Things To Do
Easy and Fun Projects
Here's a last minute inexpensive fun gift idea to make for your friends.
If you go to almost any office supply store these days, they have these large sheets of sticky magnetic material available. They are normally used to make magnetic business cards. But you're gonna make fun post-card magnets instead.
First of all you have to find a few vintage postcards you really like. I like to find old cards of Disneyland Rides that are long gone… But you can use anything your heart desires… Old coffee shops, motel rooms, Route 66 images, any faraway place that makes you happy...
Make multiple color photocopies of the cards - but shrink the size of the image by 50% or so – so instead of a 4" x 6" card, you have a roughly 2"x 3" image. Remove the sticky backing of the magnetic sheets and attach them to your mini postcards and trim as needed. Make up little sets of these magnets up and tie them up with a nice ribbon!
Instead of traditional wrapping paper, try something completely different... Use a road map. It's especially fun to use ones from exotic travel destinations: Hawaii, New England, the South of France! Try to match the map with the personality of the receiver of your gift. For instance, if they were a skin diver, wrap the present in a map from the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands! For a tiki fan friend - use a map of Hawaii or the South Seas! Or for a skier, wrap in a map of the Colorado Rockies!
Okay. So it's the last minute and you still don't have a costume? Go directly to the store and buy the cheapest white queen sheet you can find. Put it over your head and cut out 2 round holes for eyes. The classic Charlie Brown ghost costume is still TOPS in my book for ingenuity and laughes from your friends.
Re-Light your Fire...
Ever buy a really nice scented candle and then were sad when it was finished, but there was still wax left? Well, start collecting all your bits of leftover wax. Break the wax into small pieces and store them in a Ziploc style baggy. When you have enough to make a whole new candle, you can buy wicks from your local craft store (get the pre-waxed kind). Then hunt around your local thrift store or garage sales for some interesting small glass container in which to make your new candle.
Stick the wick inside your container and then place your wax chips around it. Using a double boiler with the heat on low, let the wax melt around the wick and add more wax chips as needed. If you don’t put the flame up too high and the wax doesn't liquify – you can actually see the chucks of different colored leftover waxes in your finished candle. Set the candle aside to cool down before lighting.
Mini Emergency Packets
They used to say this on the old Mickey Mouse Club Show, "Is everybody Neat and Pretty?" Well, here are a few things that EVERY glove box or purse should have to keep you that way.
Aspirin or ibuprofen, a couple of folded tissues, breath mints, small pen, and slips paper to write on.
Buy those little snack-sized Ziploc baggies and makeup emergency packets for you and your friends. You'll have sweet smelling breath, never have a headache, can wipe that nervous perspiration from your brow (or wipe a tear away), and something to write your number on when you meet that hot new boyfriend!
Cocktail Napkin Coasters
I owe this smart idea to Iuka Grogg... Ever find a cool cocktail napkin that is so collectible and nifty looking, you just don't want to use it or throw it away? I have.
Take your napkins to your local copy store and have your napkins laminated! Voila - they are protected and waterproofed and now can serve as colorful unique coasters.
NAUGHTY PRANK: license plate frame
While I usually don't condone these kinds of activities, this one created by my delightfully naughty friend Trader Pup tickled my fancy so much I had to share it with you.
Go to your local swap meet and order a personalized license plate frame that says something silly like "Uncle Milty is my idol" "Pet Rock on Board" or bad like "Ask me about Viagra." It's especially good if it you put something personalized in your message. Then put the frame on your friends car by stealth and see how long it takes for them to discover it.
Overnight Guest Kit
You know when you go to a hotel how they have little mini shampoos and soaps. Wouldn't it be nice to have something like that for your friends when they spend the night at your pad. Odds are they ended up crashing there because they had a little too much to drink and didn't come prepared. So have something like this on hand.
Items to include:
If you wanna be extra nice add these things. Go to your corner drug store and look in the "travel-size" aisle for inexpensive combo packs of these:
Make it look special!
Rather than buy trial size shampoo, etc., use empty collectible trial size liquor bottles. That way you can refill them with your own shampoo, etc. Imagine putting some green colored Scope in a tiny Midori liquor bottle – that'll wake up your friends! You could even make special labels on your computer/printer with your name on it ala "Chez Cherry Capri Shampoo."
Put everything in a decorative bucket or bowl or some other special container. I use an old 60's California Pottery floral container. Tuck in a rolled up fresh face cloth on the side. Consider putting in a cologne sample from the department store to make it all smell purdy, too.
Toilet Paper Wrapping
You have a hip looking bathroom right? You've got your crucifixes on the wall, tiki candles on the shelf, "Dirty Girl" soaps
, or leopard skin toilet seat cover, right?
Well what do you or your guests do when you run out of toilet paper? You just can't leave a plain ole white roll of Scott's out in the open in such a swanky setting! So cover it up properly!
Use colored tissue papers, extra thin wrapping paper, or other soft decorative paper to cover your roll. My favorite type of paper to use is called a "lace." It's a gauzy type of paper that is water resistent, which is perfect for a damp environment like a bathroom. If you use a traditional tissue paper, you may find it gets old looking quickly and will need replacement on a regular basis. But a lace can be re-used over and over.
Sometimes you might see inexpensive floral arrangements in your supermarket using this kind of paper. Usually craft stores don't carry this kind of paper, so head to your local floral supply. If you are lucky enough to be in New York City, there's a place called Kate's Paperie on Broadway between Prince and Spring in Soho. They have a wonderful selection of laces and a few available online. http://www.katespaperie.com
The great thing about this proect is there are lots of creative options for you out there as far as the style and color of the paper your choose!
First of all, make sure you do a nice little triangle fold to the roll like a fancy hotel before you wrap it up...
Then, you'll need a piece of paper that's approximately 14" wide x 18" long. Set your toilet paper in the middle of the long end of the wrap and start rolling. Once the roll is covered, tuck the ends on each side into the toilet paper roll hole.
For an extra nice touch, tie a decorative ribbon around the finished package. In the end - it will look like a nice present for your bathroom guests. When you wrap your wipes in style, your friends will look forward to running out of T.P.!
Cool Clear Colored Pillows
Here's an idea for a different type of decor...
Instead of using traditional upholstry fabrics, make throw pillows out of clear vinyl!
Then fill the pillow with something unusual. The most common, cost-efficient and readily available filling is cotton batting fiberfill. but you could get creative and fill it with anything bizarre: fabric scraps, string, or if you don't care if it's soft: fill it with wierd stuff like plastic green army men, cigarette butts, or marbles, or ???
Try a variation on the fiberfill theme and dye your fiberfill. You can use any of the commercial "Ritt" dyes available at many larger grocery stores. If the fill is polyester - don't expect the colors to be very deep - they'll probably end up in pastel shade. But if you can find 100% cotton fill, you can achieve nice deep colors.
Experiment with your dying techniques! Try food coloring or natural dyes like onion skins. Have fun and do something different.
Contact Paper TV
I was thinking recently about buying an extra TV for my guest room. After visiting the thrift store, I found lots of swell working inexpensive tvs, but boy were they ugly.
Then I got the idea! Cover the plastic shell or scratched up faux wood grain with colored contact paper. Go ahead give it a try on one of the TVs in your spare bedroom.
It seems that contact paper can be used to update and beautify lots of things...