Archive for the ‘gifts’ Category

Cloth Gift Wrap

This year has cemented my dislike for paper wrapping paper. The bags of waste, the expense and the fact that it is a nightmare, especially wrapping with children as it tears so easily. A couple of weeks ago I decided that next year I want to switch over entirely to cloth gift wrap. We can use it year after year, and depending on the fabric, for gifts all year round, not just for Christmas. I started making some “sheets” of cloth for wrapping (below) which I think will work out really well. You basically take a square of fabric and hem all four sides. You could use a machine or just some pretty embroidery thread and stitch around the edges. The bigger the better as you can always fold it down before you wrap a gift that is small. You could decorate with anything from ribbon, to crochet yarn ribbons and you can even spruce it up a bit by adding some fallen pine tree. A couple of days ago, SouleMama had a post about making cloth gift bags. I tried out her tutorial (above) with just a few tweaks of my own and I love it. The ribbons are attached so you don’t have to scramble when you are wrapping. Just pop your gift in, fold the bag over and tie it up. I think a combination of these bags and sheets of cloth paper will be the perfect combination for us. I plan on gathering supplies throughout the year as I find suitable fabric thrifting, and making a nice stash before the Christmas season arrives next year. If you have some time still these are very quick easy to whip up, and I think they are so beautiful and we can feel really good about no waste next year for Christmas (and birthdays etc.).

gifts, green • Friday, December 17th, 2010 • 9 Comments »

Convertible Cowl

Here is another low budget, high impact gift for the Holidays, or anytime really. This convertible cowl is fantastic for keeping you warm on a chilly day. As with all crochet and knitting projects depending on your yarn choice is can be budget friendly or super luxurious. I took these photos with it on my six year old and it is obviously a bit big, but I find it quite difficult to take decent pictures of myself, so there you go. It would be very easy to make a smaller version for a child though. You can wear this around your neck, or pulled down over your shoulders, or pulled up over your head to wear as a hood. This was a quick project, it took me just under three hours, so if you have an evening free and you are in need of a beautiful, warming gift for someone, give it a try. Even if you don’t already know how to crochet it would only take you a bit to learn the stitch and then you could make a beautiful convertible cowl. The pattern is free (yay budget!) and the results are fabulous. What is your go to winter accessory? What can you not leave the house without? Is it a pair of gloves, or do you have to have a hat on? Is a scarf the one thing you reach for?

crochet, gifts • Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 • 10 Comments »

Tis the Season

Receiving brown paper packages tied up with string Reminding my children that my mama made these ornaments when I was still in her belly Tucking into the most gorgeous oranges that Grandad brought back from a business trip to California Seeing all the beautiful handmade ornaments that hang on our tree Hanging our super-bargain $1 handmade winter wreath I found at a thrift store last year We’re very much getting into the Christmas spirit around here. Packages are being assembled to ship, sweet treats are being made, bowlfuls of hot soup are being devoured and Christmas music is playing. We’re also making plans to go visit my brother in Oregon after Christmas, which has all of us a little giddy. Hope you all had a restful weekend and are remembering to be still and breathe in a season that can quickly become overwhelming if we let it. What are your favourite Christmas traditions?

family, food, gifts, home • Monday, December 13th, 2010 • 5 Comments »


Congratulations Amy! You’ve won the capucine hat. Shoot me an e-mail with your mailing address and I’ll get it right out to you. Thanks everybody for entering. Hope you are all having a wonderful day.

gifts, knitting • Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 • 1 Comment »

Capucine and a Giveaway

So with my renewed love of knitting I chose a hat to work on for a gift for this Christmas. I don’t have much luck with hat sizes, I must have a particularly large noggin or something, but they always, always turn out too small even if I meet gauge. This one turned out beautifully, but way too small for it’s intended recipient. This pattern is wonderful and it is such a cute, cozy hat. As I think I will have just enough yarn to make a bigger version, I did leave off the tassels on this version and just added braided cords. I think it looks just as cute though. This hat fits my two year old, and my six year old, and would probably fit a woman with a smaller head than I have (probably not hard), so I thought this would be a perfect time for a giveaway. I knit this with a wool blend yarn so it is machine washable and oh so cute. If you would like a chance to win it, just leave a comment. In order for it to start winging it’s way to it’s new home in plenty of time for Christmas, I will make this a short giveaway and close comments on Wednesday 8th of Dec. at 12:00pm Mountain Standard Time. I will ship to wherever you are, so come on, throw you name in the hat. Have a great day everyone, and remember to stop and breathe!

gifts, knitting • Monday, December 6th, 2010 • 14 Comments »


