The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

Frugal Café Philosophy
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Wow! Spotlight:
Cheap & Thoughtful Christmas Ideas, from HappyBird's Crafting Haven

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson

There are so many creative, thrift-conscious craft websites out there in cyper-land—it makes us want to go on a glorious crafting spree. On an ongoing basis, our newest Frugal Café section, in the Wow! Spotlight, will showcase sites that caught our interest and offer unique, clever craft ideas that cost very little or nothing at all to make. They'll all embrace the Frugal Café's philosophies of frugality and thrift.

We found this website—"WOW!" All sites spotlighted here must have that elusive "wow" factor, which is solely judged and determined by the Frugal Café staff.

So, here's our very first Wow! Spotlight craft feature.

We're highlighting the frugally delightful HappyBird's Crafting Haven website. It's a charming blog site, with whimsical graphics, inspirational Bible quotations, free printables, scrapbooking freebies, myriad craft ideas, and recipes, using easy-to-read font. The tone of the website is very informal and warm, as though chatting with a dear friend or sister. Many of the crafts featured on the HappyBird's Crafting Haven site use inexpensive materials and are easy enough that even young children can accomplish them with minimal supervision. Perfect holiday family time with little ones!

In the section "Cheap and Thoughtful Christmas Ideas," there were several holiday ideas there that we loved and thought fit in perfectly with the thrifty philosophies of The Frugal Café. The site's creator, Lori Jean Knowles, has such a genuine joie de vivre and love of crafts that we intend to explore more of her delightful site. She was thrilled to be selected to be our first featured Wow! Spotlight craft site.

Here are a couple of our favorite easy, frugal Christmas crafts, as quoted from HappyBird's Crafting Haven—click here to explore the site's other pages for low-cost, attractive Christmas craft ideas and then click here to look at the entire site.


Dollar Tree "Crystal-Cut" Platter

Budget-Minded Christmas Crafts, Dollar Tree "Crystal-Cut" Platter | Photo credit: Lori Jean Knowles, HappyBird's Crafting Haven,
Budget-Minded Christmas Crafts, Dollar Tree "Crystal-Cut" Platter | Photo credit: Lori Jean Knowles, HappyBird's Crafting Haven,
Hi Ladies, I went to Dollar Tree yesterday and believe it or not, they already had some Christmas stuff out. I noticed a bunch of "crystal-cut" plastic ware for the holidays. I sure hope you can see the photo well enough! I picked up a nice tray that was the perfect size for cookie gift-giving (roughly 13.5 x 8, including the handles). Only a dollar, of course! The snowman and Santa platters are nice; however, after Christmas, the receiver usually stows them away until next Christmas or ends up tossing them. With this platter, you can cover the goodies with Saran wrap and decorate the outside with Christmas bows, candy canes, et cetera. This way, the receiver will have a platter they can use ALL YEAR ROUND, instead of just at Christmastime.


Christmas CD Cookie – Thoughtful Token Gift!

Budget-Minded Christmas Crafts, Christmas CD Cookie | Photo credit: Lori Jean Knowles, HappyBird's Crafting Haven,
Budget-Minded Christmas Crafts, Christmas CD Cookie | Photo credit: Lori Jean Knowles, HappyBird's Crafting Haven,
This isn't the most beautiful Christmas CD cookie, however, I wanted to show you an example of how you can make token Christmas gifts for co-workers or members of your church, club, etc.—I know some ladies can't afford a lot of special tools to do scrapbooking projects, so I try to find crafts that don't require a lot of tools. This was made with a regular white CD envelope. They carry them at Walmart in boxes of 50. If you try to pick them up at an office supply store, you will pay WAY too much, so I would recommend Walmart. All I did was glue a ribbon down the front. I used a glitter pen and fine glitter to decorate the envelope. Martha Stewart has a glitter writing pen for $2.96. You can also use the little bottles of puffy paint to decorate the envelopes, or use Christmas-themed stickers from the Dollar Tree.

I was fortunate enough to have a square scallop punch; however, you can also use decorative edge scissors to cut around the "Merry Christmas" sign. I bought my punch at Michael's with a 50% off coupon. It was well worth it, because I use it quite often.

Be SURE to wrap your cookies in Saran® wrap before putting them into the CD envelopes, otherwise, you will have "greasy marks" on your envelope!


Related Reading and Videos:
Crafts of Christmas Past... Ripped from the Glossy Pages of Old Magazines
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Frugal Japanese-Inspired, Eco-Friendly Christmas Candy Gift Wrap & More "Cheap but Chic" Christmas Ideas (video)
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Christmas on a Shoestring: Frugal Origami Christmas Ornaments, Using Old Phonebooks (video)
How the Cookies Crumble... Cookie Magic: How to Easily Change Cookie Textures
Recycle & Reuse Holiday Cards
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Frugal Christmas Freebies: Free Christmas Music Downloads, Free Online Radio Listening to Christmas Tunes
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Merry Frugal Christmas! Homemade Soup As Thrift-minded Gifts from the Heart
DIY Fashion: ThreadBanger | Video Demo: How to Crochet a Hat
DIY Recycled Fashion: ThreadBanger | Video Demo: Valentine's Day Special – How to Make Recycled Flannel Lingerie
Second Time Around: Smart Ways to Reuse & Recycle Things around the House
It's Not Just about the Gifts: Spirit of Christmas on a Shoestring Budget and Fighting Christmas Depression
Dreaming of a Penny-Pinching Christmas
Cheapskate Lifestyle: Thrift Store Shopping Exploding As People Rediscover the Savings & Joys of Second-Hand Bargains
Crafts from Christmas Past: "Holiday Organizer and Inspiration Book" | originally appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Dec 1998 / Jan 1999
Budget Crafts: Origami & Kirigami Christmas Ornaments