Tis The Season Nifty Thrifty Gifts

Thursday, November 21, 2013

     Tis the Season to find creative ways to give gifts to friends and family that are well made with love of course and useful. In this economic time we are all looking for ways for our gift budget to stretch as far as we can but we still want a thoughtful gift. Last week I went to the Dollar Store to see what I could find for my gift giving project this year. I have to say the thought crossed my mind to use one of the many cost effective gift ideas I have seen on the other blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ but , I wanted an original idea.
   I shopped around and found silver, metal, mesh, pencil holders. Ahh! This would be my container for the gift. Then what would I put in the holders along, with adding a my creative design, to make this a special gift?
 I spotted the butterfly type paper clips 8 count in the large size and 10 count in the smaller size.
The last few items I need for this gift I already have in my stash at home. Yippie! I have a plan, a nice gift to give, with a little of my creative love thrown into a pencil cup holder.
Can you guess what the gift is yet? Hmmmm. By the way the last few items are scrapbook paper, glue, twine, and I will need to purchase some tulle to use for wrapping because I think it will add a nice touch. I will show you that later on another day.
 Yard Sticks have Character
 Now I need to measure the large and smaller clip, to figure out how much paper I will need, for each size clip.* Disclaimer your paper clips will need to be measured because sizes will vary.
Here are the measurements for the two size clips I bought at the Dollar Store. The Large is 1 5/8" wide, the smaller one is 1 1/4" wide. Now I need to measure the length of the paper I need for each, after some trial and a lot of error. I found that cutting a strip the width of the paper, wrapping it around the clip, making a indent with my finger nail by pressing the paper tight into the top of the clip. This gave me a good place to start. Then I cut the paper a few times until I found just the right measurement, 2" for Large, and 1 5/8" for the small. Out of one 2" strip of paper in 7 different color I was able to make 35 clips. Out of the 1 5/8" strip of paper also using 7 different colors I made 49 clips.

I bought this at Micheal's on Sale
I used my paper cutter to cut out the sizes needed. You can use scissors but it is a lot of cutting. I thought about using my Silhouette paper cutting machine and might in the future now that I have the measurements calculated. I plan on cutting all of my paper out mixing the colors and patterns. I used 7 smaller patterns because large patterns would be lost on this size project. I choose paper not card stock, because it would be to thick to work with folding around the clips. Below is an example of the papers I used. I thought the patterns and colors would be a bright spot on a desk or in a craft room.

Bright and Cheerful Colors

My next step is covering the black clip with the scrapbook paper. I uses E6000 glue on the Large clips, because the paper did not fit in my Xyron. Bummer, I should have bought the bigger Sticker maker. Christmas present for me???  I did use the Xyron permanent sticker for the small clips. It took less time, was less mess, and turned out nicer, in my opinion. This picture shows the paper cut ready to be glued to the clips.

How do you like the finished Clips?
Now I filled the pencil holder with 10 small plus 4 large Fancy clips. Add some Colorful twine to the container. I will wrap with the tulle, twine and a gift tag later.  Here is the final product. Would you like to use these on your desk? Some people even use these for clips to close open bags of snacks,, or chips too. Then I would keep the container in my kitchen, near my Ziploc Bags, Foil, Wax Paper.                                                                                            
A view from the top

Front and Center
    When ever I start  project the ideas still bounce around in my head. I am going to make a few variations of this project in the near future. Do you have any suggestions? I already know I am skipping the E6000 glue on this next time. Great product but not the right one for this application. I also tried Washi Tape on this one and that was not the best for this project either. I am thinking of attaching magnets so you can use the clip to hang something. What do you think of that idea? Share your thoughts on these ideas or any suggestions. I look forward to seeing your comments.
I am Blessed my family is at home.  My cousin, with his family will be here tomorrow.
I am a happy girl!!!!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a list of items used and where I purchased them:
Dollar Store
 1 package Butterfly paper clips Small 10 count  $ 1.00
 1 package Butterfly paper clips Large 8 count    $ 1.00
 1 Pencil Cup Holder ( Wire Mesh Silver)           $ 1.00
 I used Xyron Permanent Sticker
 Scrapbook Paper
 E6000 glue

Not So Pretty Picture

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Lemonade out of a Lemon
While I have been tearing my hair out to get this blog written, you might have wondered where did she go? Well I have been here trying to get my computer repaired. Yep you guessed it the dreaded virus. Which ironicly we both had viruses, mine required rest and medication. The computer a complete over haul. It occurred to me last night, after writing, and scrapping the first draft of this post that I was looking at this dilema all wrong.
  I have no pictures and I promised my family I would not talk about them in the blog. I am using one pinky to write this on my phone and I can barely see what it looks like. Most important to me is that I am only one month into this and letting people and myself down.
 So I do have pictures on this phone. I do have something to write about and I still have a pinky finger and a phone. So please have patience with me while we get through this little bump in the road.
  Let's see what is important, that is lost in this mess. Well of course my 25,000 pictures, time, all 181,000 documents, for a fundraising auction I volunteer to help my sons college baseball team, my Storybook projects, Silhouette projects, and this blog post.
Our Cricket dinging the beach as much as me

The beautiful Fall colors

The last Roses of the Summer at my parents

 Arriving at the lake after a long week
The sun setting on a day our whole family was together

My favorite spot to enjoy the view
  There are so many more moments you will see along our journey. These are just a few of the memories and treasures locked up in my computer. I hope you will all back up your computers now so your treasures will be safe. My son taught me last night to simply open your choice of storage device, then open another window  click on your files and click copy.  Now go back to your storage device click paste. Depending on the amount of content in your files this can take a long time. I did one over night but it can be done during the day too, you will just want to have a project or something to do so you can use your time productive. My kind son is now spending his day repairing my computer. I am blessed to have a loving and supportive family in my life.
The sun is shining here, it is Cricket's 3rd Birthday, and time for me to take an adorable furry girl shopping for some presents. Why? Because that's what girls do, on their birthday, in this house.  Have a great day and please share your computer crash stories with me. I know we have all been through it sharing just might make us all feel a little better.

