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Easy Homemade Gift Ideas

edible homemade gift

Getting a homemade gift can be a lot more special than something that has been bought. You know that the person who gave it to you has definitely put some time, thought and effort into it. And even a shop bought present can be personalised with the addition of a DIY touch, like giving a handmade bookmark with a book. I think that during the pandemic we’ve all come to appreciate things like this a bit more than before!

Of course making your own gifts can get out of hand. I remember watching Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas one year hoping for inspiration… unfortunately making the Christmas baubles involved going on a glass blowing course and quite a few of the other ideas were just as expensive!

So I’ve compiled a list of some easy and rather more financially accessible homemade gift ideas for you to try your hand at. You might still need to do a little bit of shopping for supplies, but overall it should work out cheaper. And there’s a range of skill levels to choose from so you should definitely find something you can impress with even if you’re a novice at this 😁

Just click on any heading below to go to the instructions for that homemade gift.

Container Candles

These are much easier to make than ordinary candles. The wax is designed to be poured into a container so all you need to do is melt it and add a wick. You can use different types of containers to suit the recipient. Try cute floral teacups, empty jars and tins or even a mug. You can scent or colour the candles if you like, but they’re fine plain too if you want to keep it as simple as possible.

One thing to bear in mind… Don’t melt the wax in a pan that you’re going to use again for cooking. Use an old one (your own or from a charity shop/car boot sale) or buy a cheap new one that you can use exclusively for making candles.

Leather journal

I received something similar from a friend a while back and I love it. These instructions are very easy to follow and the result looks really professional. If you don’t want to use leather you could use faux leather or suede, or even thick felt. You could make it even more special by personalising the cover in some way, such as embroidering an initial, painting/drawing a design on it or, if you’re lucky enough to own a pyrography kit or Cricut machine, you could use it to do something particularly fancy 🤩.

Edible homemade gifts

This blog post has a whole lot of different ideas for edible gift ideas which you can make at home, as well as all sorts of ways to present them beautifully. Edible gifts are great, as everyone loves a treat and as they’ll get eaten up you can keep giving them over and over!

homemade cupcakes gift
Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

Beaded bookmark

These beaded bookmarks are incredibly simple to make and make a great accompaniment when you’re giving a book or book voucher as a gift. The type of cord and beads you use can make the bookmark look very different. Plastic beads and bright colours are great for kids or use more sophisticated glass beads for adults.

Just make sure the cord you choose fits easily through the hole in each bead. When I made these I knotted the cord at the end instead of using a crimp. This means they’re even easier to make and you don’t need any special tools. Here’s are a couple I made and kept for myself…

 beaded bookmarks
 beaded bookmark

Bath bombs (and more)

Who doesn’t love bath bombs? They can be quite pricey when bought, but it’s relatively easy to make your own and you can choose your own fragrances, colours and other bits and pieces to add for decorative effect! You don’t need bath bomb moulds as a lot of instructions suggest. You can use any plastic moulds or silicone cupcake cases.

Depending on what size you make them you can put them in a large jar, a bag, a basket or a box to make a gorgeous gift.

Other bath products can also make lovely homemade gifts. I love these Tub Teas and you can buy heat sealable or drawstring tea bags to use very cheaply on eBay. Or how about these homemade bath salts? They look so pretty in the little bottles she’s used, but you could could use any jar or container with a secure lid to present them in.

If you’re on a roll, you could even make a range of different homemade bath products and present them in a gift hamper or basket for the ultimate pampering gift!

Painted terracotta pots

This has loads of ideas for different ways to paint plain terracotta pots. While I do love a terracotta pot, adding some spiffy painting does elevate them to a whole new level, without costing much at all. Add succulents, herbs or any other plants for an inexpensive gift that looks great!

Homemade gift hampers

If you want to give a thoughtful personalised gift but don’t have much in the way of crafty skills or you’re in a bit of a rush, gift hampers are a quick and easy homemade gift idea. They can be made up from favourite foods, pampering bath and body products, stationery or just about anything. If the person it’s for has a specific hobby or interest you could make up a hamper themed around that, e.g. reading, movies, knitting, etc.

A similar idea is to create gift kits, like these ‘Everything in a jar‘ ideas.

