gifts for someone away from home


I just wanted to share a little something we have been mailing out for a couple of birthdays this winter and will be mailing as a few simple valentines. This time of year, there’s nothing like the gift of soft supple lips.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

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This week I’ll be tying up my handmade gift retreat. And like any good party, I’m not ready for it to be over! But I have stellar women to finish it off, and I have something wonderful coming around the corner, so I will try to be brave.

To kick off the week, I hope you’ll help me say Hello to the beautiful Hannah of Sherbet Blossom. Hannah lives in Utah with her adorable family and runs a design shop you really must see. I love her May I Suggest series she has going right now, and before that her Project Organize (don’t you love her for this? you might run across me while you browse). I’m so thrilled to have her here today sharing a dear gift. I’ll leave you in her hands.

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I think we all have ancestors/relatives that we relate to more than others. Relatives that we seem to take after. Someone that shares your same interests, character traits or humor. My Grandma Boo is that relative for me. She was a woman who had a passion for design; she always had the latest fashions in clothing and home decor: not your average grandma. She loved to laugh and she adored her husband. She was always serving other people and thought of herself last. She was the ultimate, glamorous hostess.

I come from a family of cooks and Grandma Boo was the best. When she passed away, my mother made all of Grandma Boo’s descendants a book of my grandmother’s recipes. It is now one of my most prized possessions. I am sad to say this book is not available for purchase, but it SHOULD be!
My copy is full of food stains, kid scribbles and jotted notes. I love this book. I know that I am safe making anything in it. Everything is delicious and most recipes are accompanied by memories of my grandmother. The smells and taste of her food brings in a rush of memories. This is a gift that will keep on giving.

Today, my teary-eyed three-year-old came to me requesting “Grandma Boo’s Cookies” after falling down. How could I refuse him? Grandma’s cookies make any sadness a little sweeter.
Now the she is gone, Grandma’s recipes have become my homemade gift of choice. I pull out the recipe book for every holiday. Many of my friends, neighbors and family members have been the recipients of her fantastic recipes. Nothing can invite a smile like the gift of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

My grandma’s cookies are one of my favorite items in the cookbook, and like my grandma, I don’t believe in secret recipes. Sharing makes cooking even more fun. The recipe is my gift to you today. Enjoy!

GRANDMA BOO’S COOKIES:
3/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
2 c. quick rolled oats
1 pkg. chocolate chips
3/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Cream together shortening and sugars. Add eggs. Add remaining
ingredients in order and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees until done.
(About 10-11 minutes.)

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Party to Go

09.10.10

I am confident I could throw a stunning party in just minutes if I had one of these party kits. Do you love them? (Even an outdoor kit!)

Especially now that I know I can make and freeze cupcake batter in advance (thanks, Motherload!) I think I’ll start with strawberry lemonade cupcakes.

Hope your weekend is happy.

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Don’t you think everybody should get their own fan club? Really, on some days, wouldn’t it be great to have your own cheering section? Or maybe…to open your mailbox and find fan mail?

You might want to try sending some fan mail this week. We thought we’d send some, and had a lot of fun doing it. Incase you want that fan mail to take the form of a foam finger, like ours, here’s the how-to. And if you have no occasion to make a foam finger today, trust me, there is going to come a time when you are going to want to make your own. And when that day comes, you will know how.

This has to be one of my favorite projects yet. We started with some leftover foam we’d bought at the fabric store. Thinner is better. We snipped out the appripriate shape, a front and a back.

We used a permanent fabric glue, Gem Tac or Liquid Stitch both work, and glued the front and back pieces together, then let them dry.

Next we pulled out our acrylic paint and mixed up some pink, fabric paint works too.

We made a few discoveries about working with the medium of raw cushion. It has to be damp to be painted. Aren’t you glad you have me to fill your mind with such important details? So we got the whole cushion wet and squeezed it out so it was just damp, painted onto the surface, then squeezed it out again.

I was very pleased the ty-died effect. You like?

Then, while the finger was still wet, we painted on our special message. If you’re planning to mail, remember to give this days to dry. You want it to be fully dry before you fold it over on itself.

And finally, the result. This goes out to all my readers, the very coolest readers and dearest friends in the world! I’m your fan.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

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Thanks to all the Idea Room readers who stopped in yesterday. If you’re just joining, today’s post is from a series I’ve started on GiversLog that has become my personal favorite. I’ve been mailing gifts that are 13 ounces or less. And thanks to a few brilliant readers, we’ve come up with some fun things. Like today’s idea. I know it is going to have you running to your recycling bin and pulling out any waterbottles you can find.

