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Wishing for more green
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the tightest Christmas's ever is coming up and so I am looking for ideas. I have three girls and two nieces, yes no boys. I have patterns for Barbie and doll clothes and will make some of those. The girls range from 2 years of age to 17. Any other ideas? Keep in mind I am a novice!
 

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The fabric stores run sales on fleece quite often and if there is a JoAnns close by they often have coupons for 50% any one cut of fabric that isn't on sale. I could make those cute no sew fleece blankets. I'll be thinking about other simple inexpensive things.
 

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I don't know about where you are but here on the day after T-giving JoAnn's has a huge sale in the a.m. They open at 5:00 and you need to be there then. It takes forever to get through the cutting tables but you can save a bundle.

Lisa, I'm at home and using my slow dial up. YOu might post that link I sent you w/ the video of how to make those pillow cases. They could be done in pretty, funky or juvinile prints as is appropriate for the age.

You might go to Goodwill or another second hand store and get some old jeans. They, you can make purses out of the tops of them. You can add fabric trim, straps and a "belt" out of the fabric. Lots of pics available on internet.

I'll keep thinking, too.
 

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I second the jeans purses. Look at Goodwill also for videos, CD's, etc. You can make pillows out of scraps you have, or Tshirts for the older girls, in the shape of hot dogs on buns, hamburgers, or whatever strikes your fancy. Hair scrunchies for pony tails are easy to make with scrap elastic and some scraps of fabric. Munchies of all kinds from what you have on hand. Snack mix, cookies, etc. Goodwill gets lots of donations from stores with the tags still on them. Scour the racks and see what you can find. Warm socks, etc.

Can you make jewelry? Is there a dollar store in your area? Check out things there. Make each one a treasure box from a second hand makeup or tool box, and fill with small goodies. Good luck! Jan in Co
 

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FREECYCLE!! If you havn't joined a freecycle group in your area, do it now... I pick up old prom and bridesmaids dresses (for FREE) , cut the body part off and fold the ragged edges under with a streight stitch and make "princess" skirts and dress up clothes for my daughter when she was younger and friends daughters since then. You can fill a LARGE box with dress up clothes for the younger neices or daughters.

Freecycle also works for finding plus size clothes (which have a lot of fabric in them) then take them apart to use the fabric. I have even picked up one of those large wooden play forts.. swingset/ slide/club house... all for free, I just had to find someone to help me take it down and haul it.
 

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Wishing for more green
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All great ideas, hopefully I can start Monday. We did the dress up chest last year, great success. I picked up an old chest at a garage sale and the neighbor has two girls in their 20s and they gave us all their old prom dresses, picked up a few other things and one Christmas present done. The girls loved it!

I really like the pillow case idea, can customize to personality along with a blanket!!
 

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I always did Christmas mugs or cups with hot chocolate packets, a few peices of fun sized candy, pencils, pens (when older), a ruler, a tavel sized tootpaste, floss, lotion, mouthwash, and 1 or 2 McDonald's gift certificates. They always loved them, even the older ones and they actually complained last year when I didn't give them.:nono: I just thought at 17, 21, 24 and 27, they had gotten a little old. lol I'll be doing it again this year though.
 

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Pretty neckroll pillows... they can be lacy and romantic or some modern funky fabrics depending on the girls... I've never met a girl who didn't like one. I make them of plain colors of slipper satin and even the men in my family like them.

I've also made polar fleece blankets, and I hem them. I make them 3 yards long for anyone that approaches 6 feet tall and they're a huge, huge hit, as they're actually long enough.

Silly novelty fabric pajama bottoms... not much fit and very, very practical and useful.

dawn
 

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Don't overlook the current Joann Veterans' sale. There is a flyer in the store with a 10% coupon off total purchase (including regular and sale priced items.)

No-sew fleece throw kits are 50% 9.99-14.99 - if that's in your budget.

I second the idea of pretend/dressup clothes for the young ones - with old jewelry, purses, scarves, and hats.

Bags from recycled jeans with outrageous embellishments recycled from other thrift store finds for the teens.

Also, I like to make placemats and napkins for the adults. I got a 54" tweed fabric in the flatfold home dec section (50%) for $3 a yd. Then at checkout, I got the 10% off of that.

A yard of 54" makes 6 placemats. I will run a machine stitch around each one about 1/4" or 3/8 '" from the edge and then pull threads to fringe.

One time in the thrift, I found a 2 yd piece suitable for placemats for a dollar or two. That piece will make 12 mats really reasonable. I'm always making these to have ready for gifts. And sometimes, some end up being a gift for me. :)
 

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Trainer of kids, dogs and horses...fears nothing
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I just bought this panel:
"Serenity Prayer" Worthy Quote 1 yd. Panel - (JT-c4554 Ecru)
Panel has four prayers (Serenity Prayer, Amazing Grace, Prayer of St. Francis
and the Beatitudes) three bookmarks and four labels.


and have several Christmas presents in it, if I can only figure out what they are. ;)
 

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One tight year, I was going to make fleece blankets in appropriate patterns for my two girls (one kittens, one boats...). Well, I miscalculated my measurements, so what I ended up doing was simply folding the fleece in two and stitching up the bottom and one side...didn't even hem it at the top (Picture a giant pillow case, maybe two feet wide by three and a half tall). I called them "TV sacks" and gave them to my girls. They have loved them and used them more than anything I have ever given them! In fact, my older girl has about gotten too tall for hers, and wants me to make her another "TV sack" that she can actually pull up to her chin again! Get some fleece on sale, a different pattern for each child, and spend about five minutes making them!

