Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Crafting Gifts

Hi Dear Frugalites,

I have been very busy creating gifts every week as my social daughter has headed to one or two parties a week. My staples have been library bags, bird ornaments and owls. I have used mainly recycled materials and some new fabric in my endeavour to upcycle. The new fabrics have mainly been for boys gifts to give their bags that special touch on one side.

I was a little nervous about giving so many home made library bags when everyone else arrives with the huge glossy gifts. Especially to some of her wealthy friends who don't live the green philosophy. But Dolly was super excited to come home last week and tell me how some of her six year school friends had their library bags when another student loudly said "Your bags are COOL! Where did you get them from?" and they proudly said "Dolly made them for us!". This has led to other children asking her if she can make one for them too :)  it seems the library bags are becoming the fashion item TO HAVE... So Yay us!

Sewing does not come easy to me. I used to sew for some extra cash when I was 18. That was short lived as it was just to tie me over in desperate times and my Grandma was nearby to help me step by step. After a few months of making a little cash for food and youthful fun I stopped as I moved towns and found stable employment. Now fast forward 25 years and I am sewing again - without Grandma's help. I'm learning from my mistakes as I unpick incorrect stitches and use books for guidance. As my confidence grows so does my satisfaction. My items are becoming better and better with each new stitch and I'm getting faster too.

Here are pictures of Dolly being industrious creating Bird Ornaments with reclaimed and vintage fabrics, beads from broken and unloved op shop jewellery. She has gifted these to girl school friends and also Costa Georgiadis as she knows he "loves the invorinment" (she adores him from his regular visits and enjoys how he always talks to her with enthusiasm).

Beading Bird Ornaments.

Stuffing Birds with old Pillow Stuffing.

Pretty Birds made with reclaimed fabric and vintage fabrics.

Ready to Tweet in a Home or Verandah.

Dolly gifts her friend Costa one of her Bird Ornaments.

And then there are the Library Bags... We have made 6 of these so far this past month. Girly ones and Boyish ones. These are a couple of the boy ones. The Doctor Seuss fabric is new. The blue fabric is an old mens shirt from this stash that some of you may remember, and the red fabric I think may be from the late 70s early 80s. All of these bags are French seamed for extra strength and aesthetics.

Busy Preparing letters and wearing a sleeve as a hat.

Completed and ready for gifting.

For a twin.
His sisters bag was red strawberries on one side & vintage fabric with little girls on the other.

And to top it all off, Dolly has been creating beautiful cards with unwanted seed beads, old patty cake papers, sticks and scrap felt.

Hand me down beads from a older tomboy girl, perfect for decorating cards.

Sticks from the yard and bits of felt scrap that Mama hoarded make perfect candles.

Eco-Frugal Homemade Gift Giving.

If you've never sewed give it a go! Go slowly, learn from your mistakes as I have been in the past year and get on the net for basic tips to get started. If I can do it anyone can :)

Stephanie @ Frugal Down Under.


  1. The book bags are fantastic, I'm sure they will be well received by all Dolly's friends. Sometimesthegift giving at kid's parties can get really out of hand and it can get very expensive when your child ends up going to lots and lots of parties. When my four were little it seemed like a never ending cycle of parties and gift buying until they went to senior school when all the parties seemed to stop. I love that you are sticking to your Eco/frugal values and not giving in to peer pressure on the gift buying.

    1. Hi Dreamer, I will be truthful it's hard to stick by my values. But so far I have been strong :)

  2. I love the bird ornaments. Do you have a pattern for those? How many birds to one ornament? Maybe you will only give these library bags as birthday or party gifts. That way, she and you won't have to make another gift at birthday time.

    It's funny about your sewing since I have sewn for 63 years. Yes, I am almost 67.

    1. Hi Practical, Maybe I didn't sew because I moved homes, cities or country practically yearly since high school. Now that I have stayed put in 6 years I've started to sew again after buying my very own sewing machine.

      The Birds were inspired from Silly Old Suitcase. I saw it on her blog and drew a pattern freehand. My 1st bird was very bizarre once I sewed and stuffed it - so I tried again and the others were much better. Here's the link: http://sillyoldsuitcase.blogspot.com

  3. The book bags are a great idea. I love the bird ornaments. Well done you two. Keep up the good work


    1. Thanks Carol - keeps be super busy that is for sure. I have more Birthday gifts to make tonight.

  4. I agree with all the above comments ...fantastic ....

  5. Thanks Sherrie - Thanks for popping by :)

  6. First time to your blog and what a great ethos. So glad to see people making use of what they have instead of treating everything as disposable. Excellent lessons to teach kids.

  7. What great handmade gifts :) I especially love the bird ornaments. I'm addicted to refashioning and upcycling sewing projects, I'd love it if you pop over to http://casscansew.com you can check out some of my projects.
    Found you via Aussie Bloggers x


Thanks for commenting - I love getting feedback, sharing experiences and learning from you.