Frugal Holidays 2008 - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-01-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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Last night i couldnt sleep so i finished up a matching 3 pc dish rag set... tonight will be the coordinating towel... then just pick up a spatula or something to put with it.... or heck just give the towels...

Slowly working thru my yarn stash... MUST NOT BUY YARN
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Old 08-01-2008, 03:45 PM
 
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I read through this entire thread but don't remember seeing a recipe for mulling spice. I love the idea of mulling spice and cider. Does anyone have a recipe? TIA!
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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I am so glad I'm not the only one planning ahead for the holidays. I am planning my monthly spending a few months out already, so why not factor Christmas in as well?

My biggest struggle is coming up with several under-the-tree presents for "whole family gifts" that will be appreciated by all my kids, ages 4-10. We don't do presents for individuals other than some small stocking gifts. This stems from our philosophy of community property in the home, and I don't want to set my kids up for comparing or competing or measuring each other's gifts (not that anyone else has a problem with this, it's just my personal preference).

We usually do reading books, games, and Dover coloring books, and those will be bought. I'm willing to do four-of-the-same-thing all wrapped up "for the family"... Or it would be okay to have one gift that is appropriate for the older kids and one that is appropriate for the younger kids, since we have a split between youngers and preteens now.

I would really appreciate ideas! I never thought I'd say this, but it is a struggle sometimes to shape the holidays without commercial influence. My kids homeschool and don't watch TV, and aren't attached to any particular brands or characters or any of the latest trends (and yes, I've encouraged them to be this way) and they seem satisfied and content with the things we have. Of course this is not a problem but it makes it extra challenging to come up with things to give them at Christmastime that are practical, interesting, sturdy, fun, won't clutter up our house, won't break and get discarded after brief use, are easy to come by, and are time- and budget-friendly. Yikes! I would love any ideas...

For extended family and friends, the kids make a pile of artful handmade cards and we include a 4x6 photo and a printed letter. For grandparents and aunts/uncles we give a 5x7....the first year, we gave them a frame, and now we assume they'll just slip the new pic over the old one. I take them on my digital camera and it works out to be quite inexpensive. Our family is probably pretty unusual in that we're all on board with a simple/frugal Christmas. Once in awhile we include a handmade or cheap something-or-other with the 5x7, but only if we feel moved and can afford it. My sister does the same.

DH and I exchange one gift each year. This year I think I'm going to sew him a bunch of smallish drawstring bags for his board game pieces (he's a serious gamer and is always saying someone should make and sell nice bags for the pieces).

I know we could do away with the gift-giving part of the holiday, and sometimes it does seem to fly in the face of our beliefs about family, frugality, and (anti)clutter, but honestly, I do it for myself as much as for them. I love the tradition of finding things to open on Christmas morning, and seeing the magic on my kids' faces.

I would love more ideas.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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Amyamanda, I just wanted to say, I really enjoyed reading your post. : Made me look forward to the holidays all the more!

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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
it makes it extra challenging to come up with things to give them at Christmastime that are practical, interesting, sturdy, fun, won't clutter up our house, won't break and get discarded after brief use, are easy to come by, and are time- and budget-friendly.
This particular part is something that jumped out at me, as we are looking for gifts that fit this description as well.

I found your philosophy on common property to be interesting and would love to hear more about it, if you care to share.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:24 PM
 
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Amyamanda, I just wanted to say, I really enjoyed reading your post. : Made me look forward to the holidays all the more!

This particular part is something that jumped out at me, as we are looking for gifts that fit this description as well.

I found your philosophy on common property to be interesting and would love to hear more about it, if you care to share.
Aww, thanks, and you got me on a night when I'm procrastinating and online! LOL.

