Any Ideas For "cheap" Crafty Christmas Gifts - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 59 Old 08-14-2002, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Money is going to be very tight this christmas. And I have a huge immediate family. I want to make everyone something special, without spending too much money. I have a new baby, so I thought I would get started early since I don't have alot of free time to work on it. Does anyone have any ideas???
THANKS!:
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#2 of 59 Old 08-14-2002, 02:27 AM
 
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were going to be in the same boat this year. i would highly recommend doing a search for cheap or easy crafts, theres tons and tons of sites out there.

one thing that just come to mind is to do a plaster of babys foot or hand?

plaster of paris is very cheap and easy to use, and you could paint it up to personalize each persons "plaque"

for kids gifts maybe you could go to a party store and get a few of their cheap little party favors, like bouncy balls,pencils,figures and make a little gift bag for each of the kids. maybe that sounds too cheap. hmmmm i would also suggest to start going out all the time you can get to garge sales and trift stores, theres a gold mine out there if you just keep looking.
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#3 of 59 Old 08-15-2002, 03:16 AM
 
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Money was tight for us around Mother's Day, and DH is expected to send expensive flowers to his mom and grandmother, so here's what I made for my mom and grandmothers:

I bought some nice blank postcards at the craft store (in the rubber stamp section) and a cheap black inkpad. I made prints of DD's feet, wrote her name underneath, and put them in matted frames. They turned out so good that my MIL wished she hadn't pushed for the expensive flowers! For Christmas, I'm thinking about making a greeting card set for mom using Ariana's handprints.

Two years ago, I made everyone a loaf of stollen for Christmas and wrapped it up all nice an' perty in colored plastic wrap, but I don't think anybody appreciated the work that went into it. It took me two batches to get it to come out right.

Photos of the kids are also good, inexpensive gifts. I take the pics myself and get cheap reprints at snapfish.com.
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#4 of 59 Old 08-15-2002, 01:50 PM
 
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Photos are a great idea! You can get cheap nice frames at Costco too.

What I did one xmas was to make trivets - I went to a tile outlet and got small tiles, like the ones used in bathrooms. Then I glued felt on the bottom. I made Jam that year too.

I just saw an interesting craft show on tv where the woman had clay that you bake in an oven. She took ordinary lightswitch plates, used them as molds, and made lightswitch covers. She added embellishments made from the clay and using other things for molds to make flowers etc. It looked so easy and fun. Also napkin rings made the same way. Check your craft store, Ben Franklin even has classes.........
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#5 of 59 Old 08-15-2002, 01:54 PM
 
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We like to do fabric painting. You can get cheap canvas bags, hats, t-shirts, aprons, etc. at craft stores and do the kid's hand prints. We personalized them by painting "grandma" and stuff on the items too. I'm on the lookout for plainwhite neckties -- to do stuff for the guys in our families.

Everyone likes treats too -- cookies, homemade candy, etc...
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#6 of 59 Old 08-15-2002, 02:19 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 59 Old 08-16-2002, 02:27 AM
 
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Various "Mixes in a jar" go over well, or themed gift baskets. For mixes in a jar recipies try-


http://www.recipegoldmine.com/foodgift/foodgift.html

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#8 of 59 Old 08-16-2002, 02:35 PM
 
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Thank you thistle for sharing that link! I love it! I finally know what to do for my family for Christmas this year!

reading.gif

mom to dd-99, dd-01, dd-born still@40w 7/04, ds-05, dd-08, dd-10, dd-13

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#9 of 59 Old 08-16-2002, 04:12 PM
 
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More ideas at

http://www.frugal-moms.com/celebrati...as/index.shtml

Has mix-in-a-jar recipes as well as other ideas.

If you do decide to do mix-in-a-jar, test the recipes 1st...we did them one year and one of the recipients said, "Your's actually tasted good, unlike the other one we got." Sort of made me wonder, ya know?
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#10 of 59 Old 08-16-2002, 08:20 PM
 
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food is always good. Make some salsa, jam, speghetti sauce, soup mix, brownie or cookie mix put in a cheap basket with some tissue and wah-lah.

