We all have that one person who is tough to find a gift for any time of year. They have everything or are minimalists who really do not want gifts. In these cases, I've found the best gifts are those that come from the heart with a great deal of thought wrapped into the handmade gift. How-To's from www.carolynshomework.com
I like gift wrapping that is just as nice as the present inside - what about you?
Handmade gifts can include the wrapping. I've made gifts that are cards; each elaborately cut and decorated with a special message inside for the recipient. Decorative containers and sweet handmade decor such as the bird on a limb (left) are other options. In this final part of Handmade With Love, I'll share with you a few of my favorite ideas to help your holiday gift giving be as frugal, thoughtful and loving as possible.
| allaboutyou.com |
Photos can be so easy to work with and are usually a good choice for the person who has everything or the hard to buy for. The difficultly lies in working out how to present a group or a few simple pictures. The framed twig idea (right) is a good way to express a family tree, or if your thinking of a good friend, perhaps an arrangement of dried flowers will be your choice of enhancing your collage. On this same topic of photo themes, check out the fabric family tree displayed (left) from allaboutyou.com.
Home Decor usually can be the perfect gift, particularly for young homemakers, students just starting out in their first apartment or for the family or friend who treasures your handmade gifts.
(left) Felted bowls in knit or crochet are a unique gift to be cherished for years to come. They can be small, large, in between - personalize the colors and size for your recipient.
To make the bowls pictured, click HERE for the free PDF pattern
(Knit) by tangledyarns.com.au
The lover's of classics will appreciate the 12 ft long scarf shown in the 4th Dr. Who (Tom Baker).
The true worsted pattern (knit) is included here (click the pic of Dr. Who) or if you crochet, follow the color chart and rows indicated. What a terrific way to use those stash scraps of yarn!
Check out this link for details of the yarn colors and types that helps with accuracy: http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/s12.html
Don't let a hard to buy for person make your gift giving stressful. Get back to the basics of gift giving by creating, and then giving with love, the gift of your heart.
Wishing you all success and inspiration in your holiday gift giving,
The easiest group to handmake gifts for is the little ones. Most kids won't scrutinize your handmade gift, but will instead give you a genuine hug and smile and run off to play with their treasure.
As we come closer to the end of this series, for this post I have selected gift ideas that I believe are frugal, fun and easy to make. What gifts for kids have you made in the past that are frugal and easy to make?
We would love to read about it - feel free to share your story in the comments below.
I have never gone wrong making costumes as a gift for any of the grand children. Kids love playing dress up - whether they are a favorite comic hero or other character - costumes have lit faces in bright smiles and were well used. Reports have been given to this grandmother of the costumes not coming off without an arugment (super heroes never take their costumes off, right?).
The costumes can be as elaborate or as simple as a cape and mask. Basic cutting and sewing skills (even hand sewing), a little fabric and imagination and you have made super hours of fun!
Body Pillows http://www.spritestitch.com/star-wars-felt-kids-book/
Get creative with TV and Floor Pillows for kids! Easy and frugal, here's how:
Other Pillow Ideas:
- 2 King Pillow Cases (Thrift stores have oodles!);
- Stuffing, polyfil or 2 pillow forms;
- Sew open ends of pillows together, leaving opening for filling if you are not using pre-made pillows;
- Fill, then sew closed. Hand sewing can be used, as long as the stitching is tight and close together.
- Stitch several together for a longer body pillow or floor mat;
- Mix and match colors for fun;
- Standard Size can be used.
A Book About Me
Not me - you. Them. Him. Her. I think you know who I mean?
Make a fun book from felt and/or other scraps you have around the house? Need to upcycle jeans or other great fabrics - use those in the book. Book ideas are limitless but here are a few to get your started:
- Star Wars theme;
- Make them a super hero in their book;
- They are an explorer on a great adventure.
I don't want to keep you busy reading more today as I know you will want to start crafting handmade gifts for your little ones. Wishing you success and inspiration with your handmade adventures today and always,
Here we are with the third in the series of frugal gifting and I think one of my favorite in the series. Let's get right into the ideas, links, patterns and how-to's for Gifts for the Eclectic Person!
Browsing for an image (not the clock) I found this awesome clock
on Zazzle.com (Zazzy - Zazzle...is there a connection?). If your only slightly into the craft world and the tools it offers, this gift is a sure winner for the person on your list who has almost everything. There are so many ways to make this fun clock using upcycled materials. For a quick how - to in putting a clock together, READ MORE HERE.
