Personalized Gift Wrapped Quilt Card

I added this honey bee to the gift card for a beekeeper. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I added this honey bee to the gift card for a beekeeper. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Gift Wrapped Quilt Card

There are so many ways to personalize a handmade quilt, from adding custom embroidery to personalizing the gift card with a photo or something unique.

All of our handmade quilts and gift kits are shipped with a free gift card. We also add a special gift card when we gift wrap and ship to a different destination.

In this particular case, the handmade quilt was a gift for a beekeeper so a little bee made its way to the gift card.

It would be something we would also add to a card on our custom beekeeper’s gift kit.

How does it look all together?

Handmade quilt gift-wrapped with the personalized card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Handmade quilt gift-wrapped with the personalized card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I have to confess, this is my favorite part of shipping, the gift-wrapping and adding the personalized gift card with your unique message.

Charlotte

Crazy Quilt Stitches Gift Set

The thread snips will come in quite handy with the embroidery stitches in this book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The thread snips will come in quite handy with the embroidery stitches in this book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Crazy Quilt Stitches Gift Set

Crazy Quilt Stitches by Dorothy Bond is a wonderful brand new collectible book for the quilter and embroiderer. There are so many little things that make this laminated 6.5x6.3 inch book special.

First, it’s laminated, which means the pages won’t wear out from getting repeatedly turned.

Secondly, the spiral binding makes it easy to turn pages and keep them at the page you need them to copy the embroidery stitch.

Finally, there are so many interesting embroidery stitches that can be used on a crazy quilt design.

The crazy quilt was made popular during Queen Victoria’s time and made use of fabric scraps set in blocks at all sorts of angles. The blocks where finished with embroidery.

Here’s a more modern take of the crazy quilt concept, our Harvest Crazy Quilt:

Harvest Crazy Lap Quilt throw has some of the stitches in Dorothy Bond’s book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Harvest Crazy Lap Quilt throw has some of the stitches in Dorothy Bond’s book. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Some embroidery stitches are classics. The daisy, for example, is a personal favorite and so useful for a variety of things including embellishment.

Dorothy Bond’s Crazy Quilt Stitches book features other stitches I have yet to try, which reminds me of bird feet.

Cretan is an interesting stitch I haven’t tried yet. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Cretan is an interesting stitch I haven’t tried yet. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

On the back of the book copyright 1981, more embroidery inspiration for borders including butterflies.

Have to try the little spider in its web on the book back! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Have to try the little spider in its web on the book back! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

To make this into a gift set, we’ve added brand new thread snips, which make removing left over embroidery floss easy once it is tied off on the back.

As someone who has embroidered for many decades, I would love to get this Crazy Quilt Stitches set as a gift!

Charlotte

Personalized One Sheep Baby Quilt Gift

A matching sheet toy carries the gift-givers good wishes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A matching sheet toy carries the gift-givers good wishes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized One Sheep Baby Quilt Gift

Some baby quilt gifts take a little creativity to pull together, especially the free toy gift that we include to carry the givers best wishes. When it comes to One Sheep Two Sheep Baby Quilt, the decision is easy and obvious, although I still am particular about what kind of sheep toy we include.

Frankly this is one of my all-time favorite little sheep baby quilts and sheep toys. The sheep toy has movable arms and legs and a very soft pelt, similar to the soft, raised fur on the applique sheep on the handmade baby quilt.

Of all of the baby quilts we offer, this one is definitely in a 3-d vibe.

This little sheep toy has movable legs. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This little sheep toy has movable legs. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Our gift toys are also custom and unique so this is the only little toy sheep we currently have in stock to keep One Sheep Two Sheep Baby Quilt company.

Once I add the gift tag with the good wishes, I tuck the sheep toy inside the baby quilt to comfortably make the trip to its new home.

Tucking the toy sheep inside for its trip to its new home. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Tucking the toy sheep inside for its trip to its new home. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

And to finish off the shipping, I wrap the baby quilt and toy so the recipient knows this is a custom personalized gift just for her.

All wrapped up and ready to be shipped. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

All wrapped up and ready to be shipped. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The nice thing about One Sheep Two Sheep Baby Quilt is that it works for both girls and boys so it makes a nice baby shower gift.

Now off to shop for more sheep for my little quilt flock!