Tile coasters

These tile coasters are really easy to make with tiles that you can pick up cheaply but they look amazing once decorated with designer scrapbook papers. Tie them together with a pretty ribbon and you’ve got a gorgeous home made gift to give.

I hope these have given you some good ideas for making your own homemade gifts. If you give any of them a go, tag me on social media so I can see your creations!

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Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

eco friendly gift wrapping with newspaper

I decided to try and avoid buying wrapping paper as much as possible a while ago, as it seems awfully wasteful. As a result I’ve been investigating more eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas and, although I’m still learning, I thought you might like to hear about some of them.

Not everyone realises that the majority of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. While plain paper is, most gift wrap has plastic coating, glitter and/or synthetic inks added which means it’s destined for landfill rather than recycling. As a very general rule if you crumple the paper up and it stays crumpled then it may be recyclable, but if not then it’s almost certainly got plastic in it.

The great thing about switching to more eco friendly gift wrapping is that it is also usually more economical, so even if you’re just a cheapskate it’s still worth it 😆

Reusing for more eco friendly gift wrapping

Reuse old gift wrapping

The most obvious way to do this is by reusing gift bags and the wrapping paper that gifts you receive come in. If the wrapping paper is a bit wrinkled, then an iron can sometimes help with this. If the paper is plain and a bit wrinkled, then you can also crumple it up really well then flatten it back out again for a lovely crinkled effect. Add some ribbon and a gift tag and you have something that looks like it came from a boutique!

Save up bits and pieces

You can create some really gorgeous gift wrapping by saving up odds and end to reuse. As well as you can reuse tissue paper from clothes and other package deliveries as well as newspaper. I’ve seen some truly gorgeous gift wrapping ideas on Pinterest using newspaper so decided to try it myself. Here’s my effort using scraps of ribbon and two sprigs of lavender, which I think looks quite acceptable:

eco friendly gift wrapping with newspaper
You can also make gift bags from newspaper using the instructions in this blog post.

However I will add that newspaper looks best with just the text. And these days it is quite difficult to find large sections of text without photographs so it’s more suited to a small gift. You also have to be careful what text is on there. Obituaries or bad politics can give the wrong message 😁. One tip I’ve come across is to use foreign newspapers, which seems like a good solution if you can find one.

And of course if you don’t have any newspaper lying around already then buying some only makes sense if you’re going to use the majority of it for something else…

Old boxes can also be decorated to create lovely gift boxes of all shapes and sizes. You can paint them, cover them with fabric or paper scraps (or newspaper), or if they’re pretty enough leave them as is and just cover any logos up with a sticker or gift tag.

You can even use old toilet roll tubes to make cute little gift boxes! Take a look at this video to see how…

Other things that are worth saving to decorate your gift wrapping with are ribbons, string, buttons and fabric. As well as being more eco-friendly you’ll be known for always wrapping gifts beautifully! I have a drawer with all sorts of little bits and pieces in that I’ve kept, including stuff like the twist ties on Christmas crackers and the ribbon and bells that come with Lindt bunnies.

eco friendly gift wrapping using brown paper
Photo by Lore Schodts on Unsplash

All these odds and ends would usually go in the bin, but this way they get used at least one more time before this happens. You might inspire the recipient to reuse them again too when they see your gorgeous gift wrapping! 😃

Use charity shop finds

You can also gather up gift wrapping supplies from charity shops. As well as reusing old stuff you’ll also be supporting the charity. They’re usually pretty inexpensive too. Look for sheet music, old maps or fabric for wrapping in. And any type of haberdashery, faux flowers/leaves and brooches are all great to decorate with. Some clothing that has seen better days could also be cut up and used if the fabric is pretty.

You can easily make a fabric gift bag by sewing a rectangle with one end open. Either sew a seam to thread ribbon or string through and gather,  add a button and loop to fold the top over, or just create ribbon handles.
Oxfam also often sells fair trade and sustainable gift wrapping options. If you don’t want to buy second hand it’s worth taking a look around there.

Other eco friendly gift wrapping ideas

You could use these pretty recycled sari shopping bags from Oxfam to wrap a gift and it can then be used by the recipient afterwards too.

If you are giving a scarf as part of a present, use it to wrap the rest of the gift in. There are loads of videos on YouTube to show you how to do this.

