Category Archives: Thrifty Under $50! DIY Challenge

And the Winners Are…

What a thrill this challenge has been! Gifts have been made for little or no money, friendships have been formed, new ideas shared, and holiday gift-giving will never be the same for any of these 50 who participated, or for those who have followed.  Through a random drawing of both participants and followers, these people have won the following:

3 participants of the “Thrifty Under Fifty” Challenge won $100 cash prizes!

Congratulations to:
Amber from Team Carla
Dawn from Team Kris
Kristina from Team Kim


3 people who “Followed the Fifty” won a $50 bundle package from

Congratulations to:
Sara Childs
Jenn (Handmade Goodness)
Dana (Simple Gifts)


2 people (1 participant and 1 follower) won a month subscription to!

Congratulations to:
Autumn from Team Sherrie
Ginny (Sunflowers at Home)


2 people (1 participant and 1 follower) won a $25 gift certificate to!

Congratulations to:
Mickey from Team Lorie
Dina from Bellabrina


2 participants have won a $25 bundle of machine embroidery designs downloads from!

Congratulations to:
Chasley from Team Lorie
Courtney from Team Kris



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Thrifty Under Fifty — Team Kris Reporting!

If you are new to the blog, then let me give you a quick run-down on what you’ll find.  We are in the middle of a “Thrifty Under Fifty” challenge where has challenged 50 people to MAKE their Christmas gifts for under $50! That’s right! We wanted to see what could be done, how many could be made, and the creative spirit that exists when putting your mind to a challenge.  49 women and 1 man have worked for 2 weeks in making their lists, checking them twice, trying to figure out how to  create not just gifts…but BEAUTIFUL gifts that they knew their families and friends would cherish.

Each day a “Team Leader” (I’m one of five!) has reported in on their team’s weekly progress. The results are pretty amazing!  You’ll also find step-by-step instructions and patterns used in many of these projects at our site:   

If you are looking for some unique DIY ideas for your Teen or Tween, we’ve got some fun ones here on the blog.  Learn how to make clocks from old CD’s, magnet boards, frames and more. You can find them beginning here: 

So…now it’s time for the Team Kris report! Here’s some highlights of what was accomplished this week!

Here’s what you’re looking at!
1 – Tradition rules! Christmas PJ’s are always a hit! Kris made these with the “Easy-Fit” Pants and a Mouse embroidery design.

2 – Picture frames for the entire fam! Courtney was inspired by the tween ideas found here.

3 – Boys ties made in their favorite fabrics! Now what little boy wouldn’t want a Sponge Bob tie?!? Way to go, Melissa!

4 – Tis the season for baking goodies! Heather loved using her grandmother’s 30 year old mixer and having her children by her side engaged in the process. These are memories that will last for a long time.

5 – Rachel made “Duet” aprons made for mother and daughter. Won’t they have fun together in the kitchen?

6 – Who will love this set more? The grandmother who loves to play pretend with her grandchildren, or the grandkids who love to play pretend with grandma?  Kris made 2 “Duet” aprons, 3 chef hats (made from the free pattern at, cinnamon roll “felt food”, and in-the-works is a child-written, personalized cookbook.

7 – Crystal made this great crayon-roll using 2 placemats — very cool! And what a breeze to clean up, too!

8 – Dawn has been busy putting together felt boards and felt stories for her family. The possibilities are endless with this kind of idea.

9 – Inspired by the A-line Dress, Alison created this darling Christmas outfit for her sweetheart.

10 – Gorgeous! Keri put together these personalized tiles using 6×6 tiles, her favorite photos, Mod Podge, and a Dremel tool. This unique look is sure to impress!

11 – Heather was also inspired by the Tween gift ideas and made this clipboard for her daughter to clip all of her drawings to and to use as a writing board in the car. Great idea Heather!

12 – Courtney knew just what her sewing-sister could use — an apron to hold all of her sewing tools! Talk about handy!

13 – Nikki created a word collage using words that were important to her and the person who would soon be receiving the gift.

With less than 24 hours to go before our self-created deadline, we’re still working to keep as many gifts as we can to under $50. It has been a thrill to be a part of this process!


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Team Carla Update


Team Carla is your source for quality entertainment, news, and information. Check out our Programming Line-up:

ACTION ADVENTUREAmber (aka Lady Dragonfly) is knocking out gifts left and right! Be on the lookout for ferocious monsters, sharks, and dinosaurs! Rated PG (brief nudity).

HOME AND GARDEN Mellissa delights us with a charming garden party. She has so many beautiful projects in bloom!

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING Teresa introduces the audience to a rare but beautiful species of Ladybug classified as Hippodamia zipperflipperdus.

FOOD – See what’s cooking in Carrie’s kitchen! She’s got lots of yummy gift ideas to please even the pickiest of palates!

OUTDOORLaura shows us warm winter gear for outings in the snow.

