Posts Tagged ‘how-to’

By Nobulungisa Mangisa

The festive season is fast approaching and you are worrying about the toll it will have on your pocket – especially the mountain of expensive gifts you will have to dutifully buy for your friends and family. Well, it’s time to breathe in a sigh of relief, because you do not have to spend money if you do not want to. It is all a matter of choice, and if you are not keen on spending, then maybe these handy hints and tips will be of help.


Think of some creative ways to spoil your loved ones!


  • Bake for family and friends 

In terms of baking, you have to bake something that is edible, but at the same time, will not rot too quickly, so it must have a long life span. Try either chocolate brownies or fudge. You could quickly find a fudge recipe on the Internet. You could buy little green, white or red boxes (use colours that signify the spirit of Christmas) and then pack your mini delicacies inside and finish off with a fancy ribbon, tied into a bow.

  • Make a recipe book to pass along to family members

Think of all of your traditional recipes for the festive season that family members really enjoy. Type up these recipes and have them printed into nice little books to give out to your loved ones. In the long run, you will be ensuring that the traditions do not die, because if these recipes are in written form, they can be kept for generations to come.

  • Dedicate your time

Print out little promise letters, especially if you know someone who wanted to do something which you could teach them but you previously did not have the time to do. This could be dancing, music lessons or cooking. In the letter, there could be a timetable of when the class will commence and when it will end, the time and the venue.

  • Design a personal calendar for each family member

Create personalised calendars for every person in your family. These can  consist of the person’s photograph, or a motivational message or quote that you have to encourage them with. Important dates can also be highlighted, for example, birthdays or anniversaries. 

  • Invent a game

This can be any random thing that you can think of. For example, it could be a game that encourages family members to ask each other things they would not do under normal day-to-day circumstances. You could even name it Personal Trivia. Another game you could play would be to see how well your family knows you, by asking them things about yourself, and if they answer correctly, they, for example, earn a slice of that milk tart or a piece of candy. This could be called Do you really know me?

  • Draft a family tree

Draw up this tree and make copies to give to everyone. Colour it in nicely and even attach photos next to the name of the person, if possible. This is a good idea, especially for little kids, because it will give them a chance to know where their roots are, and just where the whole picture fits in. Spend some time discussing it if possible, and give the children some time to ask questions.

  • Give your parents a memory album

Throughout the year when you do manage to be at home, take random pictures of your mom cooking, your dad gardening, or anything and everything. Keep collecting your own pictures and pictures of your siblings and just before Christmas, combine these and paste them in a book or go out and buy an album. Couple these pictures with pictures of you and your siblings as infants and growing children. What makes this such an original and unique present is that it is personal and thoughtful, and you can write a special message or caption next to each photograph.

  • Write poems about your family members

Write a poem about each particular family member, telling them why they are important to you and what you love about them. Colour or decorate the poem nicely and buy cute frames to put them in, together with an ID-sized photograph of the person.

Christmas is not a time to be competing about who will buy the most expensive gift and for whom. The commercialisation of Christmas needs to come to an end. If you really look at it, the chances are that if you give a gift that you have not spent a cent on, but have spent a lot of time in coming up with, it holds a lot of sentimental value for the particular person. It will mean a whole lot more, be appreciated, remembered and cherished for longer than a DVD from or a Barbie doll from Reggies that everyone in your neighbourhood has. After, all it is not about how much you spent on the gift, but merely the thought that counts.


By Lisa Moore

The art of scrapbooking offers emotional, mental and physical rewards. This craft preserves and maintains memories, keeping links between the past, present and future, and is becoming one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. Even if you feel as though you are not in touch with the left side of your brain, with a few ideas, tips, guidelines and a little bit of inspiration, you can soon be well on your way to creating a unique masterpiece, which can be a reflection of your emotions for any and every occasion or event.                                                  

How do I start?

If you think back to your childhood days of cutting pieces of paper and pasting them together to create different patterns, or making weird and wonderful designs using fancy string or ribbon, then this is the basis of scrapbooking! Scrapbooks can be used to store letters, newspaper clippings, poems, photographs, ticket stubs or holiday souvenirs that remind you of a special time in your life. There are a variety of different materials available in arts and crafts shops, but if you want to do this the cost-effective way, then not much at all is required for you to start this activity. Take some time to look for some odds and ends around the house which you can use. These could be old or scrap pieces of paper and coloured cardboard, glitter, sequins, coloured pens or even small pieces of material from old clothes.

