Rie Cramer L. van Leer & Co. Amsterdam, the Netherlands 25 December 1929
The illustration was special for the Haagsche Post 1929 Christmas issue
I've been away from this blog for a while. But have been itching to get back to it. There's no better time than the present, right? You can look forward to 'lots of creative gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season. We're going to earn the title of "the world's most creative gift giver," aren't we?
I thought I would start by blogging about some of my favorite online stores and highlight a few of their unique gifts. We'll then move on to gifts with creative themes, imaginative wrapping ideas and much more.
Let's start the fun!
Every year around this time, I receive email notes from people asking for free and low-cost items that they can add to their Easter baskets. This topic was also one of the most popular ones on the old Creative Gift Giver website. Although most of us have tight budgets, we still want to surprise our children and grandchildren with nice Easter baskets. Consider some of these ideas for this year's baskets.
1) Beadie animals
One of my favorite crafting websites, MakingFriends.com, has patterns to make a variety of different animals from pony beads. You could create a pony bead Easter bunny or chick, or select your child's favorite animal, like a dog, monkey or cat. These pony bead characters make cute accessories for your child's backpack or suitcase. If the recipient is a young child, you could make the beadie animal yourself. If the child is older, create a craft kit with directions and necessary supplies so she can make the beadie animal herself. Pony beads can be purchased inexpensively from dollar stores and craft stores.
2) Personalized Books on Cd or cassette
In her SimpleMom blog, writer and mom Deborah Taylor-Hough suggests recording yourself on audio tape or CD while reading your child's favorite book. I did this for my son when he was three years old; he still plays the cassette books from time to time even though he is 11 years old. What makes this gift special is that you can add your own funny voices and commentary to the books. I secretly think my son likes the "good night, I love you!" comment at the end of the audio recording. (But don't tell his friends that!) My daughter giggles when she hears some of the silly voices I use when telling Curious George stories.
3) Coloring Pages and new crayons, markers or pencils
It's easy to find free downloadable Easter-themed coloring pages on the internet. Try websites like Free Coloring Pages or DLTK Holidays, or use keywords like "Easter coloring pages" on a search engine.
To make this extra special, include pastel crayons, metallic pencils or markers that change color like Crayola's Color Changeables.
If you can sew, why not whip up one of these Easter Egg crayon holders? What a cute way to give crayons!
4) Paper models
There are some amazing downloadable paper models available on the internet. For example, Canon Creative Park has a printable Netherland dwarf bunny, a Jaquar car model, a puppet stage and puppets to put on plays like the Emperor's New Clothes, and landmarks like an Egyptian sphinx and the Statue of Liberty. PaperModelz has a canary in a cage, a firetruck, a bear with an ice cream cone, Hello Kitty, a Lego Man and much more.
You simply download the files, print them out, then tuck them in your kid's Easter basket. They can then cut, fold and paste to create some wonderful paper toys! Some of these are quite challenging, making them a perfect basket filler for that tween or teen who thinks he's too old for Easter baskets.
5) Word finds and mazes
Many educational websites have free Easter-themed mazes, crossword puzzles and word finds for grade school children. Check out these sites:
Apples for the Teacher: Christian Easter Word Search
PrintActivities: Printable Cryptograms and Word Scrambles
6) A CD filled with Easter and spring songs
Why not burn a CD filled with Easter music that you have downloaded for free from the internet? That Holiday Spot has 48 different Easter and spring themed songs that can be downloaded at no charge. Songs range from religious tunes like Christ the Lord has Risen Today to secular music like Peter Cottontail. I recommend printing out a personalized label that includes important information like the date it was given, the names of the recipient and giver, and the titles of the songs on the CD. This extra touch will help your child remember when he received the CD and began listening to the songs on it.
Duck and Bunny Baskets
made from potato chip and nut cans
Make these adorable little baskets in minutes!
1. Small potato chip or nut can
2. Fun foam in your choice of colors
(we used orange and yellow for our duck and
white, pink and black for our bunny)
3. Chenille stems (also known as pipe cleaners)
4. Hot glue or tacky glue
5. Cotton ball (for bunny's tail)
7. Permanent marker
1. Measure the length and width of the can and cut out a piece of fun foam to fit around the can. Glue it onto the can, lapping ends in the back and leaving two gaps at the top for the basket handles.
2. Hand draw (or use a coloring book pattern) the wings, beak, eyes and webbed feet for the duck; or ears, eyes, 4 paws (two for "hands" and two for "feet") and a nose for the bunny.
3. Trace each piece on fun foam and cut out with scissors. If desired, trace an outline of the wings and webbed feet, or the paws, with a black permanent marker onto the fun foam. Allow ink to dry completely
4. Glue each piece of fun foam onto the can. (For the bunny, make whiskers out of black chenille stems and glue them behind the bunny's fun foam nose.) Allow to dry completely.
To make the bunny's tale, glue a cotton ball on the backside of the can.
5. If desired, use a permanent marker to draw additional details on the face.
6. Take two or three chenille stems and twist them around each other, then shape them into a handle. Place each end of the handle on different sides of the basket, anchoring the handle between the fun foam and the can. Secure in place with glue.
7. Fill with shred or Easter grass and add candy or small trinkets.
I've had some delays in beginning this blog, but we will be starting soon! In the meantime, you can check out my other blog here:
I am currently working on some cute and clever ideas for Easter, so please check back!