On the 2nd Day of Craft-mas…a Homemade Coupon Book

Last year, my husband and I decided that we wouldn’t get each other Christmas gifts.  We had just spent a ton of money on our wedding and honeymoon, and we were flying across the country to spend Christmas with my family (not a cheap plane ticket!).  But, I just couldn’t imagine not giving him something, especially since it was our first Christmas together as husband and wife (awwww….).  So I decided that if I spent essentially nothing, it would still adhere to the spirit of the no-gift agreement.

Earlier in the year, I had seen a lot of ideas for “coupon books” for Mother’s Day, which is where I got my inspiration (found here and here).

I figured that I could easily adapt the coupon book idea for my husband.  The only real costs would be for the paper and the printing.  And lucky for me, I had a bunch of leftover supplies from our wedding that I could use!  I actually used some leftover business cards that I had used to print our registry information and include with our wedding invitations.  These are the kind that I got: Avery Two-Side Printable Clean Edge Business Cards for Inkjet Printers 8876, Ivory, Matte, Pack of 200.  They are listed on the Avery website for $17.91, but I think I got them from Office Depot or Staples for about the same cost.  Unless you’re really ambitious though, you’ll have plenty of leftover cards for other projects, so the cost really isn’t that much.  What’s really cool about this product though, is you can download a template for Microsoft Word right from the Avery website.

So I then went about thinking up coupon ideas.  Coupons for your husband are very different from coupons for your Mom, so I had to think up a lot of new ideas.  I decided to keep things clean, although a more racy coupon book might have been fun too!  I tried to think of things that my husband would like (massages, date night, etc.) as well as things that he hates doing that I could help with (dishes, taking out the trash, laundry, ironing, etc.).  I came up with 14 total ideas for coupons, but some I printed multiple times (I gave him 3 back massage coupons, for example).

  • One Load of Laundry
  • Ironing
  • Washing Dishes
  • One Back Massage
  • One Foot Massage
  • One Car Wash
  • Breakfast-in-Bed
  • Being the Designated Driver
  • Guinness Cupcakes (had to share the link for this recipe – it’s amazing!!)
  • Taking out the Trash
  • One Movie Date Night
  • One Date Night
  • One Household Chore
  • One Weekend Dog Walk

All of these items had further qualifiers, such as the back massage is good for up to 30 minutes, and the ironing is good for up to 3 garments.  I didn’t want him taking too much advantage of these!! 😉

I first created a design that I liked, just using one of the basic starburst shapes in Microsoft.  I then found a clip-art image that represented each coupon and placed that image in the background (I faded it, so that you could still read the coupon text).  Finally, I wrote in what each coupon was for.  Here’s an example of the design for the ironing coupon:

I also created a design for the front of the coupon book (and printed a plain red business card for the back of the book as well):

Finally, I printed these all out on my home inkjet printer, punched a hole in the top left corner of each, and made them into a booklet using a leftover small key ring that was just sitting loose in our key drawer.  And viola!  An almost free gift, that my husband absolutely adored.  He went through the coupons faster than you can even imagine.  My hands were definitely tired of giving massages the couple weeks after Christmas!!

On the 1st Day of Craft-mas…a Gift for a Tea Lover

The first installment of the the 12 Days of Craft-mas series features a homemade Christmas present, perfect for a tea drinker.  I love giving meaningful, personalized Christmas gifts, and what better way to do that (and save some money!) than to go the homemade route.

My mother is a big tea drinker, so last year, I made her a Chai tea kit.  (I know, it’s kind of cheating to use something I did last year, but I can’t exactly write about gifts that I haven’t given out yet!  That would certainly ruin the surprise on Christmas morning…)  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the result, since it’s already in my mom’s possession (and hopefully all used up by now!).  But here was my inspiration (from Purpose Design):

     

As much as I love supporting Etsy businesses, the $40 price tag was a bit steep for me.  So I mosied on over to The Container Store to look for a perfect partitioned container.  I purchased a clear plastic box, which was divided into eight different compartments, found here.

I then went over to my local Sprouts Farmers Market, where they sell bulk spices and loose leaf tea pretty cheaply.  I picked up all of the required ingredients for Chai Tea: star anise, cloves, allspice, cinnamon bark, peppercorns, cardamom, and several kinds of black tea. Another good source of bulk spices and loose leaf tea is Monterey Bay Spice Company.  I discovered them a few months ago when Groupon had a $15 for $30 deal and I needed to restock my tea supply.  Their spices and teas are very reasonably priced, but the shipping can start to add up.  Word of warning: a pound of tea is a lot of tea (probably should have realized that, but now I have probably a year’s worth of tea to drink…).

