Making The Most Out of Late Gift-Giving

With Christmas just around the corner, this post might be very timely for you, so pay attention!

As I imagine it happens to many of us, the gift I ordered for my friend didn’t arrive in time for her birthday. We’ve all been there at one point or another – whether our fault or not – and it sucks. It happens to me a lot more frequently than I care to admit, and I’m working on it. Amazon Prime has made me overconfident to the point I think if I order a gift five minutes before I leave to the party I’m attending it’s going to arrive on time (and I’m not talking about Prime Now. #JustCrazy).

My friend’s birthday was December 2nd, but the gift didn’t arrive until today, December 5th. I didn’t notice the delivery estimate until after I’d placed the order, and I’m assuming Black Friday/Cyber Week orders trampled all deliveries. I didn’t want to be empty-handed since I’d actually see her ON her birthday, and I know I could’ve just told her what I got her or gotten her a card, but I wanted to make it a little extra special. So…

I got my friend a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, that comes in a very unique and pretty color I thought she’d love. I looked up the packaging, and I decided that it would be cute to make a little imitation box. Do you remember in elementary school when they taught us how to make 3D cubes and other figures with construction paper? That training came in handy for this! I went over to my trusty PowerPoint, pulled some images from the interwebz and used shapes to create some tabs where I thought I’d be making the folds, and printed it out – #FixItMoment: I forgot to print on thick card stock, and printed on regular paper. Since I didn’t want to re-print, I just glued the paper to the card stock with a glue stick and called it a day. #ItsHandled. Also, since you can’t really gift a Polaroid camera without film, I got her a pack of black and white film to play with! Which also came in today… so that got a little cute box too.

So that’s it! If your gift is late, your friends and family will understand regardless, but going the extra mile so that you don’t show up empty-handed and getting them excited about what you got them in a cute way can always give you extra brownie points 😉

 

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Making It vs. Buying It… What Gives?

The “why buy it for $7 when you can make it for $92 worth of craft supplies?” meme runs my life. I have a very hard time just buying something when I KNOW I can totally make it myself and it will turn out almost identical to the original. The satisfaction of seeing something made by me next to something that is produced elsewhere is so tempting, that I find myself having a dilemma on a weekly (if not daily) basis. “But isn’t it more expensive when you have to buy all the supplies and you probably won’t use all of it?” you say?? Nonsense.

My most recent and blatant example of the ridiculous journey I was about to embark on to make something instead of buying it was for my best friend’s bachelorette that I’m planning. The destination for the bach is New Orleans. Woot! What’s synonymous with Nola? Masks. Should I buy them? Honestly, even if I found really cheap masks, like at Walmart, they’re still not cheap enough to include in the bundle of items I’m making for the girls, and it’s a hard expense to justify. While browsing Pinterest for inspiration, I came across a pin that listed very easy instructions on how to make a mask with just puffy paint and tulle! Ooooooooo! Jackpot! What could be easier than making a mask out of puffy paint? In this particular instance, the paint and tulle I’d need would actually probably come out cheaper than buying the masks anywhere, so that part of the plan was solid. What wasn’t so solid was the amount of time it would take me to make the masks, which I was ultimately ok with, but after making one and trying it on, I knew there was a fundamental problem with them: puffy paint stretches, but only so much… I knew the masks would last 2.5 seconds before one of the ends snapped, and I didn’t want to be all proud and mighty giving the girls things I’d made myself, only to have them fall apart on Bourbon five minutes into the night. This is what the project was looking like:

After 3 puffy paint masks, I decided to take a look at Ali Express, and hoped to find something extremely cheap that would surpass the flimsiness of the puffy paint mask structure. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long to find really cute lace masks for really, really cheap. Like under $0.60 each cheap. I thought about it for all of 6 seconds when I immediately decided that in this case, buying was a no-brainer. My saving grace through this process was also that I began planning this practically before my friend even got engaged, so I’ve been doing things with plenty of time, and I didn’t have a problem placing an order for items that would take about a month to come in from abroad. With shipping, 13 masks came out to $11.04 dollars! Yes, all of them! TOTAL! I know.

