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I found these ideas somewhere on the internet, a couple of years ago... shrug and thought that quite a few of them were not only 'doable' but, very good!



Bread Cloths

How about some cross stitched bread cloths? There are many Christmas/Hanukkah designs out there just for this purpose. Not too hard to find especially in your local library. Another thing would be to simply purchase some pre-quilted material in designs of the season and edge them with a ruffle or some lace and give place mats with matching napkins.



Just Time and Imagination

For years now I have made homemade gifts for my friends and relatives. I really didn't have a lot of $$ to put into them, just some time and careful planning. A few of the things I have done in the past are: Painted sweatshirts, cross stitched items like t-shirts, sweats, etc and also matted and framed in an inexpensive frame. I have for many years fixed tins w/ cookies, fudge, and other tasty treats in them for friends and family also. Baked breads with the colored plastic wrap, tied w/ ribbons is also an easy idea and it smells good too. Pictures of you framed make a nice present to grandparents since they don't have to go and buy a new frame for your new picture. There are several good ideas about making Christmas gifts around. You just really to take the time and imagination to come up with some of them. I hope this helps some.



Use Magazines for Inspiration

It's amazing that we spend so much time in a library and forget all the information available. You may want to go back to the library and search for relevant books and periodicals. Or find someone that subscribes to Martha Stewart's Living, Sunset, or other home/hobby magazines (your library may carry some). These usually have great and inexpensive projects (Living usually has great projects that can be done much cheaper than as done in the mag.).



Homemade Christmas Cards

I just got finished making a set of Christmas cards for my grandmother to send. She's already excited!


A pack of white card stock (250 sheets) is about $7 at Office Depot. I used an Angel holding a star and ribbon stamp (pretty expensive, about $14) and a tree stamp (I don't remember how much) and a few other odds and ends (like colored pencils.) But the stamps are re-useable, and one sheet of card stock makes two cards (one sheet of card stock can also be used to make the envelope in which to send your card). One pack of card stock could theoretically make about 150 cards (75 sheets) and 175 envelopes. (I may have the price or number of sheets wrong since it's been a while since I bought this stuff.)



Another thing I make for my family and coworkers -- and this is not cheap but may be cheaper than buying something -- is to make candy every year. People just go nuts over homemade chocolate covered cherries (I found the recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.) Truffles are made with chocolate and whipping cream and people really like those, also.



Special Spoons

This is in response to the recent college grad who is looking for inexpensive home-made gifts for the Holidays. Buy a package of plastic spoons, preferably in festive colors. Dip them in chocolate (melted chocolate chips work well) and shake off the excess. Place them on wax paper and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy. After they dry, wrap them in cellophane and tie with a ribbon. Put a few spoons in a coffee mug along with some individual hot cocoa or coffee packets and you have a great gift for those chilly nights!



Personalized Stationary

My favorite gift to make is stationary. On white paper, I create a design that wouldn't interfere with letter writing: borders, names, corner highlights. Then I take it to a local copy shop & have them run off copies on a paper that has matching envelopes. Some copy shops will charge you for the prices of the copies only (3-4 cents) if you supply your own paper. The paper can be bought by the ream at a bulk office supply store pretty inexpensively. I mix & match several designs or colors, bundle in groups of 20 (don't forget extra plain paper for back pages) & tie with a pretty ribbon with dried flowers.



Cup of Joy

Hi. I live in Hoboken, NJ - an expensive yuppie enclave just across the river from NYC. There are lots of funky, overpriced stores in my neighborhood that cater to the "lots of disposable income" young professionals in the area. Once, I spotted a simple idea that had a hefty price tag - $12 - that I knew I could make at home cheaply and easily. The item is a candle in an antique tea cup. I scour the garage sales (and my mom's cabinets) for cheap but interesting tea cups. I then melt down old candle ends or any type of wax I can find (paraffin can be costly) and - optional - add a little scented oil like lemon grass or grapefruit. I put a wick in - really cheap by the yard from the craft store and for about $1, I have a nice gift with a little tag attached to the handle.



