It’s the Twelfth Day of Craftsmas, and today I give to thee: Twelve Centerpieces! Bedeck your holiday table with one of these beauties, straight from the pages of Better Homes & Gardens (online, that is). Click the thumbs for the how-tos.



Christmas is coming, and it’s time to wrap the gifts! Wrap Small this year with one of these greener-than-standard-gift-wrap options.

Grocery sacks (a.k.a. kraft paper). Have yourself a very Martha Christmas! Turn your grocery tote inside out for a clean look, or take advantage of the patterns on the outside to create a signature gift. Not reusable, but recyclable. In lieu of taping corners, why not stitch them, à la Wild Olive?


Newspaper. You gotta love the prezzies that come clad in this week’s dailies. You can’t use it twice, but it beats recycling après read. For a fresh twist on an old standard, take a tip from Danny Seo: use newspapers to wrap a bottle of wine. Secure with a ribbon around the bottleneck, and then cut the top portion into strips and curl with scissors, as you would a ribbon. Fancy pants!


Gift bags. Who doesn’t reuse a gift bag over and over and over and over and over…? My mother is the poster-woman for reusing those things. I’ve been getting Xmas yummies in the same gifts bags for, like, fifteen years. We speak of them in (ir)reverent shorthand: The “Shorts” Tree. The Music Shoppe. Napoleon Santa. And to this day, they incite in me veritable paroxysms when I see them arrayed in all of their glorious bounty. Ooh!

While you’re already baggin’ it, why not pump up the volume? Make your own gift bag out of newspaper (shout-out to CRAFT Mag for this idea). Head. Spinning. So. Eco. Friendly.


Decorative tins. Thrift store time! Secondhand shacks abound with tossed-out cookie tins, tea tins, candle tins, whatchamawhosiewhatsit tins. And these tins are infinitely reusable as gift boxes. Clean ’em up (and embellish as below, if you’d like), pack yer stuff, and give, give, give!


Papercraft Gift Card Box. Like the gift bag, this little bit has a long life. Slip in a gift card now. Your recipient can use it to store all kinds of objects later — things like buttons and bubblegum cigs and pieces of string.


Fabric. Use up remnants, or make a gift out of the wrapping, too. Gifting a quilter? Wrap the present in a fat quarter or two. Presenting a sheet set or duvet? Bundle it in a pillowcase. Offering a pair of mittens? Swaddle them in a matching scarf. Chez Living Small, we’re fabric wrappers almost exclusively. (Easy, because my fabric stash doesn’t seem to deplete. I think I’m lazy.) All you need is a swatch big enough to cover your gift and some yarn or ribbon. It’s tricksy at times — no slick creases, no sticky tape — but it beats having to toss crumpled gift-shells, even if you’re recycling. (I Spy Smallers! Is that faux bois fabric familiar?)

And what about pages from a desk calendar? Or tinfoil? How do you wrap it up?

Tins via Design*Sponge; Fabric-wrapped gifts via me.

Everyone loves food. (If they don’t, they should.) And homemade treats are the crème de la crème of foodie gifts. Onward to the eats!

~~~~ SAVORY ~~~~

PARMESAN BLACK-PEPPER BISCOTTI via Gourmet/Epicurious (Note: This is a big time commitment, but oh! So yummy, I’m sure.)


DO CHUA (Vietnamese pickled veggies) via Tea & Cookies


SMOKY CASHEWS via Martha Stewart/YumSugar

~~~~ SWEET ~~~~

SUGARPLUMS (yeah — they’re real!) via Handmade Homeschool/CRAFT Magazine


LEMON CURD via Joy of Baking (Great spread on scones or stirred into plain yogurt.)




CANDIED CITRUS PEEL via Martha Stewart online


PEPPERMINT BARK (a Christmastime staple) via Bon Appetít/Epicurious

Happy cooking!

If you’re like me, Christmas is an equal opportunity giftfest — which means that everyone in the house, animals included (like my sweetie-Gulliver, below), gets gifted.

Got a furry friend in your home? Have a pal whose four-legged sidekick deserves a special treat? No sweat, my pet. Here’s a quick roundup of DIY gifts that can make any animal lover’s Christmas the cat’s meow.


  • Kitty Condo. Swank it up for your favorite feline with this multilevel highrise. Via ReadyMade.
  • Corrugated Scratching Post. Face it: Little Kitty gotta scratch, yo. Via ReadyMade.
  • Knitted Catnip Dim Sum. Watch your cat get crazy with slippy, slidey, grippy, ‘nippy toys made with love. Via
  • Landfill-Bounds. No link for these DIYs, dovies, ‘cuz they are too easy. Think about gifting Catface with a trove of trashy treasures. Gulliver and Domino’s favorites:

    Old wine corks — they bounce! they slide! they stink like fermented things!
    Balls of tinfoil stuffed with catnip — wild, man, wild.
    Dried leaves — they float and fly and taste like the outside.
    Rubberbands — fire á la fifth grade and watch ’em soar!
    Empty Satsuma mandarin boxes — the perfect size for snuggling.


  • Mini-Dog Carrier. Looks like a tiny circus tiger cage, right down to the red trim and wooden “bars.” Plush it out with faux shearling, and your Poochiepoo can ride in style. Via ReadyMade.
  • Peanut Butter Doggy Biscuits. I’m told that dogs like PB, and I know that they like biscuits. How can you go wrong? Via Sugarlaws.
  • Quilted Canine Jacket. A project that is not for the faint of heart, but yowser! Bowser will look like the Queen of the Nile (or the King of Spain) in this awesome, almost asymmetrical warmer. Via ReadyMade.
  • Tennis Ball Toys. Traditional tennis ball tossing totally played out? Check out this handful of projects that will keep Canine happy, and keep you from that playtime breakdown. Via Planet Green.

And, for those whose pets boast fins or feathers, a few fish and fowl DIYs:

OMG, geeksters! Satisfy your Small Wonder-jones with this DIY tin can robot:

Okay, so you have to buy a kit from Urban Outfitters, so this isn’t a true-blue DIY. But, um, it’s awesome. Says the UO website:

Turn any empty metal can into a walking, wobbling bug-eyed robot! This Tin Can Robot Kit comes with pretty much everything you’ll need to take recycling to a whole other level. Keep a can out of a landfill, and have a robot best friend FOREVER!

I want a robot best friend. And for FOREVER, no less!