Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Six Frugal Holiday Gifts

This time of year we can all use some frugal suggestions for holiday gifts.  Here are some ideas using items a crafter probably already has.  I figure that once I have made the craft the leftover materials are free to use for other crafts.  I often sell items at local craft shows and bazars so my materials have been paid for within the price of the sold items.

  • Holiday Wreath.  We had a wind storm over the weekend and there are lots of evergreen branches down in my yard.  Actually I am thrilled!  I have collected the branches and will make two wreaths (the large branches were cut up and stacked for firewood). To make a wreath I use a pre-made wire form that I have had for years.  I gather the branches and simply wire them to the round form using paddle wire. Bunching branches together makes a thicker wreath.  My wreaths get decorated with cut twigs of various red and white berries I find along the side of the road and wire to the wreath.  This year I have one package of battery operated LED lights leftover from my Halloween costume that I am going to put on my wreath for the front door.  I paid all of one dollar for them at the Dollar Store in the Fall when holiday goodies were just being put out.  So the wreath is free for a little foraging.  One wreath will go on my door and one will be given to a friend.  The leftover branches will be put into my window boxes for holiday decoration.
  • Beaded Bookmark Ribbon I saw these bookmarks at a craft show this year selling for $8.  I took a careful look and went home and made one.  The only tricky part was finding beads with holes large enough to thread the ribbon through.  I keep a plastic shoe box filled with spools of ribbon I pick up on sale during the year.  I took out the bead box and hunted up beads that would work.  Take a yard of 1/4 inch ribbon and fold in half.  Thread a charm and push to the middle point and make a half hitch knot one inch down from the bead.  Then thread both ends of the ribbon through the beads you will use to decorate the bookmark.  The bookmark in the picture has 7 large beads.  Add another knot about 1 1/2 inches from the ends of the ribbon.  There it is!  The bookmark goes over one side of the book and rests in crease of the book.  The charm flips into the page you want to mark.  Pretty cook design that works really well. I happen to like chestnuts and picked some this year for crafting.  I made myself a natural looking bookmark with jute twine and chestnuts.  By drilling a hole in the chestnuts with my Dremel drill I was able to thread the jute twine through them. 
  • Herb Bundles  Fresh or dried herbs from the garden are always welcome gifts.  I dry herbs in bundles and crumbled in jars and share as gifts.
  • Seed Packages  I save seeds from my garden and always save some to give away at holiday time.  This year there was an abundance of sunflower, nastrutum and foxglove seeds.  The seeds are put into small ziplock bags and wraped in handmade paper boxes.  I fold paper boxes out of scrapbook paper to hold the seeds and include some printed instructions on how to plant and propagate the seeds.  Great gift for a gardener friend.  Here are some instructions for folding paper boxes Folding Paper Boxes or a 3d site Orgami Kids .  Handmade envelopes and decoupaged match boxes work well too.

  • Wooden Painted Signs  These simple country crafts are so simple to make and only take some imagination, wood scraps, paint, two eye screws and a piece of wire. Paint the entire piece of wood with some leftover primer paint.  I then use acrylic paints and paint the background.  Trim the sides with a checkerboard and finally print the desired words.  Screw in two eye screws to hold the wire hanger. Signs can be personalized for someone's kitchen, laundry room or den.  Sign your name and the year on the back side of the sign. I have a couple on the fences coming into my garden area that have been outside about 5 years now. The flower came from Michaels craft store and cost .25.  It is simpled glued onto the sign.
  • Earring Frame During the summer I collect interesting frames from yard sales.  Larger wooden frames without glass are great for this gift.  Most people do not want frames without glass so these frames are very inexpensive.  I painted the frame white and distressed it with sandpaper.  On the back of the frame, a measured piece of wire mesh is securely stapled to the frame. The frame can be hung on the wall or inside a closet door to display hanging earrings.  The earrings are looped through the mesh and make finding the perfect earrings for your outfit easy.  When I give one of these for a gift I always add a pair of homemade earrings.
Now don't you wish you were on my holiday giving list?  What ideas do you have?

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