Don’t Buy New Gift Wrap This Year! Ideas for Alternative Wrapping.

Gift wrap. One of those things birthday candles and a Starbucks cup that hold excitement for just a little while then 5 minutes later, it’s gone and wasted. Yay… That was fun. So why spend the money this year on wrapping when you are already spending money on the gift? You can make your own wrapping with just a little creativity that will cost you less than one of those fancy glitter covered gift bags.

gift wrap tissue

How about stamping old tissue paper? You can also get a large pack of tissue paper at the craft store for $1. Not too bad! Plus I bet you already have some laying around the house somewhere.

gift wrapping stamps

While we are on the subject of stamping, how about using the insides of paper bags? You can use a ball of twine or jute you get at the hardware store for tying your gift for under $2. I know you’re thinking, “Roxanne, stamps aren’t cheap you know. You need ink, and the stamp, and that will add up.” You’re right. It does add up. Not if you use a coupon to your local craft store you get online for 40% (in most cases) or look at the dollar store or shop when there’s a sale. I know Michael’s craft store has dollar bins in the front of the store with stamps. Look there. OR: Try making some.

home made stamps

Link via Say Yes to Hoboken.

creative gift wrap

Check out this post from Ellinée about creative gift wrap ideas.

More Ideas to wrap with:

  • Road Maps
  • Table clothes and linens
  • Old Cookbook pages from a thrift shop. Just the recipes you would never cook… Or ones you want to share.
  • Fabric Scraps– stitch the edges and tie around the present

gift wrap fabric

  • Paper from Christmas past. Why not re-use? I tend to keep old tissue paper, I like to use that inside of a clear plastic bag tied with ribbon.
  • Newspaper. Find a funny headline and circle it. Or circle words to create a sentence.
  • Comic Books from a re-sale store.
  • Use strips of tule as ribbon, it’s very easy to tie.
  • Shoeboxes- use some acrylic to paint them.
  • Wallpaper samples from a paint store. I went in one year and got old wallpaper books and used the large squares to wrap all of my gifts. The paper is so thick you can make boxes out of them Click here for a template.
  • Coffee Filters. Why not lay them all out, tape some together from the inside, and wrap a gift in it, finished with some nice ribbon?

How about using wrapping from a thrift store?

creative wrapping from goodwill

These thrift store finds are some great creative and cheap solutions. And low on the carbon footprint.

And speaking of Jars:

mason jar lids

Why not use some Elmer’s or Mod Podge and make your lids personalized?

gift wrap bags

Use some lunch bags for gift wrap and make them pretty.

gift wrap lunchbox

How about an old lunchbox? Check out this site for ideas for gifts under $5.

I LOVE this idea with the tissue paper:

tissue flower

So cheap, and cute. You can even keep it and re-use it again. Or decorate with it.

So, save some time, money, and trees and think about making your own gift wrap. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts. Happy Holidays!


Manly Diaper Bag

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and well, sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. I know, I know… What’s more important than sharing with the world what you know? Well, I’ll tell you. Doing things. And then when I find time, sharing them. I share. I’m a middle child. So, my little brother and his girlfriend Amy are about to embark upon the journey of parenthood. I knew that Bryon (brother) wanted to carry around a masculine diaper bag, and I decided to make him one.

I started by browsing Pinterest for some inspiration. (my board for baby gifts is linked.) I didn’t use a pattern or template, (I’m a rebel like that) and here’s the results:

I didn’t want the top to zipper shut, so there’s easier access to the items inside. There’s pockets on all 4 sides of the bag trimmed in Batman fabric. Not too “boy baby” ish and not too “girl baby” ish. It’s made for the Dad.

I lined the inner front zipper pocket with batman fabric, for a little surprise.

I lined the inside of the bag with Superman fabric. There are also 2 pockets on the insides of each side for extra storage. I trimmed the top of each pocket in the batman fabric so they will be easier to find.

Bag from the front.

There’s a pocket for bottles on the side. Just added a little elastic to the top for some stretch. I used a belt from Goodwill for the strap, so it’s thick, durable, and adjustable.

He had to open my present FIRST. Not all new dads get presents for them.

He loves it! And in about 2 weeks, I’ll be an auntie, I can’t wait! Congratulations Bryon and Amy!

Scrap Journal: How To

I’ve been collecting scraps for years now, just trying to think of many fun ways to put them to use. Scrap book? That’s so much work… And expensive when you think of all of the paper, and do-dads and the actual book you have to buy and extra pages… I have a big old sketch book that I like to glue just random things in and write a little diddy about what happened that day. That’s my own little fun book. But then there’s this idea for giving a gift to someone to remember an event of some type. I gave this gift to remember 2011.

Step 1: Collect your scraps. Brosures, stickers, photos, receipts, ticket stubs, and little notes work perfectly. You will also need 3 book binding rings to hold everything together.

