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What is your Scoop?

Effects by Stacey

Cañada College Multimedia Art

Sorry for my long absence! I’ve been busy building websites. First, I built the Scoop website at It’s a T-shirt business I helped start with two friends. Tell me: What is your Scoop? Comment here or go to the contact page to suggest a Scoop.

Second, I created a website for my hairdresser, Stacey, at (Be sure to roll your mouse over the scissors, picture frame, and phone!) Originally I built Stacey’s site entirely in Flash with Frank Sinatra crooning “Too Marvelous For Words” in the background. Loved it. But practicality and the iPhone necessitated the final HTML/Flash version.

And third, I’m nearly finished with Cañada College’s Multimedia Art website. (Soon to be live at It’s the biggest website I’ve tackled so far. Psst…that photo that I shot of the campus is actually three pictures put together.

Thanks for letting me share my news. Oh, and if you haven’t seen my portfolio site yet, check it out here. New craft coming later this next week!

Blue and white tablecloth

I own blue and white dishes. Normally this isn’t a problem—until I try to find a cute tablecloth that looks good with my dishes. Apparently, blue as a kitchen or dining color has been out for several seasons. The market is flooded with red, green, and aqua. Instead of waiting for blue to come back in, I took matters into my own hands. First I checked the standard tablecloth size for my 36- x 60-inch table. Turns out, a 60- x 84-inch cloth fits tables 36 x 60 to 48 x 72. Then I found this lovely blue indoor/outdoor fabric at At 56 inches wide, I figured it would work fine because my table was on the smaller end of that range. After that, hemming the fabric and adding pom-pom trim was a cinch. Final dimensions (pom-pom to pom-pom): 57 x 81 inches. Read more »

Top 10 gift certificates

You missed it, didn’t you? Admit it. I didn’t expect everyone to actually read all 137 handmade Christmas gift ideas anyway. So I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on No. 124. Having experienced a death in the family this year, the thought occurred to me that one should not wait until a funeral to share one’s fondest memories of a certain someone. So I designed the “Top 10 Fondest Memories” certificate for you to download, print (on legal size paper), fill out, tie with a ribbon, and give to a loved one for Christmas.

Then I was having so much fun with the idea that I designed three more Top 10 certificates: “Top 10 Reasons I Love You,” “Top 10 Favorite Things About You,” and “Top 10 Gifts I’d Buy You If I Had a Million Dollars.” (Got the BNL song stuck in your head now?) Click the links to download the certificates, or get them all at the downloads page. If I think of another Top 10 idea, I’ll make a certificate. And if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, have fun strolling down memory lane.

Handmade Christmas presentsPhoto by JurgaR/

This is the final part of my list of 137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, and we’re down to these two categories: 1) Media & services and 2) Cards & wrapping. I included cards and wrapping because oftentimes they are just as important as the gift itself. I hope you found this monster-of-a-list entertaining and helpful. Click here for Part 6. Check out these stocking stuffer ideas for kids too.

Part 7: Media & services

DIY framed quote

120. A friend or relative who enjoys poetry, famous quotes, or sayings would relish one of his/her favorites written in calligraphy or hand-painted in a frame or on a plaque.
Another way to frame a quote

121. For your elders, research newspaper and magazine articles from their youth and present in a scrapbook. Or collect newspaper articles from the year they were born.
Find your local library

122. Make a mixed CD and choose songs that make you think of that person. Under each title explain why you chose that song.
How to use iTunes to create a mix CD

Thomas Paul notebooks

123. Collect quotes that remind you of someone and either type or hand write them in a handsome notebook or journal.
Logs and journals at See Jane Work
Make a fabric notebook cover

124. Why wait for a funeral to share your fondest memories? Give a top 10 list of your fondest memories of the recipient. Download my official certificate, print it on quality legal size paper, write your memories, roll it up, and tie a baby blue ribbon around it.
Download the official certificate

125. Videotape and interview parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles about childhood memories, how they met, etc. and give to siblings, children.
Top 5 free video editing software programs

Read more »

Handmade Christmas presentsPhoto by zoranm/

You thought I forgot about the kiddies, didn’t you? Well today’s inexpensive, handmade Christmas gift ideas are all about the young and the young-at-heart. The list includes everything from handmade play dough to a club-house kit, my personal favorite. Click here for Part 5. On Wednesday: Media/services and cards/wrapping.

