Thursday, November 20, 2014

Any Occasion DIY Gifts Everyone Will Want to Use

I have been working on this idea for a while and I am so excited to share with you the first edition of my list.  When we were planning our wedding, wedding favors were something I couldn't nail down.  I wanted to do a whole DIY thing, but time and stress prevented it.  I had a secret list of links and ideas, however, that I kept.  As the holidays approach and we go to social events that necessitate hostess gifts, I find myself returning to my list.  So here is the current list but beware - it will change and update as I find something worth adding.  I'm hoping to make this a quarterly thing, but we'll see.  For now, I happily (and giddily) present:

Any Occasion DIY Gifts Everyone Will Want to Use for the Cook, Seamstress, Artist, Clever and the Lazy to give friends, family, strangers, hostesses, wedding guests, etc.

If you cook:
…and they are on the go a lot – Soup in a jar (Courtesy of $5 dinners) OR  Brownies in a Jar (By SkiptoMyLou) OR Homemade Granola in a bag (box or jar allowed) OR Cake in a Jar (prebaked and layered with frosting) or Cheesecake in a jar (premade and layered over the crust)… you get the picture here, right?
…and they live at Starbucks or the local coffee shop – Homemade hot chocolate ( / mocha mix ( in a jar OR Hot chocolate (Listen and Breathe), coffee or mocha (Celebrations at Home)stirrers
…and they are also a foodie – Homemade flavored cooking oils (; flavored salts (Steamy Kitchen) / red wine sea salt ( / Sriracha salt (ala RamShackleGlam) ; flavored butters ( / more herb butter ideas (via OR a herb garden terrarium (Which requires you to be a bit of a gardener too, thanks Brit and Co!)
…and they have a pet – Homemade dog treats (Cesar’s Way) or cat treats (Joy the Baker)
…and appreciate the goodness of gum drops – make them some homemade gumdrops in unique flavors ala Bakerella!
…and they drink – Homemade limoncello is never wrong (So says – also easy would be flavored vodkas!
…and they bake or like to add syrups to their coffee – Real fresh homemade vanilla ( is worth having

If you sew or knit:

…and they know what a Polar Vortex feels like – Reusable hand warmers (Thank you Rae Ann Kelly…also, if you add in some essential oil drops, these little warmers can be used as on the spot spa treatments to relax and soothe)  OR Gloves OR Scarves are always welcome. It’s cold!
…and they are tied to their electronics – Custom homemade laptop / tablet /smart phone case – Cloth with Zipper , Cloth Sleeve (That’s my Letter) or Leather (begrudgingly courtesy of Martha Stewart) … Don’t sew?  Here’s one just for you (thanks Design Sponge!)  My only additional recommendation, for laptops – add a strap!
…and they have children or like eclectic furnishing – Custom Floor Cushions (I would LOVE this) (Courtesy of BHG) or this more modern one from Apartment Therapy!
…and they like cloth bags for everything from snacks to makeup cases – Make them some snappy bags (Thank the Crafting Chicks!) or simple clutches (from Girl. Inspired)
…and they like bags period – knit them this awesome braided cable tote (Knitting in my Backyarn)
…and they have pets – It’s called a Bark-a-Lounger ( but I think a cat would enjoy it just as much J
…and they like to knit, sew or draw – A custom portable organizer for their tools would be a lovely addition (BBQCraft Sisters)
If you can draw or build:

…and they like to cook (or decorate as if they cook) – Custom personalized Tea Towels (Courtesy of Lana Red Studio)
…and they like to decorate – Custom Candle Luminaries / Vases (Via
…and they are always on the go – Create a wipe off Menu or Weekly To Do Board for them (Courtesy of Make and Takes) OR a corkboard map (Halligan Norris) that can inspire and remind!
…and they like to play games – Create them a custom oversized scrabble game (Courtesy of Infarrantly Creative)
…and they appreciate a good creative mug – Give them a chalkboard mug (Wit and Whistle) or a fabulously drawn Sharpie Mug (Tips from… Shhhhh!)  I recommend giving a pair as a gift.  Single mismatched mugs are more likely to be tossed but part of a pair makes it a set!
…and they like unique jewelry – Make them Stamped Washer Necklaces (Directions from 36th OR  try out the Spoon Ring idea by Kirsten and Danielle (I’ll take one in Silver please!)
…and they are into written correspondence or have an event requiring stationary coming upmonogrammed stationary (Brenna at BB Paper and Ink) is an amazing thing to receive.

If you’re clever:
…and they like bath products – Peppermint Bath Scrub (Courtesy of the Idea Room) OR Lemon Sugar Scrub (By Love, Pomegranate House) OR an All Natural Chocolate Body Scrub (Instructables for the win!)
…and they are recently married or have a new housePhoto Coasters (Oopsey Daisy) that are personal to them can’t miss.
…and they like books AND technology – This incredible tech organizer (Kate Pruitt) will be right up their Diagon alley.
…and they appreciate unique personal care items – Make some PooPouri  (MadefromPinterest) for them in special spray bottles!

If you’re lazy:

…and they like beer or cider – Give them a (really nice or imported) 6-pack in a festive manner (Life of a Modern Mom)!
… and they enjoy obscure references – take all the old CDs you never use (or some you got at the “Please someone buy this for a buck” bin) and put little stick rubber feet (sold in the stationary section) on the back for impromptu coasters.  You look hip; they have a place for that beer you gave them.
…and they appreciate the ironic t-shirt – Go in your closet (if you are over the age of 25) and get all the clever shirts you love.  Measure the sayings / images.  Go to the dollar store and get frames that will fit those sizes.  Cut out the section you want of each t-shirt, leaving about 2 inches all around, and wrap it around the cardboard that came in the frame.  Now you have a custom piece of artwork.  Keep some, give the rest away.  You are now a superhero.
…and they are a mediaphile – get them a subscription to a favorite magazine.  Buy a current copy and put a bow on it with a tag that says, “Enjoy your year of Name of Publication”.  Consider splurging and getting some of the full sets of vintage publications being released in packages to be really impressive.

So there you go, hopefully this list will inspire you.  If you know of some things I should check out, send me a note or comment below!  Enjoy!
Update:  Here's a link to the "Not-So-Girly Gift Guide" for those that think this list is too wimpy.



Unknown said...

If you are going the homemade liquor route, here is a recipe I just got for making your own Kahlua at home. Requires coffee, sugar, vodka, vanilla, and about 3 weeks of your time (if you can make a gift in advance):


2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
¼ cup of “Q” coffee pulverized
1 ½ cups of vodka
1 vanilla bean – cut in half


-Boil water and sugar until dissolved.
-Turn off heat and while stirring, add coffee.

-Let cool.

-Add vanilla bean to vodka.

-Combine vodka solution and coffee solution into a large jar.
-Cover tightly, store in a dark place.

-Shake vigorously every day for 3 weeks.

-Strain well & filter.

Makes 4 cups.


Miss Nicki said...

I had no idea you could make your own Kahlua?! That's AWESOME! Thank you for sharing this. I am adding it to the main list, when I do an update - I'll be sure to credit you.