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I am not very crafty (at all) and I would never attempt knitting but if you want a easy, awesome, soft blanket idea try this: At the fabric store you can buy super soft, fluffy fabric (think of all the small lap blankets that are so popular). Buy 1 yard of two different colors like light blue stripes and a dark blue solid, or pinks for a girl. Then you place both blankets on top of each other so they are the same size. To hold them together I use a bunch of safety pins. Then with sharp siccors cut 3 in snips all around the edges of both blankets. You then knot the fringes of each blanket together so that you have a reversable, 2 color blanket with bi-colored tassles/fringe on the edges.
I have received a larger version of this blanket without the 2nd layer and it's warm and snugley. Perfect for road trips and ball-games. the fringe on the sides make it look homemade even without the second blanket attached.
Easy, cute and cheap!
If you are looking for really inexpensive ways for a gift, I recommend giving services. For instance, my three nieces are in their early teens, but they made a beautiful gift card for my wife and made themselves available to help with setting up the baby room, sorting out clothes, etc. We ended up having them paint our baby's room! This was a no-cost gift to them, but was worth so much for us and was one of the best gifts we received!