pinned it, made it: watercolor thank-you notes

Pinned this

tumblr_lowjgxkvaB1qd9x2w

and then tried my hand at making my own! (One of my personal betterment resolutions for 2014 is to be better at getting thank-you notes out in a timely way. I’m super embarrassed of how terribly I’ve fallen out of the practice, but I’ve promised myself “no more!”)

thank you cards 3 thank you cards 2 thank you cards 1

My lettering skills leave quite a bit to be desired, but I am OK with that. Plus, I found all the supplies in my basement! (#bonus) Props to Scout’s Honor Co.’s delightful blog for heaps of inspiration. Have you been inspired to create from Pinterest lately? If so, I’d love to know what you’re making!

xoxo,

Meghan

how to: make reed diffusers using thrifted vases

Come mid-winter, I straight-up yearn for open-window weather. I love the sounds of my neighborhood, but more than anything, I crave fresh air. Since we have at least a couple months to go before it’s warm enough to crack the windows, I’ve been keeping things fresh at home with these easy-to-make reed diffusers. Crafted out of with Goodwill vases and few ingredients—including a few you probably already have on hand!—this project comes together in about 15 minutes, and costs a mere fraction of store-bought air fresheners.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 2 thrifted vases — I looked for vases with narrow necks that were no more than five inches tall
  • Mineral oil — available at your local pharmacy and/or hardware store
  • Vodka
  • Carrier oil — sweet almond, jojoba and safflower oils will all work great
  • Essential oils — single-note oils or blends are both great options
  • Wooden reeds — I found mine at Michael’s

HOW TO MAKE

1. Start by gathering up your supplies.
diffusers step 1
2. Measure ½ cup of mineral oil into a glass measuring spout.
http://blog.goodwilleasterseals.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/diffusers-step-2.jpg
3. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of vodka. It’s naturally going to separate, so give it a good whisk to ensure it’s emulsified.
diffusers step 3
4. Now it’s time to mix up your scents. To keep it simple, I used two of my favorite essential oil blends: Veriditas Botanicals’ Good Samaritan blend and Aura Cacia’s Creative Juice. The sky’s the limit when it comes to essential oil combos, so feel free to play around! As long as you’re stay around 20-30 drops per ¼-cup carrier oil, you should be in good shape.
diffusers step 4
5. Using a small funnel, pour the carrier-oil blend into a vase, followed by half the mineral oil-vodka mixture. Repeat with your second vase.
http://blog.goodwilleasterseals.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/diffusers-step-5.jpg
6. Insert a handful of the reeds into each vase, stirring the oil around. After a few hours pass, flip the sticks over, so the end that hasn’t been dipped gets a turn in the oil. For the most fragrant results, flip your sticks every few days. Depending on the size of your vases, these diffusers should stay fragrant for at least a month or two.
http://blog.goodwilleasterseals.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/diffusers-finished-1.jpg
Are you a fan of homemade air fresheners? If you have a good method or recipe up your sleeve, please do let me know!
xo,
Meghan
A version of this post first appeared on the Goodwill / Easter Seals Minnesota blog.

pinned it, made it: bejewelled beanie

Pinned this

Bejewelled Beanie

and then made my own!

high plains thrifter // diy bejewelled beanie

It was seriously so easy. Plus, all the supplies (except the needle and thread) were thrifted! The never-worn hat was found at the new Nicollet Avenue Goodwill for $1.99. The necklace turned beanie bling is from the Salvation Army Family Store, also on Nicollet, and cost $2.99. Staying glitzy (and warm) in the midst of this never-ending polar vortex? Priceless. Many, many thanks to Fran of Fall for DIY for the inspiration!

