For as much as I love Christmas, there’s one thing I don’t love about the holiday: shopping. For the 15 or so people I have to buy for every year, I usually have about two good ideas. For the rest, I inevitably become one of those last-minutes shoppers wandering aimlessly, and slightly frantically, around the mall hoping for the perfect gift to jump out at me. And then for another 12 perfect gifts to do the same.
That is where handmade gifts come in. Unless it’s the sweater Grandma knitted with a glittering Christmas tree on the front, usually handmade gifts automatically score extra points. The time and creativity you put in to making something unique is part of the gift, and I’d say it’s generally appreciated.
So this year, I’m making a few Prague-related gifts for family and friends (and maybe for me).
Painted. Rocks. Let me convince you that they’re fabulous.
I’d seen various painted rock creations floating around Pinterest, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love. (If you don’t know Pinterest it’s place to store ideas from the internet, and it’s highly addictive.)
Given the Czech national pastime of hiking, it’s a lovely way to collect and make use of little stone treasures you find on your treks. I used acrylic paint, and finished them with a coat of clear matte spray paint. In the gray winter days, they’re cheery windowsill jewelry. Line them up against a door for a doorstop. They’re also just pretty in a bowl.
There’s a lot more you can do with painted rocks. An ABC collection would be a great gift for kids, as long as you know they’ve already had the “don’t throw rocks” lesson.
For more ideas, here’s a collection of rock inspiration on Pinterest.
Since moving to Prague, I’ve fallen in love with art deco and art nouveau. The styles don’t quite fit my flat, though, so a Mucha poster has never made it to my walls.
I also love pretty note cards for sending to friends after a fabulous dinner party, or just to let them know I’m thinking of them. And though I can easily find envelopes at papírnictví’s and book stores, I don’t come across pretty notecard sets often in Prague, so I’ve made my own.
I like the idea of highlighting the details in some of the deco and nouveau posters by some of Prague’s famous artists.
I just cut out small squares, and glued them to thick paper I’d folded in half. Add some to the inside of the envelopes as well to create a set.
My favorite word in Czech is, “Ahoj.” Even if you don’t associate it with pirates, it’s an undeniably fun word to say. Ahoj. Ahoj! AHOJ!
So using the word “Ahoj,” and a map of Prague, you can create a perfectly personalized ornament to pay homage to this fabulous city. Just cut two circles from a map, make a sheet of painter’s tape by layering strips, and cut your design from the painter’s tape. Fix the pattern to the circles then white-wash over it with half paint, half water. I repeated the process with a Christmas tree design on the back circle.
Once it’s dry, glue the two sides together, leaving a gap for stuffing. Fill the middle with crumpled newspaper, then glue the rest together.
Obviously you could do any city and any word, depending on your recipient.
Find more crafty uses for maps here.
Now that all my gifts are made, I need to make them all over again… I’m keeping these babies.
Happy Holidays and Merry Crafting!
***Photos by Amy Hadley***
Read also: Dressing up for Christmas: 3 easy ways to decorate a holiday table
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