedding or baby shower comes around, I get excited coming up with ideas to suit the occasion. I usually take it as an excuse to learn a new sewing trick or go look at pretty fabric. That way, I can justify my crafting obsession and make a personalized gift.

Here's a few things to consider when coming up with a gift idea.
First, is there something you know the recipient needs but wouldn't necessarily spend money on themselves?

Second, what hobbies or interests does the receiver have? Gardeners might appreciate some chalkboard seed markers or vintage bird-feeder. Readers who drive a lot might like an audio book from their favorite author. If you know someone who loves throwing parties, handmade bunting or napkins are fun. You could compile energizing tunes for someone who loves to bust out the music while exercising.  If your recipient loves organic products, you could make soy or beeswax candles with lavender or grapefruit essential oils, or natural soaps.

Offering acts of service are awesome, especially when the budget is tight. I know as a busy momma of four, I deeply appreciate all the help in the yard, scrubbed floors, and home cooked meals we've received.

Another thing to keep in mind when coming up with gift ideas are some of your favorite things you enjoy wearing or using. For example, my sister gave me a cute headband with a print she saw that "looked like Jessica." Scarves are another favorite I've received.

One last thing. You know how when you're talking on the phone or hanging out together, people mention what they are trying to find or things they want. Keep tabs. Last June, when she came out to visit, my friend mentioned how much she liked my blue mason jars, but she wished they came in green  for a kitchen soap dispenser. When I was putting together her birthday present, I found one and snatched it.

 I just finished her gift and it's ready to send off in the mail today (if I can manage to get to the post office before closing time.) Em, if you see this post, stop reading this until you've opened your package. She's a talented writer and exceptional cook, so this is what I came up with:

Two kitchen towels, a soap dispenser and two knit potholders. The potholders were simple, just something I've never made. Working with two strands of yarn in different colors on size 7 needles made them thicker. 

I also picked up some of my favorite kitchen towels and stenciled this vintage typewriter onto the white one. It's easy to do, it just takes a little time cutting the image out of freezer paper with an exacto knife. 
Once you've cut the image out, iron the freezer paper to your fabric using a lower heat setting, with the shiny side of the paper down. It will adhere to the fabric. Lay your materials on a newspaper in case any paint bleeds through. Then, using your sponge brush, dab the fabric paint directly onto the stencil cutout.  Once it's dry, peel off the freezer paper, turn the fabric right side down, and iron the fabric, preferably on an old rag or something you don't care about, to set the paint. 

 Happy Birthday Em! 

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