Where I’ve Been the Last Month…



Nah, just kidding.  I haven’t left the country or anything… but I have been maniacally busy the last month, thus the complete lack of a post throughout most of the holidays.  I sold my soul to the restaurant the day after Thanksgiving, and it was just recently returned to me.


Yes, I’m still employed, but we have entered what is known as “slow season,” therefore I have a smidgen more time on my hands.  (I know, right?  Can you imagine people not wanting to visit the Big Apple when it’s a balmy twenty degrees… with a breeze?).  However, I’m not gaining a ton of free time, because while the restaurant is slowing down, audition season is starting to pick up.  Big time.


All of this to say, while I make no New Year’s resolutions about blogging more often, or going back to my good ol’ five days a week like I did in 2011 and most of 2012, I am gonna try my darnedest to post more consistently (it’s entirely possibly that I’ve said the exact same thing in the last three blog posts I wrote, so forgive me if I’m a Liar McLiar Pants… But my intentions are noble).


Ok, enough blogging about blogging.  Blaaaahhhh.  Here are a few highlights from the last month.  (Because there’s no way you’re over the holidays yet.  Impossible.)


My mama had a birthday!


My mama-in-law had a birthday!


I had a birthday!


And Jesus had a birthday!



Let’s talk more about that last one.


Like I mentioned before, with the volume of tourists that come through NYC (especially Times Square), the holidays are a crazy-busy time for that-restaurant-where-I-work (shh… it’s a secret).  Despite this, we had our own kind of Christmas miracle happen in that Josh and I both had Christmas Day and New Year’s Day off, and we got to work together on New Year’s Eve… wait for it… in Times Square.  Like across the street from where the ball droppedLike the ball.


It’s the first New Year’s Eve I’ve worked anywhere, but the fact that I was where I was, and that Josh was there too — it definitely made it worthwhile.

2012-12-31 20.44.23

And with Christmas Day off, we got to go do things that normal people do on Christmas Day… Like see movies….


(Here’s lookin’ at you, Hugh Jackman…)

Eat delicious yet unhealthy food….

(no pictures… it was gone too quickly)


…And open presents!


Nola really got into it, too.




It was an all-around lovely holiday season — and busy.


That’s all for today, but I do have another post coming up — after all I didn’t make it through the entire Christmas season and not do a little DIY.  More next time!


Check out my other 2012 holiday posts (they were few and far between, I know):

Man Candles

Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas

Unique Christmas Trees

DIY Advent Calendar

And check out my slew of 2011 Holiday posts here:  12 Weeks of Christmas  (I was an over-achiever back then.)


courtney gpp signature 2


Shopping Shopping Shopping

Y’all, there are some seriously important shopping days coming up, so put on your focus pants and listen:

This Friday:  Black Friday.  The famous (or infamous) annual day-after-Thanksgiving event where the masses go crazy, spend money, and save even more (depending on who you ask).  In the past, sales would start as early as 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m., but now more and more stores are bumping up the start of their “Black Friday” sales to midnight or even as early as 10:00 p.m., Thanksgiving.  (Honestly, I’m pretty strongly against this last one because it takes people away from their families — and I mean the store associates in this case — but this trend has caught on nonetheless.  Be classy – boycott these Thanksgiving night sales, folks.  As Teresa would say, “That’s just tacky.”)

Regardless of how you feel about it, Black Friday sales really do live up to the hype (especially in department stores like JC Penney and Macy’s).  For a bevvy of Black Friday tips, check out my post from last year: Black Friday Shopping Tips

Moving on.  Small Business Saturday.  Ah, just the name of this shopping holiday brings a smile to my face.  Aaaand it is exactly what it sounds like:  A day to show small businesses a little love by patronizing them (you know which definition of that word I mean) – as opposed to the big box retailers you usually give your money (no judgment, just tellin’ it like it is).  This is a relatively new shopping holiday — in the long history of shopping holidays, of course – so every year it grows just a bit more in scope.  Check out my previous post on Small Business Saturday.  I said so many wise things about it last year, I wouldn’t want you to miss out.  ;)

Cyber Monday:  Oh, how I love online shopping, and oh how I love Cyber Monday even more.  This fabulous event occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving (so this year, it’ll be November 26th, 2012).  For the full scoop, you can read… broken record time… my post from last year… but suffice it to say, it’s a great day to score fabulous deals with many online retailers offering discounted or even FREE shipping.

