We've broken our guide down into what-to-buy for your buds based on five different personality vibes. But don't think every gift-getter has to fit neatly into a slot. You can easily twist and tweak some of our suggestions to suit just about anyone. (We'll give you a few nedges along the way.)
What else? Easy step-by-step for those of you who want to give, gifts of the homespun variety. We have groovy give aways if you wanna try your last-minute luck at scoring some free presents (sorry, gift-wrapping not included). Freebies go to the first 25 readers who send entries to GL, 4517 Harford Road, Baltimore MD 21214. Put the name of the item you want to win (one only, please) on the outside of the envelope.
And there's nothing like a big gift with lots of little gifts inside. An inexpensive basket or cool container chockfull of bargain goodies packs a big wow factor. (Oh, and never underestimate the value of a dollar store when filling baskets.) So instead of frantically running from store to store just before the big day, here's your chance to get a head start. Consider it our gift to you....
Your friend is a cuisine queen? She cooks, bakes, broils, sautes, stirs, chops, slices and dices. She's no cookie-cutter convenience foods cook. Five-star gourmet is the way! And the kitchen isn't just for chicas. If you have a dad, uncle or grandpop who wears the apron in the family, some of these cooking gift tips might bowl him over, as well.
BUY IT Of course, there's always the obvious--every chef appreciates a good cookbook. Don't go Betty Crocker or Better Homes & Gardens, though. You might not know the difference between a souffle and an etouffee, but your cooking compadre probably already knows the basics and then some. Challenge the chef with some new creations to try, like crepe suzettes or creme brulee. Decorative serving platters also make great presents for the culinarily gifted. An exquisite meal served up on less-than-impressive dishware is like putting a Renoir in a plastic frame. Not exactly rolling in dough? Refrigerator magnets are cute, quaint, great for posting up recipe cards and super easy to wrap.
MAKE IT Believe it or not, there's very little sewing involved in making Oven Mitzi. Just takes a little glue and a lot of imagination. Simple how-to's appear on page 81. We don't recommend actually using Mitzi in the kitchen. Grease stains are tough to get out.
GET IT Maybe your friend'll whip you up some Truffles or Double-Dipped Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. Recipes for these and other sweet treats appear in Very Fun, Slightly Sticky Stuff To Do With Candy ($17, www.klutz.com). Comes complete with chocolate molds, sprinkles, minicutters and more. We're giving away 25 of these for free!
BASK-IT Line a mixing bowl with tea towels. Mix in a matching oven mitt, and spice it up with a couple of wooden spoons, a potholder, bright-colored spatula and cookbook.
What You Need neutral-colored oven-mitt * tacky glue * baby bib * yarn * bandanna * dollface appliques * beads * needle * thread What You Do 1) Place the bib (we decorated ours with glued-on flower cut-outs) at the "neck" of the mitt, and glue in place. Tie string in back. 2) Glue appliques onto face, or draw the face on with fabric markers. 3) Loosely wrap yarn lengthwise around a paperback book about a dozen times, and secure at the top with a small scrap of yarn to make a "part" for the hair. Slip off of the book, and snip the yarn at the opposite end to make a "wig." Braid each side, securing ends, and attach to Mitzi's "head" with glue. 4) Cut a bandanna lengthwise into a one-fourth strip, tie around the top of the "head" and secure with a few dots of glue underneath. 5) String beads onto thread, and tack on either side of the "neck" with needle and thread to make a necklace. Make her a bracelet and earrings, too, if you want. 6) For shoes, we found a bandanna with shoe prints on it, and cut them out and glued them on. If you can't find one, draw shoes on with fabric markers or check pre-fab doll clothes patterns at the fabric store. Or simply get a larger bib so Mitzi's dress is longer--no shoes required.
Is your pal a princess? She's trendy, she's makeup-y, she's all that and more. She's perfectly accessorized at all times, and she's fabulously feather boa- and tiara-worthy. Like, literally. If you're made of mad money, you could get her a lustrous Swarovski rhinestone tiara, upwards of $150, but we have practical (and less pricey) tips.
BUY IT Let's start with the budget plan. A small bouquet" of pencil liners (for eyes and lips) tied with a ribbon is neat and sweet...and cheap if you go for ones like Wet 'n' Wild for just 99 cents a pop. Got more change to spare? Spring for a manicure (also an excellent gift for moms and aunts). Most salons sell gift certificates for $15 or even less and, if you get two, you can go together for a girly good time (hey, you deserve it). Wanna splurge on your pink-lovin' pal? Present her with her first Chanel. The maker of classic designer fragrances just unveiled Chance (starts at $38), a soft scent for teens.
