12 Gifts for 12 Personality-types for $10… or Less!!

[CLICK ON ANY PHOTO to view it larger]

Still scratching your head for gift ideas?  Well, since we have finally reached the 12 days of Christmas, here’s some budget-friendly suggestions that I hope will help.  Each one is $10 or less and some of them even make terrific stocking stuffers!

mags

For the Reader, Crafter or Hobbyist – a magazine on their favorite topic (there are TONS of new ones out there!)  Simply wrap it around their favorite sipping beverage and tie it closed with a length of ribbon, tied in a bow!

tire gauge

For those who have to spend a lot of time in their car

a Digital Tire Gauge is not only easier to use, but a great reminder to keep their tires inflated, for safety and better gas mileage,

-OR-

a Personalized Car (removable) Decal for their car window.

Consider their Monogram:

initial decal

Tons of these on ETSY

Family Members:

Click on photo for website

Click on photo for website

Or Fill in the Blank to create a Customized Decal:

Click on photo for site

Click on photo for website

For the Gardener – a basket of herbs.  Recycle one of your own baskets & tuck in 3 easy-to-grow, popular herbs.  My favs are Rosemary (Roasting small potatoes in fresh garlic, rosemary and olive oil is SOOO DELISH!), Cilantro & Parsley

Photo courtesy of www.Givingplants.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.Givingplants.com

For the Cosmetic-aholic – I know the store of “choice” these days is ULTA, however… I have found a new, inexpensive brand of make-up in Target, called “ELF” (LOL- this brand sounds as if it might have been made just for me, but actually, it stands for “Eyes, Lips, Face”).  It’s incredibly inexpensive and everything I’ve purchased works just as well, if not better, than the expensive brands!  Some facts I learned about them… they are: eyeliner

  • High quality
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comodogenic and their ingredients are listed, for each product
  • NOT tested on animals nor do they endorse such practices
  • NOT derived nor do they contain animal ingredients
  • Supportive of HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project

My favorite is the creme eyeliner and it comes in 11 colors, glides on like butter and stays in place without cracking or smudging.  Best of all… it’s only $3!  Here’s their website for more product review: http://www.eyeslipsface.com.

soap barAnd if you’d like to introduce someone to more natural products, consider a bar of natural soap, or make it yourself.  Once you’ve tried natural soaps, you’ll never go back!

For the Snacker, 2 suggestions (and P.S. – making several of these, at once, is a great gift idea for co-workers, neighbors, teachers, salon employees, etc.) –

Mini trays of either veggies & dip OR fruit & dip OR both!  Who wouldn’t enjoy receiving a healthy snack they didn’t have to make themselves?  And if you choose to give the fruit, don’t forget to try my family’s heirloom Fruit Cream Dip (the “How To” is located under the RECIPE tab on my website).  Party stores have small (condiment-size), lidded plastic containers or ask your local restaurant if you can have or purchase some of these to use with the dip so it won’t spill on the way.

a_veggie tray

If you would prefer to satisfy their sweet tooth, try your hand at making these easy cocoa dippers.  Purchase mugs (Dollar Tree), small box of regular-size candy canes

candy canes semi sweet morsels   marshmallows

peppermint chips

regular-size marshmallows, a bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels and a bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips.mug and cane

Break off a section of the tail-end of a candy cane (so the remainder can hang freely from the  lip of the mugs, with apx. 1-1/2″ to spare, to allow room for the marshmallow). see photo on right for approximate length

Push the broken end end of the candy cane into a marshmallow.  Melt the  mini chocolate morsels and roll one end of the marshmallow in it.

a_cane in marshmallow    a_coating marshmallow

Crush some of the Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (with the back of a spoon).  After dipping the marshmallow in the chocolate, immediately roll the chocolate end of the marshmallow in the semi-crushed chips.

a_crushing peppermints     a_completed

Allow to dry/harden and you will now have the most wonderful treat, when used as a hot cocoa dipper!  Place 1 or 2 in a plastic baggie, use ribbon to tie it closed and tuck it into a mug with a packet of hot cocoa mix.  Wrap it up or give it just like that!

cocoa dipper

For the CookCL mag

the 25th Anniversary issue of COOKING LIGHT just came out, with all of their best recipes, in magazine form so that really keeps the cost down!

