Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Ridiculously Easy Peasy Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

CC image courtesy of JD Hancock (CC BY 2.0)

Hey folks! It's crazy that Thanksgiving has already passed this year! Of course, this means that everyone is now busying themselves for the holiday season - trimming the trees, decking the halls, and, many of us, panicking in crowded stores to find that perfect gift for every single family member on your list, and then trying to find it for the best price.

Unfortunately, we can't all be the family-labeled gift-giving guru that I am. (Okay, so maybe my step-sister said I was great at picking out gifts one time...) Plus, some people are just plain hard to shop for, you can't always trust the typical "gifts for him" lists, and don't we all want to go the extra mile to find that something special for the person we love? No matter the difficulty level of your someone special, in this post I intend to help you brainstorm a bajillion ideas for even those incredibly hard-to-buy-for folks, no matter what your price range may be!

All you'll need is a notebook and pencil or a word processor handy to take down your ideas. Have you got them? Great! Now you'll have to answer a few questions about your recipient to get the ball rolling, and be sure to take down any ideas you may have along the way. Here we go!

What are the recipient's hobbies? Consider not only what the person enjoys doing, but also what they may find themselves doing frequently for work. From there, consider a gift to compliment the recipient's hobby. If you don't know enough about the hobby to decide on something specific, a gift card, as long as it's from a relevant store to that person's interests, (i.e. craft stores, sporting goods, video game stores, hobby shops - you get the idea) it will be very much appreciated.

What music, movies, TV, or sports team does the person enjoy? Some people have very specific interests, and that can make your job super easy! I'm not saying to exploit any little TV show or band that you've heard the person likes, but if you know that your recipient is an absolute die-hard fan of something, then by all means spoil them with merchandise! If you can combine this sort of an idea with an item that you know the person needs or will use, then you win at gift-giving twice!

How can you create memories with the person? If you are struggling to find the perfect gift for someone, then perhaps you could use a little more one-on-one time with them. You can do this by taking them somewhere: a movie, a restaurant, a Broadway show, theme park, shopping trip, or renaissance faire. You could also buy them something you can enjoy together, such as a board game, movie, or video game.

What's missing from the recipient's life? When it comes right down to it, a creative gift can easily be trumped by a thoughtful gift with function. Last year I noticed that my mom was using Tupperware containers to store her salt and sugar, so I got her some cute kitchen containers filled with her favorite candy. My smelly hippie brothers are probably getting some all-natural soaps this year. (I hope they don't read this!) I'm just saying - find something that the person desperately needs but maybe doesn't know it yet.

What is the person's favorite food, candy, or restaurant? A meal is always a thoughtful gift, whether you are enjoying it with someone special or gifting it to someone to share with their significant other, but going the restaurant gift card route can fall flat on the creativity scale if you're not careful. Another great way to incorporate this idea is to buy the recipient a creative and useful container and fill it with their favorite candy, like I mentioned before.

What makes this person laugh? Some of the best gifts are bought with the intention of laughing at with the recipient. My aforementioned soap idea may work for someone who you've previously joked with about personal hygiene, but just be sure to consider whether or not your funny gift idea conveys the message you want to send and isn't just done in avarice.

If you're still unsure of what to buy, then get your pencil ready - it's serious list-making time. Take a moment to peel yourself away from the internet and really think about the person that you're buying for. Think about all the little things that they enjoy, all the things that remind you of them, and write down every little thought. At this point, they don't even have to be gift ideas. If the person likes coffee, write it down. If the person loves reading, drawing, or using Pinterest, write it down. If there's a song that reminds you of them, write it down. If the person wears ties, gauged earrings, colorful socks, ugly sweaters, or bowling shoes - by all means, write it down! Once you're done, read your list and consider how you can use it to develop new gift ideas. A coffee-drinker might enjoy a new travel mug, coffee flavor, or coffee-maker. Someone who reads may enjoy anything from a handmade bookmark to a new Kindle. Try to expand on every list item!