Cards are nice. Have a stash of finger prainting that are more or less "scribbles" If so cut the slightly smaller than a note card and glue. package them in groups of 10 and gandma not only has a keepsake or herself but self boasting stationary to send notes to all her friends on.

Date night is good for sibling/cousins/friend your age. Get a $5 gift certificate to blockbuster, a bag of microwave pop-corn, a couple of packets of gourmet hot choclat if they have kids offer to babysit. They have a date and you have a really nice gift for under $10 (hech, I wouod settle for just the babysitting).

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#11 of 59 Old 08-16-2002, 09:30 PM
 
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This mid-winter gift-giving season i'm planning on doing some watercolour paintings on a medium weight watercolour paper and throwing them into dollarstore frames.

Watercolour paints can be incredibly inexpensive and you can get the paper at most department stores now ( i have some left over from those before child days)

I was planning on doing simple landscapes, nothing too detailed, and nothing very realistic. Easy monochromatic colour schemes too--sepias, browns, ochers, yellows, and earthy theme.

Those mix in a jar things do look cool too.
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#12 of 59 Old 08-16-2002, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the great ideas!!!!
I better get started
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#13 of 59 Old 08-17-2002, 06:55 PM
 
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I am so excited about my crafty idea: watchmaker's kit turned into spice box.

I got it from a magazine. Search for "watchmaker" in the search engine at www.leevalley.com

If you buy 5 or more, they are just 5.50 each. They are the aluminum ones (15 per case containers).

I used Avery labels the ones that come 80 per sheet. I've got a ton of spices: before we organized our spice pantry we bought more than we could use. I can fill them up with what we already have for the most part and buy just what more we need at the health food store or local Indian market.

I can't wait for Christmas! One girlfriend in particular will love it, I am sure.
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#14 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 01:32 AM
 
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Two years ago we made cookbooks for everyone except the kids. We typed up all of our favorite recipes in interesting fonts, added a note about how we came by the recipe, when we make it, or an anecdote about something related to it. Then we filled in with blessings, quotes, and poems. We printed it up, had it bound at Staples, and everyone loved it!

Last year we made ornaments from clear glass balls and acrylic paint. Take the cap off, swirl the paint around inside, let dry and there it is. We added a cool ribbon to the cap for hanging, too. Drying takes a loooong time, though. Experiment a lot with colors and techniques.

I think this year we're making origami crane mobiles with little brass bells. I'm considering making aprons for the kids. My dd loves hers.
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#15 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 02:20 AM
 
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Over the last few years we have made;

Candles---most turned out fairly ugly, not doing that one again.
Bath Salts---looked very pretty, very easy to make, didn't keep any for myself, so I don't actually know how they turned out.
Herb Soaps---turned out very pretty, and were fairly easy to make.
Liquors---this was a huge hit, but some didn't turn out great. The Kahlua was absolutely perfect. I need to make another big batch, but feel weird going into the liquor store with my big pregnant belly:
Jar mixes---very economical, esp. since you can find the jars at goodwill, garage sales, etc.
This year we are thinking tye die...I need to get started soon. Baby is due Christmas week, so even though we are usually good about doing lots of shopping by Nov. this year I want to have it all done, and everything wrapped so I don't have to stress about the perfect Christmas, you know?

