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Christmas Present Ideas – anti landfill and pro awesome.

My mission this christmas has been to remain stress free, reduce landfill, stay a bit healthy, not spend too much money, and try to buy ethical type presents, locally made, or not from the big stores. I’ve got a few ideas if you need some last minute ones! Some of this has been inspired by things that I have got, would love to get, some ideas from awesome friends, and other inspiration I’ve found around the place.

FOR KIDS
– A theme park fun pass
– Swimming lessons
– Music or dance classes
– Sports stuff – equipment or memberships
– A set of things to make a little garden
– Handmade/locally made games or toys
– Books – you can get loads of second hand books at op shops for not much money!
– Crafty type things – a set of paints and canvas, or a craft pack made up with papers, pencils, glue, bits and pieces.
– A (real) musical instrument
– A camera
– A home made voucher for a day out or sleepover with 2 friends (good school holiday entertainment)
– Work out with other parents a night where you could get a bunch of kids together for a party, and give them homemade tickets to it! (might be a bit daggy for teenagers, but I’m sure 7,8,9 year olds would love it)
– Movie vouchers
– Outdoor activities like a mini pool, play table, swing set etc

FOR GROWN UPS
– A restaurant voucher for a local restaurant
– A night in a hotel
– Art lessons
– Movie tickets
– A set of things to make a garden
– A 10 coffee voucher for someone’s favourite cafe
– The BEST present I have seen lately was a secret santa gift given to some friends. It was a gorgeous drawing of the two of them done on an old music sheet. OMG so thoughtful and lovely!
– Cooking lessons
– An array of homemade treats. There are so many possibilities here, just spend an evening. Making jam doesn’t actually take as long as you think, here’s recipes for Blueberry Jam, and Almond Butter.
– A beauty therapy voucher
– A massage voucher
– A painting you’ve done yourself
– A drawing you’ve done yourself, put it in a frame from the op shop
– Tickets to a concert, footy, or other event
– A family photo shoot from a budding photographer, or local business
– Music. Always a good gift, but maybe safest to get an iTunes voucher, or be sure of their tastes. A home made mixed tape is a great idea!
– A magazine subscription
– Locally made jewellery or homewares

Here are some great places in Brisbane that I’ve found inexpensive and lovely gifts:

The Trading Circle is a lovely shop in Paddington with handmade toys, jewellery etc all for the cause of helping women get out of poverty and build their entrepreneurial skills. http://www.thetradingcircle.com.au/

Biome is one of my favourite shops! Eco friendly homewares, makeup, books, toys, kitchen items and more. I love it.
http://www.biome.com.au/

www.madeit.com.au is a great place to find gifts, but you’d probably need to do that TODAY to make sure it gets to you in time.

There are so many restaurants around that you could get a voucher from. We chose Reserve Restaurant in Milton.

Beauty therapy for the girls! Everyone loves a facial, or a manicure. A voucher is such a practical present, and supports your local businesses too! Flourish Beauty in Bulimba is a gorgeous exclusive salon where the lady in your life will be pampered. 🙂

There are loads of people in the world who need our money and support more than Uncle Fred’s need for a metre of chocolate. Try these places for poverty fighting and original gift ideas.
http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com.au/

http://www.usefulgifts.org/

I hope this can provide inspiration to someone. Feel free to post your other ideas for a better christmas!

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Easy Christmas Decorations – Homemade Salt Dough Decorations

OK, this is REALLY fun. You can make anything you want to hang on your Christmas Tree! I found a recipe which I can’t find again. But there is one here which I think is pretty much the same.

I used a pack of cookie cutters I got from Aldi, and my super special Ninja Bread Men cutters
Acrylic paints
Christmas ornament hangers

It’s pretty straight forward really, make the dough, roll it out and cut out your shapes. Make a little hole with a skewer so you can tie ribbon or use hangers to hang the little guys.

The recipe I used said I only needed to cook them for 10 minutes, so when we were painting them they were still a bit squishy! I put them back in the oven for about 1.5hrs on 100degrees. That really dried them out properly, and it didn’t ruin the paint either. Have a look at the cool shapes we made, and my little girl loved doing this. (For about 5 minutes anyway)

Interior Decoration – Easy and thrifty home ideas

My all time favourite magazine Real Living is having their readers competition. So I thought I’d enter a few photos. I didn’t have as much time as I’d like to sort out the rooms around my house, but did enough to create some beautiful spaces and get some snaps. They were mostly already like this, but I just added in a few of my favourite items and rearranged some things to look a bit stylish.

Most rooms in my house have a combination of something I’ve made, something new, something second hand/vintage style, and some kind of free or super bargain decorative piece. This type of style works well with the old Queenslander house style house we live in. Lots of wood and warm colours make a cosy home!

Loungeroom: The painting is one of mine, and I just grabbed some branches from the tree outside for a natural look with height. My hubby brought home from work the gorgeous wooden Scotch box with a map of Scotland cut out, and the cute wooden chair was from an auction.

Bedroom: We have a lovely 4 poster bed with netting, so I’ve gone with a romantic vintage look with roses, lace and pearls and vintage ads.

Entranceway: One of my favourite things is this interesting wooden shelf I got at an auction for like $10. I think its an old document sorting tray, but makes a really unique shoe rack! I found the piano seat under one of my old houses, and made both the storage box and coffee sack canvas myself.

Crafty shelf: I love love love having an eclectic array of storage vessels. They make a great display as well as being functional for storing bits and pieces. I create the chalkboard storage boxes myself, and have collected many little boxes, suitcases, tins and baskets along the way.

Easy Christmas decorations – homemade wrapping paper

Today’s Christmas craftiness began with a potato and an old book, and ended with creative and cute gift wrapping!
I love collecting old books when op shopping, to use for a myriad of purposes. This is another thrifty way to cut down costs of Christmas and make it more personal.
So…
I carved some rough star shapes into a potato, ripped some of those old book pages I so love to use, got out some paint, and here you have it. Stamp the potato in the paint, I used green, red and gold. Then go crazy on your recycled vintage paper. I wanted a rough and natural style, so the stars aren’t always distinguishable in my pattern, but you can definitely be more meticulous. Easy peasy, and another great one for kids to help with. My gift tag is an old Kikki K bag cut up, and some cute brown twine will top off the natural design. Have fun!

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Easy Christmas decorations – paper snowflake chains

At my mums the other day, we discovered an old Paul doll. If you recall Barbies rival Sindy, you’ll remember her beau Paul. Well, the poor guy was mixed up in some of our old toys naked, with some vicious stab wounds to various parts of his body. I decided to make some paper clothes for him. The clothes didnt turn out that great, but what it reminded me and inspired me to do was make some paper snowflakes! I thought this would be a great idea for easy christmas decor, and I won’t have to spend a cent on this.

You’ll need
Vintage book pages (this is my current favourite thing to try an find uses for)
Scissors

I cut large book pages lengthways, and then fold them into 4, cut some diamond and circles and whatever shapes you like, remember that to make a heart or arrow you cut half the shape in lengthways to get one. Like the trees I’ve done here.
Then I cut the piece down the middle again to make two skinnier ones, and tape them all together to make a string of pretty paper! You can adapt this however you like, and it’s great for kids if you they are of scissor using age!
Have fun!

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