December 17, 2009

Last Minute DIY Gift Ideas

Pin It Now! I'll admit it.  I'm a Procrastinator with a capital "P".  I always wait until the last minute to do anything.  So if you're like me, here's some easy gift ideas for those of you, like me, who would prefer to give a handmade gift.

{ This is one of the gift baskets I made with all of these great ideas  }

Now get to it!  We only have 7 days left until Christmas!!  

DIY Hot Chocolate Packets

Pin It Now! Who doesn't love hot chocolate in the winter?  And these make adorable additions to any gift - and are really easy and fun to make!


11 Cups Dry nonfat milk
1 Cup Non-dairy creamer
2 Cups Chocolate Drink Mix (Like Nesquik)
1/2 Cup of Cocoa
1 Bag Mini Marshmallows

Mix all ingredients, except marshmallows, in large bowl.  Scoop out 1/2 cup servings into little cello bags.  Top hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and tie with ribbon.  

Easy, cheap, fun! 

Thanks to Happy House for this great recipe!

DIY Lotion

Pin It Now! Everyone in my family loves lotion.  I decided to make some homemade lotion to add to some gift baskets and it turned out smelling so great I just have to share it.


Baby Lotion
Petroleum Jelly - I used creamy, but you can use traditional if that's what you have
Essential oil 
{ I was able to get all supplies at Dollar Tree - so this can be a very thrifty project! }

Squeeze entire bottle of baby lotion and petroleum jelly into bowl. (I cut the tops off the containers to be sure I got out every last drop!)  Mix with mixer until thoroughly combined.  Add 2 - 3 drops of essential oil and mix.  Add more oil, only 2 - 3 drops at a time, until you are happy with the scent.  Put in small containers or jars.  

Easy, huh?  This is one that I will use for many gift-giving occasions.  

DIY Tile Coasters

Pin It Now! These were really easy, and look amazing.  You can get really creative with these little coasters and your loved ones wil love them!


Tiles - I bought mine for $.32 each at Lowe's
Permanent Pigment Ink - Staz-On solvent ink pad
Sealer - I used Rust-Oleum Ultra-Cover Clear Gloss { Any sealer that specifies it's safe for ceramics will work }
Super Glue Gel
Rubber Stamp

Stamp each tile using the ink pad and rubber stamp.  Let each tile dry completely - about 20 minutes.  In a well-ventilated area, spray a VERY light coat of sealer on tiles.  Let dry about 20 minutes.  Spray an additional coat of sealer on tiles.  After about 20 - 30 minutes, check the tiles to be sure they are completely coated, spraying a third coat if needed.  Add felt to each corner of the back of the tiles using the super glue.  Allow glue to completely dry.  Stack tiles and tie with ribbon.  

I'm really happy with how these guys turned out.  Sorry for the crappy picture!  These are my tiles as they are drying.  I will make an additional set for myself, I loved them so much!  

Thanks to Edie for this great idea!

DIY Candied Almonds

Pin It Now! These are yum-O!  I'm adding these tasty little treats to the gift baskets I'm giving out this year.  


Almonds - I bought a big canister at Target 
2 Egg whites
2 tsp water
1 cup sugar - I used brown, but you can use white sugar also
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites and water until frothy.  Dump in almonds and toss to coat.  In a seperate bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon and salt.  And dry mixture to bowl of almonds and mix well.  Place coated almonds on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 1 hour, flipping almonds every 15 minutes.  

{ Thanks to My Happy House for this great idea! }

December 16, 2009

And The Winner Is...

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The winner of the year subscription to Oprah Magazine is:

#10  Erin 

Thanks to all my followers!  

December 10, 2009

Christmas Memories

Pin It Now! Christmas was always a big celebration growing up.  We decorated every inch of the house with big gold bows and garland.  Purchasing our Christmas tree was always exciting.  We'd head over to our local Target and pick a tree out of the garden center.  Okay, not so exciting I admit, but there aren't many forests in Southern California.  

