Monday, November 20, 2017

Thrifty Reusable Gift Wrap Ideas

What does an old sweater, leftover craft ribbon, a stocking, brown craft paper, and a thrift store scarf have in common? They can be used to wrap gifts! Yes, that’s right. Gift wrapping ideas for the thrifty and frugal. This post is inspired by my friends at thredUP where you can save TONs of money shopping second-hand online. I always think #secondhandfirst during the holidays in order to save money and recycle items for a more eco-conscious holiday.

First the scarf I found brand new with tags at the thrift store for $3. This is such fun idea because all you need is craft paper, or matching gift warp, scissors, and tape. Wrap gift in the paper and just tie the scarf around your box like a ribbon with a big bow. The person getting the gift not only gets what’s inside but also an amazing new scarf for winter.

For the stocking wine bottle wrap, you may have an extra stocking lying around or for me I found this one for $1.50 at the thrift store.  Easy peasy assembly by just sliding the stocking over the wine bottle and twisting and tucking the footy part into itself. Finish the wrapping with an adorable “drink & be merry” chalkboard sign labels or paper tag and viola an adorable DIY gift wrap that the person can reuse again or in their home!

The craft paper and leftover ribbon is like a normal wrapping paper where you’ll need just scissors and tape. After measuring and centering your gift, take the long end pieces up to go under one another and secure with tape. Next, take your two short ends and make pointed ends that will meet in the middle to secure with tape. Finish with looping leftover ribbon around the gift with ultimately making a box to secure it. The craft paper roll will last you ALL Christmas if you purchase a big one, so it really is a cheap way to wrap gifts. If you don’t have leftover craft ribbon, try buying a large spool of twine and add either tree trimmings, pine cones, feathers, chalkboard sign labels, or faux flowers to finish off the DIY look.

Finally for the sweaters. I used an old hubby sweater for one box and a $3.50 thrifted Christmas sweater to create two unique wrapping ideas. You can cut these to fit, but I tried to wrestle with the fabric in order to preserve the sweater to either be worn be the recipient or donated again. Who doesn’t love a silly Christmas sweater, it’s just part of the season! To do this pick the opening side to be your face-down side to be secured with bobby pins. Then, with the arms you create a sort of knot at the top. The sweater is also an amazing and easy way to wrap odd shaped packages. Literally just pull it over the gift, secure bottom and top, add embellishment and you have an adorable gift that anyone would love. Gift wrapping doesn’t have to be perfect! I love the fun ideas that make my gifts special.

Will you try any of these ideas this Christmas? Reusing and recycling is a great way to save money while also creating memorable gifts for all your friends and family. Now I’m ready to start Christmas decorating!

Check out thredUP’s full post: Easy Holiday Gift and Décor Ideas from Our Favorite Bloggers

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Roasted Squash Soup with Squash Bowls

For months I have been OBSESSED with the Whole Foods triple squash soup. It has a little texture of the fresh vegetables and is the perfect light lunch with amazing fall flavors. So on a mission to have this yummy soup year-round and control my ingredients, I created this recipe. Roasting the squash brings out the delicious flavor. Then you just simmer with a little coconut milk, broth, and spices, then it’s ready to be blended. Oh and can we talk about the stunning confetti squash bowls?!? How perfect are these as a first course for Thanksgiving?

Roasted Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Delicata Squash (peeled, deseeded, chopped)
  • 2 Butternut Squash (peeled, deseeded, chopped)
  • 2 Acorn Squash (halved, deseeded)
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil (just enough to cover all the squash)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Can of Unsweetened Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 Carton of Vegetable Broth
  • 2 tbsp. of Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 1 tsp. of Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. of Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. of Garlic Powder

Directions:

I used a triple squash combination of acorn, butternut and delicata.  For the butternut and delicata I peeled, deseeded, and diced into cubes. I put them on a baking sheets with one chopped onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. For the acorn, I just cut in half, deseeded, drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper. Both of these baking sheets I baked at 425F for 1 hour. Once cooked (should be able to pierce smoothly with fork) you can add to a simmering pot of broth, coconut milk, spices and fresh ginger for about 15-20 minutes. After simmering use an immersion blender or batch to a regular blender to create a smooth soup texture. Ladle into a bowl and enjoy! I topped mine off with a few pumpkin seeds too.