Finally, remember that one of the best parts of receiving a gift is getting to open it! Be sure to make your present look super-enticing by wrapping it neatly and creatively! (I like to consider the recipient's personality in choosing between wrapping papers.) The unwrapping process can even make a series of small gifts seem like a Christmassy plethora of presents and joy!

I hope I've been able to help guide you through my gift-giving process and given you plenty of ideas for holiday gifts this year! Please let me know in the comments if you have any surefire present-picking methods. If you've found this post helpful, be sure to share it using the social media buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Treasures 41

Thanks for stopping in for today's issue of Tuesday Treasures! If you're as in love with these gorgeous leather and rose quartz bracelets as I am, then you're in luck! Anette of Lebenslustiger has the full tutorial on her blog!


I'm absolutely in love with the dreamy illustrations of Stasia Burrington! Her Etsy shop is full of everything from cheeky hand-drawn stickers to adorable original prints, each one a complex & thoughtful work of art.



This marble paper filing cabinet DIY by Alexis of Persia Lou is gorgeous, and I always love seeing new ways to use beautiful papers to brighten up our everyday eyesores.


I can honestly say that I've never wanted a fanny pack so badly before! Gabriela of Leafling Bags creates these cute backpacks, fanny packs, and bicycle bags with an absolutely adorable signature leaf design throughout that is just precious.



This beautiful accent wall DIY by Maiko Nagao is so fun and simple! If you don't already love it, just wait until you see how inexpensive this project is! Did I mention it's easily removable?


Thanks for reading this issue of Tuesday Treasures! To see some of my favorite finds from around the web before next Tuesday, be sure to follow me on Pinterest! See you next week!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Treasures 40

I honestly cannot believe that this Gold Moon Wall tutorial has been up on A Beautiful Mess for nearly a year now and I hadn't discovered it until this week! If I had a projector and big empty wall to paint, you can bet I'd be going to town on this DIY project already...


This steampunk-altered stationery caddy is so cool! Painted and patina-caked by Patricia Basson, this beauty was made out of a plain old plastic set of drawers, some added hardware, gauze, and embellishments!


These creatively colorful nature-inspired pillows from Anthropologie feature beautiful animal portraits painted by Starla Michelle Halfmann that are absolutely wondrous.


What makes a diamond so meaningful, when you could be wearing a piece of a real meteorite around your neck? This beautiful necklace from the I Love Science Store was created using a chunk of meteorite from the Campo del Cielo fall, which is believed to have occurred four to five-thousand years ago!


This beautifully-embossed foil print by Kristina Krogh, entitled Levels, is nothing short of stunning. If I came across this in an art gallery I would not be able to keep my hands off of it! Just saying...



Thanks for stopping in for my 40th edition of Tuesday Treasures! If you've enjoyed this week's discoveries, be sure to check out previous issues of Tuesday Treasures for even more great finds! See you again next week!

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Etsy Treasury: Southwestern Stillness

This brightly-hued treasury is inspired by the Native American lifestyle, turquoise jewelry, desert sunsets, and geometric art. Be sure to support these creative businesses by checking out these handmade items and spreading the love by utilizing the sharing buttons above!


Turquoise Southwestern Jewel...
$38

Red Buffalo art print Southw...
$20

Southwestern Native American...
$19

Feather Headdress/ Feather M...
$390

RESERVED FOR DFO : Southwe...
$62

Dancing in the desert. 6&quo...
$45

Southwestern Arrows Tall Si...
$78

Native American style multis...
$85

Pillow Cover, Aztec Pillow C...
$14.99

Triangle Blue & Red Tribal D...
$45

Desert Gold - Five Snag Free...
$8

Archival quality print, from...
$115

Peru Travel Photography, Tur...
$25

141 CLEARANCE Hand Beaded Ea...
$2.5

Long Multi Strand Orange, Ye...
$45
Powered By Handmadeology.

Thanks for stopping by and showing your support for some truly amazing creative businesses! If you're looking to start your own handmade business on Etsy, be sure to join using this link to get both of us 40 free listings, and best of luck to you in all of your creative endeavors!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Treasures 39

Thanks for stopping in for Tuesday Treasures, my weekly collection of favorite discoveries from around the web! This week's edition features some really wonderful handmade creations and artistic finds that I hope you enjoy!

