The 2014 Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guide for Etsy

2014 holiday gift guide for Etsy

For those not in the know, Etsy is a place that allows users to buy and sell handmade & vintage items and craft supplies.  Etsy boasts over 170,000 shops that allow crafters to sell their goods to create a living for themselves.  You’ll find Etsy shops in all corners of the world!   In the gift guide below you’ll find a list of some of my favourite Canadian Etsy shops that I enjoy browsing or shopping from!  Enjoy!

PureComfort - PureComfort Amber Jewelry is dedicated to providing pure comfort for all teething children! Introducing a natural method of relieving teething pain with teething jewelry made with 100% authentic Baltic amber.  Every piece is specially handmade by myself with safety in mind. I have searched long and hard to ensure that I have genuine, authentic Baltic amber. Only smooth, polished, rounded beads (known as baroque) are used in my pieces for your baby’s comfort. No sharp, pointy nuggets or chips!  We have a wide variety of teething jewelry available for babies and children, as well as amber fashion jewelry for adults!  Enter to win a Clear Lemon Mommy and Baby Necklace Set valued at $42.00!

Kawartha Beads Kawartha Beads offers fun and affordable handmade charm jewellery and gift ideas. Owner and designer April is the proud mom of two little boys and feels blessed everyday to be able to pursue her creative dream while being at home with her children. Enjoy 20% off  in the Kawartha Beads Etsy shop until January 31, 2015 with coupon code FRUGAL20  at checkout.  Enter for your chance to win a fantastic gift pack valued at $40!


dayna leeDayna Lee Collection – Notebooks, velveteen pillow covers, art prints and other accessories featuring unique hand lettered quotes designed to empower and uplift! “My goal is to create something that is going to have an impact. I would like to be known as a brand who empowers and inspires women. I want my work to be there cheering you on when you leave your day job to follow your dreams, telling you to keep going when you have that ounce of self doubt, or just make you smile when a smile is all you need.” Save 10% off with the coupon code HOLIDAY10 until December 5, 2014. Enter for your chance to win a “Good Morning Sunshine” pillow from Dayna Lee Collection.

love montrealLove Montreal – Love, Montreal has been locally owned and operated for the past 8 years with the simple purpose of creating unique and affordable handmade jewelry. We take pride in our jewelry and have never made anything we wouldn’t wear ourselves. Our jewelry is of the utmost quality and we guarantee satisfaction with your purchase. Use the coupon code SIMPLYFRUGAL15 to save 15% off all purchases until December 24, 2014.  Also, be sure to enter for your chance to win a Swarovski Crystal Elements silver pear necklace and earrings set.

whiskey stonesGreen Stone Granite – “Green Stone Granite is recycled luxury. We use left over slab granite countertop material from stone fabricators to create beautiful products. By creating these products, we divert thousands of pounds of post consumer waste from entering landfills each year. All of our products are 100% recycled and 100% solid stone.”  The StoneCold Granite Cocktail Chillers (Whiskey Stones) are made from 100% solid granite and are larger then the soapstone rocks offered. They will chill your drink faster with less!  Shipping is currently free on the 12-packs of whiskey stones!

sticholiciousStitcholicious -Ah yes, a true holiday shop on Etsy based in Ontario.  Jackie creates fabulous felt Christmas stockings!  You’ll find all sorts of fabulous designs.  From gingerbread men to mistletoe to snowflakes!  Jackie also loves to make personalized stockings just for you.

So, what do you think?  Did you find some great gift ideas?  What are your favourite Etsy shops?

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Order Christmas Cards

christmas cards in mailbox

It’s about this time of year when I really start to get excited about the Christmas season.  I get a bit of an urge to turn on the Christmas carols and swap out my fall decor for some winter decorations.  Also, have you seen Pinterest lately?  This is the time of year when amazing Christmas stuff gets pinned!

Alas, it’s so easy to get carried away dreaming about all the projects you want to do.  Adding too many crafts, baking and activities can be overwhelming and the opposite of simplifying!

Every year I struggle with wanting to make all sorts of neat things to feature on Simply Frugal.  But the reality is, I have limited time with a very busy toddler underfoot and other responsibilities to deal with.  So any project I do accomplish has to be simple and quick.  Preferably something I can do in about an hour, including picture taking!

All this to say, you don’t have to pack your schedule full of Christmas activities, baking, crafting and shopping in order to have a festive and memorable season.

This is why I’m breaking down the steps to an organized Christmas by one task a week.  It’s good to have direction and a plan in place!  I know without a plan, I become quite scatterbrained! :P  8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas is about creating a more relaxed Christmas season with just the right amount of extra projects and activities.