We baked Christmas cookies and wrapped them in cellophane on decorative Christmas plates for all our neighbors.  My sister and I would walk to all the neighbors and give them their freshly baked, decorated cookies.  On Christmas Eve we would cook a huge dinner and invite the entire family over.  After our Christmas Eve dinner the adults would sit and sip their coffee while trying to ignore all of us kids begging to open gifts. 

One of our favorite gifts would be the snuggly pajamas my mom would wrap for us.  She lovingly picked them out, knowing we would snuggle into bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.  As soon as our company left we'd dash upstairs and put on our new jammies and tuck into bed, looking forward to Santa's visit.  

The dinner was always good, we enjoyed the family and appreciated the gifts.  But my favorite memory of Christmas was always the snuggly warm pajamas we'd nestle into bed wearing.  Husband and I have decided to continue the tradition with giving each other pajamas to wear Christmas Eve.  When we have children I will lovingly pick them out a pair of warm snuggly pj's and place them under the tree, so they can await Santa's arrival cozily in bed.  

What's your favorite Christmas memory?  Link it to The Chick Momma's link party!  

Be sure to enter my Oprah Magazine giveaway!!  

How could I have missed...

Pin It Now! 100th post!  I can't believe I've blogged 100 posts and that you have stayed with me this long!  I really appreciate my followers, and wanted to say thank you with a giveaway.

{ credit }

I am giving away a one-year subscription to Oprah Magazine!

To Enter:

*Leave a comment for each entry*

Become a follower { mandatory } ~ 1 Entry
Current followers { thank you!! } ~ 3 Entries
Tweet about this giveaway and link to me @CraftyCouponer ~ 3 Entries
Blog about this giveaway and link back here ~ 3 Entries

*Giveaway ends Tuesday, December 15 at 11:59 pm PST*

{ If you are already a subscriber to this magazine, don't worry - you can regift it and I will have it put in your friend's name }

Good Luck!

Etsy Finds Thursday!

Pin It Now! Here's some last minute gift ideas for your procrastinators out there...  only 15 days left!  

December 9, 2009

DIY Christmas Cards

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I can't believe there's only 15 days until Christmas!  Where, oh where did the time go?  If you're like me, I really like making handmade cards and gifts for family.  All of the family members I send gifts to have everything, so they really appreciate the time and thought that went into the gifts and cards they receive.  

This year I decided to go with a snowflake "theme" for my cards.  I love red and light blue, and I could incorporate those colors on this cute little card.  These cards turned out so great, and are super easy to make.  Your family and friends will appreciate a handmade card from you this year!

Supplies Needed:

Patterned paper - I picked a colorful snowflake scrapbooking paper
Note cards
Scalloped scissors
Mini Pop Dots
Die-cut snowflakes - I don't have a die cutter, but my local Craft Warehouse has a die        cutting machine that is free to use when you purchase paper

I started with blank notecards from Craft Warehouse.  I used some white notecards, and some red.  I definitely prefer the red.  

From the patterned paper, I cut out a little rectangle about 1/4" to 1/2" smaller than the front of the note card.  For this I used scalloped scissors.  

I attached the rectangle to the front of the card with eyelets.  I chose to alternate between light blue, green and red for the different cards.  You can also use brads or glue.  { If you've never used eyelets, I highly recommend them!  They add a classy touch to any project and come in tons of shapes and colors. }

Attach the die-cut snowflake to the center of the front of the card.  For this I used mini pop dots and attached them to each "leg" of the snowflake to give it a 3-d effect.  I also attached a rhinestone to the center of the snowflake.

December 8, 2009

Coming Soon...

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Tomorrow I will post some great DIY holiday gift ideas

Stop by to see my ideas for DIY easy, but beautiful Christmas/Holiday cards and DIY gift baskets.  

Until then, have a great evening and stay warm.  It's freezing out there!

December 7, 2009

Merry SITSmas!