Absolute steal, absolutely worth it, and unquestionably cheaper than buying all the materials you’d need to make the mask, which if you didn’t own, you’d need:

  • Big tube of Puffy Paint
  • Tulle
  • Parchment paper
  • Printout model of mask
  • Clips
  • Ribbon

As a crafter, I did of course have all those things in hand, so my expense to make the masks would’ve technically been zero, but realistically, that money had already been spent, and in this case, the outcome wouldn’t have been equal to or superior to the purchased product.

Today, buying wins!

Halloween 2017 DIY – Two On The Run Costumes & Winter Is Here!

You know I’m ALL about the DIY life for Halloween costumes. Do you remember this one? I’m still super proud of those two costumes, but this year was a whole new ball game, on a much tighter deadline.

My bff wanted to keep it simple but cute, so she decided she wanted to be a unicorn, but like the chillest unicorn ever. Horn from amazon, and a shirt by yours truly that said “I’m a unicorn, DUH” for anyone who dared ask. Done.

Her sister went shopping for one idea, and changed her mind during the shopping trip. She came to me with a yellow shirt and some felt and wanted me to turn her into a pineapple. Done.

Cut up the shirt. Drew the peaks. Made a crown out of felt, a headband and some poster board scraps.

I had been thinking about my costume for a while, but decided to pull the trigger the week of Halloween. My red hair was finally in its full glory, and my Game of Thrones fever was (is!) as strong as ever. I also just happened to have a burgundy statement necklace and a newfound love for makeup. Melisandre, you’re up. DONE!

Red hair? Owned. Necklace? Owned. Makeup? Owned. Robe? $12 on Amazon.

And that’s all folks! Another DIY Halloween in the books. Start preparing early for 2018, for the night is dark and full of terrors and you don’t want to show up in the same costume as everyone else…

Liana’s Fabulous #BubblyForBubsie NYC Bachelorette Props

What do you do when you’re going on a bachelorette with your group of closest friends? Lots of things, but if you’re me… You. Make. Props!

One of my really close friends, Liana, is tying the knot at the end of the month and so we’re going all out with the “last fling before the ring,” all the way to one of her favorite places: New York City. Her sister and Maid of Honor, Katrina, very kindly requested I made some props for the big weekend, and of course I was very excited to make this set, being for such an amazing friend and what was promising to be a super fun weekend. The color scheme of some of the bach items was pink and gold, so I knew I’d stick to that for the props. Without further ado, some pics of the set (I forgot to do my semi professional set-up before leaving, so the pictures aren’t that great. Also, we barely got to use the props because of the back-to-back schedule we committed to haha! #BachLife

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The props were a surprise for Liana, and when she saw them she said she may be biased, but this was her favorite set I’ve ever made! I’ll take that type of bias any day 😉 Happy wedding my dear friend!

Buying vs. Making: Concert Shirts for J. Cole!

Let’s talk about concerts for a minute, shall we? It has gotten truly ridiculously expensive to go see your favorite musician lately. Ticket prices + venue fees + parking/Uber cost + refreshments/food at the venue + artist memorabilia = where do I file for bankruptcy?! It’s a lot. When I was little, of course I’d beg my parents for the shirt or hat or bandana or keychain or any memento I could keep as a souvenir, but now as an adult, I dare not even glance over at the merchandise section.

I usually wear normal clothes to concerts, but as the date for the J.Cole concert in Orlando was approaching, my brother suggested I should make some shirts for us. I was super surprised he had this idea because 1. Neither he nor I are the type to do this and 2. I really hadn’t thought about making myself any artist-related clothing item for a concert, ever. But this was a cool moment for me, since my brother never asks me to make anything and I was so touched he wanted me to do it that I was 100% in.