Chalk Board Paint is one of the best ideas put in a can. Found in spray or brush on, this wonder can be used for:
* Coffee Mugs
* Clock Faces
* Memo Boards & More
The cost is minimal - less than $4.00 for spray and about $7 for the brush on. Chalk Board Paint can turn any upcycled item into a new, useful and welcome gift item this season!
can be decorative, useful and make a thoughtful gift. These are made from bottle tops, but you can make them from #6 plastic
, buttons, old watch parts; you decide! How-to make these terrific cap magnets, go HERE to RECYCLART
We can not forget Dr. Who (Tom Baker) with his stylish 12' scarf
! Make this outstanding and warming scarf a gift for that special person on your list that shares your passion for Sci-Fi. Download Dr. Who scarf pattern HERE
| |Other frugal scarves to make
A practical, simple and easy to make gift for the person who just about everything! A phone wedge
to hold their cell phone at work, home or away in a hotel. There are two versions of this pattern: crochet or sewn. Download HERE
I'm a fan of the messenger bag
as a gift. This bag is so versatile! Make it from wool blankets, sweaters, denim...just about every durable fabric common in most homes. Take it a step up and add a monogram of their initials to the front.How - To Machine Monogram:
- Make sure fabric is pre-shrunk/washed.
- Hand write your lettering on right side of fabric.
- Using a straight stitch setting and smaller stitches (no presser foot), slowly run your machine and guide the fabric/hoop under the needle. Follow your writing slowly and allow the feed dog and needle to do their job.
- This may take a few times before you have the feel of how to monogram with your machine.
| |Below are a few more frugal gift suggestions:
- Make a Bucket/Fishing Hat and add a few pins from memorable places;
- Game Pillows showing their favorite characters or heroes;
- Favorite vintage movies with a bowl and bags of popcorn.
these are not gifts for you, so it's not important that you would have any of these in your home or work place. The important part is, did you put sincere thought into who this person is and what their relationship means to you? Get those answers right and you'll be on track for making just the right gift for your ecclectic family member or friend. With that in mind, I wish you all the success, joy and inspiration this time of year brings. Sher
Who doesn't love a gift from the kitchen? Food is universal when it comes to celebrations and gatherings and it possesses another terrific advantage: If your living quarters do not offer a kitchen, most of the gifts presented here can easily be made in a small space with no cooking required. Read on for ideas in handmade frugal gifts for any occasion!
*Click pic for post of how to make homemade Vanilla Extract
No Cooking Required
If you are creative with scrapbooking or any type of paper art, pull together favorite recipes and place into a book. Add a dash of love with photos of friends, family members or events that lead to the recipe. Be expressive in your recipe book, after all, you are the author!
Gather ideas for your cookbooks from Pinterest like this one from mrsherb.com
Do you keep herbs in your kitchen or window year round? Why not snip a bunch, tie them with jute or other soft twine and present with seeds for the herbs. A suggestion is to adorn a simple jar from your recyclables and tag. Perhaps you want to give a gift that keeps giving? Use mason jars to plant herbs in, tag and gift. Click the picture (left) for a link on free printable bottle labels - or make them into tags with how to use the herb or spice.
I've always found gifts in a jar so practical, useful and appreciated. I've received several of these delicious gifts, usually with a catchy little poem and recipe with directions attached. Making gifts in a jar is one of those gifts you can sit at your kitchen table with a great cup of tea or coffee, good company and craft away! Speaking of tea and coffee - why not give homemade tea bags or coffee beans in a jazzed up jar? It's a good way to use those recyled jars you've been saving! Click the picture (left) for the link to 48 Gifts in a Jar from Tip Junky.
*Keep in mind food allergies or sensitivities when planning/making your gifts*
| | Frugal Living Now
If you are uncertain of giving food as a gift, try some of these non-edible gifts
listed. A little cooking is required of a few, but it can be done in a microwave.
Click the pic (left) for wonderful DIY Bath and Body Products or the relaxing gifts below:
- Foot Soak/Bath: Honey Oatmeal Scrub/Soap (click for PDF)
- Cranberry Aroma Candle (click for PDF)
- Bath Fizzies
1 c. baking soda 20 drops Essential Oil (your choice)
1 c. citric acid 2 drops food coloring (your choice)
1 T. Almond Oil Dried Herbs or Flowers (optional)
In large bowl sift together soda and citric acid. Add almond oil, essential oil, food coloring and herbs (opt). Mix well. Spoon mix into molds (muffin pans or shaped cake molds). Bake at 425° 4-6 minutes. Cool. Carefully tip out of mold and place in decorative jar.
