Thursday, October 29, 2015

Have Fun Making and Giving Personalized Christmas Gifts in a Jar

While browsing through a magazine, I came across the idea of making Christmas gifts in a jar. So, I decided to investigate further on the Internet.

Although many Christmas gifts in a jar are available for sale, it would be much more fun to make your own!

Also, it would be good to recycle large jars that you already have for this project. To prepare them:
  • Soak them in hot water so that the labels come off.
  • Thoroughly wash the inside and outside of the jar and the lid.
  • Leave to dry completely.
  • If the lid has a logo or writing on it, cover it with a small piece of fabric secured with an elastic band or by sticking on pretty paper with strong glue. 
Then comes the fun bit! Think of the person you'd like to give the gift to. What are their hobbies and interests? What kind of things do they like? You can then fill the jar with small gifts on the same theme.

For example, a Christmas gift jar for someone who loves sewing could contain:

  • A few patchwork squares or fat quarters of pretty fabric tied together with ribbon.
  • 1 or 2 reels of thread in similar colors to the fabric.
  • A small 'roll-up' tape measure.
  • Buttons that would go well with the fabric.
  • Other small sewing accessories, such as pins, scissors and ribbon.
Once you've placed everything in the jar, write a gift tag, thread it onto a length of ribbon and tie it onto the jar with a bow.

When you've finished, it could look a bit like this:

Source: The Country Chic Cottage (where step-by-step instructions on making the gift shown above are given)

Other Christmas gifts in jars could be made for:

  • Make-up addicts - fill with small cosmetics such as nail polishes, lip balms, single eye shadows - my daughter would love this!
  • Bakers - jars can be filled with the ingredients you need to make cakes, cookies and other sweet treats.
  • Girls who like to (or should!) pamper themselves - add small bath bombs, body lotion, hand cream, etc.
The possibilities are endless!

I like this idea because:

  • You can make a very personalized gift for a special person.
  • You re-use and recycle glass jars.
  • You can be as creative as you like (you could also decorate the outside and the top of the jar if you wish).
  • You don't need wrapping paper, so you don't add to the mountain of paper waste created by Christmas!
  • The recipient won't receive another gift like it!
What do you think? Would you make and give Christmas gifts in a jar?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Make Your Own Christmas Pom Pom Garland Decoration

There are many Christmas decorations you can make yourself. If you have lots of small odds and ends of yarn at home, making a Christmas pom pom garland is a fun way to use them up!

I found an easy-to-follow tutorial on making a Christmas pom pom garland. If you didn't want to make the pom poms using card, you could buy an inexpensive pom pom maker on eBay.

The great thing is that you can use a variety of different colors of yarn to make your Christmas pom pom garland. You could use white to give the impression of snow and snowflakes:

Or, you could use more traditional Christmas colors of red, green and white:

Whatever colors you choose, you could use your Christmas pom pom garland in a variety of ways to decorate your home this Christmas, including:

  • hanging it above the fireplace.
  • hanging it on the wall.
  • displaying it in a large bowl with baubles and other Christmas decorations.
  • hanging it on your Christmas tree instead of or as well as tinsel.
Making your own Christmas pom pom garland is a budget-friendly way of preparing for Christmas. You can use up materials you already have and enjoy being creative. How about challenging yourself to reuse and make as many Christmas decorations as possible so you won't need to buy any new ones this year?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

4 Reasons to Shop at Local Craft Fairs in the Run-Up to Christmas

Photo credit: Dar1930 via

Many fairly small local craft fairs are held in the run-up to Christmas. They are good places to shop for Christmas gifts, decorations, cards and other items for several reasons.

Find Unique, Handcrafted Gifts

At local craft fairs, you'll find unique, handcrafted gifts. Look carefully and you'll find items that certain people will love. For example, if your nephew loves Thomas the Tank Engine, you might find a quilted blanket or a hand-knitted sweater with a Thomas the Tank Engine design.

You can be sure that no one else will give the same gift because you're buying an original item that's one of a kind.

Support Small Local Businesses and Charities

If you buy from sellers at craft fairs, you can be sure that you're supporting small local businesses. Charities also sometimes sell donated items at craft fairs. You can be sure that the money you spend will go towards a good cause that benefits local people.

Save Money

Although some items at craft fairs can be quite expensive, many other items are not. Most of the craftspeople make goods at home so they don't have the high overheads and expenses of larger businesses. This means that they can sell their products at reasonable prices. You'll find that many sellers have a range of prices that suit most budgets. 

Have a Fun Time at a Community Event!

You never know what you'll find at a craft fair, so go with a sense of anticipation and have fun. See what's on offer at every stall before deciding what you'll buy. Many craft fairs also sell freshly baked cakes, hot drinks and other refreshments, so why not enjoy these whilst chatting to other people who live in your local area? It's a good way of feeling part of your local community.

So, look in your local newspaper and find out when and where craft fairs are being held in the run-up to Christmas. Go to a few and see what you find. It might be more than you expected!
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