Frugal Christmas; Upcycle Week plus one

I have this done so I am going to post it a bit early tonight.  Our storm is intensifying but not to worry this area while we see tornadoes they rarely do much damage, a home or two but nothing like the mid-west sees.  Thank you all for your wishes of safety. I live in a very solid building so I will be fine, although possibly without power. :-)

Not my photo, I've never been able to catch lightning.

Not my photo, I’ve never been able to catch lightning.


I’m back with more gift ideas today.  I hope you are well on your way to completing your shopping, or at least your gift list and setting your budget.  If you are having trouble staying under budget I believe the following ideas may help you.  First up:

For a Loved One

When I first saw this I thought, “What a great idea for a spouse/partner but then I realized this would be an ideal gift for a parent to give to a child or child to the parent.  Basically, this could be given to anyone you care for.  This idea comes from Shannon Brown who is brilliant!

lets go on a date

You wouldn’t have to use a basket and envelopes you could fold pieces of paper in a jar and select one at random.  Think of the things you could include, movie and popcorn at home on Friday night, walk through the woods after a snowfall, Special breakfast just for the two of you.  An afternoon baking favorite cookies or teaching your loved one something they would enjoy such as learning to use a sewing machine.  The ideas are endless.

For a loved one who isn’t close by

Do you have a child attending college away from home?  Or maybe you have a son or daughter in the military.  This would be the best gift, in my opinion, they could ever receive.  Write a series of letters telling them how much you love them, how proud you are, what’s going on at the moment, etc.  Then label each envelope “Open when…” fill in the blank, homesick, scared, lonely, challenged, having a bad day…..

for those far away

Are you really tight on money?

Thrifty Dee picked up a sweater at a thrift shop and created several items out of that one item.  The ideas included a cowl collar, cup cozy, mittens, an iPad cover, and finally a small bag.  From this post you can click to find the instructions for each item.  I don’t know about you, but I have a thrift shop that charges $.25 per item of clothing.  Just think pennies per gift. :-)

sweaterupcycleday1Still have a young child on your list?

This gift will use up all those craft scraps you have lying around.  Collect buttons, fabric, trim, whatever you have on hand. Include a jar of glue and print out the pattern (you can choose from 6 doll templates or animal templates. Just think of all the afternoons of imaginative play when the weather is too nasty to be outside. See the instructions and links for the downloads here.


Do you have leftover yarn?

If you have small amounts of yarn and can crochet or knit here is a great idea for those who still insist on using swiffers to clean floors.  Those disposable pads are not only bad for the environment and costly they bring more chemicals into the home. This pattern was available on Etsy, but it has been discontinued so you will need to get the measurements, take a measuring tape with you next time you go to a store and copy them down. :-)  You can use up your scraps while giving a useful present.

swiffer cover

Do you have someone on your list that enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking?

Go through your closet and look for a shirt hubby no longer wears, then cut it, add trim and give the gift of an apron.  Check out this site for more pictures of aprons made from mens shirts. If all else fails pick one up at the thrift shop.

upcycle mans shirt

Looking for a new book for a voracious reader?

Look no further than fellow blogger best known as Thrifty Mom in Boise, Dana who has released her novel this month.

CoverDiane is a shy, introverted, young woman grappling with the pressures of being a college student and living away from home for the very first time. While struggling to keep up with her studies her life is further complicated with self esteem issues, complex family situations and her lifelong desire to eventually fall in love.

In a short period of time two remarkable events take place that dramatically change the course of her life forever altering the way she sees herself and the world she lives in. Enter William, a handsome, charismatic and somewhat mysterious young man who quickly captures her heart. At long last she finally has a boyfriend, but something seems amiss, peculiar even. Traumatic childhood events are brought to the forefront as she learns about his highly improbable and nefarious past.

Together they learn to deal with the demons of their pasts while building a future together. Along the way they further discover that world events, ever changing family dynamics and the complicated lives of their friends can make their own problems seem rather trivial and mundane. That is, until an uninvited visitor from William’s past threatens everything.