Gathering Memories

Monday, November 11, 2013

      One of my favorite spots is the Chicago Antique Randolph Street Market. I started going several years ago in the Summer with my husband, it is our date the last weekend of the month. You are probably wondering what we would do at the market, but once you go on a Saturday or Sunday, you will never ask that question again.
Fall at The Randolph Street Market
 You will be hooked! As you wind through each booth, meeting vendors, shopping, listening to the music, and enjoy the food & beverages, you too will begin to be woven into the Markets Huge Family Quilt.
Me enjoying a refreshment in my new hat
 Today is about a finding a piece of a childhood memory. Did you ever have milk and dairy products delivered to your house? My family home was within a block of Willow Farm Dairy. When I was young the milkman delivered milk, daily to our house in a milk box. It had a flip up lid, was dull gray insulated metal, with Willow Farm Products embossed on the front. It sat outside right next to the backdoor. Which to me seemed like a place of honor, because the kitchen was just inside, and we all know the kitchen is the, "Heart of a Home". Of course back then the whole neighborhood came to that door because, "Back Door Friends are Best."
  One of my favorite memories involving the old milk box was when we would go swimming in the back yard. No one was a loud in the house until, we dried off. So my Mom would tell us to sit on the milk box, or back step, to dry off after swimming. As I remember two of us could fit on that milk box, and the rest of us would overflow to the back step.
  One Summer we were sitting out on the milk box and the back step drying off when  I noticed that the ice cream truck would come at sit at the end of our driveway each day. when my mom would call us for dinner. We never bought ice cream because, we hadn't had dinner, plus it was expensive. It was then that I realized the ice cream man was just hanging out while we, dried off before dinner in our bathing suits.  
 As many things in life the milk box lost its usefulness, no more milk man, our moms bought milk at the grocery store. Eventually the Willow Farm Dairy Closed. The milk box I would guess was thrown away since it had no purpose.
 As an adult I started searching for items from the dairy but they were hard to find. After a few years I was able to collect 2 milk bottles, a cracked butter crock, and a wooden milk crate stamped with the year I was born. This past Summer at the Randolph Street Market, there it was right in the middle of the vendor booths, The Willow Farm Milk Box was in my sight again. My husband bought it for me which made me feel so happy.
 This will be used at parties as a cooler holding ice, with drinks chilling inside. I use the milk bottles as vases, and the butter crock as a candy dish.
Willow Farm Products Milk Box
The next weekend we had a big family celebration, at which I proudly showed my whole family what we had found. My Dad smiled and said that is just like the one we has at our house. 
  I truly love gathering memories, but sharing them is even better! 

Let's stay connected here are links to my blog & social media.

Daybeds inspired by Ana White

Saturday, November 2, 2013

     I have to thank +Ana White for her terrific free plans for the beds my husband built. Each Winter we plan projects for inside our lake house. My husband wanted to build beds for our lake home. I searched everywhere I could think of  to find solid economical beds with storage, when I found Ana White's plans for a twin size daybed with storage. It has six storage cubes in each bed which gave me room to store linens on one side and a space for each guest to store their belongings while they visit. The design was perfect for our guestroom at night and a game room during the day. Please follow this link to get her plans, check out her site, and while you are there she has plenty of plans for many projects.
 First we studied her list, changed the wood to oak sanded plywood, because we planned on staining it with Minwax Stain and Sealer(Ebony), and Ana painted the bed White. Then we added up what wood we needed for two beds, which was easy because instructions included a detailed cut pattern. We purchased the oak sanded plywood from Home depot for the body of the bed, and the facing was oak as well.
  I was concerned about keeping the cost to a down. After giving the design a bit of thought I realized we could save even more money if we bought the cheaper pine sanded plywood for the inside of the cubes. The pieces that we cut out of sanded pine plywood included: Three bottom cuts, 4 sides of boxes, and 3 center cuts for each
Look at the cube in the background and top of bed on table.
Original Design complete
  My husband followed Ana White cuts, supplies lists, and directions exactly on the first bed. We changed the cut pattern on the second bed to the make cutting, staining and painting easier. We tried making the top on this bed one piece of wood instead of three separate pieces. This way my husband was able to paint the bottom or inside of the cubes Oatmeal on the inside and stain Ebony on the top, ends and facing.

Close-up of bed 
The beds made but the room is not yet complete.
You can see the daybeds in our guest /game room.
I added pillows that  I made to ones I purchased. I also bought Colonial Mills round baskets to add colorful  storage. I am still working on the bedding and decor of this room. I post more pictures later when I finish the guest/game room. I think Ana White will be proud my husband made these beautiful daybeds using her plans. We already had some guest stay over they gave the beds rave reviews. Please Leave a comment to let me know what you think of the beds or about Dragonfly & Lily Pads. Thank you again to Ana White for the wonderful plans hop on over and check out her site too.