Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are you Thrifty or Creative?

by Jen Kulman

Thriftiness is especially important for many families who are feeling the financial pinch this holiday season. Instead of enjoying time spent with family, they are concerned about paying the bills. If you have the patience, a great way to save money and get into the holiday spirit is to make your own gifts.

Some of the gifts I remember most clearly from my childhood are the ones my mom made for us. This year I sewed small pillows with appliqued wool felt animals for my son and nephew. Hmm, I swear these are much cuter in person!
Yes, I realize pillows are the marshmallow of the craft world. 'm constantly looking for bigger and better ideas online and was delighted to see that YouCanMakeThis.com is running a challenge for people to make as many presents as they can for under $50, titled Thrifty Under 50. The participants post their projects here as completed, so we can all be inspired.

One book that does a great job of using found object to make art is Half of an Elephant by Gusti. This is a humorous tale of animals losing half their bodies after an earthquake that splits the world in two. Each animal travels about, determined to either find or replace their lost half.

The illustrations are absolutely fabulous! Animals and scenery are created out all sorts of cast off items that would usually end up in the garbage can. "My idea," said Gusti, "is to show children that creativity helps us to live a better life." This story will delight and inspire the creative person in all of us!

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