Sunny, For your Navy friend, try a little fun box. If this person is on ship, remember they have limited space. My husband is military and I've gotten really good at sending little treats. I send a goofy toy, like a matchbox car or happy meal toy to cheer them and maybe some photos. Also, I get a small paper bag and make a "Blue Day" kit they can open when they're feeling lonely or blue. I usually include a little card with something fun written on it, a joke or picture of goofy things. You can also add in some candy (Brach's pick a mix is great) or I visit my local health food store and get some honey roasted almonds in bulk and package them up too.
Stackyr, Cool ideas! And I love your quote, btw. The pencil case idea is great- I've reused zippers from old cosmetic bags, pants, etc. to use for small zippered bags. I saw a neat idea in a Christmas craft book- take a 9 x 11 piece of felt, cut in in half, and sew the 3 edges together using a decorative blanket stitch with a contrasting bit of embroidery floss to make a little pouch. Then, use some ribbon to tie the pouch closed. This is similar to your pencil case idea but again, is something kids love. You can fill it with lip gloss, matchbox cars, etc. and it's fun. I'm going to do something like that for friends this year.
Nina, I love your monsters, especially the red rabbit one. You have definitely inspired me to make a few monsters of my own. I think they will make nice gifts for my quirky friends. It looks like you may have used a synthetic felt. We have cheap felt here in the US that is only 20 cents for a 9" x 12" sheet of colored felt (or five sheets for $1.) The wool felt is much more expensive and can be hard to find, but the cheap felt is easy to use. I've used a teddy bear pattern and made a bear in red and green felt (like a harlequin) and it came out lovely.
Great fabric for other projects-- I have lots of old jeans that my husband wears out. If you cut off the legs and cut down the outer seam, you have a lot of fabric that's usable. I cut the entire outer seam off, as it's so bulky. You can iron it out flat and use fusible webbing (or sew) to join the edges for projects such as pillow covers for throw pillows. Denim is so durable that it wears really well as throw pillow fabric.
I hope this gives you some good ideas...sorry it's not a clothing related project, though.
Cool work! I made bookmarks last year for Christmasgifts and they were a big hit! Yours are great! I never thought to use beads on the tassel part--did you use DMC floss for the string? They look really beautiful.
Bookmarks-- Last year for Christmas I made friends and family bookmarks. They are really easy and cheap to make, but you can use nice scrapbooking paper and do up some really fancy ones. Get a blank 4 x 6 index cards (pack of 50 is about a dollar) and cut them in half the long way, so you have two bookmark shaped pieces of cardstock. You can then take markers, stickers and anything else you can imagine and decorate the bookmark that way. Or, find some nice paper and cut it to size, gluing it to the bookmark. I like to add a nice quote that the gift recipient may enjoy. Glue down a background pattern of paper and cut a small piece of paper to write the quote on, and add it on top. If you are gluing items together, place the finished item between two pieces of waxed paper and place in a heavy book to dry flat. Double stick tape works nicely too. Finally, use a paper punch (if you want) and add a pretty piece of matching ribbon or raffia as a tassel.
These were all well received by friends and family, and a very cheap project, too!
The homemade needles are a great idea! I went to our local Hobby Lobby store when they had knitting needles and supplies on sale. The knitting needle gauge was less than a dollar (50% off) so I will use that as the dowel gauge. Much cheaper to make your own needles. Besides, I'm sure our ancestors did a similar thing--no yarn stores in those days!
Donate! Many of your public libraries will be able to re-use the AOL plastic DVD cases that you don't want, or even the regular plastic cd cases. My library just loves any donations so they can replace cases that have been driven over, stomped on or just plain abused.
My stove is next to a wall that is painted white. Needless to say, I get it dirty from cooking. I made a cheap backsplash/wall protector from a piece of poster board and some wallpaper border. I cut the poster board in half lengthwise and centered the border on each piece, using Elmer's glue thinned with water. Scrape out air bubbles with a credit card. Lay them on a flat surface, covered with books, to dry flat. When dry, tack them on the walls and you won't have to worry about wiping off white walls. You could use wallpaper or wallpaper border.