gifts for the boss

When it comes to my preferred method of keeping track of my grocery budget, grocery list, and weekly menu selections, I like to keep everything front & center and totally non-digital.  Impromptu to-do lists fall under this category, too.  (I have a really great planner that keeps my life in order and is full of daily to-do lists, but occasionally I need something quick and visual for those moments when I have company arriving in an hour and I still need to sweep the floor, wipe the smudges off the windows, take the diapers out, switch the laundry, and unload the dishwasher. ) I wanted a board I could hang on a bare spot in my kitchen, but I wasn’t finding anything that was a great solution.

Here’s a bit of my method for keeping these items up-to-date and accurate:

Grocery Budget: I like to jot down how much I spent after each grocery shopping trip so I don’t have to keep receipts or enter it into any sort of computer/spreadsheet or have to open my online bank account to check my balance.  I have a two-week budget, so anytime I spend money on food during those two weeks, I jot it down and keep a running total so I know how much I’ve spent.  (I used to keep the total budget amount at the top and subtract each time I spent something, but I’ve decided that it’s way easier to add than subtract! Ha!)

Grocery List: I like to keep a running grocery list that I can add to every time I notice we’re running low on something.

Weekly Menu: I like to pick three meals a week, add any needed ingredients to my grocery list, and then write down the names of the meals so I don’t have to remember what we are going to eat that week. (Wondering why I don’t cook more often?  My husband is in grad school so he’s gone a few nights a week.  On the nights he is gone, the boys and I generally have something super fab like quesadillas, eggs + toast, or leftovers for dinner.)


My Problem:  wanting a pretty whiteboard but not finding a pretty whiteboard.

My Solution:  DIY!  This tutorial from eighteen25 and our own AmberLee’s post at The Idea Room got my wheels turning, but I’ve adapted them a bit.  This would be a fun {and easy} gift to personalize for a teacher or boss, too!

I bought a few yards of fabric from a thrift store.  It’s kind of fun, right?  You could also use pretty paper or a photograph.   And I picked up this clip frame from Hobby Lobby.  It says it is $5.99, but don’t let that fool you.  These things are always on sale–I think I paid $3.00 for this one.  I’ve also picked them up at IKEA for just a few dollars.  Take the glass off the backing and figure out what part of the pattern you would like to feature.  Trace around the glass and cut out the fabric, being careful not to tug on the fabric as you go.  (I made that mistake on my first try.  The fabric ended up smaller than the frame.  Oops!)

I didn’t get a picture of this, but after some trial and error, I spray mounted the fabric on a piece of light cardboard (think:  cereal box) just to give it a bit of stability when putting it back in the frame.  You can skip this step if you use paper or a photo.

Now it’s time to hang.  If you have a little boy at your house, he’ll probably come a’runnin as soon as he sees the hammer & nail come out of the tool box.  And then he’ll go get his toy saw and hammer so he can help.  What a sweetheart.

Since this board will be used for some serious list-making, I would suggest anchoring it with some Command Picture Hanging Strips as well.  Have you ever used them?  They. are. amazing.

And viola!  Pull out your dry-erase marker and start making lists lists lists.

Do you use a grocery list?  Do you have a grocery budget?  Do you create a menu?  I’d love to hear what works for you.


Darling Clementine

Crystal stops by GiversLog a couple times a month to share her fresh ideas. When she’s not writing for GiversLog, Crystal can be found mothering, knitting, and cooking. Stop by and see what’s new at her etsy shop:  monograms, Greek keys, and chevron stripes.  Oh my!


A few more gifts for dad that are small, but not cute. (See part 1 here).

a whole case of miniature things to stow in his glove box

a portable water sterilizer, and cable yo-yos for organizing his office

a good documentary or a super cool book

a ratchet kit and gel to clean anything

a little version of New York

mini laser tag and a spy camerafor the dad who thinks he’s Bond

a mini version of a ceiling fan to put in your tent, portable salt and pepper

mini mini golf

a sweet pair of shades, a pocket lantern

thumbprint cookies from Whimsy & Spice, a pocket fishing pole (this one is pictured, though this onehas better reviews)


While we’re talking Father’s Day food, here’s one more edible surprise for Dad. This is something we put together for my husband’s old college roommate to use at his desk. He really, really likes curry. So we gave him a salt, pepper, and curry shaker, plus a little hand mixed garam masala, to have on hand for lunch breaks. The curry was pre-mixed store-bought, but next time, I’m making my own. I know many men have a spice they favor, and unless it’s garlic, I figure it’s worth encouraging.


Divine Twine

If you haven’t had the chance to stop by the new shop for  Whisker Graphics , make sure you schedule a stop today. So many fun printables and paper goods. Not to mention the famous Divine Twine.