A Spicy Alternative

Check the library for recipes for homemade spice mixes, vinegars and mustards. All are EASY to make, don't cost a lot (it might seem like they do - you buy one of this and one of that - but end up making a LOT of this and a LOT of that for lots of gifts), and people really enjoy receiving them. Either save and reuse bottles and jars at home, ask friends to save them, or find them at yard sales and thrift stores. To make these really special include a recipe for each spice mix or vinegar.




I suggest taking a ceramics class where you take something that is already cast, and paint it yourself. You don't have to invest in a lot of supplies, and it's fun to take something and personalize it for a gift.



Basket Filled with Love

I suggest buying (a) straw basket(s) at a yard sale or flea market and deciding on a theme for the particular person- whatever would be appropriate for that person- and filling the basket with either different fruits or other foods (i.e.-herbal teas, cookies, etc). You could make your own homemade cookies and include the recipe in the basket. Or, you could fill the basket with something other than food stuff. An example would be a framed picture of you and your friend who you're giving it to. Another idea is to give 'IOUs' for different services such as a car wash, child care service, a massage, a manicure, etc.



'Can' Do It !!

I saw this concept in a magazine and at a craft show. Take a clean, dry can from soup or canned vegetables. Using craft acrylic paints and your imagination, paint the cans for the holidays. This is a great project for kids too. Right now my family is working on painting jack-o-lanterns: simply paint a can orange, let it dry, repeat if needed, and then use black to make the face. Fill the can with candy, tissue paper, pencils, etc. We're also working on snowmen and I plan on painting the top part black and putting paper around the black for the rim of Mr. Snowman's top hat. The larger cans could be filled with baked goods, fudge, etc. I've seen some that are painted with a design then spatter-painted which looks quite neat. This is a nice way to recycle cans into something useful and fun. I'm thinking that candy canes will look nice for the holidays.



Another similar idea is to buy the smallest terra-cotta plant pots from the store, paint them, and put small votive candles in them. Silver and gold stars are nice for a holiday theme but you could do whatever suits your fancy. I'm sure you could use larger pots with pillar candles for a bigger centerpiece.



Beauty Gifts

Marsha and Dani B. need to check out the book Natural Beauty for All Seasons by Janice Cox. The Book tells how to make homemade bath salts and beauty products.


One of my favorites is Candy Cane Bath Salts:


* 2 cups Epsom salts

* ½ c. sea salt

* 4-6 drops peppermint oil

* 2-3 drops red food coloring.


Place one cup of Epsom and 1/4 cup sea salt in a bowl or re-sealable plastic bag. Add 2-3 drops peppermint oil.


Place the remaining ingredients in a second bowl. Mix all ingredients well. Layer the red and white salts in a clear bottle or jar. Half liter Naya ™ water bottles work well because they have the stripes. Tie with a ribbon and some small candy canes. This makes a great holiday gift for friends.



If you are a good cook, try home made cookies. I make cookies for gift giving. I put them in cellophane bags that are decorated with holiday print. Most craft stores carry those bags.



Flavored Oils and Vinegars

The solution is as close as your kitchen. Every year, I make huge batches of flavored oils and vinegars. Fruit flavored vinegars, such as raspberry, blueberry & cranberry are my favorites. I've also made basil, hot pepper, rosemary and garlic, but I prefer to use the herbs and spices in oils.


For either one, the process is simple. For the vinegars, I use plain white vinegar. (Cheap, at $3.29 a gallon at my local grocery store.) Frozen berries are cheaper most of the year and work wonderfully. Steep the berries or herbs in the vinegar for about a week at room temperature, in a dark place. Strain, and bottle in an attractive bottle. A few berries or a sprig of the herb you used added to the finished vinegar is a nice touch. I use a good quality olive oil for the oils. (A fairly good bargain, at $10.00 a gallon.) Check sources you might not normally think of for good prices on fresh herbs. I buy huge bags of fresh basil from a Vietnamese grocery store for 79 cents each! If you cannot find well priced fresh herbs, dried will do, just use a smaller quantity. Prepare in the same manner as for vinegar. However, when you strain and re-bottle the oils, don't add any fresh herbs, as they can spoil at room temperature.


Besides salads, and marinades, flavored oils have many other surprising uses. Garlic flavored olive oil, for instance, is heavenly on baked potatoes.



