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Old 12-09-2007, 11:12 AM
 
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Melanie, if you haven't already done something with your class, the way I like to make reindeer is to trace, on brown paper, the child's foot or shoe, leaving out the detail for the toes. On a different shade of brown you trace the child's hands with the fingers and thumbs spread wide. Then you cut it all out and put the handprints behind the top of the foot to make antlers on the reindeer head. The kids can stick on googly eyes and a red pom pom nose. You can also do this with hand prints and foot prints in paint. I think I prefer the cut out paper better. If you want to you can use that craft foam to make it sturdier, but I'm not a big fan of that stuff.

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Old 12-10-2007, 09:31 PM
 
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Ok, so I know this is a HUGE thread...

Has anyone thought of doing personal service gift certificates? I know my aunt gave us a 12 free babysitting coupons one year... I thought it was great because while we like to ask her to babysit, it's nice to know she is also willing to do it.

If there are family/friends in your town, can you print up/color a nice gift certificate that offers them 12 babysitting times... Perhaps for running errands, for date nights, meetings etc.

I think this is a great coupon for newish parents as well as those with a house full.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 12-31-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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I ran out of time to do all the crafts I wanted for Christmas this year, but here are pics of two projects I completed.

Painted Wood Letters
I bought unfinished wood letters (measuring about 4 inches tall) at Joann's and spray-painted them gold or silver, then I handmade ribbon bows for the "Fa La La" and little Santa hats from felt for the "Ho Ho Ho." I hot-glued the embellishments on the letters. Each set of letters probably cost me $8 or $9 to make. Those went to my husband's aunt and her DIL.

Felt Cupcakes
I bought acrylic felt (I would have preferred wool, but it was much pricier) and sewed cupcakes for my husband's cousin's young daughters. I bought WAY more felt than I needed for the project, so that made it cost more. (I plan to make many more cupcakes for other little girls, including my DD.) Counting only the materials I used, the cupcakes cost me a few bucks for all four.

I also filled small baby food jars with purchased hot cocoa mix and mini marshmallows, attached a handmade sticker to each jar (with instructions for preparing the cocoa), wrapped the lid with a fabric square (cut with pinking shears), and attached a candy can to the neck of the jar using twine. Each one was economical to make and it seemed to make people happy.

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Crunchy in mainstream suburbia | Sleep-deprived WAHM
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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OK, so this got linked from the frugal holiday thread, and I just had to put in my two cents on $0 gifts I've done.

I sew quite a bit, and I always hang onto any decent size scraps of fabric. I have made beanbags with calicos and filled them with lentils, split peas, or yes, sometimes beans,
I have made dress up clothing with all the fun and funky fabrics--satins and velvets from formal dresses, sheers and laces, etc.
If a sheet wears out, that's a nice LARGE piece of fabric for toy bags (We keep the train set in a huge bag cuz it's easier to cart around). It could also make aprons, and dress-up items from skirts to chef hats to capes...the sky is the limit! (Also, Goodwill often has sheets for about $1, and that is a LOT of fabric!
There's the classic jeans quilt made from old jeans, or the tee-shirt quilt from (of course) old tees. I have done both of those.
Odd socks (with no mate) can be used to make sock puppets--attach some button eyes and weird hair and have a ball!

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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Old 07-30-2008, 10:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jaidymama View Post
Ok, so I know this is a HUGE thread...

Has anyone thought of doing personal service gift certificates? I know my aunt gave us a 12 free babysitting coupons one year... I thought it was great because while we like to ask her to babysit, it's nice to know she is also willing to do it.

If there are family/friends in your town, can you print up/color a nice gift certificate that offers them 12 babysitting times... Perhaps for running errands, for date nights, meetings etc.

I think this is a great coupon for newish parents as well as those with a house full.
I've posted about this before, but I LOVE doing coupons for meals. EVERYONE loves a night off from cooking. You could also do "homemade bread/dessert of the month" club for X number of months, etc.

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Old 07-31-2008, 04:50 AM
 
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yay! I had been looking for this thread but couldn't find it! I got sooo many wonderful ideas from it last year!
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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bump

I LOVE this thread!
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Old 08-02-2008, 02:07 AM
 
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this thread!

B.
Mama to : July '06
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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I've been inspired. Thanks! I got sooo many good ideas from this.

I started making felt foods. So far the only thing I've made that didn't turn out terrible is a fried egg. I also have a donut (I accidentally left the stuffing in the room where DD is sleeping so I couldn't finish it.) and a TERRIBLE looking pancake.

I've decided to make a half dozen felt donuts and put them in a donut box from the bakery for my neice's third birthday, which is just a week before Christmas. I might also clean out a milk carton and sew it shut to go along with it. Then for Christmas I'm going to make her a small paper bag full of "groceries." She'll probably get pancakes, eggs, bowtie noodles in a pasta box, toast...anything I can think of that isn't terribly complicated. I'm not the best seamstress in the world!

My 1 year old nephew is getting a set of cloth blocks.

