Monday, December 18, 2017

Printable Downloads for Gifts and Gift Wrap from Minnesota Makers

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

What I really need during the final week before Christmas is more running around to stores for supplies and gifts I forgot to get earlier, said no one ever.

And isn't now the moment you realize that no, you did not stock up on wrapping supplies in last year's after-Christmas sales after all.

Fortunately, you do have an alternative that allows you to stay home and enjoy your holiday preparations instead of running yourself ragged. Through a combination of upcycling and printable downloads, we've got you covered!

Punch two holes in a plain paper bag, such as this flat merchandise bag or a paper lunch bag, then  thread some ribbon through the holes and tie a bow. Add a printable tag and you're all set! All out of ribbon? See below for a DIY ribbon hack.

Many Etsy sellers offer items you can download and print at home right now, no mailing time or shipping cost involved, including printable gift tags and other package embellishments. There are even quick and easy DIY gifts you can make with a little help from Minnesota Etsians. Click on the captions below the items to see them on Etsy.

I'm going to show you these in two categories: gift wrap and decor, and then gifts.


You may also find that you have some materials on hand already that will help you wrap festive packages without another trip to the store. Like this: 

The "ribbons" on this brown bag are strips of cloth cut from a remnant and an old shirt in my fabric stash. And the bag is actually upcycled from a store where I shopped — it has the store logo on the other side.

The tags in the above examples are instant downloads from Lisa Seng Studio. She has many more downloadable items, so be sure to  check out her shop for more designs.
Holiday trees printable gift tags from Lisa Seng Studio, $3.95
Or, for a different, more elegant look, consider these  tags from Cratefully, which also offers printable recipe cards, for sharing your favorite recipes as a practical personal gift.

Snow confetti gift tags from Cratefully, $2.50
These clipart Christmas trees and ornaments from Lily Bimble can be used digitally to embellish photos or place cards; and I'm thinking you could also print them and then cut them out to decorate packages and bags. 

Modern Christmas tree clipart from Lilly Bimble, $1

Could your walls use a little dressing up for the holidays? You wouldn't have to put these beautiful Christmas posters into frames if you're avoiding trips to the store, they'll look lovely just as they are. And don't worry that your printer isn't large enough; even though the ones pictured are 16 x 20 inches, they also come in 8 x 10, which should print very nicely on letter size white card stock or paper. From Twinkle Me Designs.

Printable Christmas wall art in two sizes, from Twinkle Me Designs, $11
Finally, here's a set of four ornaments and matching bookmarks from Jinjer S to decorate your tree or table. The ones shown were printed on colorful scrapbooking paper, but if you don't have any such paper on hand, consider scribble-coloring sheets of plain paper, either before or after printing them. It could be a fun project to involve children in, to embellish them with crayons or markers before assembling. 

I could see these bookmarks used as tags, too, by punching a hole in one end and writing on the back.   Jinjer also has some yoga-themed ornaments and a yoga book, so be sure to check out her shop to see them.

Paper holiday ornaments from Jinjer S, $4.50
In fact, the shops featured above also have printable items for gifts or yourself (like organizer pages), so be sure to look over the other items in their shops, either for your holiday needs, or to bookmark them and visit again after the holidays.


If you like to do cross stitch and have a few supplies on hand, you might find these mini snowflake patterns from Hopstitch Design to be just the thing to make use of your pieces and remnants for a lovely gift or to decorate your own tree. If you don't have the mini hoops to display them with, perhaps you could make them into tiny pillows with a loop on one corner. (If you don't have stuffing material on hand, here's a tip from my grandmother: use old nylon stockings.)
Snowflake cross stitch patterns from Hopstitch Designs, $2
Is that a little too ambitious for you? Yeah, me too. Here's an easy print-cut-fold item for your health-conscious friends and relatives, and you could enclose it with a card for a stocking stuffer or mailable gift. It's a handy little wallet-size reference for the grocery store so you know which fruits and vegetables are grown with the least amount of pesticides, and which ones you may want to only buy organic, from All Things Jane. This shop also has some printable wall art with Bible quotations and two with watercolors of fruits and vegetables. 
Printable reference cards for the grocery store, from All Things Jane, $2.99

Kids like to make stuff for themselves and others, too, and the paper crowns from Put a Crown On It are perfect for them to help make for their friends and cousins, and might even channel some of their holiday excitement into a calming coloring project. This unicorn is just one example, be sure to visit the shop to see the others. 

