Tag Archives: Handcrafted

8 Craft Ideas for Gifts and Christmas Decorations

8 Craft Ideas for Gifts and Christmas Decorations

When our five children were small and we were barely getting by on Greg’s teaching salary, the best Christmas gift ideas were things we could make ourselves. Life has changed, and I don’t often give handmade gifts anymore, but here are some beauties I’d like to make some day.

  1. Handmade Christmas cards. These can be a family project.
  2. I made these beaded candy cane ornaments with my kids when they were small. We made lots and gave many as gifts and used the rest on our Christmas tree. For extra sparkle, be sure to use red translucent and crystal clear beads rather than opaque red and white.
  3. Many of my neighbors lost trees during two horrendous storms this past summer. If I had known about this rustic Christmas tree project, I would have offered to haul away some of their branches.
  4. I’ve been wanting to make pillowcases this way. I’ve seen them done up in Christmas fabrics, juvenile fabrics, and designer fabrics. Gorgeous!
  5. Remember latch hook rugs? You can use the same technique to make rag rugs. The author used cut-up bed sheets and tied the strips to the canvas, but if you have a latch hook (you might be able to find one at a thrift shop), you could do it a lot faster.
  6. Crafty people, do you have more buttons than you know what to do with? (Did you inherit your Grandma’s prized button box?) Make a button garland.
  7. If you like to embroider, you can make a lovely snowflake/floral mandala.
  8. I find it hard to part with fabric scraps. I believe in my heart I’ll use them someday in projects like this English-paper-pieced bookmark.

Christmas balls

Now it’s your turn. Are you making Christmas gifts this year? Or have you in the past? What was a successful craft project? Share in the comments below.

Lazy River Studios

Lazy River Studios


Scott Zuziak, nature enthusiast, has been carving and woodworking since the early 90s. He specializes in custom wood signs for homes and businesses, and rustic furniture.

Zuziak says, “I love the outdoors, the national parks, road trips, and my favorite pastime is canoeing down a lazy river.” His love of nature influences all his work and even the name of his business.

LR Studio sign

Here’s how Zuziak describes his sign-making process:

“I begin by hand picking and purchasing pine or cedar free of defects. The lumber is delivered to my shop and prepared by planing both sides of each plank and ripping on a table to ensure smooth and square building blocks. I then laminate all the pieces. Laminating allows for those highly desired, beefy slabs of wood. The main shapes of the sign are routed in an automated process. When the main shape is carved, I begin hand carving the scenery. This is the most rewarding part of making a wooden sign. After the scenery and sculptures are carved and sanded, I begin the text. An outline of the text is machined, and the letters and the surrounding surfaces are hand finished using gouges and chisels. The text turns out perfectly each and every time, and I can carve any font. Finally, I complete the custom wooden sign by finishing with multi-tone stains and/or with acrylic. Airbrushing techniques are utilized for a special shading effect. The end product: a custom wood sign that is of the highest quality and completely unique…and one that you will be proud to hang on your business or home.”

Here is where the magic happens:


Here are some samples of his signs:

LR pub signLR animal hospitalLR bulldogLR ChiefLR surfer

I first came across Zuziak’s work when I was searching for handcrafted furniture on Etsy.com. Here is what made me take a closer look:

LR headboard

The bed he made for his bride.

LR coffee table

Can you imagine this coffee table in your living room?

LR picture frame

Picture frame.


But look at this drop-dead gorgeous instrument he made:

LR Tahitian ukelele

Tahitian ukelele


Would you like to watch Zuziak at work? Here he is, building and customizing a camper trailer:

To see more of Zuziak’s work, visit the Lazy River Studio website and Etsy shop.