It’s Never too Early to Prepare for the Holidays

Confession:  I’m one of those people who begins planning for the Christmas holiday in June…. with the goal of being done with my Christmas shopping by the end of July.

I don’t always complete my shopping goals, but I do get a good chunk of my shopping done and most of this is accomplished by targeting deals (mainly online deals– I’m not a big fan of going to malls).

I begin my shopping early for two reasons:

  1. To find good deals (I mean, really? I am Frugal Fran 😉 )
  2. To find gifts that are personalized

For me, it’s not just about finding a cheap gift. I want to find a reasonably priced gift that is actually something that the intended recipient will value and appreciate.

Too often, we end up buying expensive, last-minute gifts because we are pressure prompted.  The worst thing about this is– these last minute purchases end up being items that the person doesn’t like.

When you buy something like a gift card, you end up spending $25 or $50 when you could have purchased an item for $10 from the person’s favorite store or given them an item that they had been saying they wanted/needed.

Even better– you can make your loved one something that they can actually use or will admire.  This type of gift giving requires that we develop relationships and pay attention to those we interact with.  I enjoy making holiday wreaths and ornaments for many of my friends and family members.

Here are a few shots of a wreath I made for my Grandmother for Mother’s Day, earlier this year.



I’ve been making wreaths since I was 6 years old in Children’s Church so it took me all of 30 minutes to make these. #TrueStory


Testing one of the wreaths


Round Glass Christmas Tree Baubles Spheres Ornaments are a great crafting item to have on hand. You can fill these with glitter or feathers or other decorative items.

The metal clip can be easily removed so that the heart can be filled with the item of your choosing.

One of my favorite memories is of my personalized ornament with one my baby photos. My mom had one of her coworkers make one using a baby photo of each of her daughters.

I recently made one for a couple at my church using their daughter’s first christmas photo (Sadly I could not find a copy of my photo of the ornament in time for this blog post 😦 ).

I used the following steps to create my ornament:

  1. I took the Christmas photo and rolled it in half (without damaging the image);
  2. Used tweezers to insert into the bulb;
  3. Allowed the photo to naturally unravel itself;
  4. Clipped several sections of curling ribbons (in complementing colors — red, gold, and green);
  5. Used tweezers to insert (and adjust) the curling ribbons around the photograph (This is a great way to fill in some of the empty space in the bulb without blocking the image).

When I make a gift like a wreath or an ornament for someone, it truly is a labor of love and I think it shows. For me it is both personal and meaningful and it comes straight from the heart.

I hope this inspires you to think a bit differently as the holiday season approaches. You have plenty of time ahead to start working on some personalized gifts.  Time to start fixing some things! 😀

The Coloring Case: Markers vs. Colored Pencils– Which is Better?

I have received a few sets of pens, markers and color pencils to review, with markers and colored pencils arriving in the largest quantities.

This was really exciting for me because I do a lot of craft projects with the youth at my church, so I looked at this as one less supply that I would need to buy (and another blessing from God #WontHeDoIt)!
Markers or Color Pencils by FixItWithFranMarkers or Color Pencils by FixItWithFran_SuperMarkers


In addition to using these items with my youth, I also use them for one of my favorite personal pastimes– coloring.

I’ve been asked a few times which I prefer for my coloring– colored pencils or markers.  I decided to do a quick run down of the pros and cons of each. Here are my thoughts:

Markers or Color Pencils by FixItWithFran_SuperMarkers_Review

Markers: This review will focus on the Super Markers 20 Color Marker Set I received.


  • Vivid Colors
  • This particular set can be used on paper or fabrics
  • Bullet point tip can be used for fine details and thick strokes


  • May bleed through pages (this will depend on the stock of the paper and is really only a major issue if the coloring book has double sided pages).
  • Delays due to the need to recap markers
  • Markers may dry out if caps aren’t properly resealed (That always makes me soooo sad 😦 ).


Markers vs Color Pencils by FixItWithFran

Colored Pencils: This review will focus on the Innovating By Design Watercolor Pencils I received.


  • Ability to blend colors
  • Paintbrush included in kit
  • Firm pencil tip
  • No need to remove caps
  • More colors included (compared to the 20 in the marker set)


  • Need to sharpen during longer coloring sessions
  • This set does not have a sharpener — if you are traveling, having a sharpener will be important and you’ll need to purchase one separately
  • Must have water on hand for blending colors

Ultimately, I can’t say that I have a strong preference one way or the other.

It really depends on my mood, the item that I am coloring, and the type of coloring book that I have.

If I am using a coloring book with double-sided pages, I am more likely to use colored pencils because I don’t want to risk having the ink bleed through.

Sometimes I will use pens if I feel like doodling while I color and I may choose to use color pencils if I am coloring in my flower or landscape coloring book so that I can blend and create colors similar to what one would see in the natural landscape.

I recommend trying each medium at least once and allowing yourself to have some fun!

Make Your Own Custom Wreath for $20 dollars!

One of my favorite ways to spruce up the appearance of our home is to make a custom wreath.

It is also very rewarding to make something for my home with my own two hands.

One of my #FrugalTips in doing so, is to purchase wreath supplies from your local dollar tree.

You can purchase a wire wreath, or use the floral foam and your preferred artificial flowers to make a custom wreath for your door or entryway.

Below are a few photos and some step by step instructions for some of the recent wreath projects I completed.









If you like what you see or have any questions, please let me know in the comments.  You can also send me a note at!  Until next time, Go Fix Something! 🙂