Monday, December 31, 2012 2 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day Eight

This gift is for a teen-aged niece. I thought of her when I saw the "Forever Sunshine" B&BW products, especially since yellow is her favorite color.

I made a Gaptastic Cowl using some Lion Brand Homespun yarn. This is what it looks like at full length:

And this is what it looks like doubled-up:

To match those, I made some Peppermint Patties fingerless mittens:

My total cost for this gift was around $7 to fill a large gift box.
Friday, December 28, 2012 1 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day Seven

This gift was a little hard to photograph because of the shrink wrap, but I really like how it turned out. I had this box leftover from a few years ago and decided to use it as the base for this gift.

Also included are several color-coordinated Bath & Body Works items, a spatula, recipe cards, heart-shaped measuring spoons, hand sanitizer, magnetic paper pad, and two handmade dishcloths.

To keep everything together and to keep them from falling out, I bought shrink wrap plastic from the dollar store. (It didn't work as well this time as the last time, but oh well.)

My total cost for this gift: around $8.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012 1 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day Six

I know Christmas is officially over for this year, but I'm going to continue sharing this year's Christmas gifts. I hope it will give you inspiration for birthdays and Christmases to come!

This collection gift was for my sister-in-law who was like a second mother to my husband. (They have a large family.) She's a fantastic lady, so I was thrilled to be able to fill this box with a mixture of storebought pretties and handmade-from-the-heart gifts.

There are several vintage sheet napkins, a homemade scrubbie, a hand-knit butterfly hat, and a vintage sheet apron to go with the storebought goodies.

Total cost for this gift: around $6 to fill a large gift box.
Monday, December 24, 2012 1 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day Five

As soon as I saw the Paris Amour fragrance at Bath & Body Works, I thought of this niece. So I was thrilled to find out that this apron and ruffle scarf match it perfectly!

I thought I had posted this apron on my blog before, but I can't seem to find it. Sorry, because the gift has already been given!

Cost for this gift: around $8 to fill a large gift box
Friday, December 21, 2012 1 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day Four

I had a lot of fun pairing up items from my gift stash this year! Since neither my husband nor I could remember if this niece's favorite color is blue or green, I decided to do both and make sure I got it right. :)

The apron (made from vintage sheets) is mostly blue, as is the hand sanitizer and holder. The Bath & Body Works Cucumber Melon body wash is green. The ruffle scarf pulled both of the colors together nicely. My cost for this gift was around $7, and it fills a large gift box.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 1 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day Three

Whenever Bath & Body Works has their semi-annual sales, I like to use those $10/$40 coupons and stock up on lady and teen girl gifts for the year. Who doesn't like Bath & Body Works products? (Probably a few people, but none of them are on my gift list.)

As I was going through my gift stash, I noticed that this purple ruffle scarf perfectly matched the packaging on the "Be Enchanted" lotion. It was a perfect pairing, and I paid around $6 for the whole gift, not including my time. I consider that a fantastic price for a gift this nice.
Monday, December 17, 2012 1 comments

Christmas Gift Preview: Day Two

My husband's family does a random gift exchange every year, and we're supposed to keep the cost between $3-5. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last ten years, you'll understand how challenging it can be to get something that isn't tacky or useless in that price range. Somehow we all manage to find nice things, though, because there are always nice gifts in the exchange. Last year was the year of fleece throws. :)

At any rate, this gift illustrates the principle that "presentation is everything." I picked up the spatulas, candles, soap dispenser and recipe box (the container) for around $0.10-0.25 each when dollar items went on clearance, mostly at Michaels. I crocheted the two dishcloths with brand-new yarn I picked up at Goodwill for a fantastic price. (Remember this box?)
Saturday, December 15, 2012 1 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day One

If you need some inexpensive gift or packaging ideas for Christmas this year, I hope my next few posts will help you out! I also hope that none of my husband's family members read my blog ... :)

We picked up this little purse at a thrift store since it was bag day (everything you can fit in a bag for $2) and "A" is the first letter of our 11-year-old niece's first name. Since it was used, I didn't want it to be the gift. But it made a great gift bag for the rest of the gift - a ruffle scarf, two hand sanitizers, and a sanitizer holder.
Thursday, December 13, 2012 1 comments

Dollar Tree find!

While I was picking up the last few gift-wrapping supplies at Dollar Tree on Monday, I ran across these Hot Wheels customizable license plates:

I suspected $1 was a fantastic price for these, so I snatched up enough for all the boys on my list who get birthday and/or Christmas gifts. I was right, since I looked them up on Amazon and saw that they are going for $4.99 and up.

You get two license plates in each package, as well as a sheet of reusable letters and numbers. This would be perfect for kids with unique names or spellings who never seem to find their names on the pre-printed license plates they sell.

I'm giving my kids a set as a Christmas countdown gift, so I'll let you know if we have any difficulty with the letters.

