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!


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,


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


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:


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! 🙂


Enjoy the Creativity!


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

The Bench Orphan

For 2+ years of blog posts & photos, my readers have often seen an unusual “what in the world is that?!” piece of concrete outside The Seasonal Home’s front door.  And just in case you’ve ever wondered… it’s just my little Bench Orphan.  Before I explain what a Bench Orphan is, I should provide you with its background –

My sweet Grandmother (Nonie) was our family’s “Holiday Queen” and the inspiration for my love of seasonal decorating.  When she passed away 26 years ago, I asked for her concrete bench.  Ever since I can remember, this big concrete bench, with beautifully cast roses on each leg, was in her back yard.  It sat in an all-day shady spot (this is important in Florida! lol), which provided the perfect resting place after our annual Easter Egg Hunts as well as many other backyard family gatherings.  But, my fondest memory (as a little girl) is of sitting on the bench and drinking homemade lemonade, while my Grandmother told me stories or handed out sage advice as she hung up her laundry on the clothesline or gardened a little… tending to her many beautiful & unusual plants, including a small grapevine.  After she finished, she would always sit down next to me (on the bench) and finish her stories while sipping her homemade lemonade.

A few years after I became the proud owner of my Grandmother’s bench – the seat broke.  I may have positioned the bench legs too far apart… I’m not sure… but as it fell to one side, it landed on one of the support legs and also broke that.  I suppose most people would have thrown the remaining support leg away but to me, that would have been like throwing out memories of my sweet Grandma Nonie, who I dearly loved and miss to this day.  So, whenever you see the big, rose-adorned concrete bench leg next to my front door (in any of my photos), please don’t think I’ve lost my decorating mind.  It’s just an orphan from my Grandmother’s bench and having it there to greet me everyday keeps my Grandma close to my heart.  🙂


UPDATE:  I just had to share with my readers something my 4 sweet sons gifted me with this past Christmas…. a new bench for new memories.   No wonder I love them!!!

Unique Graduation Gift Ideas

Some friends have shared (with me) a few of the really creative & unique gifts their children are receiving for their graduation this year.  I’m passing the ideas on to you in case you are looking for some “gift-giving inspiration”!

A unique gift one family participated in this year involved everyone sending the graduate a check for $20.11.  Get it?  The amount of the check is the same as their graduation year.

The next two involve a little more work, but the results are worth while.  In the first creative idea, the gift-giver uses photos from every school year (of the graduate’s life) to create a review of their life, in the form of a scrapbook.  And to make it a little easier, Hallmark stores have these wonderful “INSTANT” Scrapbooks.  These have the layout already done for you so you only have to add the photos and personal notations. 

And finally, if your graduate is like most, they have accumulated a large amount of tee-shirts as a result of their involvement in school clubs, sports, activities, etc. throughout their school years.  Check out this nice quilt a friend made for her daughter, using those shirts.  She simply cut-out the most important part or center of each shirt and added them to a coordinated fabric, creating a custom quilt.  Her daughter’s tee-shirts could have sat in a drawer, for years to come, until she finally decided to donate or throw them away.   But instead, they will be on display every time she pulls out her quilt for a warm cuddle.  Imagine sending off a high school graduate to college with a gift like this.  And every time they use it, they will remember how much they are loved.  I think this is a very special way to recycle a graduate’s personal memories and I applaud all of these creative ideas!  Speaking of which… don’t forget to check out my other Graduation gift ideas as well as the creative ways I came up with to gift wrap them!  Just enter “Graduation” in the SEARCH window or choose the GRADUATION category on the right hand side of my blog.

Enjoy the Creativity!!!


Thanksgiving Tablecloth “makes memories!”

This idea, for a new family tradition at Thanksgiving, will bring tons of memories rushing back each year that it’s brought out.  And even better… it’s very simple to do.

To begin:  purchase a new, light-colored tablecloth and some permanent markers, in Fall colors.  After you set your table, for Thanksgiving dinner, scatter the pens across the length (of the table) so everyone can reach them.  Encourage your family and guests to write a personal note, which they should also sign and date.  Suggest that they write something like:

  • something for which they are thankful
  • something they accomplished during the year
  • someONE they are grateful for
  • something (like a special event) they would like to remember

As the messages accumulate, from year-to-year, your family and invited guests will thoroughly enjoy re-visiting their own past  notes, and those of everyone else, as they each add a new one for the current year.  Your inexpensive Thanksgiving tablecloth will become a true time capsule and a treasured keepsake to pass down through the family for years!  A final thought… be sure to place a liner under the tablecloth or sheet to protect your table from marker residue.

Personally…. I’m grateful for all of my wonderful readers and for the overwhelming response I received to my DVD release… thank you all for your support!


Early CHRISTMAS Project

As you’ve seen in my book CREATIVE FAMILY TRADITIONS AND IDEAS, I am a HUGE fan and proponent of making memories, especially if you can make family members feel “special” in the process.   And since there are only 4 months (from today) until Christmas, here’s an idea (I came up with) that brings my philosophy to life.  I thought sharing it with you now would give you plenty of time to gather the photos, you will need, to display.

In late October, when Christmas decorations begin to appear in the discount (mart) stores, keep an eye out for “frame” style ornaments or gift tags (like the ones in the photo on right).   Typically, they only cost around $1.00 each.  If you can’t find any, purchase simple silver frames (always in stock at the Dollar Tree).    Whichever you choose, purchase enough (of the frames or frame-ornaments) to display a photo of each of your children (even the 4-legged ones… LOL) and maybe yourself and your significant other.  Then, add them to a wreath or a Christmas tree to personalize your holiday decor.  Below are 2 example wreaths that I made… one in a snowy theme and one that’s a very whimsical theme (I donated this wreath, so there are no photos in the frames).  Click on the photos for a closer look.  You can also use this idea on a garland, as I did in my book, mixing them in with some other very special commemorative family ornaments to create the same look I did.

My favorite time I used this idea, however, was to make some members of my extended family (the adult nieces and nephews), as well as my own adult children, feel special.  I chose to use silver frames and hung them on a 4-foot, flat-backed, wall tree.  With the help of my siblings (their parents), I gathered photos, of each of my nieces and nephews as well as my children, taken when they were very young, at Christmastime.  I placed one photo inside each of the frames and hung them on the tree, using pieces of red, satin ribbon, tied into a bow after slipping it underneath the frame stand to create a pretty ornament hanger.  That Christmas, I was the family hostess and didn’t say a word to any of my children, nieces or nephews about the “special” memory tree I had created.  It was so sweet when the first one of them realized their photo was on the tree.  Immediately, there was a rush to the tree, with everyone looking for their framed photo memory.  They LOVED my tribute to them and I sent each of the frames home with, their respective owner (as a holiday party favor), from me to them.  The memory of their excitement gives me warm fuzzies every time I think about it.  That is exactly why making memories will always be the most important thing I do in my life.  I’ve shared more of these type of ideas in my book.  Please check it out for yourself or when you need a special & original gift.

CLICK on PHOTO for a closer view of my wreath's details

CLICK on PHOTO for a closer view of my wreath's details

If you are enjoying my blog and creative ideas, please check out my brand new, Christmas Decorating DVD, available 11/15. Check out the right-hand column of this blog for details and thank you, in advance, for your support! :- )