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The blogging community is filled with so many wonderful ladies that love nothing more than to support each other.  I belong to a group of these such ladies called The SITS girls.  They are amazing bloggers and awesome blogland friends. 

I can't wait to check out all the blogs this SITSmas - and look forward to your wonderful comments!  

Have a great day!

December 5, 2009

Midnight Blogging

Pin It Now! I should be in bed.  In my warm, cozy bed.  But I have this urge to read through blogs.  I follow many, MANY blogs and I have been behind lately in my reading.  There are so many fabulous blogging ladies out there I just can't miss what exciting projects they're working on, cute kids photos, or just everyday antics.  I can sit in front of my laptop for hours oohing and aahing over the great photos and amazing ideas. 

I don't think I could really pick a favorite, but here are a few I adore

To The Max - I can only hope that when I have a child of my own I can adore him or her just as much as Ellen does her son.  She is truly remarkable. 

A Baby? Maybe... - I have been following Beverly's blog for as long as I can remember.  Her story is inspiring, and her daughter is beautiful.  

Life in the Fun Lane - Her style intrigues me.  An all white house and furnishings would never work for us, but I dream of being able to decorate the way she does.  And she has a knack for painting furniture.  What that girl can do with a spray gun... 

Pewter + Sage - Gorgeous photos, gorgeous decor ideas, gorgeous everything. 

Project Pretty - Amazing DIY ideas.  Sunburst mirrors, damask upholstery and burlap... oh my!

December 4, 2009

Where to Eat...

Pin It Now! Don't know where to go for dinner?  And who doesn't love a handy-dandy little flowchart.  This particular ditty  should help you.  Or just confuse the heck out of you.

All I Want For Christmas...

Pin It Now! Santa I've been good this year.  I promise.

And Husband, if you're reading you may want to take notes...  

{ Amazon }

( Target }

{ Amazon }

{ Amazon }

{ Amazon }

{ IKEA }

{ IKEA }

A girl can dream, right? 

Feed It Forward

Pin It Now! is offering an amazing oportunity to give your friends and family $10 restaurant gift certificates - for free!  Be sure to include everyone on your gift list in this awesome deal.

December 3, 2009

Etsy Finds Thursday!

Pin It Now! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!   Only 21 shopping days left...

December 1, 2009

Amazing Giveaway at Fantabulously Frugal

Pin It Now! Wow this is a great one!  Lisa over at Fantabulously Frugal is offering 3 really awesome prizes in her giveaway.  Go check it out!!

November 30, 2009

Crossing them off...

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I have quite a list of goals, but I'm slowly completing them, one step at a time. 
I have a few updates to make to my 101 in 1001 list:

10.  Installed some closet organizers.  I found a plastic shelving unit that stands on it's own - so no need to attach it to the wall of the closet.  It's so nice to have the closet clean and everything has a home now.

19.  I cleaned the storage unit!  And my oh my does it feel good.  Now I know that there isn't a bunch of junk in there, and I was able to sell and donate a lot of the stuff that we had been storing but didn't really need anymore.

33.  I'm a Big Sister!  Yay!!  I'm so excited to share my time with this wonderful little girl.

So far I'm 7 down and only 94 to go!  
Only 956 days left...

November 28, 2009

Tulle Everything 50% off + Free Shipping

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Tulle is having an amazing sale this weekend.  

Everything is 50% off, plus they are offering free shipping!!  

I bought this adorable puff-sleeved shirt for only $4 !!

Real Simple for $5

Pin It Now! is offering an amazing deal on Real Simple.  

I picked up a 1 year subscription for only $5 to Real Simple!  

They are also offering $5 deals on 

But hurry - these deals are only good for a limited time! 

November 26, 2009

Etsy Finds Thursday! Nestie Style

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Before you fight the crowds tomorrow on Black Friday, be sure to shop locally and handmade.  Here are some great gift ideas from my fellow Nesties.  

Want to know what I've been up to?

Pin It Now! Well, I've been so excited to share with you my big news...

