Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Crafty Little Christmas Part II

As I reflect on A Crafty Little Christmas, I'm now searching for shortcuts to the gifts.  For Whisking you a Merry Little Christmas, rather than coming up with your own cookie mix just go to the store and buy a pre-mixed cookie or brownie mix.  You could do cocoa with mugs as well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Have Yourself a Crafty Little Christmas/Chanukah

So the economy is in the stinker.  I can't help but wear my accidental environmentalist and cheapskate-ness on my sleeve.  If you're near and dear to me, stop reading, or this will be a Christmas Day spoiler.

My siblings and I have had a $50 limit for a while but this year I'm going to make my $50 stretch as far as it will go by recycling and using things around the house.  It's more of an experiment to see just how much quality stuff I can get out of my $50.  Christmas should be about giving things that people wouldn't normally buy or make because they don't have time or the ability.  The commercial aspect of Christmas has really driven the heart part underground so when I say "things around the house" that sounds cheap and crappy but there are some pretty cool things you can do and A LOT of them for under $50.

I've had crafty little Christmas' before and if you're looking at this list hoping for inspiration the night before Christmas, be prepared for a long night.  I started my prep for Crafty Little Christmas back in July and have started putting things together lately.  Today is November 14, if you're reading this today, "git 'er done".

Here is my workshop list:

1.  Stick it in Your Ear:  This Year's Soundtrack; I'm making a cd of the top 15 tunes I've listened to all year.  I listen to NPR in the car, downloaded tunes and pod casts every where else and the only time I hear anything new is at a movie or in a trendy shop where I probably don't fit in anyway so I would love to hear what other people are listening to.  A mixed tape would be an awesome gift.  Don't think too hard about what the recipient would like, give them your top 15!  Don't even think about buying a new CD jewel case!  Make your own origami cd case or take two pieces of fabric, sew together, turn right side out and hem for a quick cd case.

2.  A whisk, a wooden spoon, an old spaghetti sauce jar and the dry fixings for cookies with your cookie recipe.  Oh yea, tag it with "Whisking you a Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah".

3.  I'm making my own notebooks out of recycled paper, using the comb binder I now own and unique things for notebook covers like cereal boxes, VHS boxes, cake mix boxes etc.  You get the idea.

4.  Bath mitts.  For the kids I bought NEW towels and I'm making them into bath mitts with eyes and fins.  I'm sure Martha can help you embellish but very simply, just trace your hand onto a towel, give yourself about an inch for seam allowance and to make it ridiculously big for bath tub scrubbing.

5.  Tree ornaments.  I'm using scraps of fabric to make all sorts of new ornaments for people's trees but in fabric that is trendy/decorator/suits their fancy.  My sister in-law really likes Mickey so guess what she's getting?

6.  Sweater buddies.  For $1 or $2 at a thrift store, you can pick up a nice, shrunken sweater that can be easily dismantled and turned into a stuffed animal.  Martha (of course) has the instructions: www.marthastewart.com (tip: search for one of a kind woolen gifts).

7.  Yeah, people will probably get shopping bags from me this year.  Go green or go home.

8.  iPod cozies.  Take the stuff you didn't use off the shrunken sweater from your sweater buddy in #6 and make a cozy to keep iPods safe.

9.  Pre-made scrap book pages.  I'll be the first to admit that it's not that I don't enjoy my family and it's not that I don't like scrap booking, I'm just not very good at it.  I would love somebody to commandeer my pictures or just give me pages and say "here, put your pictures in here".

10.  New stockings.  I'm making new stockings and resisting all temptations to put names and years on the stockings.  The thing about Christmas stockings is that some people cling to their sock with great sentimentality and some of us want to shake it up a little bit every year.  Why not give a stocking that can be given away as a re-gift for the next year or handed down to a child?

11.  Frozen dinners.  Don't grimace.  I love this.  Make a huge batch of chili and save off two nights in containers as a gift for somebody.  It kind of sounds lame, unless of course you have kids and a full time job and then it sounds like a little piece of Heaven.

12.  Hand shaped cookies.  Back in my magnetism posts I went over what grandparents go "Wow!" over.  If you thought they liked junior on the fridge, just wait until you trace his/her hand onto a piece of paper and then use that as a template for sugar cookies.  Give grandparents little hands they really can nibble on and you will have a winner for sure.

And that exhausts my creative list.  Somebody is going to have to come up with a list for me to work off next year.  As soon as I have pictures, I'll start posting.  In the meantime, people, please add to the list!