noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

craft, design, fabric, family, felt, projects, sewing

a handmade, personalized gift is the best

I think there are few would wouldn’t agree that handmade gifts are the best! And so, a simple suggestion this holiday season- put on your thinking cap this year and dream up some glorious, personalized handmade gifts that will stand out in the crowd.
Here are a few tricks and tips:

1. Get started early, what better time than Thanksgiving to start brainstorming ideas than in the company of the gift recipients and in between a bite of turkey and a nap?
2. Incorporate others in the design and planning sessions (ie. kids, husbands, siblings) and together you can dream up some clever ideas and have a good laugh in the process.
3. Choose easy subjects, keep it on a small scale…
4. Ask kids to draw for you, if you don’t trust your own hand,  kids come up with wonderful, simple pictures that are easy to make into embroidery, fabric (etc.) patterns.

I’d like to explore the handmade ornament as an option. As we become obsessed with pets in these modern times, don’t try and deny it- you know you adore a fluffy or furry friend as much as any human in your life.  So, think of the loved one’s on your Christmas list- what do they love?-  their pet, their car, tacos, Jacob… Edward?  Pets are a good jumping off point, easy to render– but expand to whatever topic you must to make it personal and funny.  Working on a small scale (ornament size) can simplify the gift while still working the magic of handmade.

5. Work with familiar products– fabric, felt, clay, paint, paper, whatever medium you feel the most comfortable working with.
I used felt and sequins because I’m most comfortable with a needle in my hand. This Siberian Husky is made from wool felt with a little flat quilt batting in the middle. I sewed it all together with embroidery floss. I tacked down the white parts and the nose with a quick basting stitch. I sewed on the sequins one at a time with clear thread, the entire front is covered.
My favorite part is the sequins. You see- it’s all about the sparkle, even when it comes to dogs. It took quite a while to sew on all the sequins- I would recommend a book on tape or keeping a good playlist rolling. It’s a good thing I find this kind of hand sewing very relaxing.

And there you have it, a gift that will be cherished forever-  even after a pet is gone, a trip is over, a car has been totaled. But, your friend/loved one will never forget the awesome person who took the time to hand make them a gift!


  1. thornegarnet

    November 20, 2012 at 6:50 am

    dang, not another cool idea! I many never get the house clean!

  2. kalamitykelli

    November 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    What a great idea! I love it – now, can you do a miniature schauzer for me? 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.