Charlotte

Personalized Furniture Refinishing Kit

We personalized this custom furniture refinishing kit with actual honey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

We personalized this custom furniture refinishing kit with actual honey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Furniture Refinishing Kit

Over the years, our customers have given our personalized furniture refinishing kits for a variety of occasions birthdays and Christmas gifts to housewarming, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts. I may be wrong but this order was our first for a retirement gift and I thought as I was wrapping it to ship, what a perfect gift for someone about to start a new chapter in their life.

When I think of all of the things I had on my to do list prior to retiring from my former full time job, refinishing furniture was on the top 20 of that list. It’s not so much that it is hard to do, it just takes time and patience to get it done correctly. When one is working full time, it is easy to rationalize putting a project like that off because it’s hard to carve out a length of time one can devote to working with wood.

In addition to personalizing the kind of Howard RestorAFinish added to this gift set, I added another special treat that the recipient can enjoy separate of the furniture refinishing kit. Imagining how the gift recipient would feel getting this furniture refinishing kit as a retirement gift and what it represents, I added a little jar of Bluebird Gardens honey to enjoy with her cup of tea as she sits back and admires the finished furniture project. Or contemplates what she wants to do with the project before she starts but realizes she doesn’t have to rush getting into it.

Either way, that’s what I like to do!

Charlotte

What's In a Name?

Pre-printed labels add a nice personalized touch to something handmade. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Pre-printed labels add a nice personalized touch to something handmade. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

What’s In a Name?

One of the easiest ways to personalize a gift is to add a name. In the case of Bluebird Gardens-made items, we add our signature patented logo label with a ladybug on the back of our items. The quilts are shipped with a care guide and certificate of authenticity, which gives our customers an extra assurance that they know the original source of their items.

Periodically someone asks us how to personalize a gift without them having a pre-printed label. That’s easy, have a local embroidery shop embroider a name and special date on fabric you can then make into a label.

You can make your own labels with personalized embroidery. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

You can make your own labels with personalized embroidery. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Last week, we helped a customer making her own first quilt personalize the gift for her granddaughter by suggesting she include the granddaughter’s name in the quilt, like we did in this custom reversible t-shirt quilt we make.

She is also going to have a label made out of custom embroidery with her name and date to add to the back of the custom quilt.

Add a name with custom embroidery in a custom quilt center. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Add a name with custom embroidery in a custom quilt center. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Even if you are making the quilt for yourself, make sure to add a label with your name and date on it. The information adds value to the quilt and will make it even more special to your family and friends if you give it as a personalized gift.

Charlotte

Personalized Photo Book Marks

dog book marks.jpg

Personalized Photo Book Marks

Here’s another way to use the magnetic book mark idea for personalized gifts, especially if you need a last minute gift idea. Print off favorite photos and make them into a magnetic book mark the size of a card that can also be personalized inside.

I’m giving family members books this year and printed these photos off their Facebook page. I really like the one of the Beagles fighting over the purple food bowl, it well represents them!

I tested the size and these could also make nice Christmas cards. I would add a line on the back explaining what they are and cut them to fit envelopes if you plan to mail them.

Attaching magnet pieces inside turn these cards into book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Attaching magnet pieces inside turn these cards into book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I also made one for myself from one of my favorite photos of my cat sitting in her window basket. Wouldn’t a whole set of cards that can be used as book marks come in handy? I’m thinking I need of set of cats in different poses.

Every time I see this photo it reminds me I need to print off more of the snow scenes to make book mark cards. I have a lovely set of photos from an early snow storm that would be nice to enjoy again and again.

Love this photo of my cat in her window basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Love this photo of my cat in her window basket. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

For avid readers on your gift list, a box of 8 or 10 different magnet book marks with a favorite saying written or printed inside would make a lovely gift for any occasion. Since making some of these for my own use, I find that I use them quickly and could use more!

Charlotte



Give the Gift of Classes

A gift certificate to basic beekeeping classes by  Rolla Bee Club.  (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A gift certificate to basic beekeeping classes by Rolla Bee Club. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Give the Gift of Classes

Of all of the personalized gift suggestions over the years, this is one that continues to surprise people once they give it: the gift of classes.

It may not seem like the fanciest present to place under the tree but it can be if you place it inside a fancy box with a big bow. You can also give an item associated with the class and attach the gift certificate that says you are getting this class with the specific date so you need this item.