I'm a Big Sister!

L is an aborable little ten year old girl full of wit and very creative.  She is smart and loves soccer and creating and making crafts.  Yay!  Crafty has a little crafty friend!  

We had our match meeting on November 19.  That day we met at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office and I was able to meet her mother and siblings.  We picked out several activities to do on our first few outings.  

L is truly an amazing kid that I'm so happy to be able to inspire, mentor and learn from.  

Our first outing was November 21 and we went to our local craft store and painted glass ornaments.  We then perused the different craft ideas, deciding to create a scrapbook of all of our future time together.  She picked out some fun paper and stickers, and decided that we need to take at least one picture each outing and create a record of our adventures.  She went through the embellishments and stickers and pointed to each sticker set making comments like "we can buy these stickers when we bake cupcakes," and "we can use these ones for when we go to a soccer game!"  It was thrilling to see her so excited and planning our future get-togethers.  I don't know who's more excited!  

I can't wait to watch her grow and be a part of her life. She has a wonderful mother that loves her dearly, and I'm so happy to share in development of this child.  

If you would like to enrich your life and the life of a child, you can sign up at the Big Brothers Big Sisters website.  

Happy Thanksgiving

Pin It Now! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Eat lots of food and enjoy the company of loved ones!

I love Thanksgiving as it's a great time to reflect on what I'm truly thankful for.

  • My amazing husband who I adore and admire immensely
  • Being able to go to school and achieve the career of my dreams
  • Being able to have the time to volunteer and pursue my ultimate passion
  • My 3 healthy and amazing dogs
  • Building a great relationship with my brother
  • Having a sister that's pursuing her dream to change the lives of impoverished children
  • Having full support and love from my amazing aunt and grandparents
  • Only 7 more months until my aunt comes to live by us
  • Having the last year, albeit very difficult, to be able to build a wonderful marriage and spend quality time together
  • Incredible in-laws that are so kind, loving and generous
  • An amazing professor that is helping me build a foundation of learning that I never thought possible, and opening my mind to the world - Thank you Kim!
  • Learning to live frugally and more eco-friendly
  • Having a beautiful home of our own

What are you thankful for?

November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Menu

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This year is a very special Thanksgiving for Neil and I.  

I simply can't wait to eat all the yummy food we have planned!  

Here's a sneak peak at our menu:

Organic Smoked Turkey from our favorite local meat market
Hawaiian Rolls with Neil's amazing honey-whipped butter
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!  Don't forget the sweatpants.  :)

Thanksgiving Recipes: Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Pin It Now! I love this recipe because you it's delicious, and you don't have to waste valuable oven space.  Just set up the crock pot and let it cook!


  • 3 (15 ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows


Lightly butter the inside of your crock pot with the tablespoon of butter.

Beat sweet potatoes, melted butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg with electric mixer

Spoon into crock pot.

Cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Add marshmallows about 15 to 20 minutes before you are ready to eat. so they have enough time to melt slightly. if they are in too long, they will melt too much.

Thanksgiving Recipes: Cranberry Sauce

Pin It Now! Sweet, tart and great as leftovers on a turkey sandwich.


  • 1 package cranberries
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sugar (depending upon how sweet you like it)
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • lemon juice
  • nuts, if desired


Spread cranberries in shallow dish so that they are not too thick.

Sprinkle sugar over them.


Place in oven at 350 degrees until all are popped open.

Remove from oven, mix with marmalade and lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate. ( you could add some nutmeg and cinnamon to this)

Thanksgiving Recipes: Green Bean Casserole

Pin It Now! Yum, I love this stuff!  I love green beans, and this is great for Thanksgiving.  Super easy, and everyone always love it.  


  • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans cut green beans, drained (or you can use fresh green beans)
    1 (6 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained

  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

  • 1 (4 ounce) can French fried onion rings

  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped


    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

    Combine all ingredients except French fried onions

    Put in casserole dish; top with onion rings

    Bake 30 mintues