money in your pocket

This was for Dad.  I wanted to try to make a tri-fold but thought it might get too crazy and complicated.  I’m happy with the way this turned out.  I did a prototype first with normal fabric and then ended up making a few of these.  the first one was made entirely of the outside fabric and ended up being way too thick around the corners.  The second one was mostly the outside fabric with some of the other fabric used to make the pockets.  Finally, I figured out that using the thinner stuff for everything but the outside (and the tab), made the most sense.  This is where I found the tutorial, which I found really easy to understand and follow.

cost breakdown:
outside fabric: $1.48
thinner fabric: had on hand
velcro: $1.07
plastic: had on hand

total: $2.55


These were for my mom and they were really fun and easy to make.  I’ve made a lot of these kinds of scarves over the years and so it only took a few hours to knit these up.  I do love the quite, meditative act of knitting, how easy it is to see the work of your hands.  These did not cost me anything as I had the yarn on hand; both “fancy” yarns were bought at a garage sale.


There are a few gifts I didn’t post about because I knew the people who actually read this thing might see their gifts.  This one is Jason’s. I decided to also include a game inside, to make it a little more exciting.  I have become quite enamored with zombies thanks to Walking Dead so I really wanted to get Jason a zombie game.  This was inexpensive, easy to play, and quite fun.  Everyone we’ve introduced it to has enjoyed it.  Anyway, on to Jason’s handmade gift.

This was really easy and quite fun.  I found the pattern here and was able to easily follow the instructions.  I made the bag in a couple of hours and enjoyed seeing the surprise on Jason’s face when he opened it.

cost breakdown:
cargo pants: $3.88
jean pants: Jason’s old jeans, had on hand

total: $3.88 (not including Zombie Dice)


And with that I’m officially done with Christmas presents.  I never did share the cost for these coasters.

cost breakdown:
tile: $.17 each
photo paper: had on hand (for the photo books)
corner protectors (which you can’t see but are cute little cork stickers): $.03 each
mod podge: had on hand
finishing spray paint: $11.83 (for whole can, not even half was used)

total: $12.03


My cousin’s boyfriend is an artist (he works for Pixar) and Dad had the good idea of making aa art notebook cover.  I’m putting a picture of him and my cousin in it.  Hope he likes it!  I used the same fabric as the apron.

cost breakdown:

fabric: $.76
plastic: had on hand
art notebook: $4.53

total: $5.29


I realized I never shared these.  They are too big for embroidery frames so I thought I’d use picture frames instead.  The two black frames were on sale at Michael’s, and the silver frame was purchased from a thrift store.

cost breakdown:

patterns: free
fabric: free from a yard sale
embroidery thread: had on hand
black frames: $2.58 each
silver frame: $1.07

total: $6.23 for all three

puzzle me this

You might recognize this from the October recap.  This is the second gift that is not hand made.  My grandma LOVES puzzles (and passed that love on to me) and, while my grandpa passed away many years ago, she is still madly in love with him.  I though she’d appreciate this picture.  I’m not sure I’m completely satisfied with this as the box it came with is a cheap0 cardboard thing; I’m thinking of replacing it with a wooden box with a slot for a picture.  We’ll see.

cost breakdown:

total: $15.08

zoom zoom

There are only two gifts I’m not making, and this is one of them.  I come from a family of photographers; my dad has three siblings (now that my oldest uncle has passed away) and someone in each of their families has a Nikon or several (this includes my dad).  Last year I got this for my Dad, because I couldn’t figure out a cheap way to make it.  So this year I’m getting this for my cousin because all the hand made gifts I found for guys are either for your husband, your boyfriend, or your dad.  This was a nice compromise.

cost breakdown:

total: $11.73


These have actually been done for a while (the duck ones have been done since August) but I was trying to find frames to fit them in.  Turns out the standard 5×7 frame is a little too small for the ducks.  And I noticed how cheap embroidery hoops are, so I thought I’d be a little more creative (and cheap).  I also have two more designs that still needs frames (or embroidery hoops, if the oval ones will work), and one that I forgot to take a picture of that’s actually in a frame.  I also found this on attaching these to the hoops and still making them look nice.  What a relief to not have these sitting on my bureau anymore. :)

cost breakdown:

patterns: free (lots of awesome vintage patterns)
fabric: free from a yard sale
embroidery thread: had on hand
backing fabric: had on hand
embroidery hoops: $3.29

total: $3.29

(not the most perfect job on the back, but good enough ;)

tennis helper

I’m sure you’ve seen the picture floating around; I made two of these little guys for my uncle who really likes tennis.  There weren’t any instructions that I could find so I just kinda made it up as I went along.

Using a razor blade, I cut the mouth and then stuck the blade through the back so the suction cup would be in the right spot.  Using a pan head bolt (after making a hole in the suction cup and the ball), I secured the suction cup to the back of the ball.   With the help of a pair of needle nose pliers, I attached the nut to the bolt inside the ball.  Then I used a sharpie to draw on the eyes; I wanted to use rivets like the ones in the picture, but that seemed like it would be tedious and make this simple project not so simple.  I’m happy with the end result and hope he’ll get a kick out of them.

cost breakdown:

tennis balls: free (thanks, Holly! :)
suction cups: $2.67
2 pan head bolts: $.41
2 nuts: $.37

total: $3.45


Yeah, took this picture almost two weeks ago.  Anyway, better late than never, right?

This was fun and super easy.  I enjoyed following the simple directions, easier than anything else I found.

cost breakdown:

fabric/total: $3.78

And I’m going to use the navy fabric for another gift too.


Another two gifts done. :)

This was made for my young cousin and nieces and nephew.

cost breakdown (cousin):

bag fabric: on hand
bag draw string: $3.45 (for 10 yards)
tag plastic cover: on hand
two twin sheets: $6.46
t-shirt ties: free
flashlight: $1.08
rope: $2.16
glow sticks: $1.08
clothes pins: $1.08 (for 36)

total: $15.31

cost breakdown (nieces & nephew):

bag fabric: on hand
bag draw string: on hand
tag plastic cover: on hand
two queen sheets: $6.46
t-shirt ties: free
flashlights: $3.24
ropes: $4.32
glow sticks: $3.24
clothes pins: $1.08 (for 36)

total: $18.34


These clutches were super easy.  The only change was that I cut the flap pieces 8.5″ x 3.5″, rather than 8″ x 3.5″.

cost breakdown (for all three bags):

lining fabric: had on hand
outer fabric: had on hand
buttons: had on hand
elastic loop: had on hand (I used hair ties)
batting: $.86

total: $.86

bookin’ it

I’ve started my Christmas gifts now because last year I didn’t start until mid to late November and that was waaaay too stressful.  I’m trying to personalize the gifts this year because the last two years I just made mass quantities of one item and customized it to fit the person (or couple) who was receiving it.  I probably won’t make this a normal thing as it’s a lot harder and requires more time and thought.  But, it is really fun to be so thoughtful with what I’m gifting.  One of the projects I’m doing is a photo journal; I got the idea here and loved its simplicity.  I did have to make some changes and had some trial and error.  First of all, it was really challenging trying to find a way to have the pictures print using most of the page.  I eventually figured it out, after printing out a lot of test sheets and using lots of ink.  The first book I made doesn’t have even pages because I was trying to use a half sheet as a guide but it kept slipping and getting shaved smaller and smaller.  And the spine is not even.  But I do like the more “homemade” feel to it.  After using the Elmer’s glue to put it all together and then trying to flip through the pages, I decided reinforcement was necessary.  I was going to use a hammer and nail to create holes and then sew it together.  I ended up using really big, flat headed thumbtacks and just left them in.  I like the more rugged look they add.

I want to share what other projects I’ve found and the end products but I have to be careful what I share here before Christmas.  I might just have to wait until after the fact.

cost breakdown (per book):

photo paper: $.43
ink: $.17
glue: $2.47 (for the whole bottle)
filler paper: had on hand
tacks: had on hand
binding paper: free (grabbed a paper bag from the grocery store)

total: $3.07