I also make wonderful scented ornaments & gift tags with the following dough:


Cinnamon Spice Craft Dough


* 1 cup apple sauce

* 1 cup cinnamon

* 1 teaspoon nutmeg

* 1 teaspoon cloves


Mix until the dough has the consistency of play dough, adding more apple sauce or cinnamon as needed. (Incidentally, I buy cinnamon at the dollar store for 50 cents a bottle.) Roll flat, dusting counter and rolling pin with cinnamon if dough sticks. Cut out shapes with knife or cookie cutter. Use a toothpick to make a hole for hanging. Dry at room temperature for 5-7 days, turning over at the end of the third day to ensure even drying. They dry even quicker in a food dryer, and give your house a wonderful smell!




Take clippings from a hearty plant like an ivy and start them in a tin or inexpensive flower pot. (I like the General Foods International Coffee™ tins) Make sure you cut with at least a 1" stem and that there is at least 1 leaf to sustain the clipping until it forms roots. Keep the soil moist until rooted.


Everyone should appreciate a plant, especially if it's a hearty one. Wandering Jew, Spider plant, Philodendron, Pothos, and most ivy can withstand some neglect, even if your recipient doesn't have a "green thumb."



Paper-mache Bowls

My family spent a creative fortnight several years ago making paper-mache bowls which we painted in bright acrylics from the local art supply shop and spray varnished. We then filled them with homemade sweets, Xmas mince pies, chutney and herb vinegars wrapped them in cellophane and tied them with raffia, gold ribbon etc.



Creative Frames

What about framed pictures? We have a couple of stores where I pick up nice wooden or clip frames cheaply. I collect these frames (all standard photo sizes) and send them off with pictures of family/friends that I've taken during our last get together. This way I know the picture won"t just get tucked in a drawer and they'll have a special keepsake of our adventures together.


A side tip - if the frame is a plain wood and you want to dress it up some, pop out the glass and spray paint it (I use gold or copper colors).


One other tip is to shop the $ stores to see if there are any "substantial" item such as - safety goggles, work gloves, kitchen products, baby safety items, books, fancy pens/pencils, chocolate, craft items ... If you know the taste of the recipient you can put together a nice bag. box, bucket of "theme" items e.g. new home, toolbox starter, new baby, chocolate lovers surprise, home spa weekend



Special Oils

Make home made vinegars and olive oils with used bottles (wine, coolers; any kind of bottle) Use herbs you grow ore buy fresh or dried at the store buy large olive oil at bulk stores as Costco. Wash bottles dishwasher soak off labels make your own label. Small bottles stretch the budget do not buy bottles recycle. Red small Chile peppers look great experiment look at the gourmet bottles in the store and use the same herbs they use.



Cruise Craft Stores for Ideas

I had the same idea that you two have for gift making. It's a cheaper and more personal way to give gifts to those you cherish. Anyway, what I have been doing is going to craft stores and getting ideas. You can make everything from beadwork, knitting, crocheting, fake floral arranging, cross stitching on plastic canvas, making candles, etc.



Simple Solutions

These are some that I have come up with:


1. Make your favorite homemade cookie mix and pack in Mason™ jars, seal, and attach recipe. I think this would be great for teachers and friends who drop by unexpected with a gift.


2. Fix a large box of items such as dishwashing liquid, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. that you have gotten for almost nothing using double coupons and sales together. These items are items that every household needs and will use over the year. I plan on making this type box for my parents and my brothers family. I will put at least 10 to 12 of each item in the box so that the items will last all year. I'm sure they will think of me each time they need soap, toothpaste, etc.



"Aren't They Cute?"

My small nephews (3 and 5) get their pictures taken a lot by the grandparents and the rest of us. So, as part of their Christmas presents, I purchased two small photo albums and put several pictures of them inside (from babyhood to present). They were delighted to have their "own" albums that they can add to as they get older.



An Evening 'In'

Here's an idea I came up with when in a similar situation. I bought vouchers/gift certificates from my local Blockbuster video (or other large chain video rental store) and put them in baskets with movie size candy and microwave popcorn. I bought the popcorn from Smart N Final and the movie size candy from a discount pharmacy. The baskets were picked up from yard sales and thrift stores. Wrap it all up with plastic wrap and a nice bow and you have a gift for a whole family for under $5.00 if you shop for bargains.