My kids are pretty close in age (two sets 1-1/2 years apart between kids with 2 years between the sets) that I figured if my kids grew up with the idea that - with very few exceptions - everything in our house is shared, we wouldn't have the issues some people do with kids hoarding their own toys, refusing to share, fighting over whose is whose...or the impossible expectation that we the parents would make it fair somehow... So all toys are common property, though once the boys had their own room (starting at 7 & 8, now they are -1/2 & 10) they started keeping some things in there away from the girls (4 & 5)...but mostly it's just stuff that the girls haven't been able to treat respectfully, so it is kept safe in the boys' room where the girls don't go. Not because it belongs to the boys, just because it is stuff (like certain books and games) that needs to be kept handy and in good shape to be useful. But the boys don't have much in their room in any case. The girls still sleep in our room, and all they keep in there right now is a basket of dolls and clothes.

I guess our main reasons for limiting access would be safety of people and respect for property, rather than ownership. Each kid has a smallish plastic tub where they can keep things like cool rocks they find, birthday cards, projects they are working on, trinkets, whatever, and their box is their "safe spot" for stuff, but they're not allowed to hoard something in there if someone else is waiting for a turn.

DH and I have our own stuff, but mostly it's stuff that is only of interest to us (hobbies that we would share with kids under supervision), or needs to not be messed with (financial paperwork), or might be dangerous (tools, chemicals), or whatever.

I think this philosophy partly grew out of a relationship we have with one family where the kids are extremely competitive with each other and possessive/territorial of their rooms and things. We love this family but it's like culture shock sometimes...LOL. For the longest time their kids could not understand that our kids don't have their "own" rooms or their "own" toys (or even their "own" friends - with my sets of kids so close in age, they almost always share friends, too, and we discourage exclusivity with friends).

Hmm, let's see...if someone buys something with their own money, and it's precious to them, they can store it in their box if they don't want to share it. Ditto for a birthday present addressed just to them, though in general we do the one-day-rule I learned from a friend who has 5 kids...it's "yours" for the first 24 hours, and then after that it is reasonably shared by others.

Also, if someone is having a turn with something, they generally have the right to finish their turn before someone else gets a turn, as long as they are using and not hoarding the thing.

It isn't perfect, but it works pretty well.

I wanted to keep the emphasis at Christmastime on sharing and on family, not on individual "loot" if you know what I mean. The kids still get recipient-specific presents from extended family, but they generally share them after they are opened. And their stocking gifts are theirs alone, but I tailor the contents to be both 'equal' and specifically appropriate to each person. Maybe I overthink this, LOL! But it seems to accomplish what I want it to. Like DD (4) might get a CD of princess stories and DS (10) might get a CD of adventure stories, but they both got story CDs, which end up being shared by everyone anyway. Last year they all got flashlights. The girls got ribbon wands and the boys got yoyos. Etc.

Anyway, sorry for the longwinded reply. I want my family's emphasis to be on community, teamwork, sharing. I hope that answers your question!

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:49 PM
 
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I love these threads:

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Old 08-04-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.jsp?CATID=cat3593

play food..... knit/crochet sandwich very cute
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:11 PM
 
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http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.jsp?CATID=cat3593

play food..... knit/crochet sandwich very cute
1growingsprout, I want to tell you that you always amaze me with the projects you have going on, with many little ones underfoot. : And I have noticed that you clearly put a lot of time, thought, and effort into managing your family's frugal needs. I know firsthand that it is challenging to run a household of only six. And you seem to manage things so smoothly with eleven. I'm inspired by you!

I'm really interested to know what you (and other mamas here with lots of kids) do to make Christmas special and affordable for a large family. With four kids we're only just barely "a lot," but I get so much inspiration from those who do such a lovely job with more than four.

So thanks for inspiring me. I just had to say that.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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1growingsprout, I want to tell you that you always amaze me with the projects you have going on, with many little ones underfoot. : And I have noticed that you clearly put a lot of time, thought, and effort into managing your family's frugal needs. I know firsthand that it is challenging to run a household of only six. And you seem to manage things so smoothly with eleven. I'm inspired by you!

I'm really interested to know what you (and other mamas here with lots of kids) do to make Christmas special and affordable for a large family. With four kids we're only just barely "a lot," but I get so much inspiration from those who do such a lovely job with more than four.

