Saturday, September 18, 2021

Homemade gifts show loved ones thought, heart

After she glued her makeshift tree to the lid, she filled the jar with water, glycerin and festive glitter. She tightened the lid to its home and flipped the jar, watching the glitter gracefully fall to the bottom, replicating a snowy day.

“My roommate and I are planning on doing snow globe mason jars for our friends as a holiday gift from the two of us,” sophomore Andrea Dietz said.

She claims mason jars are the easiest to use when working on Do It Yourself projects.

In the past, Dietz has used them for Christmas gifts, filling them with hot chocolate, mini marshmallows and peppermint sticks, along with decorating the jar with ribbon.

Assistant Professor of the Art Department Ali Della Bitta makes crafts with some experience. She has made coffee tables, ceramic dishes, serving bowls and jewelry — just to name a few.

“The hardest project I’ve ever done was knitting an Afghan,” Della Bitta said. “It took me so long because I spun and dyed the yarn, but I did it over months and not all at once.”

Her favorite DIY projects are the crafts she can create for her nieces. She has made them paintings and other different items based on their interests.

“I get the most joy out of giving them a gift because they get so excited about it,” Della Bitta said.

She said baking is another way to show creativity in gifts, making cookies and presenting them in an elegant way. If baking isn’t for you, she said DIY ornaments make an easy go-to holiday gift.

“If I am making something for someone I don’t know very well, I would generally make them an ornament,” she said. “I would make a hand-painted ornament because it is something small and nice they could bring out on the holidays.”

Della Bitta said handmade gifts are one of the best things a person can do for someone they care for. It is a reminder of who has put thought and effort into a creation just for the recipient.

“You take the time,” she said. “People appreciate it because you’ve put yourself into it.”

Junior Karolina Brodka said she has been crafting since she was little because of the gifts she used to receive, such as puffy paint.

“Any time I get the opportunity to craft, I do,” she said. “It’s relaxing.”

Her favorite DIY projects involve painting. She claims it is the best because it could end up being something completely different from what she first imagined.

Dietz has been crafting for the past few years, but this semester her crafting is being kicked into high gear. As an education major, she plans a weekly lesson for 150 school children through Project Connect. She and her partner find themselves visiting the craft store, Michael’s every week.

“They give me a teacher’s discount because of how often I go in there,” Dietz said.

To do it yourself, Pinterest and other online sources hold a number of accounts that serve to inspire other DIY creations worldwide.

Email Lisa Scivolette at

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