I've seen one that uses regular graham crackers (cheap and easy!) And I've made mine out of sugar cookie when I didn't have the right ingredients to make the gingerbread. I just rolled regular sugar cookie dough into the house shapes and baked them.
I have a pattern at home some where that looks like this stitch- I'll look it up and post later. The ribbing you can do by stitching in the back loop only, but I'm not sure about the scallop at the bottom. Flower patterns are a dime a dozen.
You may be surprised that curtains, paint on the door, a wall hanging or two and a nice big rug will make a huge difference in that boring brown room.
My MIL has sheer curtains with flowers tacked on (I think they are sewn, but no reason you couldn't hot-glue them) and they look beautiful. Some coordinating flowers on a rug and the wall and you are all set.
I use mine as an ice scraper for my car windshield, since we get ice 2 times a year it's not worth buying and keeping track of a plastic ice scraper. Usually after one or 2 uses it starts coming apart so I just trash them.
The two most popular (and easiest to make!) gifts I've done are candied pretzels and chocolate ritz. For the pretzels you get the mini twist kind and dip in white chocolate, sprinkle with crushed peppermint (the MOST popular kind) or just regular sprinkles or red/green sugar. You can also get the huge pretzel rods and dip half, leaving a handle. I've seen a small bundle of these for like $12! A bag of pretzels is $1 and melting chocolate is like $2/lb. which made enough for a dozen gifts.
The ritz is just a regular round salty cracker dipped in milk chocolate. You don't have to dip the whole cracker, just half or one side. You can add a tiny smear of peanut butter before dipping. They are ridiculously, addictively good.
Yes, I am the lady who makes everyone fat at Christmas!
Last year my sister helped me make homemade ornaments (from cinnamon clay) and wreaths for the whole family (using wreath forms, garland and ornaments from the $ store). Those were certainly well received. I also on my own made cocoa in a jar and homemade crocheted potholders.
Some were received more happily than others, but I really couldn't care less because it was only adults who got them and some of them didn't bother to give any gifts at all in return (for me or anyone else). For my own kids and my one nephew I purchased gifts.
My budget is $10 per person and I think I gave the best gifts possible with that limit. This year I am making hats and scarves, which is turning out to be more work than potholders, but allows me to stay within my budget and give the gift of love.
Some of my sisters like to craft as well, and I have gotten some crocheted gifts before, which are the most precious gifts I own.