78 Christmas Families and I need ideas, help...

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Our church is sponsoring 78 families and providing them and their children with gifts for the holidays. I told my husband I would like to be able to make something for each family, just a little something, but I'm at a loss for what to make and I am on a time crunch because they need these things back by December 9th.

Any thoughts as to what I can whip up for 78 families in a short amount of time? I would like to make something for each family that they would appreciate and use.

If you have any ideas, links to patterns that would be something quick to whip up, please, help. Thanks.

(Barb) Manchester, NH(Zone 5a)

Hot pads for their table is always a quick and easy idea.... Can be any blocks with a couple layers of batting inside or with batting and Insulbrite. Easy to do and will protect their table....

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks Barb. It's always nice to hear others thoughts and ideas because sometimes the mind goes blank. I want to be able to make something, don't have to, the families themselves didn't ask for anything but I just want to be able to make something special that they will be able to enjoy and appreciate year after year. Hot pads are a nifty idea, not sure if I am going to go with that just yet, want to hear a bunch of peoples thoughts, but I like the simplicity of it and the fact that it would be put to good use every year. Thank you for sharing.

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Remember the fabric kleenex box covers? Those can be done fairly quickly and cheaply. I've made several for friends over the years. A navy one with silver stars to go in the Star Trek bathroom etc...

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Oooh, fabric Kleenex box holders sound cool. How do you make them? Gosh, now I am going to have to google that, just because it sounds nifty. Thanks Pat I had never seen one, so now I am on a mission to google and find, lol

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Hubby just reminded me that I would need to buy 78 boxes of Kleenex to go with those 78 Kleenex box covers, so yeah, he's a dream crusher... still googling them though, and still seeking out more thoughts. Thanks.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

I have two ideas from opposite ends of the spectrum. I have a fabric tube with elastic in both ends to hold plastic bags until I recycle them some way. They have a loop so they can be hung. Mine is on one of the kitchen door knobs. I also have cloth bags to take to the grocery store to keep from bringing home more plastic bags. I use both of these items ALL the time. Very useful and they can be made from scraps.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

That is a useful idea. Than you. I love when everyone brain storms because my brain is on vacation apparently, lol.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

I had thought about making those recipe in a jar things with the fabric puffy lids out of mason jars, but then I realized that I would need 78 mason jars, ugh. So, yeah that is out.

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

When will it be given to the families, I read you had to HAND in your item by Dec 9, when will the families actually get the stuff, that makes a difference. Could it be a Christmas ornament?

What about a collection of recipes that you type out and print out into a handout? Note holder that is a clothes pin with a magnet glued onto it to hold notes on the frig? You could make the magnetic holder/clothes pin and print out an inspirational saying to clip into it.

While it's true you would need "78 Mason Jars", it probably wouldn't be that hard to find people to donate the jars. Anybody who cans would like give you a few but FILLING those jars is not cheap! Heck, you could ask for the jars to be donated on Craigslist and get a good response.

I was at Big Lots this weekend and got 30 cellophane bags (are about 5 x 11 inches) that were printed with big snowman for just $1.20. You could make carmel popcorn and fill the bags. That would not be outrageously expensive. This was the regular price, not some "doorbuster" special. Snow man would work any faith (or not faith).

I'm made little decorations by cutting old jeans about inch around the pockets and adding a ribbon or tube of fabric for strings to hang it, fill with candy cane and other small items. Again, an ad in Craiglist will get you donated old jeans, especially if people know you mean WORE out of jeans you are going to recycle.

It's Florida or I would say dipped pinecones... no pinecones... sorry Florida!



This message was edited Nov 26, 2012 6:26 AM

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

78 of ANYTHING can become time consuming and expensive... Do you know how to make that salt dough ornaments? Or the reindeer with pipecleaner antlers out of candy canes? I used to make really cute stick horse ornaments out of stick candy and a fabric head but wow.. 78?

