Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Holiday Gifts on a budget

This is really a hard task. Staying on a budget while finding great Christmas gifts.

How about a personalized Deck of Cards with your family photo. Sort of a greeting card AND a great gift at the same time!
Another terrific gift are soups or baking mixes in a jar. Heart4home has a HUGE list for gifts in a jar. Print out a cute label with cooking instructions... stick to the jar & VOILA ... the perfect gift for teachers, neighbors, friend & family.

Personalized Microwave popcorn at & as a special treat... slide in a Blockbuster or Movie theater gift card.

Wax Firestarters

These are great to keep in the car or snowmobile as emergency heat or a basketful by the fireplace.

#1... Newspaper knots. Take the comics for colorful knots or any newspaper.
lay out a sheet & roll or fold from one corner to the other. Tie CAREFULLY into a "knot". Don't pull too tight & rip. Melt wax (leftover broken crayons or any wax).... dip the knotted corner & halfway up the ends. Let dry. Add to an inexpesive basket from the dollar store or a thrift store. Lighting instructions.... just light the ends that don't have wax & set into logs.

#2... Toilet paper tube firestarters. take the cleaned off empty toilet paper tubes & using a paper punch... punch 3 holes up each 4 sides. Stuff with shredded newspaper OR strip shred all that junk mail. Stuff the tubes pretty tight with the paper. Melt wax (crayon pieces or clear) & lay paper tubes in (making sure they are totally submerged in wax).
Let soak in wax for a few min. Take out with tongs & put on a cooling rack to drain & dry. Put wax paper or foil under rack to catch excess was. Light & add to logs. For Emergency heat... these will stay burning for about 20 min. So keeping in a car during the winter is a great idea.

#3 ... Pinecone firestarters. I use a little candle scent for this... get the disposable aluminum muffin tins from dollar store... Lightly spray with spray oil like Pam. Melt wax & add scent and color (optional) Cut a 2 or 3 inch piece of candle wick & set in tin with a pine cone. Pour in wax, let cool & pop out of tin. Fill a basket for a beautiful decoration at the fireplace. Just set a firestarter on top of log & light. Melting wax will scent the room & keep the logs burning.

Gifts for kids...
Chunky Rainbow Crayons:
Have lots of crayon stubs that are too small to hold on to? Don't throw them out! You can use them to create big, chunky crayons. Ask a local school, daycare or church for broken crayons.

Here's How:
Gather up all of your broken crayons, and cut them into small pieces.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Fill the muffin tin or aluminum "throw-a-way" tins from the dollar store with a inch-thick layer of crayon pieces.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the wax is melted.
Allow the tin to cool; then pop out the crayons, and they're ready for use.
Candy and soap making molds can also be used to create fun, shaped crayons.

Duck Soaps

Purchase glycerin soap from a craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels that melts in the microwave. add soap color & scent.

Rubber duckies at any dollar store or

Pour melted soap into molds or the disposable plastic sour cream type containers. Set in rubber ducks. Cool & pop out. Wrap in cellophane & add a bow.

So there are a few gift ideas that won't break the bank during the Holidays.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Holiday Parties on a budget ... decorations

Christmas time is always a financially tight time of year. Here are some "budget minded" ideas that won't empty your pockets.


Dollar stores such as Dollar tree or Craft stores like Hobby lobby or Michaels can be great places for inexpensive decorating products. Another place to find interesting items is

A beautiful Table centerpiece.... a 3 or 4 candle holder that holds taper candles ... hot glue garland or white fake poinsettias around the bottom of the holder. Add red or white candles.

Personalized Candles are also a great addition to your decorations.

Plenty of Garland can turn your home into a winter wonderland. Using Command adhesive hooks (by 3M) on walls or stairways. Wind lights ... wire berries ... pine cones in the garland.

Wind some garland around either a wire ring or Styrofoam ring.... add fake berries ... fake poinsettias & a red ribbon as a beatutifull wreath. Hang inexpensive ornaments from the garland.

Silver or gold garland with lights added are easily taped around inside windows, around doorways or arches.

Tie greens or ornaments to the chandelier with a little Christmas ribbon, just make sure they don't hang low enough for any candles on the table to catch them on fire.

Get a wicker basket with a handle ..... fill with pinecones. Hot glue them together & wind in some lights for a beautiful floor decoration or by a fireplace.

Save all those Christmas cards & tape into a tree shape on the all or hang over your curtain rod over a window. You can also tape them into garland on the stairway.

So there are a few decorating tips for the holidays.