DIY succulent planters and gifts

I know succulent projects are everywhere, but I just can’t get enough! I probably have 10 pots of succulents in the backyard and I started a succulent garden in the front yard, but I still bought several different varieties when I went to the home improvement store this weekend. My husband doesn’t agree that you can never have too many succulents.

Forget flowers and chocolate, I would much rather have succulents! In fact, that’s what my husband brought me for Mother’s Day; the large hen he bought is now finally producing chicks! I’ve surpassed my exclamation mark limit, but I really love succulents, especially sempervivums (the “hens and chicks” that produce babies). They are easy to grow, and the babies they reproduce are easy to replant. This makes succulents great to cultivate at home then make gifts and creative planters. Need a hostess gift? New neighbor? A friend’s birthday? Grab some succulents and throw them together in a cute way and you have a unique gift that will literally, keep on giving. The hard part is figuring out exactly what to do with your plants.

So here are just a few ideas!

DIY succulent planters and gifts

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Thrift-shop terrarium centerpiece

terrarium

Last week, for the first time, I ventured into a thrift-shop that was literally around the block from my house. I’m not sure why it took my so long to go inside, but I was pleasantly surprised and took home an armful of puzzles, a vintage top, an awesome purse, and a bag of Mega Blocks. I also found out that on Tuesdays, everything is 50% off! This week I went in there and bout a vase, a glass bowl, a crystal tea cup, a wicker platter/basket, and some odds and ends. I knew exactly what I was going to do with the glassware – make a terrarium!

Terrariums have been a trendy DIY project for a while, but I hadn’t participated in it as of yet. Finally, with an abundance of baby succulents growing in my garden and a renewed interested in pinned terrariums, I decided to look into it a bit more and give it a go.

Directions and care instructions after the jump!

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Fun (and cheap) Halloween decorations

Over here in the corner of California where I live, it is finally getting cool! We have been enjoying mild days and cooler mornings and nights. With this weather the trees are finally starting to turn colors and I can soon bring out my sweater collection. And of course, then follows the holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

I have been stock piling holiday ideas on Pinterest and I have some decoration ideas I can’t wait to try for Halloween. These ideas seem relatively easy and affordable and can have a big impact:

1.Boarded up windows from Darious Obell 2. Bagged body from Instructables 3. Spider sack from Martha Stewart 4. Creepy window silhouettes from Smoking Lily

You can also try Eyes in the bushes from Frugal Family Fun:

Yesterday I was at my local 99 Cent Store and Dollar Tree and found nearly all the supplies:

  • Trash bags for the body
  • Foam board and adhesive (going to try foam squares) for the boarded up windows
  • Black poster board for the silhouettes
  • Spiders and spider web (instead of batting) for the spider sacs
  • Glow sticks for toilet roll eyes in the bushes

What Halloween decorations are you crafting?

100+ Stocking Stuffer, Easter Basket, and Gift Bag Ideas for Men

Welcome! Hopefully after reading this post and all the comments you will have a better idea as to what to get that guy in your life, whether it be your son, brother, husband, or dad! And honestly, this list can be great for any hard-to-shop for person! Many of these ideas are gender-neutral and will work just as well for the mother, sister, cousin, or wife in your life ;

This is a revamp of my previous post, 50+ Stocking Stuffers for Men. So many people left such great comments and ideas that I thought I would condense them all here so they are easier to read through. There are still some great traditions in the comments if you want to have more ideas.

These small gift ideas are perfect for stocking stuffers, but also for Easter baskets and gift bags too. Most of the ideas on here range from $1-$10.

Looking for Ideas for the Kids? Click HERE!

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A Family Recipe to Feed a Crowd

I’m going to let you in on a secret recipe today; a recipe from my husband’s Portuguese family. Having a hard time figuring out what dish to make or bring to your next event? Look no further; bring Portuguese Beans!

A big pot of these flavorful beans are easy to make and a big favorite around here. We make them for family gatherings, BBQ’s, and parties. If by chance you have any leftovers, they taste even better the next day for lunch or with some runny eggs for breakfast.

I like this recipe because it is very flavorful and has only a few ingredients. These beans go great with any meal, whether it be hamburgers and hotdogs, steak, chicken or eggs! I like to use beer in the recipe, but if you want to have a gluten-free pot, it is easy to substitute the beer for chicken broth and it will be just as tasty!