You can get your copy here. or at her etsy store, here

What about that person you know who is always losing their remote?

Make them a pillow with pockets to hold those remotes close at hand.  All you need is an old pair of jeans,, better make a list before you head to your local thrift shop. :-)  This was available on Etsy, but has been sold out. You can check out what else is available here from this store.

denim pillow


Need a Gift for Grandparents?

If you have small children consider posing for a family photo, if I were to receive this the more humorous the better. Then upload the photo and convert to a coloring page. Then let the little ones color it in, frame it with an inexpensive frame and gift away.  Get all the details here.including how to do this free of charge.  I’m thinking this would be a wonderful gift for the grandchildren to give to mom and dad this year.

picture coloring page

Have someone on your list that loves jewelry?

The latest crazy is to modge podge scrapbook paper or other decorative papers to a hardware store washer.  This particular one can be purchased here.

washer necklace

For the Gardener we Love

In my view anyone who gardens does so because they love it. We tend our gardens with love and would enjoy receiving a handmade gift that would be used in our garden.  All you need to do is collect some rocks, okay you’ll also need some paint and a steady hand.  If you have property like mine there is an endless supply just waiting.

garden markers

There’s my weekly selection from the Frugal Christmas series. Hope you found some inspiration this week. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Do you have suggestions you can add?

33 thoughts on “Frugal Christmas; Upcycle Week plus one

  1. I found you again!! I was looking at your site over Christmas thinking what wonderful ideas but I was on my hubby’s kindle not my laptop so had no idea of my login but now I have found you again I have followed your blog. Thanks so much for such amazing ideas! Most that can be done with things around the home <3 homemade things :)


    • Abidazz, so glad you found your way back. It’s good to know you enjoyed the frugal Christmas series. It was so much fun to put together I will do another one next year, oops I mean this year, :-)

      My philosophy is to make do with what I have or can find as I would like to have as tiny of a footprint as possible.


  2. Thanks for inspiring ideas! That denim cushion is brilliant – I can never find the several remotes at my daughter’s house, so if I make one for her family, maybe it will be an incentive for them to use it, plus I have a whole bag of old jeans waiting to be used (I quite liked the apron, too!).
    It never occurred to me to crochet mop covers… I actually use fabric covers and they are already 5-10 yrs old, so I probably don’t need any more but the idea is great. Perhaps for my girls as they leave home for households of their own…
    Today I had a great time wrapping and decorating presents to be sent abroad and was so pleased that I was using only stuff I had lying around, either it had been tucked away till I decluttered or else it been sent as free advertising in the post – cards, stickers, ribbon, paper and all I needed was a bit of glue and my old pinking shears :) Everything looks so pretty, my folks won’t want to open the wrappings! (I don’t even care that the postage will be more than the value of the contents :o)


    • I am so thrilled to know you enjoyed these ideas I found, Swiss Rose. Yes, I too have jeans that can be repurposed. What’s with the need for so many remotes any way? I am amazed when visiting my son to see the collection of remotes it takes to operate the TV system. :-)

      Your wrapping sounds lovely. I made fabric bags to use, but that means I like to get them back. Using flyers and other found materials is such a great way to use them up without needing to resort to actual wrapping paper.


  3. Great Ideas, loved the pebbles, I did make a collection still in the shed of the pebbles to be used as alphabets remember those you showed? but never did get around to painting them.. Maybe my granddaughter and I can have fun creating a gift for granddad ;) xxx


    • Sue, I do remember the alphabet stones. I fear it may be too late for me to get out and collect my own for the little ones as they ground now is too soft to safely work around due to the snow/melt cycles we have been having. If so I will make it for Easter instead as the two oldest are enjoying the process of writing and forming words at the moment.

      I do have another idea using rocks you might like. Instead of painting letters to create words, you paint pictures, then let little ones use the pictures to make up and tell a story. With your artistic talents I can see this being easy for you and what fun your granddaughter would have pulling out a set of rocks to make up stories with you when she visits.

