We all love hand-made personalized gifts.  They are very special and one of a kind.  We think of the giver every time we use them or see them.

One of them is my daughter’s creation.  She makes beautiful crafted all-purpose cards especially for me that I save for special weddings and occasions. She makes the cards using good white stationery stock and flower and botanical prints by Pierre-Joseph Redoute which she orders online. She uses a glue gun and craft-store scalloped scissors to cut the print. The cards are blank inside for a personal sentiment, but the touch I love most is that she glue-guns a ribbon on both front and back of the card which is tied in a bow and closes and opens the card. She also makes mailing labels for envelopes matching the flower on the card and sometimes I get an added boost of matching printed address labels. These cards are special and people have called me to thank me for the card as much as the gift.

The other gift that people and myself find handy is making personal-use business cards. You can buy the packaged plain business cards at a store like Office Max - I bought a package on sale - 1,000 cards for ten dollars and I use the matte finish. My own card has a clip-art picture of a house and our name, address and phone number. There is room to put an email address, too. For close friends, I add my cell phone - that’s about all you can add and still have it look nice. For gifts for friends, I put a clip art of their passion - a flower, a heart or something meaningful and personal to them; or their initials, and add their address and phone number and email address. You can find business card holders on sale and when i do, I buy a bunch. They are usually around $3.00. I print up an amount to fit in the holder - usually it’s two sheets worth - which hold 10 cards each - or 20 cards to a holder. If the recipient loves them and uses them, I keep the info saved in my Word program and can easily print more if they need them or change their information. It’s only the cost of the ink and couple of sheets to do that. I use mine all the time, when I meet people and they want either my phone or email, it’s easier to give them a card. Also, in a crowded store, when the salesperson asks for phone and/or address, I just put the card in front of them so the whole waiting line doesn’t have to hear it.

The third gift is my personal favorite; a memory book for children or grandchildren. They have some really nice ones for $10; make sure it is a nice sturdy one. When our family all relocated around the same time, I found tons of old report cards, school pictures, mementos, certificates and cards that I had saved in the attic. When we all packed things up, no one wanted the ‘junk’ as they called it. I put everything in one big box and moved it with me. After the move, I took the ‘junk’ box out, which were really family memories of the kids’ growth and accomplishments. I sorted them into 3 piles, one for son and one for daughter–and one for combined memories of their formative years (grandparents, parents, pets, house pictures, etc.)  I recopied some of them to a smaller size so the book would not be so voluminous!  The whole project took me 3 months and I worked on it a little each day: I have to say I looked forward to creating it each day, reliving those memories.  Also:

• In the beginning of each book, pictures of grandparents & parents weddings, dates, pictures, and houses. I brought the pictures I wanted to use to a store to copy them or you can copy them at home if your copier does a good job. It might cost about the same.

• Both books had the same beginnings of history until it came to the part when each was born.

• The next portion was of their own history from pregnancy to birth including photos. Then their school years. I selected specific award letters, or special reports or school activities about and copied and reduced them so I could fit many in places on the pages.

• I copied quotes and special readings from the internet and pasted them alongside pictures and events and awards.

• Each portion of ‘personal’ notes were just for them personally.

• The last section was ‘where they were now’ and included degrees, special interests, new houses, new babies, etc.

It helped my own project that I sent a book to my sister for her to make for her daughter. She and I shared this memory-lane project and she found pictures I didn’t have and vice versa. I was able to discard the ‘junk’ box once I had copied and pasted all the memories in the book. Although I knew both my son and daughter would enjoy receiving this ‘memory’ and collection of family pictures, I had no idea how revered and special it would become to them. They showcase them and take these books out all the time to look at old pictures–aunts and uncles and old cars and houses we lived in.

The last gift selection is not a DIY, but a gift idea. Hand-made items such as needlepoint and yes, they are special gifts from the heart and hands, and cherished. I do not do needlepoint, crochet or knit. What I do, is attend our own as well as other church craft fairs where neighbors and friends portray their handiwork for sale at most reasonable prices. I have purchased a hand-knit sweater ($8.00) and a matching shawl ($8.00); hand-knit bags ($10.00) and many other lovely scarves, aprons, baby clothes, blankets, home and holiday gifts for $10 and under. Don’t pass by church craft sales - stop and shop; they are one of a kind and professionally hand-made. These ladies know their trade.  Happy gifting!

© Marie Coppola Revised December 2016