Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Frugal Gifting

So, I couldn't post this before Christmas since people receiving the gifts may or may not read this blog. Plus, the blogosphere is so saturated with Christmas posts that I figured no one would notice one less gift idea post. But now you will have this for the future in case you ever want to gift it or try it for yourself. When you see 4 of each gift in the pictures.... that's because I made them for 3 people and then one for myself. Hey, I gotta try my own goods :).

First up, from Fun With the Fullwoods, I made lip scrub. I'm not big into crafting blogs (let's face it, I hardly have enough time for my PCOS and Catholic blogs! Oh and the mommy blogs I stalk as I plan my own future motherhood.) but I really like hers. She is super creative, though if I made sweets as often as she does I would be morbidly obese! So I stick with her crafty ideas and not her cookie ideas, as tempting as they sound and look. This gift was super affordable. I got the jars for $5 at Bed Bath and Beyond and could have used a 20% off coupon if I had any sense about me before leaving the house that morning. I mean really, who leaves that coupon behind??? Anyway, I did and had already been on a massive hunt for the perfect size jar, so I wasn't leaving the store without them once they were in my hot little hand. But $4 would have been even better! I already had the honey, which is local, and used a combo of wildflower honey and clover honey since I ran out of one in the middle of making them. I also already had the olive oil, which comes in a massive bottle at Trader Joe's for an awesome price (and is cold pressed which is important), as well as the brown sugar, which is organic, but of course still somewhat processed (less than regular brown sugar at least). I know it's just going on people's lips, but they may or may not be tempted to eat it right from the jar with how delicious it smells ;) so I try to make sure it meets my quality standars. Since I had everything but the jars on hand, these were ridiculously cheap gifts. I embellished them with things I already had in my craft box that I had gotten on clearance a while ago. Tip for you, and for me when/if I do it again. I actually had to add more brown sugar because there was too much liquid on top for my liking once it settled. I would also gift it with something to get the spread out of the jar so people don't have to use their fingers, because it does require quite the hand washing. I discovered that too late for this year though.

Next up was vanilla extract from my fave blog 100 Days of Real Food. This one wasn't quite as frugal, but still came out to be cheap. I didn't have any of the ingredients on hand (glass jars/bottles, vodka, vanilla beans) so that's why it cost a little more. I got the cheapest brand of vodka, since I read numerous places that it wouldn't affect the quality, so that cost me $5. I got the little jars at Michael's for 99cents each. I never did find what I wanted, which would have been something more like what she had in her picture. I wanted something tall and skinny, but after 4 stores I gave up and went back to Michael's for those round ones. They were glass, which was important to me since I much prefer glass to plastic, and were small enough for my liking. The vanilla beans were expensive, at least to me who had no clue how much they cost. I bought 4 vanilla beans and they cost just over $8! Now in the scheme of the gift, they were still pretty affordable. The beans smelled SO GOOD when I opened them. I have read that once you use this vanilla extract, you will never go back. That's saying a lot since just this year I began buying real Madagascar vanilla extract instead of the imitation stuff, and am soooo in love. I can't wait to use it, but I read most places to wait 3-6 months, even though her blog suggests a month. These are only a couple days old and you can already tell that it's darkening! When I first put the beans in, I arranged them so they were pretty, but you are supposed to swirl/swish it every few days so they all moved. I smelled these the day before Christmas and they smell soooo vanilly and good!

I want to get much more into handmade gifts next year. This year was sort of a test to see how it would go, if I enjoyed it, and if it was actually in fact frugal. It went well except the brown sugar scrub has a shelf life (well, so said other websites I found on it) so I didn't make it til the night before I headed to South Carolina. I really, really enjoyed the process- finding what I wanted to make, researching it elsewhere for tips, and actually making everything, especially picking out ribbons and stickers to go on them (again, all from my craft box so 'free'). The shopping part wasn't as fun, but that's because I don't like stores in December. I am claustrophobic about 10 minutes into the experience. And, most importantly, it was really frugal! For people who are receiving both, I spent $5.50 per person and obviously even less for the people just receiving one (though the people receiving one are receiving them as a supplementary gift). I love that I can give something that cost more time and effort than cash. Now that I have a whole year to come up with some other handmade stuff, I'm already excited about next Christmas!


  1. I saw so many people posting their homemade gifts and it made me really want to make some homemade gifts as well - but with the baby, no way that was happening this year! Next year, I definitely will do it! I really liked your post because it made me feel like these are things I can do as well (a "real" person made them and not just a craft blogger!). I'm sure everyone really loved your gifts!

  2. Yes, I should have written "If I can do this, ANYONE can do this!" lol. I can scrapbook really well but that's about the extent of my craftiness, so anything I ever post here will definitely be do-able for the average person :).

  3. Great ideas! I have a board on pinterest of "homemade gifts" that I want to try between now and next christmas. There is a REALLY cute one making a basket out of recycled magazines/newspaper I'm going to attempt to try.

    Funny story my friend did 100 days of homemade gifts on her blog and the home made vanilla was one of the gifts. She had TONS of people commenting bc they didn't know there was alcohol in vanilla. They were all I'm never giving my kids cookies again! She was like seriously? There is 1 teaspoon of Vanilla for 30 cookies they won't get drunk.

  4. Love these! They're so cute and handy! Wish I would have made more homemade gifts this year but it didn't work out. Glad to see someone was being crafty! :)