Hello handmade holiday.

I’m looking at you.

If you have read this blog for more than a hot minute, you know I am all about a handmade gift. In a world of sameness and unspecialness, nothing says I love you more than making something from scratch and giving it to someone along with your heart.

We have been making handmade gifts to exchange in my family for more years than I can count. I actually just shared some of them in my post that I wrote about nine simple ideas for creative and unique gift ideas last week.

This is DAY 4 of “12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas” with my amazing and incredible friend Leslie.

Here’s what we have accomplished so far on our mission to welcome December with open arms.

DAY 1: 9 simple ideas to repurpose last year’s decor

DAY 2: Tons of easy recipe ideas and what to stock your pantry with for the holidays

DAY 3: My go-to sources for inexpensive craft supplies online

And today?

Today is all about an easy, inexpensive handmade gift idea.

Wait until you see what you can make in 30 minutes.

This is a map hand-stitched with a heart around someplace special.

It could be anything.

Any location that has special meaning.

Like:

  • the place where you first met
  • your first home
  • the place where you live now
  • where you grew up together
  • a place where someone used to live
  • where you went on your honeymoon

And on and on and on.

You get the idea.

I wish I could take credit for the idea.

But my brilliant sister Whitney actually made this map for me.

And circled Texas.

Where the stars at night are big and bright.

But it’s so easy to make that I wanted to show you how to make it and give you a few other stitches you could use to sew your very own gift.

Here are the step by step instructions.

How to make a hand-stitched map

supplies:

map

embroidery thread

embroidery needle

frame

1. Choose the location on the map

Here are just a few suggestions on ideas for the location you want to stitch a heart around:

  • the place where you first met
  • your first home
  • the place where you live now
  • where you grew up together
  • a place where someone used to live
  • where you went on your honeymoon

2. Choose the thread color

Any color thread will work.

Since we are stitching a heart, I gathered all the pink and red and white and cream thread I had.

Just pick your favorite.

3. Thread the needle

I didn’t pull the thread apart.

You want the stitching to show up on the map, so I used all the threads together.

I also used a large embroidery needle for this project.

4. Choose your stitch

My sister used the chain stitch when she made this map.

It’s a little challenging as far as stitches go.

Here’s how you make a chain stitch:

  1. Make a super small stitch in the map.
  2. Push the needle up about an inch away.
  3. Thread the needle through the smaller stitch and pull.
  4. Put the needle back through the original hole and pull.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 to add “links” to the chain in the shape of a heart.

Here’s how you make the backstitch:

This is an easier stitch than the chain stitch.

  1. Push the needle down through the map (or here I’ve used a Christmas carol sheet music page for these stitches).
  2. Come up through the map about an inch away.
  3. Thread the needle back through the original hole to complete the stitch.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 in the shape of a heart.

Here’s how you make the offset-backstitch:

This is a little fancier version of the backstitch.

  1. Push the needle down through the map (or here I’ve used a Christmas carol sheet music page for these stitches).
  2. Come up through the map about an inch away.
  3. Thread the needle back through the original hole to complete the stitch.
  4. Add a second row of backstitching—just offset by half a stitch (think of creating the rows like bricks).
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 in the shape of a heart.

Here’s how you make the cross-stitch:

Be still my heart 1995.

The year I learned to cross-stitch.

It’s basically like making X’s on paper.

  1. Push the needle up through the map (or here I’ve used a Christmas carol sheet music page for these stitches).
  2. Make a one-inch stitch and thread the needle down through the map.
  3. Make another one-inch stitch across it, forming an X.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 in the shape of a heart.

You’ve chosen your location.

You’ve chosen your thread.

You’ve chosen your stitch.

Now just create your heart.

And then?

Frame it and wrap it up under the tree.

There’s nothing more special to give for Christmas….

…then your heart. šŸ™‚

PS Be sure and stop by Leslie’s to see even more handmade gift ideas.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Barbara Barbara

    So cute and LOVE homemade gifts! Now to get a map:) Likewise I used to cross stitch tons of gifts back in the day!! And they were so appreciatedā™„

  2. Image for Deb in Oklahoma Deb in Oklahoma

    I like this sweet idea. Your stitches on Christmas sheet music make me think about a framed version of Oh Christmas Tree with an outline of a Christmas tree in green. But I like the map!

  3. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Oh YES!!! My daughter is stationed in Hawaii (Army Nurse) and this is her first Christmas away from the family :( I will be making her one of these so she knows that we are all connected~ even when we are apart! I think I'll make a line from PA to HI and have a tiny heart in each state. THANK you for the IDEA...(yes, your sister showed you...but then you shared it~ so kudos to BOTH of you. )

  4. Image for JC JC

    Love this idea, KariAnne, and love your idea too Carrie! I'd love to make this to for my daughter and son in love over 1400 miles away. <3

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