This idea came from the lovely Miss Cocoa of Chocolate on my Cranium (can you guess what Cocoa and I have in common? A complete and shameless love of chocolate, maybe?) When I first started this series, Cocoa told me about how she did this. After my friend heard about it, she suggested a bottle exchange. Such brilliance. We exchanged a few emails and agreed we’d send anything that could fit in a water bottle. So first, here’s what I mailed.

Have you ever tried a kneedable eraser? I love the things.

I used free printable labels from here and here.

And now, here is the happy mail I got in return. (Thanks, Sherry, you rock!)

Notice any similarities? We were both all grins when we opened our mailboxes. It turns out we both like turquoise, just a little.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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One stack of rainbow sticky notes, all packaged up and ready to brighten the mailbox of my little sister (shh, don’t tell).

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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NOTE: This is the second post in a series about photo gifts by my guest author and friend Rachelle.

Yesterday we talked photo albums, today we’ll talk photo gifts. Besides the calendar from Shutterfly, the mouse pad from Costco, the mug from Snapfish, there are handbags, ornaments, blankets,  playing cards, key chains, stickers, etc. , etc. but, since this is the giverslog (where gifts are taken to a whole NEW level), let’s think outside of the box…  I challenge you to look around for the inspiration that is all around you!

I thought I’d share few gifts I’ve done this past year with photographs in hopes of getting you thinking of the possiblilites:

1.cereal box covered with my kids photos and well wishes for my brother to open on Christmas morning as he was away from any family.

2. For my friend running a marathon, a small gift card holder covered with a black and white photograph of her shoes (it was entitled “26 miles to go”).  It was filled with Jelly Belly Sport beans.

3. A large storyboard type print for my cousin’s wedding gift with some of the photographs I took of her special day.

4. Birthday party invitations and thank you cards where photographs, which always makes them more fun and personal.

5. memory game for my kids and a set for their cousins with 52 playing cards (made with photographs, chipboard, scrapbook paper, mod podge, and lamination) from our last get-together.

6. “Grandparents day” cans covered with my kids picture and filled with a yummy treat.  This one is a fun one and super versatile.  You open the bottom of the can with a smooth edge, eat what’s inside, wash it out, and fill it with something yummy or fun!  Then you wrap the outside in a cute wrapper (with a photo is always a bonus) and tie a ribbon around the pop top to remind the receiver to open it!  I made these for birthdays, holidays, and any other excuse I could think of this year!

The possibilities are endless.  I hope these two days have gotten you thinking. What photographs can you make sure happen when you are together with your loved ones?  What ways can you incorporate photos into your gifts?  As you plan meaningful gifts to give that your loved one will treasure include a photo and I guarantee you’ll get a big smile!

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We will be sharing this Sunday with some very special Valentines, great grandma and grandpa. I can’t think of anything sweeter. So yesterday we got to work making my hot chocolate on a stick recipe in an appropriate form to enjoy on Valentines day. I was very pleased with how they turned out. Do you like them? And I thought they were a perfect treat for my kids too, a few other people who melt my heart.

And I wanted to share this with you, a garland I saw on PurlBee and whipped up on my sewing machine this morning to share with the readers over at SEI. It took me about 25 minutes, and that includes cleanup time. That’s my kind of sewing project.

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My friends. I thought I’d better bring this idea to your attention. I know you really wouldn’t want to miss this, am I right? Last week Courtney stopped by and told me she had mailed a frisbee. That’s right, a bare frisbee and a label (Courtney, you are brilliant.) Naturally I couldn’t wait to try it myself. I have mine all ready and am headed to the post office this morning.

here it is with the mail, all set to go

(UPDATE: Mailed this off for $1.73. Not bad. More about this in Friday’s post.)