Stay warm, my dears!

xoxo,

Meghan

P.S. Do you save your DIY or craft ideas on Pinterest? If so, leave your board address in a comment so I can follow along. I’d love to see what’s inspiring you!

how to: make an air plant display

high plains thrifter // diy air plant display  Got a minute? If so, pop on over to the Goodwill/Easter Seals blog to learn how to make a display for air plants using thrifted picture frames. An ideal DIY for folks with short attention spans (like me!), this easy-peasy craft takes all of 10 minutes to complete. But don’t take my word for it, check out the full how-to here!

xoxo,

Meghan

the beauty thrifter is in!

high plains thrifter // How to Use Coconut Oil to Remove Your MakeupAs someone who has struggled with stinging eyes and burn-y sensations from even the most “sensitive” of drugstore eye-makeup removers, I’m so stoked to share a natural solution that’s as gentle on the eyes as it is on the wallet. Hop on over to Beauty Bets today to learn all about it!

xo,

Meghan

Photo credit: Julia McMahon // LB Jeffries Photography

holiday how-to: DIY mulling spice kits

mulling spice kit // high plains thrifterThere’s nothing more gratifying than giving a homemade gift. I know it sounds cheesy, but the heartfelt aspect of making and giving just can’t be matched buying store-bought presents. In order to save money, time and sanity during this busy holiday season, I’ve learned (the hard way, some years) how important it is to find ideas that can be made ahead, multiplied and don’t require a ton of expensive specialty supplies. Which is why I’m so stoked about these cute mulling spice kits I made for the craft swap.

mulling spice group // high plains thrifter

It’s seriously the easiest gift to make! Start by finding a mulling spice recipe you like (or make up your own, as I did!), and then figure out how to scale it to suit your gifting needs. (I needed to make about 40-50 gifts, so I sought out a big-batch recipe and followed those proportions.) The combination I came up with melded a couple recipes and included star anise, dried orange and lemon peels, broken cinnamon sticks, whole allspice berries, cloves, cardamom pods and some chopped crystallized ginger. Once you shop for your spices and get your orange or lemon peels dried, dump it all into a bowl, stir it up and take a big whiff.

Mulling Spice Mix // high plains thrifterAfter that, I divvied the yummy-smelling spice mixture up by the heaping 1/4-cup full into  muslin sachets. I found the sachets at my co-op for 15 cents a pop, but you can also get them in bulk here. Then I popped each sachet into a 3 x 3-inch white paper box found (on sale!) at The Container Store. Each box got topped with a sticker featuring directions on how to use the spices, a cute template I found here on 30 Pounds of Apples. (I had no idea craft-paper sticker paper was a thing!)

mulling spice kit // high plains thrifter

Then came my favorite part…making them cute! At first I thought about painting each box, an idea my boyfriend deemed “too much.” (He was, as usual, 100-percent right!) I decided instead to put my bags of thrifted pompoms to use and threaded them with a yarn needed onto leftover yarn. I go nuts if I have to do the same thing over and over and over, so I was happy to decorate each of these in a unique way. I think they turned out darling! Start to finish, including printing the labels, assembling the boxes, making the spice mix and decorating, it took about three episodes of McMillian & Wife (so about three-and-a-half hours). Not too shabby when you consider I now have 40+ gifts ready to go! Combined with my homemade Apple-Cinnamon Jameson, I have just about everyone on my list covered. (Just in the nick of time!)

finished kitsAre you finishing up your handmade holiday projects this weekend or am I the only one who waited ’til the last minute? Either way, I hope your pre-Christmas weekend is absolutely fabulous!

xo,

Meghan

craft-swap conundrum

298cb2890edae28bfcab385eeb72543f

You guys, I’m in the midst of a Christmas crisis! My dear friend Rae’s Handmade Holiday Swap is four days away, and in typical “don’t worry about it Meghan, you’ve got plenty of time” fashion, I’ve put off picking what to make! I’ve been noodling on it all week though, combing my craft and cook book collection, earmarking posts on my favorite blogs and even braving the ever-overwhelming Pinterest. Swap rules stipulate that gifts need to be shelf-stable and relatively small, but other than that, anything goes. (Last year, for reference, I swapped this yummy pineapple jam.) I think I’ve narrowed it down (a little), thank heavens, and here are a few of the ideas that are in the running.

