Monday, November 16, 2015

Gift Ideas 2015

My husband has been hinting that he'd like some ideas of things I might like for Christmas, and it's really hard sometimes to think of things. I bet you have significant others that are looking for ideas, too. Or, maybe you need ideas of what to get a friend. So, here's a list of some things that I have and love. Feel free to forward the link to loved ones who might need a nudge. :-)

Number 1: An amazing ruler. I have been slowly collecting creative grids rulers in a variety of sizes since discovering them through the Saturday Sampler I did at American Quilting. They aren't really any more expensive than the Omnigrid ones you can buy at Joann's, but you don't get to use 40% off coupons to buy them...Every time there has been a sale, 20% or more, at my local shop, I buy a ruler. I love that they have the 1/2 inch markings on one side, the 45 degree marks, and non-slip gripping on the back of the ruler. It makes such a difference for accurate cutting! I accidentally broke my 6x24 ruler last year, and I bought a Creative Grid to replace it. It's actually 6 1/2 x 24 1/2, and I couldn't believe the difference the non-slip gripping made.

Number 2: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream. This doesn't sound like it's awesome, but it's a really great lotion. I live in Utah, which is dry, and the winters are sometimes harsh. I fortunately don't suffer from extremely dry skin or eczema (but my girls do!), but with all the hand-washing that happens with kids and cold-season, I can definitely benefit from a good lotion. My daughters' pediatrician suggested this when we had a nasty eczema outbreak with my oldest daughter, and in the past four months since we started using it, we have finished off 3 tubes. It's not greasy, it is unscented (it won't clash with any perfumes you are wearing!), and it does a fantastic job of moisturizing. A great stocking stuffer.

Number 3: An America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. I pick up their magazines and special issue publications off the shelf at Sam's Club, so I've tried a lot of their recipes. I wish they didn't have so many repeats, BUT, some of the books I can highly recommend. The Best Simple Recipe (I have the two special pubs that are excerpted from this book and almost everything is fantastic, especially the skillet chicken tikka masala) The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook (I have this book and everything I've baked has been great, including an awesome pie crust, multigrain bread, and chocolate chip cookies, and I'm hoping the second edition winds up under my own tree!), and Slow Cooker Revolution (not all the recipes are quick, but they've been great. I also a subsequent edition of Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution and it's also really good. There are fewer that I'm interested in trying, but some are very good, including a shredded beef taco recipe).

Number 4: A Thermapen instant read thermometer. Buy this only if your significant other loves cooking and you want to splurge. I received this for my birthday and wasn't expecting to be as impressed with it as I was, but it is amazingly fast.

Number 5: Something handmade. If you're a sewist, something handmade will ALWAYS be appreciated by another sewist. A couple of years ago, a friend gave me this zippered pouch and I love it. I love her embroidery design, and it's a handy-dandy size. It was perfect to take out of town when I had some hand-embroidering to do; I slipped in my small scissors, a spare needle, and my embroidery floss. Small pouches like this go together so quickly, as do hot pads and other nifty little things like a camera neck strap cover I made from a tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew.

Number 6: Pins. Any kind will do, pins are always getting dull or bent, lost or lent. I bought some Little House pins after reading about them on several blogs, and I'm glad I did; they are slick as anything. But they're not cheap. I picked up my set of 100 with a tin for $8 after a 20% sale, but I picked up 100 flat-head butterfly pins at Joann's for around $2. They aren't nearly as sharp, though, and I should throw them away since I never use them. Sharp pins are definitely advantageous. (And, if you choose to pick up some notions, use caution when shopping at Joann's. Not all are worth buying, even if they are cheaper than their quilt shop counterparts.).