Edibles are always a hit as a gift. Homemade breads, cookies, pies and cakes are sure bets; however, if you are uncertain (allergies) perhaps the ingredients for a special recipe, along with a handmade pair of oven mitts will work best.
There are dozens, thousands, of websites with delicious recipes for edible and non-edible gifts from your kitchen - whether you have a formal kitchen or not. When deciding on what to make keep in mind allergies, food sensitivities, or skin sensitivities to herbs and oils. If you are uncertain, casually ask the person or engage them in conversation about favorite foods.
The point is not to be cheap with the gifts, but frugal. Use jars you have washed for recycling and the ribbons, tags and other decorations from your handy stash baskets. Food should be given with thoughts of health, love and inspiration.
With that being said, I'll close and wish you success and inspiration today and always,
There are times ideas for gifts have come from something I find myself in need of. I was wanting (not really needing) a new bag or something to hold the few items I do carry with me when I leave the house.
Pairing a need with a want, has produced three quick and easy patterns for gifts
and the new little bag I wanted. The best part? You guessed right - it's all made from scrap materials and/or upcycled, right down to the zipper and buttons. A few unique features of these patterns:
- The shoulder bag works best with heavy fabrics (denim, upholstery, duck, canvas);
- The zippered pouch works into a perfect size for travel, purses, bookbags, desks, or simply to carry;
- The sewing pouch is a terrific little bag to place your traveling sewing needs in - perfect for those on the go!
Stay with me the next few months for more quick and simple gifts to make for your family and friends this holiday season.
To download your free gift patterns, click the pictures below for the sewing travel pouch, zippered bag and shoulder bag. Wishing you success and much inspiration with your projects, today and always,
Sewing Pouch - Travel
Here I am with yet another easy to do, but potentially failed project.
When I saw this picture on Pinterest it struck me this would be the perfect gift for anyone to make
and give. Right? No. First all the good things about this project.
Click pic for PDF and Pattern - FREE
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"See how the cute birds above sit upright so nicely? No, they don't. Not unless you attach them together and to the wire somehow. "
"I had to laugh at myself when the bird flopped over upside down. It looked sort of dead; similar to what we would see in old Looney Tunes cartoons."
Now, the down side.
- You need a large sized jar, wide enough to fit 2 birds.
- The jar has to be clear and free of any seams or marks (Mason jars do NOT work).
- Using wire (as shown above) is difficult as you have to poke it through the lid of the jar. The only other option is to poke it through the fabric on top. Not pretty.
- See how the cute birds above sit upright so nicely? No, they don't. Not unless you attach them together and to the wire somehow.
- Have you tried to cut a dowel that small?
- The wire does not swing - perhaps that's how they stay upright on the dowel?
- The above is not a kid friendly project.
While I was making the pattern and putting it all together, I knew it was not an extreme fail, but it did prove to me once more what you see in pictures is not always what you get. I had to laugh at myself when the bird flopped over upside down. It looked sort of dead; similar to what we would see in old Looney Tunes cartoons.
It will be fantastic to see your Tweety Birds and what you come up with! Please, feel free to share or send me photos and I'll get them posted. I wish you much success and inspiration with this project/craft. It's one that definitely inspires the imagination!
Our fresh Rosemary.
It's true, there is nothing like homemade. Cookies, cakes, bread, clothing,
homegrown spices, herbs and vanilla...mmmmm! I believe the benefits gained in physical, intellectual and emotional growth far outweigh the effort.
These past few years, my husband and I have been finding creative ways to cut costs in our spending. Some call this frugal living; I call it an adventure!
If you like DIY, science, puttering, or feeling accomplished, you may want to try making more homemade and/or homegrown items for your home and self. Homemade Vanilla Extract
Is there anything that does not sound good about homemade vanilla extract
? In 3 easy steps
, you can make your own vanilla extrac
t for baking or gift giving!
Gather your ingredients. I purchased one package of Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Beanilla Trading Company.
These beans are inexspensive, fresh and arrived quickly. Your next ingredients are simple: One bottle with a sealing cap, or a mason jar with lid (really, any type of glass jar or bottle that seals will work), and about 8 oz. of Vodka. * Bourbon or Brandy can be used, but it will change the final flavor just a bit.
Vanilla Beans from Beanilla.
- Vanilla Beans (5 for each 8 oz.)
- Vodka (Bourbon or Brandy) (8 oz)
- Sealing Jar or Bottle
I used a bottle from my husband's home brew stash.