Here’s this week’s task:

Order Christmas Cards

Now, I realize that many of you are not likely to order custom Christmas cards but for those of you that do, now is a great time to do so!  Custom Christmas cards can take a while to arrive in the mail and if you want them to be sent out to friends & family in a timely fashion, I’d get on it this week. :)

Here are a few designs I love, along with some deals!


Vistaprint Canada has a great selection and currently offering their Christmas cards at 50% off for a limited time with the coupon code BEMERRY.

snapfish is offering free shipping on your $30 or more purchase with coupon code FSNOVA30 until November 27, 2014.  Also, get 20 free prints if this is your first time ordering from Snapfish.


Save up to 40% off cards from Shutterfly with the coupon code CARD40 for a limited time!


Pink dot Design has a wonderful selection of Christmas cards!


Etsy also has a ton of shop owners who create beautiful custom cards and templates!

If you aren’t the type to order custom cards you can of course buy a set of boxed cards and add a photo and a letter if you wish!  That’s what I’ll be doing this year.  I bought a box of cards last year on clearance so I’ll be sticking in our family photo and hand delivering to friends and mailing to out of town family.

Oh, and I’ve got a post telling you how you can create your own FREE custom photo cards.  You won’t want to miss it!

This week along with ordering/buying Christmas cards, take care of these tasks as well:

  • buy stamps, envelopes, if necessary
  • write Christmas letter, if desired
  • put family photos inside, if desired

Do you send out Christmas cards each year?

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

The 2014 Simply Frugal Gift Guide for Men

2014 holiday gift guide for men

Here are some quick links to the other 2014 Simply Frugal Gift Guides:

Who else finds men hard to shop for?  Between my husband who never wants anything, to other family members who have everything and also don’t want anything, it’s nearly impossible for me!  But, I’ve managed to come up with a list of stores with great items that are sure to impress!

puzzle master

Puzzle Master – Puzzle Master is a Canadian distributor of a large assortment of disentanglement puzzles, brain teasers, jigsaws, puzzle rings, trick locks, boomerangs, chess sets, etc. The company started because of an interest the owner, Allan Stein, had in collecting wire puzzles. Allan collected these puzzles for a few years before he thought of making them himself. Use the coupon code 12OFF to save 12% off your purchase. is also generously giving a Big Wire Puzzle (6 puzzle set) to one Simply Frugal reader!


Kelvin Tools - kelvin.23…one tool to fix hundreds of jobs and compact enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Kelvin is 23 of the most commonly used tools and features into a compact, rugged, and stylish urban design. The cast aluminum body, and rubber touch handle are ergonomically integrated to act tough and feel good. is generously giving one Simply Frugal reader a Kelvin.23!

first aid kit

First Aid Kit Express – FIRST AID KIT EXPRESS is a Canadian distributor of quality First Aid kits, equipment & supplies, Medical equipment & supplies, and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) units & accessories economically priced, affordable for everyone. There are gift ideas galore for the practical type on your gift list!  First Aid Kit Express is generously giving one Simply Frugal reader a $40 gift certificate to use online!


Slide'em GlovesSlide’em Gloves – It’s the dream of every designer and entrepreneur not only to imagine products, but to design and sell them. Slide’em designed from the ground up a high quality glove that allows you to work in tough environments but still have the capability to engage touchscreen devices with your gloves on; saving time (which means money) and efficiency! After one day of wearing the gloves, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing!  Slide’em Gloves is currently offering their 2013 smartgloves for up to 60% off. – I love and so does my husband!  We’ve found some neat stuff on there at some amazing prices!   Shopping online at Amazon pretty much guarantees that they’re going to have what you want.  (Like an entire series of books that my husband can’t seem to find anywhere else!)  They don’t just have books though.  Find everything from music, to movies, to video games, to electronics. even has a sports and outdoor section that might satisfy the man on your list!



The Source - I think it’s fairly safe to say men love electronics, right?  Shopping online at The Source is unique because they feature a deal of the day, have a clearance outlet, and special online sale prices.  You’ll find everything from computers, to GPS units, to TV’s at the Source.  The best part about shopping online is that you can receive free shipping if you ship your order to your local store!


Where do the men in your life like to shop?  Please share your ideas in the comments!

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Hot Chocolate Ornaments

These hot chocolate ornaments would make a great hostess gift or an addition to any gift!

These simple to make  Hot Chocolate Ornaments are the perfect addition to any gift!  Add one along with a mug and some extra hot chocolate.  Or tie one to a gift bag.  Or maybe you could add it to the tree at a party for the hostess to find at some point.  The options are endless really.

