Jumbo Gift Bag Filler

Since I began The Seasonal Home blog, I’ve shared a lot of unique gift AND gift wrap ideas with you.  I love giving gifts and here’s a collage of just a few creative ways I’ve wrapped them in the past….

And here’s one more idea that actually solved a gift bag dilemma for me so it’s a good idea for you to keep in mind also.  Jumbo gift bags have large openings… I mean HUGE!  Filling it up with tons of tissue paper, to hide the gift inside, would  have been expensive and wasteful.  So, I pulled out my bag ‘o balloons (are you really surprised that I have a balloon stash??? lol) 😉 and chose a few that coordinated with my gift bag.  It only took 3 to fill up the bag and tying the bag handles together (over the top of the balloons to hold them in place) worked great because they were the perfect camouflage for the gift inside.  BONUS:  They actually made the bag seem even more festive.  One “party AND gift-in-a-bag”, ready to go!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen 

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Nostalgic Surprise Party: LEGEND OF ZELDA

[CLICK on any photo to view it larger]

This creative idea is the perfect (surprise birthday) party theme for someone who grew up playing classic video games.  I have to admit that I don’t know much about video games (past or present), but that didn’t stop me from having a blast, making my share of the food & decorations for this nostalgic surprise party, based on the classic video game series – THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.

Knowing that the (birthday) guest of honor typically arrives home through his front door, we concentrated our largest decorating efforts there.  We turned his living room into a scene from ZELDA – the Dungeon, where the character GANON awaits you (near the end of the game).  The decorating crew began by installing a wall scene setter from the party storeAnd we used a new removable, hanging product on the market (QUICK CLICK) to hang the BAT characters.  Recently, the manufacturer sent this product to me to test and it was definitely two thumbs up!  I plan to use them a lot during the holidays to suspend ghosts, ornaments, snowflakes, etc. (from my ceiling). This Made in the U.S.A. removable product works on any surface and holds up to 2 lbs.  Check out how the finished room looked…

And around the house, Zelda fan art was displayed…

Here’s all of the handmade Zelda-representative props, from various versions of the game, that we also displayed around the house.  I’m especially proud of the budget-friendly, DEKU Tree because I created this 8-foot, 3-D decoration with nothing more than a roll of brown paper, sponge brush, black paint and a picture (to go by)….

The Gelatinous Creatures & Bombs were made using a balloon & paper mache’

The Birthday Crew even took the party theme into consideration when planning the food…

My food contribution was the ELIXIR SOUP (White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe, located under the RECIPE tab in top tool bar of my blog) and the GUARDIAN ACORNS.  To make the acorns, I used melted chocolate to assemble 3 easy-to-find ingredients: Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, mini Vanilla Wafers and Butterscotch Morsels.  I think these acorns would also be a fun dessert snack in the Fall!

The Birthday Crew did a great job bringing this classic video game to life.  All of the planning and hard work was definitely worth it because the Guest of Honor was completely surprised and totally impressed by all of our efforts.  Personally, I also owe them a HUGE thank you for explaining the game details to me so I could share our combined, creative effort with you!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Last Minute Gift Idea (for Birthday, Grad, Mother’s & Father’s day, etc.)

This (last minute) gift idea would be fun to give just about anyone!
One of my sons lives in a different state and is the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at a college located there.  Because his busy season runs into spring, he hasn’t been able to come home and celebrate his birthday with family in a long time.  But this year, his season ended early, enabling him to head home for his birthday (as part of  trip to scout local, stand-out high school players) and I was able to give him a HUGE hug and wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, in person…. YAY!  The last minute dilemma: I had already decided to pitch in on a birthday gift he’ll receive once he returns, which left us without a small gift to actually hand him on the one year he would finally be with us…. figures! LOL

Anyway, not to be defeated, I thought of something creative & fun, but as low cost as possible I could pick up for him… last minute.  Remembering my umbrella gift idea (https://seasonalhome.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/one-of-the-best-traditions-in-my-book/), I came up with a new twist on it!  Because they are always open, I ran up to our local convenience store and purchased the same amount of scratch-off lottery tickets as the age he was turning.  Then, using double-sided tape, I temporarily adhered each of them along the length of a long piece of curling ribbon.  I cut the ribbon end and tied it to a balloon weight (you can find these at dollar stores, if you don’t have one hanging around)  and placed that into the bottom of a gift bag, feeding the ribbon ‘o lottery tickets in behind it.  Then once I was done, I tied the other end of the ribbon to the top of my gift bag and added a note of “what to do” instructions, made on my computer using clip art and a text box.

 

Needless to say… he really liked it and that made me happy too!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Making MORE Memories!

