Posted in Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Crafts: Christmas Ornaments

Every year since as long as I can remember me or my  family would make homemade Christmas ornaments. One of our longtime family friends Jane S. made homemade salt and flour hard ornaments that she painted. My mother still has some of these original ornaments that have withstood moving, insects, rodents, and moisture. Jane made several for her own son and family friends like she did for us. From whimsical little Santa Claus and elf figures, to diamond shaped jewels, gifts, and reindeer, these ornaments stood out to me as young boy. I was completely in awe how both Jane and my mother made these ornaments, similar to these pieces seen on

I understand baking and cooking, papier-mache  and other modeling forms used to make home made crafts. Still, however, I thought as a young mind at about 5 years old, “so i can mix stuff and cook it, and paint it, and put a hole in and presto, an ornament.” Papier-mache alone is another concept I think rules the world as its not just for piñatas. Being hispanic myself piñatas are very familiar in my childhood memories. My mom once made me a piñata for my 5th birthday that I shared in kindergarden. It was a big blue bird complete with wings, blue eyes and a yellow beak. I remember her making it and thinking it was kind of messy. Starting off with the balloon made me laugh, but then the bird body took shape.  I wouldn’t grasp the concept of papier-mache in the art world until my first summer recreation in the 6th grade where we made papier-mache art pieces and then did I understand that papier-mache is what many art crafts are made of basically.

The home made ornaments that I grew up with were not limited to salted white flour dough baked in the oven. My mom, Carmen, taught both me and my brother how to sew by hand and on a sewing machine, although as I have mentioned previously, I prefer to hand sew, hands down, over the use of a machine. In the lean years, although I didn’t realize we were living in lean years. My mother saved bits of pieces of things we would normally through a way and showed my brother and I how to make snow man ornaments. She saved half and half creamers from a local off the freeway diner, we frequented called, Cindy’s, and then from a hobby store bought a pack of 2″ inch styrofoam balls and a pack of mini plastic glue on eyeballs.

Using regular elmer’s glue and magic mark pen she made little snowman ornaments. I was totally hooked on crafting from that point on. She colored the plastic half-and-half cups and the cardboard squares black using the big pen magic marker. Next she glued graduated styrofoam balls to the cardboard after the ink dried. We all glued the the eyes on and hats to the snowman, and then decorated the buttons using the pen to draw coal buttons. She often used red or green ribbon to make a scarf for the snowmen. The cardboard squares allowed the base to all the the snowman to stand on a table, but sometimes she would attach string or ribbon to the snowman’s hat to make a hanger for the Christmas three.

This is a great idea to teach kids how to be resourceful and make ornaments from scratch. Happy Crafting!!!


Posted in Dollar Tree, Handmade Christmas Ornaments, Recycled Art, Coffee Cup View Master, Uncategorized

Dollar Store Savings…

(While reading my blog, think about what you could make with awesome ideas and products, I have been making clutch purses for a long time, and Dollar Tree and these resources are true gems Zip It Up: Easy Techniques for Zippered Bags)

I highly recommend Dollar Tree Stores for the crafters, stagers, and for casual purchases of staple items. Dollar Tree doesn’t necessarily sell cheaply made products, rather it sells things that are actually uncommon or resold to them from the bigger box stores and grocery stores. From a craft standpoint, I have mentioned before, that depending on what you are making or needing for your crafting or staging is to buy the merchandise that is most versatile or has the most fabric, solution or product size. You might be buying something for a dollar that is barely 1″x1″ such as a student’s eraser, or a 5 pack of chewing gum. What I look for if needing fabric material is the strongest easiest to manipulate fabric or material. Depending on the project, I may only need fabric-like material, but not cotton. Fabric-like material is products like vinyl, plastic, jute, mesh, and nylon. 

Vinyl shower curtains and thin plastic table cloths are great sources for numerous uses. I often use Dollar Tree Vinyl shower curtains as tarps to wrap my fruit trees in the winter. The added bonus is I can pull twine or thin rope through the shower curtain grommets and tighten the curtain tarps around my lemon trees and keep them from blowing away in the wind.  Plastic Flannel Table ClothTable clothes do not tend to last long wrapped around my trees, however, these thin plastic often holiday tablecloths with soft thin .mm type padded backs make great gift bags. I also have made holiday decorations and wine bags out of plastic table cloth covers. 


Some of the things that brings to mind for my complete overall savings from making purchases at the Dollar Tree is end result. Will it full fill my project goals? How much waste will there be? I am into recycling and repurposing. A big failure on my part would be to purchase to make something and have a big percentage of it thrown away. I try to utilize the biggest product and minimize intended waste. Its hard to know what someone else will do with what I create, but saving the planet starts with me. I can only strongly recommend that someone not throw it away. 

I buy shampoo, shaving cream, 3 blade disposable shavers, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes and hair gel, all at the Dollar Tree store. At the prices that most department and grocery stores charge for these products, it seems foolish to not take advantage of these savings. 

I used to buy Colgate mint fresh toothpaste with Tricolsan, for anti-gingivitis, from target, for a 3-6 ounce tube, on average, for $2.69 each. However, Triclosan, even in small doses is extremely toxic to humans and animals;[citation,  . Even washing our hands with it is questionable, but I still do wash my hands with Triclosan antibacterial soap. Since I have eliminated Triclosan toothpaste from use, toothpaste is much cheaper. Regular generic toothpaste, such as Colgate Gel, Aim, and MaxFresh are less expensive at Target and even cheaper of course at good old Dollar Tree. I can  also buy my preferred toothbrush softness  in a 5 pack’s at Dollar Tree, and when I am done with my tooth brushes they go into a bin for art projects and cleaning tough stains in difficult places. I use and reuse as I can. Old toothe brushes make excellent fingernail brushes too. 

My cologne is a Dollar Tree special. I only buy one kind and its the closest impostor scent to Lacoste,, that I have found, and my husband says he likes the scent, and he only buys name brand cologne. I typically buy two to EcUni European American Designsthree bottles at a time. These bottles go fast at Dollar Tree and are not always in stock. The caps that cover the bottle sprayer are rudimentary and four packaging purposes only. They do not stay on, and I do not use them. They do get thrown away with the packaging. The brand I use is called EcUni and is produced by European American Designs. 

Dollar Tree has greeting cards too, and often two for a dollar and they are really beautiful greeting cards. The best way to shop at Dollar Tree is to shop frequently and to shop at the same stores. Get to know products and how they are displayed. Think about what you need and when to buy it. Do not wait until the last minute of a holiday as products fly off the shelves as soon as the holiday seasons start. 

Lastly, another thing I have found quite by accident, was Dollar Tree fridge magnets. I was needing more magnet material for glass magnets I was making. I was thinking that I could just buy the dollar tree magnets that are thin magnetic plastic with themes on them, cut them down and make them into ma182386_v1gnets. It didn’t work out because the magnetic material were minor magnetic and somewhat use a static clean and magnetic properties to stick to the fridge. When I tried to use them as magnetics to hold heavier objects, they fell under the weight. Usually Dollar Tree magnets have 5-7 magnets on a 10×10 sheet of mixed themes, heritage designs, or holiday icons, with at least two magnets that are 4-6 inches wide with smaller ones. After I realized I couldn’t use them for magnets, I set my bottle of ice water on one for a moment to collect my thoughts and I realized they make excellent beverage coasters. They actually work better as coasters, then working refrigerator magnets as they do not have much strength to hold up anything. But they are beautiful and crafty.