Crappy Homemade Gifts™

This category contains 9 posts


I started my vanilla extract last night using Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Beanilla.com and Svedka. Fresh vanilla beans are my new favorite. They’re so lush and fragrant. They ooze vanilla oil when I slice them open and smell just like vanilla pipe tobacco. It’s really magnificent.

Pics and cost information to follow. In the meantime, I went to the State Fair this week. We looked at all kinds of amazing quilts. I’m totally inspired.

Surprise Pay it Forward

Would you like a Crappy Homemade Gift™ of your very own? Here is your chance!

The Rules

I will send a surprise gift to the first 3 people to comment on this post.  This gift will be made by me and I will send it sometime within the next year.  Exactly when you will receive it will be a surprise (it will probably be a surprise to me too).

Of course there are some rules in this game.  Here it goes:

1.  I will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post.  It will be a surprise and may arrive at any time in the next 365 days (yes, a year).

2.  To sign up to receive a gift from me you must play along too.  Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade and or / thrifted (modified to match my own predilections) goodie to the first three people who comment on your blog post.

3.  You must have a blog.

4.  After commenting on my post, you have to post this (or similar) on your blog to spread the love.  If you haven’t posted in 48 hours then the next commenter will be chosen.

If you want to join in the fun, comment below. If you’re one of the first three, I’ll send you something before the end of August next year!

A special shout out to Orla over at Orla’s World for the good fun!

Sister Has a Brand New Bag

Remember when I said the only thing I had to get done this weekend was some pillowcases? Yeah…

I couldn’t very well start pillowcases when I still had a birthday tote hanging over my head. So, without further ado, my sister’s much belated birthday tote:

Isn’t it grand? Well, in the light of day the lining looks a bit puckered and the pic is all kinds of weird colors just to make my grass look lifelike, but you get the idea.

This is a repeat of my first sewing project – Crafty Planet’s Beginning Tote. I would love to share the pattern with you, but Crafty Planet is a small, locally owned business and I believe they would prefer to sell it. The cost of the pattern is two dollars, but you get it for free if you take their tote sewing class. It’s fun. You should tote-ally do it!

My sister picked out the fabric and I must say – it’s stunning in real life. Like her, the tote appears modern and sedate on the outside. But the inside? A riot of color, complex pattern and beauty like you wouldn’t believe.

Happy Birthday, Sisterpoke (rhymes with cow poke). I love you more than cheese!

Bitches Be Craftin’

Empirical evidence suggests it take 22 years to recover from trauma induced by junior high level home economics class.* At least that’s how long it took me to find my way back to the business end of a sewing machine. After winning the luck lottery this summer, my Aunt abandoned her sewing machine to my care. The cost of a new foot pedal (not unsubstantial), fabric, and a sewing class later – I had made the most expensive reusable grocery bag of all time.

Heady with my newly discovered power – the ability to cut out squares and sew relatively straight lines – my thoughts swung to Merry Thriftmas.  It was also around that time when I discovered buying fabric. I’m unlikely to become a great seamstress. But when it comes to buying fabric, I’m as passionate as they come. And if I have to keep sewing for that to make sense, so be it.

Last night, my sister and I checked out Mill End Textiles in Eden Prairie. Or, as I will be calling it from now on, Mecca. That place is just totally awesome. I bought the fabrics pictured for trying my hand at pillowcases. Squares? Check. Straight lines? Double check!

I have settled on a Roll It Up pillowcase (pattern) and it’s the only thing I have to do this weekend. The fabric is pre-washing as I type. Wish me luck!

*Research on recovery from junior high level industrial arts class is still pending but symptoms of PTTSS (post-traumatic table saw syndrome) have been observed throughout the sample.

It’s All About the Benjamins

This won’t be much of a Merry Thriftmas blog if I don’t talk about money. I know, I know – it’s impolite. Tacky, even. I won’t lie and say I’m not nervous. What’s thrifty to me is going to seem stingy to some and positively ludicrous to others. I could defend my budget – talk about all the money I give to this charity or that –  but that’s not the point of the project. So, go ahead and judge me. I have made a decision, which is that I can tolerate a bit of ridicule and discomfort in order to add value, meaning and context to my Merry Thriftmas posts.

At the estate sale on Sunday, I found a funky old paperback edition of Hoyle’s card game rules and a completely untouched vintage gin rummy score pad. I picked up both for $1 (no tax, no shipping), and supplemented the gift with a deck of custom playing cards from Printer’s Studio for $7.99 (no tax, no shipping) featuring 52 of my favorite family photos. Total gift cost for my uncle of $8.99.

Whomever hosted the estate sale stuck prices tags on both book covers which in turn tore when I was trying to remove them. Not cool, yo!

I also got some thrifting / crafting done toward a gift for a young cousin. My plan is to give her a covered cork board and a jewelry box filled with “dress-up” jewelry. So far, I have spent $5.31 on cork board (thrifted at Goodwill), $.93 at Michaels (for paint and a new brush), and $4.81 at Jo-Ann Fabrics for fabric and trim. The cork board is complete and the total cost was $11.05. I had fabric glue and spray mount on hand, so I did not include those numbers in the cost. The next cream-colored cork board recipient will benefit from this weekend’s purchase of trim paint and brush. I’m comfortable with that type of accounting for this particular project since I’m aiming for averages. As for the costume jewelry, I grabbed a cameo at the Estate Sale of Win for $1.

I read that the key to great craft photography is lots of natural light. Did it work? With all that natural light, I can see that there’s a small area in the upper right corner of my board where the fabric looks wrinkled. >:-(

Did I tell you about the Estate Sale of Win? It was a crazy. Dude had like 300 metal files. I wonder if he kept all his files in files? Did he have to categorize them by genus and file-um? And really, what do you call a person with so many files? A fileophile? I sure hope they managed to sell them all. That would be a lot of file-o dough.

I have also purchased the following, which we are considering capital investments at this point. These items haven’t been applied to gifts yet, so they’re totally going to skew my average. The idea, however, is that it should all work out in the end. Right? Right.

  • Glass & Tile Pliers, Estate Sale, $2
  • Wreath stamp and Fimo (gift tags), Estate Sale and Michael’s, $1.50
  • Vintage Xmas Tin, Saver’s, approximately $3
  • Reptile Skins, Saver’s, approximately $10
  • Vintage Document Box, Saver’s, approximately $4

Woof! That’s a whole lot of ching for a Thriftmas! Should balance out soonish, though.

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