When it comes to these things, I try to be as frugal as possible. If it’s not something I can see myself wearing often, I will not splurge on it. Plus, if it’s a DIY, it should be cheaper, right? Right. So, when it came to the Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), I decided not to buy any, but make use of what I already had. No need to spend extra or go crazy with that. And for the shirts, since I had the experience with the ones I made for my Game of Thrones watch party, I knew I’d find something at Walmart. I found a black shirt for me for under $4, and even though my brother actually didn’t like any of the options there, he ended up finding a v-neck at TJ Maxx for $4 as well. With the amount of HTV I ended up using, each shirt basically came out to $6!

When it came time to design it, I wanted to have J.Cole’s face and hair silhouette which has become a big part of his brand, and also incorporate the crown from his Born Sinner album artwork. I ended up designing/cutting/putting it all together the same day of the concert because #ProcrastinationNation. And the crazy thing here was that since I was only using what I had, there was no room for error. Whatever I’d cut, it had to work. Because of the amount of each color I had, I decided that my brother would get Cole’s face silhouette, and I’d do my shirt with only the crown. I looooved how they turned out!

 

And here’s the best part of it all: during the concert, there was a lot of camera focus on the audience, and at some point my brother caught us on the jumbotron, BECAUSE he recognized the print on his shirt! It was so cool to see my shirts on the big screen, looking like official merch, but made by me :’)

 

Guess who’s never paying for merch ever again?!?

A little more vinyl, please!

You guys know that after being against trying it for such a long time, and then mildly flirting with it, I’m officially in a committed relationship with vinyl. Oracal, glitter, HTV, you name it, I want it in my life. Anything I can vinyl, I WILL VINYL. Since when is vinyl a verb? I digress…

My best friend’s sister, Andrea, has a few obsessions at the moment which I hope to help her enable:

  • Pineapples
  • The Little Mermaid (this makes us friends)
  • Personalized items

Andrea also has a new phone case every week, and if we keep this up, I’m going to make her my only customer! In any case, Andrea came over one night so I could spruce up a water bottle and a phone case for her, and I was so very happy to oblige.

The phone case: 

For the case, Andrea wanted to have her name accompanied by a pineapple. Easy enough! I got to work on Cricut Design Space, whipped up the design to her taste and cut away. She loved how it came out!

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The water bottle:

For this big BIG bottle, Andrea wanted to see her favorite princess encasing her monogram. I’m happy to slap Ariel onto any and every object that comes my way, so I can keep, trying to be, part of her worlddddddddddd! (see what I did there?)

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Andrea left super happy with newly personalized possessions, and I got my vinyl fix for the day. Win win!

Big Props Need Love Too – 80s Gala Rockout \m/

Every year, I feel like there is a theme around a certain new craft/element that keeps reappearing throughout different orders. 2015 was the character letters, 2016 was vinyl, and one of this year’s big contenders were big props. I’d never really made big props before, but it has become a staple of many orders this spring, starting with the big engagement ring, the truck car prop, and now this – totally 80s standing props!

I got a request to create some big 3-4 feet standing props for a school gala that was 80s themed, which one thing is if the people are holding the props, and another if they’re going to have to stand on their own. That’s a much scarier prospect. And so, it begins.

Since the theme was 80s, I got asked to do a Rubik’s Cube, a boombox, and the old MTV logo from back in the day. I figured the Rubik’s cube would probably be the most time consuming since I’d have to measure out and cut a lot of parts, so I started with that one. Oh and one more thing – I decided that a totally 80s thing to do would be to add glitter to the mix to make them pop!

 

The MTV logo and the boombox were pretty standard, I just drew on a poster board inspired by images I found online (logo and boombox for reference) and I used neon and pastels to go with the decade theme.

 

Once they were all done, it was time to make them stand and take some nice photos! They’re placed by my door, that’s how big they were!

 

 

 

Big props and 2017, together like PB & J!