In early October, I visited the set of HGTV’s new craft special, 15 Fresh Handmade Gift Ideas. I don’t believe I’m going overboard or being utterly biased when I say that this first-ever HGTV/Etsy/Michele Beschen/Taniya Nayak collaboration is the best handmade TV show of the year. And if you think I’m reaching, tune in and judge for yourself this Friday at 7/6.
Hosts Taniya Nayak and Michele Beschen share more than 100 handmade creative gift ideas in 15 of the most-popular gift categories. We’re talking one-of-a-kind presents by Etsy crafters perfect for men, women, kids, pets, trendsetters, techies and everyone else on your holiday gift list. Plus, there’s easy-to-follow instructions for 15 fresh handmade gifts you can create that are demonstrated in the show and outlined on HGTV.com.
Michele Beschen explains the project.
Amy Sedaris proved she’s a deliriously entertaining hostess with her bestselling first book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, which included tips on everything from removing vomit stains to avoiding awkward introductions. While it was light on crafts, it was not light on side-splitting laughs.
The riotousness continues with her latest release, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, and the handmade movement will never be the same. Amy’s book tackles such questions as “What is the quickest way to obtain feathers from a bird?” and “Why is there a half-naked man wearing a short yellow robe on page 250?” Here are her answers to our interview questions that have nothing to do with the half-naked man.
Besides the obvious difference in craft content, what makes Simple Times stand out from your first book, I like You?
Click For Amy’s Answer
I confess. I’m in love.
If I could have any job in the world, it would be to read Eat Drink Chic for eight hours a day. I’d even pay to put in overtime. Eat Drink Chic is the brainchild of Amy Moss, Australian graphic designer turned style blogger. Amy ditched the graphic design business and now earns a living styling shop windows for Borders, conceptualizing events and parties (check out this ice cream sundae parlor) and managing her blog. Amy even designs flirty and feminine paper goods and DIY projects readers can download for free. Her designs are great for weddings, birthday parties or a plain old Tuesday.
There’s a great reward in creating something with your hands and seeing the finished product. Here are some ideas to jolt your creativity into action.
Start small with dollar bill origami from wide open spaces.
Or branch out by growing wheat grass to hold seating cards or making a Father’s Day gift package.
If your crafting ideas bob toward outdoor pool time, check out Diary of a Crafty Chica’s floating drink holders.
For the more ambitious crafter, check out DIY Network’s wine label decoupage dresser.
The Worsted Witch shares sweet painted animal silhouettes and a linen mobile.
Roudy Stroudy combines baking, thrifting and partying into a crafty lemon-themed party.
One of my favorite downtime browsing destinations (shhh, don’t tell the bosses) is Etsy.com. If you’ve never been or if you’re a home artisan and don’t have your stuff on there, visit a.s.a.p. This site has anything and everything — art, jewelry, clothes, toys, decorative housewares and more.
I’m a handcrafted jewelry fanatic so I’m always searching for the latest finds and ideas, but when I want to branch out, I can’t resist their new “Pounce” search feature, which brings up some undiscovered gems — like this made-to-order vase shaped like your silhouette:
Better still, I just found out they have videos too. If you’re a crafter, check out their “How-To Tuesday” series, but they also have a new series — “There’s No Place Like Here” — that looks promising. The videos will explore the lives and style of select Etsy users to see how they’re infusing their creativity into their decorative spaces. The first one up spotlights the romantic whimsy of Dawn Younger-Smith’s (a.k.a. boudoirqueen) homey showroom.
While Dawn’s taste isn’t quite mine, it’s inspiring to see her creativity and style. I can’t wait to see what Etsy has coming up next.
On winter weekends, I’m usually stuck inside the house cleaning (ugh, chores) or reading a book. I thought I might get more creative with my time and try some crafts.
Since I don’t have the fully stocked craft room (you should see my stepmother’s — Martha would be proud!), I plan to start with some simple recycled crafts — that is, projects that use old or found objects and transforms them into something else. This way I likely have materials on hand or can go collect them from the thrift store or friends (budget-friendly!).
Our sister site, Ecologue.com, has a whole section devoted to crafty recycling projects culled from here, DIYNetwork.com and some other sites. I’ve long been eying this cushy bath rug that’s made from old t-shirts knotted into a plastic netted mat:
But Ecologue.com isn’t the only site with good ideas. Craftbits.com has a list of recycled crafts — most of them are smaller trinkets. Also made from old fabric scraps, this wreath is a little Christmas-y for February, but I have some old black, white and red scarves that could mod this idea up:
Another favorite online design destination, Design*Sponge always finds cool ideas to feature in their DIY section. This wall art re-uses old pant hangers and vintage papers in a cool way (you’ve gotta love that Dwight Shrute bobblehead doll too!):
Also on Design*Sponge, I love, love, love these mini terrariums, which you can give away as party favors (I’m a sucker for plants):
Another favorite browsing spot is Craftgossip.com, which culls the web for new ideas and spotlights their favorites. These googley-eyed thumb tacks are really cheeky; I bet I’d get a few smiles out of my coworkers if I dress up my bulletin board with them: