Thursday, December 23, 2010

Inexpensive Gift Giving

A cute little birdie told me the other day that she has read an awful lot about Trader Joe's scones, and that she might be ready to read about something new.  So I think maybe today I'll write about gifts that don't cost a lot, in case anyone out there is trying to figure out a last minute hostess gift.  The trick is shopping ahead of time and using a few basics.  This does lead to the issue of hoarding (bad) vs. stockpiling (good).   I'm constantly wondering where the line is.

Here's the basic philosophy I'm going to cover today:

1.  Shop year-round at the dollar spot or wherever else you get good deals (I generally don't keep a gift stockpile, but I do keep a pile of $1 items.  Anything more expensive and it just ends up being money spent, sitting in my closet forever).

2.  Dress it up a little.

3.  Creatively gift wrap and don't blow $5 on a bag for goodness sake.

Walmart always has an ornament or two that doesn't break the bank.  I'm not one to spend $10 on an ornament for anyone, myself included.  This glittery church was a whopping $1.  But pleeeaaase don't give it away with that ugly tag stuck to it.  I don't even like the string for hanging it.  Cut it all off!! and put a pretty little ribbon on it.

Doesn't that look so much better?  It's all about selling it ... special details make it special.
Here are some notebooks I bought at Michaels Crafts $1 aisle.  This is a funny thing about me:  When I'm standing in the aisle looking at monogram letters, I immediately get Alzheimer's and can't remember who I'm buying for or their initials.  If you don't want to get Monogram Alzheimer's, get a teeny notebook to keep in your purse always and write the names of your friends you are looking to buy for.  Or put it on a sticky note phone app.
I wrapped a little bit black seam binding around it.  Made it a bit more special.
I wanted to use all 3 colors of tissue paper, but using whole sheets was too much.  So I used my pinking shears to cut wide strips.  I put the gift on 3 strips (not stacked evenly - see photo above with notebook) and bunched it up.   I have also been known to rip strips of tissue paper.  This saves tissue paper by not using too much, and makes it a little more special.
I don't go out and buy a bunch of wrapping stuff.  I give gifts in lunch sacks all the time. You can buy red or white lunch sacks at Target.  I love those.  I also bought a bag of tags from Office Depot.  Stamp some initials on the tag.  Stick it on with a clothes pin.  Stamp "Wish" on a ticket.  These are all things I already had in the craft pile. 

Here is a birdy ornament I used on the outside of the plain paper sack.  Great! You can also see from this photo that I am a hurricane in a craft room.  Not great!
Tags are something you have permission to hoard.  You will always be able to use them.
Here's another way you can use storage tote bags.  I found these at Target dollar spot clearance.  They weren't even a dollar!  I stood there forever thinking, "I want to buy every single one but do I have any business hoarding that many totes?"   It's a constant conversation for me.  I didn't buy every one, but I did buy a healthy stack of them.  I use them to organize my cupboards, but they also make great wine bags.  I have a stockpile of ribbon I buy for $1 and a bag of funky tissue.  The plain black tote needs a little pizazz.

I do love wine, but really know nothing about buying it.  Here's what you can do if you have the same problem:  ask the guys at the store.  Don't be shy.  The Wegmans by our house has a wine section.  One day I found out they have a wine manager, and I worked up the courage to ask him what inexpensive wine he recommends.  I thought he would look down on me.  I thought he would be wine snobby.  He was so unbelievably cool, and took me through the entire wine section and told me all the fabulous $5 and under wine he loves to drink.  The guys at Trader Joe's will also tell you what fabulous cheap wine they have.  Not a snob in the bunch.
Wrap that sucker up.  If you have it stockpiled, you can throw this together last minute.  No shopping every single time you go to someone's house.  How much time does that save?!!  And money?!!
I wanted to add just a bit more to this gift wrap, so I dug a couple ornaments out of my stockpile (Sorry, Mrs. Brookes, I bought this W after I gave you the gift or this baby would be all yours).
I bought a bunch of these reindeer at the dollar store and I use them to decorate my banister garland.  I just ripped that sucker right off the banister.  That's how I roll.  If you get a gift from me, it could be straight from my banister.
And check this out ... my new Christmas tree stand urn, courtesy of Anythingology (go here for a tutorial).  Thanks Shannon.
Now I'm off to Trader Joe's.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Trader Joe's Scones

For the Love of Trader Joe's . . .
Have you tried their cranberry scones with orange glaze?
Very Dangerous.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rearranging Furniture

My living room has always been difficult.  It is an awkward space and is narrow.  If I had an enormous budget and an interior designer, it wouldn't be a problem.  But I've been trying to make it work for years, with what I have, and it has never felt quite right.

