One Bag Nation

Kelly, my friend and blogging mentor, is hosting a great giveaway at Almost Frugal, just in time for the holidays. She’ll be giving away a Giftybox (valued at $100) – a fun and unique way to give a very personalized gift.
Visit Almost Frugal between Monday, December 1 and Monday, December 8 to enter – good luck!

emptybasementHere is a photo of all the glorious space we have cleared in the basement. There’s still more work to be done, but now my husband can begin work on the wall and shelves he’s planning. Next, the lighting, paint and some carpet and we’re in business!

The holiday room is looking much, much better as well; I may even be able to find what I need down there when the holiday crazies begin!

hbhribbonsKelly at Almost Frugal is this week’s Holiday by Hand hostess. I haven’t posted a project this time, because I’m not at all clever with ribbons or thread, but do head over to Almost Frugal to see the cute holiday projects Kelly has assembled.

And remember, I’m hosting the Holidays by Hand food theme week on December 9 and I’d love to have you submit a recipe!

dump1As promised, here are photos of some of the stuff we finally got rid of this weekend, as we made a big push in the basement clean-up project.

Vintage Daddy took two loads of stuff to the dump, as well as a load we donated to Value Village. We have one more pile that we’re taking to an organization that serves homeless families, and we need to hire someone to haul away an ancient (and enormous) freezer and an equally ancient rowing machine someone gave us ages ago.

There were certain things we had trouble with: some of the baby equipment and clothing, and a big box of china that my husband’s mom (who died too young) handpainted.

We agreed to set some space aside for “stuff we can’t deal with now” and move on. There’s still plenty to do before we can start to clean and paint.

It’s very exciting to talk about plans for the space. We’ll still have storage for kitchen and pantry overflow; sporting equipment, luggage, those kinds of things. For the living space, we’re planning a workout area and a nice, large play/art area for my daughter. I think she’ll enjoy being down there more and more as she gets older.

dump2My only fear is that we’ll somehow lose steam, and months and months will go by without any more progress. I guess it will be up to me to keep the project moving – stay tuned!

This week’s Holidays by Hand host is Rachel at smallnotebook.org. Visit her blog for more fun papercrafting ideas!

I have a lot of scrapbook paper around. In the spirit of frugality, simplicity, and re-purposing, I decided that I would try to use some of it to make holiday gifts this year.

My idea was to make monogrammed notecards. I gave it a go this weekend and I think they’re turning out pretty well.

These “prototype” cards were very simple to make. I decided to use size A2 envelopes (4.375″ x 5.75″) , so the flat size of the cards is either 4″x11″ or 8″x5.5″ (depending on orientation) and the folded size is 4″x5.5″. I used my 1-1/2″ circle die cutter (a glorified hole punch) to punch a circle in the front of the note, and then I stamped the inside back with a single letter in a complementary color. I also experimented with stamping a monogram on card stock, cutting it out with my die cutter, and then adhering it to the front of the card. (That’s the card with the yellow paper with red flowers and a “J” on the front).

It’s a little tricky to get the monogram in just the right place, especially if you’re not an experienced stamper, (and I’m not) but clear acrylic stamps make this a lot easier. Of course you can use any number of die cut shapes and sizes, as well as styles and sizes of letter stamps. I’m also planning to make one set of notes for Vintage Girl’s birthgrandma using a dragonfly stamp and iridescent ink on solid color cards.

For the monogrammed notes, my plan is to make sets of 6-8 notes in different designs, each with a matching envelope, tied together with ribbon. I think they’ll make very nice gifts, and it feels good to use craft supplies I already have to create something new. Plus I’m having a great time getting back to the craft table – too much blogging means very little crafting these days!

Holidays by Hand is a six-week festival featuring handmade holiday gifts. If you’d like to join in, the contact information for each blogger host is here.

Holidays by Hand (a brainstorm of yours truly) is a six-week festival of bloggers sharing ideas for handmade holiday gifts. I’ll be hosting the last week, on December 9th, with recipes for homemade food gifts.

This week, Tsh at simplemom.net starts us off with ideas for holiday gifts you can sew.

I didn’t submit anything this week because sewing always sends me screaming to the nearest chocolate bar – or it did when I was a teenager. Now I suppose it would send me screaming to the nearest wine bottle.

In any case, Tsh is clearly much more competent and talented than I am in this department, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy her post today.

Next week: Rachel at smallnotebook will share papercraft gift projects.

If you’re interested in joining the festival to submit some handmade gift ideas, you can find contact information here.H

After a very unproductive week in my ongoing basement declutter project, we made some headway this weekend.

My husband took our ancient, broken old computer and the giant monitor to the recycler. For only $10 a piece, they’ll dispose of the toxic elements and recyle the rest – what a great deal!

This week I need to finally finish up the holiday room, and organize whatever odds and ends are left to be donated or consigned.

Next weekend is the big push, where we rent a small truck for a dump run and get rid of the trash. Vintage Girl will be with her auntie, so we hope to spend some time together over a nice meal, planning what to do with all the wonderful space we’ve created.

I promised Marelisa I’d post photos of the piles we haul out, so stay tuned!