Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all :)

Well we here at ThriftyPop had a marvellous Christmas. We both love giving gifts even more so than receiving them and delighted in putting our heads together and making + buying second hand gifts for our loved ones.

Some of the things we came up with were

  1. A personalised engraved wine bottle
  2. Some first edition classic books (Big Pop received a collection of six first edition Enid Blyton novels, Gorgeous!)
  3. A 1963 original copy of The Amazing Spiderman comic book
  4. Big Pop also collects green Depression Ware glass so I bought her a nice bowl from the Waverley Antique Bazaar
  5. Experience based gifts such as cooking lessons, pampering packages, and deep water diving courses
  6. Charitable gifts to Oxfam and World Vision ❤

What we enjoyed the most was how little stress we felt going into the holiday season. We had a new focus, and that was spending time with our family catching up and connecting over the holiday period while we all had time to do so. Our gifts were all well received and it was wonderful to see how thoughtful others had been with buying us gifts we had many thoughtful gifts given to us including plants, charitable gifts, holiday park vouchers and locally made jewellery.

image
image image

Coming into the new year I will not be making any mind-blowing resolutions, I think I will make an effort to start slowing down and enjoying life a little more, I’m going to learn to put my phone down… or more shockingly turn it off. I want to go on more walks, check up on social media less and stop putting so much pressure on myself because there are only 24 hours in a day and its not always possible to get everything done.

Day twelve: gift ideas we love

What good is a gift without a gorgeous gift tag to finish it off??!

Make sure you finish off that beautifully wrapped piece of Christmas goodness with a nice gift tag addressed to the recipient 🙂

Don’t stick with boring Hallmark gift tags this year, get a bit creative. There’s a really nice feeling I get when I customise my gift cards and make them all a little unique.

Ps. All you non-crafters have a read too, I promise they’re only as hard as you make them – just make sure you’re setting some realistic expectations… it’s not like you’re Picasso! 

Pop Up Cards!

Think these are dated? Think again! These cards are really not that hard and also look really sophisticated and Christmassy 🙂

DSC_8628_1

I found this really well explained tutorial on wikihow

Christmas tree not your style? How about this stack of presents? This uses the same theory but instead of he waved lines on the tree they have cut straight… which is easier anyway 😉

christmas-pop-up-card1-300x225

Classic tie on mini gift cards

I’ve collected a few links to websites who have shared some free printable designs. Tie on gift tags are so convenient and can add a nice finishing touch to your gifts under the tree 🙂

4-624x801

I found these ones on babble.com

6a00d8341c578853ef00e54fa5a2858833-800wi

These have a good amount of cheeky humour to them ‘I totally want to get one of these for myself so, let me know if you don’t want it

h_dardik_Holiday2010_gifttags_1h_dardik_Holiday2010_gifttags_2

orange you lucky! blogged this a few years back which utilises some cool shapes and nice cartoon characters 🙂

I’m going to be honest and say that doing a gift everyday is getting a little hard, so excuse me for not having posted over the weekend xx

Day eleven: gift ideas we love

Give a Young Lady or Gentleman Their Very Own Alphabet 🙂

cover photo - DIY Magnetic Alphabet

Kids need to learn the alphabet at some point in their busy lives, why not make it fun with these cool alphabet magnets!

abcs

This first one is done by Ellen Goldberg from Kiwi Magazine it recycles old bottle caps by turning them upside down and inserting letters. If I was to make them I would stick to plastic caps because the metal ones can be rather sharp… Although depending on your child’s age they might be too small. I was trying to think of something larger that is less likely to be swallowed and I thought maybe collecting the Spring Valley juice lids, they are metal but larger and without the sharp bits that are on most glass bottles. If you did accumulate enough Spring Valley lids to make an alphabet set you would also get the joy of reading all the cool facts under the lid!

