Friday, November 30, 2012

13 Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

Gift giving is not my forte. Gift receiving is even harder for me.

In general, I am just not great with gifts. Mainly because I'm not a shopper. But also because I have no idea what to get people. I am afraid I will get something that they won't want or something that isn't at all useful to them. 

When I was about 6 years old, I gave my dad all of the change in my piggy bank for his birthday. I was super excited about it. I thought it was going to be the present of a lifetime. He refused it and said that wasn't how gifts worked. I still haven't quite graduated from that level of gift giving. I guess I got a little better... a few years later I hand copied all of my favorite knock knock jokes out of a book from the library and gave that to my dad.

Because of all of that, I usually do gift giving a bit different than most people.

Here are a few things that I have found work pretty well for me:


  • A little more about coupons... Scott and I don't do birthday or Christmas presents for each other. We tried and it resulted in tears. Now, for birthdays we usually make each other a coupon book full of things like, "one week of no diaper changes," "I will watch a football game with you and not complain," "one dessert of your choice to be prepared," etc. I used to give them to my mom and dad when I was little and it seemed to go over pretty well.

  • You could make a personalized calendar where you put birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You could even put invites for the person to come over to dinner. Be sure to include cheery notes here and there. You could pin a few dollars and write, "ice cream outing" on a page.

  • Last year, Scott has given his mom a "pasta of the month club."  The idea is that he will make her a special food for each month of the year. He has also given her bread of the month and soup of the month.
Scott made this document, printed it up and wrapped it for her.

  • Have a fun get together where you play the "Bad Santa," "White Elephant" or whatever name you choose of the 15 option 

  • Give a certificate for an activity that you can do together. Make sure it is something the person is interested in. If she or he likes kayaking but you think sun-tan lotion might be a silly gift and a new kayak might be a bit too much try a gift certificate to somewhere like Charlotte's White Water Center.
  • Ask for suggestions. Maybe the person you are buying for needs a new umbrella or a yoga mat. You can make it more personal by narrowing one down out of the millions of choices.

I assume this is the umbrella that most people would pick to give as a gift.

  • Do an ornament or cookie exchange and make it all about the get-together!

Here are some neat present ideas that you can make yourself:

  • Give someone a casserole dish and etch their name on it. They will never leave it behind at a big gathering again!

  • Put a photo on a wood block!

  • Make blocks with photos and letters on them for a kid. It could also be for an adult to use as a display and change the words!
  • I love the idea of a date night jar. Each stick is color-coordinated to mean something different. For example, dark pink might require some planning; light pink might be stay at home, etc.

  • Who doesn't want a secret hidey-hole book? Make one and give it as a gift.
hollow how-to
photo source

  • One more idea... A Tea-A-Day-Wreath! After looking at yesterday's blog, Scott suggested that if you have a lot of people to buy gifts for you could buy a big assortment of teas and make a bunch of tea wreaths!

If you liked this post, stay tuned next week for FOOD Gifts That You Can DIY!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

22 Holiday Wreaths You Can DIY!

It should be said that I actually do not have any wreaths. In fact, until recently, I was not a wreath person at all. Finally, I am starting to see what all the hub-bub is about especially after seeing the fabulous wreaths below and the Fall wreaths I posted last month! I still think that 13 year old Laura would look at 31 year old Laura and say, "Wreaths... really! What happened?"

I'm not in love with the idea of spending much money or time on things that only come out once a year and having to store it the rest of the year. However, I did just find out you can get foam wreaths at the dollar store. And these wreaths below are pretty awesome... 2012 just might be the year I start flying my wreath flag!

Throw your old ornaments on a wreath and call it a day... or look through 21 more wreath photos and get to DIYing.
This one may be a little country but I couldn't resist the big, floppy chartreuse bow.
Grab yourself some felt and get to work!
I love this funky, vintage-looking wreath! It would be a cool decoration for a wedding around the holidays!

Adorable! Glue a bunch of colorful felt balls onto a wreath and look what you get!
I call this one, "White Spraypaint Meets Nature."
Has your leftover holiday candy from last year gone stale? Make a wreath, duh!
A simple one!!
Let's throw a lil burlap into the mix, shall we?
Lots of leftover stale candy? Then go wild!
There is a strong possibility that it would take you the rest of your life to wrap this much yarn around a wreath. But who is to say it wouldn't be worth it?
Start saving your newspaper!
The Tea Bag Wreath! Let your groceries work for you.
I did not know it was possible to make paper chains look somewhat classy.
This is about as traditional as my taste goes.
Colorful ornaments on wreaths seems to be the thing to do!
Treat yo' self to a pink ornament overload wreath!
Fabric scraps can beautify your wreath!
PVC pipe wreath = craziness!
Hey hey now! Another simple one!
And one more fabric scrapped wreath for you!
You know you have some extra art supplies just sitting around hoping to get turned into a wreath!
After looking at all of those are you headed out the door to buy your dollar wreath?
Are you heating up your glue gun?
Wreaths are starting to move up to BFF status with me.

