Remnant Rehab: Readers share gift ideas


Khalila Binns

Khalila Binns, a teacher, started making her gift projects — like these crazy quilt Christmas stockings — this summer when she had free time.


Khalila Binns

Khalila Binns, a teacher, started making her gift projects — including these crocheted bags and hacky sacks — this summer when she had free time.


Khalila Binns

Khalila Binns, a teacher, started making her gift projects — like these sewn fish — this summer when she had free time.


Mallory Liss

Mallory Liss created a wine bottle lamp that she said takes only about an hour to make.

Earlier this month, I exhorted you crafters to get the ball rolling if you planned to make gifts for the holidays. But don’t worry — there’s still time.

I also asked readers to tell me what and when they craft for holiday gifting. I got a couple of responses, including a tutorial to share with you.

Khalila Binns is a schoolteacher who likes to sew and crochet, and use recycled materials. She says she’s been making gifts since age 10.

“In my earlier years I had trouble finishing gifts on time, and my family and friends often received their gifts partially finished with a promissory note for its completion, or the gift was given early because, having finished, I couldn’t bear to wait to share the gift,” she writes in an email.

Since then, Khalila has mastered her timing better. She says she does most of the work in the summer when she has more time, then just finishes up on a few projects in the fall.

“This past summer I sewed 11 fish pillows, ensembles for my grandchildren’s dollies, reusable lunch sacks, crazy quilt Christmas stockings and stocking ornaments. I also crocheted hackey sacks, a purse, 2 hats, and a string bag,” she writes.

With that many presents to make, no wonder she had to start this summer! But don’t despair — Mallory Liss wrote in with a wine bottle lamp tutorial she says takes only an hour or so.

Mallory says she made these a couple years ago for her mother and sister-in-law, “knowing that they both enjoy wine and all things pretty.”

So grab a bottle you emptied on Thanksgiving from the recycling bin and follow along with Mallory’s instructions.


Wine bottle

Cork (plain or decorative)

Short string of lights (I use a 30-light string)

Craft paper

Photos, stickers, any other decorations you want to include

Mod Podge and paint brush to apply it


Plastic grapes (Or other accessory)



  1. Decide on a theme for your lamp. I choose to make a decorative lamp I could have out all year round. The possibilities are endless! You could choose a KU ribbon with a KU ornament, holiday theme or even mementos kept from vacation with a photo of your family.

  2. Choose an empty wine bottle. I prefer to use bottles with dark-colored glass because it hides the cord of the lights better than light colored glass.

  3. Use a knife, scissors or preferred cutting utensil to cut a notch in the back of the cork so the cord from the lights has room to come out of the top of the bottle to be plugged in, or turned on if using battery pack lights. I prefer to use a decorated cork to add detail to the lamp.

  4. Gently place the lights inside the bottle, making sure they are spread out.

  5. Place the cork inside the bottle with the light cord in the notch.

  6. Cut craft paper into a rectangle or square, about the size of a wine bottle label. Decorate the paper with anything you like. I decorated mine with a photo from a magazine I liked, and added the word “Love” underneath with stick on craft letters.

  7. Mod Podge the craft paper onto the front of the wine bottle. Let dry.

  8. String the raffia through the top of the plastic grapes and tie the grapes to the neck of the wine bottle.

  9. Wrap more raffia around the bottle, as you desire.

  10. Wrap the ribbon on top of the raffia and make a neat bow. You’re done — enjoy your new lamp!

Thanks to Khalila and Mallory for sharing their gift-crafting know-how!

— Go! editor Katie Bean can be reached at Follow her at


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