I stopped by Jennifer's blog yesterday.  She challenged readers to use hutches/china cabinets in ways we might not normally use them.  This inspired me to move my furniture in the living room.  I have always had the end table next to the couch, but thinking out of the furniture-layout box, I moved the dresser next to the couch instead.  The hutch (mine is a desk hutch rather than a china hutch) went to the other side of the room.  I think it works. 

Here's the "before" ...
It feels cluttered and not right.
The hutch in the corner is almost finished.  I thought it would be perfect over there, but it just wasn't working.  It threw everything else off.
The dresser between the windows.  Not bad here, but the balance in the room is wrong.

"After" photos ...
The dresser is next to the couch now.  I love it!  I think it fills the wall space nicely and it looks less cluttered.  I tried the hutch here but again, it didn't work.
I still need to hang the mirror and update the pictures/art on the walls.  One thing at a time.
I put the hutch between the windows.  I'm a little more inspired to finish it now.  The chair is one I picked up for a couple bucks.  It needs paint and new fabric.  I'm undecided about whether I should use cranberry fabric (like the current fabric) or do a neutral instead.
This is where the hutch used to be.  I think this photo is a good example of "you should't line all the furniture up against the wall."  It doesn't look like it, but it is a good 4 feet from both walls.

There is still work to be done, but I'm so much happier with it.  Thanks Jennifer!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Home Depot Rug

I picked up this rug at The Home Depot for $39 today.
Not a bad price.
It's an indoor/outdoor rug (perfect for under my table).
Dog tested and approved.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jewelry Organizer

I've been trying to figure out how to organize the Teenager's jewelry.
She has a lot more than what's in this photo and it was a big mess.
I had just pulled this peg board off my craft room wall because it was feeling a little cluttery.  Her clothes are in an armoir, and her closet is set up with a makeup table (desk), a mirror and a light.  I put the board just to the left of the makeup table.

I cut the peg board to fit the space (you can have the Home Depot guy do this if you don't have a saw), and painted it the same pink we used for the PB Tile Board Knockoff.  All the little hooks and trays came from Home Depot.

To mount the peg board, I put two pieces of wood between the peg board and the wall.  This way, the peg board comes out a little (the hooks go through past the back of the board and need a little extra room).

Here are some others I found:

I saw this cute version via
Casa Sugar Member MRB929 used knobs for hers. 
It looks like she hung her board from hooks instead of mounting it to the wall.
That is a fabulous idea!

Michelle from Three Men and a Lady (found via Design Sponge) made this one with a painted frame.  I think I see some wall hooks on there.

Craftstylish put ribbon through a pegboard.  That would work well for earrings.

Look at this cute board I found at Erin Compton Design.
She even has a tutorial.

I think I need one of these for me.

Linking up to:

We're Organized Wednesday at Organize Your Stuff Now

inspired room

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Use What You Have Organizing: Ribbon

I've been organizing everything lately.
One of the things I've wanted to tackle for a while is this mess ...
This is only a small portion of the ribbon pile
because I started this project without taking a "before" picture.
Duh.  How long have I been blogging?
I didn't want to spend money on this project.
I'm trying to declutter, so I didn't want a bunch of jars on the wall.
Then I saw what Chris at Just a Girl did with her ribbon.
I still wasn't convinced I wanted to do this project
because I'm really too lazy to cut cardboard and wrap ribbon.
It took me a couple of weeks of looking at the
ribbon pile to finally commit to wrapping.
But I was still too lazy to cut cardboard, so I used index cards instead.
I took 4 cards (to make it sturdy enough),
folded them lengthwise, and stapled them (you don't have to staple).
Then I wrapped the ribbon.
Once I started wrapping, I couldn't stop because it looked so good.
I fastened small ribbon with a stapler.
Big ribbon I fastened with a rubber band.
This is one of my favorite ribbons.
It's just dollar Walmart fabric ripped up.
I love the little fringe.
I put them all in one of my scrapbook paper drawers.
Isn't it beautiful?

Featured on:
I'm an Organizing Junkie

Linking up to:
inspired room

We're Organized Wednesday at Organize Your Stuff Now

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pottery Barn Knockoff

The CSI Project Challenge today is Pottery Barn inspired projects.
A while back, Mr. Jones and I made a memo board for the Teenager
(Pottery Barn calls it the "Tile Set").
We cut up a peg board, cork board, and dry erase board into squares,
and the striped panels are just plain boards covered with an
extra pillow case from her bedding.
Then, we nailed it all to the wall, and framed it with trim.

Stop by CSI to see some other PB Knockoffs.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Easy Laundry Room Hook

The designer who planned my home clearly does not do laundry.
Because the only place to hang laundry in my laundry room is right above the washer/dryer.
On the door and knobs isn't working for me either.
So this morning when I found a hanging basket hook
for plants, I thought it might make a great laundry hook.
It probably doesn't work any better than a doorknob,
but it sure looks a lot better.
No more laundry clutter.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...