I learned how to knit about six years ago, and worked at it for quite a while. I made scarves, hats, even tried some smaller items on double pointed needles. I got really frustrated with double pointed needles. I could never get the hang of them and it was more trouble than it was worth at that point. I put down my needles for years and picked up crochet instead. I found it easier, and really got the hang of it quite quickly. As I’ve gained more confidence in learning new stitches, following patterns etc. I kept thinking about picking up some knitting needles again. I wanted to work on some wristwarmers but knew this was going to entail doubled pointed needles again so I was very, very excited when I discovered the magic loop method. It means that I can knit something I would normally have to use dpn’s for on a single circular needle, hurray. I found this tutorial and happily dove right in. I must admit it took a bit of figuring it out (only on my end, the video is excellent) but once I got the hang of it, it was great. In my quest for fantastic high impact, low budget gift ideas I came across this pattern for Toast wrist warmers. They are gorgeous and with this magic loop method an absolute breeze to make. I’m already on my second pair. They took me more than just a couple of hours to knit (though I am definitely on the slow side), but they are gorgeous, highly practical, and depending on your yarn choice could either be really budget friendly or a little bit of luxury. I’ve been a member of ravelry for a while, but now that I’m getting back into knitting and finishing up quite a few crochet projects, I’ve started filling in some projects. It’s taking me a while to get some of my recent projects on there, but it’s nice to have them be in one place with all the info I need for them. I’m theprairiegirl, so stop on by and say hello, and I’d love to see the things you’ve been working on. I hope everyone is staying warm, the weather seems to definitely be heading into winter most places. It’s been freezing, very windy, and snowing for more than a month out here, so wrist warmers were the perfect cure. What are you doing to stay warm?

gifts, knitting • Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 • 7 Comments »

For Those on the Go

This next gift idea is for those on the go. I love the idea of being able to throw an apple in it’s little jumper and it stays protected in your bag from bumps and scrapes, perfect for the time you want to eat it. I want the majority of the gifts I give this Christmas to be handmade, but that also means I can’t take weeks on each one. I have been working on projects that take less than an evening, somewhere between two and three hours. It’s the perfect opportunity to sit down with some tea and a nice movie and work on something for someone special. This pattern is perfect and at $3.49 it fits right in with my high impact low budget gift ideas. If you make more than one the cost per apple cozy goes down as well. This is the first time I have done crochet cables, and I love how they turned out. If you are unfamiliar with any of the stitches there are loads of videos you can look up online as well, that’s what I did. These are really quite sturdy as the stitches form these sort of ribs (like inside a bell pepper) so I know my apple is going to remain in pretty good shape. Give it a shot, they are adorable, and a perfect fairly quick gift for those on the go.

crochet, food, gifts, green • Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 • 7 Comments »

For The Little Ones

I love this gift idea for the little ones. Turn one of your favourite children’s books into an audiobook with a familiar voice. Whether it’s for your grandbabies, nieces and nephews, your friends’ children, or even your own little ones, grab a copy of a much loved book and record yourself reading it. If you have the means, you can make an audio cd or just grab a tape recorder and cassette. Send the book and cd or tape all wrapped up and I guarantee it will be a hit. What are some of your favourite children’s books? I hope everyone is staying warm. Despite the fact that it is still technically autumn, it has been snowing every day for the past week here. We are firmly into winter mode, trying to stay warm and happy with four children who have to spend the majority of their time indoors. It’s a little adjustment but we’re getting there. I’ve got some more high impact low budget gift ideas coming soon, hope you enjoy this one.

books, family, gifts • Monday, November 15th, 2010 • 6 Comments »

Ruffled Crochet Bib Necklace

Well, up to this point I have been hesitant to start thinking about Christmas, but as we had our first snow a couple of weeks ago and it has now been snowing for the past three days, I’m starting to get into the mood. Curled up with a mug of cocoa and some spiced apricot oatmeal bread, watching the children play all bundled up in their snowsuits, I have been coming up with my Christmas list. Over the next few weeks I plan on sharing some high impact, low budget gift ideas for lots of different gifts. I hope you find something that you like. Up first is this gorgeous crochet bib necklace. I came across the pattern last weekend while searching for some new ideas and I love it. It is quite bold, and definitely fun, and for the right person it would be a perfect gift. It’s such a clever and easy pattern and can be made from start to finish in a matter of a couple of hours. My favourite part I think is that it uses ordinary 100% cotton yarn. You’re looking for a sturdy well defined necklace here so no need to spend a bunch on some luxurious yarns. Total cost? I spend $2 for the yarn and used only half of the ball. I did get the jewelry chain and closing for 50% off at Hobby Lobby, but even full price it would have been less than $2 for the chain and clasp. So, I spent less than $2 for an absolutely gorgeous, handmade, super high end looking necklace. I think so much of gift giving is the thought and effort that goes into it, not just the money. To know what the recipient likes and go about picking out and/or making them the perfect gift means a lot. Even though the cost is very little (which pleases the frugal side of me) I also know that someone who loves bold jewelry and accessories would love that this was made just for them. I’ll be back with some more gift ideas in a couple of days. If it’s cold where you are, stay warm, and if you still have some autumn left, enjoy it.

crochet, gifts • Thursday, November 11th, 2010 • 11 Comments »

Chicken, Ginger and Cashew Stir-Fry with Coconut Noodles

I have recently become familiar with Rachel Allen as I got Favorite Food at Home as a gift. I really like her style of cooking and it seems to fit in a lot with the way we eat. I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while now and I finally got around to it. The noodles are cooked in chicken stock and coconut milk instead of water and they are delicious. The stir-fry is filled with chicken, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms, ginger and garlic and it really is scrumptious. This week I have been dealing with mastitis so I have been a bit run down, but over the next few weeks I plan on sharing lots of high impact, low budget gift ideas for the Christmas. I have been avoiding the thought of the holidays, but I really should get in gear as there isn’t that much time left if I am making gifts. I hope you all are doing well, I will be back in a few with my first idea for Christmas gifts.

books, food, gifts • Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 • 4 Comments »