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Waste Not, Want Not

By Judy Wolfram


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It’s November and I know for a fact that most of you did not finish your Christmas shopping by July as I suggested. Don’t ask me how I know, I just know. This month, I am going to try to help you save money and still give gifts.

If you need a little extra money for gifts, collect some aluminum cans and take them to the recycling center. Now you have a little money in your pocket, so let’s see what you can do with it.

If you have empty baby food jars, or have access to some, you can easily use them for gifts. Wash the jars and remove the labels. Take some of your aluminum can money to one of the dollar stores, where you will find model paint in the toy section. I suggest you buy green, red, white and black.

Paint the jar lids red or green--two coats. After the lids have dried, use Christmas stencils you have made yourself to add to the lids. A white snowman on a green lid or a green Christmas tree on a red lid works well. Dab little white dots on the lids to resemble snowflakes. When finished, spray the lids with some type of sealer so the design will last for future uses by the recipient.

You can also cover the lids with pretty Christmas material or you can paint them silver and gold and tie pretty red or green ribbons or yarn around the jar necks. When the jars are decorated, fill them with Christmas candy or red and green potpourri. For stocking stuffers for the children or grandchildren, fill the jars with coins or marbles. Trust me, they’ll love them.

For an easy, pretty, clever country-look gift, tie a red ban-danna around a canning jar. Fill the jar with candy or nuts; or fill it with soup beans and tie a recipe to the jar; or fill with cornmeal and attach a cornbread recipe. Sounds good to me!

Coffee cans also make great containers for homemade gifts. You can fill them with cookies, candy, muffins or cornbread. Spray paint the outside of any size coffee can with a pretty color or wrap it in Christmas fabric or wrapping paper. Glue some lace around the middle or top of the can. The great thing about this gift is that you can reuse the can after the holidays--or uncover them and recycle them.

Another homemade gift that doesn’t cost a lot of money is a spoon rest. Purchase a four inch decorative tile. It’s just the right size. Apply a dime size dot of silicon on the back or each corner to prevent it from scratching the stove or counter top. Place the tile right side up on a piece of waxed paper and let it dry. When dry, carefully remove the paper from each silicon dot. To make this project even easier and faster, apply self-adhesive silicon or felt patch in each corner.

I hope I have helped you a little with your homemade gifts for Christmas. Next month, we’ll make inexpensive Christmas decorations.

Thought of the Month: An act of love, no matter how great or small, is always appreciated.

 (Judy Wolfram is chairman of Calhoun County Solid Waste Authority, which oversees Cabot Recycling. Cabot is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for recycling drop-offs. Those who would like to be paid for non-ferrous metals and aluminum cans need to visit Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.)

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