I am always on the lookout for frugal gift ideas. Even without the recent economic woes, we have needed to be careful in this area. It is easy to go way over your budget for gifts in a hurry! With my large family and fast-growing extended family, finding a way to give gifts to those we love while keeping expenses down has always been a challenge.
Many years we have made the decision that hand-made gifts are our best option. There is something about being able to create a gift for someone that goes beyond simply going to the store in search of the perfect gift at a bargain price. I think we get a chance to really savor the anticipation of how the gift will be received and are able to feel the love we have for the recipient going into the process.
Some years we have made food items and other time it’s been Christmas ornaments or household items. Lately, I have been sewing a lot of gifts since I have granddaughters. I think finally having girls around has awakened a love for creating things from fabric that I never knew existed until now! I’ve made dolls, quilts, aprons, and puppets and have a great time coming up with new ideas for the next project. Right now I am finishing a little doll quilt for my granddaughter’s birthday in a few weeks. It is made from the same material that I made her baby quilt from when she was born so she and her dolly will have matching quilts.
Usually — at least at Christmas time — I involve my sons in the creating. Each time the satisfaction that shows on their faces when they present a gift that they helped make is priceless. There are shelves of books full of ideas for making the perfect gift. We have used many books and websites over the years that have had great ideas. I’ve compiled a list of a few that I think have some good projects and contain easy instructions.
The first three titles are out of print but available from used books sellers on Amazon.com.
201 Craft Bazaar Best-Sellers is a book packed with easy projects that you might find at any craft bazaar. The projects are simple to create and would be fun to do with children.
55 Country Doughcraft Designs has almost twenty pages of basic instructions and technique before they get to the projects. After reading the clear directions you will feel confident to try your hand at dough craft. The projects range from very simple to challenging and there are plenty of illustrations to show you the finished products.
Crafts to Make and Sell is another book full of projects you might find at craft bazaars. The instructions are clear and the variety of projects is amazing. The cover says “more than 1000 projects, tips, and ideas for marketing or giving your crafts”
Finally, a much newer title is Painting and Decorating Clay Pots. This book had 150 fun step-by-step projects using terra-cotta pots that you can find at any craft or garden store. You might even find some on clearance toward the end of summer. This book is laid out in an easy to follow format. Each project has the instructions, a list of materials and a picture of the finished product. Projects range from small ornaments to household decorations to larger outdoor decorations. They are fun to make and fun to give.
Now is the time to start thinking about Christmas gifts! You can take your time and make some wonderful gifts if you start early!