So yeah, that was a whole lot of review of posts past, but now it’s all in one place for your browsing pleasure.  Wasn’t that sweet of me?  :)

Happy Shopping… and more importantly, my American readers…

Happy Thanksigiving!!! 

Christmas Jubilee

Last week I took a little break from my natural disaster magnet of a concrete jungle and went on a shopping trip with my mother, Teresa (not of nun fame). I flew to Atlanta Thursday morning, then we drove about 5 1/2 hours to Mobile, AL — my birthplace AND the home of the Christmas Jubilee, a magical and marvelous shopping event. The Christmas Jubilee happens every year, though we haven’t been since 1999 (right before my family moved to Atlanta). It’s put on by Mobile’s Junior League (in a part of the country where things like Junior Leagues still matter), and dozens of vendors attend from all over Mobile, the Southeastern region, and even the country.

It’s a holiday gift market, so it definitely has its share of boutiques and monogramming stations.  However, there are also booths from better known companies (like Belk ad Books-a-Million), and plenty of gourmet foods and beverages.  (In fact, we ate breakfast at the hotel that morning and then didn’t eat again until dinner that night — we had so many pretzel-dip samples we just weren’t hungry).  We had a ton of girly-shopping fun, but I took hardly any pictures… of course (let’s just say that the amount of fun I had was inversely proportionate to the number of pictures I took).

But I did take a few…

We loved this upside Christmas tree.  So small space friendly.

Teresa really loved these.

Ok, I did, too.  But only in an embracing-my-inner-soccer-mom kind of way.

But I LOVED these U.S. state hand towels (that’s Alabama to you folks who may not be familiar with your state shapes).

It’s no secret that I love state shaped things, but combine that with chevron or houndstooth fabrics and you have my heart (this goes on my future projects list).

I also loved this Christmas tree ornament:

More than the actual ornament, I loved the method used to create it.  The idea of alternating felt squares stacked upon each other is so clever to me (and it’s another idea added to my future projects list, of course).

There’s no shortage of houndstooth in Alabama… but that has more to do with the football team and less to do with sharp style choices (you can imagine my inner struggle as a child of two Tennessee graduates who happens to LOVE houndstooth, especially the black and white variety).

I spoke of the monogramming booths with an air of mockery, but honestly, I got in on the action, too (monogramming fever is contagious, y’all — especially if you’re south of the Mason-Dixon).

I’ve been wanting a Coke can coozie for a while anyway, but this turquoise seersucker one really spoke to me.  Not to mention, the lovely ladies at this particular booth were willing to work with my quasi-feminist demands of a hyphenated last name monogram (they had to custom make it on their computer because a template didn’t exist).

Here’s the end result:

I was pleased as punch.  Or more accurately, Diet Coke.  Specifically, a can of it.

(Ok, I’ll stop.)

All in all, the jubilee was great… I’d share more pic and details, but then I’d be divulging a lot of my Christmas gift secrets, and this wouldn’t be wise (most of my fam reads this blog).

However, we did have a lot of FANTASTIC seafood — something I’ve missed since moving from Mobile (and everyone knows — or should know — that Alabama Gulf seafood is the best).  We ate at the Original Oyster House and Blue Gill Restaurant, both on the causeway, and both beloved by locals and tourists alike.

I didn’t do a lot of food photography, but I did manage to get a picture of this slice of Key lime pie:

It was gone within  a minute of taking this picture.  Sooo good.

We also ventured forth from the typical tourist magnets and visited an oldie but a goodie, Neighbor’s Seafood Restaurant, allll the way out in the Tilman’s Corner neighborhood of Mobile (so basically, the country).  Of course, tourists would know nothing about this place because it’s next to nothing, but we knew about because we used to live about fifteen minutes away from it.

Again, no pics.  Sorry.  But trust me, sooo excellent.  In fact, we think it is the best seafood in all of Mobile (which is a pretty high compliment, because as small as Mobile is, it has a plethora of fantastic cuisine).  

Oh, but the fun wasn’t just limited to just shopping and shrimp.  I was with Teresa, after all, and she was in rare form.  Have I mentioned that she has lived in Savannah, Charleston, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Birminghham, Mobile, and Atlanta?  Needless to say, her accent is like a sampler platter of all of these cities, and with that comes some marvelous phrases that are just part of the Teresa vocabulary and vernacular.  Here are just a few of my faves (all spelling errors are on purpose and done in an effort to more accurately reflect Teresa’s pronunciation):

“I haven’t the foggiest.”  (Translation: “I don’t know.”)

“Hotter’n Hadeeez.”  (Translation: “Uncomfortably warm.”)

“Madder’n Hey-ul.”  (Translation:  “Quite angry.”)

“Breetches.”  (Translation: “Pants.”)

(She thinks I’m making fun of her when I point these things out, but I truly do it out of love.  I really do think my mother is fantastic.  I know you do, too.)

After even more shopping, we drove back to Atlanta Saturday afternoon.  I spent all day Sunday with my fam, then flew back to NYC that night.  After a bus ride, a train ride with two transfers, and a half mile walk, I finally got home to my sweet little doggies (oh, and Josh :)  Glad to be home, but a little sad to be above the Mason-dixon once more.

In other news, my dad took my spent, lifeless shell of a computer to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, where they deemed it beyond repair (this wasn’t exactly news, but I needed to officially hear the announcement to come to terms with my loss and get some closure).  In a gesture of early Christmas gift mercy, my extremely generous parents bought me a new laptop (even they know that an iPad and two smartphones does not a computer make).  Oh, and it’s fancy.  Like Windows 8 fancy.  I’m still learning how to navigate within this newest version of Windows, but I’m pretty impressed so far.

Here’s hoping a new computer in my life means me keeping up with this blog a bit more.

It is the holiday season after all, and oh do I have plans.

Stay tuned!

Tax Day Freebies

They say there are two things we can be sure of in life: death and taxes.  While the first one is hardly a subject for a penny-pinching-upcycling-hardly-taking-itself-seriously kind of blog, we can talk about the latter…  well, just for a minute.  Because by “taxes” I mean, tax day freebies!

OK, so since those ugly ol’ obligatory tax things are due today, a few national retailers and restaurants have mercifully offered some discounts and freebies, but only today — so before this day is over, go check ’em out!  For some, you’ll need to print off a coupon, others you just show up with your newly “I paid my taxes” self.

Here they are:

Arby’s — Print off a coupon from their Facebook site and get free curly fries on April 17.

Boston Market — With the coupon, buy one indivudal meal and a fountain drink and get another individual meal free.  Only valid April 17.

Chili’s — Free appetizer or dessert with entree purchase.  Valid April 16-18.

Cinnabon — Select stores will be giving away two free “bites” (their mini cinnamon rolls).  Only valid April 17, while supplies last.

Marble Slab Creamery and Maggie Moo’s — Select stores are offering free sample scoops of their new fro yo flavors.

P.F. Chang’s — All dine-in and take-out orders — excluding beverages and happy hour specials — are 15% off.

Panda Express — Like them on Facebook and you’ll get a free serving of their new Shanghai Angus Steak.  Only valid April 17.

Sonic — Half price drinks all day (that includes slushes).

Happy Tax Day!

St. Patrick’s Day Linkage

St. Patrick’s Day is this Saturday!!!  So in the spirit of the holiday and all things Irish, I have come up with some linkage for your browsing pleasure:

StPatricksDay.com  Looking for a nearby St. Patrick’s Day event?  Go to this website and see if there’s anything going on in your city.

How to Make Green Beer  This traditional (and simple) method brought to you by DIY Life.