Just as the gifting options are endless with these ornaments, there are also many ways to put these together.

This is what I used to make these particular hot chocolate ornaments:

  • A pack of hot chocolate
  • mini marshmallows
  • candy cane (crushed)
  • plastic ornament (a pack of four from Walmart)

These hot chocolate ornaments would make a great hostess gift or an addition to any gift!

Here’s how to make the ornaments:

  1. Start with a clean ornament, take the top off, then fill each ingredient into the ornament using a funnel.
  2. Add the hot chocolate mix, then the crushed candy cane, then the mini marshmallows.
  3. Put the top back on.
  4. Create a little label with instructions, then add it to the ornament.
  5. Make sure to deliver these standing upright, unless you want everything to be mixed up!

Here’s are some other items you could add to each ornament:

  • sprinkles
  • chocolate chips (or white chocolate, mint chips, peanut butter chips)
  • different flavoured hot chocolate packs  (rolo, mint, etc.)
  • mini rolos
  • Skor bits

I hope you enjoy making these Hot Chocolate Ornaments!

These hot chocolate ornaments would make a great hostess gift or an addition to any gift!
homemade christmas gifts

The 2014 Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guide for Children

2014 holiday gift guide for children

Today we bring you perhaps the most popular of the Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guides, the Children’s Gift Guide!   Listed below you’ll find some popular Canadian stores along with some more unique ones that you may not have heard of before!  We hope they’ll bring plenty of inspiration and help you get some gifts knocked off your list!  Enjoy!

andreas-clipAndrea’s Clips & More - Andrea’s Clips & More started with a simple pacifier clip back in 2006 and today with over 10,500 Facebook fans it’s still going strong! Choose from a wide variety of patterns for mitten clips, belt clips, pacifier clips, hair bow clips, & more! Custom orders are always welcome and themed birthday party loot bags are always an option! Be sure to stop on by and visit us at and on our Facebook fan page.  Use the coupon code SIMPLYFRUGA2014 for free shipping on your entire purchase! (expires December 5, 2014) Also, enter for your chance to win an amazing prize pack valued at $40! – “The Limeapple mission is simple: to offer girls exceptional clothing for healthy living and to have fun. In line with our designs that radiate happiness and joy of life, our business philosophy aims to support the highest ethical standards and fair practices. Our integrity hinges upon keeping the source of our inspiration and construction pure in order to keep standards and quality high.” Use the coupon code FRUGAL20 to save 20% off your purchase until December 31, 2014.  Also, be sure to enter for your chance to win a Cuddle Bubble Hoodie!

hatleyHatley – A very Canadian store in my opinion!  Hatley is a family run business who has been helping people get ‘clothes to nature’ with its cotton pajamas and loungewear for over twenty years.  Hatley’s apparel is covered in color and pun, using clever play on words and popular culture in addition to vibrant and original designs inspired by nature and wildlife.  Shipping is free on orders of $50 or more!  Also for a limited time, get a free Christmas ornament when you spend $50 or more. - I think that is a great place to pick up children’s gifts!  They carry products from brands such as Melissa & Doug, Lego, PlasmaCar, and LeapFrog.   They always seem to have some good deals going on!  And you really can’t beat the free shipping on orders of $25 or more!


Harlow’s Perch – Seriously cute and awesome stuff for kids!  Go and be inspired by the whimsical and affordable products from harlow’s perch. Beautiful petti tutus (for only $25!),  pj pants, hats, leg/arm warmers, hair clips and more. Great gift ideas for the kids on your holiday shopping list and free shipping on any order over $75!  One more great thing?  All their products are inclusive of sales taxes!

deserresDeSerres – “DeSerres is the leading retailer of arts and craft supplies in Canada. We offer our customers a wide selection of decorating items, bead bars for jewellery-making, stationery, books, frames and framing services, plus toys for kids. Everything to put people in touch with their own creativity.” Check out these gift ideas: Build a Robot, I’m an Artist Easel Case, Set of 8 Real Tools and Ultimate Nail Studio for Home.  Shipping is free on orders of $40 or more!
outlet storeMy Outlet Store – My Outlet Store is bringing deals found on clearance racks or warehouse sales online. They have partnered with leading retailers to offer you exclusive limited time offers on items they simply over purchased. While there are home and fashion items, they also have some really neat kids toys!  I’ve purchased a couple of things for Sienna recently that I think she’s really going to enjoy.

