Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My $10 White Christmas

Why hello there. It's been awhile.

We are still here, but we've had a very busy month that necessitated a break. Evan was preparing for a orchestra audition and we thought we were moving to France. Well we are not, not this time. Additionally there have been lots of parties and playing and just preparing mentally and physically for Christmas. We've also suffered a broken laptop and have been shuffling computers. And now we have A TODDLER...

BUT Hannah is adding the finishing touches to photos to launch her first sets of photocards for sale on Etsy  and the Oklahoma Food Coop (Yeah!). My first set will be up in just a few days and is a series of reflective photographs on the Connecticut shootings with a portion going to organizations that prevent violence against children and that promote access to mental health.
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We hope that you and yours had a beautiful and blessed Christmas. Ours was! And it was WHITE and, oh yeah, on my part I spent around $10!
Connor, Cali, Cris


[12/27 Note: I purposefully didn't buy any physical presents this year. So much less stress. That is what I spent on supplies for the gifts I made for my immediate family- and for most generations of the past that would have been enough. There were a few other small gifts from dad, Santa, and relatives. Some thoughtful cousins even gave a World vision christmas gift on our behalf. We bought some memberships to some of our favorite places and am spending the rest of our Christmas money to begin building a special bunk bed]

Some tips for future frugal, more eco-friendly Christmases:
  1. Always check thrift and second hand stores before you buy anything new.
  2. Ask relatives if they are getting rid of older kid toys.
  3. Have an old toy/game swap with friends.
  4. Check out your local Habitat for Humanity Re-store and sometimes household hazardous waste site for things like paint, adhesives, building materials.
  5. Have a crafting day with friends where you can trade extra supplies and split cost or share things like paint, glue or even sewing machines.
  6. At the fabric store dig through the already cut fabric. Often this will be 50-75% cheaper than what is on the shelves.
  7. Learn to sew, even imperfectly.
  8. Old grown up clothes are great re-purposed for kids.
  9. Look around your house for things that can be repurposed or upcycled. Then search sites like Pinterest with those words. Follow Me on Pinterest

A few months back in Mother Earth News there was a section on advice from different homesteaders. One said "You should always produce more than you consume." What a thoughtful challenge! So I decided I really wanted to implement this lifestyle, especially as I try to begin cultivating meaningful Christmases with my children that are more about compassion than consumption.

So a few Christmas shoutouts to some fellow great bloggers whose wonderful ideas and tutorials made my crafty Christmas on the cheap possible:
1 . Some not so gingerbread-ey honey almond cut out cookies from The Urban Poser
They are a little hard to see, but behind our not so healthy Gingerbread, ahem kit, a.k.a. Hobbit house, are some of the most delicious and healthy cut out cookies I have ever tried. I used half almond flour and half gluten free flour mix and added one egg. (Yes those are Lego hobbits peering out of the window). Friends with allergies, and friends without, these are amazing.

2. A patchwork dog from the Etsy shop GandG Patterns
This was going to be the baby's birthday present in October, but luckily when you are one you don't notice when your mom is two months late or that her sewing skills are about as good as a fourth grade 4-Her. Here is the original design. Ours was made from some old dad pants, some old mom green plaid shorts, and some thrift store fabric that cost less than 0.75 cents. Baby hasn't held still long enough to get her picture with it.
Image from GandGpatterns Etsy store

3. Snowman fingerprint ornaments from Little Bit Funky.
These made great teacher gifts.

4. Fleece scarves

Really I just made these up. They were super simple. If you want some similar directions check out this tutorial from The Muddy princess. I found this awesome fabric on the cut fabric table. There was just the perfect amount and it cost less than $1.50 to make two scarves. I made a hidden pocket on each- a big hit, and just in time for the first snow!

5. Fleece pajama pants- This tutorial from My cotton creations shows how to make them without having to make a pattern. Love it. New family tradition.

Yes, my son is licking the window while checking out the snow.
6. Toolbelts from Make it and Love it

Fun and not too hard. I'm telling the boys they are also great for holding lego pieces and spy gear or putting in their new mini notebooks and pencils and wrapping up as a nature journal holder. We'll see what else they come up with.

7. Microwave heating pad from Tipnut
Super useful and simple. I made these for three people and counting. The kids helped me sew and then filled them with rice and beans. My Treehugger Hugger is especially grateful for his extra large one for his often aching musician back.

8. One tiny train from my son Cristopher's imagination

 Perhaps my favorite gift of this Christmas. Cristopher loves to give gifts. And he really got into the homemade gift thing. He and dad made up this really cool rolling train from six pieces of scrap wood and 5 screws to give as a present to Connor. Then they painted it. It was a hit!




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