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2007 Frugal Holiday "Challenge" - Page 3

post #41 of 328
Ooohhh, thanks for the links! I'm so not crafty but think I could do those! I really want to spend less this yeae, too. Last year, I baked a lot and made bath products for the women. Don't know if I'll bake again this year, it was sooo stressful for me.

Originally Posted by FillingMyQuiver View Post
There are quite a few sites that sell the kits. Here are a few to check out:
www.dancingraindolls.com - Amy is a wonderful WAHM w/ great customer support.


www.sarahs-dolls.com (I just bought her 13" Radiance doll pattern to use for DD for her b-day gift and DS's Christmas gift, I did buy my supplies separately, though)

www.joyswaldorfdolls.com (she has A LOT of different dolls. You could get a pattern for a teether doll and a regular doll)

Also, check out the Toys and Dolls forum, there's a wealth of info there about making Waldorf dolls.
post #42 of 328
I'm totally inspired by this thread!

Baby #2 is arriving a month before Christmas, so I'm hoping that we can keep it really simple with some forethought and planning.

For the first time, we're staying at home for the holidays...usually we drive to my parents' or the ILs. That in itself is a huge relief. I'm hoping we can cheap out a bit on presents simply because we won't be seeing too many people.

I'll do some of my usual stuff for family and friends...baking, canning, handmade blank cards. The cost for this will be minimal since I already have most of the stuff on hand. I'm also planning some knitting projects, but I'm not sure if my stash will work for the projects I have planned. I have a bin that's nearly full of Lopi that I got on super-sale...not the best for little kids to wear. I got a Lopi sweater from Iceland when I was about ten and it was torture wearing that thing!

DH brought home a $20 gift card for Chapters that he got at work, so that will buy each kid a new book for Christmas. Yay! He's also teaching ceramics next year so he'll have easy access to clay and a pottery wheel/kiln. Now what do I get for him???

Anyhow, instead of farting around on the internet during DD's nap today, I knitted a few rounds on some socks for my stepdad. I'm on my way!

Ooh, I just remembered I had this bookmarked. http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=40974.0
While I love the idea of a hand-sewn dolly, I just don't know if my seamstressing skills are up to it. This is more likely.
post #43 of 328
Last year was super tight for us. We had unforseen financial troubles and absolutely no money for gift. i made some things, baked with staples in the house. And we were lucky enough to have a few things donated along with a generous family.
Well this year i started really early looking for bargains. And i have a stash box in my closet with a few gifts so far.
First i found a pair of small diamond earings for my DD, cost me 16.00 reg. 60.00, bought at a Kohls super special on valentines day.
Next My BIl works at one of the casinos, where they are always giving out gift items. So far he has brought me 2 different vases, very nice but they would just get broken and dusty in my home. So they make great gifts.
He also gave me a nice crystal box from Mikasa(nice stuff)
I picked up a few poker chip sets for 1.00( can you tell i live in vegas )I will give this to my nephew and somone else.
I scored a great yo-yo quilt that was coming apart at a yardsale for 5.00. I took all the yo-yos that were in wonderful shape. made a bag, 3 pillows. a table topper, and i still have loads of yo-yos left (ahh what to do with them)
A traded and got a great pair of silver vintage earings from Madrid for my Mil.
Oh and finally a fw months back a had a bad sprain in my foot. So i made 3 different small crosstisted items. for under 1.50 each. Finished the edges with ribbon. Bought 3 different wood boxes at micheals for 1.00 each. Sanded then coated them with veggies oil. Put the little crosstitch on top. And i have a very unique gift, hand done, bargain price, and the wood looks so beautiful.
Well that is contents of the stash box so far. I am always looking for bargains or free items. And have a stash box whenever i need a gift i go digging. and think of what i saved
post #44 of 328
bumping above the spam!
post #45 of 328

This year is definitely going to be different. Dh is changing jobs--giving up a well paying career to move back home with family and working at a new bail bonds business. Also it will be the first Christmas we've lived near family. I'm not entirely sure what the extended family gift expectations are. Other than mailing $20 to the kids, we've never really gotten presents for family. Being down there will probably be different.

I'm not real crafty, either. I will make the tutu for dd and sil's girls if they come down for Christmas. All the other kids are boys, though. Not sure what to do for boys.

Last year we gave charitable donations in the kids names and love the idea, but I'm not sure if we'll do it again. My family thought it was tacky, and dh's family was unimpressed.

I'll be reading here and the other thread for ideas.
post #46 of 328
I love this thread! It's a good thing to get me thinking about Christmas now instead of in November when I'll have an almost 3 year old and newborn (and of course I won't be able to get much done at all - yikes ... it freaks me out to think about it, anyway... )

So far I'm thinking:

-felt food for ds to use in his play kitchen
-knitted washcloths along with some lovely locally made soap they sell at the co-op for friends
-other knitted stuff for my mom, dad, and dh

That's all I have right now.

