Gifts from the heart and hand
Create your own homemade presents
Every year as the holidays approach I promise myself that I will get organized early and give myself the time to really think about my gift-giving. And although I still end up rushing around the week before, it’s the planned gifts, the presents that make a personal connection and have a hands-on touch that I cherish most of all.
A handmade offering says love in a big way. “It’s the thought that counts,” my mom used to say. How true! If you love to cook, then homemade preserves and baking, including luscious jams and pickles, rich cookies and decadent cakes, are delightful to receive.
Go with your strengths when devising your list of handmade gifts. True to the spirit of my passion for paint, I have some favourite items that please, and can accommodate any age group, male or female. This year I was drawn to a new series of stencils from Royal Design Studio that features the many faces of lace.
They are wall stencil designs, but can be used to gorgeous effect on furniture and fabric as well. Their names are descriptive. Spanish Lace Scallop is reminiscent of a fan, lovely in white on blue, dramatic in black and white. Snowflake Lace is a delicate, playful design that’s fun for a child’s room. Grand Floral Lace befits a romantic bedroom or ladies’ sitting room.
Shown here is the studio’s newest design, Primitivo Lace, which captured my imagination for the many ways it could be transferred onto fabrics. It works its magic on placemats and napkins. You could also trim a tablecloth or fashion a table runner. For a special cook on my list, I can see this design on a canvas apron in two or three bold spice colours — paprika, saffron and nutmeg.
Royaldesignstudio.com has videos and instructions on stencilling for beginners and experts. You can choose any stencil paint that is designed to go on fabric. They recommend Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint, which gives a matte contemporary effect to a stencilled pattern.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Annie Sloan when she was on tour for her latest book, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture. Since I was working on this column, I asked her what she would create as a gift from the heart and hand. Annie loved the idea, and her suggestion, which she has actually done, is as simple as it is charming.
“Find an old candlestick at an antique or second-hand shop. Paint it. Put a candle in it and you’re done.”
Annie’s Chalk Paint (anniesloan. com) covers virtually any surface, including metal. The cast-bronze wall sconce shown here has been painted in cool colours, primarily Paris Gray, Louis Blue and Olive. The paint was rubbed back to show some of the bronze beneath. Annie points out that gold colours are warm and work well with cool colours, they make an agreeable balance for the eye.
There are so many gifts you can personalize with paint. For the teen in your life who uses up all the hot water in the morning, stencil a shower curtain with musical motifs or crazy shapes. Children of all ages love floor cushions, trinket boxes and bed covers that feature their name or favourite colour and design.
Dining rooms get an unexpected lift with drapes edged in a painted pattern. Kitchens brighten up with hand-painted details on tiles, and even plates and glassware. All super gifts that will be cherished. DEBBIE TRAVIS’S HOUSE TO HOME COLUMN IS PRODUCED BY DEBBIE TRAVIS AND BARBARA DINGLE. PLEASE EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO HOUSE[email protected]BIETRAVIS.COM. YOU CAN FOLLOW DEBBIE ON TWITTER AT WWW.TWITTER.COM/DEBBIE_TRAVIS, AND VISIT DEBBIE’S NEW WEBSITE, WWW.DEBBIETRAVIS.COM.
Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint transforms a metal sconce to create a homemade gift that will be cherished.
A stencilled design on fabric, such as this Primitivo Lace pattern from Royal Design Studio on mat and napkin, is a gift for foodies.