Painted Dish Towels and Aprons: Hand printed dish towels are simple and pretty and easy enough to achieve. Aprons are fun, let them loose with fabric markers and you have a time stamp of who was drawing what at the time.
Coasters: We have a shop nearby that allows you to put photos onto t-shirts, mouse pads, mugs and coasters – nice enough but really only a doting parent would want to wear a t-shirt with a photo of your kids and even then it would get relegated to car wash days – and you know how often we wash cars! However artwork is great, we put artwork onto coasters and they looked great and they are useful. I chose a theme and medium (butterflies and fat markers) to level the playing fields so that they all turned out similarly to form a set.
Painted Clay goods: These are great gifts but you need to think of a simple design so that they can actually be used… I don’t want to serve tea to visitors in mugs my toddlers have smudged with black paint, and another child has practiced his drawing of yet another cartoon character… think aesthetically pleasing folks and something that even little kids can do. One year we put star stickers onto mugs and then sponge painted them dark blue. Once the paint was dry we carefully peeled the stickers off leaving little white stars – simple and effective.
Calendars: I usually give a calendar to grannies and very close friends – smothered in pictures and artwork of the kids – only they will be interested in this – not your bosses cousin mind you! – I also pop the birthdays onto it – they want to remember but I can’t expect them to remember se7en! I make them printable, using free calendar templates from the web. I certainly don’t want my kids spending weeks drawing calendars in triplicate… I am not going to have much luck with that and I sure don’t want to be decorating calendars.
A great way to embellish them is to let your kids make stickers to mark special events. All you need is a box of blank stickers and a couple of markers and give your kids a few to decorate every day while you are making supper and within a week you will have one hundred bazillion stickers that are useful for a number of things (decorating gifts and christmas card envelopes and so on), not least of all calendars!
Tie-Dyes: Bandana’s, T-shirts, socks, shoelaces, lanyards, anything that’s fabric – its easy, its fun and you can really get all your Christmas crafting done in a mornings work. Here’s how.
Cushions: Fabric paint is fun and my kids love the slushy thick paints, it is easy to whip these into cushions – even if you are not a natural seamstress – like me!