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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Here she is, my first official mailing of 13 ounces or less. I thought mini m+ms should go out with a mini garland (i did a paper version of this one by PurlBee). I packed it, wrapped it, and mailed it off for $1.57. It’s so cheerful looking, don’t you think?

mmm, chocolatejust enough space
even the scraps are cheerfulpacked and ready

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

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A few of my favorite things you can mail via USPS first class, that is, they weigh 13 ounces or less.

the smile mask card

DIY flipbook


a post card you can carve your innitials into

DIY mini boomerang (I’m totally trying this)

assemble-able post cards, found via here

custom silhouettes available here

magnetic paper dolls, via here

pretty hair pins

pretty socks

your own personal hot air balloon, available here or get the DIY here (found via here)

magnets that turn your fridge into an aquarium

the hexbug, found this guy via here

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The postal workers have been seeing more of me lately. I’ve discovered that you can stick postage on just about anything and the good people of the USPS will mail it for you. I have walked in there with two pretty small packages and a round package and I have yet to stump them.

My favorite is when the package weighs 13 ounces or less. I hand them my package and wait in suspense while they flop it onto their scale. If it’s under 13 ounces I try not to act too excited, then I send it off first class and pay only a buck or two. Really, a buck or two to send something delightful anywhere in the U.S.? A buck or two so I can have a SIL open her mailbox and find a sweet little round box jumbled in with all her more serious mail? I’m curious about weight limits elsewhere? Australia? Europe?

I’m very wrapped up in this idea, and decided to add a whole new category to my gift guide. Visit here and you will find several gifts that weigh 13 ounces or less from clever bloggers and shopkeepers out there. Word of warning, the category is based on estimates from my own brain. I did not pull out an official postal scale.

And incase you don’t find enough in the gift guide, check back tomorrow. I’ll share several other favorites that I estimate weigh in under 13 ounces.

What have you mailed for 13 ounces or less?

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December in my home growing up was always packed with Christmas traditons. I told you we had a great mix of German Christmas and Venezuelan Chrsistmas (can you imagine a mashup of Oh Tannenbaum and Feliz Navidad? it’s kind of like that). It made for a month of magic.

dark chocolate ship

One of my favorite traditions is Advent Sunday. Everything about it is perfectly lovely. We hang a wreath by ribbons over the table, where it looks over our Christmas festivities all month. We clip four candles on it, and the four Sundays before Christmas we light one, then two, then three, then all four candles. We usually also have the candlelight from one of these (notice there are four doors? perfect for advent. i also love thislittler but still pricey version). We read Christmas stories by the candlelight and always follow it with Christmas cookies. The final Sunday we read the most beautiful story my grandmother translated. It’s pretty great. You should give it a try this Sunday.

0 mini-adventskranz.234.234.0saw this mini advent wreath here, I totally want to make my own

And, of course, we always had other advent calendars around the house. At least two per kid and one for the whole family. So before I head off to fit in some quick black friday shopping (tempted to buy this guitar),
I thought I’d share with you a few favorite advent calendars.

1 4116854662_aaef066796_oavailable here via Simple Song

2 2009-11-18-adventavailable here

2.1 advent_finalImageLRseen here

2.3 large_advent_calendar_cardsseen here via here

2.4 il_430xN.44303043love these slippers, available here seen here

2.6 nouveau design adventseen here via here

2.8 spool14from here

2.9 advent_1from here

3 newbirdwravailable here

6a00e553dd55ed88340105364fd051970b-500wiwish these guys still carried these

2.91 koenecke-advent-sausageyum. from here

5 olive_calendari love pop-ups. available here

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Are you having a good Vetran’s day so far? I hope so. I had a reader pop in with this question, and I thought the topic was especially appropriate for the day.

Do any of you have friends or family who will be away from home for the holidays? Have you in the past? What will you/ did you send? Here is what Cherie wrote:

“Any suggestions for a missionary in the Galapagos Islands?  We try to use the flat rate envelopes and fill them to the brim!  He is coming home in June 2010, yea!  He doesn’t NEED anything but we want it to be fun for he and his companion (who usually doesn’t get anything).”

-mini nativityCool mini nativity puzzle available here.

Cherie, my brother was a missionary in Venezuela, and one of the the things he appreciated most was something that reminded him of Christmas at home. We always make a nativity, so I used photos of a nativity to make a stand-up paper version. Decorations are always fun and mailable gifts (Make a garland to send or have a giant mural made of a favorite Christmassy place). Missionaries are also infamous for thinking about doing nice things for the people around them. So a couple fun cookie cutters or pencils with a custom message might be fun for them to give away.

P.S. For those of you who don’t have someone away from home but would like to send support to someone, you can get a name of a soldier who needs a care package and send something festive.

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