I am firm believer that children, and people in general, remember what you DO much more than what you give.  Because of this philosophy, I receive many requests to create gift baskets filled with items that help us make memories with family and/or friends.  If you would also like to make one of these, here’s how I build one:

I use my book (Creative Family Traditions and Ideas) as the foundation for each basket because it has ideas useful in many different types of  relationships, including simple friendships.  Next, I search out other manufacturers who also sell products encouraging us to focus on the “M” word…. MEMORIES…  not money and include those, thereby supporting my book as well as the products of other deserving companies.  Finally, rather than place the items in a typical basket, I search for “useful” containers.  Before you know it, I have a gift filled with fun and useful items for creating memories or at the very least – items that make life easier for the recipient.

On an even HAPPIER note ~ When I wrote my book, I discovered that raising 4 children on an extremely tight budget provided me with a true “gift”.  Necessity being the mother of invention, my circumstances helped me become creative – teaching me how to spend “time” (on my children).  I developed clever traditions, ideas and problem solvers as well as ways to reinvent new uses for everyday items.  All of my efforts made them feel loved and special.  And now that they are amazing & creative adults themselves, I realize that they benefited tremendously from my situation!  Coming to that conclusion makes me even happier because I realize that today’s tough economic hardships may actually have a silver lining… it gives me hope for the future adults of today’s struggling parents.  I applaud the parents who roll with the punches and dig deep to find their own FREE creativity to “spend” on their children.  I wish I could give every one of them a HUGE HUG and tell them to hang in there.  I want them to know that the end result can be positive and wonderful!

[check out BABY’S 1st GIFT post as well as the 2 baskets (below) that I created for a fund-raiser, this week]

 

 

One of my FAVORITE traditions (in my book)

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve presented gifts, to friends and family, using this method.  I thought of it when my boys were teenagers and have used it for “event” birthdays (like this 60th birthday celebration – see photos below), Baby and Bridal Showers, Graduations, Mother’s or Father’s Day and Holidays.  Whenever I feel like showering someone with a little fun and happiness, I fill up an umbrella with goodies they love.  My brother loves Starbucks coffee and scratch-off lottery tickets, so I filled his umbrella with $25 worth.  He LOVED it!!!!   It’s so funny to watch their expression when they think you have bought them JUST an umbrella…… and THEN….. they open it up and are thrilled beyond words!

The assembly details and suggestions are in my book (CLICK on book icon, in right column, to order) as well as TONS of other fun ways to celebrate the Events, Birthdays, Seasons and Holidays of our lives.  Best of all…. they’re road tested!  Making memories is SOOO important.  If you (or someone in your life) need ideas, they will LOVE my book… gift them!

By the way, this time, I added a new twist to my gift umbrella.  I placed it in a cardboard tube (left over from the inside of a roll of wrapping paper) and then, wrapped the cardboard tube with bright birthday paper & curling ribbon.  I thought it would be fun for it to resemble an English Christmas Cracker – except mine is a Birthday Cracker, loaded with prizes!  Check out the fun he had ~

SUMMER Birthday for the “Young at Heart”

If you have a parent who is celebrating a milestone birthday this summer, check out my idea for a party decoration.  I displayed this for my own Mom, on her 85th, and she really appreciated the bright, cheery, youthful message it conveyed.  Maybe your parent will too!

By the way, I picked up the pails at a dollar store, the self-adhesive, vinyl letters at an office supply store, helium-filled balloons and clear plastic wrap (inside pail to simulate a water look) at my local party store and the sand & shells at a nearby discount store.  Total cost was apx. $20.

Helpful hints:

1) Place some clear plastic, waxed paper or a tray down, first, before adding the sand, to protect your table’s surface.

2) Instruct the party store to tie each of your balloon bouquets to a “balloon weight” (which they typically have available) so they will stay put, inside your beach pails.

To see more creative ideas for birthday celebrations, check out my book – Creative Family Traditions and Ideas – by clicking on the book cover on the right of this page.  Enjoy your birthday celebration!!!

My New, Favorite Birthday Celebration Product…

Looking for a FUN, new “birthday” celebration product?  I just found one in my local grocery store…  sparkler candles!  You can use them on a cake, stick them in a bowl of ice cream, on cupcakes, etc.  The package recommends “outdoor” use, so a picnic table celebration might be best.  What a cool way to light-up someone’s birthday!  As always, it’s recommended that you follow all safety precautions and of course, this product is not intended to be handled by children.  But, in the right hands… how fun is this!!!

Check out my book (click on book cover) for more FUN, Creative and Unique “Birthday” Celebration Ideas!

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