Thursday, August 4, 2011

gifts in the making

In addition to parting with 100 items in August, I am also placing a ban on buying gifts for people. Now, before you get your panties in a wad - hear me out.

If you haven't already picked up on this, we're going to have a pretty tight budget for the next year. We are going to be okay, we will be able to pay our bills, but it's gonna be tight. I l-o-v-e giving gifts... to a fault. Giving gifts can get expensive. The word "expensive" is not in our vocabulary right now.

And, at the same time, I don't want to buy something cheap. Like, "hey, here is a picture frame I bought you at the dollar store!" So, I am installing a DIY-only gift rule for one year. Pinterest has provided for some REALLY great gift ideas, and I thought this would be a surefire way to help our budget while still being able to give really awesome gifts...

...until a wedding shower invite came in the mail. I hadn't really considered what to do for wedding showers and baby showers. In my own experience, I didn't get many gifts that made me go "eww," but I did get some that made me wish people would shop off of the registry. :) A girl can dream, right? Anyway, you spend a lot of time working on your registry and so it's stuff you want... stuff you have hand-selected... and people should buy those things for you.

DIY-ing can get very expensive unless you do it so often that you have on-hand most of the tools/supplies you need. For instance, I am making someone a birthday gift (can't tell who!) and spent $20 at Michael's yesterday on the tools - but I got like... 120 of three different things, so if I keep making this item, I won't need to spend much for each go 'round. To keep the DIY cost at a minimum, I'll have to either use things I have on hand or can buy inexpensively (frames, glassware, ornaments). But.... what about buying something off the registry and personalizing it?

So, I'm stumped. Do I buy one or two small things and make something to accompany those things? Or do I just take the risk and make something with the risk they won't like it?

Here are the ideas I'm considering:

This is my top pick - I already have the frame and I can just buy the vinyl for the Cricut. Some people just don't like monograms, so it's risky!

I am definitely making this for myself!! To make this for a gift, it would technically require the purchase of a Pyrex dish, but they really aren't expensive and they are a necessity for any cook.

I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE this... and it's so/sew easy. Buttons are relatively inexpensive, as is thread. I already have embroidery needles and could buy a small piece of fabric... and paint a frame from the thrift store. This idea is growing on me.

These are so simple, but so pretty! It's just twine and spray paint with a pretty ribbon at the top. But I'm not sure how I feel about giving candle holders as a gift... seems almost TOO impersonal.

Lastly... this is so lovely. Imagine with a fruit salad or trifle inside!!! Again, a home-made stencil via Cricut and some spraypaint and - voila! - personalized magic.

Notice a few of these projects involve require a Cricut... I think I am getting one for my birthday. I know, what about the rule?? The rule doesn't apply for my birthday this year because I want a Cricut so I can make gifts. A little investment that will go a looooooong way.... ;)


  1. I LOVE all those crafts!!! I have a cricut, but I need more cartridges :( Maybe, once you get yours, we can swap cartridges occasionally! ;)

  2. A thought about the cricut, talk to Amy Sims. She got some kind of software so she can plug her cricut into her computer, and then she doesn't need to buy cartridges, she can just make whatever design she wants and print it out.

    I think homemade shower gifts are totally acceptable. My cousin Melissa just had a shower, and easily the best gift she got was a from my aunt Sharon, part of the gift was a homemade quilted apron. The other part, the best part, of her gift was my aunt had taken a plain composition notebook, and quilted a cover for it, and then she had asked all the women in our family to send her their favorite recipes, and she glued them all into the notebook to make a starter cookbook for Melissa. I thought that was the BEST idea, because every family has recipes that are family favorites, staples at every gathering, and this way Melissa has all those recipes right at hand, in a beautifully quilted cookbook.

    Of the ideas you posted, I LOVED the last one :)

  3. @Candace - Absolutely!!! Those cartridges are so expensive!! Read Jessy's comment about Amy Sims' program - Amy says she recommends it, you save on cartridges by hooking it up to your computer.

    @Jessy - Amy has like the monster of all Cricut programs - she told me to talk to her about it once I get mine! I love the idea of a recipe book - Amy Sims & Amy Quitt put one together for me using recipes people wrote down at my shower! I'll ask and see if someone is already doing that... good idea!

  4. Those are all neat ideas. I really like the monogram in the picture frame and the button "O". They're cute and personalized and can be hung on empty wall space - great if you have limited cabinet/storage space.