How to Make Green Beer, Naturally  3 different methods that don’t involve artificial dyes.

NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade  Get all the info on the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world, and you can watch it live online.  You know, in case you wanted to do that sort of thing.  Or if you really dig some bagpipe music.

And a little history…

History.com   The History Channel’s comprehensive website, with loads of Irish history and links.

Blarney Stone Official Website  Pucker up!

The Legend of Nessie OFFICIAL Website   Whether you believe it’s all a load of crap, or you believe there’s a quasi-dinosaur-sea-monster-whale-thing lurking in the depths of Loch Ness, you will no doubt find this website… interesting.  Not to mention they keep you updated with the most recent Nessie spottings!  (Spoiler alert:  The last “official” sighting was in 2011.  And that’s “official.”)

President’s Day: A Good Day to Go Shopping

Happy Presidents’ Day!

federal hall

Yeah, I know President’s Day is sorta for Lincoln too, but I don’t have a picture of his inauguration site…

…much less do I have another picture of me making this awesome face.

Wait.  That’s not true.

Yeah, I make that face all. the. time.

Back to shopping, i.e., the other exciting part of this post’s subject line.  As with most federal holidays, retailers see an opportunity to make some money and put on a sale, or a “$ale”

… like Ke$ha (I’ve been dying to make a reference to her — so glad I could find the opportunity).

But that’s ok because their opportunity is our opportunity — in the form of big sales!  And in case you are among the number of people who don’t get the day off from work, you can still seize these sale opportunities online (and you know I love to shop online).

In fact, there has even been some speculation that President’s Day sales rival Black Friday sales, so in case you were considering going shopping some time soon, I recommend making “some time soon” today.  And save lots of money while you’re at it.

Here’s just a few President’s Day sale lists I found:

Gold Star Daily World News


DealsPL.us (lots of goodies here)

Amazon Promo Code at Kosher Shopaolic

And of course the ever comprehensive and aptly named:


Hope these were helpful! Happy Shopping!

Things that (P)inspire Me: Heart Shaped Loveliness

As I mentioned last Thursday, I’ve hopped on the Valentine’s bandwagon (which, by the way, is decorated with Cupid cartoons, chocolates, and doilies… But most of all doilies).  Last Thursday, I brought you a heart-shaped DIY printable for Valentine’s cards, wall art, et al.  In this week’s Pinterest round-up, I’ve brought you all kinds of heart shaped loveliness!  I know, I know, I’m a victim of trends… But this holiday comes but once a year, y’all!

So… bear with me and my inclinations to peer pressure and check out my finds!  As always, click on the pic to take you to the original source website (none of these are my own creation — all curated from Pinterest and Google image searches).


How to make your words into a shape using Microsoft Word.

My original inspiration for last Thursday's post.

Source:  Side by Side Black and White

Tennessee state string art (heart in Knoxville)

Tennessee State String Art

Source:  The Ginger Penny Pincher

book wreath

Heart-shaped book wreath

Source:  Be Book Bound

zipper heart ornament

Zipper Heart

Source:  Bogate Designs

made with wax paper and crayon shavings!

Crayon and Wax Paper Hearts

Source:  Martha Stewart

cork heart

Cork Heart

Source:  ewe hooo!

heart made out of bottle caps

Bottle Cap Heart

Source:  Keltainen talo rannalla

Making a heart shaped cake without a specialty pan:  bake a square cake and a round one and cut the round cake in half!

I square cake + 1 circular cake cut in half = heart shaped cake!

Source:  About.com

Hand warmers -- fill with rice and sew around the edges (I've done this before with a clean tube song -- makes a great heating pad, especially for your neck)

Heart shaped hand warmers

Source:  The In Between Girls

Wooden Heart

Source:  Design Sponge

heart ring

Heart ring

 Source:  Melt’m Design Studio

Photo Heart

Photo Heart

Source:  The Way We Are

painted heart

Painted heart tote bag

Source:  V & Co.

Other things you might like…

DIY Valentine’s Printable

State String Art

Handmade Gifts

Grab a button if you were featured in this week’s round-up!

