Did she like being in India? Is she likely to miss things from there? If so, make an India-inspired basket for her. See if you can drum up pictures from her trip and secretly frame them or scrapbook them (help from her family, maybe?). Also, find out if she had certain foods she loved while there, and try either making them or giving her the recipes for them in a handmade little cookbook. Put in some other symbols that may represent India (cows maybe, since they're considered holy there?). Add some tea bags that would be from that area.
Or, on the other hand, make a Welcome Back To America basket filled with everything she'd have missed from home. Include a picture of the two of you together or something fun like that. Hope it helps
Hey, I answered this on LJ, too! lol You want "manlier sewing"? Try leatherworking. Not quite sewing, but almost, at times at least. By the way, ever considered joining something like the SCA? Loads of options within the organization, both for outings and for learning stuff.
Don't know if you've gone to Michael's yet, but here goes.
Since you don't want to stencil, I'm not sure this is for you, but you say he's a geek, so.... -mousepad with his favorite game on it. Can be a picture, a slogan used frequently -mug with the same -t-shirt with same
Is he a gamer as well? If so, maybe a dice bag with his initials on it or something?
If you need inspiration, you might find some on sites like thinkgeek.com
please excuse if I'm not doing this right, I just joined today and am still finding my way around here. As for my gifting list, I've not got everything pinned down yet, but have some ideas bouncing in my head. I'm going to try and make socks for some of my family/friends. Some will get fuzzy feet (if I manage to felt, which with what I've got available isn't easy). I may even try argyle socks for my niece, in pink, since she absolutely loves anything pink, and she's made comments about liking what I make. She will also be getting (either for her birthday or Christmas, depending on when I manage to finish this) a Harry Potter-esque scarf in yellow/green (she's a Ducks fan). The hubby is probably going to make jewelry for sisters/mother, maybe some friends. I'm thinking of making beaded bookmarks, stitchmarkers, wine charms and stuff like that. Another thing on the list of possibilities this year is decorated votive candle holders. There's going to be scarves for some of my friends, I think. No clue what to do for the hubby yet. He's always the hardest one lol. I had a whole lot of ideas, but after writing these down, I find myself stumped for other options.
Heh, a little late I suppose, but since I just joined craftster...I'll have that be my excuse ^_^
No, you're not alone in getting a less then warm reception to your heart-made work. If, after all this time after the fact, they haven't indicated they liked what they got (sincerely), then don't bother making anything for them again. Spend your time (which is a valuable asset) only on making things for those who do appreciate your efforts. Let everyone else be stuck with the generic storebought stuff. You'll get more joy out of it, and so will everyone else. And the people you do make things for will know that you took a special effort just for them.