Another very eco-friendly idea is to use a Furoshiki cloth to wrap present in. You can read all about Furoshiki techniques for wrapping gifts here. You can use any square piece of fabric for this or buy one like this example on Etsy.

Furoshiki wrapping cloths from TabithaEveCo on Etsy
Furoshiki wrapping cloths from TabithaEveCo on Etsy

Furoshiki cloths originated in Japan. The tradition is for the recipient to return the Furoshiki cloth to the gift giver to be reused. However even if you don’t get it back they’re unlikely to throw out something so pretty!

Recyclable options

Use plain brown or white paper – it can be more easily recycled. It’s definitely preferable to buying decorative wrapping papers that are likely to end up in landfill. A brightly coloured ribbon and gift tag is enough to make it look pretty (see below), or use any other bits and pieces, such as buttons, string, dried leaves or flowers, to decorate with. You can also draw or stamp onto the paper to spruce it up if you like.

Wrapped gift with gift tag
Seed paper is another terrific eco friendly option which also looks very upmarket. The paper contains seeds in it and can be planted afterwards. You can even print on some of them with an inkjet printer, like these from LittleGreenPaperShop on Etsy:

eco friendly gift wrapping - plantable seed paper
Plantable seed paper from LittleGreenPaperShop on Etsy

Other considerations

Ribbon or string is a much more environmentally friendly way to secure your gift wrapping than using sellotape. However if you do need to use some tape then try paper washi-tape. It’s pretty as well as being easier to recycle.
Finally, it’s also worth considering the environment when it comes to cards. I tend to only give cards to extra special people on extra special occasions and I make sure that all the greeting cards I create are printed on FSC® certified card stock. This means the materials used to make the product have been ethically sourced from well-managed and sustainable forests.

What ideas to you have to make your gift wrapping more eco friendly? I’d love to see your ideas on social media so please tag me if you post something along these lines.

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Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

I love reading and I know I’m not alone, so this week I’ve compiled some gift ideas for book lovers. Whether you’re looking for a book related gift or just something to give alongside an actual book I’ve got you covered 😆

Just to let you know, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and buy I’ll get a small commission. It won’t cost you anything though, just make a book lover happy 🙂

Giving an actual book

If you’re sure they’re not going to read it ahead of time and you know they want it, a real physical book is an obvious choice. Here are some ideas for making a book gift extra special.
This gift box includes a book from your chosen genre…

Ultimate book lover eco-friendly gift box
Ultimate book lover eco-friendly gift box from GiftsByAsheville on Etsy

Or you could include a bookmark with the book – they come in a huge range of prices to suit your budget.

Personalised Special Occasion Metal Photo Bookmark
Personalised Special Occasion Metal Photo Bookmark from NOTHS
Personalised Initial Italian Leather Bookmark
Personalised Initial Italian Leather Bookmark from NOTHS
Bookshelf illustrated bookmark
Bookshelf illustrated bookmark from Etsy

Alternative book gifts

One issue with giving an actual book is that even if you know exactly the type of books the recipient likes, and you know they haven’t read the one you have in mind yet, there’s no guarantee they won’t still read it before the big day. One particular member of my family has been notorious in the past for buying himself the exact thing you’ve got him a few days before his birthday…
So buying a paper book isn’t always practical for every book lover.
A large majority of people also now read on an ebook reader. I love my Kindle as it makes it easy to carry around hundreds of books at a time and I have a habit of reading more than one book at a time (never more than one fiction book at a time though – that would just be weird).

guy reading lots of books at once
This would be me without my Kindle

Of course if they don’t already have one and your budget stretches to it, then buying them a Kindle would be an amazing gift. But otherwise you could choose a specific Amazon Kindle Book and gift it to them or get them an Amazon gift card bookmark to choose their own ebook (or anything else from Amazon).

Other gift ideas for book lovers

These are some original ideas for when you don’t want to risk giving any kind of book but still want to give a book themed present.
How about one of these T-shirts?

Thinks I do T-shirt
Thinks I do T-shirt from JamrockDesignApparel on Etsy
Book Hangover T-shirt
Book Hangover T-shirt from Etsy

Or these personalised map bookends are terrific too!

Personalised Map Location Letter Bookend
Personalised Map Location Letter Bookend from NOTHS

This rather cool book shaped smart light opens and closes for different effects.