Image URL:  https://thegingerpennypincher.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/feature-on-the-gpp-button.jpg

Link URL:  https://thegingerpennypincher.wordpress.com

Valentine’s DIY Printable (No Photoshop required!)

If you’ve been following my blog since its inception in September, you know that I’m CRAZY about Christmas decor, but not nearly as enthused for the other holidays.  Not that I don’t enjoy them as well, but I don’t have a pumpkin/autumnal leaves wreath… or a motorized turkey that sings, I don’t know, a Thanksgiving song?  (Do these actually exist?)

Valentine’s Day is no exception.  Usually, I spend this holiday with my three Valentines (husband and two dogs, of course)… and maybe there will be a meal out at a restaurant…  Or more likely, we end up cooking at home because we usually haven’t made a reservation anywhere and don’t want to brave the crowds and the lines… and the explosion of pink and red decor (not really my two fave colors).  

However, this year I decided to give in to the blogosphere-style peer pressure that’s been breathing down my neck.  (Seriously fellow bloggers, you guys are crazy about February 14th).

Then, I realized something curious once I took the plunge and actually started planning some Valentine’s posts:

I think I might be digging this Valentine’s thing….


Weird, right?  But seriously…  I think I might even be coming around to pink and red.  Maybe…

So here I am, post-plunge, and I plan on sharing a few V-day ideas with you over the next couple of weeks.  Glitter, sprinkles, and a general feeling of mushy-ness may be involved.  (Don’t say you weren’t warned.)

Today, I’m sharing a fun printable idea… great for Valentine’s cards.  I found the original method on Pinterest (where else?), and it was one of those where I went “Duh!  Why didn’t I think of that?”  But I didn’t;  a smart lady from Black and White {Side by Side} did.  (Check out this blog, as well as the instructions!)  It’s so easy — no Photoshop or even really fancy computer/design skills needed!  Just MS Word, Paintbrush, and about 5 minutes!

Here’s a screenshot of what I whipped up (again, using the method found at Black and White {Side by Side}):

And here’s a close-up (it’s “I love you” in various languages):

And here’s a printable if you want this one:  The GPP’s I love you languages printable

Or better yet, make your own!  It’s so easy…  

One mo’ again, here’s the link so you can learn how:  Black and White {Side by Side}


Other stuff  you might fancy…

Wordles:  Free, Easy Typographic Art

State String Art

Upcycling Wrapping Paper and Tissue Paper

Handmade Gifts, Part 2 (still patting myself on the back)

Ok, so I’m  s l o w l y  returning to the blogging thing, post-holiday, and due to the fact that I kind of checked out last week, that means I have a load of holiday-related things to share with you (still)!

I know, Christmas is over.  Move on.

But I can’t let go — yet.  I even thought I could justify it and say that I was still within the realm of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” even though I don’t really acknowledge or celebrate that. (What am I talking about?  Ask Wikipedia.)

However, Twelfth Night was January 5th, so now it’s just getting tacky.  Whatever.   I decided to embrace the tacky, and go ahead and do a little show-and-tell of the other handmade gifts in my life, this time the ones that Josh and I received (you may remember the previous post where we talked about the gifts we gave).

First, let’s start with the handmade gifts Josh and I gave each other:

dog silhouettes

Yeah, you’re probably thinking “That’s a lot of dogs.”  Let me explain:  I gave Josh the framed black and white photo, and Josh gave me the two silhouettes, you know, of our dogs.  Yeah, we basically gave each other the same thing.  Creepy, right?  And this was all done unbeknownst to the other (and by the way, we didn’t tell any friends or family who may have spilled it to either of us).  Creepier still, my first plan was to make silhouettes, too.  I planned on using this photo, but we didn’t have any black paper and I didn’t have a lot of time — Christmas Eve gift making, how shameful — so I didn’t follow through with my original plan (little did I know it would look just as good in white!).  So, I spray painted this frame that Josh found at the street on trash day, made a matte out of lime green paper, and framed the photo.

