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Guest column | Darcy Maness

Handmade gifts convey lots of love

Most of us have been around long enough to remember homespun holiday gifts as the gifts of choice each holiday season. Mom, Pop, Gram, Gramps and all the aunties would "ooh" and "aww" over your brilliant craftsmanship. Those handmade gifts would be placed out with the holiday decor every year that ensued. (Some of my kid's creations are still placed out nearly 30 years later.) The statement was clear: Your gift means more to me than any store-bought trinket. Nothing says love better than a repeat performance of your personal time and individual thoughtfulness.

Not only is crafting fun and affordable, but because of the economic times it's what's in for this gift-giving season. The craft stores are all on board, offering discounts that will make a crafter out of the most craft-challenged people. Here are just a few tips to get you going:

• Garage sales are a gold mine. I picked up three large tubs of crafting materials for $15 that I divided among six granddaughters.

• Drawers with remnants. If you're like me, old socks, buttons and remnant materials are stuffed away "in case," and in this case, they're going to be used for crafts. Make hand puppets from the old socks and buttons and have a puppet show with the kids. It's hours of fun and encourages creative thinking on their part.

• Go through the garage for construction remnants. I once made candleholders from varied height four-by-fours topped off from a pole barn frame. A quick, creative paint job and a pillar candle on top made lovely gifts for the married couples in my life. Glass blocks make a great canvas for a winter scene and reveal colorful light when placed in a sunny spot.

• Crafting books for the novice. Okay, let's face it, some of us need a little boost in this department, and the stores are overflowing with crafting books for every person's level.

• Have your old sewing machine maintained. The average cost is $15. I do this about every five years or so, when I get a wild hair to hem a curtain. I wonder why I wait so long to have it done. Christmas material can be purchased cheaply and makes great curtains, tablecloths, napkins, etc., that can be used for years to come. The grandchildren absolutely love the enchanting look these simple tasks create.

Although just a smattering of samples, these should be enough to get your creative juices flowing.

Remember the hours of painting and creating we used to do on Christmas and days to follow? Allow the children to enjoy such memory-making as well. Their new creations will be placed out for years to come and each time the items are brought out, they'll reminisce about the days of old that created that memory.

When it comes right down to it, I'm not really into it as much for the economic savings as I am for the priceless memories I'm going to create with my granddaughters. And there's no department store gift that can measure up to that.

Darcy Maness lives in Pasco County.

Handmade gifts convey lots of love 12/19/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 19, 2009 11:50am]
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