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More Things to Make and Do

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This year, delight your pals with a present you created yourself or gift them with materials for handiwork-to-be. It doesn't take much to get making! Here's a few of my tried-and-true faves and a few from the wishlist.

making reform school loom

School Loom

A friend of mine took a weaving class and the abstract textile she came up with was amazing. I've been eyeing this loom at for a while now, and would love to make a bit of soft wall art, or a little ruglet.

making lotta jansdotter simple sewing book

Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing

Lotta Jansdotter is an icon of DIY design, and her Simple Sewing book is a resource of unintimidating patterns for newbie and veteran seamsters and seamstresses.

making notebook

Notebook Paper Embroidery Kit

Send a super-special note to someone you love. There's something strangely thrilling about a blank piece of loose-leaf, and this fabric sheet will only get better with your hand-embroidered note or doodle.

making speedy stamp kit

Speedball Speedy Stamp Carving Kit

Stamping is a blast, and it's genuinely easy to do with little-to-zero-know how. Years ago I bought one of these Speedball kits—which come with everything you need to start carving—and have been personalizing plain stationery and paper ever since. Do customized stuff for your friends, or give them a kit and let them have all the fun.

making print workshop hand printing

Print Workshop: Hand Printing Techniques + Truly Original Projects

Buy this book. Get one for yourself, get one for your friends. It is awesome. The minute I picked it up I got crafter's hyperventilation, or whatever that feeling is when the only thing you want to do in the world is just start making something that you see in front of you. Picnic sets! Sun printing! Iron-on dartboards! Silkscreen! Seriously, this thing is awesome. You will love it. (note: pre-order it now, it's available on 28 December)

making fante ask the dust book

Ask the Dust by John Fante

Alright. This isn't exactly crafty. But, without fail, every time I read it is makes me want to put pen to paper. Fante's depiction of the passion and pride of a young writer struggling to make it in Los Angeles is heartbreaking and funny and powerful and absolutely beautifully composed (and my favorite novel ever). Paperbacks are always great gifts, and I will cosign this one as a surefire hit. And if you find a copy by Black Sparrow Press at a used bookstore ever, snatch it up.

making wrights crochet hooks set

Boye Aluminum Crochet Hook Set

I'm new to crocheting but I will admit that it did consume a good chunk of my life once I learned. Getting the hang of one basic chain stitch opens up a world of possibility (in my case, an amoeba-like throw that continues to grow, and grow, and grow), and the compact hooks make them ideal for tossing in your bag for the daily commute. You'll have a hat or scarf done before you know it!

Baggu Baby Elephant Blue

Baby Baggu

For a while I was carting my on-the-go projects around in an old grocery bag, but the teensy investment needed for a baby Baggu would make for a far more stylish carry-all. Toss your crocheting in there, a book, some stamps... whatever you're working on. I always like to have something to keep my hands busy with me at all times. Lots of colors here to choose from.