Josh was feeling far more ambitious.  He took two frames (he found these at the street on trash day, also), printed out the same photo on regular printer paper, cut it out, traced it (it ended up being the mirror image side) and then cut that out as well.  He backed it with lime green paper (needless to say, we have an abundance of lime green paper).

When we opened them — which happened to be at the same time — we had a weird case of the Twilight-Zones, and then accused each other of somehow stealing each other’s ideas, perhaps using a magic wand and a Pensieve when the other was sleeping.

Then we realized that was silly and decidedly attributed the coincidence to our compatibility.  Aww….. :)

And our crazy obsession with our dogs.

And maybe the fact that we walk by the Courtney silhouette everyday (this was done when I was like 6).

See it there on the table next to the Eiffel Tower ornament?

Who knows?  But we love them both and look forward to hanging them on our soon-to-be art wall (details in blog post form to follow).

Moving on to some of the handmade gifts we received from family…

My mother-in-law, knowing well of my loves for orange and green, recycling, and handmade gifty-ness, crocheted this reusable tote for me:

hand crocheted grocery bag

I love it!!!  Things like this amaze me to no end, because I have ZERO crocheting/knitting/sewing/anything-domestic-other-than-cooking skills.

My sister-in-law (a loyal GPP subscriber) took part of this blog’s paisley background image and made it into the lid of a magnetic box:

personalized box

Recognize the pattern?  Yeah, I literally squealed when I opened it.  And even better, when I opened the (magnetic) lid, I found a pair of earring that she had made for me!

I asked her where she had the box made, and she said she wouldn’t tell me (it’s a secret she feels she must keep as she has so many gifts made through this company).  However, she did say it was a website that I had mentioned on here before.  Considering that I’ve linked up to hundreds of websites in the 63 posts I’ve written since starting this on September 12, 2011… yeah, I’m sort of scratching my head on this one.

Sigh.  Maybe one day she’ll reveal her mystical secrets…

Amanda, the aforementioned secretive sister-in-law, gave Josh a framed shadow box of the Triforce (from the Zelda games):

triforce art

(Sorry for the overly-reflective picture. this was the best of a dozen attempts, believe me).

Now, I couldn’t be less interested in video games possibly, but even this made me go “OOOHHH!”  The picture doesn’t do it any justice, but in person, it looks gooood (Scouts’ honor).  And little did Amanda know we were slowly accumulating things for our art wall!  Perfectly timed.

The next gift is also one of those funny coincidences because it was something I had planned on blogging about, but hadn’t gotten around to yet.  As a fun way to give us some cash, my mother-in-law made origami with some dollar bills:

snail origami dollar bill

dollar bill rocket ship origami

dollar bill origami swan

dollar bill mens shirt origami

I think they turned out great!  I especially love the men’s shirt origami.  She also made an origami star, but no matter how many different angles I tried, I could not take a picture of it where it actually looked like a star (but it does in person, I promise).

You can find the how-to’s all over the internet; just do a Google search for dollar bill origami (and I recommend ironing your dollar bills on a low setting before starting — they’re made of cotton, they can handle it).

Hope you enjoyed the highlights of some of our handmade gifts!  From here on out, I will try my best to not mention the holidays… at least until… September?!  (I’ve got to do another Twelve Weeks of Christmas series next year, too!)


You might also enjoy…

Handmade Gifts (Show-and-Tell Part 1)

State String Art

This picture of my dog:

See the little nose poking out from under the cushion?  Yeah she’s pretty weird awesome.

Handmade Gifts (and other reasons I’m patting myself on the back right now)

So, I said I wouldn’t return to the regularly scheduled blogging for another two weeks (holidays are hard!), but I did want to do a little show-and-tell with some of the gifts I gave this year, particularly the handmade ones.


As you may remember, Josh and I made the (ambitious) commitment to making all of our Christmas gifts for family by hand.  We knew this would help us save money and create truly personalized gifts, but we also wanted to see if we were up to challenge!  You have already seen some of the gifts (via previous blog post), but I’m going to show them again anyway.  Because I can.