Upgrade or replace one of their older cooking utensils, i.e. an ergonomic potato peeler or a sturdy, bamboo wooden spoon or spatula, etc.  Or, introduce them to a new kitchen tool on the market, ldishwasher 1ike a funnier dishwasher alert magnet or unique drink “ice mold”Eek!  Shark Fins! like the shark fin one pictured here. LOL

wine stopper

Target

For the wine connoisseur – Bottle Notes!  This new tool doubles as a bottle stopper and note board (write dates or how the wine tasted to you on this mini dry erase board)

For the Entertainer

Handmade set of Coasters (I love this idea I found on a website called Crafting Green World.com) and I included the link for details & directions:

scrabblecoaster

Click on photo to visit site

For the Organizer – dec hooks

Who couldn’t use a little extra hanging space, but not all of us are handy.  Solution:  look at how beautifully dressy “over-the-door” hangers have become!

baster duoFor the Grill Master –

2-Pack of Basters with reservoirs

grill light

Click on photo for link

Magnetic, battery-operated, LED Grill Light (found this one at Bed,Bath & Beyond for $8.99).

Or, an Apron with pockets for tools AND slots for drinks! (disclaimer: okay, I found this on the internet for $13.90 so it’s a little pricier, but provided they don’t fall over -with the weight- what a funny gift!)

grill apron

For the Designer – a decorative tile featuring their home to display on a stand…. turning it into a design feature!  This is totally do-able if you are artistic.  If not, you can always take a photo of their house and transfer it to the tile (here’s a link for directions I found on whatIlivefor.com: http://www.whatilivefor.net/2010/06/mod-podge-photo-transfers.html).

house tile_a

HELPFUL HINTS:  1)If you don’t have a laser printer, most copy shops do, and 2) be sure to find out the “Year” they moved in so you can hand paint “Established _____” somewhere on the tile also.

batonFor (my favorite) the Sentimentalist –

This requires a little detective work, accomplished by having some 1-on-1 time with the gift recipient so you can (covertly) ask questions & garner “CLUES”about their youth, i.e. favorite hobby, toy, an old skill they have that you didn’t know anything about, etc.  Doing this will give you an idea about something sentimental that you can help them revisit, via a gift.  For example, I just found out (during one of those 1-on-1 times) that a BFF used to be a majorette.  So, I headed to the toy store and brought a $7.99 hot pink baton, which I plan to wrap & give to her as a sentimental LOL.  She’s going to LOVE it!!  And you better believe that I plan to ask for a demonstration of her whirling & twirling skills of old… I can’t wait! 🙂

MERRY CHRISTMAS and…

Enjoy the Creativity!

EILEEN

P.S.  Next week’s blog post... a Yummy SNOWFLAKE BREAKFAST!

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2012 Christmas Holiday Home Tour Video

Our 2012 Holiday Home Musical Video is ready to provide you with some inspirational holiday spirit! 

Click below, to view:

If you’d like to watch it in HIGH DEFINITION QUALITY, click on the “GEAR” icon (this will appear in the black bar once you hit the PLAY button) and then, click on 720p.

Don’t forget to turn up your speakers, fix a cup of cocoa, put your feet up to…

Enjoy the Creativity!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Eileen

My sincerest thanks to the talented Production Staff at THEM FEELINGS MULTIMEDIA for creating our video each & every year, simply to support a small business!

CHRISTMAS 2012 – the year of the New Puppy!

[As always, click on any photo to enjoy a larger view]

Christmas decorating at The Seasonal Home had to go in a slightly different direction for 2012, thanks to the addition of a new family member.  Meet Miss Lilly Grace, who sometimes looks more like a Teddy Bear…

    

She’s a very sweet girl who didn’t mind posing for her holiday photo…

And just this week, those cute little puppy ears turned upward (to help her listen for Santa!) and I think she looks more like a fox…

Whatever our little girl turns out to be, because she can get into things (as most puppies do), I had to out-fox her by creating some clever holiday decor.  So, if you have a new, young one around this Christmas, whether on 2 or 4 legs, I hope my ideas help you out too!  Also in this blog post, you’ll find unique & budget-friendly decorating ideas as well as DIY tutorials, so make yourself a cup of cocoa and enjoy the creativity!

THE FRONT PORCH

Because I created such a large display last year (click HERE to review), I chose to keep things simple outside, utilizing my trusty footed urns (you’ve seen these before! lol) again to hold natural, preserved wreaths, with a large red ornament in the middle of each.  The berry garland is actually 3 separate (4-foot) pieces.  HELPFUL HINT: attaching several smaller (less expensive) lengths together is easier than trying to find one, (expensive) long berry garland:

I found myself in a “Holly and Berries” mood, this year and it began with my outdoor bench.  HELPFUL HINTS:  Don’t hesitate to decorate outdoor furniture with garland (adding lights too!)  because it welcomes your guests with the “unexpected”.  And the mossy gift (on the bench seat) is simply a white box that I covered in moss, using glue… easy!