Step 2: Pour 8 oz. of Vodka into the sealing jar or bottle.
Step 2: Slice vanilla beans end to end in the center. Use a paring knife and hold the bean firmly (not too firm) on a cutting board. Slice the bean open from end to end. Peel open slightly, and drop into the bottle one at a time. * Some prefer to scrape the beans from the inside (they are little tiny black specks) and insert these separate, I wanted to leave mine in this first time.
Step 3: Close the bottle or jar and set aside in a place that is away from the reach of children. Once daily, give it a little jiggle or shake. You do not need to shake vigorously - just a gentle shake. In a few days you can see the tiny specks floating around - this is okay. You will leave your bottle and beans for about 6-8 weeks before it's vanilla.
I keep my bottle of vanilla beans on a shelf by a window. It is not receiving direct sunlight, but diffused light every day. The picture shown (left) is after 1 week and after opening it to see if the process is working - a nice scent of vanilla flowed from the top of the bottle.
I have been told some will strain their vanilla before use because they do not want the black vanilla bean flecks in their cooking. I plan to leave mine in the liquid; ice cream with the bean flecks in it? Yummm!
So, about the middle of August of 2013 I will try a sample of the homemade extract and let you know how it turned out. In between now and then, I think I will upcycle a few more jars and bottles and invest in more beans to start making extract for holiday gifts. There's another benefit of homemade - you can be ahead of all the gift giving occasions!Wishing you success and inspiration today and always, Cheers!Sher
It's becoming quite tiresome to hear the little voice inside my head reminding me of the long list of home projects stacking up. There is fabric for a quilt I've planned to make for several years, fabrics I found and saved for my grand children (now it's too young for them), scraps that I saved to make (what was I going to do with those scraps?). When I finally remember what I had planned - oh - that's why I 'm waiting. It's not in the budget.
While those of us who sew for others may not have as much time or money to spend sewing for ourselves or our homes, there are a few little items we can make in-between the custom orders and other projects on our tables. With no-sew patterns, upcycling and recycling gaining in popularity I find there is time to begin some of the projects I have wanted to do for several years. Let's take a look at five frugal home decor projects with little to no sewing involved.
1) Table settings
can be as fussy or simple as your tastes desire. A simple no-sew method is "frayed edges". Most woven fabrics are suitable for fraying the edges. To make your piece (placemat, napkin, runner, etc.), simply cut the shape desired and with a tapestry needle, begin pulling the edges row by row until you have the amount of fray desired. A PDF guide can be found HERE.
If you are concerned about excess fraying, use clear nail polish applied to the (back) edges or Fray Stop (sold in craft stores). Are there any other no-sew ways you have used to stop fraying? More ideas on this are found at Serendipity Refined
. http://www.serendipityrefined.com/ Bonus: Have you ever wondered how to fold napkins in amazing ways? PDF HERE on Napkin Folding
2) Custom made curtains
are terrific when you have the time to make them. If you are short on time, check out these fun ideas from Better Homes & Gardens
! Some curtains are simple sheer fabrics draped, as shown in the picture (left). McCall's Patterns
have a nice selection of simple curtains to make - #M5872 is a simple, quick and fabric saving pattern with 4 designs provided.
3) Bedding, blankets and/or pillows
are a quick and simple way to add "welcome" to your home. Download the PDF instructions for the no-sew blanket/pillow set HERE.
Are there stacks of old t-shirts you have saved for a quilt or other project? Pillows made of t-shirts are a sure hit for gifts to young adults, teens and children. Check out this fun pattern
(requires some straight stitch sewing) from Fiskars.
5) Furniture can use a lift now and then and you don't need upholstery skills or have talent as a seamstress to do this. Be creative in your coverings (or recovering) with your thrift shop finds!
Of course these projects could always be used for house warming gifts, grads or newlyweds, but that defeats the point of sharing the post today, right?
If you have no-sew or frugal home decorating projects you have tried with success (or without), I invite you to share them with us!
Wishing you much success and inspiration today and always,
Vogue V8869 Men's Fedora
What thoughts come to mind for Father's Day gift giving? Do you send or give only cards? Perhaps you shop for the perfect gift and still come away with less than what you wished to give him. Want to know a secret? Men adore handmade gifts from the heart.
Ask a few male friends or family members and they will most likely tell you given the choice heartfelt and handmade trumps store bought signs and mugs that read, "Greatest Dad". Maybe your little ones want to give that sign or mug to send the message they love their Dad and, they still can with a handmade gift from the heart.