Let me know if you want any of the recipes, etc. I'd be happy to share.
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#16 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 02:22 AM
 
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Oops--double post
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#17 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 02:24 AM
 
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Oops agian--sorry!
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#18 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 03:39 AM
 
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J&G's mom,

you can MAKE kalua?? thats awsome, o do tell how you did this!
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#19 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 03:48 AM
 
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Last year I made bookmarks for everyone. They went over really well. I just went through all my doubles of pictures I had and picked ones I thought different people would like. Like a picture of me and ds for my mom's bookmark, and a picture of dh and ds for MIL's bookmark, etc. Then I found a poem or saying that sort of went with the picture, typed it in an interesting, colored font, glued the picture and poem to construction paper, and cut into a bookmark shape. Then I got them laminated, punched a hole in the top or bottom and tied a pretty ribbon to it (you know, to stick out of the book). All the pictures didn't have ds in them, for example for my brother in law I took a picture of he and my sis and put a poem about love on it, and for my dad a picture of his dog! Everyone loved them and they cost almost nothing to make! Plus it was fun.

Thanks for all these good ideas, I will really need some this year!
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#20 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 10:45 AM
 
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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
calendars
candles
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)
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#21 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 10:47 AM
 
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Here is another list I had saved from the year before

1. Candles- Make candles and or buy candles and decorate them with dried flowers, using melted parafen wax to make them stick!

2. Create a cookbook with your favorite recipes and recipes you've collected online

3. Cookies, Jams, Breads, etc

4. Jelly, Applesauce, Salsa, Herb Vinegar, Oils

5. Lavender dream pillows

6. Calender with pics of your family and or friends

7. Bath Salts

8. Homemade soaps FUN to make

9. Build a puppet stage and make puppets

10. Build a simple dollhouse

11. Make fleece throws

12. Pillows and blankets for living room

13. Dolls for children are fun to make! Free instructions on sleepingbean.com

14. Basket, stuffed with a strand of white lights inside, put dried flowers and eucalyptus out the top of the basket and a simple fabric bow at top

15. Make Paper, or buy pretty paper and make envelopes, creating a stationary set!

16. Photos in decorated frames make great gifts

17. Brownies or Cookies in a jar! Layered

18. Quillow (quilt that folds into a small pocket and becomes a pillow)

19. Scarves, hats

20. Paint flower pots, give them as gifts with some seeds and a trowel for children

21. Placemats and napkins from cloth

22. Weave a basket!

23. Bead jewelry

24. Buy a wooden rack/tray/decoration from the craft store, and paint it, decorate it, get creative!

25. Take some shells and fill them with wax and candle wicks, viola...candles by the shore!

26. Bath kit or massage kits

27. Liquors

28. Bath Bombs

29. Caligraphy (frame a saying, poem, or song)

30. Personalize a journal. Buy a blank book for $3 at the bookstore and insert old postcards, pictures, sayings, poems, whatever! Make it special!
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#22 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 10:48 AM
 
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I think this is the recipe j&g posted for Kahula last year

Kahula
Kahlua
Ready in 2 to 4 months
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

2 cups water
1/4 plus 2 Tlb instant coffee (freshly opened jar)
3 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean split
2 3/4 cups vodka
3/4 c brandy
1/4 tsp choc. extract
1 drop red food coloring

heat water in med. saucepan. When hot, add coffee and stir until dissolved. Add sugar and vanilla bean, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediately reduce heat so that a very low boil is maintained for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
Pour vodka and brandy into afinf container. Add the cooled coffee mixture and the chocolate extract. Srit well. Cap and let age in a cool dark place for 3 weeks. After initial aging, strain liqueur though a cloth lined wire mest strainer over a large bowl. Repeat until desired clarity is reached Stir in food coloring. Bottle cap and let age an additional 1 to 3 months.
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#23 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 10:49 AM
 
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And one final idea...consider trading the crafts you make with other mamas here!
I am doing that with about 10 moms and I anticpate I will have all of my xmas gifts covered through swapping. That way I don't bore my family by giving them the same homemade stuff year after year
:LOL
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#24 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 02:00 PM
 
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What about something cheap/easy that can be made for boys? I have 5 nephews, ages:11, 9, 5, 5, & 2. These are great ideas for adults, and girls, but I can't think of anything I could make for my nephews. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
Jennifer

PS I love all these ideas...I think I've got all the adults gifts planned now!
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#25 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 02:26 PM
 
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For the two year old boy you could make a montessori style board set for very cheap that teaches how to do buttons, zippers, velcro, snaps etc.