5039718_f967d6ab0e

Second we have I am Momma Here Me Roar who has made some really cute magnets using pebbles (again I would watch the size you’re using here) What a cool way of incorporating a bit of nature into  your kitchen. These would be really low cost to make, you would only need the self adhesive magnet strips and a bit of paint + the rocks which would be free. If your a bit of a control freak you might want to use a stencil here 😛

alphabet rocks

Anyway those are our two tutorials for the day, if your interested there are also a heap that use scrabble tiles but I left them out because I thought it was too obvious and easy (we like a challenge here @ thriftypop!). Whilst searching for these great tutorials I came across a cool article ‘12 Letters that Didn’t Make the Alphabet’ worth a read if you’ve got some time 🙂

I thought they would make a really cute stocking filler maybe put inside one of these gorgeous recycled plastic bottle apple containers! Cute aren’t they! These could be used as packaging material for so many small gifts you may be giving out this Christmas… why not give them a go?

apple9

Let me know how these go! xxx

Day seven: gift ideas we love

Make someone else’s day. Make a difference !

bea2c20e-5c28-11e3-a328-1231390a0005-large

Australians spend an estimated $30 billion on Christmas gifts each year, and some $700 million worth of unwanted gifts are expected to be in landfill by February, FEBRUARY… that’s just 5 weeks post christmas. I would rather give a gift that lasts than something that ends up taking up space in landfill and/or polluting our oceans. I know some of my hand crafted gifts might not be things that you can be sure will be kept forever (or at least a significant period of time), but at least I’m trying to extend the life of something which would otherwise be on the fast track to the trash.

father-christmas-consumer

I feel like we are often pressured by marketing companies to buy as many gifts as possible, and this promotes an unsustainable quantity over quality attitude towards gift giving. Since starting BNN we have become largely focussed on our immediate needs, an example is my christmas list this year which contained items such as a hose, a cordless drill and a dandelion remover tool (yes that’s a real thing!) I know this sounds like a lame excuse for christmas gifts but the thing is that I genuinely need those things and they will be something I can actually use… much better than some plastic reindeer that poops jellybeans then ends up gathering dust in my room the next day. The truth is that pre BNN my list would include lots of things I don’t necessarily need, but not this year. I sort of feel as though the pooping reindeer would be taking two steps back after putting in so much work trying to simplify our lives and get rid of all our junk (this is still a work in progress), we are trying to move forward.

Reindeer_poop

On the other hand I’m all for getting pampered and indulging in a little luxury every now and then. Everyone deserves a little indulgence from time to time, heck I get my nails done twice a month and my sister is always saying ‘isn’t that counted as buying something new?’ (they are acrylics) to which i reply ‘yes they are new’ and I know it is completely the opposite of what BNN is about but It is an exception I make for myself, I take my BNN challenge seriously but I do want to let out the inner girly girl in myself every once in a while and I think this is a small price to pay.

On Big Pops side of the family we have a large brood: 2 grandparents, 4 children, 3 spouses, 10 grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and various great aunts and second cousins make appearances from time to time. For a long time Christmas was pretty crazy for all of us with wrapping paper everywhere and I did feel at times like you barely had a chance to actually take your time and enjoy the gift before another one was thrown in your lap… the excitement of the gifts at times felt like it took time away from our ability to enjoy the moment and actually accept and thank those who gave it to us. This year seeing as most of the grandchildren are now young-adults we have all been put in a Kris Kringle together and so this year we each have to buy one gift instead of our parents feeling pressure to buy a gift for each of us. This saves everyone money and since we will be giving and given fewer gifts I hope we all have much more time to enjoy our gift, check it out think of all the things you could use it for.

2013-100_UW_3Dcard_SUST_Duck

The last few years I’ve had a running joke with my sisters over christmas and birthdays as a few years ago I started requesting charity donations to Oxfam or World Vision instead of physical gifts. They found this funny at first and asked what I would like, to which I replied ‘well I have always wanted a goat..’.

My younger sister bought me a duck and inside the card it said ‘I’m sorry I couldn’t afford a goat so I bought you a duck‘ I still have the card sitting on my bed head and I’m not lying when I say that sometimes I open it up and wonder what my ducks doing these days… did its recipients eat it? did they use it for its eggs? does the duck have a name, or any duck buddies? I don’t know anything about this duck… and I like it.

In all honesty at twenty one years of age I have most of the things I need in life, and receiving a charity gift is something I welcome with open arms. I know other twenty one year olds are not as lucky as me, other communities are not as lucky as us, and it makes me feel nice to know those who are less fortunate will have something to look forward to…something that would otherwise be difficult for them to acquire.

This christmas I will be giving charity gifts, because I think that although christmas is a time for giving, it is not a time for giving just for the sake of it. My gifts this year will have a lot of thought put into them and I will definitely not be giving a pooping reindeer!

