Weekend Sewing
From sweet cotton slippers to pretty etched-glass bowls, creating one-of-a-kind presents is easier and cheaper than you might think. Here are four books to help you get crafty this holiday season, plus gift ideas for those who'd rather leave the work to the professionals.
1. Sewing:

Even needlephobes can whip up the snuggly, ballet-style cotton slippers featured in Heather Ross's vividly illustrated Weekend Sewing (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). Customize your creations using the retro fabrics ('50s poodles! mod '60s swirls!) available at reprodepot.com.

Not crafty? Try another treat for the feet: Hydra Heart's custom-made, shockingly affordable Mary Janes and ballet flats are 100 percent vegan and totally adorable (starting at $30; buildanest.com).

Next: Crafty stationery

Wallpaper Projects
2. Stationery:
The word wallpaper may conjure up the kitschy prints in a 1970s kitchen—until you see the craft ideas in Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith's Wallpaper Projects (Chronicle). Create beautiful stationery using the dreamy designs available through Hygge & West ($5 per 8??" x 11" sample; hyggeandwestshop.com ).

Not crafty? Rifle Design's vibrant, folk-art-inspired stationery is sure to put anyone in the letter-writing mood (starting at $4; riflepaperco.com).

Next: Artistic housewares

Glass Engraving
3. Housewares:
Elevate a plain-Jane glass vase, serving bowl, or mirror from your local thrift shop with the projects in Sonia Lucano's Glass Engraving (Potter Craft). All you'll need is a stencil (or an artistic hand and, instead of an engraving tool, try glass-etching cream ($8.50 for three ounces; etchworld.com).

Not crafty? Artisan Nina Invorm updates vintage ceramics with whimsical illustrations—say, a peacock superimposed over floral china (pieces start at $18; ninainvorm.etsy.com).

Next: Beautiful appliqué

4. Appliqué
Learn how to transform a simple wool throw with a scattering of splashy appliquéd flowers in Cath Kidston's Make! (St. Martin's). Britain's queen of bright, cheery fabrics, Kidston shows readers how to punch up existing items (clothes, bedding, a humdrum handbag) with minimal effort and big results.

Not crafty? Kidston's U.K.–based Web site ships worldwide, offering everything from delicate handkerchiefs (about $9) to polka-dot hair clips ($11) to a rose-festooned blanket ($140; cathkidston.co.uk).

Find hundreds of other unique (and affordable!) gift ideas in our Gift Finder!


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