I think on it some more tomorrow.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

The deadline is December 9th. I did think about other items but I wanted to make something sewn. I know, I am probably in over my head. My husband thinks I am nuts, lol. I just thought, if I could whip up 78 things that would make their Christmas that much more special.

I don't know how poor they are either, so I wouldn't want to make them a Christmas ornament and then have them be even sadder because they don't have a tree. I wanted to make something that would brighten them up, lift their spirits kind of thing.

Keep brainstorming Pat, I can always use those ideas for next time I want to dive head first into a project without looking ahead, lol. But, seriously keep brainstorming.

I really appreciate all the thoughts and ideas.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 9a)

We have pinecones all over the place down here. When I was a kid I used to make trees out of them and put glitter on the ends for ornaments. Now I collect them to throw in the fireplace.

If the church is just collecting and then dividing it up, will they really know who gave them something anyway. I would just take whatever $ you were going to spend and get one or two things someone could really use. Even a 5$ gift certificate would be 400 bucks by the time you were done, and what can you buy for 5 bucks.
You must go to a giant church. Good luck to you!!!

(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

How about a Christmas stocking, they are easy to make, and they don't take a lot of fabric?

(Karen) Traverse Cit, MI(Zone 5a)

To expand on taters... how about small stockings with a couple chocolates and a small candy cane?

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

There were the cutest little stockings at the Dollar Store, 6 for $1. My Sis said she had seen them used to put silverware in at Christmas meal.
I agree with Karen you could make the little stocking very quickly and cheaply and fill with candy cane & other treats.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Stockings with candy might be good since we have about twenty pounds of candy from Halloween still

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

SEE, there you go!!!

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Instead of a stocking, you could make a little santa bag out of christmas fabrics, sew the 4 sides, turn it right side out and cut across the top with pinking sheers so you wouldn't need to hem the top. Then after you put in the candy, you can close the top with a piece of ribbon or yarn or wire (I like using the tinsel wrapped wire with little stars and such).

Pot holders, you could make the ones that you slip over a pot handle. They are smaller so would be faster to sew up.

I would think people that could not have a tree would still try to have some Christmas decorations. Especially if they have children. You could cut out some tree or bell shapes from felt and run some decorative stitches over them for garland and glue some sequins on for balls add a yarn or ribbon to hang.

Also 78 families, thats very nice of you to think of something special like this. You would not have to make 78 of the same things, you could mix it up. Let us know what you made!

tish

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

I'm loving the Santa Bag idea. I have just sorted material out but haven't had time to sew a thing. I like the idea of pinking shears too and I had colored wired, darn it, but I just got rid of it, downsizing, but I do have ribbon still, so yeah. I think I could whip those up in several colors, add that Halloween candy that is just sitting there staring at us and then if I have time I could make something else to go with it. Love it. Thanks. xxoox

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Thunder called me with some amazing ideas for these cool wreaths and I am really liking that too. So, I am thinking those tube wreath things you were talking about and the Santa sacks? But definitely the wreaths. Thanks Thunder for calling me. I know she hasn't posted on here yet, but once she does she will see how much I appreciate my sister-n-law,

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

ooh..want to know more about the wreaths! How to, How to, How to!!

I'm glad you liked the little bag idea. Make one first and test it with the candy. The first one I made was not long enough to hold the candy AND still have enough fabric at the top to be able to tie it closed. It seemed to take more fabric to gather it closed at the top than I expected. They sewed up really fast. You could even cut them long enough (lengthwise) to fold in half and only have to sew the two side seams...I didn't think of that at first, I sewed three sides on mine.

tish

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

I just assumed to you'd sew ONE long tube as long as you have fabric for, Cut them off at the right length then sew bottom. You could assembly line them very fast that way.

(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

Please post the wreath, it sounds interesting!

