Several years ago, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on Christmas presents and decorations. Andy was a uni student, studying for his Masters of Teaching. We were living off his small student’s allowance which didn’t cover the normal outgoings of our largish family, let alone anything extra. There certainly wasn’t any money for expensive gifts.

Despite our tight budget, that Christmas turned out to be one of the best Christmases we have ever had. We made practically all our gifts, and everyone was very pleased with what they received. I really enjoyed seeing the looks on my children’s faces when they unwrapped the presents I’d made for them.

This year I am hoping to make at least some of my family's Christmas presents. I've been thinking about this for a while, but this morning it suddenly occurred to me that Advent is almost upon us. If I want to make presents, I'd better get started. I've got a few ideas... Maybe I can share them with you? Actually, I am hoping you will also stop and share your ideas with me.

Now I am not one of those really crafty hands-on type people. I really have to force myself to get out my fabrics and other materials and start creating. I have decided I am more of an ‘in my head’ type of person. I think I got that phrase from Suzie Andres! I’d much rather sit at my computer and create using words, than sit at my sewing machine and create with my hands. So I know anything I start making for Christmas has to be fairly straightforward.

So here’s my first idea…

I found a website called From Old Books. On this site there are over 3200 high resolution images that have been scanned from old rare antique books. The images can be used freely for any purpose.

I remembered some images from the book, Alice in Wonderland that I’d seen on this site. I actually used some of these pictures in my blog post Learning Punctuation the Lewis Carroll Way.

  • I downloaded some of the images I particularly liked.
  • I printed them on A4 photographic paper.
  • Now I plan to frame them in simple black frames.
I think the framed pictures will look something like this:

I think a set of Alice in Wonderland pictures will look good on someone’s bedroom wall.

And for a really special gift, I could add a paperback copy of Alice in Wonderland. I saw some inexpensive copies yesterday when I was browsing the bookshop.

So that’s my first idea. It took about half an hour to download and print the pictures. It will take me a little less time to frame them when I find the appropriate frames. I already know where I’m going for frames. There’s one of those discount bargain stores in town. I'll head there this week.

So what do you think? Of course, you could use any images. A set of related pictures always looks great. I've done a set of fairy pictures before.

Did you notice I labelled this post Part One? That's me being optimistic. That will push me on to produce Parts Two and Three... Soon I'll have my home-made Christmas all worked out...

I hope!

Of course, the printed images look much better in real life than in the photos. It would be really lovely to receive a new camera for Christmas... that would be an expensive gift though... and no one can hand make a camera!

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  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! That website is AMAZING!

    I'm painting glass bottles and filling them with paper flowers. I'm also making vanilla-crusted almonds.

    It seems like people appreciate homemade gifts more. And I actually feel better about giving them than I do simply buying something. Maybe because it makes me think about the person a little more in terms of what he/she would like?

    1. Angela,

      I'd love to see some photos of the things you are making for Christmas. Can you post some photos on your blog? I like edible gifts. Vanilla-crusted almonds sound delicious. One year we painted jam jars and filled them with lollies. They were well received.

      I guess it's easy to buy a gift but a handmade one takes a bit of effort and thought. Yes, what would he/she like? Years ago, my sister really wanted a black and white dress so I made her one. I am sure it wasn't exactly what she had in mind but she looked excited when she unwrapped it, and made me feel it was a very special gift.

      If you use any of the images on the website, please tell me what you do with them!

    2. I will absolutely keep the blog updated with anything I end up doing :) And I'm sending you the recipe for the almonds via email now...

    3. Angela,

      Wonderful! I'm looking forward to seeing photos of your creations. And thank you for the recipe. I am definitely going to make some of those almonds!!

  2. Hello! I came over following the comment you left on Amy Caroline's blog. Your framed artwork idea is fabulous! I'll have to check out that site - we love old illustrations around here. And I agree handmade gifts are the best. My kids have been making each other gifts for many years, and I'm trying to do more handmade myself this year. Thanks for the inspiration, and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    1. Hi Kimberlee,

      Thank you for visiting my blog! It is always lovely to make new friends so I am glad you stopped to say hello.

      I have an oldish booklet of reproduced Madonna and Child paintings that was published to celebrate something in the Catholic year. I would have to go and look to see exactly what! I found the booklet in a box of odds and ends given to me by a catechist friend. I scanned many of the pictures, than printed them out on photo paper. Now they are hanging around our house in frames. It was such a simple and inexpensive idea, but very effective. Exactly the same idea as for the Alice pictures.

      My children love making gifts too. I can see from your blog that you are all very creative. I will have to keep reading to pick up some tips! We love handicrafts too, but we don't make as many things as we'd like because we spend far too much time writing.

      God bless!

  3. Dear Sue,
    We adore handmade gifts and our children make everyone a a gift every year. We usually have a gift making few months before and I try to make some but don't have as much success as the children. We hae had some lovely gifts in the past.
    God Bless

    1. Gae,

      My girls are far more talented in the area of handicrafts than I am. Isn't it lovely when the children are old enough to create without our help? They don't have to wait for us to get around to helping them. I like watching the older ones helping the younger ones. I am guessing your children do the same thing.

      I hope you post photos of your gifts on your blog. The other problem with posting photos is our children read our blogs and might see what they are getting for Christmas!

      Thank you so much for stopping and sharing.

      God bless

  4. Wow Sue, those prints are really cool. I'm going to head on over there and check it out. God Bless!

    1. Noreen,

      There's some great free things on the internet! And so many lovely images on that site. I wonder what else I could do with a few old pictures...

      Always great to see you on my blog. Thank you for visiting!

  5. That's such a fantastic idea. I love paper-y things.

    1. Elisa,

      I love paper-y things too. Sitting and creating on the computer is my kind of thing. I can't go too far wrong! Not like sewing... Though I do have some sewing ideas too.

      God bless!


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