78: Snowing in Florida!

It’s snowing in Florida! Actually, you can decorate with snowflakes anytime of the year, in any location! There are different styles of snowflakes to choose from!

Silver Glitter,  Golden Glitter, Ornate Black

Go and immerse yourself in a fun ambiance with these stickers! These removable, repositionable, and reusable stickers are the perfect and convenient way to adorn and decorate any space. Easy to peel off and to stick on walls, doors, windows, tables, refrigerators, and more! When you want to reposition your friends peel them off with ease without peeling off paint/wallpaper and without leaving behind any residue. Perfect for nurseries, homes, stores, dorms, and anywhere else! It’ll liven up any room and give it a new vibrant life!

50: Day Fifty Checkup

Today, let’s take some time to check our progress. How are you doing with the first 50 days of preparation for Christmas? Do you know where you’re spending Christmas this year, or are you playing host/ess? Menu? Guests?

Have you scheduled a family portrait sitting and selected/ordered Christmas cards?

Are you handmaking gifts this year? Knitting projects? Soap? Exploding cards?

Have you tried at least one new cookie recipe? Please say that you have! Everyone loves cookies!

Make your lists and check them twice! Put them all in one place: a notebook/planner or PDA/smartphone. Stay on top of it this year and don’t be caught by surprise a month from now.

Photo courtesy of Adam Smith

52: Fabric Gift Bags

I love fabric gift bags! Simple ones are very easy to make, even for a beginning crafter. Check out this simple pattern and instructions here.

Anytime is a good time to start collecting fabric remnants and scraps, as well as sale fabric. You also want to stockpile sewing notions, trim, and other decorations (like beads, and silk rope.) Get your patterns made, cut out your pieces, pin, and just stack them up in a big pile for one big sewing blitz!

Making your own fabric gift bags is a recycling, reusable, and environmentally friendly project to do. The bags can be reused in your household, or your recipients can use the bags again! Wouldn’t it be great to have a Christmas without spending a fortune on giftwrap, or having a Hefty bag full of paper trash at the end of the day? Fabric gift bags make sense. They can also be very luxurious with brocades and silk rope with tassels, or they can be simple and fun for kids with whimsical prints and fun ties.

This is also another great way to express yourself of your Christmas theme. You could also customize bags for the recipients or even make special large Santa bags to take gifts to the grandparents or other families.

Get out your sewing machine and give this one a try. You’ll be hooked!

Photo courtesy of Karen at Le Petit Poulailler

53: Arts and Crafts Festivals

November is a great time to take the family out to a weekend Fall Festival or Arts and Crafts Fair. You can find all sorts of homemade gifts and decorative items. If you’re at a really fancy festival, there might be kids’ activities, music performances, storytellers, fine art shows, and food stands.

Photo courtesy of Ann and Dabney. Visit their cool website at http://mogogoods.com/. They make modern goods from scratch!

55: Experiment with Fondant

Fondant is a wonderful thing. A versatile confection used in everything from cake decorating to homemade candies, you can make fondant at home and experiment with using it for your special occasion sweets. I’ve made fondant mints that used peppermint extract and pressed them into candy molds. They were a big hit!

You can shape fondant just as you would marzipan. It makes great edible decorations for any dessert tablescape! You are only limited by your imagination. If your kids can make things out of playdoh, they can have fun with fondant! Tell us about your own experiments in the comments section! Have fun!

Brilliant cake and photo courtesy of Karen Armstrong and Manassas Cakery

57: Get Creative with Knitting Hats

I’ve been trying to find the perfect hat to knit to convince other people to knit for fun, and I think I’ve found it! Who can resist this baby hat? For the experienced knitter, this could be an afternoon project. In fact, most knitted hat projects can be made in a day or two. They make wonderful gifts and kids love them.

If you get totally hooked on knitting hats, you can knit a few for charity. Here’s a list to get you started:

Knitting for Charity

Head Huggerspattern list

Free knitting hat patterns

I’ve knit several hats for cancer patients in my life, and it’s been the single most rewarding thing about knitting. The care, love, and prayers that fill each hat you knit is special for the recipient and the giver. A hand-knit hat is a treasure! Get out those needles and get knitting!

Fabulous knitting and photo courtesy of Robin Zebrowski.