sources: fabric scrap wreath, red ornament wreath, colorful ornament wreath, pinecone wreath, twig and ornament wreath, pvc wreath, tea bag wreath, felt ball wreath, colored pencil wreath, red blue green felt wreath, candy wreath, burlap wreath, white leaves wreath, felt flower wreath, green paper wreath with red bow, yarn wreath, candy cane wreath, paper chain wreath, black and white ribbon wreath, branch and twig wreath, white wood chip wreath, loopy red felt wreath,another peppermint wreath, newspaper wreath, colorful vintage-looking wreath

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Bonus Room Chronicles: Step 4: Furniture Rearranging!

The Bonus Room Chronicles are back and I know someone is going to be excited... Grandmama, I am talking to you! I am sorry that they went on hiatus but we are about to be one step closer to the big reveal.

Today, we are flying top speed into the world of:

Step 4: Move furniture around. Get rid of TV. Add bed.

After that, there are only 3 steps until the big reveal!!!!

Step 4 came about when we lost a guest bedroom to Cora's nursery. We decided to change around the furniture in the bonus room to make it better fit our needs.

I don't jump into anything without a ridiculous amount of time on Google Images and a template or two!

I measured the room, drew it up on graph paper. Then I measured and cut out all of the possible furniture. (Yes, I am a major nerd who used to have way too much time on her hands).

My Template!

We couldn't figure out a way to make it all work... even with the template! 

There were too many pieces to consider:
  • the window seat and built in bookcases we knew we wanted to build
  • the guest bed (couldn't lose that considering how many visitors we got when Cora came on the scene)
  • the desk
  • the couch and coffee table
  • a few chairs
  • a seating area with a table
  • a play area for Cora
  • didn't want to lose the funky retro vibe
  • 2 sets of bifold doors that took up the majority of one of the longest walls in the room
  • a TV and entertainment center

Finally, Scott suggested that we ditch the TV. I was majorly into that idea. He realized that we could use one of his TWO monitors as a TV if we ever really wanted to watch TV upstairs. You can turn the monitor easily to watch it from the bed or the couch.

That TV dump was all I needed to get the template to work in my favor!

Here is what the room looked like before the big transition.

And here is the post-template retro funky bonus room!

Here is a sneak peak at the view from the built in bookshelves/ window seat you get to see in the next step!

Step Team in full force below:

Step 1: Move in. Paint the walls. Put up curtains. Put up art. Paint orange design. Paint polka dots.

Step 2Put up wire display.

Step 3Put up wall of frames.

Step 4: Move furniture around. Get rid of TV. Add bed.

Step 5: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Build window seat and built in bookcases

Step 6: Change out the bifold doors

Step 7: Final touches

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Organization Overhaul Is Just Around The Corner

January in Never Listless town is going to be a fresh and clean month. It will be a major Organization Overhaul.

For now, I am putting bandages on my organization problems. But when January comes, it will be time to fix the problem permanently with some organization surgery.

Let's take a look at one of my recent bandage fixes.

The Junk Drawer!

Everyone has some sort of junk drawer. Mine is in my kitchen. It is supposed to hold pens, scissors, tape, floss (sorry, we're gross- we have it in the kitchen for those stinkin' popcorn kernels, broccoli bits, and asparagus skins that love to tag along in our pearly whites), note paper, q-tips (gross again- it is for booger patrol on Cora), baby wipes, etc. It ends up being the dumping ground for change, various tools and hardware, and all sorts of other random things. So, every once in a while it needs a good de-junking.

So, I tidied it up. When Organization Overhaul comes along I will take a look at what the problem is and try to figure out a permanent solution.

Here is the beautiful junk drawer after:
Unfortunately, there is a little babytoddler who can still reach it. 

Why not take a little gander at one more hideously disorganized area of my house...

The Pantry!

I love organizing... love love love love love it. So, you might wonder how something that I see so often could be so disgustingly messy. Well, a little over a year ago a little baby by the name of "Grabby-Hands Get-Into-Everything-McGee" entered my life. It was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me, but not so for my poor pantry. As she gets taller and her reach gets higher we just keep moving the pantry items up and up. Yes, we could tell her, "heck no, lady. Your paws aren't allowed in the pantry." But I like her to explore and she loves opening and closing doors like nobody's business. We are in the kitchen a lot and the pantry door is hot real estate. And, so it goes... Ms. Grabby Hands goes a-grabbin'.

I did my pantry cleaning magic and turned it into this beautiful thing:

The Pantry After
Here she is playing with one of the things I leave on the lower shelves for her- an apron. 

Well, there it is, my friends!!! Are you counting down the days until January's Organization Overhaul?

Go ahead and make yourself a little list organization to-do list to get ready to go overhaulin' wild in January!