So thanks for inspiring me. I just had to say that.
Thx Amanda:
We do ALOT of planning. Just this past year i learned how to crochet so that is helping oodles this year. Unlike many on this board we dont eat organic and are pretty mainstream so that keeps our costs down :
I grocery game and continue to be amazed at what i can get for free or amost free these days.
Mealplanning helps alot...but i must give credit to the coupon gods::

We are to the point where we have so much STUFF that it just doesnt make sense to buy more for the sake of holidays. Our older 3-4 see this and the younger kids dont really know any better. I am trying to stick with 'experiences' like zoo memberships, museum and movie passes etc as well as art supplies for the most part.

Winter is our liveable outside season so right now im stocking up on sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, etc for xmas, at end of summer sales, as well as our 2nd set of summer clothes, its hot here til november or so.

As for the playfood link, we dont need anymore wooden or plastic food but a bit of yarn food can't hurt things can it??

I posted last week out older 3 are getting llbean backpacks for xmas and wallets. Quality that should last years. I got some flack on the $$wallets but my kids can be trusted and i'd rather invest in good stuff then re-buy junk over and over again.

I am very fortunate that DH has a wonderful job, he is an executive and is able to provide for us. But I never take anything for granted. Probably why i am always, planning, stockpiling and continually decluttering.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:59 PM
 
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I want to try making blocks witha beeswax finish or wood figures like animals and trees or people and cars...I have been wanting to do this for a couple of years though.

For extended family I am thinking about homemade vanilla extract if I can find inexpensive glass bottles to put it in.

Some day I want to make homemade lye soap:
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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Thanks for that thoughtful response, amyamanda!

I just love reading your posts - its like good old fashioned family shining right through...

We tend to share most of the items/space in our house, too. Each of the kids do have a few of their own individual things...this year I think one of their three Christmas gifts will be a special treasure box to keep those items in.

Thanks again! :
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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subbing!

I will read and come back
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:28 PM
 
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We give only a few gifts to the kids, maybe 3 each, and last year I got stockings for the kids -- what was I thinking? Stockings need to be filled - doh!
WE fill the kids stockings with everyday items they use but we upgrade and pick the stuff up on clearance throughout the year. Instead of our usual plain toothbrushes or toothpaste they will get the one that has a character on it same as for bandaids. I don't usually spend the extra just to have a princess on our toothpaste but I will for the stockings. I'll buy glitter pens or pencils when they go on clearance after school. They also expect to get the traditional UW but it will probably be princess or spiderman ones. Same goes for chapstick. I know it is stuff we use throughout the year so I would be buying it anyways just this time the kiddos actually ger excited about it.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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For stockings, we do fruit (usually clementines and apples), roasted, candied and spiced nuts, and some candy (chocolates and a candy cane).
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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I would really appreciate ideas! I never thought I'd say this, but it is a struggle sometimes to shape the holidays without commercial influence. My kids homeschool and don't watch TV, and aren't attached to any particular brands or characters or any of the latest trends (and yes, I've encouraged them to be this way) and they seem satisfied and content with the things we have. Of course this is not a problem but it makes it extra challenging to come up with things to give them at Christmastime that are practical, interesting, sturdy, fun, won't clutter up our house, won't break and get discarded after brief use, are easy to come by, and are time- and budget-friendly. Yikes! I would love any ideas...


I find that our DC have similar thought. We have similar lifestyles as yours (HS, no television, have no idea what trends are ect.) and when it comes to gift giving, well, we don't have a running tally on wish lists. I do have a small list of gifts to make for the DC but really, they don't have any "wish list" in mind, ever. Although, DD has taken an interest in our digital camera and has been commenting on wanting one. This has lead us to a community discussion similar to your thinking. Anyway, DD (10 yrs.) just had a birthday and for a whole month grandparents and aunts have been asking "what do you want for your birthday?" Of course she would answer, "I don't know". Really, they should have asked her, what do you like to do or read?
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:33 AM
 
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mama to Allison 8-18-08 and Ethan 1-24-11  heartbeat.gif

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Old 08-06-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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I just had to post this idea! It's a tutorial to make a tipi for your kids. The person who made it said she spent less than $20. Enjoy!

http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=525
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:51 PM
 
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anyone have success??
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:03 PM
 
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Wow! So many good ideas, and I've only read to page 2 so far.