I’ve fed about 20 people with this recipe, when it is a side-dish. Technically it’s about 26 servings of beans or so. I cook it in my regular large sauce pot. It’s a pretty cheap dish as well. A huge can of beans costs about $5, bacon $2-5, tomato sauce $2-3, and everything else less than $1. So you can feed over 20 people for about $10.

Portuguese Beans for a Group:
Ingredients:
1 12oz pack of bacon or 8-10 slices of the thick cut kind, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15oz cans of tomato sauce
1 bottle of beer
OR
2 cups chicken broth
1 huge can of pinto beans, rinsed (the #10 can size with 26 or so servings)

Directions:
In a large pot, crisp the diced bacon
Remove bacon from pot with slotted spoon and set aside
In bacon grease, cook onion and garlic until translucent
Add the tomato sauce, beer or broth, and the bacon into the pot
Simmer for 10 minutes
Add rinsed pinto beans and simmer for about 15-30 minutes
Add more liquid if necessary (keep about an inch or two of liquid above beans)

Enjoy!

Portuguese Beans

A bad picture of the beans; I always forget to take a picture because I’m too busy eating them and they are gone by the time I remember!

Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas for Children

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Every year we would get Easter Baskets from the Easter Bunny (just like stockings from Santa). My mom would fill our baskets with special treats and toys along with hiding Easter Eggs. It was almost like waking up on Christmas morning!

This year I only have my toddler-age Godchild to make a basket for, but I have been thinking about lots of other ideas! The following is a list of Easter Basket Filler Ideas that don’t involve candy – some to make and some to buy. Just follow the links for the craft tutorials or instructions!

What to use for baskets:

  • The cheap wicker Easter baskets they sell at the store
  • Other stores have more fun “baskets” like fabric animals and colorful pails
  • Colorful organizational totes at the dollar store (we get these the most – fun and functional for after Easter!)
  • Decorative bowls
  • Toy containers: baby doll bath tubs, strollers or cradles, Lego containers, etc. (holds the goodies and doubles as a toy)
  • Real baskets from a home or craft store
  • Instead of using Easter grass, use fabric, a new piece of clothing, a baby blanket, etc.

Easter Basket Ideas (other than candy):

  • Sidewalk Chalk (make your own without any toxic ingredients if you have the time)
  • Playdough
  • Gak  (another homemade ooze recipe)
  • Bubbles
  • Crayons (melt old or new crayons down and more into molds for personalized crayons)
  • Color books (or print coloring pages from online)
  • Babydoll or stuffed animal sleeping bags (See how HERE – Sleeping bags are good for boys or girls, just alter the color combinations!)
  • Spongeballs (great water toy or baby toy. Cheap and easy!)
  • Chipmunk or other animals from a glove
  • Teddy bears or a socktopuss  from colorful socks
  • Letters, shapes, or number sponges for bath time
  • Felt Food for play kitchens (Lots of stuff out there!)
  • Dinosaur tails for imagination play
  • Superhero capes (I can personally attest that super hero capes are for boys AND girls!)
  • Eggs full or small toys (think plastic dinosaurs, army men, Legos, etc)
  • Eggs full of colorful goldfish or cheerios (love this idea for my Godchild)
  • Stickers or stamps (My basket always had a ton of Lisa Frank stickers! Here’s a link on how to make your own stickers)
  • Pencils and stationary (there is so many free printables out there, you could probably print your own out as well)
  • Art supplies (one of my favorites as a kid)
  • Kites (we always got one of these in our basket!)
  • Balls or other sports equipment
  • Make your own airplane kits (you can buy these for a dollar or two at craft stores usually)
  • Sippy cups or drink cups (I bought a bunny cup with a straw for my Godchild)
  • Puzzles and other games
  • Flash cards or playing cards
  • Hair or jewelry accessories
  • Dress-up items
  • New clothes or shoes
  • Movies or music (Veggie Tales Jonah DVD is $5 at Target, along with some other kids movies)
  • Books and comics
  • Sand toys
  • Bath toys
  • Kids gardening supplies
  • Bug catching supplies
  • Craft kits

Theme Baskets:

  • Art supplies – paints, crayons, color books, notebooks, etc.
  • Sports/outdoor equipment – Frisbee, balls, 2 person paddle games, etc.
  • Baking or food – Aprons, play food, plates and other containers
  • Bathtime – foam and sponge shapes, containers, other bath toys
  • Beach or toy box– Sand pails, shovels, measuring cups, sifters, funnels, etc, This book would be cool too.
  • Gardening/bug catching/exploring – bug containers, nets, child-size shovels, boots, pots, explorer hats and vests
  • Superhero: Capes, KIDS comics and movies, action figures
  • Dress up – Jewelry, shoes, clothing, etc.
  • Game Time: Games and puzzles, snacks for family game night

