'tis the season for getting crafty Wanna make your own prezzies, but shy on time? Here are some ideas for gifts that can be whipped up in under an hour, often with stuff that's just kicking around the house.
Peso cufflinks : Got a dapper dresser in your life? Forget buying overpriced cufflinks when you can make your own with pretty much anything. Pick up stainless steel cufflink backings from Arton Beads ($1, 523 Queen West, 416-504-1168), then glue on any found object: Scrabble letters, old-fashioned typewriter keys or foreign money (like these lovely Mexican pesos).
Papier mche vases : Take boring old papier mché vases to new heights by using stunning Japanese paper, old cards, LCBO mags or anything homemade. (See last year's column on DIY paper at www.nowtoronto.com.)
Spoon napkin rings : Which hostess with the mostest wont appreciate novelty napkin rings ? You can make your own with old souvenir spoons like these from Winkel ($10 for four, 1107 Queen East, 416-465-4247). Just bend them in two places and you're done.
Antique hardware jewellery : Who knew an antique cabinet knob or applique could look so good dangling around your neck? Trawl your local antique store (like the Salvage Shop , 1216 Queen East, 416-469-2567 ) for old hardware, then string your best finds on a ribbon, chain or leather strand to transform them into a one-of-a-kind necklace . Or a brooch.
Scarf : Who needs two weeks for knitting when old clothes make quick n easy source material for totally original neck wraps? Raid second-hand shops for Ts, sweaters, hoodies or, in our case, three jersey boys tops, then cut into strips and stitch together to make a funky decoupage scarf . For extra detailing, I cut some images off a tike's Tonka T-shirt and sewed it on one end.
Reconstructed T : Cant afford Preloved stuff? Simply take an old T-shirt (this one from Unlearn.com was especially cool to begin with) and jazz it up with a pair of scissors and a little imagination. I cut an angular V-neck into the front and back, sliced off the arms and made a red sash from another T. Go to town with patches or random stitching around the bottom or sleeve.
Beaded jewellery : Forget about all the petrol-based plastic jewellery youve strung in the past and get crafting with beautiful natural beads made from seeds, dried fruit, banana leaves, sea bamboo and tagua nuts collected from the rainforest floor (prices vary, the Beadery , 446 Queen West, 416-703-4668).