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.


     

Make cheap Dollar Store Halloween Decor

There’s still a good two weeks before Halloween, so if you haven’t decorated yet,

YOU STILL HAVE TIME!

It seems like I’m always strapped for cash (who isn’t?!) and I really hate spending loads of money on holiday decor that you use for only 3-4 weeks. So I did what I do best; I headed to the dollar store (Dollar Tree) and loaded up. I spent about $10 and ended up with an entire yard and mantle full of Halloween decor.

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I purchased the products above plus some spider webbing and a bag of moss. If you want to decorate for Halloween on the cheap real quick, head over to the dollar store and get creative. The more creative the better!

Okay, so here’s how I used these cheap ass products to decorate this year.


Headstone Yard Decorations

You’d think foam headstones would be cheap, but the aren’t! I found them for ten bucks each at Target. Gasp! Yikes. Of course, Dollar Tree has them for a buck o’ piece, so I loaded up.

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The only problem? There’s no way to stick them in the ground. I’m not gonna let that stop me! I headed to Home Depot and bought a 12-pack of wooden stakes. They were about $4 for the package.

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We just hammered them into the ground…

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Then I used my staple gun to attach the headstones to the stakes.

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You can also just nail them in, or glue them on, or heck, tie them on with some twine.

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After all that, the kids went to town covering them all with the spider webbing. We even added a dollar store bird to the top of one of the signs. Que the creepy vibes here.

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Instant Yard Art!

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* These should hold up fine outside. Foam should be waterproof. And if not? Who cares. They were only a buck.


Creepy Door Wreath

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To create the Creepy Door Wreath I took a dollar store wreath, spray painted it black, hot glued the sign on, hot glued the ribbon on, and hung it to the door. The kids added the creepy-crawly spider web.

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The cheapest and easiest wreath I’ve ever made, and probably one of my favorites!


Boney Window Decor

I bought three glow-in-the-dark Skeletons…

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…and used some box tape to hang them on the three windows on our porch.

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They are a little bit harder to spot during the day, but the creepiness factor is on ultra-high at night when they come alive (they glow)!

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Our horrible lawn with no landscaping is really adding to the scariness of it all. The kids had a blast adding the final spider web touches to everything.

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And of course you can’t go wrong by adding dollar store spider rings to all the web you just hung.

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Now let’s take this cheap Halloween decor-athon inside, shall we?


Mini Skeletons in an Apothecary Jar

I fell head-over-heels with these mini skeletons:

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They come strung up, but I quickly snipped the jute off their necks and had a pile of skeletons. By adding some moss in a large apothecary jar, then piling in the mini skeletons, I’ve created the perfect touch of creepy for my mantle.

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Oh, and the white skeleton on the left? He’s from the dollar store too. I just spray painted him white.


Mini Skulls in an Apothecary Jar

Another quick creepy idea is to take mini skulls and stuff them into a mini apothecary jar with some more moss. Que “Thriller”.

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Jack-o-Lantern Garland

And last but not least, Kinsey had a great time doing this project mostly by herself. This is a great kids craft!

We found these mini foam pumpkins (in a 12 pack I think) from, you guessed it! The dollar store. I bought two packages.

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We used a hole-punch to punch holes in either side of each pumpkin, then tied them all together to form garland.

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Kinsey and I did this super-easy project in about 20 minutes TOPS.

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So cute! And the kids love it!! This would be cah-ute strung across a mantle, or up a staircase, or even across the front of your house. Get creative!

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I hope I’ve given you some last-minute cheap decorating ideas for Halloween!

Always remember: Holiday decorating does not need to break the bank! There are lots of viable options, especially at dollar stores. Just get creative with how you use the cheap crap over there and you can come up with some pretty cool decorating ideas!

Happy Halloween my friends.


     

Another cheap & easy Dollar Store decor; Wheat Grass Tins

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A friend of mine gave me some leftover grass she had from one of her projects. She got it at a craft store, but you can always get a variety of random grasses at the dollar store. Improvise!

You know I love me some grass…


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So of course I had to create a project pronto.

I headed to the Dollar Tree (one of my favorite stores!) and found this tin planter:

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It is perfect for grass!

This project is so easy, even you mom can do it, I swear.

Get some floral foam. I keep scraps in a bag, so I just pieced together enough to fill the planter. I hot glued all of it into the planter.

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Then I added some foam board. You can buy foam board at the Dollar Tree as well.

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Hot glue the foam board to the floral foam to keep it all secure.

I plucked each section of grass off the base and threw the base away.

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Now, just add a dab of hot glue to the bottom of the grass. Don’t use a lot or it will melt the grass and take too long to dry. Just a dab.

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One by one just glue the grass onto the foam board.

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This project took me about 10 minutes. It was one of the easiest crafts I’ve done in awhile.

And there ya go, instant cheap home decor. If you want to get extra fancy you can spray paint the tin before you glue the grass in. I may spray paint it, but for now, this works.

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This is such an easy quick project yet it looks so great. Greenery always livens up a room. Make these for your shelf, or the counter in the kitchen, or a bathroom. Wheat grass tins look great pretty much anywhere. I may put one in my car. ;)

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Decor doesn’t have to be expensive. And it doesn’t have to be hard to make! You can do it.

So, do any of you have any awesome plans this week? Travis is sweatin’ it out at Boy Scout Camp this week (just a day camp, not overnight) and Kinsey has been praising Jesus at Vacation Bible School. Woot! A break for me! I totally took a nap today. I love camp!


     
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