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Weeknight Wonders: 17 Homemade Gifts You Can Make/Craft/Bake in an Evening

Every weekday until Christmas Eve, we'll add one homemade gift to the list below: instructions included, batteries not required, and each project is doable in a single evening, because big sentiments don’t have to require loads of time.

We're trolling the HOMEGROWN 101 Library and the site at large for your undertakings, new and old, but if you've got an itch to get crafty, make your project, photograph it, post it, and we’ll find it and add it to this most HOMEGROWN of holiday gift guides. Happy holidays, friends, and happy making and giving!

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 1: Potato stamp notecards

GIVE TO: Grandparents, pen pals

This 101 walks you through how to make potato stamps. Once you’ve aced that skill, go the next step and use your new tools to create personalized stationary or notecards for someone you love. Bonus: a gift that could come back to you! Added 12/2/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 2: Homemade pasta

GIVE TO: Running partners, anyone who could use a care package

Jannine's pasta is even more delicious if you make it with friends, as she did. Since this gift needs freezing after a few days, it's best for folks you see often—or ship it right away to loved ones farther afield. Now that's a surprise in the mail! Added 12/3/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 3: Coffee filter wreath

GIVE TO: Coffee drinkers, avid decorators, anybody throwing a baby or bridal shower in the next year

About her gorgeous wreath project, Maryanne writes: "You can use white filters or brown ones, or you can tea stain them (my personal favorite)." Any way you make it, it's a beauty—not to mention affordable. Added 12/4/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 4: Homemade chai tea concentrate

GIVE TO: Tea sippers, book club buddies—those you can hand-deliver to, since this needs refrigeration

Three cheers for Christine, who shares her recipe for a delish chai mix, along with pairing suggestions (homemade honey pistachio biscotti, a few bags of black tea) for making this present extra special. Added 12/5/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 5: Beeswax candles

GIVE TO: Local luminaries, the same friends you shared your honey with over the summer

The only thing we like better than HOMEGROWN member Charlyn's inspiring blog posts? Her 101 on making beeswax candles. (OK. Maybe it's a tie.) Click through for her how-to and light up a loved one's winter nights. Don't have beeswax handy? Try here or here. Added 12/6/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 6: Homemade mead

GIVE TO: Ren Faire lads and lasses, friends with a sweet tooth

To be fair, Penny's 101 pushes the single-evening envelope—but only by a little! On day 2, you'll just need to transfer the mead to bottles and make sure to pass along instructions on storing, especially for that first week, to the giftee. Cheers! Added 12/9/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 7: Arm warmers

GIVE TO: Family visiting from warmer locales

Folks living in the north know the drill: Your siblings come to visit for the holidays from points south and bring—what? A windbreaker? Help hot-weather dwellers dress for cold climes with Lindsey's arm warmers. (Bonus: Don't miss her piggy pattern, also made from sweater parts.)  Added 12/10/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 8: Homemade tamales

GIVE TO: Kids, friends, kids' friends' parents—anyone with a short from-your-fridge-to-theirs transfer

Fun to eat, tamales are even more fun to make en masse—meaning in a group (of people) and in large quantities (of tamales). If you throw your own tamal-making shindig, just be sure to have plenty of bags on hand so you can send your guests home with their handiwork. Added 12/11/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 9: Apple cider caramels

GIVE TO: Sweet tooths, sweethearts, apples of your eye

Of her apple cider caramels, Jackie writes: "If you’re strong enough to resist gobbling them up yourself, these caramels are one of the most charming and delicious gifts ever." Ever better news: "Have no fear, newbies. This is candy making simplified." Ready to get started? Added 12/12/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 10: Seedballs

GIVE TO: Green thumbs and not-so-green thumbs alike

Can’t you just picture a few of these babies wrapped up and tied with a bow? Nope, they’re not candy. They’re seedballs, one way to show those neglected patches of ground some love. Bonus: They’re as much fun to make and give as they are to toss. Added 12/13/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 11: Mason jar wine glasses

GIVE TO: Thirsty homesteaders, backyard imbibers

Michelle first shared how to make these wine glasses from Mason jars before Thanksgiving, but they serve as an equally handy hostess gift at Christmas. Or maybe you're the one hosting and don't have enough stems for your guests? Git 'er done. Added 12/16/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 12: Tote bags from t-shirts

GIVE TO: Friends, roommates, anyone who wants to look fierce (have you seen Cynthia's raptor bag?!)

No good friend should be without one of these babies, a t-shirt repurposed as a market-friendly caryall. Cynthia coaches you through how to sew your own, and by "your own," we mean one for your friend. And maybe one for you, too.  Added 12/17/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 13: Homemade crackers

GIVE TO: Holiday party hosts, that friend who swears you don't need to bring anything to dinner

Kari scavenged ingredients for these bite-size delectables from the remnants in her cheese drawer (a great way to use up that last shard of Parm). Speaking of leftovers, her remaining rosemary went into a cocktail, recipe also included—one holiday treat that's just for the cook! Added 12/18/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 14: Farmer's cheese

GIVE TO: Holiday party hosts, that friend who swears . . . (see no. 13)

Want to give some cheese with those crackers? Jenni's family recipe for farmer's cheese is practically foolproof—perfect for novice cheesemakers—and, unlike harder, stinkier cheeses, it's makeable in one night. Done and done! Added 12/19/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 15: Crocheted wine cozy

GIVE TO: Holiday party hosts, that friend who swears . . . (see nos. 13 and 14)

So your brother/mother/sister-in-law really, truly, cross-his-or-her-heart has the holiday menu under control and doesn't want you to bring anything to dinner? Not even a bottle of wine swaddled in an adorable crocheted cozy? Who could say no to these? Added 12/20/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 16: Homemade terrarium

GIVE TO: Your bestie

Because every best pal deserves a beautiful, green, serene world under glass to gaze at, especially during the holidays. This handy 101 walks you through how to create a tranquil microcosm that will last past New Year's. Added 12/23/13

DO-IT-YOURSELF GIFT NO. 17: Grow-your-own sprouts kit

GIVE TO: Budding gardeners

Know a kid—of any age—with a blossoming green thumb? Help him or her keep her garden growing, even in winter, by creating a DIY sprout kit. You'll need: sprouting seeds, a Mason jar, some cheesecloth, a rubber band, and this 101. Happy holidays, everyone! Added 12/24/13

PHOTO: (HANDOFF) OMARI MAYERS-WALKER, COURTESY OF FOOD SWAP NETWORK

Tags: DIY, christmas, gift, gifts, guide, hanukkah, holidays, homemade

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