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Scarlet's Web - #4

(Published Dec. 2008, The Spirit newspaper, Philadelphia)

With only 16 days left until Christmas dear readers, how many of you are still feeling frantic about gift buying? And how many of you are looking at your bank balance and feeling a sense of impending despair?

Maureen of Port Richmond is clearly worried about her holiday spending. She emailed me this week with the following question: "Scarlet, do you know of any Web sites that offer homemade gift ideas? I am tired of spending money I can ill afford on the same old, impersonal gifts - I need new and inexpensive ideas. Help!"

Scarlet to the rescue. The Internet is a great source of wonderful and creative ideas for homemade gifts. http://www.allfreecrafts.com/ offers many innovative gift ideas such as soup in a jar (a great winter gift), decorative liquid soap pumps and cookie cutter floating candles. The same Web site also has some great ideas for homemade Christmas decorations - the most ingenious and attractive being tree ornaments made from recycled Christmas cards!

The Pitter Patter craft library (http://www.homeschoolzone.com/pp/gifts.htm) is geared towards children and adults - so why not turn your homemade gift making into a family project? Many of their gift suggestions are edible (cookie boxes, brownie jars), while others include photo albums/frames, glitter domes, and potpourri gel jars. The new homemaker (http://www.newhomemaker.com/) delivers homemade recipes for soothing bath products, which include bath salts, bath bombs and aromatic scent jars.

For other sensational ideas, check out http://www.betterbudgeting.com/ which offers up a list of 63 gift ideas to make for under $10; Make Stuff (http://www.make-stuff.com/) which offers a plethora of crafty gift ideas; and http://familyfun.go.com - a comprehensive site with a zillion ideas for easy-to-make gifts.

Finally, happy Chanukah to all our Jewish readers! This week saw the launch of the new Jewish Community Web Site of Greater Philadelphia (www.JewishPhilly.org) - an awesome resource for everything Jewish across our region. Its Jewish Life section also includes Chanukah articles, recipes and free e-cards.

Comments/Questions: email scarletweb1@hotmail.com