      Without going back to look, I believe there was a tent, sun….I’m going to have to pull it up and post it next week for you to see. It really is cute.


      • That sounds a lovely idea, we had a fab day on Tuesday we made another proper little house this time out of an empty tea bag box, and she spent ages with it helping glue and stick and paint with the aid of grandma lol… I will have to show you that one and take pictures before it gets bashed.. The other she took home and sadly even though her mum said she played alot with it .. it got trod on and broken…
        The picture stones ideas I will look out for next week :-) xx


  4. Thank you for these great ideas! They fit right in with our Five-Hand Christmas. I especially like the paper doll with clothes. And the gift certificate envelopes, which will be great for my teen-aged granddaughters. I’ve been wondering what to do for them!


    • I hope it helps to get the word out about your book. I am debating it myself. It’s not my normal genre but the write up has me intrigued.

      Aren’t those swiffer pads great? I hate the swiffers for the obvious waste but if you weren’t tossing out a pad each time you mopped I wouldn’t mind having one myself. :-)


  5. These are all wonderful ideas :) Thank you for collecting them and sharing them with us. As an experiment, I would love to just give and receive handmade gifts at Christmas one year :) A couple of years ago a friend of mine made me a brightly-coloured piece of cross-stitching saying “Imagination” and put it in a little frame. It was really touching that she had taken the time to make me something so inspirational. This year I really want to have a go at making a simple Lebkuchenhaus (gingerbread house), which if it turns out well could also make a nice gift.


    • P, I have yet to successfully assemble a gingerbread house. Mine fall apart and it’s such a mess to build. I wish you luck with yours. :-)

      Your cross stitch gift sounds lovely. I cross stitch and love how they turn out.

      I too would like to have a all-handmade Christmas.I am close to this personally but haven’t convinced my children to follow suit. I am waiting for the right time to suggest it to my children. I have already convinced them not to spend a lot on gifts, especially for me and finally succeeded in getting them to stop buying me gifts for my birthday. With young grandchildren this seems like a good time. Including the little ones to help make gifts would be a good activity for them and teach them while young that handmade gifts are appreciated so much more than store bought.


      • I actually just had a conversation with my youngest sister about this and she thought it would be a hoot to have a handmade christmas (especially wondering what our brother would make). The fun that we have together is the best bit about Christmas in my opinion and I think it would make everything even more fun :)


        • P, that is wonderful. I can see the anticipation of waiting to see what your brother might make. I hope you will share your Christmas gifts with everyone.

          I have a few ideas floating around that I want to share with the grandchildren to see what they would like to make for their parents. If I get the children on board with a handmade Christmas I won’t have much more to do to change their parents and see the benefits.


          • Although I would love to do a handmade Christmas with all the family, some members have let it be known that this would be very stressful for them because they either don’t have the time or the talent to make stuff (or just don’t enjoy that kind of thing). I think it’s important to respect that point of view, too, as much as I’d like everyone to do it my way! (Just saying!)


          • You mean we can’t make them do it our way? Bummer. :-)

            That is true, not all would enjoy it. My boys aren’t much for making gifts, but their wives are so if it meant a large savings I think they would go for it. :-)


  6. Some lovely ideas there, I want to do the envelope one for my brother who is spending 10 months in south america (I did just buy him things he needed too, but this would be nice as well!) As I’ve told you, I love these round ups! I liked the jeans pocket cushion idea – my parents have something from Ikea than hangs over the sofa arm – something I’m sure could also be easily made!


    • Sarah, I am thrilled you found something here to personalize and gift to your brother. I am sure he would love to receive a basket of letters for those homesick days.

      I’ve seen the things you are talking about, although not from Ikea (can’t believe I missed something there!) but yes, I like the pillow to hold the remotes too. So functional and I still have a full pair of jeans here to create something with. :-)


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