58: Craft Gifts for Kids

Inexpensive projects to do with kids can also make great gifts! Here are some ideas:

  • An unfinished wood item (initial, birdhouse, stepstool, etc.) with set of acrylic paints and brushes
  • Knitting needles or crochet hook with yarn and a free scarf pattern or knitting instructions
  • Bracelet Beading supplies
  • Stamping set
  • Scrapbooking materials or creativity book
  • Crafting kits of all kinds from JoAnn’s or Borders (lots of these are very inexpensive!)
  • Sewing notions, fabric, easy pattern

Even better than all of the stuff, would be a bonus of a lesson or crafting time with the child. All kids love attention and one-on-one time with their favorite adults. If you paint, sew, knit, crochet, scrapbook, bead, or any other crafty thing, make up an invitation to spend some crafting time with you! They will love it!

A more technical version of this gift would be a radio building kit or other electronics project! Geeky fun!

Beautiful photo courtesy of James Jordan.

60: The “Buy Nothing” Christmas

This is a novel but necessary concept for many people in this economic climate. Forced by circumstance (lay-off, bankruptcy, foreclosure, health problems, other catastrophes,) many Americans will be having a “Buy Nothing” Christmas, or at least a “Buy a WHOLE LOT LESS” Christmas this year.

Even if you aren’t under tremendous economic pressure, there are many ways to save or spend very little this holiday season.

  1. Holiday meals – In your meal planning, go a little lighter on the calorie load. If you want to splurge on Christmas, but stay within your normal budget, plan extremely frugal meals around the holidays. Breakfasts and lunches can be your real money-savers. Learn to make real oatmeal! Flavor with milk and jam or honey. For lunch, pasta dishes are some of the most low-cost meals you can make. Burritos or wraps are great lunch alternatives, too. A great dinner is homemade soup and homemade bread!
  2. Cards – Make your own. It’s just silly to spend $3-5 on a card at Hallmark!
  3. Wrapping paper – Use brown craft paper or plain white paper to wrap gifts. Use twine or raffia to tie up the package. If you are a stamper, let your imagination run wild! Make a matching card! Kids love to decorate gifts with markers and stickers, too.
  4. Have a potluck dinner with friends. Spend what you would’ve on dinner anyway.
  5. Adopt a “no gifts” policy for the adults and focus on the kids.

You can still have a wonderful Christmas without blowing your budget! Start planning now!

Photo courtesy of Joshua Davis. Thanks!

62: Exploding Gift Box

These little boxes are incredible for gift cards and other small-sized gifts. If you are a scrapbooker, you’ve probably already got all the supplies you need on hand. You only need 4 double-sided sheets of 12″x12″ cardstock or heavy scrapbooking paper, various adhesives, embellishments, etc.  You will need ribbon for the finishing touch and some great photos.

I love the idea of this box being a mini-scrapbook, too! On each of those flaps, there is enough room to put a cropped photo, die-cut, favorite quote, or ticket stub. You could really go crazy and make this as elaborate as you like, or keep it simple and let the paper speak for itself. Some beautiful coordinating designer paper would make a great box to put a couple of tickets or a restaurant gift card in. What else could you put it one of these boxes? A handful of candy, a beaded bracelet, a tube of lip gloss, a pair of earrings, an iPod, a new car key, theater tickets, air popped popcorn with a movie gift card inside, the list goes on…

A more masculine looking box would be great for Dad’s desk at work, filled with photos of his family. Kids love these, too, filled with Pokemon cards, small action figures, candy, gift cards, and more!

Get out your imagination and use it! The following links should inspire and instruct you on how to make one of these great boxes! At the very least, make a simple one and use it as a card! It’s fun and addictive!

Photo courtesy (Creative Commons) of the Polished to Perfection blog

63: Unusual Harry Potter Gifts

Musicnotes.comSince the next movie won’t be out this holiday season, how will we get our Harry Potter fix? Well, there are many things out there to tide us over until next summer. You could always play with your HP action figures, have a DVD-watching marathon, play the Scene-It games, but we’ve all done that already. What else is there? Here are some of the more unusual gift ideas for yourself and the other Harry Potter fans in your life!

  1. For the musician, get them a giftcard to download the sheetmusic from the films.
  2. Knit a house scarf for your Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin.
  3. Get them their very own wand from Alivan’s Wand Shop.
  4. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Collector’s Edition (Offered Exclusively by Amazon)
  5. HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS SPELLS & POTIONS MAGIC SCIENCE SERIES STARTER INTRODUCTORY CHEMISTRY I & II EXPERIMENT DEMONSTRATION & PROJECT KITS. Over 20 Safe Easy Science Lab Projects. Gross Troll Boogers, Invisibility Crystals, Goo Blobs, Uhderwater Art and more!
  6. Looking for God in Harry Potter for the Kindle.
  7. Knit Weasley jumpers (sweaters) for all of your friends! Visit Charmed Knits for more Harry Potter knitting projects.

Those are just a few of the unusual items I found online. I’m sure there are dozens more out there!