40 Penny Pinching Holiday Gift Ideas, Pt 2

I'd like to thank all of my readers who sent me such delightful emails or left comments last week.  I appreciate the support of my blog and I was really touched by so many kind comments.  It is very gratifying to know that a) what I am writing is read LOL and b) you found the ideas, suggestions and the tiny tutorials in the blog post helpful in getting your projects together. 

Thanks for stopping by today to read "round 2".  This week I had some time to get some photos together!! I sincerely hope you find some inspiration and ideas that you can put together to help $ave you some dollar$ this holiday season.

21. Sew some fun kitchen projects - potholders that double as oven mitts, a 1 yd. apron, a casserole holder, dish liquid bottle apron, hanging hand towel (also great for the bathroom!) even a tablecloth. Quick and easy projects for even the beginning sewer.

22. Make Dog Biscuits for a furry friend. My little doggie Shelby reminded me to not to forget all our furry friends who love homemade dog biscuits. He wanted me to tell you:  "Send my mom an email for my two favourites, Cheddar Cheese and Peanut Butter. You can use Christmas cookie cutters to cut them out and bake them in your oven like my mom does!"

Put your finished biscuits, after they are cooled,  in a tin or decorate a zip lock bag for gift giving with the following note: "Like most homemade baked goods, these dog treats are preservative-free. They must be refrigerated or frozen. When refrigerated, the treats will be good for about one week, while they will last indefinitely when frozen."

Not to forget those Kitty Lovers among us ... here's a recipe for Catnip Cookies...

* 1 cup of all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
* 2 tablespoons of wheat germ
* 2-4 tablespoons of catnip (you can buy it in a pet store)
* 1/3 cup of milk
* 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon of molasses
* 1 egg

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, wheat germ and catnip).
3. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl (egg, milk, vegetable oil, and molasses.
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and work it into a dough
5. Lightly flour the counter or other work surface
6. Remove a portion of dough and use a rolling pin to uniformly flatten the dough to a thickness between
1/8 of an inch and 1/4 of an inch.
7. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares using a rolling pizza cutter or a cookie cutter of your choice.
8. Place the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
9. Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp and lightly browned.

This recipe will make approximately 50 medium-sized cat treats. Once the treats have cooled, gently remove them and place the cookies into several small freezer bags. Extend the life of these treats, store them inside the freezer in several small freezer bags. As needed remove a bag from the freezer and leave it out for several hours to thaw. Once the treats are thawed, transfer into a tightly closed container and store inside the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

From: All Natural Cat Treat Recipes: Cook Up a Batch of Delicious Homemade Cookies for Kitties at

23. Easy Fleecey Wearables... baby mitts, adult mitts, balaklava, cape, fleecey muffler scarf and more. Bundle up and stay warm this winter with these quick and easy to sew projects.

24. Purchase a large loaf pan and include a Tea Bread Mix along with the recipe to "finish it up and bake".

If you would like to do this project, you will need 4 medium sized ziploc bags. a basic Tea Bread Mix recipe
and recipes for making various types of delicious teabreads and large loaf pans. Each pan will hold two Tea Bread mixes. They make a great gift for people who appreciate home baking but don't have the time (or inclination or talent) to do it themselves. Click here for the basic Make-a-Mix recipe to fill 4 medium sized ziploc bags with the basic ingredients. The recipes for including with your make a mix basic ingredients baggie are : Apple Nut Cinammon Quick Bread; Banana Nut Cream Cheese Quick Bread.

Two of these mixes, along with the recipes to "finish them" nestled in a loaf pan and wrapped in cellophane with a curly bow on top make a lovely gift. They take less than 10 minutes to put together and pop into the oven. These recipes have been "taste tested" by my family and passed with flying colours!!

25. Make an Altered Lunch Box.  Take your lunch to school or work in style.  A fun project to make for children, teens and maybe even yourself! You can purchase "new" lunch boxes to alter at Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

26. Sew an Art Tote for a friend or an Activity Bag (just add a few pockets on the outside to hold crayons, etc.) for a child or teen. You may even want to add some supplies to the tote... watercolour paper, drawing paper, acrylics, watercolor paint, paint brushes, crayons, markers, and colouring books are just a few suggestions.  It's an easy, quick  project for even the novice sewer.  Here's a photo of the activity bag I made from some leftover jean fabric (you could recycle some jeans!) and less than a yard of purchased materials.  This is for my "rick rack loving" granddaughter and will be stuffed with art supplies:

27. A Dishtowel Angel is a fun, little project for the kitchen.  All you need is a dish towel, washcloth and potholder.  Everyone needs a kitchen angel!!! 

28. No Sew Doggie Bed - here's a no sew doggie bed made with fleece material and stuffed with polyfill. Sweet for small dogs. Tutorial and photos posted by LilFiney on the Craftster website.  Hope she doesn't mind that I have included one of her photographs to show you.  I didn't have a way to get in touch with her to ask permission.  If anyone knows her and how to get in touch with her, please let me know.

If you are into recycling or have a dog who loves to dig out the polyfill stuffing (like mine does!), here's another idea.  My little Shelby loves his soft, cuddly bed that I made from a recycled mattress protector, polyfill from an extra pillow and some fleece with velour hearts on it.  He loves to have lots of his treasured "toys" in bed with him (he's had the little teddy bear since he was a puppy.  He loves that little bear... he treats it very gently and even talks to it LOL)  This simple design is perfect for him.

