Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Homespun Things...Inspiration everywhere...

I saw a list of 'ugly' gifts on social media this morning. Being a person who avoids gifting 'ugly', but who loves gifting 'practical', I had a read.
The list included bunches of flowers from the garage, socks and hankies, umbrellas for some reason not stated, and romance novels. Apparently though, according to that writer, the flowers were okay if they were gifted in a beautiful vase, the socks and hankies were a no-no under any circumstances, umbrellas got the nod if they were beach umbrellas, and coffee table books were okay but not the novels.
Well, I guess we all write for a different audience. I've gifted garage flowers, socks, jocks, hankies, umbrellas and novels....although perhaps not romance novels, and for the right person, those choices have been absolute winners.
I'm kind of with her on the flowers from the garage are okay in a vase. Although I'd add, that I'd usually add a bit more greenery from my own garden to them, and refresh the packaging with a lavish bow. Garage flowers don't usually have the bells and whistles do they. But that alone is a worthy case for snapping up those vases at thrift stores. Something simple is best because you have to transport it remember. A couple of dollars on a thrift store vase, and a big ribbon and you're done.
I'm good with gifting socks and hankies too. Pictured above and further down below, are the flannelette hankies I gifted my family, along with beautifully packaged chocolates, seen below also, for Easter. I made the hankies myself, and customised them elegantly. The chocolates were the super thin luxury type, cardboard sleeves removed and replaced with wrapping I'd created on PicMonkey. You can find them in downloadable form, here.
The thing is to be looking out for inspiration for gifts no matter where you are, or what time of year it is. Don't go leaving it till the last minute. You can make gifts in small windows of 15 minutes at a time if need be. You should see what Patsy at A Working Pantry rustles up in 15 minute slots of sewing!
And these hankies inspired by Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting aren't even sewn...
Certainly tearing a sheet into 38cm (15inch) strips, then snipping it into squares and pinking the edges with pinking shears like this, can yield an astounding number of ready to use or ready to gift hankies/dusting cloths in 15 minutes, once you get into a rhythm with it.
These custom wrapped chocolates take less time than that. Two minutes each is a stretch. It's more like a minute each, and these sorts of artistically wrapped chocolate bars will set you back over $10 each at posh delicatessens and foodie boutiques.

Here are the ones I used for inspiration. I've never heard of this chocolatier, but I adore their packaging...
...and here are mine...
..pastel blues...
...different trims...

...pinks, creams and gorgeous textures...
...lavenders, yellows, geisha ladies, and grosgrain polka dots...

All those, gleaned from a single picture seen on Instagram.
Here's another Instagram image that caught my eye. How could you go past these beautiful colours, if nothing else. I'm now crafting a series of coffee cup cozies, based upon these Laduree colours...
...mine are pistachio coloured Panne velvet which is naturally stretchy, trimmed with gold and white cord. I think I'll add some metallic gold embroidery...probably French Knots and leaves. That will be similar enough for me.
 Of course once I'd seen that delicate palette, I couldn't un-see it, and when choosing the prints for my flannelette hankies, a Queen Sized sheet set on sale for $15 in this gorgeous mint colour, and some toning baby pink and pastel accented lengths of fabric, seemed the ideal combination. Sheets are perfect for this as they have miles of fabric in just one sheet. Certainly far more than you'd get in yardage.
Here are the Unicorn printed ones I made the granddaughters. At the bottom of this post, is a link to a downloadable version of this tag for you to add to your own lush pile of soft hankies if you wish...

...these ones were for the men in the family...

....and the Boho inspired feathers went to the girls...

Of course, my fellow bloggers are a constant source of inspiration too, and ever since I first saw Annabels Powder Puffs, I knew I'd be making my own version.
I'd been looking at crystals of late. I'm refurbishing two chandeliers, and the pretty Aurora Borealis...

...and blue crystals...

...had left their indelible mark on my imagination as well.
So when I found this remnant of powder blue polar fleece, I immediately re-imagined it with baby blue chiffon bows as chocolate scented powder puffs for Easter.

Along with other bits of fancy like Unicorn inspired slippers, these were welcomed by the 4 and 6 year old grandies with enthusiasm.
Look at all this pastel loveliness...
...piles of hankies, pyjamas, and powder puffs...

...so much prettiness...
...hankies topped with a custom wrapped chocolate bar, and embellished with my own customised ribbon, look like something from a high end gift store...

And even a simple bar of choccie, wrapped beautifully, is special.
Who needs store bought Easter Eggs...really.
Here's my latest piece of inspiration. It's a vintage flour sifter, filled with faux foliage from IKEA. Seen on Instagram, this immediately captured my imagination. I have miles of French Lavender growing, which is so easy to propagate, and I'm thinking recycled tins, spray painted white, filled with baby Lavender, and finished with these decals.
Or these ones.