MAKE IT Your bud will bask in bathtub glory in scented homemade salts. That is, if she can bear to break it open and bust up the pretty Bath Salt Art you designed.
GET IT Your friend can stuff all her beauty stash in this pink, puffy Rounder Pack ($15, www.high-sierrasport.com). We have 25!
BASK-IT Line a cute basket with shimmery paper, and fill with lip glosses, nail polish, glitter lotion and temporary tattoos. Salon brands, like Aveda and Kheil's, have mini-sized products and free samples that are perfect for tiny budgets and tiny baskets! Ask for samples next time you whiz by a cosmetics counter.
BATH SALT ART
What You Need clear glass container with lid * epsom salts * large box of baking soda * wooden spoon * food coloring * essential oils What You Do 1) To determine how much salts you need to make, fill your container up with water and then empty into a measuring cup. (Dry the container out completely afterward.) If it measures five cups, like ours did, you'll make one cup of salts for each color. 2) Break out five mixing bowls, and fill each with a half cup of epsom salts and a half cup of baking soda. If you want to use more salts and less baking soda, that's OK. 3) Add food coloring to the salt mixture a few drops at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon until you get the desired color. Repeat for each color. 4) Add some drops of scented oils to each bowl of salts, and stir again, If salts are moist, let them sit a few minutes until dry. 5) One color at a time, spoon salts into the glass container as if you are making a sand art project. Be sure to fill to the very edge (top it off with some plain white salts if necessary), and secure the lid. To finish, tie a scrap of pretty ribbon around the jar.
Rail out the red carpet because your BFF is first in line for the opening of every blockbuster to hit the big screen. Give her some popcorn and Milk Duds, and she's good to go. Ticket stubs and star-gazing are her real-life drama. You can't get her a celeb date or an all-access to the Golden Globes, but we have some two thumbs-up ideas.
BUY IT Get in line at the box office because most theater chains now sell booklets packed with discounts for admission, popcorn, sodas, snacks and more. Does your bud swoon for a certain celeb? Get a poster or book all about him. Or go classic with Elvis or Marilyn memorabilia (try www.nostalgia.com). Still stumped? Buy a blank autograph book, and write something nice on the first page about all the famous people she's gonna meet in her fab future. Get her other friends' signatures, too. Wrap it up along with some cool dark sunglasses, have your bud sport the shades, and ask for her autograph...because she's a star!
MAKE IT Double this recipe for Krunchy Karamel Korn if you want some to munch on. Yum!
GET IT Who can resist Jim Carrey's The Grinch? Take a trip to Whoville on vid for as low as $15 (check at video stores or www.amazon.com). Or win one!
BASK-IT Reel in a copy of her fave flick (check the sale bin at Blockbuster). Add microwave popcorn, M&M's, Goobers and Twizzler's. Slip in a pair of big fluffy slippers and a coupon for a free movie rental.
KRUNCHY KARAMEL KORN
What You Need 1 cup unpopped popcorn
* corn oil * 1/2 cup cashews (if ya feel nutty)
* 1 cup packed brown sugar * 1/4 cup corn syrup * 1 stick butter * 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (spice section) * 1/2 tsp. baking soda
What You Do 1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees. 2) Pour a small puddle of oil into a large pot, and heat. Add popcorn and cook until completely popped, being sure to shake and rattle the pot so popped kernels don't burn and unpopped ones fall to the bottom to pop. (If you're doubling up, you'll have to pop the popcorn in two batches.) 3) Mix popped popcorn and cashews up in a roasting pan. 4) In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and cream of tartar (don't add baking soda yet!). Bring to a hardball stage (250 degrees on a candy thermometer), and do not stir. Remove from heat, and quickly stir in baking soda. 5) Pour over popcorn, stirring to coat. 6) Bake one hour, stirring now and then.
7) Spread popcorn onto waxed paper or baking sheets, and let cool. Break into chunks, and store in zipper-lock bags. Keeps about a week. The box? Just cover an empty cereal box with glued-on construction paper cutouts.
Your pal could be compared to Picasso. Her paintings and drawings are majestic masterpieces. She can turn a blob of damp gray clay into an intricately impressive sculpture. We're not talking about a bud who likes to doodle and dabble. Can you say "prodigy"? Your friend is destined to find fame inside a picture frame!