I normally bake stuff for people, but I don't see that happening this year!
post #47 of 328
i keep an eye out for sales year-round. i got my sister a set of flamingo fleece sheets at target a few months ago for $7.50. today, i got my mom some of the face stuff she really likes at bath and body work's big sale. (they've got lots of stuff 50% off or 75% off... some stores even have 90% off stuff like candles, tote bags, and poupori-type stuff.)

this is a good time to shop for winter clothes because everything is marked down to next to nothing to get rid of it.

sometime in november, old navy has an extra 50% off their clearance. i think its the 1st or 2nd weekend in november because the next week, they get in a TON of holiday stock.

someone was asking about freebies. do some google searches for freebie websites. there's lots of message boards out there with links to various freebies. i used to get TONS of freebies in the mail. i recently got 3 soyjoy bars in the mail (which i donated). i just signed up to get a free razor (venus or something).

someone mentioned sales at amazon. they have some robeez shoes (with winter designs) on sale for less than $10 (and free shipping on orders over $25). slickdeals.net is where i find tons and tons of good deals. and if its on amazon, it's posted there.

a few of the drugstore chains run some really really good sales. cvs has some amazing deals with their "extra care bucks." ECB are basically coupons that print at the register to be used on your next purchase. some items are free after ECB, and you can even make money if you use a manufacturer's coupon. rite aid (who just bought out eckerd) has their rebate program, which is also really good. i've heard walgreens has a program similar to cvs's. you can make a nice basket for someone with toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoos, etc.

and, in preparation for christmas 2008, you can always pick up stuff like baskets, gift wrap, cards, wreaths, etc on clearance this year. my mom and i speculate every year when the different stores will have 90% off their holiday stuff. target is generally a week or week and a half after christmas, and michael's (craft store) is normally around martin luther king weekend. mom always has me pick up all the wreaths that come to $3 apiece, which she gives to coworkers or as last minute gifts.
post #48 of 328
This year I am planning on making books for members of the family. The books are going to be a potpourri of different things. Some recipes, some pictures, things that are going on in our world. Sort of a family yearbook. I do graphic design so this is right up my alley! We are going to create a questionnaire and send it out to all of the family members and ask them to send us any favorite pictures they have. We will do a family tree. Which should be interesting with all of the divorces in our family, LOL. Included with the questionnaire will be a request to not exchange presents this year.

I am also planning on doing some baking, brownies, and making some hot cocoa mix from scratch.

I really wanted to do an all homemade Christmas last year but DH was iffy on it. I am hoping that the "yearbook" idea will win him over.
post #49 of 328
I'm bumping this to keep myself accountable... :
post #50 of 328
Originally Posted by merrijayne View Post
I picked up a few poker chip sets for 1.00( can you tell i live in vegas )I will give this to my nephew and somone else.
Oooh, can you get those regularly? And if I sent you money would you be willing to get some for ME? I just found out that my sister is back with her ex-finacee and that they're looking veeeery serious, so I have to add him to my gift list. I was actually thinking of a set of poker chips and cards and maybe pizza gift certificates or something. I'll have to see if I can strong-arm any of my friends in Vegas to be my source for cheap poker chips!

Does anyone else find that they have a much harder time finding frugal gifts for the men in their lives than for the women? Maybe it's just 'cause I'm a girl, but it's those brothers and inlaws and boyfriends that kill my budget every freakin' year...
post #51 of 328
Originally Posted by Belleweather View Post
Does anyone else find that they have a much harder time finding frugal gifts for the men in their lives than for the women? Maybe it's just 'cause I'm a girl, but it's those brothers and inlaws and boyfriends that kill my budget every freakin' year...
I have the hardest time thinking up good presents for the guys. This year, I'm struggling w/ what to buy my dad, my FIL (who owns his own landscape contracting co. and indulges himself whenever he feels like it, leaving next to no gift ideas for people to get him: ), and my 13yo BIL (again, whose parents buy him whatever he wants, whenever he wants it).
post #52 of 328
Men. Like. Food. Seriously, every year, I ask the guys in the family what they want...nothing. Find their food weakness, and you're good.
post #53 of 328
It's also not too late to sign up for various rewards programs out there-- I collect Coke points and have already gotten myself an Oprah magazine subscription and Kodak photobook (had to pay shipping for the latter, but still a great deal). And from what I understand, you can have your rewards shipped wherever you want, to whomever you want, which would be pretty handy for Christmas gifts.

Same thing goes for Pampers points-- I'm only a few points away from being able to get my toddler a HUGE and very expensive Lego set for free (well, aside from shipping costs).

