Tag Archives: gifts

Make Your Own Beautiful, Affordable, Collapsible Dollhouse

Here’s a project I’m absolutely in love with!  Southern Disposition has the plans for an ingenious dollhouse she made from three ring binders, scrapbook paper, magazine pictures and a few found treasures.

It collapses to take up very little space, it’s utterly gorgeous, it’s green, and it’s super affordable.  She estimates she made hers for about $30 but she says you could easily do it for under $10 with a little creativity.

What a sweet holiday gift this would make.  🙂

Head over for all the fabulous information.


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Saltdough Vases and Planters

These are brilliant!

These salt dough vases are built around glass containers from the recycling bin, making them waterproof, completely customizable and virtually free.

And they’re just too cute.  Kids could have a ball doing this!

Head on over to Alpha Mom for the instructions.

Happy Sunday!


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A Sentimental Gift Idea

I read this in the Dollar Stretcher newsletter years ago and it seemed so touching that I kept it. My own parents died years ago so I can’t use this myself but I think it would make a wonderful gift for a mother or father…

"I think this gift is the most treasured one my mother has ever received. Several weeks before Christmas I sent my three brothers 10 blank parchment cards. I asked them each to write out 10 separate fond or special memories they have about our mom. Combined with my own, I then put the 40 cards in an extra large vase tied with a beautiful bow.

My mom didn’t know what to make of the gift at first, but as she started reading the cards she became filled with emotion. Anytime she needs a little reminder as to just how special she is, all she has to do is pull a card out and she knows she is loved."

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Crafty Goodness

Time for more great holiday crafts!

The Crafty Crow has a round-up of some neat Hanukkah crafts here.

Frugal Family Fun has this macho handwarmer to make…

Kids can help make these pretty fabric covered file folders…

I’m also a fan of just letting kids go crazy with Sharpie pens
on stuff like plain mugs, light colored cloth napkins
and anything else that would make a good gift!

And now…
My little guy is wide awake and I need to convince him not to be
so I’m out of here, Chickadees!

Today’s assignment — eat some chocolate! 🙂
Happy Thursday!

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Homemade Present Round-up!

I plan to highlight fun handmade gifts all month here,
both to make with kids and to make for kids.

Here’s a few to start things off!

Here’s a darling little stuffed chipmunk
made from an orphaned glove!

These lovely roses are made from old sweaters.
Wouldn’t they be lovely pins, barrettes or hat embellishments?

What child wouldn’t love this shower curtain play mat?

Kids of all ages could make these personalized travel mugs
with art, photographs, scrapbook supplies and more
from one dollar mugs!

Want to give handmade but made by other hands?
I recently discovered
School at Home Etsians (SHE) and love the idea!
Click here to read more and see some of my favorite items.

I’ll share some of our favorite holiday handmade items this week.
Ours are super easy and super cheap,
two of my favorite words when it comes to crafts. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

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3 Fun Projects!

Here’s three fun projects I’ve seen lately that I thought were too fun to pass up!

The Spore Project shows how to make these fun paper bag mushrooms…

They’re cute painted too!

Do make sure to read the history page to find out how this all began.  I love the idea of him filling his friends’ lawns with mushrooms and the message about art is such an important one.

Then on This Mama Makes Stuff there’s a brilliant little scrap cloth/paper doll kit.  This would be so simple to make up, put in a pretty box and give as a gift to keep some little designer busy for eons.  Anna and Victoria love fashion design and I bet I could make up a slightly more sophisticated model for them to fashion outfits for.  If boys didn’t like the idea of making girl clothes you could also make up a boy doll or even a robot or superhero.  My Jack is all about robots and superheroes.  🙂

Lastly, One Busy Mama posted about this fabulous monster-making dice game and I absolutely love the idea.

I know my boys would love this one too.  It would help Alex with his counting (I’d help with the drawing) and for Jack it would just be fun.  🙂

Happy Saturday!

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A New Twist on Recycled Crayons

We’ve been making recycled crayons for years with mini muffin tins (ours is heart shaped) and I’ve seen them made in little candy molds but I had never thought of doing it this way from Danny Seo.  What fun!  They’re so pretty and we have so many cookie cutters in the playdough drawer….  

These would make great gifts, too, either to give children or for them to make up for friends or younger family members.

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10 Great Father’s Day Gifts to Make

There’s less than a week till Father’s Day!  If you’re drawing a blank about what the kids can give Daddy (or Grandpa or other special men in their lives), here are some tried and true gifts from our house and and a few on my to-do list.

1.  Twig pencil holder

Here’s an easy gift for kids of any age to make.
You’ll need:

A clean can (soup can size)
Two sturdy rubber bands
An assortment of twigs
Twine or ribbon

Gather up some fairly thin twigs and then have an adult cut them to about an inch taller than your jar (leave some variety in the lengths).  Garden shears are good for cutting them.

Put the rubber bands around the jar, evenly spaced from the top and bottom.  Slide the twigs along the jar, holding them in place with the rubber bands.  Make the twigs level with the bottom of the jar, so they extend a little higher than the top.

Keep adding twigs until the entire jar is covered.  Hide the rubber bands by tying twine or ribbon over them.  Voila!

2.  Handprint Poem

Here’s a simple way to make a really whimsical keepsake.  Print this poem in whatever font you like and leave enough space at the bottom to stamp your child’s handprints with paint.  Frame it when you’re done.