Here we go:

For my mother, I took a song that reminds us of each other (“You Are My Sunshine”), printed it out (it turned out to be three pages) and framed it in three black Ikea frames.  And then I proceeded to wrap it up, ship it off, and not take a darn picture.

(Insert tear-jerking picture here)

Oh well…

For my mother-in-law, I gave the beloved linen spray:

homemade linen spray

You remember that stuff I made here?  I gave it to her as a Christmas gift (along with a host of other bath/good smelling/candles-girly things).  I think this stuff is fun for any occasion, and definitely a great alternative to Febreze… or other sprays with ingredients that are more than five syllables long.

For my orange-wearin’, University of Tennessee supporting father, I gave him the string nail art of the state of Tennessee (check out the tutorial here).

Tennessee nail string art

After the warm fuzzies of successfully completing a crafty venture set in, I decided to do the same for my Georgia-born brother-in-law, this time making Atlanta the heart and point from which all of the strings “radiated.”  Not the winning-est pics, but that’s because I only remembered at the last minute that I should snap a few before giving it away.

state string art nail georgia

Instead of buying a $10 pre-cut piece of wood from Michael’s like the last time, I decided to go with a wooden cutting board from the local dollar store (it wasn’t Dollar Tree, so the board was actually $3.99).  Then I sprayed it with a wood stain and painted the sides lime green (my fave detail).

state string art nail georgia

state string art nail georgia

The wooden cutting board came with its own hanger, and I let it remain, in hopes that my “utilitarian” brother-in-law will hang it on the walls of his spartan apartment (fingers crossed).

For my brother, we made a set of Scrabble magnets (heart-warming story found here… well, mildly heart-warming).

scrabble magnets

For Josh’s dad (my father-in-law), we decided to take advantage of a slightly long-term endeavor of mine.  Being a big fan of beer and an even bigger fan of preserving our planet, I have held onto to nearly all bottle caps whose removal I have been responsible for over the last year.  Other members of my family have been helpful in this endeavor as well (I didn’t really have to twist their arms).  At the time, I didn’t have a clear plan for said bottle caps, but I knew I would figure something out (I even have a Pinterest board devoted exclusively to this interest: check it out).

Well, I gave it the ol’ college try, and I came up with a fun art project:

bottle cap frame

I took a Ben Franklin quote (since then, I have learned that he may have not actually said this quote, but whatever), printed it off on regular printer paper, made a matte of hot-glue-gunned beer caps and stuck it in a shadow box (thanks again, Ikea).

In keeping with the beer cap theme, I decided to make some beer cap magnets for my sister-in-law’s boyfriend (who also came to visit us in NYC).  Then I liked them so much, I almost kept them… but Josh said no.  “Oooookkaaaayyy, Jooosh…”

beer cap magnets

I took the beer caps and attached a small magnet with hot glue, but not before I added a spacer to fill the cavity of the beer cap.  And what did I make the spacer out of???  Champagne corks!  Turns out that a champagne cork fits perfectly inside a bottle cap, so after I glue the cork to the bottom of the cap, I used a serrated knife (and took my time) and sawed of the remaining part (and you’ll bet I used the rest for the other bottle caps).


beer bottle cap magnets

Two upcycling efforts in one!

beer cap magnets

For my sister-in-law’s gift, I re-used the same method from the previous post about tile coasters, but this time I used images from her favorite movie of all time, Nightmare Before Christmas (when asked whether she considers it more of a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie, she enthusiastically replies “It’s an ANYTIME movie!”).

nightmare before christmas tile coasters

nightmare before christmas coasters

nightmare before christmas coasters

Handmade Christmas Gifts?  Check!

Oh yeah, and of course the handmade gifty-ness extended to the gifts Josh and I gave each other!

But more on that tomorrow…

In the meantime, subscribe (duh) and check out these links to previous posts (you know, in case you’re wondering how I made some of this stuff).

Handy Dandy Links:

Tile Coasters

State Nail/String Art

Linen Spray (Febreze alternative)

Scrabble Magnets