The one caveat is make sure the person getting the class wanted to learn about the particular topic, whether it be photography,, skiing or beekeeping. As the Rolla Bee Club signs up students for the 2019 basic beekeeping classes, we are asking the gift giver if the person has expressed an interest in beekeeping and all have confirmed that has been on their bucket list.

If you are not sure where to find classes, check with your local University extension office, many offer a variety of classes during the year.

Local vocational technical schools also have adult winter classes for the general public, that is where I have found the photography classes.

Recent studies show that learning something new is a confirmed way to keep our brains healthy and growing, which leads to a longer, more fulfilling life. Now that’s a gift everyone should appreciate!

Charlotte

Personalized Quilt Gift Tag

A fun touch with this gift quilt, the gift tag matches! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A fun touch with this gift quilt, the gift tag matches! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Quilt Gift Tag

There are a number of ways to personalize a gift quilt. The most popular way is to custom embroider a variety of things including someone’s name, special date, a quote or add a photo printed onto fabric.

When it is a quilt purchased by someone as a gift, we try to make the gift tag special and in this case, we managed to match the gift tag to the quilt itself. Our gift tag featured red trillium flowers, one of several wildflowers featured in our Cottage Wildflowers quilt.

The quilt is being given as a gift to a sister with a lovely dedication in the matching gift tag.

And the buyer?

They also get a special treat, do you see it packed in with the quilt?

Another surprise added for the buyer, do you see it? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Another surprise added for the buyer, do you see it? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

We included one of our honey seed saver packs, wrapped in plastic, as a holiday gift for the buyer.

Our honey see saver packs include Bluebird Gardens honey in a plastic container and small wood honey dipper; the blue mesh bag can be used to dry seeds, which then can be stored in the empty plastic container to plant next year. The more plants we have blooming, the healthier our bees will be.

We hope both buyer and gift recipient enjoy their gifts!

Charlotte

Gift Idea Framed Newspaper Article

framed newspaper.jpg

Gift Idea Framed Newspaper Article

If you’ve look around at your local businesses, and been in business yourself, you know that starting up any business takes a tremendous amount of time and energy, so much so that something as simple as your ribbon-cutting can end up as a torn page out of the newspaper with your full intention of getting it framed to hang on your store wall.

That’s why getting the ribbon cutting photo of one of your favorite local businesses is a simple but thoughtful personalized gift.

We know how special people think our custom scrapbook quilts are with photos so anything that has someone’s photo can be made into a personalized gift.

In this case, it’s a local winery where I get to spend an evening every month or so with friends, enjoying a wonderful meal and learning what wine to pear with different dishes.

I added a white piece of paper to the back so we can all write a short personal dedication.

back of gift photo.jpg

Once we all get to sign it, we will personally deliver the photo to the business with our collective thanks for all of the work the owners and staff put into their mostly monthly wine-pairings.

Meramec vineyards staff.jpg

Sure it’s what they do as part of their business but having the ribbon-cutting article framed is something they probably haven’t had time to do yet.

Other new business owners have shared how much this meant to them so trust me, it’s a great gift idea that will be much appreciated!

Charlotte

Catnip Butterfly Cat Toys

Bob testing a pile of butterfly catnip toys. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Bob testing a pile of butterfly catnip toys. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Catnip Butterfly Cat Toys

When you live in a family that has dogs and cats, pet toys are on the gift list. For many years, I have made our family catnip toys with freshly-dried catnip from my garden and inspiration for the design from the garden as well.

Last year, my handmade felt catnip toy gifts were butterflies. I was inspired by working on Missouri’s Master Pollinator Steward program, a six-week course designed to help people interested in helping pollinators such as butterflies.

To make butterfly catnip toys, the design is simple. The toy needs the wings and a place to add the catnip.

Basic buttterfly catnip toy pattern made out of felt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Basic buttterfly catnip toy pattern made out of felt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Different-colored butterfly pieces ready to sew. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Different-colored butterfly pieces ready to sew. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Stitch the black portion on three sides and leave one side open to easily stuff the dried catnip.

Add catnip to the center piece once it’s stitched on three sides. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Add catnip to the center piece once it’s stitched on three sides. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

These are so easy to make. Once stuffed, stitch the last side shut. Don’t stuff them too full, you just need enough to give the black center a little pouf or rise.