Day three: gift ideas we love

Your time

 
the-gift-of-time
 
 

Giving someone your time is a great gift for people who need an extra pair of hands, your time could be used for:

  • Babysitting – especially good for new parents, it’s often hard to find a babysitter or they may feel embarrassed having to ask. This is perfect as it allows them to go out and spend some quality time together without the hassle of having to hunt down someone to take care of their little one.
  • Gardening – do you know someone who would love to be able to entertain but their back yard needs a bit of TLC? It’s so much more fun to garden when you have company, you can motivate each other, spend some time together, and share the accomplishment of seeing all the progress you have made at the end of the day.
  • Skill sharing – if you know a skill that your recipient has always been envious of (think interments, languages, needlework, cooking) set aside some time to help them learn or build upon that skill.

There are of course many other ways to give your time, this is just a snapshot for some inspiration. I remember when I was very little I locked Big Pop out of her bedroom and cleaned it all out. I transformed it into what I thought a day spa would look like (chocolates under the pillow, scented candles and folded towels on the dresser) and I pampered her all afternoon. She has always remembered this and how thoughtful it was, I will never regret the smile on her face that day.

Day two: gift ideas we love

Plant a tree.

Trees play such an important role in the environment, why not consider giving one to someone who plays an important role in your life this holiday season?

This is a particularly worthwhile gift for those living in Australia. Habitat destruction is a huge issue over here, a mega 50% of our forests have been destroyed in the past 200 years ( most of which were hundreds of thousands of years old!). Deforestation in Australia is the main cause behind our loss of biodiversity, which is really tragic as Australia has been blessed with many unique animals and plants which are not found naturally anywhere else in the world. So when you are thinking of gifting a tree this year you should know you are giving so much more than just the tree itself.

Washington Cherry Tree Planting 2012

Image: Michelle Obama planting a tree taking part in a 1912 Cherry Blossom tree planting re-enactment ceremony with Fujisaki Yoriko.

Now down to business…

There are two ways of giving a tree:

  1. Give an actual tree: This is the perfect gift for someone with the space and time needed to nurture and ensure the success of the tree. It also gives you the ability to make the gift really personal as you have complete control over it: what tree to buy, what size is appropriate and is the climate suitable for this tree where they live? Keep in mind though not everyone is blessed with a green thumb, and these days we do not always have the time and space to accommodate a tree. Having a tree is quite a spiritual thing for some people as it will be something that is going to be around for a long time, it will most likely out live the recipient and will provide generations with shade, tire swings, tree houses and many animals with a habitat or food source that may not of been available locally before.
  2. Give a tree to a charity organisation:  This is better for those who do not fit the criteria of space, time and commitment above. The Australian Koala Foundation has an informative and easy process for funding a tree with options such as buying a tree for yourself, as a gift or in memory of a loved one. You are given a certificate for your recipient to show off to his/her friends, a thank you letter and their names will be put on the honour board. It’s also really budget friendly (it can even work out to being cheaper than purchasing the tree yourself at a nursery) with donations starting from $10.

Have you ever given or received a tree as a gift? I never have but it’s something I’ve always thought about and it’s definitely on my giving list this year 🙂

 

First Trip to the Op-shop

Well not my first trip ever.

With Mothers day coming up I made a trip down to the to the rounds at the local op shops to see if I could find anything for Big Pop we are so lucky to live within walking distance to 4 op-shops.

I and boy did I get a serious reality check, I am so used to impulse buying that I have lost control over where my money goes – it’s just crazy! So I went down and bought some good quality jars for making jams and spreads, which is justified as we are currently running low after making some chutneys for various family members. Then I bought a new handbag and a dog bowl for puppy pop and a pair of silver plated salad tongs none of which we really needed. Then instead of going home feeling good about my purchases, I just got home and sat down and felt like an absolute sucker. I seem to purchase things because they’re there – not because I really need them at all and then I don’t even feel good about it afterwards. I didn’t even buy what I went there to buy in the first place – a mothers day gift! So I really need to become more conscious of what I’m buying and make sure I walk away feeling happy with myself.

I went home and had a big rant to Big Pop about how I felt and she thought it was hilarious!It’s not funny at all, I always wonder where my money goes and now I know… it just goes on useless junk I’ll never ever use.

So today was my first bad day as part of BNN and I thought I would have a vent on here. We all have success and failures and it just wasn’t my day I guess.

Little Pop