Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No cost gifts from the heart 4....

My daughter and I made these cards yesterday.
Our materials were:
2 sheets of white project cardboard at just $1 each
1 glossy Country Living magazine from the thrift store -50c
1 sheet of scrapbooking diamante` dots $1.50
A tub of glue (already had it)
Pastel artists chalk (completely optional...used them cause we had them)
Fixative spray (only for using with pastel chalks..already had it)
Glitter spray (completely optional..already had it)
Scrap lace, wool, kitchen string (already had them)
Standard sized postal envelopes (already had them)
So you see by our list, we used what we had on hand, and only spent $4 all up.
Here's how to make them:
1. Measure envelopes and decide size of cards. They need to be a little smaller than the envelope for a smooth fit.
2. Take the time to use a ruler and pencil to mark out the lines to cut on the cardboard. We decided on long cards to fit our envelopes, so measured out the lengths, and not quite double the width of the envelope to decided the size of the card when open. We'd be folding it in half to close the card and fit it into the envelope. So ours were marked out in squares of 21cm x 21cm, which folds down to a card 21 cms long and 10.5cms wide when folded.
3. Use sharp scissors or a paper cutting guillotine to cut the cardboard to size. Fold each card. We ended up with 6 full sized cards, 3 small cards and 6 gift tags from each sheet of cardboard. Nothing was wasted.
4. Cut images from magazines. Now of course the result hinges on the type of images you clip. Our magazine had lots of French inspired decorating ideas, and meshed nicely with the scrap lace and glitter we already had. So it was a good combo. Landscapes, animals, flowers, children, scrapbooking examples, and holiday destinations are all good candidates as well. Travel brochures could be a good no cost sourse of great shots to use. Trim to size of card, allowing some space for lace trim or other embellishments.
5. Be creative and group or overlap pictures, make a collage of themed pictures using a common element or colour (in our case, black or pink or floral or French). Glue into place.
6. Add lace. We then coloured over the lace in artists chalks to tone with the photos. This gives a very pretty effect, but needs to be sprayed with the Fixative spray or it will just come off every time you touch it. This has to be done when the lace is dry too, so either before you glue it or after the glue had dried.
7. Tie string, yarn, or craft ribbon around the spine and trim to make it look tidy.
8. Spray with glitter spray or glitter hairspray.
9. Embellish with other items as desired. Can I suggest some restraint? The best cards we did are the ones embellished with lace OR crystal dots OR glitter spray. Not all three. But ultimately, they're your cards so go with what grabs your imagination.
10. Google some inspirational quotes to hand write inside them. I found some lovely ones, chosen to suit the images on the cards, here.

11. Finally, when the glue is really dry, weight your cards down with some heavy books, platters, trays or anything else heavy you have on hand, and let them sit overnight. This makes them sit nice and flat and gives a better finished product.

Now, I know these are not for the experienced card maker amongst you. I know you can do far cleverer things.

These instructions are for those who are on a stingingly limited budget for whatever reason, and for the less experienced crafter.

As you can see, the results are still very pretty.

I hope I am helping you to see that Christmas truly can be about using what you have to inspire heartfelt gifts. Six of these cards, tied with lace, ribbon or string and presented in a box, hand stitched pouch or simply with a tag attached, could be a meaningful gift for anyone you love.

If you don't have money, you can use your time to create something beautiful. Don't rush, think of yourself as an artist, and really think about the images and the inspirational quotes and tailor them to the recipient.

Wishing you a Frugal Festive Season...

...until next time..

Mama Guardian


Thursday, December 6, 2012

No cost gifts from the heart 3....

Dig up all of those photos you couldn't frame or use for scrapbooking because they're out of focus or not centred or someone looks a bit goofy. I've used this one where my daughter, who was about 18 months old at the time, was trying to put on my sunglasses.

I'd just been taking photos of the gorgeous gardens where we'd been picnicing, and hadn't thought to manually focus on her before taking the shot. So although the garden bed in the background is crisp and clear, the otherwise cute photo has languished in my collection ever since.