Also, for little girls, "make-up boxes" of sample-sized cosmetics, some nail clippers, a nail file, a pretty puff (different color for each!), and the like is bound to be a hit. I have put these together for about five bucks, box or even a playground bucket included. Start early collecting things (Target often has things in the dollar bin that are perfect). Also, one year I got the girls a towel/handtowel/washcloth set that they got a kick out of. I got them 75 percent off at Wal Mart, but they were impressed to have their *very own* towels.

Also, think consumables...if you can get a day to bake, cook them up each a basket of their very own treats that they don't even have to share with anyone--who doesn't love that??!

Have fun with it instead of worrying about how to do something cheaply. Sometimes some of the most fun things to receive don't even cost that much to begin with. They're special, well-thought out, invested with a little time, and unique. What more can anyone ask from a gift?
 

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how about some bath towels with a hood. i bought some terry cloth and made a "hood" midway along the long side of the fabric. its for the younger girls in my family. i just know they will love them for getting out of the bath on those chilly days.

they sell them for newborns but i used large pieces to make the towels for a 3 year and 8 year old
 

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I got the cutest xmas soup mugs at ARC store for $.50. Last yr I bought fleece blankets at Big Lots for $3.00...then I looked at scraps and added a strip on the angle on the corner. Another yr I embroidered name on a heart and then sewed it on the blanket. There are many things at the dollar store, pkg of 3 chapsticks, divide up for 3 girls.
 

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Rowena,

I was thinking about this thread and thought I'd offer a bit of encouragement. Over the years my children have been growing up there have been a few times were things were very, very tight, including one year, when my hubby was out of work for 11 months. While we managed to live on savings and by extreme frugality, the holidays went off without a hitch. We explained to the kids the need to hold spending to a minimum and our kids kicked in like champs, making gifts and really, truly fully enjoying the traditions... cookie baking, Advent devotions, spending time together, even putting together puzzles and playing their musical instruments,,, never asking to go shopping/ to the movies, etc. It was a testament to the fact that they'd truly 'gotten' the meaning of Christmas that we'd been trying to teach all along.

The lead off indicator of how they'll 'take this' is YOUR attitude. I worked really hard to be festive on a 'non-existant' budget (we decorated with greenery and natural things, just like we have every year), we used the 'good china' for meals and we still would have a friend or two over. (They usually brought part of the meal as well). We have always celebrated Advent and we've always made Christmas ornaments. While I worried a bit about what Christmas morning would be like, the kids really rose to the occasions and LOVED what they'd each made and given each other.

We did explain to our extended families that we'd not be sharing gifts this year, only a meal, and they were all very generous with very practical considerations for us, which was much appreciated.

We all recall the 'tighter' Christmas as a really special one. I wish that for you and yours.

hugs,
dawn
 

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It's the unique that children remember. I remember the Christmas where we didn't have a Christmas tree. My Mother cut a huge tree out of butcher paper and allowed us girls to color it and decorate it. She then hung it up on the wall and put the presents in front of it. Then there was my 12th birthday when my Mom made a "tree" stack out of glazed donuts and then ran red icing up and down the stack.

For my niece's birthday this last week, I found a site that had Berenstein Bear paper dolls. I printed them out, cut them out and glued them to index cards (wardrobe too). Hopefully they will hold up to a 6 year old.

Maybe for the older girls you could make some mix tapes or cds. Maybe for the younger ones you could run off some coloring pages for the characters that they love and make them coloring books.

That reminds me: this last summer my niece and I painted rocks that we found in the yard so she could put them in her "garden." We used plain old craft paint and nail polish. Those turned out really pretty.

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I know that none of this is sewing related. But it sure beats the heck out of toys that cost way too much and might be poisonous to our precious little ones.
 

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Check out yard sales for broken beaded necklaces, old clip on earrings. I got a huge box from an estate sale for $1.00. I restrung them making small size jewelry and my granddaughter and niece LOVE them. Use heavy weight fishing line or elastic thread and you don't have to purchase clasps!

My gkids and niece love fleece blankets and their own pillow (covered with the same fleece) that I made for them--first thing they do when they get here is go get the pillow and blanket. Just cut the blankets --no need for hems and the pillowcase is cut 2x's the length and width of your pillow/fold (outside-in) and seam around three sides, turn and place a stained or cheap bed pillow in there, turn down the open edges and seam them together..

Make them their own aprons, fill a bowl with baggies of measured 'fixins' for their favorite cookies.. It will be fun for them to make their own cookies with mom/dad's help.

take a clean ice cream bucket or one from the bakery and fill it full of popcorn, candy, hot cocoa mix, and a movie ( you can find movies at the every thing's a $ store/WMart/dime stores OR you can make a copy for the tv, make a movie ticket type of label (print it out from the computer or hand craft one) and put "Starring --(their name)" on it!

Buy inexpensive tee shirts--a few sizes larger than they wear, add iron ons or draw w/ fabric pens to them to make them fit their personalities, likes, joys etc and they can wear them for nightgowns. You don't have to be an artist--you can draw stick girls.. add curly blond hair and add glasses IF that's what the girls look like..

QB
 

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For the older ones, could you give the gift of sewing lessons?

Or a sewing party? Where they come and enjoy a party of making something of their own- like the jean purse, only let them pick the embellishments?

Jammies are always good. Pick funky flannel patterns.
 
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