We have a ridiculously large list. I've pared down, but for various reasons, we still have a lot of people. I have mixed feelings on that, but I'm going with it for this year.

Here are a few of the things I know I'm making:

- MIL loves gardening. I took pictures of her flowers blooming while we were there and am going to work them into a collage.

- SIL is getting wine charms.

- I saw these magnets at Office Depot set so that you can put a picture on them and make a personalized magnet. I like the idea but don't know who I'm going to do it for.

- I'll probably make some spiced nuts for some of the people like DH's coworkers we want to get a little something for.

- My sister and 2 of my step-sisters are getting keychains I make with their names on them.

- One young cousin is getting a needlepoint with a horse.

I really need to sit down and get started on this stuff so that the cost doesn't bite us.

I need ideas for DD (1) and DS (3). For big gifts, DH wants to make DS a train table, and I'm thinking of getting DD a water/sand table. She doesn't like dolls, or I'd make some Waldorf dolls. Perhaps they'd like felt puppets? I'd like to get them a lot of consumables because they have so. much. stuff., but art supplies and the like are always welcome. Perhaps I can put together a science kit.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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My parents have a good crop of black berries this year so I've been freezing a lot of berries, hoping to get enough raspberries too and make Jam and give as gifts.

Seriously?
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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"Hey, I've got nothin' to do today but smile." - S & G
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:01 AM
 
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I'm on about page 4, but I'm still looking for ideas for 2 people. The first is my brother. He's 24, single, and childless. He has a really off the grid life. He lives in a little apartment with a friend, walks to work, and surfs when he's off. He rides a bike everywhere and doesn't own a car. I could do some sort of food stuff, but I'm not sure what else. Oh, he also plays guitar.

The other gift I'm stumped on is for my cousin. She and her husband are being shipped to Japan in November. I usually get something really small for cousins, but since they're going to be away from home so close, I'd like to get her a couple of things to help ease any homesickness. I'm gathering pictures from my family to put together into a DVD I can send to her. I'd like something else. She's 24 also, and they're newlyweds. She wants to try being a conversational English partner while they're there, but right now she doesn't know. I'm sending her conversational Japanese books and a couple of culture books for a wedding gift. Perhaps stationary or something she could use to get in touch with us would be nice? How do you make your own stationary?

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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Old 08-16-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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If you can be at a Jo-Ann's during the early hours of Black Friday all of their Snuggle flannel prints & solids are .99/yd.
Really?! :: I know what I'm doing on Black Friday then! I make ragrugs (www.auntphillys.com) and could use a good cheap source for the flannel - I'm also scouring the local thrift shops for old sets of flannel sheets.
The flannel that the local walmart has for $1/yd is cruddy.

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I want to embroider tea towels (my g'ma always called them flour sack towels) for some gifts. But where can I buy plain tea towels? Probably plain white but I am open to colors. I don't think I am up for sewing the towels too.
I've seen then at the Dollar General Store, Dollar Tree, Walmart, and Hobby Lobby...

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Now is a great time to get school/art supplies for almost free... back to school sales... stock up
I stock up this way every year.... I get the crayons for cheap, then for birthday presents I can give crayons and coloring books. I also stock up on notebooks and paper.

My family: me jog.gif, dh geek.gif, ds reading.gif (11), dd1 hearts.gif (9), and dd2 energy.gif(3).

Tout va s'arranger à la fin. Si elle ne fonctionne pas; ce n'est pas la fin.

