Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cloth Gift Bags

I had a bright idea a few years back when wrapping a bunch of gifts for Christmas that wasting all that paper to wrap gifts was horrible for the environment and my wallet. I talked to my mom and asked her if she would be willing to make me some gift bags as a gift for Christmas. She did over the past couple years. I now have bags for Christmas in holiday/winter prints and birthday bags with birthday/party prints. I love them. They almost completely eliminate the waste of wrapping paper and tape. It helps keep our garbage can free for other household waste and I love all the different prints. The design is pretty simple. It is basically a pillow case with a drawstring. A little tip for keeping your bags though is to either make a special bag for the receiving person to keep or let them know before handing over their gift that you will need your bag to be able to reuse. I have found that adults are OK giving the bags back but children like to have a bag they can keep. Depending on the size the drawstring can be removed and used as a pillow case or the drawstring can be left in and the bag used for kids carrying around their prized possessions.

These are also a great money saver. If you buy your fabrics after the holidays when the prints go on sale or use a coupon you can get the fabrics for just a couple dollars a yard at most fabric stores. A yard of fabric can make a few different sized bags. Also watch for different types of yarn, ribbon, or cording to go on sale and pair it with your fabric. Right now is the perfect time to look for clearance holiday fabric to start on bags for next year.

I store all my bags in a Rubbermaid type container in the storage closet. This keeps them all together and makes for easy access. I haven't sorted mind into size differences yet but you could always do that inside your box as well.

  If you do not have a sewing machine or would just rather buy bags they sell these WrapSacks online for ease. You could also buy reusable shopping bags or tote bags to use as cute gift bags.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frugal and Fun Holiday Ideas

I have noticed as an adult Christmas is different for me than it was when I was a child. I LOVE buying my children gifts and seeing their smiles when they open them. It just seems that some of the things I did as a child just are not the same for me. We are living far away from all of our family and we will not see any of them for the holidays so I have decided that we just have to create our own memories. Here are a few of the ideas that we have come up with so far to keep the children entertained and decorate our home for the holidays.

- Paper crafts. They are simple cheap and easy. We used cookie cutters to trace holiday shapes on construction paper, cut them out, and the kids colored them. I preserved them by laminating them and put them on our tree so they could see their work displayed. These will last for years and I can give them to them when they are adults if they want them.

- Popcorn or noodle garland. I do not like the metallic garland for the tree as it seems to get all over the place even when it is supposed to be on its own strand. Last year we had popcorn garland and this year we have dyed noodle garland. The noodles were much more child friendly as it was just noodles and yarn. We dyed the noodles red, blue and green and strung them on yarn. it was simple, fun and more decoration for our tree. This is safe for the children and the pets if it were to get on my floor on accident.

- Sugar cookies and frosting. This one is a bit messy but a fun way to spend a few hours. It also is a delicious treat at the end of a fun project. We are planning to do these this weekend as our fun holiday craft. We will make the sugar cookie dough and have the kids help cut the shapes out with our holiday cutters. After we bake them and they cool we will make several colors of frosting and let them help us decorate the cookies. We did this last year as well and the kids were so excited about getting to eat their own special treats.

- Glitter pine cones. We went outside and collected some pine cones. Ours were a bit wet so we put them in the oven at 200 degrees for a little while to dry them out. Then we painted them with cheap glitter glue. When they dried we strung them up in groups of 3-4 and hung them around the house.

What other fun, frugal holiday ideas do you have that are kid friendly?

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Laundry Accomplishment

This is the closet that usually houses our mountain of dirty clothes that I try to get through constantly. I am the only person in my house who washes and dries clothes and getting through all of them seems to be a never ending challenge. I not only have clothes for 5 people but also all the bedding and cloth diapers to keep up on as well. I decided last Sunday to have everybody gather all of the dirty laundry they had in their baskets and put them in this closet and then I would do my best to manage to get through all of the clothes in the closet by this Sunday when I would have everybody bring their clothes down again. Well, I am happy to share with you that not only did I manage to get through all of the clothes I also vacuumed the closet out as well. Then we as a family all folded and put away all our clothes in the correct spots. It feel super nice to get through all of those clothes. I think we might just all have too many clothes. I am going to try to make this closet look like this every Friday. I am not sure I am that good though because when I have a day that I dont feel the greatest I seem to get behind on everything and then it takes me forever to get caught up. I did it and I feel great!!!