These "build a house" printables from Morning Star Arts can be adapted for use with a flannel board or magnets, but even if you don't have supplies for those on hand, just printing these on cardstock and cutting out the shapes can foster some creative playtime as kids use them to design houses and invent stories about the people who might live in them.

Let's face it, small children are often as interested in the boxes as the items that came in them. Why fight it when you can print out dozens of elements designed by Color and Kindness for them to color and attach to boxes of various sizes to make neighborhoods. Most of the components can be printed on letter-size paper, and the shop assures that their tips for printing the "paper playscapes" on extra large paper. (Or you could roll out some brown kraft paper and let kids draw their own roads and features, if you don't have the time or inclination to get those printed.) This shop has a lot of printable items for kids and adults, with Bible references and a general kindness theme.

As a final note, I'll just mention that my shop also has a few printable items for holiday packages and gifts, if you care to check it out here.

The bloggers of HandmadeMN will be taking a short break here on the blog and be back again in the new year.

Happy holidays to all!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Shows this Weekend, Dec. 15-17th

by Cindy Lindgren and Sharon Parker

There is still time for some holiday shopping this weekend around Minnesota. Check off everyone on your list by attending one of the following shows:

St. Paul

Sunday, December 17th, 1pm-5pm
Black Dog Cafe
308 E. Prince Street

December 14-January 7, 2018
Fridays 5pm-8pm, Saturdays 9am-3pm


Saturday, December 16th, 10am-4pm
Snyder and Oswald Visitor Center


Sunday December 17th, 9am-4pm
Sunnyside Gardens
3723 44th St. W.

Saturday, December 16, 5pm-9pm
2129 E Franklin Ave.

Sunday, December 17th, 12pm-6pm
701 N 5th Street

Sunday, December 17th, 10am-2pm
Solar Arts by Chowgirls
711 15th Ave NE

Saturday, December 16th, 12pm-5pm
Lakes & Legends Brewing Co.
1368 Lasalle Ave.

Thank you for supporting local artists. We are proud of our craft and appreciate your
support of our small businesses. Happy Holidays from HandmadeMN.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Handmade Gift Guide for Teens

by Cindy Lindgren
Are you looking for teen gifts this holiday? We've got some great items to share with you that are as individual as they are.

Packed with personality, an Upcycled Phone Case by beeperbebe.
Ear Bud Cord Organizer by Relaine. No more tangles!
For the book lover, Taconite bookends from the Minnesota Iron Range by Naturally Unique Rock.
A spa treat of Bath Truffles by BathNBeads
An inspirational bracelet by Suz and Roo.
A special fleece throw for the football fan by Auntie Mac.
Hand knit hat in  team spirit colors by Mellow Fury.
Stocking Stuffer Math Game by Sharon's Compendium.
A Stylish Corduroy Hat by Bound to be Creative

Minneapolis Notebook featuring Lake Calhoun area by Mendota Paper Co.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Minnesota Handmade Holiday Markets for Dec. 9–10

By Sharon Parker (Sharon's Compendium) and Cindy Lindgren

Black Forest Inn Christmas Market
This weekend brings some really terrific craft and art shows for enjoyable shopping of local art and handmade items — with refreshments!

Saturday, 9:30–4:30
Colin Powell Center
2924 Fourth Ave. S.
Minneapolis 55408
More than 130 women artists, including many members of HandmadeMN, live music throughout the day, and an on-site coffee shop with food and beverages; plus free covered parking in the nearby Wells Fargo ramp

Saturday, noon–5
Tattersall Distilling
1620 Central Ave. NE
Minneapolis 55413
Local small businesses and independent crafters, including members of HandmadeMN, plus cocktails.

Saturday, noon–4
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis 55413
Fifty studios will be open for holiday shopping this Saturday and next (Dec. 16)

Saturday, 10–6
301 SE Main St., Minneapolis 55414
Forty artists, music, a raffle to benefit charity, and refreshments

Saturday, 10–6
Casket Arts Building
671 17th Ave. NE
Minneapolis 55413
Craft fair–style marketplace with more than 40 artists and makers in the hallways on the first floor, plus live music and refreshments.

Saturday & Sunday, noon–6
Black Forest Inn
1 E 26th St.
German-style Christmas market in the banquet room (across the beer garden from the restaurant) with a dozen or more vendors selling affordable treasures and treats, many of them handmade and original, including soaps & lotions, jewelry, jams, fiber arts, clothing, and more.

