Gift season approaches, and I’ve been struggling on how best to spend what little money I have on all the people in my life who I want to give holiday presents to. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem… so I thought I’d share some ideas.
1. Mix CDs - make your friends/family a mix CD with handmade cover artwork. If you can’t afford a stack of CDs, make a virtual CD and share the mp3s with them over Dropbox.
2. Homemade Cookies - Spending $7 on baking ingredients allows you to make a large batch of simple cookies. Divide them and use as gifts for multiple people. Throw on a handmade card and WHAM you got yourself a spiffy gift.
3. Cooking supplies - I’m not talking top of the line Kitchen Aid shit. Go to your local dollar store and buy things like wooden spoons, platters, funny mugs for under $5. Everyone needs at least some cooking supplies!
4. Cacti - Don’t go to a nursery, go to a grocery or department store with a plant section. Cacti are some of the cheapest and easiest to maintain plants, they only really need to be watered once or twice a week. And they look awesome. If the person you had in mind likes to cook, you might want to consider buying them some sort of herb like rosemary or thyme.
5. Bulk food - This might not work for everybody, but I’m sure your broke roommate wouldn’t object to a bulk package of ramen or mac and cheese. They sell 12 packs of ramen at my local dollar store for $1 each. ONE DOLLAR FOR TWELVE MEALS.
6. Unused Books - I’m betting that there’s a book in your apartment/dorm room that’s in perfect condition, but for whatever reason that you will never use again. Wrap it in some gift wrap and scrape off the price tag.
7. Spa Day - For those of you in relationships (or who feel safe touching your close friends/family in that way) make mock “spa coupons”. Offer services such as manicures/pedicures, hair stylings, massages, etc.
8. Use your talents - Are you an artist or musician of any sort? Make a piece of artwork or write a song. Buy a large piece of poster paper at Home Depot for $5 and make a funny collage full of inside jokes that only your friends will understand. Are you a knitter? Make mittens for people.
9. Weird clothing - Go to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill and spend a couple hours combing the shelves for weird items. Funny t-shirts, strange hats, etc. Don’t go to department stores looking for clothing, it’ll be too expensive.
10. “Fancy” Meal - Spend $20 and invite several friends/family members over for a fancy dinner. You don’t need to be a chef or to spend lots of money to make something “fancy”, just make the atmosphere “fancy”. Make pasta with some sort of red sauce and possibly meat. Insist that everyone dresses up, light candles, play jazz standards, take pictures- make a real night of it.
ALSO! If you can’t afford gift wrap use newspaper.
DIY PROJECT: This adorable and economic gift was originally given from one creative boyfriend to his girlfriend of eight years. But this is a creative keepsake that you can make for friends, family, or even yourself!
Contained within are three-hundred and sixty-five handwritten notes, each color coordinated to the below themes (moments and memories, quotes and lyrics, reasons I love you). Every morning for the next year you can pick one note out and it will be a nice start to the day for you!
Did you know that tonic water naturally glows under black light? All you need to do is to install black lights around your home. Another decorative glowing trick is to break open a highlighter pen, put the tip inside a bowl of water to allow the highlighter ink to mix in. Then pour the water into any type of container you want to “light up”. DO NOT DRINK HIGHLIGHTER INK.
#2 Sterro Hack
If you don’t have a sound system to play dance tunes, simply make one by cutting a notch in a toilet paper roll and slipping your phone inside. Another idea is to drop your phone into a glass or bowl for the same effect, it’s an amazing way to amplify sound… not to mention it’s ultra clever.
#3 Chill Beverages With Berries
You can avoid diluting drinks and “pretty” them up by replacing ice cubes with frozen berries. It’s not only attractive and colorful, but will lend drinks an extra yummy flavor.
#4 DIY Potpourri
Unlike the synthetic store-bought stuff, this is completely natural and won’t make your place smell like a doctor’s office. Just throw some fruit into a slow cooker, and then add bay leaves cloves and cinnamon. What type of fruit? Lemons, apples, oranges will all work stellar!
#5 Trick Wine Opener
If you can’t find the corkscrew, but have an power drill… no problem! Also doesn’t uncorking wine this way look more suave than the other trick of beating the back of the bottle with the heel of your shoe?
#6 DIY Disco Lights
Transform your Xmas lights into a disco celebration by cutting a hole in the bottom of some Solos and placing them over the bulbs like lampshades!
#7 Preserve Good Scotch
Here’s a solution for when you’ve got a super expensive and special scotch tucked away at the bar, but a friend would like to have some. It would be awkward to say “no”, but you can polish the rim of his glass with a napkin and bit of scotch on it. The glass will smell of strong scotch, as you pour him a watered down version.
The holiday times are drawing near, and the gift DIYs are coming in! It’s really easy to buy someone a gift from the store, but when you’re on a budget and want to get something thoughtful, it’s more fun to DIY the gift!
Mug DIYs as a gift are super easy and awesome because everyone uses cups and you can customize it in many ways! I saw a lot of cute mug DIYs, but they either involved Oil-Based sharpies or stickers I just didn’t have the time to get!
With a quick stop at the local dollar store and a bit of raiding through your make-up bag, you can make this really amazing, expensive-looking mug!
DIY WATERCOLOR-EFFECT MUGS
WHAT YOU”LL NEED
Ceramic mug (any shape or size)
Nail Polish - preferably 2+ colors
HOW TO MAKE IT
Fill the container with warm water - make sure it’s not filled all the way, so the water won’t spill over when you dip the cup in!
Pour some of your nail polish colors in the container one at a time. (I used two, but I can see it working with more colors!)
Note: for me, the nail polish got on the container, and I had to toss it out. Make sure it’s a disposable container!
Use the toothpick to mix the colors into an interesting pattern one stroke at a time! (the nail polish is thick and won’t mix together if you don’t stir too much)
Dip your cup into the mixture - I stayed away from dipping the top where people drink
Optional - Use the toothpick to design with the clumps of nail polish on the mug or left in the container for extra customization!
Ideas - You can drag the clumps downward into a spiked design like the pink or dot them around into flowers like the blue!
Let dry for 2-3 hours.
Hand wash these only! Otherwise, put on some dishwash safe Mode Podge as a sealant.
The mug will smell like nailpolish afterwards obviously, but with a good (careful) wash, the smell should go away.
Wrap these mugs up, and now you have the coolest mug gift ever! ♥
IDEA: Wrap them with hot cocoa mix (and marshmallows?!), coffee, or tea bags for those special friends!!
So @enthuxxiasm and I decided this year we were going to dress up as Eleven and Joyce from Stranger Things for Halloween! We did the test run on our Disney Cruise on Halloween/Pirate night, and it went so well!
I made the Eleven dress from fabric, velcro and hot glue. We borrowed the jacket from a friend! The LED lights for mine were $3 at Target, and both of my tops were from Target as well!
(Also, you can’t see it in this picture, but on the door, the red sparkly Christmas lights spell out R-U-N)