A great example is the Men's Fedora Hat by Vogue (left). Toss out the thoughts that you could never sew this hat pattern! With only three pieces, lining and interfacing this is one gift idea to make in a few short hours. My husband gave me a great idea for the fabric with the suggestion of wool shirts and coats from the thrift store! Is there an old coat, tweed jacket, or wool shirt (make sure it's not in use anymore!) that could use new life? Upcycle into this amazingly easy to sew Fedora for Father's Day.
| |From Your Hands and Heart . . .Bring his new Fedora together with a hand knit tie! Knit ties seem to never go out of fashion and many men like to wear them for the versatility provided. I made the Black Wool Knit Tie (Right) based on a favorite tie of my husband. It takes minimal yarn and is perfect for learning decrease and increase in knitting. Knit Picks offers a free pattern or Custom Order a Knit Tie from Day Dreams. | |
| Click for pattern page |
A clever idea is the useful tool belt or apron.
Patterns are not actually a necessity to make a tool belt/apron, but they are handy for beginners in upcycle sewing. An old pair of jeans or two, a little time and you have a terrific gift that will keep giving!* Place your Special Gift Orders Today!
| MacGyverisms - Book Planters |
For the Dad who loves his gardening, this is a great gift idea that your little ones can help make!
Planters can be found in just about any form. Step out of the box and into the creative lanes. Look around your garage, basement, thrift shops and backyard for unique planter ideas. It's upcycling at it's finest!
Grampa deserves time too!
Personally, I am a huge fan of the gift of time. Hold off on the "Honey Do" list for a day and let Dad and his little ones choose how they spend the day together.
The internet holds thousands of craft ideas for making gifts, including the page at Red Ted Art
. With more than 40 links to handmade gift tutorials,
there is bound to be something you and the kids can create for Dad that is sure to fill his heart with love and pride.
Dads adore handmade from the heart; they're kind of cool like that. As you plan, search and create the gift for the perfect man in your life, I wish each of you success, joy and inspiration today and always!
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"How do I love Thee? Let me count the ways."
I don't think Elizabeth Barrett Browning intended her beautiful poem she wrote in 1850 to be used in connection with a blog post 163 years later, but if it fits...well, you know the rest.
On the subject of way back, I'm digging into the archives (but not more than a few months!) to pull some terrific DIY gift ideas you can make your Valentine. Don't have a Valentine? Sure you do! YOU!
My FavesBelow are my favorite gift posts from 2012. There are gifts for men only, youth, women, and children. I think you will find something for everyone in these. The post on uses for essential oils is particularly suitable for Valentine's Day as it's always nice to treat someone to complete relaxation or treat yourself to a relaxing environment. Be sure to bookmark your favorite posts so you can find quickly when it's time to get started!
Valentine Cards are always special to give and receive but really, where do they end up? Why not make a card that is a gift as well? In fact, it's not really a card, but says the same that most cards will.
| |Garden Starter Kits
are not only green (really, pardon the pun!) but work double duty. They provide herbs, beauty in flowers or sustenance while giving back to our environment. In this link
there are several choices of free seed cards & envelopes you can download to a PDF, then save to JPEG or Word for printing.
Soft Conversation Cookies
Do you remember getting those neat little candy hearts from someone special? And if it said, "You're Hot" suddenly you were floating on the clouds. Why not share that feeling in a warm way with a batch of these soft conversation sugar cookies!
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Now, this is not my personal recipe, however it is just as good. There is one ingredient I put in mine to make them extra soft and thick.
Write on the cookies with decorating tips or a tooth pick dipped into the frosting, all those neat little sayings that are on the hard candies. Wrap up a few and give to your Valentines. Kids can make these for gifts as well.
Give yourself a Valentine - better yet, why not every day? Give yourself the gift of love. Try any of these gifts to yourself:o Essential Oils & Warming Bags
o Plants for spring or seeds to plant
o Movie & Spa Day
o Lunch or Dinner with Your Best Friend or a Dinner Party!
o Get that New Book You Have Been Wanting to Read (while you are at it, a new book mark!)
There is no sin in being single; many prefer it that way. This does not mean those of us who normally won't recognize the holiday of love, can't start now. No matter how you plan to spend Valentine's Day, it's never fun to be without a way to celebrate it. Make it cardless and think green (or red? or what ever color you choose!). Gift yourself, a neighbor, friend, co-worker, partner or spouse. If you have children, get them in on the scheming and planning of a DIY I<3 U Day!
Wishing you much success and inspiration today and always,