Sundays, 9–4 (last one Dec. 17)
Sunnyside Gardens (in the greenhouse)
3723 W. 44th St.
Minneapolis 55410
Gifts and food, including ready-to-eat foods, from 60 independent vendors. 

Saturday, 11–4
California Building
2205 California St. NE
Minneapolis 55418
Open art studios throughout the building. Mojo Coffee Gallery (cafe) on the main floor.

Saturday & Sunday, noon–5
1916 S. Eighth St.
Minneapolis 55454
Original arts and crafts by local HeidiHouse artists and friends, starting at $5, from one-of-a-kind holiday cards & snuggley critters to vibrant landscape paintings. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Fun Gifts for Little Kids, Made in Minnesota with Love

Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

One thing I remember rather strongly about Christmas gift opening at the relatives' whenI was a kid was that when we got toys or games, we were delighted, and when we got clothing or something practical, we were, well, polite. Always appreciative, of course. But, when you're a kid, there's nothing better than gifts that you can play with while the grown-ups sit around and talk.

So here are some fun gift ideas for kids, all handmade in Minnesota, and none requiring batteries. Links to view and purchase the items on Etsy are provided in the captions.

For the Wee Ones (baby and toddler)

Give those little guys something they can sink their teeth into, like a natural hardwood teething ring. And if it happens to have an attached cloth tail for dabbing at drool, well that's a bonus.  This horse is just one of several designs made by Oak Tree Arts and certified safe for children under 3. This shop also offers a wooden lacing toy for baby's toddler sibling.

Maple horse teether, $22, from Oak Tree Arts  
This stuffed sheep from Aimee's Homestead is made with faux fur and fleece and is ready for a good wrestling match or a quiet cuddle. It's 7" by 11" and made in a pet-free, perfume-free, smoke-free home. (She also makes tea cozies & French press cozies for the adults on your list.)

Stuffed sheep, $18, from Aimee's Homestead
These soft colorful bracelets are wearable fun for toddlers & preschoolers. Made by Knitty Vet, who also sells hand-dyed yarns."These soft toddler toys were developed when my 3 year old wanted me to knit her some jewelry from my soft wool." 

Hand knit wool bracelets from Knitty Vet. 3 for $11, other quantities available.

For toddlers and preschoolers

Uncle Harry will enjoy making corny jokes that he'll then have to explain to the kids when the little guy plays with these felt pretend eggs that they can crack out of their shell and then stuff back in again. Mom? What's an omelet? 

Place your order soon for these and more pretend food made by Farm Fresh Toys.

Felt eggs in a carton, an original design from  Farm Fresh Toys, $12
My grandparents had very few toys in their house, yet we always had fun playing with their unique architectural wooden blocks. I especially remember the arches and semi circles that fit together, which just seemed like the coolest thing to me back then. We made some pretty great towers with them. These hard maple wooden blocks made by Beka Toys sure look a lot like Grandpa's blocks. Some toys never get old.

28-piece wood block set from Beka Toys, $69.99
Crayons are always popular, too; and if they come in fun shapes that work as toys also, all the better, Earth Grown Crayons come in all sorts of fun shapes, in their own nifty gift box, and are made with soy wax and nontoxic pigment.

Set of 8 animal crayons from Earth Grown Crayons, $10
I have so many grand-nephews and nieces these days that I like to go with a theme for each year's Christmas gifts to help me keep track of what I gave them each year so I don't repeat myself. (A spreadsheet also helps.) But how do the parents keep track of which belongs to whom, especially when all the cousins are playing with their cars together? 

How about personalized wooden cars from Smiling Tree Toys

Hardwood love bug from Smiling Tree toys. $20 with name, $15 without.

Elementary age and tweens

It gets harder and harder to buy for them as they get older, doesn't it? But the appeal of tiny quirky things is seldom outgrown.

Consider this wee felt monster baby, which comes with its own tiny diaper in a matchbox bed, from Beeper Bebe. 

Orange monster baby from Beeper Bebe, $14
This compact coloring book (6x9") by Open Cupboard Designs features 24 original illustrations printed on heavy paper, and each image is blank on the back so you can take a finished piece out to display it if you like. 

Coloring book from Open Cupboard Designs, $9.95
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. And be sure to click on the highlighted shop names to see more items from each of these marvelous Minnesota makers.