It Says "Welcome"

Here's an idea! I gave these as gifts to teachers, etc. one year. Purchase sisal door mats at discount store for about $2.00. Weave ribbon around outer edge. In one corner make arrangement out of greenery, small Christmas ornaments, etc. and tie a bow.



Kitchen or Crafts

Baked items are always popular well received gifts..but the more unique the food, the better. Search through some cookbooks for candies or cookies that are off the chocolate chip/sugar/peanut butter beaten path and have fun experimenting with new recipes! (Just be sure to taste test first!)



Another hit....buy inexpensive T-shirts or sweatshirts at a discount store or craft store for around $3-$5 a shirt along with some fabric paints and customize a shirt for your loved one perhaps with a "This TShirt came from XXX University" or even wording referencing an inside joke with that person!!!




What wrong with something as simple as homemade baskets of cookies. Get your baskets from yard sales, tuck in mugs(one for each member of the family) another yard sale item or dollar store. And in each mug place a flavored tea and envelope of cocoa. Choose three or four really good cookie recipes and start baking. When its time to assemble your baskets that when the fun begins, get colored plastic wrap, Reynolds™ make a very nice one, use coupons to buy all ingredients and wrap. You'll find these gifts to be very rewarding and quite thrifty to make. Everyone loves cookies, and for cookies are not your thing, a loaf of pumpkin bread would be just as nice, and even cheaper to prepare, freezes well, and there are lots of pumpkins around this time of year.



Nostalgia Baskets

Last year I made "Nostalgia Baskets" for my siblings, containing three varieties of cookies our Grandmother used to bake, including copies of her cookie recipes. On the recipe sheets, I added a few of my memories about our Grandmother, the times when she served those particular cookies, etc. I gift-wrapped the cookies and recipes in attractive baskets that could be used by the recipients for other items after the holidays. The "Nostalgia Baskets" were a real hit!



Another delicious idea is to prepare homemade chocolate-covered cherries. Use a recipe for Soft Center Fondant or Basic Fondant, which can be found in the Candies/Confections chapter in most slightly older cookbooks (i.e. Joy of Cooking). (Fondant is a cooked mixture of water, sugar and/or corn syrup.) Soak maraschino cherries in Tawny Port wine (Taylors™ is good) overnight, leaving the stems on the cherries. Purchase Chocolate specifically designated for dipping, as well as some paper candy "cups" and small white cardboard boxes to fill with the completed chocolate-covered cherries. The dipping chocolate, candy papers and boxes can usually be found at stores that sell cake decorating supplies (such as Michael's, MJ Designs, etc.) or gourmet cooking supplies. When ready to assemble these confections, wrap enough fondant around the cherry to enclose it, then holding the cherry by its stem, dip the cherry into the dipping chocolate, completely coating it in chocolate. Place on waxed paper til chocolate has cooled and hardened. Place each completed confection in a candy paper cup and fill boxes with them. Gift wrap the boxes, and you have a very unusual gift to give. (Note: by leaving the stems on the cherries, your gift recipients will know they have a handmade treat!)



From Stationary to Keychains

This is in response to the roommates wanting ideas for inexpensive gifts... There are TONS of inexpensive gifts you can make, some ideas are: make stationary with your computer. You can buy a disk that has tons of clipart on it for around $10 and you can make decorated stationary for pennies! People love it because it is different and it is homemade! I made ALL my christmas gifts last year...some of the ones I made were: Victorian Christmas balls (ornaments), (I just bought clear plastic balls..about $4 for 6 of them) and covered them with lace, trim, tassels, etc. They were gorgeous!....I also made keychains for some of the younger teenagers who were just getting their first cars and such. I also made Victorian picture frames...just cheap (Dollar Store) frames which are plain and you decorate with flowers, lace, ribbon etc. I only decorated 2 corners (otherwise they tended to look "overdone").



Limited Travel

One that I used myself when we were limited to a $10 gift limit. What I did was got a box covered it with pictures from travel agencies of our local area. Got a gift certificate from a gas company. Now this took some talking with the guy as they don't usually do that. But now I added it to a nice card and gave them a trip. Included was local tours and bike tours and museums etc. This was about ten years ago when $10 of gas would get you some where.



