Bargain Alert!

I found a great product, just arriving in The Dollar Tree stores, that won’t last!  And if you don’t think you need them, you may change your mind when you check out the suggestions I have for their use!

What is it?  Large bamboo poles (apx. 5 ft. tall x 1″ – 2″ in diameter).  Although they vary slightly, in height & diameter, I found most of them to be fairly large.  Typically, bamboo poles cost $5-$7 each in DIY, craft or floral supply stores and  make great decorative accents.  At this price ($1.00), they are very affordable and will provide inexpensive inspiration for you!

Here’s what they look like (in the store) to make it easier for you to spot them, or when asking your local Dollar Tree staff where to find them. I found them hovering between the (teeny) craft section and toy dept.


Distance photo (for size scale)


By the way,  I didn’t see this item on their website, so it is probably an “in-store” item only.

The first (and easiest!) suggestion I have for you is to place a few inside a large planter, vase or pot to use as a trending, contemporary and nearly care-free decoration (just a little dusting once in a while).  It would look great inside OR (because they’re weatherproof) outside, as seen in one of the photos below:


Consider a greenery base to avoid dust inside the container

Great with the new, trending Asian decor

The perfect accent with the current, popular trend of Asian decor

Consider adding a light!

Add lighting (in container) for a super-contemporary look


Because they are weatherproof, they make the perfect outdoor accent

Another great idea is to use them to create your own fencing.  There are tons of DIY instructions for many versions of this type of project (on the internet),

from easy to complex!

bamboo bountyfence

Bamboo_fence_backyard xscapes

You could also use them as inexpensive curtain rods, “as-is”, spray painted or bundled!

gardeners cottage blog_curtain rod

photo courtesy of The Gardener’s Cottage.
For a thicker rod, bundle several together & use 2 pre-made finials or unique wine bottle stoppers as finials

etsy bamboo rod

photo courtesy of etsy shop “Copper Bamboo”

And if you’re handy enough to hang a couple of rod holders on the wall, you could use them as a shower curtain rod in a tropical-themed bathroom:


Create your own floor lamp!  Or cut smaller pieces for a table lamp.


Or how about an accent to a wedding reception centerpiece?

wedding reception

Need something sturdy to help you support your garden greens?


How about making a DIY frame to hold bamboo creating an inexpensive Privacy Screen… inside OR outside your home?

Adding some lighting creates even more ambiance!

bamboo fencer blog_bamboo-room-divider

OR, do you need a privacy screen from the “Sun”?  Then, use them to create a cover for your pergola.

photo courtesy of Beautiful Bamboo Blogspot

photo courtesy of Beautiful Bamboo Blogspot

Ok, as long as we’re talking back yard, HERE’S a project for ya!  Buy a bunch to create your own Tiki Bar.  LOL 😉

tiki bar

I absolutely LOVE how great they look glued to the back OR front of a mirror to create inexpensive wall art!

[clicking on either of the next 2 photos will open a separate internet window with each of these creative blogger’s free tutorials]
2.15 Mirror 1

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of Domestically Speaking blog

photo courtesy of Domestically Speaking blog

And, of course, my favorite…. as part of a fountain… ahhhh serenity!

safaffect blog_fountain

photo courtesy of Saaffect.wordpress blog

Enjoy the Creativity!



Budget Wedding Idea

June is still the most popular month for weddings, so I thought now would be a good time to share this idea, as inspiration for anyone with a super-tight wedding budget.

A friend of mine was making plans to renew her wedding vows.  She envisioned the ceremony taking place, under the vine-covered arbor, in the back yard of another friend and asked for my help dressing it up.

She was definitely on a tight budget (ahhhh… I love a challenge!), so we assessed what each of us already had to use and what else might be needed to turn the arbor into a sanctuary for their ceremony.  One friend had a white, paper aisle runner (from her own wedding), a pedestal table (to hold the ceremony items), and I had a few white paper bells.  Also, I went by a warehouse store (COSTCO) to purchase one of their fabulous 50-yard rolls of wired ribbon and we were set!

I cut the aisle runner to hang one-half on the front & the other half on the back (of the arbor).  Next, I made several bows for accenting the white paper runner and paper bells and Viola’!  A backyard ceremony site was set.  Simple and beautiful!

I used the leftover scraps of ribbon to create rose petals, placed them in the skirt of a piece of statuary (I found in the yard) and then moved it near the walkway/aisle – instant flower girl! 😉

Sometimes, I wish more couples would consider holding their weddings at home.  There’s no pressure, no rules… just love and togetherness.  Oh, and the final total to ready the arbor (for the wedding ceremony) was merely the price of the ribbon $8!   I think the next photo demonstrates the grace that was bestowed on my friend and her hubby that day.  Congrats to them both for a long, wonderful marriage together, with wishes for many more years of wedded bliss!

Enjoy the creativity!


Wedding Reception Gift Box

If you’ve ever shopped for a pretty box to use at a wedding reception, for holding cards with cash & gift cards inside, you’ll notice that most of them open quite easily.

