Turn gift bags into {cheap} art

Every summer during my childhood my mom would pack up her daughters, and her best friend would pack up her two girls and we would hit the road for our annual “no boys allowed” beach vacation (they both have only daughters. No sons were left out). The moms we’re dubbed (and still to this day are called) “Beach Barbara” and “Beach Lynda”. We would stay at a condo for a week, eat all the fresh boiled shrimp we could, and play in the sand and surf from sun up to sun down. Of course, there were plenty of shenanigans going on as well. With 5 girls all within a few years of each other we reeked plenty of havoc and made a few too many boys cry.

Though all the girls are grown and mostly married, and there are lots of grand-babies added to the mix, my mom and sisters still try to have our annual beach trip. Some years we’ve missed, and it’s been far too many years since I’ve sat on the beach with my mom’s bestie Lynda, but because of our yearly tradition I have very fond memories of the beach.

My mother thinks that there are beaches in heaven. And she thinks her veins bleed salt water. She is happiest during our beach trips and if she could live among the seagulls and sand crabs I think she would.

So when I saw this gift bag that read “Life is good at the beach” I just had to buy it for her.

Of course, there really isn’t much you can do with a gift bag except maybe put a gift in it. But the coloring is pretty, and the letters are nice, and the overall look would be fabulous as art.

This really is quite a simple tutorial. I headed over to the dollar store and bought an 8×10 dollar frame.

Make sure to get a frame that is roughly the same size as your gift bag.

To frame the bag, cut it up one side and lay it out flat. Then just trace it around the glass in the frame and cut the bag to size. So easy.

Such an easy way to make pretty art. I’ve already given it to my mom and she loves it. I keep telling her she can tuck it away on a bathroom counter, but she insists on keeping it on her mantle so she can see it ever day. Even though I’m 32, she still keeps my art around to appease me. ;)

The frame with the girls in it I’ve had for years and years. It’s a framed picture of me with two of my sisters during one of our beach vacations. I think it was taken in about 1996 when I was 16, Lindsey was 14, and Merideth was 12. Even after all these years the picture still makes me smile with fond memories.

Here’s a pinterest-ready picture if you feel so inclined to pin it. Your friends that don’t read my blog (gasp!) will thank you for sharing this simple idea with them.

Do you have any life-long traditions? I would really love to hear them! I love traditions and think they are so important. Spill your guts and tell us yours.


God bless the USA

Happy Independence week!

I just stumbled across these photos from 2007 of my lil’ chicklets on the morning of July 4th, 2007 at a community parade:

I wish I could go back in time and give them a big squishy hug at that age just one more time. I miss their 5 and 3 year old selves.

Quick announcement: Because July 4th is on Wednesday this year I am skipping the weekly Hookin’ Up with HoH Link Party this week.

No need to race home from setting off fireworks to link up, amIright?!

The party will resume as usual next week on July 11th.

I’m taking the rest of the week off to spend time with my family as we try not to burn down the house with our Roman Candles this Wednesday.

Make sure to check back this Friday to meet another one of my bloggy friends as part of my Hangin’ Out all Summer series.

Have a great week and if you are an American, enjoy celebrating your Independence and Freedom! Don’t ever take it for granted.

“If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life and I had to start again with just my children and my wife I’d thank my lucky stars to be livin here today, ’cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

“And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free. And I wont forget the men who died who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, ’cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God bless the USA.

“From the lakes of Minnesota to the hills of Tennessee. Across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea. From Detroit down to Houston and New York to L.A., well there’s pride in every American heart and its time we stand and say….

“That I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free. And I wont forget the men who died who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, ’cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God bless the USA.”

– God Bless The USA by Lee Greenwood


Last year we celebrated the 4th of July from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. It was the coolest day ever. Read all about it!


Hangin’ Out w/ Alicia @ Thrifty and Chic

There is nothing better {to me} than chilling by a pool or at the beach, with an umbrella overhead, a good drink in hand, and a few great friends to chill with. I LOVE sitting around outside just hanging out. Gabbing, sharing, laughing, and just getting to know each other even better. I could have lazy pool-side chats with girlfriends every day of the week and never grow tired of it.

Well, I feel that way about the friends I’ve made online as well. Though we live too far apart to actually sit together at the beach, I wanted to hang out with them anyway, dang it! So I created a fun summer-long series called:

Every Friday I’ll invite a blog friend over to my online home to hang out with me and all my other friends {YOU!}. I love these people, and I want you to get to know them as well.

First up on my Hangin’ Out All Summer series is

Alicia from Thrifty & Chic.

I’m not sure how I met Alicia, but I think it was because of my Link Party. I find loads of amazing blogs in my link party each week and believe it or not, I end up following quite a few of them! Alicia links up faithfully each week, which is great, but her posts are so fabulous that I tend to over-feature her. I just can’t help it. I LOVE her decorating style so much that whenever she does a new craft or project I just have to feature it.

Her home and style are like looking at a Ballard catalog, but better. I swear. I just drool when I look at her home. And I may or may not have begged her to come decorate my house for me. ;)

She has a tab on her blog called “Favorite Projects” which is organized by catagory with easy to browse images of all her crazy-awesome projects. If you want a quick glance at her style, I urge you to check out that tab!!

Enough rambling, let’s hang out with Alicia, shall we?!


 Hello HoH readers!!! I am so thrilled to be here today :) Allison is pretty much one of the most spunkiest craftiest people I know, and I’m honored she is giving me a little piece of her blog…at least for today ;)

I am Alicia, DIYer, builder, decorator, crafter and voice behind ThriftyandChic.com.

I love all things cheap :) The cheaper, the better lol. Of course it has to have some style though, right? I’m in the process of decorating my builder grade house and making it a little more custom….and making sure I do it on the cheap :) Here are some of my favorite projects:

First is adding a little character into a bland and beige dining room with cedar planked walls:

Also, redoing my bathroom for under $60! Board and batten and all :)

A couple of my favorite projects over the past few years was turning an old 70s dresser into a fab desk:

Turning some old tree stumps into my coffee table:

And, if you read my blog, you will know I have a crazy infatuation with headboards….and pillows :) lol. Like, I may have a serious problem. I’m running out of rooms to put headboards in and running out of closets to put unused pillows in. The headboards may soon be making their way into my dining room, as the pillows already have:) Here’s my favorite DIY $20 headboard:

…..and here’s a tutorial on my easy peasy way of making pillow covers for any pillow in your house.

And just a few of my reader’s favorite projects are my my knock off ballard design garden district mirrors made from $5 target mirrors and the pvc pipe mirror that was made from…well, pvc pipe :)

 If you get a chance, stop on over and say ‘hi’. Don’t worry, I don’t bite, although they say I look wicked mean with a handsaw in my hand ;) lol jk. I would love to meet all of you! Any friend of Allison’s is a friend of mine :) and thank you again Allison for letting me fluff up my feathers a little bit and stealing your blog for a day ;)


Isn’t Alicia great?! I hope you can see now why I love her blog so much! And she’s pretty darn nice herself.

Take a second to hop on over to her blog or her facebook page and say hi! You can never have too many friends!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know one of my friends a little better today and I really hope you enjoy this fun Summer Friday Series as well! I’ve got a baker’s dozen or so blog friends lined up for the summer, so obviously I won’t be able to share all my favorites with you, but if everyone enjoys the series I’ll consider extending it.

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