There are lots of times when you need an inexpensive, easy gift for someone (like a teacher, bus driver, mail carrier, etc.). Sometimes you want to get a gift for a friend or family member, but you don't know what to give them. Maybe you even want to make a simple, useful item for yourself!
This is something that just about anyone can make, and you can really get creative with it if you want. Thanks to my friend Linda, who gave me one of these a few years ago and thus inspired this simple homemade gift.
First, you need a few things - a square potholder with a loop for hanging. Make sure the loop is on the side, not on a corner - that kind won't work for this project. You can use a rectangular potholder, if the loop is on one of the short sides. A coordinating kitchen towel. A button that will fit through the loop on your potholder. Needle and thread. A sewing machine is useful, but not completely necessary.
Take the kitchen towel, and find the center (easiest by folding it in half, short side to short side). Sew two rows of loose stitches side by side, then pull bottom threads gently to gather. You'll want the gathered area to be approximately the same width or slightly smaller as your potholder. (You can also just make small pleats by folding, if your towel doesn't have a picture on it) To keep the gathering from getting messed up, I then tie the threads off and trim them neatly.
Place the gathered towel with the gathered part centered over the center of the potholder. Make sure the gathered section runs parallel with the loop at the top of the potholder. Sew through all layers. (I usually sew it twice, for strength) I also use clear thread, so I don't have to match the thread color to the towel and potholder - it also helps camouflage it if you make a sewing mistake. You know, not that I've ever done that or anything....
Next, sew the button on. I like to use a neutral colored button, but the possibilities are pretty much endless here. I also try to match the color of the potholder with the thread I sew the button on with, although that's not necessary.
The towel can now hang on your cabinet or oven door. I like to buy an extra towel (the potholders often come in pairs), and then give them as a set. This is a gift you can make for EASILY under $5, although you can buy more expensive towels and potholders if you choose. (I got mine at Wal-Mart and spent $3, and I already had the button & thread.)
This doesn't have to be just a Christmas gift, either. You can make these in colors to match someones kitchen, or for other seasons/holidays. I have the stuff to make some for Fall/Thanksgiving, and these days you see kitchen towels in just about any theme you can imagine!