Part 6: For children

Snow globe soap

100. Make bath time fun: Embed a small toy or your child’s favorite cartoon character in a bar of snow globe soap. Or make a bath bomb out of baking soda and citric acid.
Snow globe soap
Bath bomb surprise

101. Create a blog, website, or online journal for a child or preteen on your list who likes to write.
Free Word Press blog
Live Journal

102. Download and print free coloring book pages. Fill a colorful binder with them and give with a big box of crayons. Free coloring book pages

Play dough

103. Make and package play dough in a rainbow of colors using common ingredients from your kitchen.
Handmade play dough

104. Sew a cozy flannel rag quilt, which looks easier to make than a traditional quilt. Or make a T-shirt quilt from your child’s old tees.
Flannel rag quilt tutorial
T-shirt quilts

105. Give your children scrap wood, cardboard, shingles, hammer, nails, non-toxic paint, paint brushes, etc. for building a club house, and a map that shows where it can be built. 9 pc Children’s Tool Kit

Read more »

Christmas presents hot cocoa cookie treePhoto by pinkcandy/

Personally selected gift sets are a great way to give a meaningful present without spending hours crafting. And they’re especially handy when the container is part of the gift. You’ll probably find ample baskets to choose from at your local thrift store. But even though the traditional gift basket is a solid choice, who says it has to be a basket? I’ve pictured many different containers to choose from, but don’t let me limit you. You can pack a gift set in anything—rubber rain boots, baseball helmet, paint can, etc. Click here for Part 4. On Monday: For children.

Part 5: Themed gift sets

Anthropologie Monogrammed Mugs

77. Fill a pretty mug, bowl, or dish with a friend’s favorite chocolates or other treats. Wrap in cellophane and tie with holiday ribbon.
Anthropologie monogrammed mugs

78. Fill a basket with bath items—soaps, oils, bubbles, lotions, natural sponge, hand towels, loofah, etc.
Crate and Barrel baskets

79. Create a winter car-safety kit. Fill a plastic crate with a first-aid kit, bottle of water, blanket, pocket knife, flashlight, canned food & can opener, socks, gloves & hat (try a thrift store), jumper cables, ice scraper to keep windows clear, and flares.
Hand-crank LED flashlight, cell phone charger, radio & alarm

Red clear tote bag

80. For someone who is on their feet a lot, gather foot salts, pumice or clay stone, peppermint foot lotion, sleep socks, pedicure toe separators, and a pair of spa slippers. Pack it all in an inexpensive tote bag.
Clear zippered tote bag

81. Give a hardy holiday breakfast. Place a package of specialty pancake mix (or make your own mix), fine maple syrup, and berry preserves in a mixing bowl.
Buttermilk pancake mix recipe

82. Someone taking a trip soon? Make his/her holiday gift a travel kit. Fill a zippered case with travel-size products you know he/she will need (toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, etc.). Clear travel cosmetic bag

Read more »

Handmade Christmas presentsPhoto by JurgaR/

Part 4 of this ongoing list of inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas comprises two categories: 1) stationery, albums & calendars and 2) jewelry & personal accessories. Those two crafting categories are probably the most popular on the web, so I had a ton to choose from. These are some of my favorites. Click here for Part 3. On Friday: Themed gift sets.

Handmade stationery, albums & calendars

1000 Handmade Greetings book

57. Make a personalized set of note cards or stationery. Tie them with ribbon and place in a classy box or tin. Include coordinating address labels, envelopes, and a fancy pen. Inspirational books: 1,000 Handmade Greetings: Creative Cards & Clever Correspondence
Handmade Greeting Cards for Special Occasions

58. Order a custom rubber stamp. Design it yourself to reflect the person’s hobby, profession, or interest. Or use a piece of free clip art (just Google “free clip art”). Or you can personalize a ready-made stamp with a name or address.
Custom rubber stamp
Ready-made stamps

Sunset vintage photo calendar | Rob D. Brodman

59. Design a family calendar marked with important dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and family gatherings. Decorate the calendar with family photos.
DIY vintage photo calendar
Custom printed calendars

60. Make perpetual calendar that can be reused every year—either to hang on the wall or sit on a desk.
Juice-can lids calendar
Photo wall calendar
Perpetual desk calendar

61. Make your own mini photo album or scrapbook—either bound like a book or folded accordion style.
Mini bound books
Mini accordion books

Read more »

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