Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Save Handmade!

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was voted on by Congress in an attempt to put an end to toxins in toys by requiring extensive third party testing. While the CPSIA is intended to make toys safe for our children, and that is to be applauded, small businesses (and even people like me who are not really a business) are not addressed in their guidelines. This will affect toy manufacturers, clothes manufacturers, and the thousands of people who run small businesses/have shops on Etsy/sell things at craft fairs/etc. The high costs of testing their products will put many people out of business--including those that sell handmade clothes, wooden toys, baby slings and carriers, hairbows, felt food, burp rags, cloth diapers and more!

Please help save handmade items and small businesses by checking out the links below, which have more information and ways that you can support homemade items.

Boutique Cafe--National Bankruptcy Day
Cool Mom Picks (lots of resources, including the Save Handmade button I am using)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Diaper Clutches

Perfect for when you don't need the kitchen sink! These little clutches are just the right size for a couple of diapers and a travel wipes case. Price: $12.00 (plus shipping if applicable)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Orders #2--Auburn nursing cover and diaper clutch

Though it pained me some to work with the Auburn fabric, I thought this nursing cover and diaper clutch turned out really well.

Christmas Orders #1--Fun and funky apron

My friend Jeni commissioned me to make an apron for her boss who runs a cafe called The Fat Finch (isn't that a great name?). Jeni picked the main fabric, so she really gets the credit for how cute this apron turned out.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thrifty Christmas #3--Mulling Spices

I LOVE hot apple cider in the winter, so it is only natural that I started looking for mulling spices that I can give as gifts at Christmas. I started with this recipe here, but adapted it some for my preferences.

4 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground orange peel
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Mix everything together, making sure that you break up the chunks of brown sugar.

Instructions for use: Add 1/2 cup of mix plus 1 cup of water to 2 cups of cider or juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until ingredients are dissolved and all is well combined. Enjoy!
*Note: For a single serving, use 2-3 Tablespoons to 1 cup of cider*

Thrifty Christmas Idea #2--Christmas Coasters

For Christmas, several of our coworkers, friends and family are getting sets of these homemade coasters along with a mix of mulling spices (see next post for that recipe). I found my basic guidelines for the coasters
here and have adapted it some (i.e., I have not quilted these coasters and probably won't have time to!). This is an inexpensive yet cute gift. I bought a yard each of two different Christmas fabrics ($5.99/yard), a roll of crib sized quilt batting (approx. $5 with coupon from JoAnns) and a spool of thread ($2.50). Since I will only use about 1/2 yard of each fabric, here's how I will break down the cost:
Fabric: $6.00
Batting: $5.00
Thread: $2.50
Total Cost: $13.50
If I give the coasters in sets of 4, I have at least ten gifts. That is $1.35/a gift! If I give the coasters in sets of 6, I can do about seven gifts. That is $1.93/a gift. You can't beat that price for a set of fun, reversible holiday coasters. When coupled with a fun drink mix, it is a great gift.

Thrifty Christmas Idea #1-Mocha Cooler Mix

My friend, Jeni, made this for us one year, and a year later, I made it for everyone for Christmas. It is super easy and yummy!

Mocha Cooler Mix
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
1 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup powdered nondairy creamer
1/3 cup baking cocoa

With a rolling pin, crush coffee granules into a fine powder. Place in an airtight container. Add sugar, milk powder, creamer, cocoa and salt; mix well. Store in a cool dry place for up to a year. Makes 3 1/2 cups--7 batches.

Additional ingredients:
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup milk

To prepare cooler: In a blender, combine the ice, milk and 1/2 cup of mocha mix. Cover and process on high until smooth. Pour into glasses. Yield: 2 servings per batch. For extra flavor, add flavored creamer while blending.

This is a fun gift to put in a cute Christmas mug!

Website recommendation

I love learning from other people via the internet. A website I have found very helpful is The Thrifty Mama. She posts about all of the great deals at various grocery and drug stores, she gives tips on how to save money in different areas, and she inspires me to think outside the box. Oh, and perhaps best of all, she hosts giveaways! Right now she has a giveaway on her website for 4 Charlie Brown DVDs. This giveaway is just the encouragement I need for my first blog "series" on Thrifty Christmas ideas. Don't worry, my family is not reading this--I haven't told them about it yet, and I won't tell them until after Christmas so I don't spoil the surprise! Anyway, check out the website!


Greetings and welcome to all who are reading this blog! I decided to create this blog specifically as my creative outlet, or perhaps a better description would be to display my creations:-) This past year (while pregnant with my Boy) I have rediscovered a love of sewing, which I have added to my love of baking and general "craftiness". I wanted a place to post pictures of my sewing/baking/etc. projects and talk about general craft and homemaking ideas without clogging up my personal blog. So here you go--LFinnDesigns blog! Enjoy!