Tools I will need:

  • an album*
  • glue*
  • a pair of scissors
  • a few photographs
  • newspaper clippings or pieces of text
  • letters or words cut out from old magazines
  • fabric  (ribbon, lace, scrap material etc)
  • bits of leftovers or recycled items (e.g. gift wrap, or something from a previous craft project) can be used to decorate your scrapbook

*Note! You can choose whether you want to use an old ‘messy’ notebook, or invest in a proper album. Today, most scrapbookers do not use glue anymore, but rather buy double-sided tape, which easily mounts materials and enables you to add more to your page, such as buttons, flowers, feathers, and metal charms. As your scrapbooking flair develops, and you get more used to this craft, you will most likely discover that there are products that can save you a lot of time and effort. Some of these do not even cost all that much, and are an invaluable investment.    

Beginners’ small steps

There are no formal rules for scrapbooking – you can use whatever size book or album you like, as well as decide whether you prefer lined paper, blank, or colourful pages. Scrapbooking is still used to hold personal keepsakes and to make gifts, but due to  the ever-increasing role of and reliance on technology, computers have made many things, even scrapbooking, a lot easier to do. For those of us who do not find ourselves with a lot of free time, this way provides no boundaries limiting what you can or cannot do or create, and it is also cheaper, easier and faster. Digital scrapbooking is also convenient and simple to personalize and preserve.

Helpful Hints and Tips

  • Colour – Coordination of colour and contrast will draw attention to and accentuate your scrapbook.
  • Cutting and Cropping – Doing this with photographs enhances the overall appearance and feel of your scrapbook.
  • Embellishments – These can be used to add colours, creativity and highlight different themes.
  • Order – There are different ways in which various items can be placed on the layout of a page, depending on the importance each element has.
  • Paper – There are different kinds of papers (of varying thicknesses, appearances and prices) – blank cardboard, patterned or textured sheets.
  • Patterning – This can be used as a way of arranging your scrapbook page to best show off your mementos.
  • Photographs – Make sure to include plenty of these! Remember, a picture can say a thousand words!
  • Preservation – To make a scrapbook that will last for many years to come, make sure that you use albums that are have acid- and lignin-free pages.  
  • Spacing – Be careful of crossing the fine line between a balanced scrapbook page and a kitschy mess.
  • Text – This can be added to your page by the use of handwritten notes, or short, typed captions or descriptions.  
  • Themes – These can be simple or complex, and the corresponding titles you use will define the whole foundation and purpose of a particular scrapbook.

Get Scrapbooking!

The best thing about scrapbooking is that anyone can do it or be involved with it. Scrapbooks and scrapbooking methods also make wonderful gifts for various occasions, and they can be used for baby announcements, gift cards, birthday party or wedding invitations and even school projects – when it comes to creativity, the sky’s the limit, and the world is your oyster, so have fun!


Journalling and Photo-Album Making


"People who keep journals live life twice." - Jessamyn West

For those of you who are not keen on actual scrapbooking itself, there is also the option of journalling or putting together photo albums. Casey Pedersen, 20, an education student currently living in Port Elizabeth, has been journalling since her early teen years. “Whenever something significant happens in my life that I want to remember, I add it to my journal”, Casey shares. She describes journalling and making photo albums as relaxing. “It is a great way to save the memories that you have made over the years – something  to look back on and tell your kids about – it is a creative outlet, and it is fun!”

Second-year Graphic Design student Diane Gush has been creative journalling since she was 14 years old. “I enjoy having the freedom to pursue my own creativity, and having no rules”, she says. “Don’t be pressured to perform like anyone else. Express the way you want to express. There is no such thing as a mistake if it’s coming from your own creativity”, Diane encourages. “I believe everyone has a creative side and setting aside the time to do something for yourself is really important. It’s a way of separating your work from just having fun – a great way to get to know yourself and I think it even builds self esteem”, she concludes.

Jessica Baker, a 20-year old social work student, thinks that journalling is a wonderful outlet of expression and creativity and also a therapeutic activity. “I journal at least once a week; whenever something is on my heart to share”. Jessica advises to invest in a quality journal or scrapbook. “Always allows your art to reflect who you are! There are too many carbon copies these days. If you wanted a copied journal, you could buy one from the shop”. Jessica enjoys journalling, because it is highly recommended by many health professionals. “I can honestly say that I have really benefited from writing my thoughts, ideas, dreams and desires on paper”, she says.