As far as freebies go, be sure to check out the Dove website, as well as Pantene's; they're always offering some kind of goody!
post #54 of 328
i'm in. last year was my first crafty christmas, and i couldn't believe how well it went over with my mostly consumer oriented family, even the teenagers. i mostly crocheted things last year.
this year, i have been selling tie dye at etsy and craft shows, so many of my gifts will be coming from my "inventory", with some specially dyed things as well. good thing my extended family likes tie dye. haha.
i am also planning on crocheting some things. would like to make mittens for ds, a pillow and blanket for niece, ornaments for everyone, some booties/hats/blankets for a friend who is preggo with twins. (i'll likely be throwing her shower in december.)
i'm wanting to either sew some more felt food for ds and niece, or maybe crochet some.
i'd really like to make ds a felt playmat for his toy cars.
there's more, i'm sure, but that's what i have in mind so far.
i also need to make some stuff to contribute to our church's lord's acre festival in october...again, probably some tie dye, and crochet purses.
finally, our church sends missionaries to mexico around Christmas, and takes as many teddy bears as they can to the kiddos. i'm wanting to either sew or crochet some bears for this project.
gees, that's a lot of stuff. maybe i can cut out sleep for the next 6 months...

we've already purchased levi's store bought gifts...a wooden noahs ark set ($20), a wooden trainset ($40), Some nice new books ($35), a set of puzzles (Free-someone gave me a giftcard). i'm going to try to not buy him anything else, just make him stuff.
i've already tie dyed 2 sets of placemats for my sisters, and a couple of pillowcases for my nieces.
post #55 of 328

I'm in! I started a few months ago...

DS - bought monkey doll kit for $10. Dh making DS a set of wood blocks from scrap wood at my Dad's construction warehouse. Also making DS a birdhouse (DS looooves birdhouses!)

DD - bought waldorf doll kit for $25, and am making blankets and clothes with material scraps my mom has. Also, giving DD the cradle my dad made for me when I was around 8 years old, it just needs a coat of paint.

I will probably also make a personal family album book for each child.

Mallori: oh you are so right!!! I'm a good cook : and the men in DH's and my family both always ask me to cook certain dishes for them! So, I'll probably make them food.

My mom: finding hardback books at consignment shops...$1 a piece

My Dad: ?

My brothers ??

Really, no other ideas yet. I guess I need to make a master list and start on it.

Dh's Dad's family does a "wacky gift exchange" so we only need a gift or two for that, and as always, they looove my cooking so that could be the gift. Most family members bring a gift for each grand child. I did that EASY last year. I hit our local dollar store around Sept./Oct. and got fantastic gifts. So that's maybe $15.

MIL - that's a tough one. She's alone and what we give her is important. We over did it last year so we can keep it low this year. No idea what I could make her... Maybe a picture collage? YES! I have 2 collage frames in the garage that I can repaint the frame and fill with pics of the kids.

I just need to make a master list in excel and keep up with it. I love starting early!

Just remembered, I would love to get photostory and learn how to make those DVD's with picture slide shows set to music. Not sure how much that costs. I'll find out and report back!
post #56 of 328
I thought I would add an idea that was quite a hit with my MIL a few years ago. I painted three big pieces of cardboard with the words "I LOVE GRANDMA" in big bright letters each on a separate piece of cardboard and photographed my then one year old holding it. The pictures were so cute because she was trying to chew on it, flapping it around, etc. Anyway the 4x6 photos that I picked out went into an inexpensive frame that held 3 photos and arranged the best so they spelled out I love grandma. Very, very cute. Could probably work with any number of children because they could all hold a different section.
post #57 of 328
EmsMom, GREAT idea with the I love Grandma photos. I think I might try that with my three kids for the grandparents.

I'm not sure what I'm doing for my dh or dc but rather than exchanging names like we normally do for my dh's side of the family we are going to be giving a home smoked chicken to each family. I know this isn't frugal for a lot of people but for us it should work great. We are raising 50 organic, pastured chickens plus one of my husbands "fun projects" for the summer is to build a little smoke house.

Any frugal ideas that can include something to do with dinosaurs? My ds is crazy about them. He will be 6. For all of our gifts this year, I'd like to do homemade things if possible.
post #58 of 328
Originally Posted by Berty View Post
Any frugal ideas that can include something to do with dinosaurs? My ds is crazy about them. He will be 6. For all of our gifts this year, I'd like to do homemade things if possible.

How about a little handmade diorama scene (remember those from elementary school?) You could put in little trees and caves (out of pebbles) and then get a bunch of plastic dinosaurs. If he likes to play out smashing with the dinosaurs, maybe you could include some small buildings (even if it is not authentic...) Well, I don't know, but a vision of it popped into my head when I read your post!
post #59 of 328
I stumbled on this thread last Fri night. I spent a couple hours reading all of the posts, which linked to more threads and on and on. Here is my giving list for this year. ALL ideas are from mds posts. I didn't write down the authors of the various ideas, so I can't give them credit.