I then created a label for the outside of the tea kit, with the recipe.  I made this in Powerpoint (of course), and printed it out on some label paper than I had leftover from my wedding.  I made it the same size as the top of the box, so that it would cover the entire top.

I also created individual little labels for each compartment, to identify what each item was.  I placed these labels on the underside of the box cover.

And tah-dah!  A personalized Chai Tea kit for around $10.  Not quite the sleek stainless steel look of the one sold on Purpose Design, but pretty cool nonetheless.  And a perfect gift for a tea drinker.

The 12 Days of Craft-mas

November is over, the Thanksgiving leftovers are all eaten (or thrown out by now, I hope!), Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, and now it’s time for Christmas!!!  The lights are going up all around our neighborhood, the Christmas tree vendors are setting up in empty parking lots, and I have at least 5 office holiday parties on my calendar already.

This year for Christmas, I will be presenting a series of posts called “The 12 Days of Craft-mas” (clever, no?).  Between now and Christmas day, I’ll be blogging on twelve different Christmas crafts (ack, that’s one every other day!!!).  Nothing like throwing out a deadline to the whole world to keep me on schedule!  These will include decorations, ideas for homemade gifts, and maybe even some cooking thrown in for fun.  And all will be quick, easy, and low-cost.  After all, we’re all on a budget and constant time crunch, aren’t we?

Here’s some inspiration I’ve been digging up over the last couple of months (yep, that’s right, months – I’ve been pinning Christmas stuff since July).  And I also have some other secret ideas up my sleeve…

Sources:

  1. Christmas magnets
  2. Homemade liqueur
  3. Spray painted vases
  4. Christmas coasters
  5. Mod Podge Christmas frame
  6. Etched snowflake glasses
  7. Pine cone wreath
  8. Toilet paper tube glitter snowflake
  9. Glitter foam trees
  10. Photo taken at a thrift store in Martha’s Vineyard
  11. Painted pine cone centerpiece
  12. Cranberry garland centerpiece
  13. Joy Christmas frame

Think Big, Shop Small

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving full of good food, family, friends, and of course, football!

Was anyone able to fight off the turkey-induced food coma to get up at 3am for some crazy Black Friday deals? Oh, fighting off thousands of crazed shoppers to get some good deals doesn’t sound like fun to you?! Well, here’s a great alternative: Small Business Saturday! Instead of (or in addition to) purchasing items at big box stores, think about supporting a small, local business instead. And if you have an American Express card, you can register your card and get $25 from AmEx if you spend at least $25 at a small business this Saturday.

In honor of Small Business Saturday, here are some of my favorite online small businesses that I have purchased from in the past:

Art Shark Designs

Paper Acorn

Handwired

Aubepine

These Are Things

And here’s a shout-out to a few of my favorite local small businesses in or near Pasadena, CA (there are plenty others I love, but I can’t fit them all!):

A Thanksgiving Trip Down Memory Lane

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I thought it would be fun to revisit some of my favorite Thanksgiving crafts that I did as a child.  I’m sure many of you will remember doing a lot of these things in your younger days…has anyone kept up any of these traditions with their children?

And now, a trip down memory lane…

Remember the hand turkey?  This person really spiced theirs up with some felt attached around a painted paper plate (found here):

And did you ever think that you could turn the hand turkey into a cookie?  Well, you can (found here)!

Did anyone dress up as pilgrims and Indians in school?  We definitely did that in Kindergarten – although I wonder if that’s even politically correct anymore.  Anyone remember making pilgrim hats (found here)?

And did you know that you can turn pilgrim hats into cookies too (found here)?!?!

And finally, here’s a nice tradition that my family didn’t do, but something that I’d like to start with my husband.  It’s a thanksgiving “thanks” jar, where every day you write down something you’re thankful for and then place it in the jar.  And then you get to read them all at once and get warm fuzzies all over.  Here’s an awesome example from Young House Love.

Any other fun childhood holiday traditions that you’re continuing with your kids?  Or ones that you can’t believe were actually allowed?!

Happy One Week Until Turkey Day!!!! 😀