A Carebear Necklace and Giving Homemade Gifts (that really look homemade)

Do you remember those gifts you used to make as a child for family?

little girl with  cutter make a christmas tree cookie

There was the endless supply of far-too-tiny potholders.  The gingerbread Christmas tree ornament.  The clay dog I made that I was told (allegedly) looked like a pig.  The paper rug.  The snowman out of a soup can.  The yo-yo mini-quilt.  (Really, I didn’t make that for anybody because I didn’t like it–home economics project–but my mom paid me $50 for it because she said it was like a $50 yo-yo vest in a boutique.  Ah, moms.).

And then there was the Care Bear necklace.

One day at my grandmother’s house when I was about five or six, she helped me make a necklace for my mother out of gold pipe cleaner and magazine pictures of Care Bears.  It really did turn out extraordinary, if I say so myself.  My mother wore it to church the next Sunday, which is further proof.  (Remembering that this is the same mom who paid me the $50 for the yo-yos.)

When we grow up, I think we forget a lot of times what a little homemade gift can mean–even if it doesn’t look like something that came out of a magazine, and even if it isn’t exactly what our family or friends would have made for themselves.

My father kept my embroidered blue-bunny-in-a-wagon pillow in his office for as long as he had an office–even though that little pillow looked like something that belonged in a nursery or nursing home (and even though the thread started to unravel).

Among my most treasured belongings are sketches my father did–I wish I’d saved every napkin and paper he ever drew on.

Homemade gifts don’t have to be snapshot-worthy or take the next 6 months to make.  But they can say, with childhood fervor, I love you (a lot).

. . love is kind . . (1 Corinthians 13:4b, NASB)


Published in: on April 23, 2014 at 6:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 28: The Mission of the Handmade & Personal

The school I teach at does what is called “Valentine Grams”.  Parents can buy them for their children, and children can buy them for their classmates.  For 50-cents, a Valentine Gram with a short message and 2 pieces of candy is sent to the classroom.

Every year, I’d have children disappointed and near tears or sulky because they didn’t get a Valentine Gram.  One year, I decided to buy grams for the whole class.  I asked for a message that said something like, “I love you,” and my name.

I was surprised at the reaction I got.  The kids who had already gotten 2 or 3 weren’t always so enthralled.  But for the majority of the class, which had gotten no other gram, they were delighted.  It meant far more to them than two pieces of candy would have meant any other day.  It was something special; it was something that included them in the Valentine’s message.

Not all of us can make (or should try to make) gifts.  If you are like my dear friend who is able to go on Pinterest and exquisitely replicate extraordinary ideas, you go for it!  🙂  God has given you a gift!

If, however, you’re like me, and can’t make so much as a paper frog, you don’t have to panic.  You can still reach others for Christ with the handmade and personal.  Here are a few ideas to get you started–and I’m sure you can do them, because I can do them.  🙂

As you make or personalize a gift, pray for the person you are going to be giving it to.  Pray for them to believe in Christ, walk strong with Him, lean on Him for courage–whatever needs they have in their life, bring to Him.

Hearts ‘n’ Envelope

Cut hearts out of paper.  (Fold a piece of paper in half and cut half-hearts out of the seam.  Unfold them, and you have hearts.)  Make a bunch of hearts, of different colors, and put them in an envelope.  Seal the envelope and give it to a girl in your life: “For my mom” or “For my wife” or “For my daughter”.


When you’re on vacation or hiking a trail, choose a rock that is special for whatever reason.  (Of course, of course, do not steal someone’s rocks out of their yard or the lot of their business, or take rocks on nature trails where signs tell you not to pick up anything.)  Or, you can buy a rock at a store.  Spend time choosing one that means something to you.  Wrap yarn around the rock and on a price tag (or small gift tag) write a Scripture verse about how God is our rock and how wise we are to build on Him.

Pancakes for Breakfast

Buy frozen pancakes or waffles for breakfast-in-bed or as a surprise to your family.  With very little work, you can dress pancakes and waffles up with toppings like butter, syrup, Nutella, chopped almonds or pecans, and whipped cream.


You can make VERY simple, adorable drawings with an ink pad and one of Ed Emberley’s books.  These thumbprint/fingerprint drawings add a sweet touch to a gift tag, or you can put one on a Post-it note for friends or family with a short note, prayer, or a reference to a Scripture that’s on your heart.  (Books: Fingerprint Drawing BookGreat Thumbprint Drawing Book, or both books together in Complete Funprint Drawing Book.)


Make cookies from the ready-made frozen Pilbury cookie selection.  (They even have all-natural cookies!)  Add a glass of milk, and you have a very special snack for friends or family.  Serve the cookies when they’re still warm!


Etsy is to the non-crafter what a log lighter is to a rookie scout.  You can buy a handmade gift that looks like it could go on the cover of a Martha Stewart–as opposed to making a handmade gift that looks like it could go on the cover a Recycle Weekly magazine.  Etsy is bustling with a VARIETY of handmade items.  You can give a beautiful little bar of handmade soap or one-of-a-kind plush animal or a handcrafted Scripture verse necklace.  Many sellers on Etsy are willing to personalize their handmade item, too.


If you have a pottery painting shop in your area, you can paint a piece of pottery.  The shop will place your hand painted item in a kiln and glaze it for you.  You don’t have to know much about painting–the glaze will help your piece look great.  🙂  You can paint a person’s name on the pottery or a special Scripture reference to share.


Is it worth the time to give a handmade or personalized gift?  If your gift is given in love through Christ, absolutely.  Your gift shares His love in a big way with the world.  If we really give a gift out of love, then we share God’s character traits with our friends and family–those we love most in this world.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)