In my quest to make as many gifts as I have time for, I have relied on the wealth of knowledge of other crafters and artisans through the many great tutorials on the web. Having written one tutorial myself, I can truly appreciate the time and effort that is put into writing something with clear, easy-to-follow instructions and good quality photos.
You can find tutorials for just about anything on the web. Want a tutorial for a drawstring backpack? Just type "drawstring backpack tutorial" into your favorite search engine and voila! A whole list of them will appear.
One of my gifts makes use of two great tutorials.
Having school age children, there is always the dilemma of what to do for the teachers. My son is in 1st grade and just has one teacher. My daughter is in preschool and has three teachers. I'm sure every teacher has more "#1 Teacher" tchotchkes than they know what to do with, so I try to come up with something useful....or at the very least, a creative and different tchotchke.
This year I decided to do mugs and tea wallets. First of all, the mug. During the month of November, one of my favorite blogs, Sew, Mama, Sew, did their second annual "Handmade Holidays," where they posted gift ideas and links to tutorials daily, with each day having a different theme.
The November 8th entry featured gifts for teachers, and it was there that I found the link to the tutorial for the cute "Quilty Mug." And I just have to add, this tutorial was not only great from an instructional perspective...it was funny. This blog, Lady Harvatine, has become one of my regular blog stops.
I dug through my scraps, picked out some cute calico fabrics, and string pieced it together onto a piece of muslin. Slide it into the customizable mug (which ended up being the toughest part of the whole project) and there you go....a quilty mug!
Next was the tea wallet. This was another tutorial I came across from SMS's Handmade Holidays, under "gifts for a gift exchange." My original idea for this cute tea wallet was to make one for my mother-in-law, who is English and an avid tea drinker. The one I made for her turned out so cute, and they are so quick and easy to make that I'm giving them as stocking stuffers for several people, as well as giving them to my kids' teachers.
I used some of the same calico fabrics that I used in the mug to create the tea wallet. It has room for four tea bags and has a button closure. I have no idea if any of the teachers drink tea, but oh well....if they don't, I'm sure they can find another use for it. And of course, I will be sewing some of my cute little fabric gift bags to put them in!
Overall, I'm very pleased with the teacher gifts, and I hope that they are pleased too. My children are fortunate to have wonderful teachers this year, and I just want them to know that they are very much appreciated.