Six year old neice is getting a doll mei tai (or some other kind of baby carrier, haven't decided completely.) I might also make her a ribbon wand.

Grown ups on my list are going to get homemade granola, bath salts, or rice pillows.

For my own kids, I want to make my three year old son some felt foods. (He may end up with the terrible pancake...hee!). I'm not quite sure about my one year old daughter. I want to buy her a doll stroller, and I'd like to make her a doll but I think that is beyond my sewing capabilities.

I really need some ideas for my two nephews, ages 3 and 9. I'm at a loss for them. They are kind of violent children, so even though I have a three year old son he doesn't really have anything in common with my nephew. (Case in point: my son had a tea party today. My nephew would have probably broken the entire tea set.) What do you make for boys who like guns and fighting that doesn't promote guns and fighting? I want to make them a nice peaceful toy, but not something that they'll hate.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:51 PM
 
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Penny, I have boys like your nephews. I recommend something that promotes active play. My kids loved having a basket of soft balls they could throw all around the house without breaking anything - you could felt them or make fabric balls stuffed not too densely with batting. We bought soft foam-filled balls, but if I had known how to felt I would have felted some instead. This is a great thing to have around when "hard toys" start getting thrown - easy to redirect to the soft balls, and they can pelt each other with them to their heart's content.

If you sew a looooooong, narrow triangular tail on one, it makes a "comet." Though be aware that some kids will use anything long as a rope or flail, so this might or might not work for your nephews.

I wonder if you could make homemade "beanbag chairs" somehow? Maybe they could be filled with styrofoam packing peanuts. They're just like giant soft balls, LOL - can be tossed around without easily damaging things.

What about a fort cloth - basically a huge sheet that you cut windows and a door in, for hanging over the dining room table and making an instant fort out of? You could do it to the specs of their table.

Would they use a hammock? You could make them one.

Someone at the start of this thread talked about making an indoor doorway swing or trapeze or rings. You'd have to ask their parents' approval, but something like this might go over well if they have a secure place to hang it. You have to install hooks. I know someone who did this in their playroom and it's a huge hit with the kids (a trapeze with rings). Could be frugal if you know where to get the components for cheap. Even a rope for climbing and swinging could be good.

Do they have dressup? Even my 8-1/2yo and 10yo still play dressup with their younger siblings. "Pirate scarves" (silks) are a huge hit here. You could add in some thrift-shop clothes like a man's vest, hat, or whatever you can find. Though we homeschool and I'm not sure if other kids are typically still into this at that age. My kids dress up as different things and run around making noise (LOL). Very active, and also creative.

In my experience, boys like your nephews crave action and activity, so any gifts that give them new opportunities for large-motor movement play would be good. This would not be frugal if you have to buy one, but we got a mini-trampoline in good condition through Freecycle, and my kids use it a LOT.

Hope this helps some.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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I am halfway through rereading this thread, and I am reminded that it's not too early in the year to start thinking about these things.

I would like to hear some more ideas for older kids, though. My extended family is hip to the "simple holiday" mindset, and they're all good with a kid-made card and a 5x7 every Christmas. So I'm not looking for ideas for friends or extended family (yes, I know how lucky I am!)

I could decide to shift our priorities even further away from gifts in our family, but we are pretty minimal - a few things under the tree for the whole family, and each person has a stocking with some smaller things of their own but mostly grocery-store edibles: dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, mandarins.

Maybe this should go in the Decluttering forum. But I'm also on a tight budget this season. I want my kids to have a few nice gifts that are a) useful/practical and b) not cluttery. Cheap gifts that are not cheap, you know? But I want it to be fun, too. We have pretty much everything we need or that I imagine we could want. When I find stuff we can use at the free store, or in hand-me-downs, or on Freecycle, I don't really want to put it away for months and months before giving it to the kids (as I would if I were "saving" it for Christmas). I generally just give whatever-it-is to them now, and then later realize I could have made it into a Christmas present, but I hate to withold something great from them for that long.

Sorry if that's a little out of the scope of this thread. I am going to read the rest of the thread, but if anyone has other ideas for big kids (especially preteen boys, and a 6yo girl who thinks she's a preteen, LOL...) I would love to hear them.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:27 PM
 
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I would LOVE to do this but my dh would freak out!
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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Amanda, you have given me some great ideas! Thanks a bunch! I'll have to think about it and see what would be best for them. They rent, so the doorway swing is out of the question. I really like the indoor fort idea. I think I have an old sheet I could fabric paint to make it look cooler. I'll check with their mom and see if they have a kitchen table in the new place yet.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:51 AM
 
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I've been slowly skimming but I haven't read everything yet by a long shot. Here are my ideas for having a low cost/almost no cost holiday:

The baby will be pretty wee so it's not getting much...a soft Christmas book, and a cute little reindeer puppet...my mom is crotcheting it some goodies, and my sister bought her a rubber ducky

I've been picking up odds and ends for everyone at yard sales and thrift stores since the beginning of summer. I'm making everyone baskets, either by buying baskets at the thrift store or making record bowls.