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

According to Thunder, I take any width, 2.5", 3" whatever and make it any length but preferably 18" or longer? Geez, if I type this wrong she'll boot me in the rumpus, lol. But I take any width, any length sew in a tube, flip tube so the right side is up. Then sew channels of straight stitches from end to end in no particular spacing, then I run a heavier ribbon like grosgrain in between a set of channels and pull tight and tie in a bow, no need to finish off the other ends as it should be all squished up so there's no way to tell where the beginning is. Today I am going to attempt this and once I do I will put a picture. I figure it's a great way to use up all those strips of fabrics that I have lying around. I would imagine the longer the length the more puffy it would be.

(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

What do you use for the frame? That sounds really easy, but will use a lot of fabric I think?

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

I took 5" wide piece by 32" long. Sewed in to a tube. Flipped right side up, centered the seam in the back. Didn't bother to iron just winged it. Once I flipped it I sewed those channels in random places. Used 1/4 ribbon, regular style. Weaves that through one of the outside channels, tied in double knot pulling tight. Then I tied a bow. I went back and tucked my seam under and tacked it by hand and then sewed a tie at top. The hardest part was the dang tie at the top, lol.

What do you think?

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(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

Oh, that is pretty! Nice job!

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Thank you. I ripped all my 5" stripes and now I'm going to sew them at whatever length the fabric was because I don't have time to sit and measure out things. And I'm thinking a trip to buy some thicker thread like floss for the ties or something because that other stuff is thick and stretchy plus I don't have enough of it any how.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

How cute.!. small ones would be cute instead of a bow on packages

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Yeah that would be a good idea. These are just big enough to hang on a wall, perfect so far, lol.

Just got done sewing 78 tubes. Time to flip them while taking a break from sewing.

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(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

What size are they finished?

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Guessing at around 4". I'll measure when I get home. I have all the tubes flipped right side up and when I get back I will iron these and then sew the channels since I have do many.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

So are wreaths the answer? I thought the recipe in a jar was a great idea. Instead of jars you could use freezer grade zip lock bags and over wrap them with fabric and bows. Maybe next year.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Yeah I ended up with wreaths because it was the fastest thing that I could make with the supplies I had on hand. I liked the Santa Sacks but these just seemed more befitting for a church.

(thunder)Wildwood, FL(Zone 9a)

sounds like pretty good directions to me...... most of mine were more narrow, but this one looks great ^_^

I think I made a few hundred of these one year for Christmas.....all different sizes, We had a very large picture window and I hung a bunch of them in it. the boys all had sets of double wide windows in their rooms, and we put a mess in there too. also gave many away as gifts.

I used leftover strips from other things I had made, scraps....different widths, different lengths......very short ones make great package decoration, then can be used as ornament on tree.

started to make some last year, never finished them.....there is a stack of sewn strips, somewhere in this room????

I have also taken the top from a plastic bowl ( butter container, cool whip, yogurt ) and cut the rim off then cut small snip into remaining circle of plastic, cut all around edge about 1/4 inch...so you now have cut off a circle...cut another and another...and then take 1 of those circles and feed it into one of the channels you sewed into your strip....like putting elastic into a waist band.....wiggle it around so that the opening of the plastic is not at the opening of the ring of fabric......stitch on a loop of thread to hang.....

much harder to try to explain than it is to do.....hope you can understand what I am trying to say....

I called Bev to tell of this idea, because I was not sure if I could put it into understandable words.....in writing....I knew if I spoke to her I could explain it....sew I hope you get it.....

quick, and easy "recycling" project....

first ones I did were probably 25 years ago!!!

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

I get it Thunder... but you and I generally speak the same "language"!

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Thunder I think you gave excellent directions. I must say though they may be easy but they sure are time consuming when you have so many to make in so little time. Today's goal: iron them and sew the channels. Yesterday some how I managed to get them all cut and sewn.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9a)

Oops forgot I was going to cut them in half. I ended up making 164 four inch wreaths

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(Barb) Manchester, NH(Zone 5a)

Those came out great Bev. Good job and I'm sure they will be loved.

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