I've now resurrected it, and will frame it side by side in a frame, with a little story about how the photo came about. There are other photos from the same day, framed in our hallway, so it will also be a way to tell her how those came to be.

Just a moment in time, but at 12, a precious reminder of how little she once was.

You could even simply enfold this in a handwritten letter and it would still be treasured.

...Mama Guardian...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No cost gifts from the heart 2...

Always appropriate...

Find a version of this inspiring verse that suits your paper and recipient. Print, frame in an inexpensive dollar store frame, give with pride.

A friend gave me the Desiderata verse when I was just 20 years old. I have returned to it time and time again over the years when I sought peace in my heart.

Help someone else find that peace.

Until next time...Mama Guardian x

Monday, December 3, 2012

No cost gifts from the heart...

"One day, I'll give you the moon in a jar.
The sky on a platter.
And the ocean in a pool of glassy blue.
Until then, know that I love you."
Print the picture out, paste onto some cardstock, hand write the verse inside.
No cost, hug inspiring gift.
...Mama Guardian...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Being Broke at Christmas....

Mother's Day Comments Pictures
More Images @

Some roses for you, because if you're here, maybe you need a smile. Christmas is tough if you're broke.
No, hang on, it's tough all the time if you're broke, but particularly so, at Christmas.
Everyone else is kicking up their heels and all you can do is worry about how to pay the rent or put food on the table.
First of all, take the pressure off yourself. Have you made arrangements with anyone you owe money to?
Have you had an honest conversation with your family about what you can and can't afford? Kids, parents, siblings, partners, can all be counted upon to be more sympathetic, if they know what's really going on. This is NOT the time to put your head in the sand and your credit card and credit rating on the line.
The older I get, the more I believe that the things that matter are people, not things. Make people your priority this Christmas, not shopping, or food, or glittering decorations. Gosh, I shop all the time on-line and never actually buy anything. Indulge in a bit of window shopping on-line this year. Print out pictures of all the things you'd buy your loved ones if money was no object.
And then, do this.
Sit down, pen in hand and paper on the desk or table and write them a letter. And I do mean HAND write. It'll mean more to them.
When was the last time you wrote a heartfelt letter to those that are important to you, telling them how much they mean in your life? Sharing a memory of a particularly happy moment, or a time when they made you so proud you could almost burst?
When was the last time you spent an hour with one of your kids or your Mum or Dad, or brother or sister or your partner, just them and you, listening to them, taking an interest in their world without thinking about what you're going to say when they stop talking or drifting off and thinking about what you have to do next. Long time, huh?
Make this the year of telling those you love, how much you love them. And to hell with shopping. You won't regret it, I promise.
And if you still want to do the whole shebang, challenge yourself to do it for as little expense as possible. More on that in my post here.

...until next time...
...Mama Guardian...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

So you're broke and it's Christmas...what now?

Take a moment.

I'm listing some practical ideas at the end of this post.

But first...
Focus on what's really important.
It's not expensive gifts.
It's not a table groaning with $500 worth of food, $250 of which will be thrown away at the end of the day.
It's having our loved one close. Appreciating the true meaning of Christmas.
Peace and Goodwill to all Men.
Believe that you have a Guardian Angel, as well as a Guardian Mama, watching over you.
From this, you are meant to learn.
From this, you will gain a new appreciation of what you can do when faced with a crisis.
From this, your family can grow and learn that dealing with adversity is a necessary human skill.
Exchange letters, hand decorated with magazine clippings. Write your family history. Spend Christmas day doing nice things for each other...a foot massage, a shoulder rub, brushing each others hair.
Give of yourselves, not of the supermarket and shopping mall.

You reap what you sow.

 Don't sow anger and unfulfilled need. Sow a peaceful and glad heart that you and your loved ones can gather together in a safe place and go on.
It may well be the best Christmas you've ever had.

Here is my cheap, cheap, cheap, impressive Christmas lunch.

Here are my no cost Christmas Ideas Number 1, number 2, number 3, number 4. and more to come. Stay tumed.

 ...until next time...
Mama Guardian