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Old 08-16-2008, 09:21 AM
 
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Dmitrizmom, I'd love to hear more about those rugs, they look really cool...
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Old 08-16-2008, 11:46 AM
 
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Dmitrizmom, I'd love to hear more about those rugs, they look really cool...
I took a class at a quilting shop with my mom last January. They are really easy to do, and you can still throw them in the was to get 'em clean. :

I'm planning on teaching some friends in Davenport sometime this fall. Where in the land of Cheese are you? If you are close enough, you could come and join us.

So far, I've made 4 rugs... the first was my learning piece and is small (only about 8"x12") and makes a great trivet. my 2nd I did with some cotton fabrics I had bought for a quilt and is about 2'x4'. my 3rd, I used a set of old flannel sheets that the elastic on the fitted had given up (it's my favorite) and is about 2.5'x4'. The one I just finished is slightly wider than a door frame and about 1/2 as long, done in a teal and hot pink plaid (no picture of that one yet).

My family: me jog.gif, dh geek.gif, ds reading.gif (11), dd1 hearts.gif (9), and dd2 energy.gif(3).

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Old 08-16-2008, 12:34 PM
 
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I'm on about page 4, but I'm still looking for ideas for 2 people. The first is my brother. He's 24, single, and childless. He has a really off the grid life. He lives in a little apartment with a friend, walks to work, and surfs when he's off. He rides a bike everywhere and doesn't own a car. I could do some sort of food stuff, but I'm not sure what else. Oh, he also plays guitar.
Can you knit? A pair of wool fingerless gloves are a must have for a cyclist. You could also sew up a pannier. Dh and I have made our own panniers for our bikes. I'd be happy to share the dimensions.
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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How do you make your own stationary?
You get blank cards or paper from an office supply store or craft store and decorate. I make screen printed stationary sets. Lots of people use stamping techniques. Heres mine
http://s209.photobucket.com/albums/b...rrent=card.jpg
http://s209.photobucket.com/albums/b...t=IMG_0002.jpg
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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You get blank cards or paper from an office supply store or craft store and decorate. I make screen printed stationary sets. Lots of people use stamping techniques. Heres mine
http://s209.photobucket.com/albums/b...rrent=card.jpg
http://s209.photobucket.com/albums/b...t=IMG_0002.jpg

Those are cool. I really like the stuff in the 2nd link.

My family: me jog.gif, dh geek.gif, ds reading.gif (11), dd1 hearts.gif (9), and dd2 energy.gif(3).

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Old 08-16-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dmitrizmom View Post
I took a class at a quilting shop with my mom last January. They are really easy to do, and you can still throw them in the was to get 'em clean. :

I'm planning on teaching some friends in Davenport sometime this fall. Where in the land of Cheese are you? If you are close enough, you could come and join us.

So far, I've made 4 rugs... the first was my learning piece and is small (only about 8"x12") and makes a great trivet. my 2nd I did with some cotton fabrics I had bought for a quilt and is about 2'x4'. my 3rd, I used a set of old flannel sheets that the elastic on the fitted had given up (it's my favorite) and is about 2.5'x4'. The one I just finished is slightly wider than a door frame and about 1/2 as long, done in a teal and hot pink plaid (no picture of that one yet).

I'm north of Madison. I have no idea where Davenport is.

The rugs look very nice! I found this link: The Vintage Chica that shows how to make a crocheted rug...I have an old sheet in the basement that I ran down and washed up since my last post (I feel an obsession coming on) and I'm going to try that out...Thanks for the idea!!

Oh, and beansricerevolt, I like the stationery too. Hmm....maybe two obsessions from one surf...:
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Old 08-16-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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[QUOTE=BrandiRhoades;11955881]I'm on about page 4, but I'm still looking for ideas for 2 people. The first is my brother. He's 24, single, and childless. He has a really off the grid life. He lives in a little apartment with a friend, walks to work, and surfs when he's off. He rides a bike everywhere and doesn't own a car. I could do some sort of food stuff, but I'm not sure what else. Oh, he also plays guitar.

Last year I knit my brother the Jayne Hat (of Firefly fame) and he loved it! It wasn't terribly expensive.
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