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Any Ideas For "cheap" Crafty Christmas Gifts - Page 3

post #41 of 59
Kim: I think if you used very fresh dried lavender (and not ancient dusty dried lavender, kwim?) it might work. Seems like if it was still fairly fragrant the vodka would draw the scent out. Worth a try! (and I like your idea for linen waters! Something similar is facial mist/room mist - same recipe, just skip the vodka and put in a spray bottle. Lemon essential oil works really nicely for this).

Here's my bath bomb recipe: 1 part citric acid to 3 parts baking soda. That's the foundation. Then, I usually add some epsom salts and sea salt (no particular amounts, I just toss some in, but probably not more than 1 part salts) and essential oils until it smells good. I often toss in some dried flowers/herbs. You can color with soap colors or food coloring, but I like them white best. Mix it all up with your hands. Then, put witch hazel in a spray bottle and spritz the mixture lightly, blending with your hands. The trick here is to wet the mixture enough that it will stick together in your hands, but not so much that it does all its fizzing. So, spritz and mix, spritz and mix until it starts to pack together. Then, either form into balls or press into molds (my recent favorite is a muffin tin, each cup about 1/3 full). Let dry for a few hours and you're done! Ridiculously easy.

Bath salts are even easier. Mix together epsom salts and sea salt, add essential oils. If you want to get fancier, you can add baking soda, borax, dried herbs, coloring. You can add citric acid and the salts will fizz.

The soaps I make are melt and pour glycerine soaps. Which is considered cheating by some, but making real soap is hard! With this stuff, you melt the soap in a double boiler or microwave, add stuff to it and pour it into molds. It can be as easy as just adding essential oils and colors, but I really like to add stuff to it. One of my favorite soaps is oatmeal honey - use white glycerine soap and add oatmeal, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla essential oil. You can make really pretty soaps by chopping up a couple of bars of different colors and embedding chunks in your soap (pour melted soap of a different color over the chunks in the mold). I like my soaps to look kind of rough, so I usually use a bread pan as a mold and then chop bars off of it, but you can buy all kinds of molds.

Let me know if you want more info!
post #42 of 59
Thank you so very much! Maybe even I can handle this one!
post #43 of 59
Could you be a little more specific, please? Like, how much vanilla, cinnamon, etc. to use? (I'm a first-time soap maker with NO inherent craft skills!)
post #44 of 59
Sorry for not being more specific - the truth is, I don't do a lot of measuring when I do this. I use a pinch of this and a pinch of that until everything looks and smells like I want it to!

But... let's say you're melting enough soap to fill a bread pan. I would add probably 1/2 c. oatmeal, 2 tbs ground cinnamon, 1/4 c. honey and 20 drops of vanilla e.o. Something like that.

Now, when you add stuff like oatmeal (or herbs, or poppy seeds or corn meal or anything at all), if you add it when the soap is hot it will sink to the bottom (which makes your soap look layered, and that can look cool). If you mix it in gently as the soap is cooling, it will remain scattered throughout the soap (if you don't mix gently, you'll get bubbles).

Ooooh - I just found this site with a zillion good-looking recipes -


And, I get my glycerine soap and essential oils at http://creationherbal.com/.
post #45 of 59
Not sure if these websites have been mentioned, but here you can find easy craft & gift ideas:



post #46 of 59
I've been inspired to make soap this year! Thanks!!
post #47 of 59
Here is something easy and cheap I did:

Find glass jars or drinking glasses (like tumblers, no handles) at a cheap resale type store, then use Mod Podge and some pretty tissue paper and decorate around the outside. You can rip the paper and patchwork it on there, or cut out shapes, or whatever. Mod Podge dries clear, I just put some on the glass, laid down the paper, then some over it. Put a votive and voila! Beautiful unique candle holder!
post #48 of 59
The previous idea is a great one for kids to make. My dd has made several of these. We just use elmers glue and it dries clear as well. You can also dilute it with a little water so it's thinner and less likely to rip the tissue paper.

Another idea on that same theme is for your child to make "stained glass" with tissue paper. It can be framed and given as a gift. It turns out great. To do it lay down a piece of plastic wrap on a smooth surface and tape the edges. Either you or your child can cut pieces of tissue paper into pieces. Using a paintbrush, brush diluted glue (elmers is fine) on the saran wrap and lay down the tissue paper pieces. Then paint more glue on top when you are finished. Let dry and cut into whatever shape you want or leave that shape. It can be framed or some kind of edging can be put on. It's beautiful hanging in a window with the light shining through.
post #49 of 59
I came across this today in an enewsletter & thought it might be of interest:

A More Frugal Christmas
by Virginia Brucker
Sixteen ways to save
<a href=" http://www.stretcher.com/stories/02/02nov04d.cfm ">
Click Here - http://www.stretcher.com/stories/02/02nov04d.cfm </a>
post #50 of 59

more cheap gifts

hi, i'm still kinda new around here. i've got a couple of ideas i haven't seen yet, so i thought i'd share...