Leaving the box exactly the way it came, when placing it on a table at the reception location, simply creates a dangerous temptation to peek inside.  I’ve heard terrible stories where complete strangers, who happened to be walking through the reception site, have emptied these boxes.

Recently, my friend’s son was getting married and she also realized the potential danger of leaving this box open and unattended at the reception, so I offered to help resolve it.   Together, we found a satin ribbon that matched the bridal colors and a self-adhesive initial that represented the bridal couple’s married (last) name.  While the box was closed, I used my low melt hot glue gun to attach a pre-measured, length of ribbon around the entire circumference of the box, making sure it covered the seam of the box opening.  Then, I simply added the self-adhesive initial to the front.  Now, the box was secure and when the happy couple was ready to look at their cards, all they had to do was remove the ribbon!  And just look at how much prettier the decorated version looked, on the reception table:

A “Heritage Wedding Gift” Tradition

See the WEDDINGS Category for details about the Wedding Gift Box, pictured on the right of the gift basket

This year, I attended a wonderful wedding and as expected, the gifts (guests brought for the Bride & Groom) were all beautifully wrapped, in a sea of silvers, golds and white on the reception table.


Click on any Photo, for a larger view

But, there was one gift that caught everyone’s attention.  It was SO unique , not only in its color and gift wrap, but also in its contents.  It was brought from Holland by the Dutch relatives of the Groom’s Mother. 🙂  Before these relatives traveled from Holland to attend the wedding, they purchased and then, stuffed their suitcases with every possible Dutch product they could fit in.   The gift basket overflowed with all of their thoughtful goodies… things like a clock and cups, with the traditional Dutch Delft pattern on them.  But, there were also many traditional Dutch treats (cheeses, chocolates, tea and crackers, etc.) that the Groom was familiar with because his mother made sure he was continually aware of his heritage, while growing up.

I was fortunate enough to be a small part of the gift when the Mother of the Groom asked me to put the finishing (gift wrap) touches on her family’s gift by arranging it in the basket, wrapping it up and making a gift tag and bow to add.  I remember thinking what a great idea this gift was because it not only pleased the Groom, but also provided him with everything he needed to share the story of his heritage and childhood traditions with his new wife.  So, if your family consists of relatives from another country (either in this generation or one in the past), keep this idea in mind when someone in your family gets married.  Consider the idea of beginning a new tradition by giving them their “Heritage” as a wedding gift.  It will be remembered for many more years than a blender, I promise you!

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 ~


One of the most fun items to provide for your wedding guests is a disposable camera.   It provides them with a vehicle to participate in the fun of capturing the candid moments and special memories of your wedding ceremony and reception.

Your choices, in the marketplace, are typically “plain” disposable cameras that have a wedding graphic on them or to purchase expensive “personalized” versions from a catalog or wedding supplier.  When I saw the personalized versions from a catalog, I realized how easy it would be to replicate these.  And the wonderful benefit to making your own camera covers is that you can purchase inexpensive disposable cameras that, in the end, will look like they came from an exclusive catalog.  Below are the camera covers I designed for my niece’s wedding.  Designing her camera covers enabled me to completely customize them for her special day.

They chose a destination wedding on an island, so I simply found appropriate clip art and inserted text boxes over it to personalize the covers with their names, wedding date and my original poetry, in their honor.

My original poetry:

We’re happy you joined us for some waves, sun and sand,

and if you see something memorable on either ship or land

please use this camera to capture the moment for us

whether pre or post wedding, we won’t fuss!

Love, Lisa and Todd

I, then, printed these in sets of 4 onto medium-weight card stock paper (available at any office supply store).    Once you purchase a disposable camera, simply remove the cover it comes with and use it as your template to create a personalized version.  Design your cover, print it, cut it out (including the holes for the lens) and wrap the cover around the camera, using a glue stick to seal one end over the other.

Here is a closeup view of a single camera cover:


Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.

Printing 4 camera covers on 1 page saves paper! :-)
Printing 4 camera covers on 1 page saves paper! 🙂

If you are enjoying my creative ideas, please feel free to check out my (als0) creative book “Creative Family Traditions and Ideas”.  It’s available for preview and purchase on my website:  Check it out… you’ll LOVE the SAMPLE VIDEO! 🙂

To view more ideas, click on ABOUT THE AUTHOR (above) and ENJOY!

Wedding with an Oriental Theme

Check out my CREATIVE book, under the ABOUT THE AUTHOR tab~ it makes an AWESOME GIFT!

These photos are from a wedding where I made the floral bouquets and centerpiece, in a very simple & low-cost design.  Photos were taken with older camera, so I apologize for the poor quality.  The bride’s bouquet was made with silk orchids and long grass, accented by a bow.   For the bridesmaids, I added silk orchids and a bow to a simple oriental theme fan.

For a centerpiece, I made a simple arrangement, but added pink tinted bamboo, which I tied together at the joints to create a structure within the arrangement.

Bride's Bouquet

Bride's Bouquet (Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.)

Bridesmaid's Bouquet

Bridesmaid's Bouquet (Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.)

Oriental Theme Table Arrangement (full view)

Oriental Theme Table Arrangement (full view) - Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.

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