Time to get your Hands Dirty


By Kelly Asay
Eugene Daily News

The holidays are the perfect time to exercise your inner Martha Stewart/Christopher Lowell, and save a little green. Taking a queue from one of our favorite (non-local) sites we’ve done some digging and, through the miracle of YouTube, we’ve put together a batch of tutorials to get you into the Christmas spirit; from a simple wreath to making your own Christmas stocking, if you aren’t giving something handmade this year, well, can’t say we didn’t try.

First up: How to Make Paper Snowflakes.

While this may seem like a flashback to grade school, nothing beats an intricate bit of scissor and paper and string hanging on a tree or window to make a little memory. Try making these with a significant other over a nice bottle of wine or perhaps a scotch. More conventionally you can try it with the kids over some steaming hot chocolate.


Next: How to Make a Christmas Cracker

No, not some racial joke or baking tip, these crackers refer to the goodie and confetti filled kind – a handheld pinata if you will. Really feeling your oats? Make the candies, crowns and keepsakes that go inside. We’ll be visiting the local import store for ours; The inner Martha will go straight to the hoosegow if she tries to convince me to start with the candy dipping.


Door number three: How to Make Papercut Christmas Cards

That would be the bloodless kind. Most of us love to doodle, but much like most of the “talent” auditioning for American Idol, loving it doesn’t make us good at it. For those without the ability to draw, paint or otherwise amaze with our prowess in the manual arts, fear not, you aren’t doomed to rubber stamping – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

How to number four: How to Make 3 Easy Paper Decorations

The good news about these is they can be crafted by the infirmed as well as the young child, whichever way you’re feeling at the time. The better news is, if you end up hating them, they make a pretty good yule log fire starters. Unless you are committed to the full commercially produced tree, ornament, lighting and decorating path, handmade decorations can lend a positive personal touch to your room, apartment, home, or Occupy tent.

Lets step it up: How to Make Easy “No Sew” Fabric Christmas Ornaments

You’ve gotta know you like handmade before you start these. They don’t burn clean, they stay around longer than an incumbent congressman and they have an odd ability to make you melancholy for a simpler time. My favorites are the ones my grandmothers made, you’ll want to pass yours along too, whether they like it or not. They’ll thank you eventually.


Project six: How To Make Christmas Stockings

I’m partial to fishnet because you can see what’s in them, unfortunately the nuts are always falling out. Face it, nothing tells a kid, or spouse that you’re looking forward to Christmas eve like a freshly minted Chinese made stocking from Target right? While this isn’t exactly cutting out snowflakes, it’s surprisingly easy to do and when it’s done it will put a smile on the recipients face, even if that face is yours.

Lucky number seven: How to Make a Christmas Wreath

This tutorial is the reason you haven’t cut back the neighbors fir tree that grows six feet over your side of the fence; you’ve been saving those fragrant green boughs for a wreath. Break out the chainsaw-pruners or what have you, and prepare to be amazed: you’ll be creating your own traditional Christmas wreath. That is once you’re done sharing the holiday spirit with your neighbor.


And our final project: The Parcel Style Gift Wrap.

It’s green, it’s clever, and it looks way better than the local fishwrapper does. Now this video was for Valentines day, but hey, that’s not even a real holiday. With all the handcrafted snowflakes, ornaments, stockings, wreaths and cards you’ve created, you can’t put gifts under the tree wrapped up in the latest fashionable Costco bundled paper – you save that for the Santa gifts. Who knows, you may inspire a budding UPS driver with your efforts.
 In all seriousness, you don’t make memories by shopping, you make them by doing, by giving, by participating. Even the simplest handmade creation can have a profound effect. Enjoy, I’ve got to get started dipping the chocolates…

Kelly Asay is an entrepreneur, software developer and performing musician. As the publisher of Eugene Daily News, Asay is continually searching, finding and promoting the best unknown journalists, photographers and inspirational people from all over Lane County.

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