Thursday, November 29, 2007

Frugal Gifts to Make

As the Holidays quickly approach, many people’s thought turn to gift giving. Sometimes choosing holiday gifts for everyone you know can seem so overwhelming, both to the mind and to the budget. But if you are one of the lucky few who enjoy crafting or needlework you are way ahead of the game when it comes to gift giving.

If you’re a paper crafter, you’re probably already making your own Christmas cards. Why not take that one step further and create enough cards to be your Christmas gifts too. You could make an assortment of all purpose cards, six cards with envelopes would be a nice gift, and package those nicely with a pen or some postage stamps. This would be a lovely present for almost anyone, even the guys. If you happen to have crafty friends, it gets even easier. Design a nice card and then put all the parts for making it into a bag. You’ve just made the perfect card making kit to give to your friends. Cards are especially nice projects because their small size makes them just right for using up scraps and leftovers from bigger scrapbook pages or other projects.

Maybe you love to craft bath luxuries, such as bath salts or lip balm. There are lots of recipes on line for great bath items, like coffee bath salts, or sugar body scrub. In the winter months, these things are especially nice to receive and they seem so much more special without the questionable additives included in store bought products. If you knit or crochet as well, you could also include a bath mitt or special face cloth.

Knitters are usually ahead of the game when it comes to gift giving. It seems that everyone loves a hand knit something, and many times you can make everyone on your list the same thing, and just change the yarn or colors, and it’s just right for them. Hats are a great example of this, since you could do cables for you sister who loves the outdoors and hiking, angora for that girly girl friend, stripes for the preppy guy. Really, it goes on and on. You can make a hat match just about every personality. The same goes for mittens, socks, scarves, etc.

Of course, if you’ve waited to long to get started or if inspiration has struck on Dec. 8th, there’s still time to give everyone you know a little hand knit something. You could make ornaments. Using size 1 or 2 needles and leftover sock yarn cast on about fifteen stitches and knit in garter stitch for about an inch or two. Stop in the middle of the row, don’t cast off. Break off the yarn, leaving enough to roll into a small ball of yarn. Take a tooth pick, cut off one pointy end, and glue a bead on the flat end. Repeat with another toothpick. Transfer the stitches onto the toothpick “needles” and stick them through the mini ball of yarn. There you go, a miniature knitting ornament for the tree!

Crocheters, of course, can make all the same items listed above for the knitters. There are also some ideas that apply very well to crochet. In a stitch dictionary, find a few pretty motifs that will shape nicely on a neckline. Sew these to a store bought camisole or ribbed tank top, and you’ll have a very pretty gift. If you’d like to make it particularly special, you could knit or crochet a matching shrug, making a modern version of a twin set.

All of these things can be made quickly and fairly inexpensively, and are particularly nice to receive. Most people enjoy knowing that something was made just for them, and there’s a lot of satisfaction in making something that fit’s a friend’s personality perfectly. So, avoid the crowds at the malls and spend the weeks leading up to Christmas right where you want to be: in your crafting chair.

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