Here are some more Victorian homemade
Christmas gifts to make. In this day and age of rushing around,
purchasing whatever you can think of quickly just to get your holiday
shopping over with, a handmade gift is most certainly welcomed. It shows
the recipient that you put extra thought and time into the gift you
gave them. You can be sure that it will be cherished for years.
Harper's Bazaar, 1895.
Edited for use on this site
Each season brings its novelties in the way of simple Christmas presents
that can be made at home, and are often all the more welcome because of
the sentiment thus attached to them. An unpretentious and inexpensive
gift can be the bearer of as much real joy and feeling as the most
elaborate and costly one.
This Christmas-tide a wealth of pretty and useful articles fills the shops and art-rooms or exchanges, some of them requiring quite an outlay of time and martial, others costing little and easily fashioned. Among them are found new designs in table covers, tea and tray cloths, toilet sets, doilies, and centre pieces; frames, both hand-painted and embroidered; book covers, wall-racks, pin-cushions, work-boxes, shoe and clothes bags, hair-receivers, mouchoir and glove cases, and a host of other little necessities or conveniences.
Some of the most attractive of these gifts are the many dainty bits of
hand-painted china or porcelain. Small individual olive or almond dishes
come in sets, and can be purchased very reasonably from the
manufacturers or wholesale houses, as can all sorts of china-ware. The
experienced or amateur china-painter already knows how to proceed with
the work of decoration. The prettiest and most appropriate designs for
Yule-tide are holly, mistletoe, and the other greens and berries
belonging to the season, but violets and forget-me-nots, or sprays of
pink rosebuds or diminutive roses, are much seen this winter.
Bread-and-butter plates have bunches of laurel leaves and yellow
berries, while a delicate pink and gold sardine dish is encircled with a vine of trailing myrtle, with its blue flowers and glossy foliage.
Something unique and convenient is the folding wastepaper box or basket,
so easily packed in the trunk when going for a visit or a short stay
To make this basket, take heavy cardboard and cut eight pieces, each about eight inches square; cover hem with plain or figured duck or linen — a deep golden brown flecked with dull red and yellow is artistic. Cover the eight pieces and overhand them finely together in pairs, so that the four sides of the basket are formed. Make a similar fifth square for the bottom. In overhanding the pairs together leave one side of each square open until a piece of the duck has been slipped between.
The other edge of this piece of duck slip between the pieces for the bottom square, and leave enough loose so that the four sides can have play to fold down on the bottom, one square over the other. To have the basket in readiness for use, tie the four sides together at the top corners with bows of satin ribbon two inches wide.
A traveling work-basket is fashioned on the same plan (see Folding
Wastepaper Basket above), and will prove a great boon to any one who
from pleasure or necessity must go much from home. A square bottom is
formed of cardboard covered with silk, velvet, or linen; the size may
vary from three to six inches, according to desire. The four sides are
covered cardboard, and attached to the bottom square by pieces of the
chosen material slipped in, as in the case of the waste-basket, so
affording play for the sides to fold flat downward. In shape these sides
are not square, but slope upward, being a little larger at the top, and
forming a quaintly shaped box, something after the style of the Sedan
chair of olden times.
These sides tied together with narrow satin or Dresden ribbons. A handle is a narrow band of the silk or velvet. Inside the ribbon is sewed down in loops at intervals, so that little receptacles are formed for scissors, wax, emery, thimble, and papers of needles. Small pouches are attached to two sides, and flat cushions to the other two, while on the bottom is slipped under ribbons an ivory tablet with diminutive pencil. This box folds, or it may be packed away simply flattened out.
A sensible and handy little novelty in the way of holding sewing
conveniences is a doubled hanging piece of old-rose denim, which is a
strong, cheap, and washable material.
This is about eight inches long and six wide. It is bound with deep old-rose ribbon, satin or watered, and embroidered at the corners in a fancy feather stitch of old-rose floss-silk. But before it is bound an additional piece of the denim is laid on, reaching half-way up, to form a pocket for the numerous implements. Before the top of this piece is bound a little flap is set on, formed also of denim, and measuring three inches by two, which, when lifted, is discovered to be a needle-book made of two bits of fine white flannel feather-stitched about with old-rose floss.
Above the applied piece to the left is a little pouch of the denim to hold a thimble and emery, and on its right, scissors, pencil, and bodkins are slipped through narrow ribbon attachments. Tiny vines of old-rose embroidery run between the various parts of this useful article, which is hung by a ribbon loop.
A pretty and acceptable trifle to give a college-boy is a stud and ring
box. This is made from strong etching or parchment paper, and is round
in shape, the lid lifting up. It is hand-painted in the colors of the
young student’s college — crimson, blue, or orange and black — and on
top are drawn a pair of link cuff-buttons, a scarf-pin, and one or two
Another suitable gift for a masculine student is a frame for a small photograph. It is a gilt frame-work, square in pattern, and having a rest behind to support it. A square of glass protects a hand-painted square of rough etching-paper; this is a dark blue, for instance, with a large Y, for Yale, in the upper right corner. Across the left corner is a dainty painted maiden in ball attire, peeping over the oval opening for the photograph.
An exquisite table centerpiece is of finest white linen, almost oval in
shape, the edge in fancy Louis XVI scroll-work of white floss-silk, the
design a wreath of palest pink roses, blue forget-me-nots, and foliage
in natural lines, while let in at different intervals are effective and
artistic bits of open fret-work in floss-silk.
As the chafing-dish is quite the thing now, being much patronized by both college boys and girls, a chafing-dish book is in order as a most acceptable offering, and a hand-painted or embroidered cover greatly enhances its value and appearance. A dainty one has a pattern in garlands of roses tied with fluttering lavender ribbons.