I need a small craft type gift my 95 yo grandmother can make
November 27, 2018 6:10 AM   Subscribe

We exchange stockings every year and I need to help my grandmother this year with her stocking gifts.

She's 95, very creative and artsy but is in early dementia so she forgets what she's doing almost immediately. She needs a total of 12 things, they don't have to all be the same thing and I can help her with personalizing each of them if necessary. She doesn't knit or crochet.

I've considered making cinnamon applesauce ornaments with her, but she does have a little spitfire in her and may consider that "a baby thing" since she's very aware that we are watching her closely all the time for her safety. She's still agile, her fine motor skills are great and she does like to think creatively once you get her going.

Any ideas for something she can make other than ornaments? (Also, re the ornament thing, when she was younger she hand painted ornaments for us every year so it might upset her that she's not doing a fancy ornament anymore.)
posted by hollygoheavy to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
I'm having a hard time finding really small and focused kits for it, but what about fabric dying as a craft she could get into? Something like single pigment shibori, or two color dip dying onto fabric blanks from Dharma Trading? The idea here being that it is an abstract process so even if she drifts away from her original plan the result is going to be interesting and not noticeably bizarre, and of course a lot of the stages are "wait for this to dry, go do something else." Same with paper making, really.
posted by Mizu at 6:40 AM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

What about a beaded bracelet on stretchy cord? When my grandmother was in assisted living, that was a project that they did with them, and they had varying levels of memory impaired folks there.
posted by needlegrrl at 6:53 AM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Personalizing a terracotta pot, or tin or other container that you have poured a candle into. You might have to do the pouring part, but she could choose which fragrance oils to add or you could pour them into the pots before getting her to decorate, or buy ready made ones them depending on her skill levels and how much you want to do yourself. Also if she loses interest & doesn't get them all decorated you've got the candles so there is a finished item she can give.

If pouring worries you or you think she'd insist on being involved in that part you can get dyed sheets of beeswax you roll into a candle that don't need any heat.
posted by wwax at 7:24 AM on November 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

What about pine cone Christmas trees? They can be glittered up, or decorated with mini poms, or both. Google/pinterest around to get some ideas for options that won't seem too childish and yet are within her level of attention-sustaining.
posted by drlith at 8:18 AM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

glass blob magnets
posted by theora55 at 11:43 AM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sachets? You could get dried lavender/cedar/spruce/whatever, and then small fabric pieces like quilting squares, and hand-sew up the sides. Could add embellishments (ribbon trim, embroidered Christmas tree, etc) as desired.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:46 AM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Make your own music box tunes
posted by ayc200 at 12:20 PM on November 27, 2018

I made Heart Ornaments (out of felt instead of paper) with my grandmother when I was small. Recently, I made them for friends as small gifts and filled them with peppermint candy.
posted by bCat at 3:14 PM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's kind of big for a stocking but white canvas shoes that you can draw on with permanent markers might be fun for her.
posted by stray thoughts at 7:09 PM on November 27, 2018

Pinterest board of craft ideas that I saved because I thought they would be good for senior citizens. Some of them might work.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:11 AM on November 28, 2018

I love these paints which can be used to decorate ready made ceramics (mugs, candleholders, vases, etc) and cured in a regular oven. I made a few mugs for my family four or five Christmases ago and they have held up beautifully with regular use. You could even personalize mugs with these for your homemade candles.

Plain tea towels, cloth napkins, throw pillow covers or silk scarves would be great to dye, paint, stamp or embroider.

Expanding on the sachet idea, you could also do eye pillows or trivets.

Fimo clay is a lot of fun for making beads for jewelry or keyrings.

Homemade bath bombs/lotions/face masks/etc.

Craftgawker for more ideas.
posted by gennessee at 5:50 AM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

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