A Flavorful Gift


Get some good quality plastic spoons to start with-no flimsy cheap stuff! Try using gold or silver ones, clear is OK too. Also find some good quality chocolate and different extracts/liquers to make the spoons different flavors/colors. There is no end to the flavors you can come up with! Melt chocolate till it is liquid, watch out that it doesn't scorch...you can do this in the microwave. Add extract or liquor of choice (almond extract, Frangelica, peppermint, anise, Kaluah etc). Then just dip the spoon into the chocolate ...and lay the spoons with their handles over the edge of a wax paper lined cookie sheet till set. You can drizzle white chocolate in a design over dark or milk chocolate...or dip ½ of spoon in dark and ½ in white..best flavors mocha, mint, plain, raspberry...Don't just dip lightly you want a nice puddle in the spoon part and part way up the handle.


I wrap these in clear plastic bags tied with raffia and a tag stating the flavor.


Other things you can dip into chocolate and put in gift baskets:

salted Pringles™ (dip only half),

chocolate chip cookies (dip only half)

use a clean new small paint brush and paint the mixture on the back side of freshly washed, patted dry leaves (rose, camellia work well). after chocolate has dried gently peel off the leaf and enjoy your chocolate leaf.




vegetable cooking spray

34 pieces fruit flavored hard candy--crushed--lemon, cinnamon etc

2 TBS light corn syrup

heavy weight plastic spoons


Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Spray with cooking spray. In a small heavy saucepan combine crushed candies and corn syrup and melt over low eat stirring frequently.


Spoon candy into bowl of each spoon. Place spoons on prepared cookie sheet with handles on rims and spoons level. Allow to harden. Store in air tight container.








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  • 1 year later...
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  • 1 month later...

Oh Nana!


These ideas are fabulous.

As much as I love purchasing gifts for all my friends and family, I think adding something homemade is so much more personal. I love having the flavoured spoons on hand over the holidays to serve with tea and coffee.


Thank you!

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Try using an old teacup, a scrap of yarn and a little stuffing to make adorable pin cushions for the sewers on your list. Just stuff a scrap of fabric with polyfil and tie. Then you hotglue to the top of a teacup. They are really adorable and can be put together and embellished with all those litle scraps you can't seem to throw away. Teacups are way cheap at thrift stores and so the whole project is handmade and very inexpensive. My kids made them last year as gifts and they were a big hit!


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  • 1 year later...
Originally Posted By: Joebelle
Try using an old teacup, a scrap of yarn and a little stuffing to make adorable pin cushions for the sewers on your list. Just stuff a scrap of fabric with polyfil and tie. Then you hotglue to the top of a teacup. They are really adorable and can be put together and embellished with all those litle scraps you can't seem to throw away. Teacups are way cheap at thrift stores and so the whole project is handmade and very inexpensive. My kids made them last year as gifts and they were a big hit!

Try using sand or ivory soap instead of the polyfil. They weight the cup down and keep the pins sharp.
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  • 3 weeks later...

Another home made gift idea---jewelry. I like to make silver-plated wire wrapped glass bead jewelry. (try to say that fast-!Ha)


Just made a pretty blue bracelet for a neighbor's birthday. She really liked it. Most expensive part is the wire, but you don't use a ton of it per project so it goes far. A good place to get it is Fire Mountain Beads online but I got mine on sale at a craft fair. Beads can be found cheaply at Wal Mart or craft stores. Only tools needed are needle nose pliers and your imagination.



Another gift idea is a garden stepping stone. You can use anything for mosaics--broken dishes smashed into bits work great. I got a group at the nursing home where my mom lives to do stones with things like shells, glass globs and glass squiggly things from the dollar store. Mom has a little garden outside her window and she was happy to put her stone there where she could see it.



A great home made gift received by my daughter from a beloved aunt is a little kit of home made name stamps nestled nicely in a small board box that could be decorated with the stamps. The stamps were carved on high quality rubber erasers. Daughter loved them. A couple of small ink pads accompanied this gift.



One of our favorite gifts to give is cakes in a jar. Our favorite is an almond chocolate that is moist and has amaretto in it. We gave these as teacher gifts one year and were met with great enthusiasm on parents' night!If anyone wants, I'll post the recipe later on. (have to dig it out) This cake can last on the shelf for six months--so also might be fun for storage.