I've also been shopping around my home. Helps decluttering and saves money. My neice just got some perfumes I hadn't used, and the vanity I bought but decided not to keep in my bedroom anymore. For Christmas, I've been going through the house and getting rid of extra soaps, perfumes, etc that I know others would enjoy.

What I haven't bought for a dollar here and there will be made. I'll probably make some candles for my older sister, and I'm baking a lot of goodies for everyone else on my list. I get get supplies for next to nothing, and I've been more and more in a "nesting" mood.
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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bumpidty bump bump!
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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I have a group of kids that I teach at church and I'm wanting them to make some ornaments for their parents as christmas gifts. Any ideas? The kids I'm with range from 13 mon. to 2 yrs. old, if that helps.
For my daughter's first Christmas (she was 9 months) her gift to the family was an ornament per adult female. We used blue ornaments and took white paint on the whole of her hand (palm and all fingers), spread fingers and put her hand on the ornament - like she was cupping it. I used a little paint to put faces at the finger tips and scarves in appropriate places. Viola - snowmen! It came with a little poem about her hand.

Angela
Chatty Girl - 3/2006, Lovey Boy - 1/2010, Delicious Baby Girl - 1/2012
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:51 PM
 
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: Loving all these great ideas!
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:32 AM
 
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Subbing to this fabulous thread :

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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Maybe this doesn't count because it does cost some money, but I'm attempting to make homemade gifts for almost everyone this year. We don't give DD much for Christmas as her grandparents get her plenty, so she'll just get a couple of things we picked up at garage sales or on clearance earlier in the year. I'm making a duvet cover for our bed for DH (I admit, this is one expensive duvet cover, I'll probably end up spending $50 for the fabric but I wanted to do a duvet cover anyway). I'm making blender and/or mixer covers & fabric plastic bag holders for my mom and my sister (total cost for fabric, around $8 I think). My dad is getting a new Christian T-shirt that I bought a couple of years ago and keep forgetting to give him. I will buy a gift for my brother unless I can think of something to make him (what on earth would you make for a 21 year old guy, anyway??). We're making a clock with a picture of our kids on it for DH's parents, and birdhouses for his siblings to put in their yards. I'm making cookie-mix-in-a-jar for DH's nephews and iPod holders for his nieces. So it won't exactly be a $0 Christmas, but it'll probably end up costing us no more than $50, including buying a gift for my brother (but not including the duvet cover fabric). We probably spent $350+ on gifts last year, not including what DH & I got for each other, so this is a big improvement. Hopefully next year I can do ever better as I'll have more time to think of ideas and keep an eye out for giftable stuff/fabric/etc at garage sales. I wish I could do more food gifts for DH's family as I feel like they're hard to get gifts for (short of giving gift cards at $50 a pop) but they're all wonderful cooks & bakers so that out.

Oh, I liked the idea someone had earlier of giving coupons for homemade baked goods or for making someone dinner...too bad none of our relatives live near us or I'd definitely go for that idea!
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:24 PM
 
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Well, since I lost my job it has been really important to handmake our gifts this year. I have used yarn I already had to make:
Each of DH's Grandmother's a shawl
His parent's a blanket
And my friend a shawl.

I still need to make my parent's a blanket. I am off to raid my yarn stash for that one right now

ribbonpurple.gif  "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin
   
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Old 10-19-2008, 04:09 AM
 
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Here's what I gave FIL one year:

I made a little card enrolling him in the "bread of the week" club. Every week, (for 6 weeks) I'd bake a loaf of bread and deliver it to his house while it was still warm. He loved it,--as soon as I walked in the door, he'd snatch it away and start buttering himself a slice-- and it cost almost nothing.
That is an awesome idea!!!
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Old 10-19-2008, 04:37 AM
 
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Here's some ideas and some gifts I am going to make this year:
Crochet dishcloths and matching dishsoap dresses
Crochet bath pouf and back scrubber
Crochet afghans for my 5yo bg twins
Crochet bowl
Small quilts to set on the table or hang on the wall
Jar candles in baby food jars
Crochet toys (niece and babies)
Hats and scarves
Bible covers (crochet I think)
Swiffer Sweeper covers (crochet---tip-if you wash with a pair of nylons, use no fabric softener they get really static-y and pick up well)

And...taking from a pp...a cookie of the week club. I can do this for several friends. I think I will present a card (shall I use Cookie Monster?) and 1 dozen cookies at Christmas and then deliver a dozen every week for 4-6 weeks...I just love this idea!!!: Chocolate chip, oatmeal, Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter, Sugar...I will have to browse the internet and my cookbooks for some new and interesting recipes. I could even do that for my mom who lives across country. I could ship her a box once a month!!!
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:28 AM
 
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I am also looking for homemade gift ideas. I have dehydrated apple snacks and banana snacks that I am going to make into gift bags and have a list of books that I am going to check out from the library tomorrow.
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