I love my Goat Cart!  And it turned out to be a great investment because it holds larger decorations, for every season!  Also, I’ve used it in my garden, yard and now, on my front porch.  How versatile is that?!! 🙂

The final front porch touch is an old sled I display every year (found years ago, at a local yard sale… in FLORIDA, no less! lol).  I usually add a “PLEASE SNOW” sign to it, but I think I’ve finally given up on that dream and added holly, berries and a skate to it instead.  In Florida, we CAN do ice! 😉

THE FOYER

The Holly and Berries snuck right in the front door and laid out beautifully in the Foyer also…. welcoming Christmas, with a little help from Santa, of course!

And here’s where the “clever” part comes in, for the first time.  Anyone who’s been a fan of The Seasonal Home for a while is probably familiar with the 2-tiered table that is usually in the foyer.  Knowing that a puppy (or child) could easily AND quickly clear off a shelf of easy-to-reach decorations, my idea was to temporarily shuffle some of my accent tables to new locations (in the home) for the season.  Check out how nicely a cabinet from the kitchen also fits under the mirror in the foyer!

THE LIVING ROOM

The Living Room is where the first tree went in The Seasonal Home.  I knew any tree I displayed would need to be elevated (out-of-the-way) to keep our little pup safe, so the unique & inexpensive idea I came up with is a Drum Stand tree base!  The total cost to make this was around $20 and here’s the DIY instructions:

CLICK on photo to better view the instruction details

I chose a color theme of black & gold along with frosty and musical (under the stars) accents.  If you look closely (at the tree below), you’ll see that I recycled the black branches from Halloween 2012, adding them into the tree for texture.  I also reused 2 silver drums from Christmas 2010 by cutting & adding a length of the black & gold reindeer gift wrap (used on the drum tree stand) and gold cord (to hide the gift wrap edge) so they coordinate, when added to the tree.

It’s so hard to find large, quality glass ornaments in black! Check out Seasons on the Web link (right hand column of this blog) to check out their huge ornament inventory!

And here’s the rest of the room!

HELPFUL HINT: boxes, gift wrapped in coordinating paper & ribbon make an inexpensive room accent for the holidays!

THE FAMILY ROOM

In the Family Room, I couldn’t place too many decorations or snow on The Seasonal Home hearth because of our new pup and her thieving ways.  And because she thinks she can carry away just about ANYTHING in her tiny mouth, I had to be sure I used something too large for her to consider… these lighted, faux gifts appear to be just perfect… so far!  (lol)

And here’s the rest of the Family Room

I’m starting to notice a “puppy” theme in this room (LOL)

And I simply can’t let a Christmas go by without highlighting a series of my ornaments, like these (Hallmark Windows Series) that feature children peeking into shop windows at Christmas time.  A cabinet or sideboard (with shelves) is the perfect place to display a collection.  HELPFUL HINT:  If you also have a collection of ornaments, consider trying something new by displaying them together (for maximum impact) instead of spreading them around the tree… it’s incredibly fun!

Here’s some close-ups so you can see how much fun adding small details (like snow & trees) can create!

THE KITCHEN

Another Christmas tree to be elevated!  And, of course, it should also make sense with the theme I chose –  Snowmen and Holiday Sweets to create the Frosty Sweet Shop!

I was inspired by a $500 Cupcake (themed) tree stand I saw at my holiday wholesaler.  Although it was beautiful, the cost to make mine was only $10.

Here’s the directions:

Once you place the Cupcake liner around your basket, it’s time to add frosting.  Lightly spray-paint polyester fiber fill (comes in a plastic bag at craft & discount box stores) and shape like frosting dripping over the edge of the Cupcake liner.  I used a light pink color of spray paint.  Finally, add small (matte or glitter-finish) ornaments to the fiber fill to create a look of candy sprinkles on the frosting.  I found a pick of several glittered ornaments at Target for only $2.00 and because each one was already on a piece of wire, it was easy to slip them into the fiber fill batting, individually.

And here’s the finished look –

The rest of the room –

HELPFUL HINT: Large foam snowflakes (Dollar Tree) make great winter-theme placemats!

