Ok, we are in serious need of a money diet around here. We’ve already cut all unnecessary spending (that would be anything bedsides food, bills, and gas for the cars) for the next month, like Michele. You might have noticed that my last three projects were all no-spend.
It’s also July. That means it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. Hallmark is doing their ornament release, there are tons of Christmas in July sales, etc. Normally I would be buying toys on clearance and stocking them away. Not this year. Nope. This year, like my new friend over at 12 Crafts Til Christmas I will be making my children’s Christmas presents. Yep. It’s time to go Amish. It’s a throw-back to the Great Depression. Ok, it’s not really all that serious. Actually, I think it will be cool for them to grow up remembering toys that their mom hand-made especially for them. Luckily, it is not 1933, it’s 2010 and I have the internet to help me. So here is my list:
- A wooden boat like this one that my dear friend Satoko made for her oldest son.
- A fabric garage for his matchbox cars.
- A fabric house of her own, but this one will be more of a dollhouse like this. *UPDATE: I checked this project off my list and I didn’t have to shell out the $49 for the Pottery Barn version. Check out the fabric dollhouse HERE.
- A rag doll inspired by one I recently saw in a Pottery Barn catalog. *UPDATE: I did it! And it’s one of my favorite DIY crafts to date and I spent exactly $0 making this adorable double-sided doll.
- A few felted sweater puppets. UPDATE: Another one checked off my list! I love how these puppets turned out and my kids are going to love them, too!
- Maybe some felt food but I think I am actually going to try to figure out how to make a felt version of some steamed crabs and put them in a wooden basket with some mallets. In my head, this is going to be awesome. If it works, I’ll post a tutorial.
- Possibly a beanbag toss.
- One of the few ideas I came up with all by myself (although it is by no means original): hand paint a piece of wood to create a special personalized board game. (literally. board game.) *UPDATE: Check out the finished project HERE! My kids are going to love these double-sided dominoes.
- A crayon roll and my last quasi-original idea: A coloring book of family pictures. I’ll use Picnik.com to print out family photos like this one of Nick and bind them together with yarn.
To get this effect, just go to Picnik, upload your photo, click the “Create” button at the top, and scroll down to the pencil sketch option. Save and print a bunch of photos and ta-da! You’ve made a child a coloring book full of pictures of him/herself. For FREE! (I think this is also my new idea for birthday presents for other people’s kids. Steal pictures off their Facebook page and make a free personalized coloring book. Yes, I am a genius and you can thank me later when you realize that Johnny’s 6th birthday party is in an hour and you forgot to get a gift.)
I think that would be plenty of stuff under the tree and would also give me a great sense of accomplishment because I’d be giving my kids awesome stuff with which to build memories and saving lots of money at the same time. Plus, I always love a good knock-off.
Pottery Barn sells these rag dolls for $34 apiece. They also sell a puffy dollhouse for $49. I guarantee I can make my stuff almost as cute and way cheaper. At least, in my mind, that’s how it’s going to happen. Wish me luck!
If you’re all about affordable gifts, I’ve got a whole post with five ideas for affordable or FREE gifts that are great for all ages and occassions.