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OK...here is BASIC CAKE IN A JAR with the Chocolate-Almond Variation (and other variations, too just for fun)


For this, you use wide-mouth pint jars. You grease the bottoms and sides of the jars well with butter. Don't use oil or sprays.


When baking, you use one cup of batter in each jar. Don't use more! And be sure to wipe the jar rims carefully or the batter bakes on and they won't seal.

You place the jars on a baking sheet to put in the oven. Jars should not touch. They are baked at 325 for 55 to 60 minutes. Test doneness with a wooden toothpick or skewer.


You put the seals on the jars as soon they are removed from the oven. Screw them on firmly then let cool. They should seal. If not, refrigerate the cake or have it for dessert that evening! And they last two months according to the book, but we had some on the shelf longer and they were still moist and delicious after 6 months. (one that was hidden remained sealed 8 months but was slightly dry. We ate it anyway with ice cream, shameless people that we are)



2 -2/3 cups sugar

1 cup butter

4 eggs

1/2 cup water

2 tsp vanilla

3-1/2 cups flour

1- 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt


Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and mix well. Add water and canilla. Add dry ingredients. Pur 1 cup batter in each pint jar. Bake at 325 F for 55 to 60 minutes.


For Chocolate Almond version omit water and vanilla. Add

1/2 cup almond flavored liquuer (amaretto)

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup almonds (slivered or chopped)


Mix and bake according to above directions


For Rum Raisin variation

omit water, add 1/2 cup dark rum and 1 cup raisins, bake as directed


For Banana Nut Cake Variation (don't omit water for this one)


add 2 cups mashed bananas

1 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup chopped pecans.

Bake according to directions.


Or, you can just add 1 cup mini M&Ms and call it polka dot cake!


For Orange or Lemon Poppy Seed Variation:

Omit water and add


1 cup white chocolate chips or pieces

1/4 cup poppy seeds

1Tablespoon of either grated lemon or orange rind

1/2 cup of either lemon or orange juice


Mix and bake according to directions.


These recipes are from the Book "Jazzy Jars" by Marie Browning....a entire book about decorating canning jars and filling them for home made gifts. (I love these recipes for gifts and have made every single one and can say they are all good but that chocolate almond one is THE BEST)


As my daddy always wrote at the end of a recipe he shared...Bon Appetite! star




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Last year, I made spiced mug mats for all my friends for Christmas. I found some nice wintery fabric (I used blue with white snowflakes) and cut it in 4x4 squares. Then I took some polyfill quilt batting and cut it into slightly smaller squares (3.75 x 3.75 or so).


I sandwiched them together (fabric, two layers of batting, and another piece of fabric), and stitched them together on three sides. Then I stuffed them with a bit of whole allspice, whole cloves, and broken pieces of cinnamon stick, and sewed up the fourth side. Cut it all around with pinking shears for a decorative touch and, voila! Spiced mug mats. Put a hot cup of tea on them and they smell heavenly!

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Furbabymom, that sounds just wonderful! I think I might include a few of those this Christmas for some of my relatives in a pampering basket that I'm planning. So far, I had planned to make crocheted slippers, rice bags (which I scent with a mixture similar to yours or sometimes with herbal tea) and this toffee that my great-aunt begs me to make every Christmas. Maybe I'll toss in a pretty mug, some tea and one of your mug mats and make it a basket of self-indulgence! Thanks for the idea! snowman2

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  • 2 weeks later...

Where to start:


dry your own herb and make teas.


It's time to have a huge soap making party again this year and make enough soap for my family and gifts for the next 3 years! This way you buy a big wholesale bag of lye and it costs 50cents a lb instead of $4. Great for weddings, birthdays,and also just for fun gifts, Cost is about 10 cents a bar.


You can take a paperdoll pattern and turn it into felt dolls. I actually designed my own patterns and keep adding more( examples on http://www.arkessetials.com) but if you can't afford my patterns or kit you can definately make up something on your own. I just really got into it after a while so figured I'd sell some too.


Aprons from old denium jeans, or placemats or ???? I love adding cute napkins in the pockets.


I'm kind of getting addicted to making cute table cloths. Walmart has had some very cute and pretty cheap fabric but buy what you like when you see it as it goes out of stock quickly. I wish I'd bought a whole bolt of the cowboy print I got last February?