Handmade Holiday Swap Ideas

Top : DIY Hand-Painted Spoons via Ziploc’s Inspired Holiday Series featuring ideas from Jojotastic
Middle: Album Cover Journals; Key FobsChristmas-in-a-Jar Simmer Scents; Embroidery Hoop Ornaments; DIY Leather Hair Ties
Bottom: DIY Stationery Sets; Gingerbread ScrubsMexican Hot Chocolate Mixes (packaged with a little bottle of tequila?); DIY Popcorn Seasoning Sets; Coconut Curry Caramel Corn

Are you guys DIY-ing instead (or in addition, more realistically) than buying this year? I’d love to hear what holiday crafts you’re making and giving! I’ll keep you posted regarding what I go with to make and swap…if I ever make a decision, that is.

Wishing you the most wonderful of weekends!

xo,

Meghan

Top photo: source unknown

christmas gift wrapping with goodwill goods

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

They say presentation is everything, and when it comes to Christmas gift wrapping, that old adage rings especially true. Instead of looking at wrapping presents as a chore, I like to think of it as an extension of the gift-giving ritual…an opportunity to put even a little more love into the gift, in addition to flexing a little creative muscle.

When the holidays start creeping on the horizon, I make a point to look for wrapping supplies during each and every trip to the thrift-store. There’s always an abundance of fun stuff to play with (in both the craft section and holiday aisles), and by shopping second-hand, I know that I’m not only saving money, but that my gift-giving presentations are going to be one-of-a-kind. To bulk up your wrapping stash on a dime, keep your eyes open for…

BASICS

Wrapping paper: I have a soft spot for vintage paper, but most thrift stores will also have brand new rolls in stock. (Also keep on the lookout for old maps or mags, both of which make for great wrapping paper!)

Boxes: Craft-paper, plain or blinged-out, decorative gift boxes, you’ll find it all.

Gift bags: Good to have on hand, always. I like to my eyes open for wine bags, as I’m frequently toting bottles to dinner parties and it feels more special when presented in a bag.

Jars: Perfect for edible treats, reusable jars are a staple in my gift-wrapping routine.

Ribbon: Fabric, metallic, raffia, paper, yarn, vintage…pick up a few different kinds so you can mix, match and layer.

Fabric: My go-to for wrapping odd-sized presents.

EXTRAS

Ornaments: Fabulous present-toppers and can also be a memorable part of the present.

Jingle bells: Cute to look at, easy to attach and oh-so-very festive!

Tinsel garlands: A glittery stand-in for ribbon.

Bows: Big or small, bows add a sweet finishing touch. I look for multi-packs of the twist-tie velvet bows, as they attach to gifts quickly and easily.

Doilies: Any size and any color!

Pom-poms

Gift tags

Rubber stamps

In need of a some visual inspiration? Here are a few ideas for presentations that’ll make your packages stand out under the tree, using materials thrifted at area Goodwill stores!

From cocoa to cookie mix, who can resist a tasty treat packaged up in an adorable jar? The addition of jingle bells, tied on with twine, takes this patterned canning jar from everyday ho-hum to stocking-ready in mere minutes.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Layered gifts, like this mix for oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, look lovely in tall jars. A Christmas-light ornament, homemade pom-pom and candy-cane colored washi-tape tagged card add a home-y touch.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Goodwill is stocked with many holiday themed jars and tins too. All this baby needed was a curlicued ribbon to make it pop.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Brown craft-paper boxes are blank slates when it comes to packaging. I used craft glue to affix red, green and white pom-poms (another craft section find) to the small box on the right, while the larger one got topped with vintage ribbon and a bottle-brush tree, clipped in place with a glittery mini clothespin. So easy!

