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  • DIY Photo Gifts

    4 Embroidered Gifts – For Whom and On What Occasion?

    Initials on a handkerchief, a personalised towel, an embroidered birth certificate or cross-stitched pillows? If you want to give your loved ones a personal gift from the heart, an embroidered gift may be what you’re looking for. Consider it no matter whether you have a lot of time and a love for needlework, or you would rather just design it and leave the actual work to professionals.

    Have you ever seen one of those Hollywood movies in which women (single, married and widowed) sit together to sew a patchwork quilt for the future bride? I don’t know how much of it is true and if it is still practised in the 21st century, but the Internet abounds with information on how to make a “wedding quilt“. I have always marvelled at this custom and dreamt of such a wedding gift. Nevertheless, I realise how time-consuming it is; therefore, I am going to present to you a few easier embroidered gifts, which you may order or do yourself.

    Embroidered gift 1: Handkerchief with embroidered initials

    For whom: for mother, for father, for granny, for grandpa

    Let’s start with something easy. Sketch with a pencil and then embroider your or the receiver’s initials on a handkerchief. Owing to this, the handkerchief will acquire sentimental value, and your loved ones will always be able to carry your gift next to their heart.

    In the age of Kleenex tissues, this embroidered gift seems rather obsolete, yet many of our fathers and grandfathers still put handkerchiefs in their jacket pockets.

    I have once given a white handkerchief with embroidered initials to my boyfriend after I accidentally destroyed the one he usually carried in his suit. Although my initials have changed since, he keeps carrying it in his pocket.

    If you feel up to it, instead of a single handkerchief you may give your parents or grandparents a whole set of doilies with their embroidered initials.

    Embroidered gift 2: Towel with embroidered text

    For whom: for newlyweds, for a house-warming party

    A towel with needlework is both practical and personalised, which is exactly what wedding and house-warming party gifts should be. Try to do the wok yourself or order such a towel. You may choose one of numerous suggested texts or be more creative and think of something on your own. E.g. instead of “Wife” and “Husband”, you may sign the towels with “Beauty” and “The Beast”.

    A couple of years ago, we gave our friends towels with “Sto lat!” (“All the best!”) and their wedding date embroidered on it. What you need to know is that these newlyweds were French, and they only learned the words “Sto lat!” owing to their Polish friends. This way we were able to express our best wishes and indicate the county of the gifts’ origin at the same time!

    Embroidered gift 3: Embroidered birth certificate

    For whom: for a newborn, for baptism, for the 1st birthday

    An embroidered birth certificate is another gift that you may do yourself or order online. On the Internet, you may find real treasures. Usually some cute picture (of a teddy bear, an angel, baby face, etc.) is accompanied by the child’s name, date of birth, weight and height at birth.

    Our daughter received framed embroidered footprints for her baptism. This needlework must have taken some hours to prepare, but it will decorate her room for many years. A heart-shaped word cloud may be a simpler alternative filled with more content. Yet only the embroidered birth certificate gives the impression of such irresistible, baby-like tenderness.

    Embroidered gift 4: Embroidered pillow

    For whom: for a loved one, for parents, for sister, for brother, for grandparents, for newlyweds, for the future bride, for a house-warming party

    During my studies, I watched my room-mate prepare three such embroidered gifts. She did the first one – with the picture of a teddy bear – for her father, who was due to spend some time at the hospital. The second one – with an angel – was for her sister, who was leaving home for college. The third pillow – with a sunset and an inspiring quote from the Bible – was a gift for her boyfriend. I have to admit that I really envied all of those people. After all, not many of us have an own personalised pillow that took so much effort to prepare.

    Once again, your imagination is the limit here. You may buy a canvas with a picture you like in a haberdashery or design it yourself using a free online program (e.g.Pic2Pat). After several hours of work, you will be able to give your loved ones a personalised pillow they can cuddle when you are away!

    Naturally, you may also order a pillow with the photo of a grandchild, a dog or a special text as a photo gift. Even though it won’t have all the advantages of a handmade embroidered pillowcase, it will also be a creative, personalised gift, which will save you a lot of time.

    Embroidered gift – is it worth the effort?

    Preparing most of the embroidered gifts on your own is time-consuming. What are the arguments that justify this effort?

    – The final outcome

    What you achieve with this technique is truly unique. Moreover, only the embroidered birth certificate is a pure decoration, while all other embroidered gifts are both pleasing to the eye and practical.

    – Show someone how much you like them

    What is easier to sacrifice: time or money? I believe we can demonstrate our feelings more effectively by giving another person our time.

    – Please your granny

    Perhaps your granny wanted to teach you needlework, but you were never interested? The best way to thank granny for the time she spent with you is to show her that she had taught you something and give her a beautifully embroidered pillow.

    – Own satisfaction

    In the past, embroidery was a common skill among girls (and some boys, too). Today, not many of us can do it. Think of how satisfying it may be to acquire such a rare skill and create a masterpiece without any talent for art!

    – Relaxation

    At least one of the pillows made by my room-mate was prepared just before the exam session. While embroidering, she revised the material or held animated discussions with us. That is why she never got tired with her needlework even though its completion took several weeks. It was probably quite the opposite because handicraft gave her some rest from intellectual struggles.

    So, will you accept the challenge? Or perhaps you have already given or received an embroidered gift? Share your experience in the comments below!

    My advice:

    – Pic2Pat creates cross-stitch patterns from your own pictures.  Print the resulting chart and embroider on a blank canvas, following the instructions, e.g. 5 yellow stitches, 7 orange, 5 green… If you are an absolute novice, I advise you to buy a canvas with a picture on it – this way you will be less likely to make a mistake.

    – If you want the picture to be sharp, pick a simple design rather than a photo.

    – After you set such parameters as the canvas size and the number of stitches per inch, the program will generate several patterns that will hardly differ at first sight. I recommend picking the bottom one, which requires buying the fewest skeins (floss) in various colours.

    – The mysterious “Number” on the colour list is the number of skeins in a given colour that you need to buy.

    – When your picture is ready, you have to sew the canvas onto the pillowcase. Try using rectangular strips of material, which will form a frame around your picture and conceal the canvas’ “margins”. If you don’t feel up to it, ask a seamstress for help.

    – You don’t need to iron the ready pillowcase, and you may wash it in a gentle program in a washing machine.

    – If you are more into crocheting than cross-stitching, you may give your loved ones a scarf, a hat or a sweater of your own making. These gifts may also be personalised, and the arguments for them are exactly the same as for embroidered gifts!

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