Butterfly catnip toys with catnip.jpg

Here they are all finished and ready for a test.

Store finished catnip toys in plastic away from inquisitive paws. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Store finished catnip toys in plastic away from inquisitive paws. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My family gift catnip toys are thoroughly tested by my cats. Actually I have to store them in plastic and place them on the top shelf of a cabinet to keep my cats from volunteering to test them.

Uh-oh, Bob looks like he wants ALL of them! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Uh-oh, Bob looks like he wants ALL of them! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Fun to see the handmade catnip butterfly cat toys unpacked but Bob was not supposed to get all of them!

Charlotte

Shipping First Granddaughter Gift

Personalized pink rag quilt gift set ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized pink rag quilt gift set ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Shipping First Granddaughter Gift Baby Quilt

There are few things more exciting than hearing a grandfather describe the arrival of his first grandson or, in this case, granddaughter. The excitement, joy, awe - yes, awe, is all in the voice as they describe the child’s name, when she was born, how much she weighed…

Over the years, we have been honored to ship baby crib quilt gift sets to many granddaughters and grandsons, some who we know still have their quilts because we have also spruced a few up over the years.

Although most of our baby crib quilts are custom and unique, we also personalize in a custom unique way. Some people will have us custom embroider just the first name, or the first and middle name. This grandfather chose the later along with the details of the grand arrival: date of birth, weight and height.

Wrapped in bubble wrap only for the journey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Wrapped in bubble wrap only for the journey. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A pink bear toy delivers the special messages. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A pink bear toy delivers the special messages. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

And to celebrate the grand occasion, I included a little note to proud grandpa.

Shipping pink baby quilt gift.jpg

These rag baby crib quilts were made in USA. We still have another pink rag baby crib quilt in stock with green accents. Grandpa wanted one that was all pink so that’s what we selected for him.

What wonderful adventures are ahead for both of them!

Charlotte

Handmade Book Marks

A traditional metal heart book mark can be handmade as well as card book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A traditional metal heart book mark can be handmade as well as card book marks. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Handmade Book Marks

There is a current retail report showing there has been a shift away from E-books back to traditional books. I am not surprised. Even though I love my portable electronic book for traveling, I prefer a book in hand when I’m home, especially ones with lovely illustrations and photographs. Yes, that means gardening books although there are other topics that have similar appeal such as recipe books.

If you give books as gifts like the American Encyclopaedia of Cooking, or if you just need a simple thoughtful gift idea, try making handmade book marks. I have made and given them over the years and regardless of what books include them, the thank you notes I have received have been all about the simple handmade book marks that were included.

There are a couple of basic handmade book mark designs: the pop up book mark and the one that lies flat on the page. Regardless of the kind you make, you will need one basic ingredient: magnets. You can recycle some of those on your refrigerator as long as you have two that attach to each other or buy a roll of magnet strips that can be easily cut into pieces available at most craft stores.

Handmade Card Book Marks

The easiest ones to make are the ones out of existing cards. Pick a card with a lovey sentiment you want to re-read, it’s a great way to repurpose thank you notes.

A roll of magnets that can be cut are easy to use. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A roll of magnets that can be cut are easy to use. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Cut two pieces of magnets. Mine are about half an inch wide. You can cut them larger if you want more attaching power but be careful, if the magnets are too big they will tear the book page.

Once cut, remove the paper backing and attach to one side of the card. Add the second magnet piece to the first one; remove the paper backing and fold the card, that will ensure that the magnet pieces meet.

I leave the attached magnets in a book as a book mark to allow the glue to dry on the magnets.

Attach magnets to opposite sides inside the card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Attach magnets to opposite sides inside the card. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

That’s it. Once the magnets are dry, the card can nicely be used to mark the last page you read or a favorite page you want to read again.

You can also make your own cards, then attach the magnets for personalized gifts. As an avid reader, I would love to have a set of these I can easily tuck into my reading pile.

The thank you card now can easily be used as a book mark. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The thank you card now can easily be used as a book mark. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Handmade Pop Up Book Marks

These are a great Thanksgiving weekend project for kids of all ages. Kids can cut photos out of magazines, attach printed photos onto card stock and cut out designs from last year’s Christmas cards to make into handmade pop up book marks.

The one on the right was made out of a favorite little frog prince magnet.