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Hate wrapping paper? Switch things up and wrap a few presents in fabric this year! I used a vintage scarf and tinsel garland to doll up the package on the left. (Recipients can choose to wear or display the scarf, depending on their style.) On the right, a bit of scrap fabric, edged with pinking shears, tied shut with vintage ribbon (and more ornaments!) secures this package.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

When I found some plain, white, flat-packed gift boxes, I knew they had big potential. I embellished the box on the right with gold star stickers, and then followed this tutorial from Mineco for the wrapping, using tinsel-trimmings and yellow gold cellophane, for a suspended confetti kind of look. Fun right?

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Bells and whistles aside, sometimes a roll or two of festive wrapping paper is all you need to get the job done. I was so charmed by the vintage cookie and Santa papers, I snatched them up in October! The brown packages are grocery bags turned inside out, finished off with a paper doily, velvet bow and vintage ribbon. Affordable, easy and oh-so-pretty!

Photos by Julia McMahon // LB Jeffries

Photos by: Julia McMahon // LB Jeffries Photography

Have you hit the thrift for wrapping supplies? If you haven’t before, I hope you’re feeling inspired to give it a try now! For more pretty gift-wrapping inspiration, head on over to my Pretty Packaging pin-board, where I save my favorite ideas for Christmas and beyond.

xoxo,

Meghan

A version of this post first appeared on the Goodwill / Easter Seals Minnesota blog.

quick & easy DIYs to do over holiday break

Hey all, and happy hump day!

Here’s a fun challenge I’ve been working on this week: Figuring out what DIYs I can tackle during my upcoming week off of work. I’m super overdue for a few little home improvements (leaky bathroom faucet your days are numbered!) and some crafting. As per usual have lots of ideas earmarked, including these five.

holidaydiys3

1. happy cushion how-to c/o Tabitha Emma 2. fancy fringe keychain as seen in a hip handmade holiday 3. jane snead vintage cross stitch kit 4. chunky knit infinity scarf 5. closet spruce-up inspired by this post on oh joy!

Do you have any DIYs on your post-holiday to-do list? If so, lemme hear about ‘em!

xo,

Meghan

how to: thrift for records

This past July, my forever-long wish to own a stereo was granted. And ever since, I’ve been obsessed with hunting for records. Like anything else, looking for records at thrift stores, garage and estate sales can be a crap shoot. And an overwhelming one at that! Here are some super basic things I keep in mind when I’m out and about.

Before you you get your heart set on a specific record, check the condition of it first. See deep scratches, scuff marks, chips, cracks or gouges? Skip it. And be sure to inspect both sides too!

Make sure the record isn’t warped. (Warped records = distorted sound.) The easiest way to check is to hold the record up at eye level.

This is a total no-brainer, but while you have the record out, make sure that it matches the jacket. How sad would it be to go home thinking you’d found a rare Kitty Wells record, only to discover some crappy Billy Joel album inside.

Keep a running list of what you’re looking for. I have a friend who keeps her record wish list on Pinterest, I personally keep a running list in my notes on my phone. Either way, just like thrifting for clothes, I find it helpful to keep tabs of what I’m hunting for.

Take a chance! If you come across an intriguing cover, artist or song, and the record’s in good shape, where’s the harm in taking it home for a listen? I picked “Mustang Jazz,” a recording of the Southern Methodist University Marching Band out of a $1 bin at a record fair last month and it pumps me up every time I listen to it!

And last but not least, it’s OK to thrift records just because you like the cover art! Inspired by this Easy Record Cover Art DIY I spotted over the summer, I painted over a pin-up-y instrumental album cover. It sits on my vanity now and I love looking at it when I get ready each morning.

Some other good resources for learning more about thrifting records:
Thrift Store Vinyl: “Listening to used records so you don’t have to.”
The Thrift Store Record Collector: “Collecting records the cheap way.”
How to Clean Old Records

Do you have any tips for thrifting records you want to share? If so, let us hear ‘em down below in comments!

xoxo,

Meghan