Number 7: A few fat quarters. If you are sewing buddies, it can be fun to get a few fat quarters. A friend gave me some half-yard cuts for my birthday one year, and I loved it. They aren't fabrics I would have picked out myself, but they're really pretty and that's part of the fun. They added something different to my stash and I've used them in a couple of projects already. They expanded my own view of fabric shopping. If you have completely opposite taste, you might want to pick something else, though... :-)

Number 8: A quilting book. I don't often buy quilting books for myself, but I got a couple for Christmas last year: Vintage Quilt Revival, A Quilter's Mixology, and Scraps, Inc. Vol. 1. I am notorious for checking my favorite quilting books out of the library constantly. I love Quilting Modern by Jacque Gering and Katie Pederson, Camille Roskelley's books, and Allison Harris's Growing Up Modern. Newer ones I have my eye on are Wanderlust Quilts by Amanda Leins, Quilt Local by Heather Jones, and Quilts du Jour by Marney Buck and Jill Guffy.

Number 9: Reusable shopping bags large enough for carting materials for a project to a sewing night. These can be handmade or purchased, but as long as they are sturdy and big enough, they'll be appreciated. I feel like I'm always scrambling for an appropriate sized bag for my notions and materials.

Number 10: A Silhouette Cameo. This would be a total splurge, but I got mine during a Black Friday sale for Christmas, and it was not a bad price. Also, they do sell them on Amazon. I love that I can cut out intricate pieces or letters for applique. You do have to use fusible interfacing with it to help keep the cut clean and the machine clean, but I always use fusible anyway, so this isn't a problem for me. I've used it for several projects, including my Around the World Craft Swap package, the Harry Potter mini quilt I made for my friend, and my Monster's Inc mini quilt, and that doesn't include any of the other non-sewing projects I've used it for. I don't use it as often as I thought I would, but still consider it a good purchase.

Number 11: A magazine subscription. There are several quilting magazines I would love to subscribe to, but just can't justify it for myself. If it were a gift, though...Some ideas include Love Patchwork and Quilting, and Quilt Now.

Number 12: Clover clips. These are really popular for a reason, and if your special someone doesn't have any, or doesn't have a big box, you might consider it. They are available at most local quilt shops, but I picked mine up at Joann's on 40% sale + 20% your total purchase coupon, which made them extremely affordable. However, if you're looking for something a little smaller, a handful or a small package is also great.

Number 13: High quality notions. I've mentioned a few already, but really. Any high quality notion that is useful will be appreciated. I bought a Clover seam ripper once, not realizing that it was such a good one. When I broke it just before my birthday, I requested a new one and even specified Clover brand. My husband bought the most expensive one at Joann's, a Dritz with a huge "ergonomic" handle, using a coupon, and it just wasn't the same. I tried, since it was a gift from my daughter, but I ended up returning it and buying a Clover one at my local quilt shop. It made such a difference--it was sharper and thinner, and made unpicking a lot easier and doesn't damage the fabric. And it made me feel only a little badly about returning a gift. ;-) If you don't know what to get, talk to the ladies at a local quilt shop. They'll guide you to their favorite notions.

Number 14: This is totally on my wish list--Electric Quilt 7. Now that I'm designing more of my own quilts, I would LOVE to try out this program. I've read such great things, and I think it would make it easier for me to figure out my ideas.

Number 15: A sketchbook. Moleskein makes some really nice ones and they have a variety of sizes and paper. I prefer notebooks that have grids so that I can more easily draft blocks, but get the kind your friend likes. I picked up this very cool notebook in Florence. I love the quilty design on the cover, and inside it's a dot grid, so I can use it for a variety of purposes. Usually, though, I use Moleskein ones with plain, brown covers and regular graph paper inside. Sometimes my daughters draw on them to spruce them up, or I sew scraps on them.

I hope that helps this season!

Obligatory Disclosure Note: I am not an affiliate of anything, these are not affiliate links, and no one has asked me to write about these things. I came up with this list on my own. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Great list Becca! I have my eye on a new book (farm Girl Vintage) but the only thing that's on my list is a new foot for my machine and some extra bobbins too. I will be happy with them