Here's my French Lavender...I told you...miles of it. I adore it, and everyone that visits admires it longingly. Why wouldn't I turn it into gifts?
See? Inspiration everywhere. You just have to keep an open mind.
Here's that label...
Hankies from Heaven Label
What can you add to your gift stash this week?
Go on. You can do it.


  1. You are so lucky to be able to grow lavender. It doesn't grow well in my zone. You can do so many things with it and I love the smell. Nice blog post. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Thel I had no success until someone suggested French Lavender. Well, it grows like a weed here! I think maybe try a different variety and see how you go. Lovely to see you! Mimi xxx

  2. I found that the lavender I picked up from the nursery, grew OK in pots, but hated being planted in the garden. On a visit to my Brother in Toowoomba I picked huge posies of lavender. As it dried the seed fell. On the off chance this might grow I put it into some old seed punnets. The lavender seedlings have been in the garden for a while and are doing very well. I am so looking forward to getting more lavender straight from the garden.
    As to all the gorgeous presents you have put together, Wow! You are definitely an inspiration. I am good at replicating ideas but not at looking at something and then tweeking it to make it my own.
    I have been looking at the succulent plantings that are costing a fortune in the stores. I plan on taking a few older bowl type pots and making up outdoor table displays using succulents, using what I have here. By Christmas these will be well established and will have filled out beautifully.
    I dont look at those lists that say what you should or shouldnt give as gifts. Bluey gave me an outdoor blower vac one year. My friends were horrified at this. I however was in heaven. It was the perfect gift for me. You gift what you can and you gift it with love. This should be enough!

    1. Dear Jane, I wonder what variety of Lavender it is? We tried several before someone suggested French Lavender and we've never looked back. The succulent bowls are a great idea, and I probably don't need to tell you that each little succulent leaf grows a whole new plant, so with enough time, these can actually end up being a cost effective gift. Not so much if you have to go out and buy enough succulents to fill a bowl at $12 each though! I laughed at your blower. I've requested a new computer monitor for Mothers Day. Whatever makes you happy I say! I agree...gift what you can with love and that is enough. Mimi xxx

  3. What lovely prettyiness and softness in your "made with love" gifts , Mimi , just lovely ! Always inspiring, thankyou xxx Maria

  4. Hi! Your ideas for gifts always look so elegant! I love the look of the powder puffs but have a dumb question. Are they used with those round boxes of powder you buy? The sifter idea is such a neat idea too. Thanks for the ideas and the tags. Nancy

    1. Yes Nancy. I try to gift the powder puffs with a toning bowl, and some hand crafted powder (just cornflour and essential oil or scent) in a sachet. It's a sweet gift. Mimi xxx

  5. Mimi, what inspiration! You've got my mind whirling with possibilities. Thank you for the mention!

    1. My pleasure Patsy. You've always got something on the go too, I know! Mimi xxx

  6. Hello Mimi. I am a first time visitor to your blog & I found you via Annabels blog. I just wanted to say your blog is SOoooo lovely & such a pleasure to visit you ... I shall definately be back! Julie Xx

    1. Hello there Julie! How lovely to meet you! I'm so pleased you like my humble blog. I look forward to 'seeing' you again. Love, Mimi xxx

  7. Lovely gifts Mimi, you have an amazing ability to coordinate things and make them look so stylish. I realise you didn't make them, but I am loving the unicorn slippers!!! Wonder if they come in adult sizes lol?!

    Jen in Nz

    1. Jen you say the loveliest things. Thankyou so much. Yes. Those Unicorn slippers! Adorable! And sadly no adult ones...lol! Mimi xxx

  8. What fun and also elegant gifts, Mimi! So fancy! I love your creativity!

    I covered an ugly lotion bottle with pretty pink scrapbook paper, and embellished it with a pink ribbon and Eiffel Tower charm. Looks a million times better and was so easy to do. Love, Teresa

  9. Dear Mimi,
    Such loveliness you have created! I especially love the chocolates. I like yours better than your inspiration chocolates! So much is in the presentation I think. When I am tempted to buy things, I have to make sure it's not just for a look that I can recreate myself. Or in this case, improve upon. Thank you for sharing.
    Love, Kelsey

  10. Found your blog today! Love these ideas. I never knew people actually made essential oil blends, I might have to try something myself!
    I totally agree with thinking about gifts all year long, I try to write it as soon as I remember so I don't forget, sometimes during a conversation with the person an idea comes up but after months it will slip by :)


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx