Author Topic: Homemade Christmas 2013  (Read 57818 times)

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #200 on: December 17, 2013, 10:04:14 PM »
I leave mine in.  Have never had an issue with mold, and I'm in coastal California.   I think it is pretty with the pods, and I do think the flavor is better.  Have been making my own vanilla for years.  Just make sure you use only alcohol (don't add water) and you should be good.

I have added fresh vodka after it's been mostly used up, given it a few weeks, and used again with excellent results.  Have also made some with bourbon that was very good.

Made several of these for Christmas gifts this year.  Very inexpensive, useful, and people love them!

Thanks, that's great to hear!

madcityacct

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #201 on: December 20, 2013, 07:41:12 AM »
We've been planning our homemade holiday gifts since summer.

Picked a lot of free fruit this year: pears, plums, tart cherries and apples.  Have turned them in to wine, fruit roll-ups, dried fruit, preserves, jams, sauce, and grenadine - all to be used as gifts.

Also made vanilla extract and caramels. 

The adults get a bottle of wine, two preserves, vanilla extract and grenadine.  The kids get fruit roll-ups, dried fruit and some caramels (and a pair of store-bought slippers).

We'll see if everybody likes their gifts soon!

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #202 on: December 20, 2013, 10:41:16 AM »
The adults get a bottle of wine, two preserves, vanilla extract and grenadine.  The kids get fruit roll-ups, dried fruit and some caramels (and a pair of store-bought slippers).

We'll see if everybody likes their gifts soon!

Sounds awesome!

Mostly have everything delivered, except for the Stargate Catan game for my sister, which is still in progress and way behind schedule. Lucky for me she only gave me last years Christmas gifts in Sept, so I have a bit of time without feeling too guilty :)

I ended up making:
Perfume for my sister-in law
Organic Coconut Soap
Sugar scrubs
Lip Butter
Cantuccini for my mom
Coconut Dulce De leche Hot cocoa
Pomegranate Jellies - super easy and very pretty and one batch made a ton! I was able to put them in tiny cupcake liners and three into a self-sealing bag with a label that made a whole bunch of cute single serving baggies  that I added to gifts as well as have been giving out to all those people I want to give a little something to, like our mail ladies. I made an extra batch and broke it into bigger boxes for hubby to take into the office to share and as a treat for my volunteers. They went over so well at Hubby's office, I may start taking orders and selling them.

How did everyone else do?

jenstill

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #203 on: December 21, 2013, 08:56:54 PM »
I didn't get around to making as many gifts as I'd planned this year, but did make batches of fruit-infused vodka (black cherry, papaya, banana, blueberry, and mango), several batches of flavored popcorn (Szechuan 5-spice, Cinnamon Sugar, and Sweet Ginger), and sugar scrubs (coconut, brown sugar vanilla, and blueberry-lavender). I also found an original poem that my maternal grandmother wrote out in her lovely, old-style cursive; I blew that up on the Staples copier onto heavy paper I had at home, then matted & framed it for my mother. She hasn't opened it yet, but I'm pretty sure she will love it!

Pomegranate Jellies - super easy and very pretty and one batch made a ton! I was able to put them in tiny cupcake liners and three into a self-sealing bag with a label that made a whole bunch of cute single serving baggies  that I added to gifts as well as have been giving out to all those people I want to give a little something to, like our mail ladies.

What are these? The name sounds like a jam, but the the size & description sounds like some kind of candy?

Russ

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #204 on: December 21, 2013, 09:02:24 PM »
Love this thread! I'll be sharpening my parents' kitchen knives for them

oldtoyota

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #205 on: December 21, 2013, 09:15:42 PM »
A lot of what I am making has to be done within a few days of the gift exchange. I am making:

chocolate chip cookies;
a photo album;
two "story boxes" filled with story prompts from various family members;
key lime pie;
granola;
hot chocolate mix.

The above is pretty easy, so I might add making homemade luna bars and wrapping them individually in parchment paper with a ribbon.

I was going to make bath salts, and it seemed like it'd be less expensive just to buy a jar. So, I did that.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #206 on: December 21, 2013, 09:24:05 PM »
What are these? The name sounds like a jam, but the the size & description sounds like some kind of candy?

http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/2013/12/all-natural-homemade-pomegranate-gumdrops.html

The recipe calls them gum drops, but I don't think they are quite firm enough or waxy. They are more like Turkish delight, but a thousand times easier to make and much more stable.

Roses

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #207 on: December 23, 2013, 02:12:16 AM »
A lot of what I am making has to be done within a few days of the gift exchange. I am making:

chocolate chip cookies;
a photo album;
two "story boxes" filled with story prompts from various family members;
key lime pie;
granola;
hot chocolate mix.

The above is pretty easy, so I might add making homemade luna bars and wrapping them individually in parchment paper with a ribbon.

I was going to make bath salts, and it seemed like it'd be less expensive just to buy a jar. So, I did that.

Sounds delicious and very similar to mine.  I'm making key lime pies for our dessert on the 24th but my gifts will be home made granola, cookies, dulce de leche and framed photos.

What's a story box?

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #208 on: December 23, 2013, 07:18:33 AM »
Finally done with my Christmas crafts!  Here are the things I made:

-A poncho for my mom from this design:  http://mybarefootfarm.blogspot.com/2011/11/hand-made-holidays-easy-knitted-poncho.html .  I finished it in one day with yarn I purchased on sale for $3

-A scarf for my sister with her favorite university colors-with free yarn

-A wine making journal for my dad complete with conversion charts, wine terms, charts for ad ins and places for his recipes.  I used an antique looking nice journal from Amazon for $9.  I wish I could have found a cheaper one.

-Homemade Amaretto for my mom and Candy Cane Vodka for my sister.

-Homemade Coffee Liqueur for our friends and some fresh eggs from our chickens.

-Homemade solid perfume for my mother in law

I was also lucky that my like minded husband said he did not want any gifts and I agreed that I didn't either, making shopping much easier!

oldtoyota

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #209 on: December 23, 2013, 01:28:02 PM »
A lot of what I am making has to be done within a few days of the gift exchange. I am making:

chocolate chip cookies;
a photo album;
two "story boxes" filled with story prompts from various family members;
key lime pie;
granola;
hot chocolate mix.

The above is pretty easy, so I might add making homemade luna bars and wrapping them individually in parchment paper with a ribbon.

I was going to make bath salts, and it seemed like it'd be less expensive just to buy a jar. So, I did that.

Sounds delicious and very similar to mine.  I'm making key lime pies for our dessert on the 24th but my gifts will be home made granola, cookies, dulce de leche and framed photos.

What's a story box?

The story box is filled with story prompts on small pieces of paper.

A prompt might be: "Tell me about the time you milked a cow" or "tell me about the time you climbed XX Mountain."

The idea is that each child can go the adult who wrote the story prompt and ask them for the rest of the story. This way, the child and adult get to talk about a story from the adult's life that might not have come up in conversation otherwise.

For the boxes, I bought unfinished cigar-style boxes and decorated them with paper. I stamped "A Story Box" on the outside lid and then coated the decoration with Mod Podge to seal it and protect it from wear and any moisture.

I had a good time thinking up stories with my parents. I got to learn some family stories just by asking relatives for their stories!

Roses

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #210 on: December 23, 2013, 02:54:02 PM »
What's a story box?

The story box is filled with story prompts on small pieces of paper.

A prompt might be: "Tell me about the time you milked a cow" or "tell me about the time you climbed XX Mountain."

The idea is that each child can go the adult who wrote the story prompt and ask them for the rest of the story. This way, the child and adult get to talk about a story from the adult's life that might not have come up in conversation otherwise.

For the boxes, I bought unfinished cigar-style boxes and decorated them with paper. I stamped "A Story Box" on the outside lid and then coated the decoration with Mod Podge to seal it and protect it from wear and any moisture.

I had a good time thinking up stories with my parents. I got to learn some family stories just by asking relatives for their stories!
[/quote]

Sounds great!  Thanks for explaining!

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #211 on: December 26, 2013, 12:58:59 PM »
How did all the lucky recipients like their gifts? Updates would be awesome!

impaire

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #212 on: December 26, 2013, 09:02:26 PM »
How did all the lucky recipients like their gifts? Updates would be awesome!
The salted caramels were received with awesome appreciation... The rest is still to be unwrapped, I have a Xmas in many stages!

Anatidae V

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #213 on: December 28, 2013, 04:14:39 PM »
How did all the lucky recipients like their gifts? Updates would be awesome!

My crocheted star ornaments were well received. Particularly when the reply to "are these handmade?" was "yes, by me".

Cyanne

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #214 on: December 28, 2013, 08:33:42 PM »
My husband and I gave homemade gifts to our family. He made cutting boards from the leftover butcher block we had from our kitchen update.  I made artisan bread and also sewed bread bags that were tied with ribbon. This along with some flavored oil for dipping the bread was a well received gift.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #215 on: December 28, 2013, 08:43:02 PM »
I am appreciating hearing the follow-up reports of how well received your gifts were! I am kind of planning what to do for next year.

After I made our very cute bath salts, I realized that a lot of people don't take baths. That limited who I could give them to (such as our g-ma's can't get in bathtubs anymore and MIL has a shower only). So, I will continue to put in salts and essential oils into my kids' baths, but won't give these put again unless I know the person is a "bather". Lol.


Awesome updates! If you find people shower instead of bath, a really simple and cheap option is to make sugar scrubs. I made a bunch last year and my DH's aunt posted on facebook a couple months later asking where I bought it, said it was the best bath product she ever used and would like to buy more :)

Love the idea of the cutting boards and bread bags, Angie!

I am contemplating next year too, perhaps we have to start a 2014 thread. I discovered by happy accident today that brined green peppercorns are dead simple to make, incredibly cheap if you buy dried green peppercorns in bulk and way tastier then the canned variety. I am going to can some for Christmas presents next year as everyone in my family loves peppercorn sauce/gravy but hate the cost of the peppercorns!

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #216 on: December 28, 2013, 09:24:12 PM »
Here's how my homemade items went:

Homemade 1/2 pint raspberry jam jars to neighbors/friends- awesome!  Especially since the work was done in october instead of December.
Homemade vanilla- a hit!  Great flavor and I'm thinking about starting some more since we are using so much!
Wire wrapped necklaces- stone beads and sea glass from a beach trip.-Loved them!  Got the necklaces for $1.50-$2 1/2 off at hobby lobby, stone beads were $ .50 ea. and wire was $2.40 using a coupon and will last me forever.  Total per necklace was $1.60-2.60 per necklace.  I also made a wire wrapped seaglass ring for my daughter to go with her necklace. 

I also found a round knitting loom set at goodwill and gave it to my 13yr old for Christmas.  It's so much fun and so versatile that now three of us are knitting scarves, hats, and pot scrubbers/holders.  I can see these will be items for next year.  Super fun!

impaire

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #217 on: December 28, 2013, 11:11:27 PM »

Awesome updates! If you find people shower instead of bath, a really simple and cheap option is to make sugar scrubs. I made a bunch last year and my DH's aunt posted on facebook a couple months later asking where I bought it, said it was the best bath product she ever used and would like to buy more :)

...

I am contemplating next year too, perhaps we have to start a 2014 thread. I discovered by happy accident today that brined green peppercorns are dead simple to make, incredibly cheap if you buy dried green peppercorns in bulk and way tastier then the canned variety. I am going to can some for Christmas presents next year as everyone in my family loves peppercorn sauce/gravy but hate the cost of the peppercorns!

It is my first time even considering homemaking presents, and I loved doing it--so much more personal. Both sugar scrubs and brined green peppercorns would be good ideas that I can definitely see being well-received!

My husband and I gave homemade gifts to our family. He made cutting boards from the leftover butcher block we had from our kitchen update.  I made artisan bread and also sewed bread bags that were tied with ribbon. This along with some flavored oil for dipping the bread was a well received gift.

Wonderful idea, would have loved being a recipient :)

Freckles

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #218 on: December 28, 2013, 11:21:02 PM »
I think my family was a little baffled by my homemade gifts.  My cousin seemed to really appreciate the no-sew blanket we made for her daughter and the healing salve I made for her.  The other cousins (all male) seemed not to know what to think of their homemade shaving cream, but they were polite enough to say thank you and at least pretend they are excited to try it.  My cousin's ever-rude total jerk my god I can't stand him husband immediately told me he uses and electric razor so he had no use for my shaving cream.  Classless.  I didn't want to give him a gift; I was just being nice. I won't bother next year.  And my husband seems skeptical of his sleep-aid salve that I made for him, but he's going to try it tonight. 

Oh well. I'm not giving up on homemade.  I think I'll make limoncello for my husband's birthday in March.  I know he'll love that!

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #219 on: December 29, 2013, 12:25:51 AM »
aww Freckles, that is frustrating! I always find guys the hardest, especially when it comes to making nice, practical, chemical-free stuff for them - sometimes they have to be shown how much better it is before they accept it, which creates the problem of getting them to try it in the first place!

 I make my hubby an after-shave oil, since he has really dry skin. An aftershave splash might go over well too. If I'm at a loss, I go with food.

What is in your sleep-aid salve? Sounds awesome!

Freckles

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #220 on: December 29, 2013, 04:16:08 PM »
Yeah, I was just thinking that.  I should stick to food.  It seems from the others' reports that food items went over well.  My family already sees me as an excellent cook so they will probably be more excited about my food gifts than body products.

Well, I can't say for sure if it works.  I haven't tried it because I have NO trouble sleeping.  My husband tried it for the first time last night and he said he didn't sleep any better, but I think he wants to believe in for my sake so he suggested maybe it has a cumulative effect.  :)  Here is the recipe I used:  http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/12/make-your-own-dream-sticks-an-essential-oils-giveaway.html/comment-page-31#comment-223500

I did put it in a washed-out deodorant container for ease of getting it onto his feet.  I made another one, with just lavender essential oil for my friend's no-good-at-sleeping baby, but I haven't heard yet if it helps.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #221 on: December 29, 2013, 05:23:10 PM »
Yeah, I was just thinking that.  I should stick to food.  It seems from the others' reports that food items went over well.  My family already sees me as an excellent cook so they will probably be more excited about my food gifts than body products.

Well, I can't say for sure if it works.  I haven't tried it because I have NO trouble sleeping.  My husband tried it for the first time last night and he said he didn't sleep any better, but I think he wants to believe in for my sake so he suggested maybe it has a cumulative effect.  :)  Here is the recipe I used:  http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/12/make-your-own-dream-sticks-an-essential-oils-giveaway.html/comment-page-31#comment-223500

I did put it in a washed-out deodorant container for ease of getting it onto his feet.  I made another one, with just lavender essential oil for my friend's no-good-at-sleeping baby, but I haven't heard yet if it helps.

Took a quick look, and I can't for the life of me figure out why they would have used the essential oils they chose.
Cinnamon Bark, Ginger, Peppermint, Lemon, Grapefruit ALL have stimulating & refreshing properties.  Some do relieve stress, which might be what they are going for, but I personally wouldn't use them in a sleep blend. Sleep is  a hard one to treat that usually requires some experimenting as there can be so many different causes and symptoms of poor sleep. FYI I am in my final year of schooling for a diploma which will give me my Registered Aromatherapist designation - so while I don't know everything, I have learned quite a bit :)

Zaga

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #222 on: December 29, 2013, 05:39:38 PM »
I ended up making fisherman's pants for DH, plus a pair of silly slippers.  It's so hard to find silly slippers in a size 13, and my DH is pretty silly!

This is my second try making puffy slippers, the first set I made were 2 different sizes, but the second try worked!

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #223 on: January 02, 2014, 07:04:57 PM »
I made this present for my sister this year (it's a snow man for her fridge).  I used felt, magnets, and a glue gun.  Because I had most of the supplies already, it only cost me $0.36.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/75998312433537933/

She loved it!!!!!

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #224 on: January 03, 2014, 06:52:25 PM »
My reindeer ornaments were well received. People really loved that they were homemade, and because the kids are young they loved playing with them before putting them on the tree. Here's a picture of a few of them:


I loved using my downtime to make them, and I'm thinking of making more for next year and selling through etsy as a side hustle. But I think the best part about them are the personalization, which is one of the first things that has to be done, so I'm not sure I want to take on that kind of big project before Christmas (people would probably order in November, and then I'd have to get them all done at that point).

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #225 on: January 03, 2014, 08:56:04 PM »
Those reindeer are super cute! You could put it on Etsy now with a customization option and then make them throughout the year as they are ordered. I bet there are lots of people out there who would order them before Christmas -one less present to buy, cuz I stashed awesome reindeer away in March? yes Please!

Actually, I'd take two! unless you would want to barter? perhaps for some custom blended, one of a kind all natural perfume?

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #226 on: January 08, 2014, 08:13:03 AM »
I made about 80 decoupaged tile coasters, which people went crazy for.  Some of them I made as photo coasters with photos I got from Facebook, made b&w, printed on white tissue paper, and put on beige natural-looking tiles.  The rest were all just pretty scrapbook papers on plain white tiles.  They all turned out really, really well.  I looked on Etsy and the scrapbook paper on white tiles go for $14 to $18 for a set of four.  Considering how little work it is, and that it costs less than 75 cents in materials for a set of four, this seems like a good side hustle. 

I saw that someone above mentioned selling stuff on Etsy.  Can anyone point me to resources on making money on Etsy?  There are already a lot of people selling these coasters on Etsy, so I'm wondering what would set me apart.

Thanks!

oldtoyota

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #227 on: January 09, 2014, 07:27:37 AM »
I made about 80 decoupaged tile coasters, which people went crazy for.  Some of them I made as photo coasters with photos I got from Facebook, made b&w, printed on white tissue paper, and put on beige natural-looking tiles.  The rest were all just pretty scrapbook papers on plain white tiles.  They all turned out really, really well.  I looked on Etsy and the scrapbook paper on white tiles go for $14 to $18 for a set of four.  Considering how little work it is, and that it costs less than 75 cents in materials for a set of four, this seems like a good side hustle. 

I saw that someone above mentioned selling stuff on Etsy.  Can anyone point me to resources on making money on Etsy?  There are already a lot of people selling these coasters on Etsy, so I'm wondering what would set me apart.

Thanks!

I am not sure about your Etsy question. Could you post a link to a photo of the coasters--yours or those by someone else? I would love to see what you are describing!

oldtoyota

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #228 on: January 09, 2014, 07:32:28 AM »
From here or somewhere, I got the idea to take old family recipes (written by hand by grandparents or great greats) and have them printed onto linen dishtowels. This was about the coolest idea ever.

I asked FIL if he could send me handwritten recipes. Unfortunately, he sent me *typed* recipes, which removes the whole point. Since I was going to give these to MIL and DH, I did not want to ask MIL. Well, finally, after the holidays, I asked MIL if she could find **handwritten** recipe, scan them, and send them to me. I said it was for a secret project for which she would be a beneficiary. She said she'd look. I think I have a better chance of her doing it than a guy. If she sends them, then I will work on the dish towel idea for next year.

This year, I am going to make things throughout the year. DD already wants me to make things for a doll she has, and knitting doll clothing is fairly easy and doesn't take a lot of yarn (so it's cheap).

Also, I saw a cool project for a leather wrist band/bracelet. It looks gorgeous. I am just not sure who would want it. Maybe I do. lol

I have been collecting corks for a bathmat project. I'm getting them from freecycle and from friends on FB. Every day, I get another package of corks in the mail! It's fun.




impaire

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #229 on: January 09, 2014, 01:40:51 PM »
As a final update, the alcohol infusion (I made Aquavit, cranberry liquor, and spiced pumpkin liquor) went over very well, as did the art I made (this one made me super nervous, so I kept it simple with an abstract pattern, but I think the recipient saw the trust it took me to give something so personal and enjoyed that... And I could adjust the color scheme to go perfectly with the decor it was intended for, always a plus!)

And my mom has decided to hand-make me a tablecloth and napkins, so homemade holidays are spreading!

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #230 on: January 10, 2014, 07:34:45 AM »
I suspect the coasters are something like this:  http://www.marthastewart.com/266306/gift-wrap-coasters   Here's someone else blogging on doing them: http://chandarasthreads.com/making-diy-gift-wrap-coasters/
I am thinking of making some for my mom for next year, as she has some holiday wrapping paper she adores.  I am just not sure where to find cheap tiles.

Oldtoyota, where were you going to get the linen towels printed up?  That's such a great idea - we have some old handwritten recipes from my (great or) grandmother still I think.  Will have to ask my mom about them.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #231 on: January 10, 2014, 07:50:38 AM »
We get tons (literally) of tiles donated to us from stores who sell tiles, they usually have sample boards that go out of style every season and they have no use for them. They usually come on a stiff board backing that you'll have to pry off - but even the back boards are useful - we use them to create signage or give them a coat of paint and let the kids use them for canvases. It doesn't hurt to call them and ask if they have any samples they want to get rid of.

Otherwise, Habitat for Humanity usually ends up with boxes of surplus tiles from peoples build jobs.

Or there are always people remodeling, if you put the word out that you could use and recycle some non-broken tiles, you should be able to find some

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #232 on: January 10, 2014, 08:43:52 AM »
I suspect the coasters are something like this:  http://www.marthastewart.com/266306/gift-wrap-coasters   Here's someone else blogging on doing them: http://chandarasthreads.com/making-diy-gift-wrap-coasters/
I am thinking of making some for my mom for next year, as she has some holiday wrapping paper she adores.  I am just not sure where to find cheap tiles.


Yup -- those are the ones!  You can get the tiles at Home Depot for 16 cents a piece or, as swick says, get them at Habitat even cheaper.

CommonCents

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #233 on: January 10, 2014, 08:44:01 AM »
Otherwise, Habitat for Humanity usually ends up with boxes of surplus tiles from peoples build jobs.

I'm glad you mentioned this!  I am going to check there for some other things we need around the house (just bought a new house and the sellers took some fixtures they shouldn't have, like a bathroom room mirror, that weren't worth fighting over, plus the usual "stuff" for new home buyers).

oldtoyota

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #234 on: January 10, 2014, 09:15:46 AM »
I suspect the coasters are something like this:  http://www.marthastewart.com/266306/gift-wrap-coasters   Here's someone else blogging on doing them: http://chandarasthreads.com/making-diy-gift-wrap-coasters/
I am thinking of making some for my mom for next year, as she has some holiday wrapping paper she adores.  I am just not sure where to find cheap tiles.

Oldtoyota, where were you going to get the linen towels printed up?  That's such a great idea - we have some old handwritten recipes from my (great or) grandmother still I think.  Will have to ask my mom about them.

Brilliant! Love this idea.

oldtoyota

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2013
« Reply #235 on: January 10, 2014, 09:32:36 AM »
Oldtoyota, where were you going to get the linen towels printed up?  That's such a great idea - we have some old handwritten recipes from my (great or) grandmother still I think.  Will have to ask my mom about them.


Here is the link with all of the instructions--and a link to the place that prints them. I think it's called Sunflower.

http://blog.spoonflower.com/2012/07/turn-recipes-into-tea-towels.html