The 2014 Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guide for Women

2014 holiday gift guide for women

Welcome to the annual Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guide!  With the gift guides (and giveaways!) I hope to help make your holiday shopping easier and more affordable by featuring many amazing Canadian companies!

I’m kicking of The 2014 Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guide by featuring many of my favourite Canadian stores that I think women will enjoy!  This one was fun to put together, it was like putting together my ultimate wishlist!  In this gift guide I’ll be listing many Canadian stores that I really enjoy shopping at or simply browsing, either in-store or online.  Of course for this gift guide, I’ll have the links available for online shopping.  Nothing beats shopping for deals from the comfort of your own home!   I hope I have a great variety, that will help give you ideas for gifts!  (Or maybe your own wish list?)

Ducsunaru - “Ducsunaru is a family-owned and operated online boutique, located in Ottawa Canada, featuring eco-conscious products to help you and your family stay organized at home and on the go. We are proud to bring you products made with premium quality materials that are safe, durable and fun for the whole family.  Most products are made in Canada!  This includes our own Signature Line of Ducsunaru Products – we design and make all of our own stuff right here.  As we are a custom boutique, it would be our pleasure to personalize your shopping experience. Please drop by this holiday season to view unique gift ideas for everyone on your list.  Happy Holidays from our Family to Yours!”   Use the Coupon Code simplyfrugal15 to receive $15% off your entire order through December 31, 2014.  Enter for your chance to win a $40 Gift Card from Ducsunaru online!

mary kayMary Kay – Check out Jo-Anne’s Mary Kay site for the perfect gift for the women, men and even tweens on your list!  Jo-Anne is an independent beauty consultant and she loves to help people feel beautiful on the inside and out! Her personal favourites for gifts are the Satin Hands Set, the very affordable @Play cosmetic line and the popular skin care lines! Spend $50 or more to receive FREE shipping and a free gift with your purchase!  Jo-Anne is offering two Satin Hands Sets to two winners!


beadsxpressBeadsxpress - “My company carries beads and findings in sterling silver and gold plated finish. We’ve been told by our customers that they like our uncommon selection!  We are a new company (I’m a solopreneur mom of 2 boys who moved to Canada 3 years ago). I had a bead store in my home country and last year I took the adventure of starting all over again. Thanks for stopping by!”  Enter for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to use at Beadsxpress!


Vanilla Food Companyvanilla food company – Vanilla Food Company is Canada’s Online Source for Quality Baking Ingredients.  We offer flat rate $7 shipping to Canada. In addition to vanilla beans, we also offer a wide selection of top-quality ingredients and equipment for people who bake. Our diverse range of products include Callebaut, Valrhona, Cacao Barry baking chocolate, Nielsen Massey extracts, LorAnn flavourings, baking spices, colouring and more. Whether you are a professional or a home-baker, count on to provide you with the highest quality ingredients and equipment for your baking needs. Use the coupon code FrugalXmas to get free shipping on your purchase of $75+. Also, enter for your chance to win a $40 gift certificate to use online!

The Penny Paper Co.penny paper – The Penny Paper Co. is an online destination for custom stamps, artwork, and accessories by Canadian artist, Lindsay Stephenson. The shop is truly a reflection, and collection of all the things that Lindsay herself loves, and brings into her home. Use the coupon code SimplyFrugal  to save 10% off your entire purchase!  Also, enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card to use online at The Penny Paper Co.


senoritaLa Señorita Jolie – “La Señorita Jolie”, in other words (a combination of Spanish and French), “A Beautiful Girl”. Clothes and accessories should enhance the “pretty girl” that you are, yet your beauty should come from within.  You’ll love the entire La Senorita Jolie line – it’s SO versatile and has so many wardrobe staples. Dress it up, dress it down, wear it to a Girl’s Night Out, to work out, to pick up carpool, to Sunday brunch with the in-laws. You can pretty much wear it anywhere depending on how you want to accessorize it. It’s affordable, comfortable, stylish, and flattering. What more could we ask for?  Use the coupon code LSJ-MRCA-FS to receive free shipping on your purchase! Enter for your chance to win 1 of 2 $25 gift certificates to use online at La Señorita Jolie! – Canada’s largest online health & beauty store. You can pretty much find anything online at!  My personal favourite is the Green & Natural section.  You’ll find the perfect gift for anyone on your list.  Find the products you need in their Personal, Skin Care, Green & Natural, Baby & Kids, Medicine Cabinet, House and Beauty sections.  Be sure to check out their fantastic Holiday Gift Shop for gift ideas!