Gingko Mini LED Smart Book Light from I Want One Of Those

Stocking filler gift ideas for book lovers

And finally, here are some small stocking filler gift ideas for book lovers…
You could also give one of the bookmarks suggested earlier as a stocking filler.

Or who doesn’t love a badge?

Book Lovers Pinback Button Badge
Book Lovers Pinback Button Badge from ColourMeFun on Etsy

And of course this year face masks have appeared in all different styles!

Book Lover Face Mask
Book Lover Face Mask on Etsy

And mugs are always a hit too.

I hope these ideas are helpful when shopping for the book lover in your life… or even if you just fancy treating yourself!

Baby reading book
Just one more chapter!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on social media so others can read it too.

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Is Regifting OK?


This is a bit of a touchy topic… Is regifting OK or does it make you a horrible person? I’m not completely against the idea, but if you’re going to do it, it needs to be done right or there could be tears!

In a situation where you get identical gifts from different people, I definitely think it’s ok to regift one of them to someone who would appreciate it. There’s really no point you having two of the same thing (unless it’s bottles of wine!) And as you still have one of them, both recipients can still see you appreciating the gift they chose for you.
I have occasionally regifted in other situations, but I must admit I do feel a bit guilty about it. It was kind of the person to give me a gift and it feels slightly ungrateful to regift it. But if it’s something I really don’t want or need, then is it really so bad to give it to someone else who would like to have it? And presumably that person doesn’t know you very well (or doesn’t care) if they got you something you don’t like…

I guess it’s a matter of weighing up the pros and cons in each situation…

Pros of regifting

  • The gift will (hopefully) end up with someone who actually appreciates it.
  • You don’t need to find somewhere to store something you’ll never use.
  • It can help you declutter if you have a stash of unopened and unwanted gifts lying around.
  • It’s better than throwing it away (though perhaps you could donate it to a charity shop instead?)
  • It can save you some time and money (but this isn’t really a good enough reason on its own!)

Cons of regifting

  • It is a little bit deceitful as you’re unlikely to be honest with the original gift giver (and maybe not even with the new recipient).
  • It’s not going to be as personal as something you’ve chosen for that person yourself.
  • If the person who first gave it to you finds out, it’s going to be embarrassing at best, the end of a friendship at worst!
via Giphy

What’s OK to regift?

Are some things more acceptable to regift than others? I definitely think so.

I personally think it’s OK to regift books, booze and bath and beauty products. There are certain smells I really can’t stomach in a bath product but that another friend might love, so it makes sense to give it to that friend. I also think things for the home, like candles or glassware, are usually fine.

Things that I believe shouldn’t be regifted are handmade or personalised gifts, heirlooms or sentimental items. But you might think differently and I won’t judge you! 😁

Some tips

If you decide that it’s OK to regift, then here are some tips to help you avoid any embarrassment. They’re not really rules (you can obviously decide for yourself what’s OK and what’s not), just some guidelines to consider…

  • Never regift within the same circle of friends or family unless you’re going to be honest with both the original gift giver and the new recipient.
  • Only regift brand new items that are still in perfect condition – giving something that you’ve used is probably a step too far…
  • It’s probably also not very good form to give away handmade or personalised gifts.
  • Don’t regift something that was given to someone else in your household without permission.
  • Check the original box and packaging for any clues that it was originally gifted to you, e.g. any notes or cards inside the box, anything written inside the cover of a book, some of the original wrapping paper still attached with tape…
  • Perhaps put some extra effort into the gift wrapping and get an extra special greeting card to make up for the fact that you didn’t spend any money on the gift.
  • Make sure it is something that the new recipient really wants. Is it something you would have bought for that person if you didn’t have one available? Put some thought into it and don’t just give things away to any old person for the sake of it.
via Giphy


If regifting just doesn’t sit well with you, there are alternatives…

  • Keep it and use it only when the person who gave it to you is around.
  • Keep it and store it away somewhere.
  • Be particularly careless with it and hope it breaks!
  • If it’s something edible or drinkable that you don’t like, open it when other people are around so they can finish most of it.
  • Donate it to charity, homeless shelter or food bank.
  • Sell it. Though the only advantage of this over regifting is that the recipient won’t mind that you were originally given it as a gift.
  • Give it away but tell them it was originally a gift to you rather than packaging it up as though you bought it as a gift for them.
  • Give it back to the person who gave it to you. They’ll know you didn’t like it and won’t make the same mistake again. This alternative is only for the bravest!