HELPFUL HINT: the 6″ plastic snowflakes I found at the Dollar Tree this year fit perfectly into the chandelier to create instant ice-bling!

Light and motion collectible house by Department 56

KIRKLAND’S has wonderful holiday art… this one lights up!

HELPFUL HINT: Use holiday cards to help you decorate inexpensively! I used 3 inside the openings of this photo display & coordinated a little scene below them.

You’ll find even more details and decorations in this year’s HOLIDAY TOUR on YouTube… here’s the link:

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Inexpensive Gift Idea: CHRISTMAS SCENT Simmering Potpourri

If you’re looking for a little something special, to surprise your Thanksgiving guests with, consider this idea to kick off the holidays.  Placing one at each person’s place setting would be a wonderful new tradition you could start this year!

This Christmas Scent Simmering Potpourri is a great gift idea because it is inexpensive, all natural, you can make it yourself, and it’s a gift that lasts all season long!  And you can create several of these scent mixes to help you cross several people off your Christmas gift list also… at once!

Consider it for – friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, teachers, babysitters, nail techs, hair stylists, favorite postal worker or restaurant server, etc.

First, you will need to gather the following ingredients, in a large enough quantity to make the desired amount of gifts.

Ingredients

  • CLOVES
  • CINNAMON STICKS
  • DEHYDRATED ORANGE SLICES
  • CRANBERRIES (optional)

Look for inexpensive sources for these products to keep costs down.  Here’s where I found mine:

  • Cloves at The Christmas Tree Shop (57 cents per jar)
  • Cinnamon Sticks (check out the Spanish section of the grocery store for a large bottle of Badia Mexican Cinnamon Sticks – typically under $10)
  • Dehydrated Orange Slices (Home Goods -$2.99 for a bag of 16 slices.  Remember – Home Goods, Marshalls & T. J. Maxx are all the same owner, so you have 3 places to look for them! 😉
  • Cranberries ($2.50 in the grocery store produce dept.)

And if you prefer to save even more money and have a little time to devote to the process, here’s the directions to make your own, oven-dried Orange Slices (makes apx. 18 slices)

Ingredients

  • 1 navel orange, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Cut the orange into thin, round slices
  3. Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper or a (nonstick) baking mat and lie orange slices (on top) in a single layer.  Do not place them directly onto the baking sheet or the slices may discolor when they react with the metal
  4. Gently pat the orange slices dry with an absorbent kitchen towel to remove most of their moisture
  5. Use a sifter to lightly dust one side of the orange slices with confectioners’ sugar.  Flip and repeat this process on the other side of the orange slices.  (the sugar creates a slight “candied” look, which is great for presentation purposes or if you decide you’d like to hang some from a ribbon in your tree, wreath or garland.
  6. Bake apx. 2-1/2 hrs, turning half-way through (more often if you feel ambitious! lol) until the peels are dry and their flesh is translucent
  7. Remove the baking pan from the oven and allow the slices to cool completely
  8. If you would like to reserve some of your orange slices to create “orange-aments”, use a sharp knife to open a small slit (between the peel and flesh of the orange slice) and slip a skinny length of ribbon through.  Tie both ribbon ends into a knot and hang… they look great when hanging in front of tree lights or a window’s light and smell great!

To assemble your Christmas Scent Potpourri:  add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of Whole Cloves, 3 – 5 Cinnamon Sticks, 2 – 3 Dehydrated Orange Slices and 10-12 Fresh Cranberries in each bag.  I also have suggestions for ways to give this gift:  in a small bag (plastic or paper), with instructions included.  Click HERE to download and print the “INSTRUCTIONS” tag I created so you can add it to your package also.

Give the Christmas Scent-filled Bag by itself -or- add it to a holiday theme take-out container

or place inside a mini potpourri crock.  I found the electric crock below at The Christmas Tree Shop for only $4.99:

but they are also available at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $9.99 and if you use a 20% off coupon, they will cost you only $8!

ENJOY THE CREATIVITY!

Eileen

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 

Back-to-School “Teacher Gift”

Want to start the year off right with a new teacher?  Then, don’t wait until the END of the year to give them a little gift… do it now, at the beginning!