Note – this soup is diary free, gluten-free, vegan (sub honey), and can be made Whole30 or Paleo with the removal of honey and the maple syrup from the squash bowls. If making Whole30 or Paleo, be mindful of the broth and coconut milk ingredients. I’ve linked my favorite brands in the recipe. I also used all organic squash, which isn’t necessary but made it super clean all-around!

Squash Bowl

Ingredients:

  • Confetti Squash (if you can’t find these, acorn is pretty too)
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Drizzle of Maple Syrup
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Carefully cut off top off (about 1/2 inch down from top) and slight off bottom to enable the squash to sit flat. Cut a circle and pierce through with spoon to scoop all inside out. Drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for 45 minutes. I did not roast the top to keep it sturdy, but if you would like to, you can.

Adorning your Thanksgiving table with these cute little soup bowls will surely impress your guests. You could also treat your special someone to a fancy dinner at home and dress the table for them. Use things are the home to create a special tablescape. I used my grandmother’s china, thrift store napkins, pinecones I painted last year, and my stunning floral pumpkin centerpiece.

Friday, November 10, 2017

DIY Floral Pumpkin Centerpiece

Now that Halloween is officially over, what options do you have to repurpose your uncarved pumpkins? Well here is a perfect solution to that question…a DIY Floral Pumpkin Centerpiece. This centerpiece is ideal for any fall parties, Thanksgiving, or even gift giving during the next festive months. Leaving the pumpkin uncut also lends it to multiple purposes and floral recreations.

Just cut the pumpkin stem low and push foam on or if it doesn’t have a stem use some tape to hold the floral foam (I used a half circle ball version) to the top of the pumpkin. Start layering flowers, greenery, leaves, berries, feathers, or anything you like in your normal bouquets or to match a party theme. Cut the steams of the flowers (or any other additions) just long enough to be pushed into the foam to sturdy it. You can create dimension by leaving some stems longer then others or pushing some all the way flush with the foam. Note: for artificial flowers you may need wire cutters.

You can use artificial flowers (like I did) or real, just depends on the look and use you are going for.  I found these amazing fall flowers for 70% off at Jo-Ann just after Halloween, which is a complete steal! And the very large burgundy ones I found as a bunch at the thrift store for 99 cents. This pumpkin cost me under $10 to make!

This pumpkin really allows so many different variations. Different colored pumpkins and flowers can make endless possibilities. This white pumpkin was extra special to me since I picked it out with Hartley at the pumpkin patch. So finding a way to bring it in my home and extend it’s life was super exciting.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

DIY Chalk Finish White Entertainment Center

OK, OK…I know most of you were thinking OMG, I cannot believe she bought that huge, chunky, old, wood, over-the-top entertainment center. Yes, I totally get you questioning my decision to bring this mammoth of a piece into my living room. BUT, I mean you must admit, it looks pretty darn fabulous after I put my special touches on it, right?!?!

Our living room desperately need a uplift. I had hung a large canvas, curtains and created a media stand, but it still looked super sad. This is a before of our living room when we bought it and then the small media stand I created. This grey media stand looks perfect in Hartley’s playroom now. It just wasn’t enough to fill our large living room walls.

My dream was to pay for professionally installed antique door built-ins (like Joanna Gaines does), but with what I wanted costing over a thousand dollars, this just was not a possibility. So one day when we were in Habitat of Humanity Restore, we found this piece. It was originally $450, but we took the chance of no one wanting this huge wood outdated media center and waited patiently for months for it to go on 50% off. So for $225, paying for a $60 U-Haul, and a few beers for a good friend who helpfed lug this off the truck. This thing was all ready for me!  

I used Annie Sloan Old White as my first coat (because I has bought it to re-paint my dining room, but that was going to wait after this huge paint project). Then I bought 4 quarts (yes…4) Valspar Chalky Finish Paint in Kid Gloves. So about $120 worth of paint! I also used this this brush which seemed to make application easier around the detailed areas. I finished the piece off with amazing Champange Bronze handles from Wayfair that will match the hardware color I am putting in the kitchen. I still have to finish the painted areas with wax, but I just haven’t had the energy to tackle it.

New floors are bamboo. The walls I painted with Sherwin Williams Versatile Gray. The wall art above the firepalce is from Hobby Lobby. The rug, floral pillows, and curtains are from HomeGoods. The sectional is from Havertys and I LOVE the color. The coffee table is a old free hand-me-down. I was thinking of painting white to match, what do you all think?

These past few months have been full of projects, but it’s exciting to to seeing it all come together! What do you think of our living room before and after?