I simply cut the single bed mattress protector in half, sewed the edges leaving an opening at the top to stuff it.  Once it was stuffed, I sewed across the opening and "tuffed" it with quilting thread (thread a large darning needle with double quilting thread, insert the needle so that it goes all the way through the stuffed bag from one side to the other.  Take a stitch. Bring it back up and tie a double knot.  Repeat this in regular intervals over the whole  bag (on a 36" square bag, a tuft every 6 inches or so)  This will keep the polyfill from bunching up.  Now make a cover for this inner bag.  Measure the bag.  Double the material and cut it to size to fit the inner bag.  Sew both edges and part of each side on the top.  You could make an outer cover with a hidden zipper at one end (this is the way I did it) or attach velcro on the seam allowances.  Takes no time at all to make and is easy to keep clean.  Just unzip the cover and throw it in the washing machine.

29.  Make a cute Spool Baby.  A bit of whimsy for the tree or as a "trinket" to attach to a gift 

30. Polymer clay buttons. Watch a video here to make some simple buttons for that sweater you knit for your sister, friend or grandchild.  Sewers always appreciate buttons for their creations.  Make some fancier ones for a friend or relative in their favourite colour.  Attach them to a card and voila... a lovely little stocking stuffer gift.

31. Enchanted Evening Kit - You can often find fancy cut glass bowls in thrift stores for pennies.  Add some floating candles and a few pretty silk flowers for decoration.  Add a split of champagne and two glasses and voila you have a lovely floating candles kit for a romantic evening during the Holiday season. 

32. Luxury Bath Kit -  purchase some votive candle holders at your local thrift store (they usually have tons of them for pennies on the dollar).  Couple it with a candle, bath salts, bubble bath, dreamy custom mix CD, a couple of chocolates, a fluffy bath towel and a romantic paperback book.

33. Vintage gift tags. Cover both sides of some ATC sized matboard (2-1/2" x 3-1/2") with dictionary or old ad paper. Using distress ink, ink the edges. Glue a vintage image to the front. Punch a hole in the top and
add a piece of ribbon. A set of six for a friend who loves vintage makes a fun gift!  Here's a photo of some I made (at the bottom of the photo) along with some ornies for the tree (at the top) to match.

34. Bamboo Tile Book Thong- You can leave the bamboo tile as is or paint it. Once dry, glue a printed
image to the front of a bamboo tile. Let dry. Seal it with several coats of gloss acrylic (Triple Thick, available at Michaels works well). Let dry. Cut approx. 30 inches of waxed linen cord. Thread it through the holes in the bamboo tile and even it up at the ends. Tie a knot. Now thread a couple of beads through both ends of the cord. Tie a knot to hold them in place. A couple of inches from the end of the cord, make a knot. Add a few more beads and knot. Your book thong is ready to place in a book or journal for gift-giving.  Here's a photo of some I made, although I used wire in the bamboo tile and attached the waxed linen thread to the loop on the wire.

35. Make some Homemade Vanilla Extract. Immerse a few whole vanilla beans in vodka in a tall bottle with a tag saying, "Don't open until Spring." Homemade vanilla extract is worth the wait.

36. Make a set of luxurious cotton damask napkins. A yard and three quarters of 45" tablecloth damask will make 6 - 20"x20" dinner napkins. For something special... look on e-Bay for some deals on retro or vintage fabric. Neatly hemmed, starched, folded and tied with a pretty ribbon this gift will delight a hostess who loves vintage linens. Here's a link to napkin folds you can do to make your package even more special (include the instructions with your gift)

37. Collage a small hat box and fill it with Christmas and herbal teas, tea cups, pretty napkins and some home baked Christmas cookies.

38. Go through your art supplies and fill a  decorated box with "goodies" for an art friend.  Every artist or crafter I know loves "rifling" through a treasure box of goodies!

39. Pull out your beads and make a necklace, earrings and bracelet . Lots of ideas and instructions at Fire
Mountain Gems  or Artbeads

40. Holiday Breakfast Treat Basket.  Fill small jars with "Lemon Curd". Add a "make a mix" jar of breakfast scones and a recipe for Mock Devonshire Cream. Yummy!! According to my SIL, Christmas morning at our house (we spend Christmas with my SIL and BIL each year) wouldn't be the same if we didn't have curd, apple, cream cheese scones and my version of devonshire cream. She waits all year for this delightfully scrumpcious treat!

Spray paint a basket red, tuck in a few Christmas napkins, some shiny red apples and 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese along with the ready make a mix, the finished curd and the recipe for the devonshire cream.  The only thing that the recipient will have to purchase is whipping cream (that just won't keep in a basket unrefrigerated!).  Wrap the basket in clear cellophane and tie it with a big red bow! Send me an email for the recipes.

There you have it - 40 ideas to keep you busy and save you some pennies this holiday season!  But more importantly... there is nothing like a gift made by a friend or relative that says "I love you" or "I value our friendship" more loudly than the time and effort that goes into making or putting together a gift you know they will enjoy.
I hope these blog posts have given you some ideas of homemade with love gifts for your friends and family.  Gosh, I am really on a roll.  There are still lots more ideas floating around in my head LOL.  For example, a set of fun MOO cards (small artistic business cards) like the one below for a friend with her "particulars" on the back

or maybe some cute fridge magnets like these

Oh well, guess all those ideas will just be added to the list for next year. LOL

I'll be out most of the day on Friday and Saturday at a Christmas lunch with my claymates but will answer any emails as soon as I can.

Have fun making holiday gifts this week,