Think about this: how would you feel if you were in the other person’s position? Would you be hurt or offended if someone regifted a gift you gave them? Or if you were the recipient of a regifted item, would you mind? If not then it’s probably OK for you to do it. But otherwise you might need to decide whether the guilt is worth it 😆

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Furoshiki Techniques for Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping

Furoshiki Techniques

Are you looking for more eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts? If so, using a furoshiki cloth is about as green as you can get. There are several different furoshiki techniques to suit a variety of gifts shapes and sizes, so it’s as versatile as it is environmentally friendly. And it looks beautiful!

Furoshiki techniques

What is Furoshiki?

Furoshiki refers to a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. Although we’re talking about Furoshiki as a gift wrapping technique here, it’s original purpose was quite different. Fabric was used centuries ago to wrap imperial treasures to keep them safe while being stored. It was later used to describe the fabric used at communal bathing houses, where the fabric was used to bundle up belongings and as a mat. The literal translation of Furoshiki is ‘Bath-spread’ (Furo means Bathing and Shiki means Spread).

Later on Furoshiki cloths were used to protect wares during transportation by merchants and to protect and decorate gifts, and it has now become a popular way to wrap gifts not only in Japan but also around the world. It is also still sometimes used as a bag for carrying things around.

But you didn’t come here for a history lesson, did you? 😁

Furoshiki wrapping techniques

There are plenty of different ways to wrap gifts with a furoshiki cloth. The square piece of cloth can be plain or patterned, and can be made from silk, cotton, nylon or any other fabric which is not too stiff. Furoshiki cloths come in all sizes so can be used to wrap big or small gifts.

Basic Furoshiki technique

The basic Furoshiki technique is for wrapping a square or rectangular gift. Here’s a step by step guide to show you how to go about it:

Basic Furoshiki Technique
Basic Furoshiki Technique

  1. Place the gift diagonally in the centre of the cloth.
  2. Fold the cloth along the one side of the gift.
  3. Wrap the corner over the top of the gift.
  4. Tuck excess corner under the gift.
  5. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Fold one of the loose ends neatly over the top of the gift.
  7. Repeat on the other side.
  8. take the two corners of these loose ends and tie in a double knot, then arrange the knot nicely to look like a bow.

It might take a bit of practice to get steps 6. to 8. to look neat but you’ll soon get the hang of it. If you’re struggling to get the corners to tie a double knot then your Furoshiki cloth might be too small for the gift. The knot also creates a handy carrying handle!

If you’d rather watch a video of how to do this, here’s a good one:

You can also use this basic technique to experiment with a variety of different knots and tucking techniques for your own creative take on it.

Furoshiki techniques for bottles

Furoshiki is also great for wrapping bottles. Here’s a step by step guide to this technique:

Furoshiki Bottle Wrapping
Furoshiki Bottle Wrapping Technique

  1. Place the bottle in the middle of the cloth and left two diagonally opposite corners.
  2. Tie the corners in a double knot on the top of the bottle.
  3. Take the other two corners and wrap them in opposite directions around the middle of the bottle.
  4. Tie these corners in a double knot in the middle of the bottle.

It’s actually pretty easy but still looks very impressive!

You can also take a look at this video for three fancy ways to wrap two bottles at once using a Furoshiki cloth.
Give these Furoshiki techniques a go to wrap both boxes and bottles. You can adapt them and experiment to create your own beautiful gift packaging.

You can get Furoshiki cloths on Etsy, Amazon and plenty of other online places – here’s a gorgeous reversible one from Etsy:

48cm Isa Monyo Reversible Furoshiki | Japanese Apricot Blue/Beige
48cm Isa Monyo Reversible Furoshiki

(Just so you know, this is an affiliate link so if you click &buy I’ll get a small commission, but it won’t cost you anything.)
In traditional Japanese culture the Furoshiki cloth is always returned to the gift giver so it can be reused so it’s the ultimate eco-friendly gift wrapping. Feel a bit cheeky asking for it back? They’re unlike to throw the cloth away and they can reuse it for all sorts of things. You might even inspire the recipient to wrap their next gift to someone in it! Let’s make it a thing 😃