See how handmade pop up book marks work as well as metal ones. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

See how handmade pop up book marks work as well as metal ones. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Once the designs are cut, glue the design to folded cardboard card stock so that the card stock fold will wrap around a book page.

For the frog prince, I glued the frog so that the tip of his crown sticks up over where the cardboard cart stock folds over. I also left some card stock at the bottom to demonstrate that would be a good place to add someone’s name; there is room inside for writing as well.

Cut the card stock to compliment the design. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Cut the card stock to compliment the design. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Once the card stock was cut, I added once piece of the magnet under the top side. After leaving it to dry for a few minutes, I added the second magnet piece to the first one.

Add second magnet piece to the attached first one. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Add second magnet piece to the attached first one. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Remove the protective paper and fold the card back to the original shape so that the magnet strip will glue to the bottom piece.

Attached magnet pieces hold the book mark in place. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Attached magnet pieces hold the book mark in place. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

After allowing the magnet glue to dry, here it is, finished and ready for duty. If I wanted less card stock at the bottom, I could have applied the magnet strips to the bottom of the frog. I left the extra white card stock to demonstrate leaving space for adding a favorite saying or dedication.

My finished frog prince book mark where his crown will stick up over the book rim. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My finished frog prince book mark where his crown will stick up over the book rim. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Can you see the possibilities now? Imagine what you can do after printing family photos. Fun to make and even better to give away!

Charlotte

Garden Flags

Garden flag thanks.jpg

Garden Flags

Over the years, one of my favorite housewarming and thank you gifts is to give 12x18 inch small garden flags. It’s something people don’t usually think of buying but once they have them, they tell me they enjoy displaying them in their gardens.

A typical garden flag display at local big box store. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A typical garden flag display at local big box store. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

You can find garden flags and the metal garden flag posts at most garden centers near the arbor displays. The flags themselves may be in another section of the big box garden center and usually are offered by season. The previous season flags may be marked down while the current garden flags are regular-priced.

For a first set, pick a garden flag for each of the four main seasons. Garden flags out of season can be purchased online.

Garden flags with some humor. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Garden flags with some humor. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

In terms of options, there are the basic “welcome” and “happy holiday” generic sayings. The garden flags with more unique sayings may be harder to find but I enjoy looking for ones that mean something to me, especially funny and whimsical ones.

For gifts, I like to pick ones that have kind and happy thoughts.

Garden flags with funny and uplifting messages. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Garden flags with funny and uplifting messages. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Garden flags are like lap quilts, they quickly can change the look of garden corner by bringing a touch of the season to that spot.

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One quick note, the metal garden flag post can be awkward to wrap so find a box to fit them in.

Charlotte

Personalized Ducky Baby Quilt Saga

Ducky baby quilt gift set personalized as a gift. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Ducky baby quilt gift set personalized as a gift. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Ducky Baby Quilt Almost Didn’t Make It!

If you have purchased an item from us, you know we ask you to let me know that it has arrived safely. That’s because one never knows what problems might arise when making a shipment.

In the case of this personalized duck baby quilt gift set, the gift-wrapped quilt left Rolla, Missouri safely only to arrive at its destination with an address that did not exist. Luckily the local post office called me to tell me of the issue and I called the customer who purchased the gift set.

Gift-wrapped and ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Gift-wrapped and ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

After checking the address the customer gave us, turns out the address was incorrect but we had a phone number for the gift recipient.

I called the postal carrier back, gave her both the new corrected address and phone number and waited.

And waited.

The customer emailed me asking if I had heard anything.

Sorry, no, still waiting.

Then a wonderful email from the customer saying the baby quilt gift set ended up delivered at the gift recipient’s business office. We figured the postal carrier found her through the phone number because it wasn’t the corrected address I had given her.

Regardless, this postal carrier is my new heroine, thank you!

Charlotte

Homemade Cat Furniture

One minute cat bed, the next a cat perch. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One minute cat bed, the next a cat perch. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Homemade Cat Furniture

Usually this time of year local big box stores will feature something special for pets and I have yet to see something my cats would enjoy more than this piece of homemade cat furniture.

If you have furry friends you want to spoil over the holidays, take a look at this piece of homemade cat furniture one of my brothers made. He said he made his first one for his Beagle dogs and figured my cats would enjoy having their very own.

