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The Loveliness of Homemade Gifts

~ A gift from the heart is a treasure from the start. ~

I am so pleased to be hosting this week's Loveliness Fair! As you've probably come to Loveliness_logo_4 guess, I am a big crafter at heart - if not always in practice. Which means my closets are full of all kinds of crafty supplies, but that does not always mean the crafts come to be! Making gifts by hand means more than just having seven kinds of glue and every shade of paint at my fingertips - it means first making the time to make the crafts. This is where things can get tricky.

I grew up spending the holiday season helping my mum prepare for Christmas. I fondly remember days spent around our dining room table helping to decorate candles with bits of printed napkins and adorning homemade ornaments with sequins and ribbons. I remember the packages of penuche fudge she'd make up every year for my teachers. I remember how proud I was to hand out those gifts. I would like to emulate my mum - not just for the gifts she made, but for the memories she made for my brother and me. I would like my children to know how special it is to give of ourselves at Christmas - and all the year round!

The good news is, Christmas is still seven weeks from today! So there is hope! There is plenty of time to craft, cook or create some homemade gifts to give this year! Please take a look at what some of my blogging friends have to say about gifts they are making, and those they have given and received. Having read through all their posts, I am completely inspired and my gift list is now taking shape!

~ We begin with Margaret who sets the tone beautifully with a post full of honest and loving thoughts on gift giving.

~ Krisann's cheerful family quilt was a gift for her mother - a patchwork of love and an heirloom as well.

~ Katherine is felting a pair of clog slippers - a warm and wonderful gift for her dad. (Katherine, are you taking orders?) :)

~ Jennifer's making candles with her children. I love this idea - a simple yet satisfying craft. I can almost smell that sweetly scented beeswax.

~ Rachel's beautiful family has been blessed by her talent at making wonderful handknits - sweaters, hats, scarves. Simply lovely!

~ Leonie enjoys making handmade cards with her children - one of my favorite crafts too! She provides several very helpful links, as well.

~ Charlotte also enjoys cardmaking at the holidays and she has some yummy recipes to share. I for one would be thrilled to receive such a treat at the holidays!

~ Cheryl's children are preparing a special shirt of honor for their daddy this year - I love this idea and plan to "borrow" it myself. (Hope you're not reading this, honey!)

~ Mary is planning all kinds of special knitted gifts with her children. I love her quote:

"The time the kids spend to choose colors and yarns, to create something, is time spent LOVING the person getting the gift ... It's time spent on the person -- so much more priceless than buying a present."

So very well said, Mary.

~ Maria shares the sweetest pictures of her four darling children sporting colorful crocheted scarves that she made for them! What a merry bunch!

~ Speaking of scarves, Rebecca has also been busy knitting up some gorgeous handknits for her lucky family members. She also shares a fabulous decoupage idea as well as her son's colorful handmade rosaries and sacrifice beads.

~ Can there be a more treasured gift than one made by a child? Erin shares beautiful gifts made by her children through the years. I especially love those bookcases!

~ You are in for a visual feast of handmade gifts at Louise's A Time to Keep: Life on The Good Shepherd's Farm. (Oh, how I love that name!) Make sure you click on her thumbnails for descriptions of each gift.

~ Elena beautifully captures the joy of homemade gifts she's given over the years and reflects on two special gifts she's received. 

~ Kristina shares many tasty gift ideas! Her biscotti sounds scrumptious, and those homemade lollipops will delight children of all ages!

~ Perhaps the gifts we look for most hopefully at Christmas are those treasures made by our children's own hands, inspired by their beautiful imaginations. Alice shares her children's lovely artwork, part of a new Friday tradition at The Cottage.

~ Marjorie shares fond family memories and a terrific idea for a children's dress-up box ~ a gift that will keep on giving through many play days all year!

~ Angel reminds us of the true holiday spirit - opening our homes and our hearts to those around us. Her simple but lovely hospitality ideas are so inspiring!

~ Jenn has a fantastic idea for recycling those old, but beloved Christmas cards into exquisite ornaments! I love anything with all that glitter - so festive!

~ Tracy shares this delightful gift idea for homemade peppermint cocoa:

"This year, I'm going to make a gift in a jar of homemade hot chocolate mix with chopped up peppermint candy canes, making it homemade peppermint hot chocolate. I received this as a gift one year, and it was SO yummy!

I'll make up labels on the computer with a candy cane border that says "Peppermint Hot Cocoa," and the instructions. And I think I'm going to buy some candy cane type of material, if I can find it, to cut out squares, and tie with ribbon to the top of the jar. I've been saving my jars!"

Tracy, that sounds so good, I may have to make the first jar for myself! ;)

~ Kim has put together a lovely collection of simple and wonderful homemade gift ideas. I especially love that votive candle idea, Kim!

~ And while Michele awaits the greatest gift of all this Christmas season, she is reflecting on the why's and the why not's of homemade gifts. Michele, your holiday plans sound just perfect to me. :)

So are you inspired? Are you ready to head to the craft store, the grocer, the yarn shop, perhaps? Check out the many gift idea books available at your local library. And as Mary points out, there are many, many Christmas magazines out on the stands. I agree completely with Mary that the best issue by far is Martha Stewart's Holiday Issue; her theme this year is - how perfect - Handmade Gifts. (She must have heard about our Fair!) ;)

There are also many places online to get ideas. Two of my favorites are Mary Ellen's O Night Divine and Lindsey's Advent for Evangelicals.

I hope you have been inspired by the wonderful posts shared by my friends. Thank you to all who took part in my Fair, and thank you again to Elizabeth for thinking up the Fairs in the first place! Next on the list is the Loveliness of Thanksgiving to be hosted by KC at her happy Cabbage Patch.

And if you have an idea or a post for today's Fair, please drop me a comment below and I will gladly add you in!

~ As the season of Advent grows near, may your heart be filled with hope, your home with joy and your days with quiet peace. ~

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