17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My most creative gifts

There are ladies in the crib who are WAY creative. I do not profess to be the creativity queen. Lately, I have been trying to put my mind to being more creative with gifts, and I have come up with a few ideas that I am rather pleased with.

Letter Box
Pukey was invited to b-day party for a friend of hers who was turning 3. A few weeks before the party she sent Pukey a letter in the mail. It inspired me to make her a letter box. Pukey and I painted and decoupaged an old shoe box. We included the invitation to the party on the inside and bottom. We then filled it with sparkly pens, stickers, stationary, envelopes, a few stamps and some post-it notes. The most special touches were an ink stamp with Princess Jill and her return address on it, and some photo stickers with her picture and the text: A Note from Princess Jill (found at any photo website, I used snapfish). The only glitch in the plan was when the stickers came a little late...if you decide to do the personalized stuff, plan ahead. We had so much fun making this gift, and shortly after the party, we received a thank you letter from Princess Jill.

Father's Day Tee
Okay, so this isn't the most creative, but it was really easy and our Dad loved it. Just purchase some photo transfer paper and a t-shirt (the website where I got the paper had cheap tees too). Choose a photo, crop, enhance and enlarge it, reverse it, and then print it. After that, you just iron it on to your pre-washed tee. Carrie gave this tip: it is less about how long you heat it, and more about the pressure you use while heating it. Another tip from her: ebay has some cool vintage iron-ons, if you don't want to go the photo route. She made me an awesome vintage Babs tee once...I love it...and I made an apron for Zinone from a digital file of an old babs cover...so awesome...whoops, I didn't make that, I sent the image to Snapfish, and THEY made it, but it is the same concept.

50 Days 'til 50
As my mother approached her 50th birthday, I wanted to do something special for her, so I decided that I would give her a gift called 50 days 'til 50. On the 50th day before her 50th birthday, she received a letter explaining the concept: That she would be receiving a gift every day leading up to her birthday. I decided to send her a package each week that contained a weeks worth of envelopes. Each had a number from 50 down to 1. The envelopes contained a variety of items/letters and were not organized really beyond their numerical order.

Ideas ranged from simple cardstock with a photo of the car she drove in high school, photo of her kids, photo of the barbies she used to play with, to listing important historical events that happened on her birthday over the past 50 years, to nice quotes. Once a week I tried to do something a little bigger. I gave her a gift certificate to Coldstone and instructed her to drop everything and grab a friend for an afternoon sundae, same idea with a Chipotle gift card. I arranged for a local bookstore to have a book waiting (and paid for) behind the counter on one of the days, and the card said, Drive to ___________ bookstore and tell the lady behind the counter your name...and then she got a brand new hard cover book. I made her a home video dvd for one of the days, and the list goes on. This was really fun for me to make, and to think about her each day for a few months. I think she really liked it too. The sky is the limit to how you could present this, and it allows for the inexpensive to the more extravagant.

Wedding Anniversary Time Capsule
As my parents approached their 20th wedding anniversary, I thought it might be fun to do a sort of reverse time capsule. I bought a file box thingy from The Container Store and did about 5 minutes of research on the world wide web, to find out about the year 1986. I filled the box with the best-selling novel, a popular film, and the billboard top hits all from that year. I also went on Ebay and got a few mags from the year and month they were married. As a tribute to politics, I bought love letters from Ronnie to Nancy (the love twist was nice since it is a wedding anniversary). I also got a vintage Chicago Bears Yearbook b/c they won the superbowl that year and they were married in Chicagoland. I then compiled as many photos as I could and put together a little slideshow and burned it onto a dvd. My hope is that the images and music of the time will bring back fond memories of their courtship and wedding. I am thinking about putting one together for the year I was married....I actually read 4 of 10 bestsellers that year...huh.

Books, Books, Books
This idea is a little more on the pricey side, but I still love it. A family we knew was moving away from New York City, so I bought them a basket and I filled it up with hard-cover picture books and dvds that had a new york theme, so that they would always remember it. I tried to have everything from board books to novels so that the entire family could find one or two things in there that they were excited about. Similarly, you could try to find books that have characters with the same name as the recipient, or that are about any subject matter, place or interest. Carrie knew my DD was totally obsessed with princess, so for her fourth birthday she tried to find princess books with a twist. Meaning, she didn't send us the abridged collection of all the Disney Princesses, but rather Paper Bag Princess, Princess Knight and the Princess and the Pizza.

I also think giving a favorite book of yours to a friend is always a good gift. Once I gave Carrie Persian Pickle Club and she thought I was nuts... until she read it!

For photos of some of the ideas, click here.


  • You know how much I love thoughtful gifts. And I love all these ideas. You shoulldn't sell your creativity short!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/22/2006 07:33:00 AM  

  • Kage, a friend of mine did the 50 days before your 50th birthday too for her Mom. . but she sent letters to 50 friends/family of her mom and they were each given a day to take care of (card, gift, drop by, phone call)

    Fabulous ideas! And keep the ideas coming!!
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 8/22/2006 07:39:00 AM  

  • I'm sorry Kage, did you actaully say you're NOT creative???
    After reading that I have one thing to say: HAHAHAHA!
    posted by Anonymous tracy m at 8/22/2006 08:57:00 AM  

  • You creative diva you....How fun...I love the ideas....

    I just found www.blurb.com where you can design your own baby books, blog books, cookbooks, travel books and photo books...I can't wait to put something together..
    posted by Blogger trimama at 8/22/2006 09:09:00 AM  

  • I haven't done much creative stuff lately, but two I did and really liked:

    (1) For a 50th, I called 50 friends of the birthday girl and asked them why they felt 'fortunate' to know her. I wrote each thing on a little strip of paper and baked it into a fortune cookie. (So the gift was a box of fortune cookies.) I also made a second copy of each statement and glued them into a little book with black paper and put gold stamps of Chinese characters throughout it.

    (2) Photo quilts. See here:

    posted by Blogger Julie M. Smith at 8/22/2006 09:18:00 AM  

  • tracy m
    I guess I think of my creativity as more ideas and logistical then making something from nothing....does that make sense?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/22/2006 12:25:00 PM  

  • Kage- Sure it makes sense, and I was just pokin' a little fun at you- I'm totally blown away at your ingenuity and resourcefulness; and feeling like a slacker for my mom's 50th!

    Rock on, sister.
    posted by Anonymous tracy m at 8/22/2006 04:08:00 PM  

  • Awesome ideas- I needed a kick in the pants for gift giving and this gives me some fresh ideas. Thanks for the post
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/22/2006 09:32:00 PM  

  • Great ideas! I love the princess with a twist thing. I'll have to try it.
    posted by Anonymous daring one at 8/22/2006 09:58:00 PM  

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