Also make a tablecloth for a dolls table and matching napkins. I had a tea set put a side and made a tablecloth from a remnant.


I have the cutest muslin doll pattern and it even has bunny slippers for the dolls. Maybe I"ll have time this Christmas or next.......


My goal for this Christmas is to finish writing my book Secrets of the butcher's Wife. I'll just run off the pages and put them in protectors and make a cute cover on the computer. I guess it can be a work in progress if I give them the notebook and some of the pages and can add new ones every month.


I did get a new french bread recipe so that will be my cheapest and easy enough for friends gift this year, since the chokecherries aren't cooperating for making lots of syrup this year. Guess I"ll have to call up and get the carmel syrup recipe too that my daughter was raving about last week.


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Originally Posted By: John & Joan of Ark
Where to start:

You can take a paperdoll pattern and turn it into felt dolls. I actually designed my own patterns and keep adding more( examples on http://www.arkessetials.com) but if you can't afford my patterns or kit you can definately make up something on your own. I just really got into it after a while so figured I'd sell some too.

When you make felt dolls - do the clothes just naturally stick to the dolls because it's all felt, or do you put velcro or something on to make them stick?
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We did something similar for preschool.

We used big felt boards, and cut out people, clothes, animals, etc. to illustrate stories. They just stuck when you put them on with a little wiggle. Some of the very smooth felt didn't stick very well, but most went together easily.

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  • 7 months later...

If you need inexpensive gifts for co-workers, go to the site

Make stuff.com - it has lots of ideas.

Also do a search for mixes in a cup on line. There are lots of single cup mixes for microwave goodies for the office like chocolate cake, soups, etc. These can even be packaged in paper holiday cups since they are single use, which is really inexpensive. These sold well at a craft day at church too. Just package the mix in a zip lock down in the cup, wrap with cello and ribbon and attach the directions to the ribbon. You can be as elaborate with the container and packaging as your budget allows.

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Well..since this was bumped up...I'm sewing aprons this year for a few friends, and then woodburning a design on a set of dollar store wooden spoons, wrapping them in the apron, and presto..a nice gift for cheap if you use remnant fabric. We have a store here that sells bags of trim and bias tape for a dollar. I use the bias tape they sell for apron stgrings, look for remnants that go with it. These can be stuffed into a large storage jar for a fancier gift.


I am also sewing fleece berets for my daughter and her friends.


My family is getting home-sewn flannel PJ's, fleece socks, and fleece slippers. I am using the 40 percent off coupons from JoAnn's for the fabric and got the patterns today at their dollar Simplicity pattern sale.


I also took a good look at some expensive ipod accessories today, then looked at cheaper versions in Wal Mart. My daughter has a bunch of friends on the track team. We have designed an armband with velcro and a clear pocket front that they can use to play their ipods while they run. These will be made with black sport fabric I got last month with the 40 percent coupon and a bunch of velcro I have in stock. The ipod brand of these sport arm bands sell for $35 each. The cheap generic version in WalMart sells for $10. We can make these for a couple of dollars each and will likely make about six of them, five for friends and one for daughter. This was her idea. I think it's a good one. I pass along this idea for those who need a home-made gift for a teen.


I'm also giving pizza coupons this year. The coupon entitles owner to a pizza with their choice of toppings made and delivered by me. (they have to give me 24 hour notice on this) I am giving these to a neighbor who helped my daughter with track training and a neighbor who gave us a ton of mulch for free when he had his trees chopped down and they chipped up all the branches. To the mulch people, I am also giving half a dozen jars of apple sauce I made. I chose this kind of gift for people who live nearby and for folks who already think my pizza is wonderful.


It is hard to think of inexpensive ideas -- so keep the posts going!!




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I enjoyed reading your post about what you are making ! The ipod bands are a really good idea.

I am also sewing aprons. My grandson is 4 and I made him an apron. Getting him some other small kitchen things. Perhaps I will make him a cookbook, too. I think it is fine to give a boy cooking things. I am embroidering some flour sack towels now for a gift. So much to do, so little time !

I also made some fabric shopping bags. They are washable, unlike many you buy in the stores.

Not sure what else I will accomplish. I need to make more jellies, too.


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