BUY IT Some art supplies are very inexpensive. You can buy a basic watercolor set, for example, for about $10 in the fine arts section of your local craft store. An illustrator can never have too many sketchbooks or gum erasers. Or pick up a pack of colored pencils, and make a "bouquet" like the one you made for your diva friend. Or how 'bout a handwritten coupon promising her a visit to the museum? Some have reduced admission days and student discounts, so call to find out. Not up for a field trip? Just make a quick stop at the museum gift shop for lots of artsy ideas. At www.mycharmedlife.com, you can order a sterling silver Artist Frame charm (just $8). String it onto a silk cord or thin ribbon to create a one-of-a-kind choker for your artistic sidekick.
MAKE IT Show your friend that you have an artistic side, as well, and give her a forever pic in a Pop Art Photo Frame of you two together before she was famous.
GET IT A picture is worth 1,000 puzzle pieces. The Revelation Jigsaw Puzzle ($12, www.areyougame.com) features this dreamy illustration by artist Sheila Wolk. We're giving 25 away!
BASK-IT Fill a nice piece of ceramic pottery with goodies, like gel pens, glitter markers, stickers, pastels and paper. Add a book on her favorite artist or era.
POP ART PHOTO FRAME
What You Need photo * popsicle sticks (eight of 'em) * silver metallic acrylic craft paint * baubles and doodads * tacky glue
What You Do 1) Paint popsicle sticks with metallic paint, and let dry. 2) Glue two popsicle sticks to the back left and right of your photo. Glue two more sticks along the front top and bottom of photo. 3) Glue four more sticks around the photo to give the frame some depth. Let dry. 4) Clean out your junk jewelry box, and pick out some spare pieces to go around the frame. Or you can buy bags of baubles from the craft store. Glue them randomly around the frame, or just accent the corners if you want. Art's not so hard, is it?
Your bud is bound to be voted Most Athletic. She's an all-star, no-limits athlete. She dons lots of Adidas and, whether playing lacrosse, tennis, soccer or hoops, she's always on the ball! Even if you trip over your shoelaces trying to play catch or think sitting in the bleachers as a spectator for any match is a total snore, don't ignore your friend's passion for action.
BUY IT Team jerseys, sweats and caps are where it's at for the athletic people in your aura. Shop for 'em at sporting goods stores, or go to specific team Web sites. Just make sure you know who your gift recipient's rootin' for. She might not exactly appreciate a tee bearing the name of a rival. Or get your pumped-up pal active in a sport she's never tried. Sign her up for a month of martial arts or spinning. Some gyms will even give you free vouchers just for getting a friend to give it a whirl. Doesn't hurt to ask. And if you're really, really pinching pennies this season, go to www.womenssportsfoundation.org for a free (yes, free!) Girls in Sports poster. It's cool, it's colorful, and it's packed with action-filled images.
MAKE IT Your friend will feel the burn when she works out to the Extreme Mix CD you burned for her. And for you, it's no sweat! Mixed CDs make great personalized gifts for anybody on your list.
GET IT The Halogen CD Wallet ($10, www.atlantic-inc.com) is sportin' in bright yellow and holds 24 CDs for your athletic friend to groove to. Wanna win one?
BASK-IT Score big with the jock on your list. Fill a basket (or even a helmet) with a water bottle, hair-holding accessories and cans of a high-energy drink. Get designer athletic socks at discount stores, like Marshall's or TJ Maxx.
EXTREME MIX CD
What You Need blank CD with case * construction paper * stickers * markers
What You Do 1) Make a list of songs, or use our suggested list below. Make the first and last songs kinda slow for warm-up and cool-down. 2) Burn the songs onto the CD. 3) Give your CD a name, and decorate the cover. We titled ours Extreme Pix Exercise Mix and used stickers to spell it out. Don't forget to write the song lineup on the inside:
* "Selah" Lauryn Hill
* "Out of My Head" BBMak
* "Like I Love You" Justin Timberlake
* "My First Ride" Aaron Carter
* "Throw Your Hands Up" Jump 5
* "Catch Me If You Can" The Beu Sisters
* "Dance on the Water" Tyler Dean
* "Disco Hippie" Play
* "Help Me" Nick Carter
* "Quiet" John Mayer
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|Author:||Klein, Raquel Singer|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2002|
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