Happy Birthday: Poem Candy Board

The ladies in my family have a tradition of celebrating big birthdays. You may have read Take A Trip: Royal Caribbean Bahamas Cruise, which was in celebration of my sister’s 40th, but that’s just one example. For the males in our immediate family (aka husbands), we like to do (age) days of celebration. So far we’ve done 30, 40 and 60 for the various husbands. We tend to send something (gift, poem, pics, jokes, thoughtful things) every other day for the number of days that equals the age. For my step-dad’s 60th, I made the above board as one of my assigned days (we rotate in an order and pre-plan gifts so we don’t duplicate).

You can do one of these for various celebrations or occasions – it starts by thinking about what you want to say and then filling in the blanks with candy/snack names that can replace common words. Sometimes you need to fudge it a little. Here is what I did; the bold words are the candy/snacks.

To: Sid King Size Zero Bar (his last name is King)

Dang, it’s almost the Date of your birth! 60 – what doesn’t Kale you makes you stronger! Remember to be Kind to the ones you’ve been raisins – they might be a Lifesaver one day if you go Nuts! And eat lots of Fiber so you don’t have Unreal poops! Happy 60th birthday and many s’more.

 

Materials:

  • Dang Coconut Chips (Whole Foods)
  • RXBar Chocolate Chip (Whole Foods or Walmart)
  • King Size Zero Bar (Zero is his favorite, you could pick any kind if you happen to want to use the word ‘King’)
  • Kale Chips (Walmart)
  • Kind Bar (Walmart)
  • Raisins (Dollar Tree)
  • Lifesavers (Dollar Tree)
  • Peanuts (Dollar Tree)
  • FiberOne Brownie (Walmart)
  • Unreal chocolate bar (Whole Foods)

Gift Ideas: 40th Anniversary

If you’ve seen my 33rd Anniversary post, you know I like color-themed baskets, especially for anniversaries. This basket celebrates the 40th anniversary, for which the traditional gift is a ruby. I was gifting family friends for a surprise anniversary party, so I figured a color basket would be the perfect gift that’s not too over the top but also still thoughtful. Here’s what I put in mine:

  • Apple pie candle – a candle is a staple for every color basket for me – you can find them in pretty much any color / flavor and at a number of price points (the Dollar Tree even has candles!). This one was $3.33 at Walmart.
  • Red duct tape – this is another staple for me, especially when the basket is for a couple; it’s also one of those things available in almost every color. This roll was $3.48 at Walmart.
  • Skittles – there are boxed candies out there for pretty much every color too; I like to get a chocolate and non-chocolate option unless I know specific flavors the recipients like. These were $0.98 at Walmart.
  • Lindt Milk Chocolate – sometimes it’s fun to get (semi-)fancy chocolate; the milk chocolate is the red bag (blue is dark, white is white, and there’s probably a few other options with flavors). This was a more expensive buy at $3.78 from Walmart.
  • Big Red Gum – must do for a red theme – the theme is in the name! I think this came in around $1.98 for the three pack at Walmart.
  • Red mini spiral notebooks – these are a fun addition that is neutral enough that anyone will like it! These were only $0.27 each!!
  • Red pens – to go with the notebooks; these were $2.48 at Walmart.
  • Red sticky notes – again, pretty neutral (who DOESN’T like sticky notes??) and available in a variety of colors; also, very cheap, coming in at $1.27.
  • Trail mix – I got lucky and found a trail mix in the checkout line of the grocery that had red packaging; I thought it’d be a nice, small addition (and they were super cheap at $0.47/bag at Aldi!)
  • Red mini cups – these were an impulse, fun add-in. I got them at Walmart for $1.99 and then sadly found them at the Dollar Tree for $1 😦
  • Red plush heart – again, this was an impulse buy, but at only $1 from the Dollar Tree, I couldn’t say no.
  • Basket – also a Dollar Tree buy; I highly encourage you to buy all your ‘fillers’ first so you can find the right size basket. I probably could have gone with a slightly larger one. I was also able to pick up the red cellophone basket bag. This was totally a bonus buy – I have never seen colored bags like this at the Dollar Tree, so I totally got lucky.
  • Apples (not pictured): we are going apple picking on the day I plan to gift this basket, so I’m planning to get a few, nice Red Delicious apples to add in as well!

As you put together your basket, you may want to accent with red tissue paper. Since all of my fillers were truly red, the basket was red enough without any help. I finished it off by making a card to explain the gift and put it in a red envelope (of course).

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Gift Ideas: Mommy’s Night Out Basket

Really, this could be a ladies’ / girls’ / guys’ night out basket, but the general idea is supplies you’d need / want for going out or to a party. I made this for my sister-in-law who has a young son (and now, a year later, another one on the way), as I know how much she enjoys the rare occasions to get out of the house and have a little fun.

As with most of my baskets, I started by picking my theme, creating a long list of materials to pick up and then hitting The Dollar Tree to find as much as possible. Of course, there are always things I can’t find there, but it’s a good way to get a deal on a number of things so I have more room in my budget for bigger ticket items or to build an even bigger basket of stuff!

For this basket, I included the following:

  • Her favorite drink to pregame with (Crown and Coke – mini bottles of each)
    • I tend to use old school glass bottles for baskets I make, where possible; I think it gives a more sophisticated look (it’s probably all in my head)
  • Water
  • Aleve / Tylenol
  • Band-aids (hello blisters!)
  • 5-hour energy (to go all night!)
  • Chapstick
  • Gum
  • Ponytails
  • Dunkin’ Donuts gift card (for coffee/breakfast the morning after OR a super late night drunk snack – open 24 hours)
  • And of course, the “basket” which was really just a small tub from the DT

I kept this basket pretty small, but other ideas you could include are:

  • Mini / regular flask
  • Foldable shoes (I tried finding these for her but couldn’t find a pair I liked)
  • Uber / Lyft gift card
  • Condoms (depending how you roll…)
  • Glow sticks
  • Mixed CD or playlist
  • Any other essentials you / your friends always need on a good night out!

Happy basket building!

Room Replica Diorama

I honestly don’t recall what prompted me to create this, but it was for a friendly colleague of mine who worked remotely. Anyway, I decided to create a miniature version of the conference room in our main office. Really, pick a room and go from there.

Materials:

  • Shoe box
  • Paints + brushes
  • Camera & printer
  • Popsicle sticks (tongue depressors)
  • Tissue paper
  • Colored paper
  • Foam board
  • Small glass rocks
  • Hot glue and gun

Here’s how I did it step by step:

  1. Observe the room. You can’t make an accurate replica without the details.
  2. Plan your key elements. The room I chose didn’t have a ton of details (and to be fair, I was super lazy about the table and people), but I wanted to make sure it would be detailed enough that the recipient would “get it.” For this, I took photos out the windows, in part because it had a great view of the lake, but also because the windows were pretty prominent. I wanted to bring the outdoor elements in. I also decided to include the table, plant, dry erase board and TV.
  3. Build. Disassemble the box a bit and then paint all four interior sides white. Two of my walls were white in the end, but it’s just like primer when you’re painting your walls. Do any additional painting to get your final colors, but be sure to let the white dry completely first. From there, I built the wall elements, which included printing and cutting out the photos and adding a small piece of white foam board as a dry erase board and a small black piece as the TV. However, I decided to take the TV a step further and printed a miniature version of one of our business’ powerpoint slides and glued it onto the TV as if someone was giving a presentation in the room. Then, I sacrificed a glue stick cap as my orange vase and used tissue paper to create the plant. Finally, using popsicle sticks, small glass rocks and printed headshots, I created the conference room table and a bunch of little people (our favorite co-workers of the time). I would highly recommend hot glue for this – the bond is much quicker than cold glue, which is helpful for standing materials.

In all honesty, this is definitely one of my lesser quality crafts, but it’s such a random and funny thing that I decided to share it anyway.

Gift Ideas: 34th Anniversary

If you’ve read Gift Ideas: 33rd Anniversary, you know I use a chart to get inspiration for anniversary gifts. For my in-laws 34th anniversary, though, I wasn’t loving Opal. So, I started googling and came across a cute idea: a relationship timeline-esque “poster.” That sounds way crazier than it is, but not sure how to explain it.

Materials:

  • Card stock
  • Printer
  • Paper trimmer or scissors, ruler and pencil
  • 8″ x 10″ frame

Here’s what I did:

  • Get an idea of a template – I looked at a lot of ideas to determine what content I wanted to include and how to lay it out.
  • Plan your content – I included the following:
    • The year of the gift (2018)
    • How long they’ve been married (34 years)
    • How many days together (12418 – I used this calculator)
    • “Countless memories” – you could use this line or replace with something else
    • Home Sweet Home (with an image in the shape of their home state)
    • A reference to their kids (4 Amazing Children)
    • A reference to their grandkids (4 Precious Grandchildren)
    • A life filled with blessings (again, easy to swap out)
    • Their names (David & Janet)
    • Their wedding date (August 25, 1984)
  • Build your doc – I created this in Microsoft Word very simply:
    • Set 1″ margins (how to) – for an 8″x10″ frame, you need at least 1″ margins to ensure your content fits
    • Choose your preferred text & style – I chose all caps because I wouldn’t have to decide what to capitalize and what not to (can be challenging to keep consistent)
    • Add accents – I didn’t want just words, so I added the state shape (google search, no background) and the horizontals lines (how to); *tip – hold control + line to keep it straight while you change the size
    • Adjust – play with line spacing, text size, text color, line color and style blending in a 2nd font, etc.
  • Print, trim & frame –  First, I printed on thick card stock – I know it’s just going in a frame, but thick, quality paper has a nicer look than white copy/computer paper. Then, using a paper trimmer, I removed .5 inch off the bottom (my content was not centered on the page; if yours is, divide by 2 and remove .25 off the top and bottom). Finally, I trimmed .5 inch from each side to get down to 8″x10″ and placed it in my frame.

That’s it. All-in-all, a simple, yet personal gift. Consider this idea for couples at any stage in their marriage, new parents, college grads, someone retiring, or for some other celebration!

Gift Ideas: 33rd Anniversary

Have you ever seen those charts that tell you the traditional gift theme for each anniversary? Some even tell you the modern interpretation, like this one. Well, those are cute and super helpful when you need gift inspiration for your S.O. or another couple.

The only downside to those is they typically drop off the “in-between years” once you hit 25 or 30 (i.e. you don’t get 26 – 29 or 31-34, etc.). So, I’ve had to get creative for the last few years. We started getting anniversary gifts our parents a few yeas ago (true adulting) and my in-laws celebrated 33 years in 2017.

I took some inspiration from this chart and decided to start with the color amethyst. In its own right, a color can be tough (as opposed to a material, like wood). Rather than getting them something in purple (a vase? a blanket? matching sweatshirts?), I went with a ‘color basket.’

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In the basket was:

  • Downy Unstopables Lush
  • Good & Plenty candy
  • A lavender candle
  • Gummy worms (the package was conveniently purple)
  • Mixed nuts (again, purple packaging)
  • Dried mixed berries
  • Double Bubble grape
  • Duct tape
  • A mini clipboard
  • Dove Almonds and Dark Chocolate

I wrapped the bottom of a shoe box in cute paper and lined it with purple tissue paper. Then, I placed it in a cellophane bag from the Dollar Tree (you get a two-pack for $1) and tied it with purple ribbon. Voila!

Seasonal Wreaths

Updated May 2018: For my final ‘quarterly’ wreath, I’ve made something to take my door from Memorial Day to Labor day. These are probably two of my top holidays, as I love how they bookend the summer. Also, it probably helps that the hubs’ birthday is right by Memorial Day and mine is right by Labor Day, so those are also a nice way to kick off and then finish a great summer.

My theme is red, white and blue (Americana, if you will). Most of my supplies were Dollar Tree acquisitions (the red/white/blue stars, the ribbon at the bottom, the silver star garland). Come to think of it, the wreath was the only thing I didn’t get there. Anyway, as always, I laid out the wreath first and then we back through to glue everything in place. Here’s the final product:

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Update March 2018: I hate overly long blog posts where there is endless scrolling, pictures and ads. So, I’ll be brief. If you haven’t read the below, I’m a (relatively) new homeowner and have decided I want to be a ‘door wreath person.’ To minimize the number of wreaths I need to store year round, I’ve identified 4 types of wreaths that will get me through all the seasons and holidays in a somewhat neutral way.

You can see my Fall and Winter wreaths below. Today Spring has sprung and I’m excited to share my March/April/early May Spring/Easter wreath. To start, I selected an oval shaped grapevine wreath. I was tickled to find this at Joann Fabrics as I thought it would lend well to the season and holiday.

I knew I wanted to go with pastels for the color scheme. I found the cat tails and green balls at the Dollar Tree, which is what ultimately led to me choosing a yellow base flower and white accents and finishing it off with a pale blue ribbon. Don’t be afraid to mix and match types and styles. Let’s be serious – if someone walks up to your door and thinks ‘This wreath is a real mashup of flowers from different terrains and seasons.” you probably shouldn’t worry too much about what they think. Clearly they don’t understand creative liberty.

Anyhow, here is the wreath. With all of my projects, I start by laying out my materials and staging the craft. I then like to take a photo of the final product before I pull it apart to build it. The left is my staging (sans ribbon) and the right is the wreath in action!

 

Original Post: I was never a fan of door wreaths – I think it’s because my mom never had them on our front door growing up, so I just always thought they were unnecessary (similarly to yard flags). Anyhow, now that I’m a homeowner, I decided to make 4 wreaths to hang year round:

  1. Fall (mid-September through end of November) – see below for my Fall wreath
  2. Winter / Christmas (December through mid-March) – see below for my Winter wreath, along with two other examples, one of which is more ‘Christmas’ than ‘Winter’ if you like a wreath for every holiday
  3. Spring (mid-March through mid-May) – to be created; I’m envisioning something that feels like Spring / Easter with pastels and some light-hearted decorations
  4. Summer / USA (mid-May through mid- September) – to be created; this wreath will be red, white and blue to honor the summer holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day

When creating any type of wreath, I would highly encourage to follow the below steps:

  • Figure out the ‘top’ of the wreath – place the bare wreath on your hanger (try Command Strips Wreath Hanger) and see how it naturally lays. Mark the top of the wreath so you know where to place your decorations in line with the way the wreath falls.
  • Lay your wreath on a flat surface and start the design process. Don’t get frustrated and try things in different places. I also find it helps to look at other wreaths on Pinterest to get an idea of how to lay it out. Make sure it feels balanced on both sides / top and bottom.
  • Start at the base of your decor and built up. It’s always easier to glue something on top than to try to dig down layers and glue something underneath something else. I would recommend hot glue for wreaths – it does a nice job of sticking to anything and is good at dripping in between the twigs of the wreath to create a strong bond.
  • Don’t overthink it! Sometimes, when I spend too much time staring at a project, I have to walk away because I start to obsess over the most ridiculous things. Take the time to make it right, but don’t go overboard. Otherwise, you could end up screwing up a really good thing!

For my Fall wreath, I started with a 12″ grapevine wreath. I used a big flower from Joann Fabrics (the cream), along with some little glittery pumpkins and spirals and fall colored ribbon I picked up on their Halloween clearance (which, oddly enough, was available BEFORE Halloween). I also snagged a bag of pine cones, which pulled double duty between my Fall and Winter wreaths. Finally, I purchased a wooden S (for my last name….I’ll never tell!), also from Joann Fabrics, and then used some glittery leaves I had left over from another project (these were from the Dollar Tree, my main spot).

FallWreath

For my Winter / Christmas wreath (far left), I again started with a 12″ grapevine wreath and used some fluffy ball decorations and a hanging snowflake ornament from Dollar Tree. The rest flowers and silver balls are also Dollar Tree scores. The pine cones were leftover from my Fall wreath and the green leaves / brush came alongside the flowers I purchased. All in all, this wreath probably cost $10 tops. The middle and far right wreaths are products of my niece, who seems to have been bitten by the same creative bug as me. You’ll see more of her work popping up across the site soon. For the middle wreath, she kept it more simplistic and classic with a grapevine wreath base pre-built with tree brush and pine cones. She added a pretty, plaid ribbon, some small red berry picks, red flowers and a hand-painted white ‘K’ to round it out. The far left wreath, much more ‘Christmas’ than ‘Winter’ was a gift she made for her grandmother and is made entirely out of ribbons and various red and green picks. She used a foam circular base to build the fun ribbon creation.

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Check out the featured image for a easy, space saving way to store your extra wreaths when they aren’t adorning your door!