I know – giving a “year-end” gift is the usual tradition most people practice and it’s certainly well-deserved, especially by that point, because of the countless hours they’ve spent nurturing students all year-long.  But, if you also consider a reasonably priced and useful gift on “Day 1”, your thoughtfulness will surprise them and show your eagerness to establish a good relationship (right away), thereby setting a positive tone for the entire school year. 😉

And here’s my (useful) gift suggestion…. a lunch kit!  This kit idea came to me when I had to come up with a “thank you” gift for 2 VIPs I recently helped host at a charity event.  Both of these ladies are hard working career women and I know a lot of people are watching their diets today by making & taking their lunch to work.  So, I thought a gift of lunch necessities and recipe ideas would be something they would appreciate and actually use!  The kit consisted of: an insulated, re-closeable lunch bag with their name attached (I used a Vera Bradley luggage tag for this  *found on clearance!*, which created a dual purpose BONUS GIFT!), creative lunch ideas cook book, package of napkins, 2 unique & reusable food containers and for those stressful days… some snacks & gum.  Cost: less than $20.  Value:  Priceless!

MORE IDEAS!  You could also add S & P shakers (I found a bright, polka-dotted pair at Walgreens for $1.49!), yogurt bars, instant drink mixes (like Starbucks VIA and Nestea Blueberry Pomegranate & Honey), recycled & reusable bamboo utensils, etc.  And if you find out they are on a restrictive diet (Gluten free, etc.), you can probably locate a cook book with those recipes.  Whatever you choose, keep in mind that a co-worker, relative, friend or sibling would also love to receive a gift like this!

P.S.  Click HERE to check out my Back-to-School Wreath too!

Enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

Mother’s Day Brunch in a Up-cycled Garden

[Click on any photo for a larger view]

This post is a double-feature… an idea for a Mother’s Day celebration AND some up-cycling ideas for your garden!

First, the Garden ideas.  I’ve been busy this spring, up-cycling some items (I already own) to stay within my budget.   Before I talk about those projects, I have to share with you a bargain I found last fall.  I got SO lucky and spotted this gorgeous, cedar pergola at Sam’s Club (on sale) for around $200.   Have you priced these things?   If you have, you’ll understand what a bargain this was!  So, my advice is to watch the post-summer sales at the shopping clubs and grab a deal for yourself. 🙂

Now that I have a garden focal point, in my pergola… it’s time to add a fountain!  I was inspired by a blue ceramic, bubbler fountain at Lowe’s.  But, at $130, I decided to  instead up-cycle my old birdbath that I had turned into a planter years ago.  So, using my glue gun, I closed the drainage holes (previously created), spray painted it blue, added a small pump, “Welcome” rock (from my front garden) and added 2 bags of smaller rocks from the Dollar Tree to turn it into a simple, blue fountain.  

HINT:  spray paint the pump electrical cord the same color to camouflage it.  

I hung an old farmhouse window (from the back side of the pergola), above the fountain, to create a “back wall” to my new garden room and gathered all of my larger clay pots, spray painting the 2 white ones (blue) also.  And I filled several of my large pots with lettuce & tomatoes so I can have a homegrown salad soon!

You might also recognize the garden outdoor furniture set I up-cycled and featured in a post (last year) by spray painting it black and recovering the cushions.  And since a portion of my first (glass) gazing ball holder disintegrated, I removed the ball and replaced it with a clay pot, highlighting one of my pretty plants.

I also wanted to create some shade because it gets HOT in Florida! (LOL)  I found a pre-made cover at Lowe’s for $99, but it had no tethers or weights to keep it in place…. hmmm… the first wind will turn that into a sail!  Luckily, Lowe’s also carries the shade fabric (cuts sun & heat by 75% and is super-easy to sew, but you could also use velcro to create a customized cover) by itself for a lot less, I decided to make my own.  I measured, cut & sewed the lightweight fabric to match the dimensions of my pergola roof and added a pocket (on each end) so I could insert a piece of poplar wood (the least expensive way to weight each side down).  By the way, Lowe’s will also cut-to-size any piece of wood for about 25 cents… what a deal!   The fabric works AND looks great! [check out my $7 paper lantern too].  The rug is one I found (last year – post summer) and because it’s small enough to roll it up and store, I just bring it out for special occasions like this one.  Speaking of that — I can also roll up & remove the shade cover if a storm is headed my way (yay!)

And now, for the Mother’s Day celebration idea – creating a little bit ‘o Heaven in my backyard (on a budget) inspired me to invite my Mom over and spend some time with her going through old photos, reminiscing and enjoying some lunchtime treats for Mother’s Day…. an “ahhhhhh” day for both of us… with no standing in line and no reservation required!

Happy Mother’s Day and –

enjoy the Creativity!

Eileen

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