I can't guarantee that your store will have them, but it's worth a look the next time you're in the store!

P.S. Now that my kids have opened them, I noticed that they're plastic. It's not a dealbreaker with me (nor is it a surprise), but I realized that some of you may be expecting metal. Also, they are stamped on the back of the plate with the Dollar Tree information, so they may end up being a regular item, at least for awhile. Who knows? My kids loved them and customized their own within ten minutes.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 1 comments

More Ruffle Scarves

I made a few more ruffle scarves, but I made these for personal gifts this time. (If you like these colors and want them from my Etsy shop, drop me a line and I can do a custom order for you.)

This pink one was for my daughter's birthday. She loved it!

This purple one was for the Christmas gift stash.

If you can knit basic stitches and need a pretty quick gift, these ruffle scarves are a great option for last-minute gift-giving this year!

(Or you can purchase them from my Etsy shop to help my friend's family with the costs associated with her daughter's cancer treatments and burial expenses.)
Saturday, December 8, 2012 0 comments

Remember November Socks Test Knit

I recently test-knit another sock pattern for a friend on Ravelry. If you're looking for a good introduction to sock-knitting, this would be a good one. There's no scary "turning the heel" to worry about - it's an after-thought heel that uses basic stitches.

 It's also highly adaptable to whatever your foot size or preferred sock size. I have a smallish foot, but I was able to adjust it very easily to fit my feet. I also prefer anklets (unless it's winter), so that's what I made. It was really quite easy and straightforward.

Another nice thing is that they're toe-up, which means you're not going to run out of yarn unexpectedly. I think that's my favorite aspect of toe-up socks!

If you're interested in trying them, the pattern is called Remember November Socks. It's a very low-priced pattern, and I'm pretty sure pattern sales go to her son's college bill.
Thursday, December 6, 2012 1 comments

Pink Princess Shawl

When my daughter saw a red shawl I had knitted for myself (no pictures yet - give me some time for my foot to heal), she told me that she wants a shawl, but hers has to be pink.

Since 7-year-old girls (especially mine) are prone to accidental spills and such, I made hers out of acrylic (mine was a wool/llama blend). And since I happen to have a ton of worsted-weight pink acrylic on hand, that’s what I used.

I worked from the cast on the whole way to the edging in one day. (I knit most of the day since it was a day off.) I was surprised to find that it used almost all of my pink yarn. Yay for stashbusting! I needed to buy some white yarn to finish the project, so it sat for a few days until I could get out to buy some white yarn for the edging.

I think I'll be giving her this for Christmas. If you're interested in knitting a cute child-sized shawl, this pattern is called Princess by Angela Tong, and it's a free one.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 0 comments

Operation Christmas Child ... 2013

I'm not sure if I mentioned it here or not, but this was our first year to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. My kids both set aside money (on their own) for "poor children". Since you and I both know that there are very few truly poor children that my kids could afford to buy gifts for, I remembered the idea of packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.

It was a huge success! Since we didn't have an opportunity to save up for awhile, we only did two shoeboxes this year, one for each child. I used money from my Etsy shop to "sponsor" the boxes (the donation that Samaritan's Purse asks for to help cover the shipping costs). Next year we plan to send as many as possible, so we're going to save up throughout the year to cover the cost per box.

At any rate, we had some things on hand that were perfect for the shoeboxes - school supplies from the back-to-school sales, small gifts I have picked up on clearance for our gift stash, etc. After we filled as much as we could with what we had, I took the kids out shopping with their money to fill the boxes the rest of the way. It was a great lesson in economy and stretching your money, let me tell you! :)

It was such a good experience that I decided to start collecting things for next year's boxes as soon as we were done with this year's. With that in mind, let me share two pictures of what I just found this past week for next year's boxes.

The cost of even $1 items can really add up over several boxes, so I was thrilled to find several boxes of former Target Dollar Spot items (still brand-new in their packaging) at a Goodwill at a very reasonable price of 10/$1!

I'm not sure how much you'll be able to make out from the picture, so here's a little rundown of the 50* items I got for $5: bouncy balls (around 4"), jump rope, journals, train whistle, wooden airplane, hair accessories, and socks. These are all on the list of recommended items, so I was absolutely thrilled to get them.  These balls aren't tiny. They're the size of a child's hand, and boy, can they bounce!

Mini Etch a Sketches are also on the lists for almost every age group, but they can be a bit pricey for their size. I was thrilled to find a basket full of them at a surplus store for $1.40 each. I passed up several because they were falling out of their original packaging. The packaging on these is a little bent-up, but I checked them all to make sure they were in good working order. It's a great price for a brand-new mini Etch a Sketch!

I'll try to remember to keep you updated as I find good deals throughout the year for these boxes.

*No, I doubt we'll be sending 50 boxes next year, unless I can find a church or organization to sponsor shipping the boxes. But at $0.10 per toy, I can hang on to these toys for a few years. Toys like this don't go bad with age.