Homemade Gifts and 80’s Wooden Bin Makeover

I just got home from New Mexico and haven’t worked on any new projects yet, so I thought I’d share a few homemade gifts that my mom and I have given over the years.  We don’t make as many handmade gifts as we used to – simply because all of our houses are maxed out with decor, but those used to be the only kind of gifts we gave.


I’ve also got a quick makeover of a  1980’s  potato bin that I did for my mom while I stayed with her.

Please forgive the photos… I was quickly snapping them without a tripod before I left, so the quality isn’t great.

Long before I knew what a blog was, I made both my mom and sister each one of these wooden signs.  This one is my mom’s that hangs in her kitchen.

handmade wooden sign

I made this cross stitch sign for my sister over 20 years ago.  My husband and I lived in the mountains when my oldest son was about 2 years old and my daughter was just a newborn.  We didn’t have any telephone service, and it was before the days of internet.  I made so many cross-stitch projects as gifts, because they were inexpensive and it kept me busy during the long hours each day that I was by myself while my husband was at work.

homemade gifts cross stitch kit apples label

My husband made my mom two of these window shelves for her living room many years ago.

living room wooden window shelves

Several years ago, my mom had knee surgery, so while I visited her at the rehab center, I showed her how to make this book page banner.  She gave it as a gift to my sister, and it hangs above her piano.


My mom made these adorable wreathes and gave them as homemade gifts for Christmas many years ago.

My sister and I each received one, and mom kept one for herself.

homemade gifts grapevine wreath with homespun stocking

Here’s the potato bin my mom got at a yard sale.  It’s all wood, but has a dated 1980’s look.


First I sanded off the images, then painted it solid white.


I decoupaged the same antique seed catalog cover image on the front that I used on the recycled bottle flower vases I made my mom as a get well gift.  I printed the image a little larger and cut out the head of lettuce to add to the top of the bin.

Normally, I would have filled the nail holes on the sides, but I didn’t have enough time, so mom said she would do that later, and touch up the paint once the holes are filled.


I didn’t take a before photo, but my mom’s headboard was shiny gold, and she wanted it white, to I painted it for her and we both love how it looks now.  I’d love to find one like it.


I’ve been busy unpacking my suitcases and getting orders ready to ship today, then I hope to get back into a creative groove and start tackling new projects.

Does your family give homemade gifts?  If so, I’d love to hear about them!

Vaya con Dios,


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  1. I adore how you and your mother get involved with your combined talents! Love the potato bin!

    I think people appreciate handmade gifts more now than ever because some of the manufactured materials used lack quality. Using old things to make new as a gifts are not only “quality made”, but the effort to renew is unique and special.

    I painted a woodland scene on one of my father’s old handsaws about 20 years ago and he keeps it hung over a doorway. He just asked me if I would do another, but he is supplying an old log saw blade. I can’t wait to get started on it.

    When someone requests a repeated gift, it’s proof that handmade is appreciated.

  2. We just remodeled our kitchen, and the goose paper towel holder my Dad made and my Mom painted is looking bedraggled next to everything new. But, I can’t bear to part with it..and so I will just have to keep it. Lovely to show all your family projects, that are timeless because they are made with love. Thanks for the tour of projects, Sandi

  3. I live in a seniors only community. Lucky for me, we have our own thrift store where I can buy things for 50 cents or so, bring them home and upcycle them, then give them back to the thrift store. Keeps my juices flowing and everybody wins!

    BTW Just found your site a while ago and am loving all the great ideas. : )

  4. I am so thankful that I added your blog to my sidebar. Such inspiration. Thanks for inspiring me with each and every post.

  5. Marlene Stephenson says

    Could you let me know how to do that book page banner, i love that. I enjoyed this post and am glad you made it home safely.

  6. Oh Angie – that potato bin! Pant, pant…

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