What are you putting in your Easter Baskets?

creativegiftsforchildren

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Washable Fleece Dusting Mitt

Today I was in productive clean mode (yes, the Christmas tree and the decorations came down!). While I hate cleaning them, I noticed our blinds were a little too dusty to leave alone and they can be such a pain to clean too! I then remembered something I had seen online; fleece dusters. I was thinking of this:

From Dollar Store Crafts

However, in the midst of my cleaning storm, I did not consult the interwebs and developed my own dusting friend with the inspiration of the above photo; a washable fleece dusting mitt!

Two scraps of fleece, sewn on 3 sides, then cut in strips - super easy!

If the picture isn’t explanation enough, here are the instructions:

  1. Take two pieces of fleece, bigger than your hand
  2. Sew on 3 sides (leaving the bottom open) enough room to fit your hand inside
  3. Cut the sides (do not cut into the seams) into strips, rounding the corners if you would like
  4. Get to dusting!

This mitt worked fabulous for picking up dust off those pesky blinds! You can wear it on any side – the smooth or the strip side. Plus, with the fleece on your hand instead of another tool, you have much more control around those small corners and edges. Then when you are done, throw it in the wash! I won’t post the after pictures because the amount of dust I picked up was a bit scary!

*UPDATE:

I found an even better use than using your mitt for cleaning blinds: Cleaning a ceiling fan!

I coaxed my husband the other day to finally dust the darn thing and since my mitt was dirty, I whipped up another one in about 2 minutes. He sprayed one side with cleaner, and kept the other side dry (double duty) and it worked great! The dust clumps didn’t fall off and fly everywhere which is what happened the last time we cleaned our fan.

Best 2 minute, minimal sewing, super cheap, craft cleaning product I have made so far!

50+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Women

Welcome! If you are a male, looking for gift ideas for the lady in your life, I hope this helps! And no matter what gifts you buy or make, WRAP THEM. It doesn’t have to be perfect and beautiful, but the extra effort really makes a difference! Think about what she likes to do in her free time, items she uses often, etc.

Ladies, any more ideas? Please share! Like I mentioned before, I love stocking gifts! It seems like it’s easier to do stockings for females because all that girly stuff is small and fits in the sock. Plus, guys are always harder to shop for; anyone else with me on that?

Stocking Stuffers for Women of almost all ages. To view stocking stuffers for men, click HERE.


Stocking Stuffers:

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How to Make a Hair Flower or Brooch Clip

Here I use two small flowers

I wear a lot of hair flowers. I also see a lot of them on sale for outrageous amounts; that’s why I make my own. You can too! Never buy a hair flower again – make your own hair flowers that can double as a brooch! It’s easy, inexpensive, and has endless varieties.

Supplies:

Silk or fabric flowers (a flat flower works best, such as daisies or orchids)
Alligator Brooch Clips
Hot glue gun
Fabric or felt scraps
Pliers or metal cutters (to trim flowers)

Find flowers that are fairly flat and the size you want

Directions:

Remove flower from stems and cut as close to flower as possible – you want the flower to have as flat of a back as possible. You may have to glue some flower layers back together.

Depending on how flat the flower is, you may or may not need to use a pad under the clip. If needed, glue a piece of fabric or felt the same size or slightly bigger than the clip where you will glue the clip onto.

If you use fabric, the cloth may fray with use. Felt is a better option if you have any.

Glue the clip to the back of flower

Or you can glue the clip straight to the flower

And after it dries – congrats! You have your own hair flower/brooch! Wear in your hair, pin to your sweater or bag!

Add feathers under the petals, use vintage flowers, add or remove different petal layers from different flowers, or put a cab into the center of the flower for more variety.

How to wear hair flowers:

I like to wear the flowers either with my hair half up and the flower to the side (as pictured above), behind the ear when my hair is down (like my avatar photo), or to the side of my “poof” as shown below. If you are wearing a low pony tail, you can also clip the flower on the side of the ponytail (wearing a low side ponytail looks cute this way). If you want more ideas for flower and how to wear them, you can just do a search on Etsy, and see how other people are making and wearing them.

Fabric flower with feathers, worn to the side of a "poof" (and not a very good poof on that day)