painted glitter pine cones:
we live deep in the urban jungle, but still manage to find a couple of bushy white pines to give us cones. this is a craft gift i did with my boy, then 4, last yuletide. make sure the cones are fully opened, and shake the seeds out if you have to. have the little one paint the pine cones, helping him/her to get the whole thing covered. you can do different bright "paintbox" colors, or paint them all white. or, just leave them unpainted and go to the next step, which is even messier and more fun.

set the pine cone on a sheet of paper, and hold a bottle of white glue over it, drizzling a little of the glue randomly over the cone. move the cone to another sheet of paper and pour glitter over the cone. you can use the same or a contrasting color glitter, and white pine cones look great with a silver or "crystal" glitter.

let them dry. if you want, you can scent the cones (use peppermint for the all-white cones. other "winter holiday" scents that are nice are pine (duh), orange, frankincense and myrrh, and cinnamon. you can attach a hook or string to the base if you want and use them as ornaments, but we thought they looked great just piled in a bowl.

baker's clay ornaments
i'll have to hunt for it, but somewhere around here i have my baker's clay recipe. this is a fun thing to do with kids: roll out the dough, and let them cut out shapes to bake and paint, using cookie cutters. i had a "halloween cat" cookie cutter, which i used to make ornaments which i painted to look like and capture the personality of my parent's 3 cats. damie did some big red hearts, and we did some silver glitter stars and moons.

we managed to find a hand-shaped cookie cutter, and (as we're neo-pagan) we bent the fingers down into god-signs before baking and painted them gold when they cooled. but the hand ornaments don't have to be limited to that. you could press 2 hands together as if in prayer, or carefully bend the fingers to finger-spell "happy holidays" or whatever in sign language.

another thing you could do with the baker's clay is cookie-ornaments! use gingerbread-man cookie cutters and decorate them with that glossy white "slick" fabric paint in the little squeeze bottles, which looks amazingly like icing! you could add little glass bead "candies" if you wanted. we used this "plasti-coat spray laquer" on all our ornaments to give them a glossy finish. the cookie ornaments looked good enough to eat!

if i can find the recipe, i'll post it.

post #51 of 59
how did you make bath salts?

Originally posted by Arduinna
Last year we did what I call "spa baskets" DD made scented soaps and I made scented bath salts. We packaged them up together with a matching scented candle. They were easy cheap and went over really well with everyone we gave them too.
post #52 of 59
what do the * refer to????

Originally posted by LaLa
These are ideas from last years list

gift ideas:jam/jelly
cloth napkins
cloth blankets and quilts
bath kits
bath bombs*
oyster shell santas*
personal fridge poetry*
crystal window hangers*
dried fruit dipped in chocolate
homemade chocolates
herb vinegars
homemade Kahlua*
Harvest Soup mix*
HoHo Cocoa Mix*
browine sand castles mix*
Amaretto Liqueur*
English Toffee*
Picture frames with mosaic tiles
decorate candles with dried flowers / herbs
dolls (waldorf style)
post #53 of 59
this is cute, don't know how inexpensive, but I know I could make them with stuff around the house...


I even thought about only making them partially to send to out of town family, and adding instructions to finish.
post #54 of 59
For dh's family we draw names and I got his stepmoms SIL. I had no idea what to get but I came up with such a good one that I am going to give it to other moms on my list
She has three kids like 13, 10, and 7 just adopted a 2 year old (I just found out yesterday ) and is a foster mom right now she has a 6 and 7 year old too (usually she only has foster kids for a short time like less then 3 months).

I am going to make a basket with
-- a little photo album with a fun childrens idea on each page (recepies like playdough and finger paint, science like floating a paper clip on water or does this sink or float, easy art projects, indoor activities like an obsticle course or making tape balance beam)
-- a few cheap things that you need for the ideas (food coloring and glycerine, ect)
-- some bath salts just for her

I am excited!
post #55 of 59
Hi everyone,

I'm thinking of doing some homemade hearth "kits" this year -- twigs wrapped in twine, fatwood, fireplace matches... you get the idea.

I really want to make some fireplace potpurri, but I have no idea how. I assume that the regular potpourri stuff is not safe to burn, but maybe I'm wrong... ?? Also, I wonder if I can make those pinecones that turn the flames different colors.

Have any of you made stuff like this before? Care to share ideas and/or instructions?


post #56 of 59
We made colored pinecones at girl scout camp.
Here is a linkpinecone lady
post #57 of 59
Mallory -- Thank you!! That's just what I was looking for!

post #58 of 59
Wow! Thanks so much you guys!

Question on the trivets : if I wanted to put my dd's handprint on them, what kind of paint should I use that will be least affected by water and heat? Or do I need to use some kind of sealant or something?

One year I made Body & Soul tea boxes. Put a bunch of baggies of loose teas and herbs for drinking and for the bath along with big and small tea balls. Then I typed up little blurbs about the properties of each and attached them to the baggies with ribbon. Along with a couple of tiny candles and a Billie Holiday CD (featuring "Body and Soul", of course) it was a lot of fun.

That's my only contribution! Now I'm off to explore all those links.....

Oh, one last thing - my mom one year made Kahlua and vanilla and they were both amazing!!
post #59 of 59
The M and P soap can become a rather expensive hobby--now I want to buy lots of molds, essential oils, etc.!!
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