A few favorite small surprises that I’m considering for Father’s Day. Plus a few I’m not considering, but am loving.

a bulletproof hankie “for the promiscuous idealist whom lives in elegant danger” (thank you, MAKE) and another with a map of NY

the 4-in-one tool and the pocket worst case survival guide

a couple things to make dad smell manly

a Morse code kit and the pocket MAKE guide

a pen and pencil all in one and a hip case to put it in

a ping pong set and a pocket fire starter

a pinhole camera kit and a pocket knife worthy of a true mountain man


A few gifts you can leave behind at your friends’ cabin the next time you go, that everyone who visits can enjoy.

1. A nutcracker that doesn’t send shrapnel when you crack the nut (available here in the U.S., don’t hesitate to bring along a bag of chestnuts for roasting over the fire).
2. A pizza cutter that’s will respect your host’s nonstick pans.
3. A bowl that is just begging for popcorn
4. A first aid kit you can grab on the go (and if you have pups on the trip, you can pick up one for them too).
5. Fun mittens
6. A few pairs of thirty below socks (okay, maybe this one would be better if you hosts kept them for themselves)
7. An apron or two that will make a chef out of anyone (I love group cooking, it’s one of my favorite reasons to go on vacation).

I have a lot of valentine fun coming this week, so be sure to stop back and get in the mood. Also, it’s been a while since we’ve had an interview stock full of gift ideas, so you can look forward to one of those too. I also wanted to say a quick thanks to Joy for her kind words last week. These things keep me blogging. Hope everyone’s week is starting out great.


The Salad Kit


Love the idea of giving a salad kit to a neighbor or hostess, (suggested here via here) using this vinaigrette and these croutons or maybe a bag of walnuts or sundried tomatoes to make a yummy salad. But how to decide on salad servers? That would be the trick.

Seth Andersson,
Jamie Oliver
, or
French Bull

salad servers forks tongs

(pretty salad picture from here found via here)


I had a reader recently ask about good books to give clients. Suggestions, anyone? Here are my suggestions. Does this list make anyone else go weak in the knees? It makes me go positively Jell-O.

-books gifts for clients 1Travel
The Wallpaper City Guides (get them geared to Art Faires, Beaches, Business, or Fashion)
The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World
Great Escapes Around the World
A Road Trip Journal

-books gifts for clients 2Food
Chocolate: A Love Story: 65 Chocolate Dessert Recipes from Max Brenner’s Private Collection (give it with really great chocolate,
of course)
The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion guides
Tea with Jane Austen
Taking Tea at the Savoy
Breakfast, Lunch, Tea
Harlem Really Cooks (more about it here)

Holiday Books
Nutcracker (illustrated by Maurice Sendak)
The Gift of the Magi

-books gifts for clients 3Pretty Pretty Pictures
Pictures of the Times: A Century of Photography from The New York Times
The Most Beautiful Gardens in the World
A Trick Of The Eye: Trompe L’oeil Masterpieces
30,000 Years of Art
Many Are Called (Photographs of Subway Passengers)
The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984
American Quilts and Coverlets
Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800-1920
The Sartorialist

-books gifts for clients 4Short and Sweet
Words Fail Me

-books gifts for clients 5Reference Books of Sort
Webster’s Fashion Color Dictionary
Pictorial Webster’s
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything (Thanks, Maryellen!)
A Journey Through Literary America (via here)
1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die
Bicycle: The History
Sky Atlas 2000.0
The American House
Ultimate Book of Card Games

images not from publishers are via here, here, and here


I love Orange Beautiful. Always have. And as in any good romance, they’ve just given me a new reason to love them even more. Look at this sweet little perpetual calendar. It will work for every year for as long as you live. And it’s all letterpress. I’m always keeping an eye out for fun mailable gifts. I think this might be my favorite ever. Found via here.

-mailable client gift




Just a few ideas to give along with, or instead of, that car wash gift certificate this year. (And if none of these are the right fit, many more ideas here and here).

gift idea for your boss car charged flashlight

This one would go nicely with a car wash. You can plug this sleek flashlight right into the outlet in your dash.

gifts for your bossRainbow file folder
Give a pair of nice earbuds with a gift certificate to for audio books
J Fold business card holder

Crazy-nice pens
USB FlexLight, just plug it into your USB port and there will be light
Give that FlexLight with these swanky versions of puzzle books
Fridge carafes, give them with some good cider, or maybe some nog

-gift ideas for your boss, plantsOr give something living, like this succulent.

-gift for boss, calendar moleskine

Or give the Moleskine desk calendar.Who wouldn’t love a big block of Moleskine? (via here: here) And, if you missed last week’s post on 2010 calendars, you can see it here.

chinese staplerUPDATE 11.13.05 Saw this stapleless stapler over at Simple Song and had to add it to the collection. Isn’t it perfect, make sure to stop by Manufactum and check out the other great items.


Just a few final gifts your coworkers might love you for.