My Hands

Sometimes you get discouraged
    Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
    On furniture and walls

But every day I’m growing
    I’ll be grown up some day
And all those tiny hand prints
    Will surely fade away

So here’s a final hand print
    Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
    When I was very small


3.  Papier Mache Bowl

Magical Mama Susan recommended this project for Dad’s keys and odds and ends.  When we do papier mache we just use watered down glue and it seems to work well, if you don’t have watercolor paste.

4.  Daddy Watercolor Poem

Victoria made this keepsake for her dad a few years ago.  It’s faded from the sun but still brings a smile.  She wrote DADDY going down the side of the page and then made up a poem where each letter started one line.  Then she wrote the poem onto the paper and added some decorations with paint.  We popped it in a dollar store frame.


5.  Coupon Books

This is a simple standard in our house.  The kids like to make them up and we like to get them.  Cut strips of paper, write out little coupons, punch a hole on one end and tie with a string.  Some ideas include helping Daddy with chores, hugs, yard work, making him a snack, afternoon together (fishing, going to the movies, golfing…) and breakfast in bed.

6.  Altered Board Book

This is a really fun project if the kids enjoy things like scrapbooking and art.  Take an old board book and gather up some scrapbook paper (or construction paper or even wrapping paper), adhesives, stickers and pens.  Cover each page with the new papers (or paint them with light colored paint in advance) and have the kids each decorate a few pages.  When we did this, there were just enough pages for each of us to do one DPS (double page spread) or set of 2 pages side by side.  I had the kids list things they loved about Daddy on one page and they did whatever they wanted on the other.  Jack was just learning to talk so I asked him questions and wrote his answers, which made everybody laugh.  Some of the questions were "what does Daddy like to do?" and "What is Daddy good at?".  I also did a DPS about why he’s a great father and wrote a sappy little letter on my page.

7.  Dad and Me Portrait

A simple but sweet project for kids of all ages is to ask them to paint or draw a picture of themselves with Daddy.  Have them title it, sign it and then put it in a frame.  These can be really nice for Dad to put on his wall or desk at work or they can be sweet decorations at home.

8.  Painted Walking Stick

If Dad likes to hike with the kids or needs a little extra support sometimes (like in our house), a walking stick can be a darling present.  Have the kids go off in the woods and help them find a large, straight, sturdy stick that is about the right width and height for Daddy.  Then put out an assortment of permanent paints and paintbrushes and have them go to town decorating it.  I suggest doing this outside!  If you have more than one artist involved, mark off grids with strips of masking tape and give each child a section to decorate and then sign.  Remove the tape when they’re done and you can easily see each section.  If you like, finish it with a coating of varnish.

9.  Handprint Apron

If Daddy likes to cook or barbecue, here’s a fun present.  Buy a plain, light colored apron (craft stores usually carry these cheap) and fabric paints.  Paint each child’s palms with fabric paint and stamp them on the apron, facing down.  Then have the kids write in fabric paint:

World’s Best Father
Hands Down!

You can also use this idea on canvas bags, T-shirts, etc.

10.  Painted Clock

This gift is super simple, affordable, cute and practical all in one.  Simply take a plain clock (available everywhere for a few bucks) with a white paper face.  Pop the clock open as if to set the time and take out the paper face.  Give it to your child and ask her to decorate it for Daddy.  She can use markers, paint or oil pastels (which are brighter and show up better than crayons) to decorate it.  Then put it all back together and you’re done! 

Alternate idea:  Print a photo of Daddy with the kids (or just the kids) large enough to fit in the clock.  Use the paper face as a pattern and trace around it on the photo (avoiding important elements being in the direct middle), then cut out the circle and punch a hole in the middle for the clock hands.  Assemble and you have a photo clock for just a few dollars.


Got any favorite Father’s Day ideas of your own?  Send them in and I’ll share them here.
~ Alicia

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I happened upon this bird watching bandana online the other day and thought it was so cute I went looking for a source.  I found out that it’s a Fundana, and there is a whole series of these clever bandanas with Bingo and scavenger hunts printed on them in different themes. 


There are fundanas for winter, rainy days, bugs, wild birds and even tracks and scat!  Most are designed to take on nature walks (with different environments, seasons and themes for each) and ones to keep you busy inside.  Some of the themes include beaches, prairies, autumn, horses, recycling and senses.  Some are geared more towards the 3-6 crowd and others more towards 7 and up, but many look like they’d work for the whole family. 

Best of all, they are designed without a winner in mind — the goal is to find all of the items and have fun.  As the "Knee High to Senses" fundana (a scavenger hunt involving the senses to use outside) says:  "The winner is everyone!  If you had fun and learned something new!".

I found them offered at quite a few places online but I found the best prices here (which looks like a sweet nature-themed small bookstore) and here (which seems to be the actual supplier and is the only place online where I found the entire line).  I have not bought from either place but I’m planning on buying at least a couple of these… if I can ever narrow it down.  🙂

Here’s a close-up of Pond Bingo (for older kids) and here’s one of Knee High to Nature Quest (for younger).

If money is too tight to splurge right now, the ideas could also be adapted to a little family scavenger hunt on paper too.

As always, no kickbacks, bribes or chocolates were promised in the making of this post! 

Happy weekend!

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Free Father’s Day Candy Wrappers

Lettering Delights has free printable candy bar wrappers to make daddies some tasty Father’s Day treats.
You have to register to get them but registration is free and no credit card info is required.
Be sure to unclick the sign-up for the newsletter if you’re not interested!
What a sweet idea!  🙂


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