At first I didn’t know what it was because he forgot to include instructions in the box. However, after a quick phone call and some quick twisting, the pieces were fitted and the cats had a new perch and napping spot to try.

The piece is made out of white PVC pipe with three-way fittings for the corners. Each “floor” is made out of a stitched canvas fabric that slips over the pipes. That’s it. I could glue the pieces together but I didn’t in case I wanted to make new fabric floors.

To make the levels comfy, I use old white quilted pillow shams that are easy to wash and replace.

In winter, Shirley Honey likes to be surrounded by outdoor pillows that help keep the bottom level warm. This unit sits at a window next to a heat vent.

Bottom level stays warm thanks to nearby heat vent. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Bottom level stays warm thanks to nearby heat vent. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The critical piece to make this is a safe way to cut the plastic pvc pipe. The rest is all about building to size.

Here is a closer look at the corner pieces. This one is for the top “shelf.

Three-corner pvc elbow is the basis for this cat furniture. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Three-corner pvc elbow is the basis for this cat furniture. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The next or bottom “shelf” is a different joint, it has 4 connectors.

This bottom corner piece has 4 connectors. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This bottom corner piece has 4 connectors. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Last but not least, the canvas shelf is a simple foldover with stitching in the center.

Sewn canvas shelf is folded over and stitched in center. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Sewn canvas shelf is folded over and stitched in center. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

You could make different-colored fabric “shelves” to fit in with your home decor and the seasons.
Think you can make one of these for your cats?

Charlotte

Personalized Mug Rug Gift

Inspired by these custom -made mug rugs, I added a variety of items for a calming break. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Inspired by these custom -made mug rugs, I added a variety of items for a calming break. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Mug Rug Gift Set

Have you seen those quilted mug rugs that are still popular for beginning quilters to make? They are easy to make and give beginning quilters encouragement to try something bigger, like a table runner. Or place mats.

The concept of mug rugs inspired me to make a set for a couple I was working with on an annual conference as a thank you for reaching a planning milestone. Instead of just making the placemat-like quilted piece to hold a mug, I extended the pattern and made a pocket where a napkin could be tucked in.

Mirrowing the reason for the gift, I then added a variety of treats to be enjoyed with a mug; stress-reducing tea, calming coffee, hot chocolate, a variety of sweeteners and yes, even a little bottle of whiskey.

The long white boxes hold glass stirrers for ice tea. 

This is the finished personalized mug rug gift set ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This is the finished personalized mug rug gift set ready to ship. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This was an easy way to thank someone for their help and still make it personalized. Check out other personalized gift set ideas for your holiday gift-giving.

Charlotte

Jewelry Personalizes Hats

Some of my favorite pins I have used to personalized hats. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Some of my favorite pins I have used to personalized hats. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Jewelry Personalizes Hats

If you have a collection of vintage pins, they make a great wedding keepsake and bouquet, a nice way to brighten a suit jacket and now, they can personalize hats.

Choose one with a lot of character, or color, and match it to a hat appropriate for the occasion. 

Last year, a friend who loves ball caps had a lot of fun with a little set of vintage jewelry pins I gave her to add to her hats. It's a fun treasure hunt and an easy way to give someone a personal gift without spending a lot of money.

When they don't want to use the jewelry pins on hats, they can enjoy them on a sweater or a belt.

One of my favorite combinations, this pearl pin with a summer straw hat. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One of my favorite combinations, this pearl pin with a summer straw hat. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

If they don't like to wear the pins, they can display the vintage collectible pins on a fabric background in a picture frame to preserve the memories. 

Jewelry pins are very versatile and don't have to just be on a coat lapel!

Charlotte

Personalized Baby Alphabet Quilt

This personalized baby alphabet quilt gift-wrapped and boxed ready to ship. What is inside? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This personalized baby alphabet quilt gift-wrapped and boxed ready to ship. What is inside? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Personalized Baby Alphabet Quilt

Every time I get to gift-wrap and ship one of our personalized quilts, I imagine what the recipient goes through at the other end when they get first get the box.

Is it well gift-wrapped?

What will they think when they first read the free gift tag enclosed?

Since all of our baby quilts are shipped with a free toy carrying the gift tag, what kind of toy will I choose? And where will the toy pop up when the gift is unwrapped?

