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.

Craft ideas so far

~ Rag quilts
~ Casseroles to freeze and give later to start someone on OAMC (once a month cooking)
~ Fleece robes
~ Recipe box with family recipes (I'm going to take photographs of my father-in-laws recipes cards, which we given to me after he died, then transfer the photos to Snapfish so anyone in the family can access them.)
~ Fleece tied blankets
~ Baskets with jars of basket with jars of soup mixes, cookie mixes, etc.
~ Sachets (homemade potpourri anyone? start in the spring because it takes MONTH to do.)
~ Art buckets for little kids: buy all the crayons, markets, and glue when the back to school stuff is cheap and then throw in some extras like foam sheets, pipecleaners, wiggle eyes, etc.
~ Toe Jam jars- Jars decorated and filled with nail polish, nail stickers, nail files, toe separators, etc.
~ A super hero cape for a child.
~ Felt food sets for a child (popsicles, fruit slices, pizza, etc)
~ Tree skirts / stockings / ornaments
~ Crochet hook case / knitting needle case
~ Family photo calendars
~ Box of dress-up clothes (gotten from yard sales, alter or repair as necessary)
~ Custom notecards
~ Wreathes
~ Candles
~ Beaded earrings, necklaces, watch bands, bracelettes
~ Wineglass or beer glass charms
~ Potholders
~ Aprons (mother - daughter aprons? father - son?) Gardening aprons?
~ Canned produce: salsa, jams / jellies, peaches, apple pie filling, etc.
~ A little treasure box containing 52 slips of paper, each with a verse, poem, special memory or such that I'd written on it. Pull one out each week for a year.
~ Key chains
~ Handbags / tote bags
~ Doll totes for girls
~ Eye glass cases (bedside organizers that fit between the mattress and boxspring and hand on the side of the bed are good, too)
~ book marks
~ pin cushions
~ storage bins (magazine storage boxes from cereal boxes!)
~ back of the seat organizers for cars (mini-trash bags for the car, too)
~ duct tape wallets, cheap and loads of colors
~ pajama pants (who doesn't enjoy lounging around? and are easy to sew)
~ marshmellow shooters (few pieces of pvc and a bag of marshmellows)
~ Slingshot / think of a dog ball slingshot, too

Snowman Soup Recipe:
Assemble in a gift bag, gift mug or small zipper food storage bag:
* 1 individual packet hot chocolate mix
* 2-3 chocolate kiss candies
* 10-15 mini-marshmallows
* small candy cane
And here is the poem to attach to the package:
Snowman Soup
Was told you've been real good this year.
Always glad to hear it!
With freezing weather drawing near,
You'll need to warm the spirit.
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick.
Add hot water, sip it slow.
It's sure to do the trick!

12 Months to a Homemade Christmas

Okay, okay, I know. Christmas was just a few weeks ago and we're still recovering. Personally, I still have a few boxes that haven't been put away even.

And that makes this is a good time to remember all we went through all so recently and prepare for Christmas 2009. I'm going to bet that the economy won't be much better next year (sadly) so it is in our best interest to make next Christmas as low-cost and stress-free as possible.

That is why I'm proposing we spend the next 12 months preparing for a great homemade Christmas. So here goes ...

~ Step One: Organize next years Christmas list. Who do you want to give to? Make notes of their likes and interests. If your family does a gift-draw and you don't know all the people you will be giving to, that is okay. You can make an unknown, generic person on your list and refine the gift ideas for them later.

~ Step Two: Make a list of general gifts you would like to give that are homemade. Some gifts - like gifts from the kitchen - MIGHT need to be made fresh. However, you can also prepare for those gifts by gathering up the ribbon, fabric, baskets and other decor that you'll need. You may also make some of your gifts from the kitchen during the fall harvest / food preservation season so you'll want to make note. Other gifts will need lots of time such as sewing and other craft projects.

~ Decide which projects you'll need to start on first then SLOWLY tackle each project in turn. But focusing on having all your gifts made by next December, we may end up giving some quality items that are far more valuable that anything that could be bought in stores.

So, what are you going to make first? Post many gift ideas so we can all be inspired!