Crafting a Creative Christmas
by Holly Gault (aka hollygee to our faithful TLC backbloggers) who really knows how to show her crafty side to create a recession-proof Christmas.
I'm a craft-maniac. I used to buy the holiday magazines to see all the holiday crafts, but since the internet has come to town, I can download many, many, many ideas for what looks to be a very lean holiday season. I thought I would share my favorites.
Places where I found most of my ideas:
A very practical start might be to make Draft dodger out of pretty fabrics – beginning machine sewing skills required. A fun way to make colorful fridge magnets, but I might fill them with packing peanuts or even popcorn so they will hold their shape a little longer. Two other ideas that requires beginning machine sewing skills, Bean Bag Chair [PDF pattern] and Rice (or flaxseed) heat therapy bag.
I saw a tangerine & pepper scented linen spray in a catalog and thought, "I can make that." And a little Google-time showed me that I could, although I will have to play some to get the scent right. If you Google around, you can find recipes for making your own soap, solid perfume, bath salts, and bath bombs.
I saw this idea for test tube, compact spice collection and I'm putting this to work for me! I got a good deal on test tubes and cork stoppers. If I were buying for a gift, I would get spices from the bulk section of my natural foods store and even cheaper at a Mexican market.
Do you have any photos that you would like to give? Cheap photo frames from CD jewel cases -- and you could add magnets to the back to stick on the fridge. Works great for kids art work too.
Two things for the TLC crowd that I thought would be particularly appropriate: Easy origami bookmarks and, burn a CD of your (or Margie’s) favorite music, then make a custom CD envelope (I’m thinking a vintage Playboy or Playgirl for Margie’s music label).
Downloadable printable gift tags. Many others are available by Googling. For gift wrapping, try environmentally kind Furoshiki (Japanese fabric wraps). Your wrapping can be part of the gift: dish towels, baby blankets, tablecloths, scarves.
Paper favor packages that would look cute hanging on the tree or to use in the stocking:
Gift envelopes/Advent or Chanuka calendar
Garland ideas. I thought that this example needed some help:
1. You can use those gold and silver gummed round stickers (the kind from the stationery store that would be on a certificate) on a piece of red crochet thread.
2. Cut out circles from old Holiday cards – either all the same size or of varying sizes. Just pair them up with another of the same size for the back.
3. Family photos to go on the tree.
4. Have Fun with Fonts and print out large letters on pretty paper – nice because you can print your circle pattern also for a border.
Photo ornaments (you could cut up old National Geographics or Sierra Club calendars, too)
Christmas paper chain – no glue, tape, or staples needed, just scissor skills -- here is instructions:
requiring some craftiness
Another Advent or Chanuka calendar. For knitters, here are some adorable little Tiny Sock ornaments and Mitten ornaments. These lovely water balloon Luminarias would look great [on fire-proof dishes] on the deck or porch. I'm particularly interested in trying these beautiful Japanese folded flower bouquets – they do require a bit of precision. Here is a Chanuka (or Christmas or Kwanzaa) Oil Lamp – the presentation is ugly, but the physics work. Some ideas with no patterns, but fun for ideas: Gnomes and a Button Wreath.
This Yule log refrigerator cake looks like it would be easier to construct than the rolled variety. And then the truly sinful and always popular Truffles.
All purpose pantry items that you can grab to make quick additions to your menu:
• Ajvar – a Bulgarian pepper-eggplant spread that can be used as a dip, pasta sauce, soup base, filling. https://www.eurofoodmart.net/Gradina_Hot_Ajavar_Vegetable_Spread_p/az0000197.htm
• Trader Joe’s Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes – when I get a jar, I immediately but it in the food processor and grind it up into a granular paste. Then I use it as a flavor enhancer for any dish that I think needs a boost.
This is often what Santa's Workshop is like around my house. What crafty/penny-pinching tricks will you be using these holidays?