If there is one thing I have learned the last few years it is to start making gifts in January and keep going! You really do arrive at Christmas with so many gifts and you have enough for all the other gift giving times during the year as well, birthdays, baby, engagements and what ever comes along.
Not only that you have spare gifts. You can give to someone in need, someone you don't know, a women's shelter or another charity.
You can also save a fortune. If you work out your savings you can count them in The Vicky Challenge! These challenges go together. Many people spend thousands per year on gifts. You may be able to spend a fraction of what you used to on presents but still give well. Truly, we can give thoughtful and generous gifts but being paying off the mortgage or stocking the pantry instead! This challenge could save you so much money.
There are other spin offs. Learning new skills can lead to other savings or even items to sell.
Busy hands really do make happy hearts! Truly, being busy at home on projects is lovely.
Learning to make something new is really fun! If I described to you how much fun I have on something new like a new crochet pattern you would laugh at me!
Next you do not have to be crafty to make your presents. Anyone can follow simple directions. You might have a talent already you can use and you might learn new ones. If you are a cook you have a whole range of presents you can make.
I hear people say they are not crafty all the time. They are people who have not had success before. Then they try something and miracles happen. A good example is Wendy (from My Abundant Life). Wendy decided to try card making. She took to it like a duck to water! I know it has brought her so much fun and happiness and now she teaches others!
So don't decide you can't do something. Use any skills you have and learn some more that appeal to you. It will make your year really fun.
Making things all year turns simple things into great gifts. One of my priorities will be to use up supplies we all have in our cupboards and available to us.
For this challenge it will be very helpful to have a work book. Week by week we will fill it with your resources, gift ideas, helpful websites and more. It is just handy to write things down right away before you forget them. I need to do this. Lots of times the photos I take serve as a reminder or I really would forget half of the ideas I come across.
This post is an introduction. Next week we will start working through ideas to make as much as we can from what we have. Then we will go into lots of gifts to make, presentation, wrapping and tags etc. Week by week we will make progress! At the end of each month there will be a show and tell post so everyone can see what we have been making.
I am going to post a lot of easy craft ideas and many will be paper crafts since so many gorgeous things are made of paper and these tend to cost very little. If you already make cards you will find these really a breeze!
After just coming out of a big gift giving season the number one thing I need is fresh ideas! Once I have inspiration I seem to be ok. Otherwise I can get kind of stuck.
Next I need to review what supplies I have. And also who is on my gift list, what birthdays are coming up and what to do first!
Another factor is what time of year we are in. Here it is summer. I am not going to start a heavy woolen blanket now. It's better to start this kind of work in autumn. I know we will have hot days and sometimes then I stay indoors and sew. So that is something good for this month. Be realistic about whats going on now and think about your year. In winter we watch the football. That is a lot of hours of tv. I crochet and do all kinds of things then. Just now we rarely turn the TV on. We have not turned it on for over a week now. We are outside in the evenings and go swimming. I am in the garden in the evening too. But on a hot day I will stay in and can sew. Also being summer I have fruit coming in. I can start on jams and some of these can go towards little gifts and hampers.
Over the whole year it works out!
If I am traveling I take something small to work on. If we are going a long distance and Andy is driving I crochet the whole way in the car! If I know I might be waiting for an appointment I will take something small to work on. Think about your time and when you have chances to work on something. Truly fifteen minutes here and there adds up! Over a year even ten minutes a day will give you all the gifts you need. If time is short but you travel on a train or bus everyday take knitting or crochet and use that time. Use the snippets of time you have. You will be amazed how it adds up.
So lets start with gathering ideas and inspiration. You cannot beat Pinterest for this. You can search a subject of interest, just think of what you would like ie "easy teacher gifts" or "gifts from fabric scraps" and so on. The results are amazing! You Tube is amazing as well. You can learn just about anything.
I was lucky to get wonderful gifts of craft supplies for Christmas and also some gifts that inspired me and gave me an idea. I had moments where I was so excited as I spotted a big idea!
So far I have...
My SIL gave me this gorgeous bath mat. It is so nice!
