Headstart on Hand-Fashioned Gifts

Several years ago our family declared, well in advance of Christmas, that all gifts were to be handmade. Skilled and unskilled knitters, sewers, crafters, artists, and cookers (as my mom was known by her grandkids) got busy.

The unwrapping was pretty great, with lots of lip-smacking and laughter. The post-Christmas “fridge” (aka the cold entryway) bulged with canning jars filled with plum dandy, homemade Nutella, vodka-steeped vanilla beans, seasoning blends, teas, vinegars, edible (?) body balms and blackberry preserves. Even the novice woodworker managed to fashion some crazy striped spreading knives from a broken branch off the backyard lilac. Several pairs of knitted fingerless “gloves” migrated to frigid work cubicles, making keyboarding not only bearable but accurate. And all the kids ended up with handmade toys – mostly wood, some stitched – a few of them exhibiting heirloom potential.

Our family has achieved a new level of disorganization in 2016, so we aren’t issuing any edicts about gifts. But, if you don’t start from scratch, it’s not too late to create “hand-enhanced” gifts for a doting pet owner, gardener, or first-time apartment dweller. Visit WLSSD’s Materials Recovery Center (MRC) Re-use area for free furniture, picture frames, windows, pallets, smaller decorative items and much more begging to be restyled by you.

Free paint and varnish, glues, and paint stripper from our Household Hazardous Waste Facility’s Reuse area will transform those treasures into better-than-new originals with your personal flourish at next to no cost!  We’ve included some pictures of actual MRC items for starters, and Pinterest is loaded with ideas for upcycled gifts. But, keep the dreaming and planning short – even though that’s half the fun of a project – and get going before Santa’s sleigh departs!

Susan Darley-Hill
Environmental Program Coordinator



Stencil a wooden chair


Picture frames: 1000 uses


Potting bench with benefits



Perfect first-time re-upholsterer


Old windows = Upscale room dividers