-gifts for coworkers 1
Happy clouds from Kikki.k

-gifts for coworkers make your own business cards DIYMake your own business card kits, 1 + 2 (I love this idea) from Nothing Elegant

-gifts for coworkers 2Those little round punchers are staple-less staplers. I hate replacing staples! What a great idea. Calculators and sewing kit also from See Jane Work. For more goodness from this shop today, visit here.

-Extreme office crafts books gifts coworkers
And finally a book and stickies for the coworker who needs to blow off steam. This book is so much fun, by the way. My 4-year-old son is begging for a copy.


Since we’re on the topic of coworkers and Simple Song, I thought it only appropriate to share with you some beautiful letterpress that would please most coworkers worth pleasing.

And as for calendars, I would do a calendar round up here, except there are already some fantastic calendar roundups floating around. So I’ll point you to some of those and let you pick out your favorites for 2010.

-clock gift coworker letterpress-clock gift coworker letterpress2Letterpress clock from Dee & Lala

-letterpress calendar 2010 gift coworker prettyLetterpress calendar for 2010 by Simple Song

For more calendar goodness, visit these great roundups

Calendar round ups from Design Crush
Decor 8’s round up of poster-style calendars
Decor 8’s round up of downloadable calendars
Decor 8’s round up of desk calendars
Decor 8’s round up of wall calendars
Decor 8’s round up of all other calendars
And one more roundup I liked from Oh So Beautiful Paper.

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Have you seen Chica and Joe’s blog? It’s a fun place to visit for craft and recipe ideas (like the candy corn bags featured here). Last week these lovely ladies stopped by and mentioned they are looking for coworker gifts in the $10-$15 range. Chica and Joe, this next set of posts are for you!

We’ll start with food gifts. Because, I think a love of food is something I share with Chica and Joe.

best homemade food christmas gifts coworkers

Isn’t the picture of Gingerbread biscotti tempting? Be sure to stop by Annie’s eats, the master baker and photographer behind the shot.

Gingerbread biscotti, yumm
A jar of hot fudge, ready to warm and pour
The latest Zagat
Cookies that look like your coworkers
Awesome peanut butter in flavors you never imagined but know you’ll love
Homemade lemon curd (via here, be sure to check out Stephmodo for loads of other killer recipe ideas)
Homemade pesto
The what’s for lunch spinner, maybe with a gift card to a nice little deli
Anarchy in a jar via this awesome list (if you live in Brooklyn they will peddle it over to your door)
Something yummy from Kohler, like the cherry almond bar


Okay, all of these books (and one film) make me giddy. Tell me I’m not the only one. And while we’re on the topic, do you have any other food or crafting books you’d love to get or give?

crafting documentary between the folds

Have you heard about this? Between the Folds, a documentary all about origami.

So excited about this one.

Isn’t this fun?

Who doesn’t get inspired (exhausted, but totally inspired) thinking about projects like these?

One Yard Wonders book
My kind of sewing book.

Love these sweet little felt projects.

New and fun.

For the Cath Kidson fans, get it here.

I really need this one.

The bible of French home cooking, only recently translated. I’m getting goosebumps.

I’m a vegetable lover, so I had to throw this in.
Three hoorays (or ye-haw’s) for Jamie Oliver.

A whole book about sandwiches. I’m happy.

afternoon tea book
From the makers of Frankie Magazine.


Such a great concept. Read more here.
I want to get the skills! Recommended here.


If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to collect gift ideas and pretty wrapping ideas from talented friends and bloggers.

I hope the ideas in this post help with what you’re looking for. You can also find dozens more of my favorite farewell gift ideas here, in the farwell section of my gift guide page.

farewell gifts for boss or a coworkerRose petals scattered across a windshield for a fond farewell

I ran across this list of ways to say goodbye to a boss or coworker. It’s kinda nice.
Give them something to remember the company by
Give them something to remember the workplace by
Give them something they can put to use at their next job
Give them something to mark their contribution

And, of course, I have to embellish with a few suggestions of my own.
farewell gifts for boss or coworkerrow 1:
The good luck garden,
Pencil sharpener from here, made from a solid block of aluminium
row 2:
Your own mini documentary of the office, complete with interviews of coworkers saying goodbye (do you like the print? I found it here). You can also take photos of everyone at the beginning of the party, and send a willing participant to sneak off and have them developed and slid in to a nice album to give a very surprised recipient by the end of the party.
One very perfect letter opener (easy to engrave)
row 3:
A place to jot all their new plans
Pens from Cursive New York for jotting them with
row 4:
A reminder of how long they’ve been around
or of where they’ve been and where they’re going (via here)
row 5:
A subscription to the Card Society (found here), to give them a fond reminder once a month

best-homemade-food-christmas-gifts-coworkers1UPDATE: I love these custom cookies, made to order to look like the face of the guest of honor. Get a several of these made and say something witty like, “we’re really going to miss seeing your face around here.”

UPDATE: Also love these personalized wall murals. They’re so affordable.