Thursday, November 13, 2008

simple gifts

As the cold months set in, I'm readying myself for the holidays. It's so easy to get caught up in the energy to spend a lot of money, but this year feels like it might be different for many of us. Simplicity has been on my mind. The holidays provide us with a wonderful opportunity to find deeper meaning in gifts... meaning that money can't buy. We all know it can't buy happiness. A handmade and personal gift doesn't have to be complicated, nor take a lot of time to create. What it does take is thought and care... a wonderful thing to share and teach others. I'm planning on posting some suggestions for a handmade holiday throughout the next month, starting with gift ideas for the youngest. There is a world of possibility over at Etsy if you would like to support the giving of handmade gifts, but I'm encouraging you to make something yourself, as well. These projects will be based on many things you already have on hand. No complicated instructions.

What do the stack of well loved baby blankets above have to do with this post? I'd love you to consider making one for a baby or toddler you'd like to gift with warmth this season. These simple receiving blankets (that my mother and I whipped up quickly for my early second child) still wind up in bed with my daughter every night. The double layer of flannel makes them the perfect weight in winter for swaddling an infant, and a cozy little lap blanket for an older child curling up with books. We've washed each one a hundred times in the last four years, and they just get softer. Whether you are a new sewer or a skilled quilter, this basic blanket is satisfying in its speed, utility, and appreciation by the recipient.

Simple Gift #1: Easy Flannel Blanket

-two complimenting yards of flannel (thrifted flannel sheets are wonderful)

1. Pre-wash fabric.

2. Pin fabric right side to right side

3. Sew around all four sides using a 1/2 seam allowance, but leave a 12 inch opening somewhere for turning.

4. Turn your blanket to the right side. Tuck in and pin opening, so that it's even with the rest of the blanket.

5. You now have two finishing options:

a. handstitch the opening closed with tiny even stitches or
b. topstitch the entire blanket with a 1/4 seam allowance or less.

6. Wrap it up and present it to a new mom or little person you love.

More simple gift ideas next week.

New Note:
I just visited Amanda's blog and see that we were thinking similar blanket thoughts! If you haven't been to her new site, Mama to Mama, please head over for inspiration on how to channel your creative energy into a wonderful cause. You've probably already heard of her caps to cap project... well she's just added a call for receiving blankets. So while you're stitching up one for a friend (above), you can also stitch up one for a newborn in Haiti. Simple gifts for the world...
Pin It


  1. Beautiful idea, Maya, and I love the softness of the flannel as it gets washed and washed and loved and loved!

  2. beautiful. (now if only i cud sew).
    If you lived anywhere near san diego, i wud take classes from you!! :) btw. thats a good idea for u! why dont u start some weekend sewing classes?? more income! i am not so artistic like you but i know art when i see it!

    all i can do is drool and appreciate from far! :)like i do with ur hand made goodies!!
    good luck to ya! love ur stuff!

  3. I need a sewing machine! It's on my "someday" list...

    Ferment raw sauerkraut
    Sew blankets and clothes

    Perhaps the sauerkraut wouldn't be as welcome a gift for the holidays, though.

    LOVE your blog. Have I said that already?

  4. There really is nothing sweeter than a tightly swaddled babe.

    Your wraps are beautiful maya & I love that she still loves them.

  5. What a great idea! Maybe I'll make one for my toddler...I have a bunch of flannel lying around that I need to use...Thanks for inspiring me today!

  6. I had two flannel blankets like this when I was small...I carried them everywhere. B has 2 that a friend made and now he carries them everywhere too...perfect baby gift...timeless...xo t

  7. I love flannel! But I can't seem to find it anywhere around here. Not a single piece. Maybe they just don't make it anymore here? I don't know... But I had many projects based on flannel on my notebook, and I can't make them. I wish I could make some of these blankets. At least, I managed to make three caps already! I'll make some more before I send them to Amanda.

  8. This is such a cute, great idea. I'll definitely do this!

  9. Thank you so much for doing this series. I love the blanket idea!

  10. Just so absolutely beautiful Maya.....what a wonderful idea. I want one of those blankets, do I count as an"older child". :)

  11. for those older childen (and adults like melissa :) who want to wrap themselves in the handmade warmth of flannel a patchwork or simple fabric scarf lined with flannel is a really lovely gift.

  12. Those are beautiful. I don't have many baby babies in my life, but I have 19 preschoolers...

  13. Wonderful idea!
    Handmade gifts continue to touch the heart, long after the holidays are over.
    Keep up your great work!

    (My verification word is cherati... how interesting!)

  14. I often think simple is the lovliest. I love the colours too. I may have to make one for my little newborn arriving in a week, although it might be made after the arrival! ;o)

  15. I have just the flannel to make my son a puppy dog blanket! I'll post pictures on Monday!

  16. Gee, I like your blog :)
    I have come across you a number of times but not recently until I followed a link (from where I can't remember...) today & just love what you are doing & saying & presenting. Brilliant. I've subscribed to your feed & look fwd to reading mooooore!
    Thanks :)