The good news is, cheap gifts CAN be done, and still look nice. Two factors help: 1) making them in bulk, and 2) very careful planning and substitutions for cheaper options. Particularly the substitutions part. That's always been my mantra for interior decorating too. Yes, buy all the magazines of beautiful rooms that you can never afford to do in their entirety. Circle all the things you really REALLY like. Then set about finding ways to recreate them for less. Ikea, Walmart, even Menards or Home Depot...just keep your eyes open...you'll be surprised the things you find that are good approximations of other ideas. The mistake that people make is that they insist on having the actual item they see in the picture instead of adapting the idea into something they can actually afford.
Anyway, my point with all of this is that I started making my annual Christmas gifts today (oh yeah, I'm aware of the insanity of that statement, but to be honest, if I started any later than now, I simply wouldn't finish.) I usually make 15-20 smaller gifts for my staff and whatnot, in addition to the more substantial ones for family and very close friends. So, it's important that they be reasonably priced, because as much as I'd love to have generous amounts of disposable income, it's just not in the cards in the near future. I went with frames, because they tend to get used, and if not, they're pretty easily re-giftable. And don't give me crap about planning for re-giftability, because it's a legitimate concern. Particularly when you're giving handmade things to people who you don't know all THAT well. If it doesn't go with their decor and they're not going to use it, it'd be nice if at least it was able to be used by someone instead of sitting in a closet or going in the trash.
So, below are the before and after shots of the frame I made tonight...and for only $2.50 (once you divide it out across the 20 I'm making anyway)! I used a Creating Imaginations Audrey frame, My Minds Eye So Sophie paper, Tim Holtz woodblock stamp, American Crafts ribbon, 1 1/8" circle punch, Chestnut Roan Cateye ink, and gems. Vary the papers for different looks, and voila! Not too shabby :)
And that's all for tonight :)