I am writing this all out to keep myself accountable!

ds1 (1/20/05) is getting: play cooking supplies (thrift store tins, spoons, etc.), his own cleaning kit (dollar store specials of spray bottle of water, rags, dustpan, etc.), dress up closet (took out the drawers and hardware of an old dresser, installed a tension rod and will hang his "new" costumes and dress up stuff, hats and special items go on top, and a plexiglass mirror hangs on the side), puzzles of family members' faces (http://www.barebooks.com/), homemade bean bags, homemade finger puppets, I Spy Bags (sewn using clear shower curtains), his own scrapbook of family and friends, and craft kits of his favorite projects and some new ones (swapping leftover supplies with moms club members).

ds2 (11/6/06) is getting: soft 1-2-3 blocks (http://www.sewing.org/enthusiast/123...-Cranston.pdf), craft hoops with silks and ribbons attached, board books with stories written just for him (again barebooks.com), I Spy Bottles (http://www.drjean.org/html/monthly_a...eb/pg06b.html), Sock Monkey (http://lennytaylor.freeyellow.com/Monkey.htm), and shade tent (http://www.sewing.org/enthusiast/htm...hade-tent.html)

DH is getting: booboo bags (corn filled bags with dried mint that are to be stored in the freezer for bumps and bruises...can also be put in the microwave), a chalkboard message board (thrift store frame decorated with pictures of him and the kids with a board painted with chalk paint), and a special painting with our family names, values and parenting "values statement" (bartering babysitting with an artist friend of mine to get this done free).

FIL is getting: Fleece scarf lined with silk (scrapped a couple of fleece sweatshirts and silk shirts that didn't sell in our garage sale), calendar featuring ds1 artwork (again barebooks.com), and personalized house numbers (painted on an antique saw by my artist friend).

StepMIL is getting: Fleece scarf lined with silk, & lavendar set (see below).

Grandparents are getting: Walnut floating candles (ds1 is collecting the nuts, and we will paint them and put wicks and wax in them), lavendar set, booboo bags, and a leaf collection (collect leaves and dry them this fall and frame them in a dollar store frame with a photo of the boys in the leaves).

BIL1 is getting booboo bags, his wife is getting a lavendar set, we are donating $25 in the name of his 12 yo dd (big animal lover), and his 1 yo dd is getting a board book written just for her (again barebooks.com)

BIL2 is getting a photo collage of his wedding photos (we still have a ton of wedding frames)

My sister is getting a lavendar set, her 7yo dd is getting a picture package (our old digital camera and supplies, a dollar store frame and scrapbook), her 13 yo ds is getting a rock (he has a favorite fishing spot at our house, but there is nowhere to sit, so we bartered with a friend to bring in a boulder and put it on the shore. I will paint his name on it)

MIL and stepFIL are getting a calendar and an apple pie set (see below).

My mom is getting personalized business cards, stationary, etc. for her quilting business that is taking off the ground (I have the graphic arts background and the paper already)

Apple Pie Set:
I can a large amount of applesauce and apple butter. I will also can some apple pie filling and print baking directions. I have apple printed fabric already, so I will make little drawstring bags for the jars. If I can find some thrift store or dollar store pie tins, I will toss those in, too.

Lavendar Set includes relaxation pillow and bath salts:
I found some cute knee high socks, which I will fill with field corn. I just harvested my lavendar, and when that dries I will put some of that in, too. I scrapped the shirts and pants with neat designs that didn't sell in my garage sale. I measured out the knee highs and made little pillow cases out of the scrap fabric (no need to make any neat edges since the bottom of the shirts/pants already have nice hems!). I am having ODS put his handprints on both ends of the pillow case. The note attached will say, when you are feeling blue, warm this up and it is a hug from Hayden.

I found this info on another thread and copied it, but I can't find it again to give the proper person the proper credit...
Lavender Dream Salt Glow
1 Cup finely ground mineral sea salt
3 tbsp lavender flowers
1 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Jojoba Oil
10-15 drops Lavender essential oil

Mix all ingredients together until you have a smooth paste. Store in a glass Jar. Because of the salt content, this scrub has a LONG shelf life.

To use; Mix salt glow well prior to using, you will need about 1/4 - 1/2 a cup for one treatment.

Sit in a dry tub. Massage salt into skin in a circular motion, beginning with the feet and working in toward the heart. Pay extra attention to dry areas such as feet, ankles, knees and elbows. If you have problems with cellulite (Who doesn't), pay extra attention to those areas as well.

After you are finished, run the tub full of warm water, rinse the salt off of your skin, but allow the oils to remain. Soak and relax!

Your skin will feel soft and smooth, and you will feel relaxed and ready for bed!
post #60 of 328
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