Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Countdown to Christmas - June / Getting Started

So, let's get started. There is so much to do and so little time to do it in (given that we didn't start in January.)

~ Make your gift giving list. I keep my lists on an excel spreadsheet so starting the next list is just a matter of renaming the file and some editing.

~ Determine what is going to be bought and what is going to be made. SET A BUDGET / per item / per person.

~ Start setting aside money for things that need to be bought last minute whether that be groceries for Christmas dinner or the morning brunch, travel expenses, or theater tickets for that gift that is an experience instead of a thing.

~ Back date your calendar. If you're going to make a homemade crocheted blanket for the new baby in the family, mark on your calendar how much needs to be done by a certain date in time - Start in June, 1/5 done by the end of July, 1/4 done by the end of August, etc.

~ Plan all the other Christmas (or holiday events), not just the gifts. What day will you set-up the tree? Put it on your calendar. What day will you take down the tree (NOT July 2011)? Put it on your calendar. What about the lights? Do you need to buy new ones this year? Save the money now. What about ornaments; will you craft new ones? Do you have a tree theme? When do the kids get out of school? What days do you need to ship by? Will you be making a new wreath? Will you be donating items to the food bank? To the school? Teacher gifts? Classroom party? And lastly, make time to prepare your end of the year financial paperwork. If you have an employer supplies medical savings account, check in October that you're on track to use up all that money otherwise the company keeps it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer crafts!

Ah, the beginning of summer. The hours stretch out before us. This is a great time to work on those Christmas gifts! And this is also a great time to get some more gift ideas while visiting relatives.

Any ideas for nursing home residents? My MIL is in a nursing home. She doesn't have much space but I'm sure there might be some nice gift ideas for her. I'm leaning toward making her a bedside organizer, especially something with a pocket for her glasses while she naps.

During the summer I'll be doing some bead crafts as I picked up lots of supplies while on vacation. I'm particularly concentrating on earrings because they are quick and easy to ship.

Keep up the gardening for making those kitchen crafts! I'm doing lots of nature hikes with DD and gathering supplies to make fairy doors and Christmas decorations.

Also keep up on those pictures! Think about taking a picture this summer to use for your Christmas cards.

I'm also going to clean out my fabric supply and make more draw string gift bags. This is the perfect time to be on the sewing machine.

DD finished her knit stocking cap for Dad. Now I have to work on making her a shrug and maybe some more arm warmers.

I haven't perfected my baby-cocoon sewing project yet but we have a new baby due in the family so I guess I should get on that.

Oh, and good news ... we have a Hobby Lobby opening soon! I'm so excited.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What else I'm working on:

An over the chair remote control organzer for hubby. It is a sewing project.

Projects completed so far

I've completed the card set of DD's artwork and a plate we have made for her favorite aunt.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Men's gift ideas

Mens gifts:
~ Microwave rice heating pads
~ Food: a basket of assorted nuts plus a nut cracker?
~ BBQ apron and a selection of special BBQ spices or rubs
~ Roll-up tool organizer (good for the car or pick-up truck) or maybe a roll-up tool organizer for his woodworking chisels.
~ 5-gallon bucket tool tote - it is usually canvas fabric. The inside goes into the bucket and might have dividers inside, the outside drapes over the lip of the bucket and has a circle of pockets. There is a slit for the handle.
~ A hardware (screws, nuts, bolts, washers, etc) organizer made from baby food jars. Nail the jar lids to a length of wood. Fill the jars with assorted hardware then screw them back onto their lids.
~ Leather belt or cellphone holder (leather stores have kits)
~ Coffee cup cozies (like those cardboard sleeves they put over hot coffee cups at Starbucks except make them from fabric.) Or beer bottle cozies.
~ Embellished T-shirt - maybe stencil on your own funny saying
~ A remote control organizer he can drape over the arm of his favorite chair.
~ Magazine organizers made out of cereal boxes.
~ Heavy-duty moisturizing lotion in some manly scent.
~ Glove compartment organizer
~ Burn a CD of special songs or download a group to put into his MP3 player.
~ Bird feeder
~ Beer glass charms (so the guys don't forget which glass is theirs)
~ If he jogs/runs or just walks the dog a lot, a wristband 'pocket'. It is made of stretchy fabric. He can put his ID and maybe a debit card into a zippered compartment then slip the whole thing on his wrist. Along the same lines, if he travels a lot, a travel organizer - maybe even an organizing system for his expense report receipts.
~ And my hubby is an electronics geek. There has to be some way to keep track of all those wall warts (power supplies). Maybe a huge set of cable and wire identifiers. I just don't know how I'd make them yet.
~ Romantic: Coupon book of 'anything he wants' items. Or a massage - with homemade massage oils? Non-romantic: Detail his car, dessert of the month coupons.
~ A tray or basket for his dresser where he can drop his keys, wallet, etc. Maybe decopage some family photos on it and a few of the kids' handprints.
~ Tie rack? Belt rack? Baseball cap rack?
~ Glass etched mirror - his favorite sports team? his favorite beer? Find the mirror at a thrift store.
~ Gift baskets: For the golfer? balls, tees, hand towel, club covers. For the snacker? cheese logs, salami, crackers. Decide on a theme and go for it!
~ Not just lounge pants but father and son lounge pants!