You just cut these things off of old clothing and either sew them together onto a fabric cube, stuffed with poly fill, or tack them onto small boards with furniture tacks. You could paint the backs with numbers, letters etc.

For boys 2-5 I think doll slings are still kind of fun in cool prints!
Or treasure sacks in some print the boys will like with little inexpensive gifts such as coloring books, clay, etc.

You can give a child age 3-7 a homemade clay set with the ingredients needed, instructions, and a tool or two to use with it. Then the child can make their own clay, then play with it!

A dress up / magic box is a decorated box with homemade simple costumes (a cape, a silly hat, glasses etc). You could put together a theme of some sort and give it as a gift

The older boys get harder to make things for...
I'll have to think some more about it!
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#26 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 04:44 PM
 
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Yep, that looks like my recipe. Yum, Yum. I have left out the red food coloring the last time or two and didn't really see any difference. I have a whole book of liquor recipes, let me know if there is another type you are interested in and I'll check for the recipe(s).
LaLa, did you make the kahlua? and what did you think? what about some of the cookie/brownie/soup recipes? I think some of those are the same ones I made last year.
p.s. I found I great place to get the bottles online, very inexpensive too. I'll see if I can find the website address for you.

For the boys;
How about buying tees, hats, etc., dye and squirt bottles (from the craft store for the older boys). You could give each 2 colors and then they could all share if they wanted a rainbow design and they could do the simple tye dye method, which just involves spraying colors on a bunched up shirt, then rebunch, then spray. You can find the dye, bottles, instructions at most craft stores. Although, the parents may hate this. It will be a lot of work for them too.

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#27 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 04:51 PM
 
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WEEeeee, this thread is turning into a regular martha stewart page, im loving it.

you guys are gonna make me a hit this x-mas, thanks so much for sharing.

J&G's mom,i hope you find that link, also would you mind telling the name of the liqure making book so i could try to find it for myself?

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#28 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 04:52 PM
 
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Not a gift idea, but a wrap idea:

Similar to SueZVudu's. When dd1 was a baby, I put her in a Johnny Jumpup (thingy that hung from the doorway). I had a large roll of brown craft paper & painted one foot red & one green. She stamped her feet on the paper to make Christmas wrap. Everyone loved it and many saved it. I'm sure it was more memorable than the actual gift.
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#29 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 05:01 PM
 
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I thought of something I did cheaply one year... Herbed vinegars (especially if you've grown the herbs). I saved Riesling style bottles (the tall ones). I made labels on pretty, textured paper. I took the herb used in that particular vinegar, covered it with paint and stamped it on the label. Then I wrote whatever was applicable "red wine sage vinegar" etc.. I took a gold pen and made a border for the label then glued it on. I also made sculpy candy cane ornaments and hung them around the neck of the bottle. I was very cheap, very fun & looked great.
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#30 of 59 Old 08-29-2002, 05:18 PM
 
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Okay the link for the bottles is www.beer-wine.com
Look up bottles on the index page, I tried to go sorta small as to stretch my supply but everyone complained that I needed to use BIG bottles next time so I think the wine size or the one size smaller would be good. They will help you with the cork sizes too. I had ordered the wrong ones and wrote on the order form to just correct it if I had choosen the wrong size and they fixed it for me. Plus, you can find corks at hardware type stores too.

The name of the book is Classic Liqueurs; The art of making and cooking with liqueurs by Cheryl Long and Heather Kibbey. I think that I found it at Powells here in Portland (www.powells.com) but it may have been on amazon or bn.com. If you have problems locating it, I can PM or email some recipes.

Last year this thread got really long and I'm sure it will this year too

I made herb vinegars one year too and they turned out very pretty. The website above has bottles that could work for that too. I also have a few recipes for those if anyone is interested.

Okay, I must go feed my STARVING children now....
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