Step 2: Figure out the size of your book, and what you want to use for pages. I found some old wallpaper books, and used the paper as my pages. I decided to make my book the size of a small notebook, about 7″ x 5″. I made a paper template with 3 holes punched in it to figure out where to punch the holes in the pages I used. you can use anything for the base of your pages to attach things to.

Step 3: Punch holes in your pages, and start the assembly. You can punch holes in the pictures you are using, or you can glue them to your base pages.

Here’s my finished book! I used scraps of wallpaper and fun scissors to create most of the pages. You can punch holes in and add just about anything.

This is a page from when we got our cat, Amelia.

I found little cards with quotes on them, and used them in the book.

I even used old post cards to signify trips to certain locations.

You can add stickers to photos to tell what they are.

Maps are a great thing to add.

I took the cheap way of getting last minute photos to throw in the book by printing them off myself on an Inkjet printer. But hey, it’s the thought that counts!

Be sure to add the best moments.

Hockey game and tickets. I even added some punched envelopes to toss in little movie ticket stubs.

You can see that I folded the wallpaper pages here, to get a cleaner edge that didn’t peel apart if I had glued 2 pages back to back. I can see now after adding these pages that I need to get a new camera… Investment? I think so! Happy book-making!

Things to Do With Fabric Scraps

If you and anything like me, and love to sew and craft, and a fabric hoarder/ scrap keeper, you have piles of little pieces of fabric lying around and don’t know what to do with them. I work at a design studio that is constantly having discontinued fabric pieces that are little squares, and I love to come up with things to do with them, but sometimes, my creativity is at a loss. Thanks to my new favorite resource Pinterest, I can help myself, and you! There are so many good ideas out there with the tutorials, it’s like being spoiled by the internet, in a good way.

You can create these coffee cup cozy covers. Save a tree, and save some money!

There isn’t a DIY tutorial, but you can check these bunnies out on Harabu House. If you have extra felt lying around, you can create a simple little stuffed bunny. Write a little note to those you love, and stitch it inside the bunny, and send it to a loved one with your secret message.

How about this awesome Shower Curtain? This one was made with fabric scraps and a surger. You can use a simple sewing machine if you aren’t lucky enough to own a surger.

This is a cute little Clutch that wouldn’t use much fabric, and you can mix and match.

Do you know someone having a baby? I do! (I’m going to be an auntie!) You can make so many baby crafts… bibs, blankets, stuffed animals, rags, little pants… The list is endless, and baby supplies are always needed.

I just made a similar Anthropologie knock off clutch using this tutorial. I broke 5 needles in the process, but I used all fabric scraps I acquired and it turned out great! Pics to come.

These cute little boxes by Betty Joy are simple to make, and are great for many things!

How about these little Owl Rice Warmers from Just Another Hangup, you can just throw in the microwave, and soothe a sore muscle? Adorable, and a great Holiday gift!

This is a great place to stash your keys, note pad, and IPod for when you are running out the door.

I like the idea of having somewhere to put my planner, book, some business cards, a pen, and staying super organized. This tutorial by The Cottage Home can show you how to make this little organizer.

All you need is a little zipper and you can make this little pouch for your credit card, driver’s license, and keys.

Now that you have some ideas, get going! Make a ton of little crafts, and set them aside for birthday presents, Holiday gifts, and Hostess gifts. Happy Sewing!

Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s not too late to get Christmas Presents online, and it’s never too late to get a gift for someone that matters.

For the Home Body: 

  1. West Elm Favorite Throw $29.00
  2. Crate and Barrel Cocktail Glass $2.50 each
  3. One Kings Lane Cordon Bleu Large Jug $10. It would be great for Tom and Jerry’s in the winter or Sangria in the summer.
  4. One Kings Lane 3 Cup French Press $9.00
  5. One Kings Lane Colander in Gray $12.00. Adorable and great for a guy or girl.
  6. This cute little 3′ x ‘3 rug from Ikea is only $39.00. Perfect for getting out of bed in the morning.
  7. This little Crate & Barrel “Happy” Tumbler is only $3.95

For the Inner Child:

  1. Restoration Hardware Pocket Guide to Magic $9.99
  2. West Elm Alphabet Trays $8 each
  3. This fun bright colored Pillow Cover from Ikea is only $6
  4. Charity Mugs from West Elm for $10 each. Half of the purchase goes to Charity.
  5. Mustache Gang T-Shirt from only $18.00 (You may have to sign up to be part of this site but it is SO worth it.)
  6. One King’s Lane 365 days of Star Wars book $20.00

Best of luck in your shopping! Happy Christmas!

Frugal Birthday Gift Ideas

With my birthday coming up… TOMORROW I wanted to write a post to help others come up with some fun and frugal gift ideas for birthday presents or activities.

Scavenger Hunt: This one isn’t new to many people. If you want an activity that last all day long, come up with a set of riddles and clues, each clue leading to another destination with yet another clue and at the end, a Birthday Present. Or make it a photo hunt. Give the Birthday person a list of photos that must be taken before receiving a prize. The photos could be colored objects, landmarks in your town, or certain people.