In this example, the personalized baby quilt was our very popular Alphabet in Clouds Baby Quilt with a white cloud at the top where the custom embroidery can easily be added.

The white cloud at the top of the quilt is a perfect place for custom embroidery. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The white cloud at the top of the quilt is a perfect place for custom embroidery. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Where to place the custom embroidery is easy but what about the free gift toy? When one has 26 letters in the alphabet, which one am I going to match?

As I go through my choices, I try to compliment the quilt colors with the colors in the toy. I also try to select a toy that is represented in the baby quilt. In this case, it was easy, C is for Cat!

This cat toy was tucked inside the baby quilt for a surprise as it is unwrapped. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This cat toy was tucked inside the baby quilt for a surprise as it is unwrapped. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

To make the personalized gift even more special, I tuck the toy inside the baby quilt so that when it is unwrapped, the toy is a special surprise. Like the soft center inside a chocolate. I must have the letter C on my mind!

Charlotte

Personalized Baby Gift Idea

One of the ways to personalize a baby gift is to have a baby quilt custom embroidered.

One of the ways to personalize a baby gift is to have a baby quilt custom embroidered.

Personalized Baby Gift Idea

There are several ways you can personalize a baby gift. The most popular way is to add custom embroidery to a baby quilt, such as the baby's name on this custom one of a kind Zoo Baby Quilt Gift Set  we personalized for a customer.

There were several locations where the custom embroidery could have been added but the customer decided to place it at the bottom in the solid navy blue section in white letters. Some customers also add the baby's birth date.

Another way to personalize a gift is to add a custom gift tag with a hand-written message.

Another way to personalize a gift is to add a custom gift tag with a hand-written message.

If you don't have time to get custom embroidery, adding a nice handwritten note is a nice touch, especially if you have nice handwriting. 

My favorite way to personalize a baby gift, however, is not necessarily the easiest way but it can be the most fun for both the receiver, and the giver, and that's to accessorize the quilt with a complimentary toy. In the case of the Zoo baby quilt, we added a panda toy to keep the baby quilt company on it's way to its new home.

Pick either a theme off the baby quilt or something in similar colors if you can't find something that matches the quilt theme. Make sure the toy is child safe and soft, and watch that toy become a favorite companion!

My favorite way to personalize a baby gift, to add a complimentary toy tucked inside a quilt!

My favorite way to personalize a baby gift, to add a complimentary toy tucked inside a quilt!

Now I may be just a little partial to Panda bears since one of my first stuffed toys was a little black and white Panda bear. It didn't have a baby quilt attached to it but after all those years, I still have that little bear!

Charlotte

Personalized Book Marks

One of my favorite magnet book marks was made out of this little "bee happy" thank you card.

One of my favorite magnet book marks was made out of this little "bee happy" thank you card.

Personalized Book Marks

A friend recently said the best gift I gave him for Christmas was a little magnet book mark I made out of a photo of his dogs. Since we now have a full year ahead of us of special days, here is how to make these very easy personalized book marks. In this example, I am using several favorite cards so that I can easily re-read them later tucked into favorite books, such as recipe books.

You can also make them from printed photos on cardboard, or by adding photos onto cardboard. Regular paper is too thin so select something with a heavier weight to hold the attached magnets.

More favorite cards turned into magnet book marks with the simple application of the magnets.

More favorite cards turned into magnet book marks with the simple application of the magnets.

How to Make Magnet Book Marks

You will find the strip of magnets at any craft store. The magnets are easily cut with scissors. I use a 3/4-inch size to securely hold the card on the pages. 

The other bonus of these magnet book marks is you get to re-read the lovely cards.

The other bonus of these magnet book marks is you get to re-read the lovely cards.

The magnets I use already have a glue strip but I add reinforcing glue to make sure the magnets don't fall off.

To secure the glued magnets, place the final bookmark in a book and let the weight of the book ensure the glue dries correctly. If it still doesn't hold, use regular glue to secure the magnets to the two opposite sides of the card.

To make sure you are gluing the right side of the magnets, glue the first one and allow to dry. Then fit the second one on the glued first one. Add glue to the back side of the second magnet, attach the opposite side of the cardboard to the second magnet with glue. The easiest way to do that is make sure there is no extra glue around the magnet before closing a book around the book mark to set the glue.

These could be made with initials printed onto cardboard for a simple personalized gift, too!

Charlotte