I love crochet. I have never thought of crocheting an edging around a bath mat. I can do that! I could make pale blue, pale pink... I would like several more myself! Also these could be bedside mats. I love the idea. Now to collect some bath mats. I am thinking IKEA and Target etc. This mat is soft, no hard backing. You could use several different types of bath mat to do it. I will be making a heap of these!
Next I got a whole heap of ideas from Mimi. She always is inspiring and stylish. A couple of ideas I will share are so clever.
Firstly Mimi decorated this folder for me (which I loved in itself)
She has placed pretty things under the clear slip cover of a three ring binder.
Inside the front pocket there are beautiful craft papers...
Then there are clear plastic pockets in the rings full of more pretty papers plus craft scissors through one of the rings...
This gift is a crafters delight. Imagine making up something like this for anyone who makes cards? Over the year you can add to it as you collect things. I have ambitions of finding old wall paper books and cutting them up into colour schemes people like and filling these... but also adding glitters etc. A friend who does scrap booking would adore this!
You could also make them for children ie activity and craft folders of supplies and pretty papers. A perfect holiday gift or travel gift!
This has so many possibilities! Just start with a folder with a clear cover and add plastic pockets. Imagine adding ribbons in one pocket. Glitter sachets in another, cut outs in another... my mind boggles! Personalize but making it up in someones favorite colours or themes such as roses, butterflies or whatever is most loved. This would be such a hit!
Mimi also made beautiful sheets of paper with script writing. Folded beautifully with a bow around them they looked divine. Also something for all occasions. You can see her original instructions here.
This is a gift anyone would like as we all use wrapping paper and lovely paper in my news agency is four or five dollars a sheet!
I would need to practice my script admitedly! On a smaller scale french script could be printed onto A4 sheets via the printer onto any colour.... Lovely gift idea!
My sister in law then gave my Mum a gift that was another fantastic idea. It was a set of microfiber cloths to wash yourself and take off eye makeup. They were pale pink and so soft. The body ones had a soft and a more exfoliating side. The eye makeup ones are thick round disks and in a pretty jar all stacked nicely. Being a sucker for beauty and bath things I studied these up close! It was love at first sight basically.
To snoop further I went on to the company website and also saw the price. You can do the same if interested...
I can make these! And in pale pink, pale blue, lilac... any colour really. Microfiber is available many places and all kinds of thicknesses and quality. I just have to find the suitable material and then cut them out and sew them up. Microfiber itself is not expensive. It is great stuff and fine soft microfiber is good for makeup removal etc. (it is no good for irritated skin though). So sets of these are on my list of things to make! Tied up with a lovely ribbon I love this gift. I am also planning to make soap this year. This gift would go with my soap too.
My final Christmas inspiration comes from beautiful Fiona. She made me kitchen towels and embroidered my name and pretty edges on them. And one is a Bluebirds are Nesting kitchen towel!
I loved this so much! (thanks Fiona!)
And it gave me so many ideas! Using machine embroidery or hand stitching it doesn't matter... monogram's, names on things, verses or sayings that are just right for a person can go onto a towel, pillowcase, bag, table runner....THINK of all the possibilities!
So I have some ideas and many more planned. Now I can't wait to get started.
If you do one thing this week then go through what supplies you have on hand that COULD become gifts even if you don't know what you would make. We will get to that!Next consider what you might have available to you. It might be that you have wood, fabric or a tree of fruit in the yard. Anything that is a resource, even if you don't know how to use it, note that down.
We don't have to start anything now. Come back next week knowing what materials you have and with some ideas of what you would like to make. This is a week to review and gather inspiration. Spend some hours looking. Try Pinterest for the first time. Or search crochet blogs or "...." blogs inserting something you are interested in.
I am off to pull all my fabric out of the cupboard and make a list... see you next Wednesday!
I must apologise to two people as I deleted two comments accidentally! If your comment didn't appear Monday it was my fault. I had a whole heap of spam and had a delete festival and then deleted two actual comments. Very sorry, if yours didn't show up please try again. Spam is a real pain. The maddest spam is comments that say do I have trouble with spam! How crazy is that? They are trying to sell everything from houses to viagra! So I do a lot of deleting! oops.