ROMANCETom (aka Tom Selleck) takes us on trip back to 1984 and shares his beautiful wedding story. Happy Anniversary, Tom and Angie!!!

SPORTS – All bowling, all the time at the CarlaC arena.

DRAMA – Our heroine Jen is in a crafting conundrum. Should she make a template? Should she cut? Should she sew? Whatever will she do???

HOLIDAY SPECIALSMonica hosts a spectacular series of holiday favorites! Her beautiful advent stocking garland provides treat after treat.

MYSTERYJennifer has chosen the fabric, and revealed whom she is sewing for. Questions still burn… What will she make?  How much will it cost?  And what happened to those spaghetti noodles?

NEWSKrista has been giving us updates on her doll-making efforts.  Due to technical difficulties with the station camera, no pictures are available at this time.  Stay tuned!


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Warm up those vocal chords! Team Kim is singing! (eeek!)

With less than a week left in the challenge, we think it is time to sing a lil’ jingle. Join us! Here we go!

Team Kim Bloggers:,,,,,,,


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7 Simple Steps for Making Your Tween/Teen Gifts!

When it all comes down to it, you basically do the same simple seven steps! (Try saying that 10 times fast!) So to make it REALLY easy, I’ve quickly labeled the photo steps here.

Most everything was done with a bottle of “Mod Podge” (purchase at any craft or large retail store), scrapbook paper, and ribbon. Other materials are listed on their individual photos shown throughout the blog. If you are looking for scrap wood, look no further than around your own yard or your local lumber yard. I went to Lowe’s and asked them if they had any scrap wood for sale. They took me to the area where they make “cuts” of wood for people and there is always bound to be some left over. Often times they will sell this for an extremely low price or some may just say you can have it. If they give it to you for free, don’t ask them to make more cuts. 😉 Have fun with the odd shaped pieces and you’ll love the possibilities of making something truly unique. Have fun!


Step 1: Gather your supplies: glue, papers, ribbons, buttons, you name it…anything goes!


Step 2: Trace your item onto scrapbook paper.


Step 3:  Cut paper along traced lines and apply “Mod Podge” onto the back with a sponge brush.

 Step 4:  Place the paper onto your item (wood, cardboard, frame, CD, etc.) and smooth out any bubbles. If the paper overlaps the item a little, that is ok.  Simply take a piece of sand paper and smooth out the edges.

 Step 5:  Cut or tear more paper. The fun part about these projects is the “layering” you can do.  With so many fun papers to choose from, why not combine several onto one piece?!  Now is the time to make those paper layers.

Step 6:  Gently brush another layer of “Mod Podge” over the papers to seal them and make a nice finish.
Smooth out any bubbles at this time, as well.  The glue will dry clear.

Step 7:  This is the most fun part! After your items are dry, it is time to embellish! Pull everything out of your craft drawers and have fun! You can see that the ribbons are mis-matched and that’s ok!  Enjoy the process!


Find more photos and the materials list for the CD CLOCKS here:

For more tips on making the clocks, visit here:

For how-to videos, photos and the materials list  on making FLOWER HEADBANDS, visit here:

For photos and material lists on a CLIPPIE & MIRROR BOARD, visit here:

For photos and material list on making a JEWELRY & PURSE HOLDER, visit here:

For photos and material list on making a RIBBON NOTEBOOK, visit here:

For photos and material list on making a MAGNET BOARD, visit here:

For extra tips and instructions on making that MAGNET BOARD, visit here:

For photos and material list on making her FIRST INITIAL, visit here:

For photos and material list on making a PHOTO FRAME, visit here:


Filed under Thrifty Under $50! DIY Challenge, Tween/Teen DIY Gift Ideas

Extra Tips on Magnet Board & Clocks…

As I’m getting ready to post the simple steps for making these projects, I realized there were a few extra tips that only pertain to these two specific projects. So here they are…



Filed under Thrifty Under $50! DIY Challenge, Tween/Teen DIY Gift Ideas

Last one! It’s Tween Time! (and they’re made from old CD’s!)

This was probably my favorite project. It’s also the one that cost more than the others, but it was so fun to make. When I do this again (I have a few people on my list that I’d like to make one of these for!) I will use up my 40% coupons at Michaels and Hobby Lobby and get an even better deal.

Do you have CD’s that have been so scratched, they can’t be used anymore? Don’t throw them out — make them into clocks! This project actually started out with an idea to make ONE CLOCK. They were so fast and fun to make that it ended up being a 3-clock project showing a few different time zones (and places THIS tween might rather be in! LOL!)

Directions are coming up next, but here it is! Oh, and the letters came from some stick-on letters used in scrapbooking! Do you ever get those peel-and-stick sheets and only use a few of the letters? Well, fortunately, I had enough left over to make the words for Home, Paris, and New York!



Here are 7 steps for making anything with this technique:

For extra tips assembling the clock, click here:


Filed under Thrifty Under $50! DIY Challenge, Tween/Teen DIY Gift Ideas