I've been shopping around for a tea cup for awhile now, and I can't help but to adore this pretty hand-carved cup, made from red clay by Alexandra of Warm Ceramics in St. Petersburg!


This gorgeous abstract squid is just one of the many beautiful works of art in Teuthology of the Deep by Clara Jauquet, a series of illustrations created to exhibit the unique beauty of the cephalapod.


There are a whole lot of DIY coaster ideas out there, but few are as attractive and elegant as these gold-leaf-trimmed agate coasters by Kristin of Bliss at Home! Click the image below for the full tutorial!


These unique horror-inspired jewelry pieces from September Room are so cool! The teeth and gums in the bracelet below are hand-painted for realism, and the dragonfly-winged ring is to die for!



One of my biggest dreams is to one day own a big, beautiful house with Brad in the middle of nowhere that we'll be able to take care of and make our own, so I'm always very inspired and delighted to see someone with a similar dream bringing it to fruition in a unique way, such as artist and sweater-coat designer Kat O'Sullivan has in her colorful New York farmhouse!




Thanks for reading! If you missed last week's issue, be sure to check it out in the archives! See you again next week!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bridal Gown Shopping - Part 2



In July I wrote about my first ever bridal appointment. As you can imagine, I tried on quite a few wedding dresses that day, and spent literally hours being stuffed into different undergarments and frilly things. When I was finished, I was confused. I had kind of, sort of, maybe liked a few. There were two in particular that my entourage really appreciated - and they were beautiful - but nothing that was quite what I was hoping for.

I scheduled another appointment. Then I cancelled it. I made tentative dress-shopping plans with my mom. I cancelled them, too.

Then, my grandma sent me her wedding dress. It was absolutely beautiful.


Unfortunately, no matter what we tried, the dress just wouldn't fit. My gram was a pretty tiny lady, after all.

I mulled over my options for months. The gowns from my fitting were all similar to what I wanted, and I had a decent range of prices to choose from, but none of them seemed to have that special something. Everything was too modern, too plain, too uncomfortable, or too embellished, and nothing had the sort of silhouette that I wanted.

In the back of my mind, I had been throwing around the idea of having a custom dress made. There was an Etsy bridal shop that a friend showed me that I was starting to obsess over, and I felt as though none of the dresses I tried on during my fitting really compared. I wanted to try on a few more in order to get an idea of what features I like & dislike in a gown, but I didn't want to waste another saleswoman's time when I didn't intend on buying.

And then I just stopped thinking about it. I let it go for awhile, and I quit focusing on wedding things. Once my head was clear, I caught myself browsing that same Etsy shop again and again.

Last Sunday I messaged the dressmaker, and I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders by opting for the dress of my dreams. I'm currently in the process of sketching my perfect bridal gown and deciding on every little detail, and I couldn't be happier with my choice!

When things are more certain, I will be super-excited to share this wonderful dressmaker with you, as well as my sketches and inspiration for my dress. In the meantime, I have a lot of wedding planning left to do! Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Treasures 38

I've had my eye on this gorgeous porcelain blueberry necklace by Maria of FloralStyle for awhile now. It looks so amazingly realistic and delicate!


These pretty animal-inspired purses are so adorable! Handmade by Richela Piras, you can take your animal obsession to the next level with one of her kitty-shaped handbagsfoxy coin purses, and the like in her Etsy shop!



This gorgeous felt statement necklace was created by artist Sarah Ball in 2009. You can view more of her one-of-a-kind jewelry creations on her blog.


This beautiful whale tattoo by Russian artist Sasha Unisex is absolutely phenomenal! I just love the way the stars in the galaxy resemble the tubercles that are commonly found on humpback whales.

A photo posted by Sasha Unisex (@sashaunisex) on

I mean it when I say that I need these tights before the end of Fall! This original design by Carousel Ink is inspired by statuesque redwood trees, and are the most magnificent shade of mossy green.


I appreciate you stopping in each week to check out my favorite finds! If you've missed an issue or would just like to browse through previous Tuesday Treasures posts, you can find them right here!

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