Hey YOU.  You there!  The one who hasn’t finished their Christmas presents yet.  The one who swore they were going to knit a sweater for every member of their family.  The one who wanted to be that person who made personalized, super-cute handmade gifts but never actually got around to it because there’s a surprising amount of good television around today.

I mean, if these were the Joanie Loves Chachi days of television, you’d be golden.  You’d have time to knit  sweaters for your entire family.  Even if you’re polygamists.  As it turns out we’re in the House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Shameless era of television.  Also there’s Gold Rush Alaska which I know you watch even if you don’t admit to it.  So, there really isn’t a lot of time to be making grand gesture presents for everyone you know.

There is however time for making smaller gesture presents.



  1. Serving board.
  2. Grill scraper.


3. Jean pocket pencil holder.
4. Tea towel apron.



5.  Beeswax Food Wrap.
6.  Board Butter for conditioning raw wood.



7. Tooth Polish.
8. Charging Tassel Keychain.



9.   Gold Horseshoe Tissue holder.
10. Water Dispenser.


Still feel guilty about not having made the time to knit those sweaters? Don’t worry about it.  Nobody likes them anyway.  Besides, that’s what Benetton is for. I’m nothing if not full of outdated references today.  Stick around and I might mention Andrew Dice Clay.

All of these DIYS are pretty inexpensive with most of them costing less than $10 and requiring no more than an hour or so to make.  If you’re absolutely stuck on the homemade sweater, you can actually make one of those in about 5 – 10 minutes depending on how many tags are on it and how sharp your scissors are.

Have a good weekend and if you decide to give any of these DIYs a try and run into trouble, just shoot me an email and I’ll completely ignore you.



  1. Mindy says:

    After years of following along, I just realized I read all your posts in the voice of Jane Lynch.

  2. Mark says:

    Nice collection of creative gift ideas. Thank you Karen!

  3. Cred says:

    I love the idea of giving a cutting board with a loaf of homemade bread but I’m just not going to have time to be making bread close to xmas day. Cutting boards with board butter and perhaps buy bread from our local bakery.
    Although, crap it’ll be day old since they will close Xmas day.

    • I solved that problem years ago, when everyone asked me to bake bread for the holidays and I was going crazy trying to do it the day before Christmas. I promise you, this will work and they will never know.

      Bake your loaves – 2 to 3 weeks ahead of time. Let them thoroughly cool (not over night). Wrap them tightly in tin foil. If your tinfoil is of the very “thin” variety, wrap them twice. Put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. Take them out of the freezer the night before you need them. Let them defrost IN THE TINFOIL! When they are defrosted, they taste like they are freshly baked. Hasn’t failed me yet, and they are still asking for my bread around the holidays. Good luck!

      • Cred says:

        If love you, Susan! I didn’t ask for tips but I was secretly hoping that some expert baker on here had figured this out, would read my comment and say, “Oh that’s simple, you just have to…”
        Just like you did! Thank you so much.

        • Oh, I am no expert. I just like to bake bread in the winter. I think that’s why Karen’s blog is so popular. We are all here to help … if we can.

          Caution: My freezing method does not work for bread that has the top sprinkled with sugar before baking. Found that out the hard way. When defrosted, the sugar gets … well, let’s use the technical term here … icky. Bread sprinkled with flour prior to baking is fine, but not sugar.

          Enjoy and have fun!

  4. Melissa says:

    Genius ideas! If better get high behind!!
    Now, where did I put that saw……

  5. Gretchen Sexton says:

    I made the tooth polish last year and it was a big hit! Still loving that serving board idea….

  6. ronda says:

    The apron is fabulous! I’d include the “blood” stain!

  7. maggie van sickle says:

    purchased and wrapped but nothing homemade..

  8. Cathy says:

    Where do you find tent-size tea towels? I know you’re enviously thin but my regular shape + 65 yrs = myWinnie the Poo shape.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Yes, I am kind of miniature sized. But as long as it’s a generous tea towel it’ll work. If all else fails use a bath towel. :) That way one can slide themselves along the floor on their belly to clean up any massive kitchen spills. ~ karen!

  9. Debbie D says:

    Gold Rush Alaska??? Rats!!! I don’t think that one is available here in the States–at least on Dish. However, I do occasionally watch Ice Road Truckers! Does that count?

  10. jainegayer says:

    Love the gift ideas! My daughter-in-law was here on Thanksgiving and brought something wrapped in a beeswax cloth. She was so excited and asked if I’d ever seen anything like it. I remembered when you had done a post about them years ago. Now I can make some for her. And the horseshoe tissue holder is a great idea. I would use one of my horses shoes but it would be tough getting all the “organics” off. But Tractor Supply has horsehoes and they’re about $8 a pair. Great idea!! Thanks, Karen for having our backs again.

    • Karen says:

      HI Jaine! Just make sure you get a pony shoe. A regular horseshoe is too big and heavy. :) ~ karen!

      • And don’t wash them in the dishwasher!

        I bought 10 of them to make for presents, thought I would toss them in the dishwasher just to clean them up (I am so nuts!), forgot about them for a couple of days, and they rusted!

        Dang! Now I have 10 rusty pony horse shoes sitting around the house. Can’t toss ’em (that would be sinful), not worth the time to get the rust off, and I don’t know anyone who has a shoeless pony.

        Sometimes, you can hear the Universe laughing at you.

        • SusanR says:

          If you have a Walmart nearby, go to their section where they sell cleaning supplies and look for their gallon of White Vinegar. It may be marked as “Cleaning Vinegar”. It’s a couple of dollars for the gallon.

          Put your pony shoes into an old baking pan that’s deep enough for the pony shoes to be covered, and with a mix of somewhere between 50-60% vinegar to water, put the shoes in the pan and pour that over them.

          Let sit for several hours, depending on how bad the rust is, and then you should be able to just use a washcloth to wipe off the rust while you’re rinsing off each shoe.

          This is the process metalworkers use, instead of purchasing rust removal products. Just make sure you’re not using a teflon pan. Aluminum is best, especially if it’s an old, dirty aluminum because the vinegar mixture will also clean the aluminum pan.

          After the pony shoes dry, spray them with whatever color paint Karen recommended, before they have a chance to rust again.

        • Really?? That is terrific! I have a gallon of that in the closet!

          Thank you so much!! I will begin soaking them tonight.

          I really appreciate your help, Susan.

        • SusanR says:

          Happy to help! Heavy rust takes a few hours, so yours might not take tht long. After half an hour, just rub a rusty spot with your finger, and if it comes right off, they’re probably all done. If most of it comes off, thta will give you some idea of how much longer to soak them. I don’t think you’d want to leave them soak overnight.

  11. bill keiser says:

    Slacker! 2:04 am! I had to stay up two hours later to read this.

    • Karen says:

      Sorry Bill, lol. There was an issue with the scheduling of the post. :) I’ll be on top of things from now on. ;) ~ karen!

  12. Thera says:

    Something must be wrong, can’t be second lol.
    I am always behind on the shopping part due to payday dates etc but great ideas though, thank you!

  13. Louise says:

    Oh my goodness, I can’t be first, can I?! I just wanted to say how much I love the photo of your tea towel apron . . . with the blood on it and the cleaver in your hand! I actually went to the article and am very pleased, as I have some gorgeous tea towels, too pretty to use as regular towels. But they’ll make great aprons, so thanks!

    • Karen says:

      You were first Louise! The post accidentally didn’t publish when it was supposed to so it went up a few hours late. :) ~ karen!

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