More gift ideas ...

~ Decorator hand soaps. One year DD and I made oatmeal soap using up the mini-soaps that hubby has been bringing home from hotels. I grated the soap bars, whirled some oatmeal in the food processor, mixed them together with a little hot water, rolled it out then cut them into shapes with a cookie cutter. After they dried for a few days, we packages them up. Someone else is going to pick up different holiday candy molds and do a holiday/ season theme decorative soap present (give everyone soap for all four seasons).
~ A spa kit basket and possibly something similiar for a younger girl(fizz balls, body scrub, bath oil).
~ Home cooked doggie treats
~ Cat treats in a wine bottle. Seriously, we saw this in a store one year and mailed it to a friend. It would have been far cheaper to have made it at home.
~ Pillowcases (especially a pillowcase with a tooth fairy pocket for younger kids)
~ Spoons dipped in chocolate or candy canes dipped in chocolate
~ Kids can give handprint gifts to grandparents: wide pictue frame mats with hand and/or foot print mats on them, hand and/or footprints on a vase from one of those 'paint it yourself' ceramic places.
~ Embellished clothing: hoodie jackets, jeans, shoes, etc. One year a friend took several pairs of DD's jeans that had grown too short, cropped them into capris and decorated them with ribbon, etc.


Oh my goodness! Where has the time gone? It is almost mid-February and I haven't even updated on this subject yet. See! This is why we need to be posting or else I'm going to forget to work on these projects until too late!

Anyone want to brag about what they accomplished in January? Anyone want to post some pictures? Any ideas for February projects? Any long term projects you're doing? Remember to keep taking photos for those photo projects!

Reminder: Snap up leftover Valentine craft materials to use later for Christmas decorations. Red wrapping paper, of course, can be used in the month of December. But also remember that pink, purple and white are Advent colors (the season leading up to Christmas in some religions). If you see candles in those colors on clearance, definately snap up a few. And look for other pastels in the clearance section that can be used later at Easter (tissue paper, etc).

I don't now about your kids, but my DD is in mulitple activities that seem to provide a T-shirt (VBS, cheer clinics, gymnastics, sports, charity walks, etc). She has now expressed interest in having me make her a T-shirt quilt. Darn, I had just been turning her old T-shirts into rags. Now I guess I have to start saving them. This is also a cute idea for saving some favorite baby outfits - cut them up and turn them into something else.

And look for American Girl sewing patterns on-line! I would love to create a few me-and-doll outfits for DD this year.

I'm trying to save the frugal romantic gift ideas from V-Day to keep in mind for hubby so I can use them at Christmas. He is always so hard to think of something I can do that is handmade (except for food, of course.)

I have some beading to do. I'm going to make a few earrings for girlfriends and maybe some clip-on earrings for DD. When clip-on earrings at Claires are $7 a pair or more, I get really motivated to make a few pairs!

And a girlfriend of mine fell in love with some decorator pillows for her couch when we were out getting coffee one day. There is no way she nor I can afford to buy those pillows, but I think I could make some really nice ones! Instead of Christmas, I might give them to her for her birthday or for her anniversary, though.

Oh, and a last word about Easter. For our Lenten donation, DD and I are going to put together small Easter baskets for some residents of the nearby nursing home. It isn't Christmas, but it is homemade. Maybe I'll get some cute ideas for Christmas baskets I can put together, too.