Chapters/Indigo - I love to wander around in our local Chapters store.  I travel between the bargain books, gifts, magazines and of course, Starbucks!  Since my local Chapters is actually in the next city over, I enjoy the option of shopping online, especially with the free shipping on a $25 or more purchase!  They always have new sales happening online and if you’re stuck for book ideas, try Heather’s Picks (the CEO recommends her favourites).

Old Navy Canada – I can always find a good deal it seems online at Old Navy.  Especially since they always seem to have a coupon code that can be used on regular priced items as well as sale items!  Take for example today only, use the coupon code SEASON to save 30% off your entire purchase! (This coupon code also works at GAP and Banana Republic, but will save you 40% off your purchase)

TOMS Canadatoms – In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS®, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One.™  Love that!  Use the coupon code FALL to save $5 off your $25 or more purchase from TOMS Canada. Expires November 30, 2014. – The CardSwap platform offers Canadians a fast, easy, and completely secure way to sell unwanted gift cards for cash, buy gift cards and earn rewards, and even donate gift cards to a charitable cause. Now Canadians can confidently buy, sell and donate gift cards online through a reputable company that verifies and validates each card and guarantees customer satisfaction. I’ve had the pleasure of using the CardSwap service and can say that it’s an awesome thing they’ve got going on!

Tell me, what are your favourite Canadian stores to shop at for the women in your life?

A Homemade Christmas Gift: You’ve Been Snowed On


I love this simple neighbour gift idea from DimplePrints!  You’ll find the instructions and the free printables needed for this “You’ve Been Snowed” on Kit over at Tatertots & Jello!  I don’t think there’s a neighbour out there that wouldn’t be happy to find this at their door!

Homemade Christmas Gifts

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Peppermint Brownie Jar


There’s no chocolate that I love more than the After Eight wafers around Christmas time.  And well, a brownie will do just about any time of the year. So, in my eyes, there’s nothing quite like this peppermint brownie in a jar!  It makes the most wonderful hostess gift or it’s perfect for that person on your list that likes consumable (no clutter) gifts.

Here is how to create the Peppermint Brownie jar:

Peppermint Brownie Jar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ package of mint flavoured chocolate chips
  • 6 crushed up candy canes
  • 1 32 oz. wide mouth mason jar with lid
  1. Combine all the dry brownies ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Mix well and our into the wide mouth mason jar.
  2. Tap the jar on the counter a few times for the mix to settle and then pour the chocolate chips and candy cane pieces on top.
  3. Close the jar decorate with ribbon or twine if you wish.
Enclose these directions for baking:
  1. Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl. Add 2 eggs and ½ a cup of vegetable oil.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan and pour the batter in.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes.


8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Holiday Calendar

gingerbread house

There are a lot of fun things to do throughout the Christmas season.  Gingerbread house making, caroling, Christmas plays, cookie exchanges, dinner parties, Christmas light looking, craft making and even holiday movie watching.  There is so much to do, there may not be enough time to do it all!

Why won’t you be able to do everything you want to do?  Well, because there’s grocery shopping, laundry, dinner making and everyday life stuff that still has to happen!

This is where planning comes in really handy.  After all, life is busy, and it’ll be hard to get the fun things on the schedule if you don’t plan ahead.

Here are the steps to take if you want to do lots of fun holiday things this year:

Grab your Calendar

First of all, grab your calendar and mark down all the things you know will be happening regardless of the holidays.  Doctor’s appointments, school activities, office parties…etc.

Talk as a Family

Next, you’ll want to gather the family to discuss all the activities each of you want to do.  Sledding? Cookie decorating party? Christmas play watching?  Brainstorm to your heart’s content.  Make sure to write down all the Christmas movies you want to watch and even the crafts you want to do.


Since there are likely more ideas than time, take a look over the calendar again and plan for the activities you can realistically accomplish.  Even with the regular life stuff added in.

Back to the Budget

Before you get carried away with grandiose plans, go back to your budget.  What did you allot for fun?  The case may be that you’ll have to save some activities for future years.

Fill in your Calendar

Now fill in your calendar with all the activities that you can set in stone. Buy those concert tickets and finalize plans with friends, then make them on the calendar.  Make sure to allow for some quiet nights/days at home!

Holiday activities are supposed to be fun so don’t stress about doing everything.  Just make a point of doing the things you want to do instead of wishing they would happen. Planning in advance will make the season more relaxing.

I’d love to know, what’s one thing you’ll be adding to your calendar this year?

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Faux Pearl Necklace

I think this would be such a pretty gift for the ladies on your list!  Check out the instructions for this faux pearl necklace over at Martha Stewart.  (There’s even a cute gift packaging suggestion and how-to!)



Homemade Christmas Gifts