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With the holidays quickly approaching, many people are scrambling to come up with creative gift ideas for their loved ones. Instead of buying presents for your friends and family, why not make them yourself this year? A beautiful, handmade gift can be both economical and allow you to make a heartfelt gesture that shows you care. Beaufort County Library offers a wide array of books that can help you create the perfect gift.
If you are hoping to make some cozy knitted projects but lack the know-how, you can learn through the easy-to-follow instructions and diagrams in Simple Knitting: A Complete How-To-Knit Workshop with 20 Projects  by Erika Knight, or Circular Knitting  from the Teach Yourself Visually  series, by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Both are excellent resources for those of us who covet beautiful knitted items but are just getting started in making them. If you have greater knitting talents, you can find advanced projects in Knits to Give: 30 Knitted Gifts Made with Love  by Debbie Bliss, or consider 55 Christmas Balls to Knit  by Arne Nerjordet and Carlos Zachrison for charming ornaments with that warm Nordic sweater look. Crochet fans can find inspiration in Melissa Horozewski's Austentatious Crochet: 36 Contemporary Designs from the World of Jane Austen  for the Austen addict in their lives, and even pets can feel holiday joy with Fashion Dog: Thirty Designs to Knit, Crochet and Sew .
Handmade books can make lovely presents, and the library has many options to help you through the process. Start with Making Your Own Paper  by Marianne Saddington. Paper-making is a satisfying art form with lots of room for creativity. Let yours shine through with different colored papers and additions such as flowers, leaves or glitter. Once your spectacular paper is ready, bind them into a journal or notebook using the techniques in Shereen LaPlantz' The Art and Craft of Handmade Books . Handmade books can also make wonderful photo albums, baby books, wedding guest books or recipe collections -- the possibilities are endless. Whether made with your own handmade paper or materials from the art store, the recipient of a gorgeous book made by hand is sure to love the gift and the effort that went into it.
If cooking is your love language, check out Food for Friends: Homemade Gifts for Every Season  by Sally Pasley Vargas, Gourmet Gifts: 100 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion to Make Yourself & Wrap with Style  by Dinah Corley, or Jess McCloskey's Delicious Gifts: Edible Creations to Make and Give . Homemade jams and jellies are always appreciated and are easy to make with a little know-how, which can be learned from Blue Ribbon Preserves: Secrets of Award-Winning Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and More  by Linda J. Amendt or Putting Up: A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition  by Stephen Palmer Dowdney. A cookie swap with friends is another festive way to spend time together: Let Julia M. Usher's Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share throughout the Year  inspire you. Or host a celebration with all your friends at once: Seriously Simple Holidays: Recipes and Ideas to Celebrate the Season  by Diane Rossen Worthington will give you plenty of ideas to create the perfect holiday party.
The materials listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. We have books on jewelry-making, quilting, woodworking, card-making, baking, crafts for kids and more. The reference librarians at any branch will be happy to help you find books that are perfect for your projects. Make this season merry and bright with your handmade gifts.
Ann Cox is a reference librarian at St. Helena Island library.