Visit Local Spots: Most local places in your town that are entertaining are, you guessed it: FREE! Check out the Zoo, Library (Free to check out books, and Rentals on movies), Museum, Art Gallery, or you can go places that cost little money like the Ice Rink, Budget Movie Theater, or Beaches and Pools. Here are some more “Cheap Date” Ideas that you can do for your sweetheart on their birthday.

Button Making!

D.I.Y. Workshop: Green Bay has a D.I.Y. Shop where you can make presents for people you know. at D.I.Y. Studio and Gifts you can host a party and make things like Lip Balm, Head Pieces, Stamped Metal Art, Screen Printed Items, Jewelry Making, Yarn Making, and many other Crafty items.

Felt hearts filled with rice are great little hand warmers in the winter time.

This is a great idea from 52 things to love about someone.

Making Presents: Felt is an inexpensive and versatile fabric that can be crafted into MANY presents. Here are some ideas I’ve found in the past. And check out Part 1 and Part 2 of old posts I wrote on being your own Christmas Elf that still holds true for Birthday Gift making.

Find out what time your birthday person was born, and make them little gifts to open every hour,  ( for a 12 hour time span) or all day!

Art Supplies: As a child I would have loved to get some crafty items to create things myself. You can go to the Dollar Store first, and see what they have to offer. They could have coloring books, pencils, markers, stickers, and even a basket to put it all in. Then you can go to your local box store (I LOVE Target and Hobby Lobby) to find what you couldn’t at the Dollar Store.

Gift Basket: This one is a given. I love to think of ideas to arrange in a basket, an idea that fits a theme is best. Say, “Italian Night” with pasta, sauce, fabric napkins, a great movie like “A Good Year” or “Under the Tuscan Sun” and some candles, all inside a new colander. Or you can do a Detective basket with a mystery book, magnifying glass, “Sherlock Holmes”, and a pen with a feather taped to the end of it, for some detective note taking.

This would be a great gift for a handy person, father, brother, or new home owner.

Make a Card: You can get some inexpensive paper at your local craft store, probably for the price of a card! And you’ll have paper left to make cards all year long!

Photo Frame with Children’s Book Picture: I did this one year for Christmas, I went to thrift stores, and found children’s books that had pictures or pages that reminded me of certain people. I also purchased frames at the thrift stores. As much as it pained me to cut the books, I took those specific pages that reminded me of people and framed them, and gave them as presents. My dad was a page from “Hop on Pop”.

Pictures: You can go onto webistes like Walgreens, or Snapfish to print some pictures of you and the Birthday Person together, and get an inexpensive frame to share the memories. You can also use sites like Shutterfly to create a special book with your photos.

A memory book like this would take a little more time, but for someone special, would be the PERFECT gift, and cherished for a long time. Via Martha Stewart, the queen of scrapbooks.

Throw a Party! Here are some ideas to throw a last minute party on a budget. You can do a BYOB or potluck to save on money. Why not throw a themed party? Dress like your favorite movie character as a child, or pick a decade, and play themed music along with playing movies in the background from that era.

Hand made invites to a special party!

It’s a Star Wars Themed Party!

Oh, and Don’t forget the Cake. Why not go to the grocery store, get the most awesome cake flavors, sprinkles, icing, candles, and little sugar figurines, and make a cake for that person? Hand crafted is way better than store bought!

Cake ideas from one of my favorite Blogs, Breakfast at Toast.

I hope I can inspire you to create a great birthday for your special loved one! Happy Birthday-ing!

Birthday Thoughts

It’s not a party without Champagne. 

With my birthday coming up, I’m trying hard to think of what to do. I’m SO unmotivated. Maybe it’s because I’m hitting the big 2-9, and being a girl, I’m making a big deal about it. (Or, not a big deal at all. As in, I’ve done nothing to make plans with anyone.) Ok, I guess it’s kind of a big deal, so I’ll start planning something. Why couldn’t I have a summer birthday?!  I could do so much more fun things! Here’s some birthday inspirations…

Theme party, for my Inner-Nerd. I’m loving these cupcakes! Hello Doctor!

I think this place setting is just so fun. Thank you Enjoy Yourself for the ideas.

I know this is from a wedding, but if I had a summer birthday, I may consider having a yard party. Or, since I’m in an apartment, a court-yard party.

Who needs cake when you can have this cupcake?

Twist my arm, If someone wants to make me this Genoise Layer Cake with Rum Syrup and Whip Cream Topping, You won’t force me to eat it. Thank you Martha Stewart!

But since I know me the best, above all the hoop-la, I really just wouldn’t mind getting away, going somewhere and making an adventure. THEN I’ll come home and have a little get together at a local pub, with my closest friends. I still have a week and a half to figure it out. Happy Birthday!