Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidaze!

San Antonio Riverwalk extension/water lock dam; San Antonio, TX
Peering inside a Bed & Breakfast; Main Street, Fredericksburg, TX
Under the faux tree; Zilker Park, Austin, TX
And best of all, inside our lovely home

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's a Wrap!

Well ladies and gents, the Christmas holiday is around the corner! It is now time for my favorite Christmas preparatory step...the present wrapping!

I am proud to announce that I have not purchased holiday wrapping paper in about seven years. The idea of wrapping gifts was founded by your well-known friend, Hallmark, back in 1918. Today, the US experiences an additional 25 million tons of waste during the holidays. To boot, some gift wrap is not recyclable due to the dyes and coating that are used in manufacturing.

While my family may not follow suit to recycle gift wrap and their respective decorative parts, I make the announcement that I will take home anything that is redeemable for reuse. They may find this behavior ludicrous, but I enjoy reusing perfectly good holiday items, as well as using simple everyday items to make packages look enticing.

Here are a few (Cheapskate) tips in utilizing recycled materials as holiday gift wrap. I hope you appreciate the fun behind upcycling. It is ultimately a creative process to turn trash into treasure. It is also cheap!

Make your own wrapping paper by taking a paper shopping bag and stamping the blank backside with a holiday rubber stamp. The rubber stamp can also be used to make gift tags and holiday cards.

Speaking of shopping bags--they come in all forms! In these two instances, I have collected small paper shopping bags and glued/taped miscellaneous holiday items to the bags to cover up the company name and logo. The first photo is of an Anthropologie shopping bag. The glitter snowflake covered up the brand name perfectly. The second bag came from an Aveda store and the paper trees took care of the disguise!

This gift was an awkward shape and difficult to wrap or place in a gift bag. I used a Trader Joe's paper grocery bag, which had the holiday theme already going on here. It was easy to wrap--place the items in the bottom of the bag, then fold or wrap the top portion of the bag around the items and tape on the underside. Garnish with scrap ribbon--this is your chance to get creative.

Remember the previous blog post, How Wreath It Is (Part 2)? I upcycled this lost maple leaf twice by using it as wreath decor for Thanksgiving, and again as Christmas gift decoration! Wrap with colorful vintage gift wrap and any other baubles. I glued on the felt gingerbread men, which can be saved for other holiday decor purposes.

We bought our niece an odd-shaped cute little stuffed felt crocodile, which was not easy to wrap. I found this handmade burlap sack at our local thrift store. Ding! (Done!)

Also, hubby works for the city municipality and brought home some old arial city maps that were destined for the trash. We were able to wrap several gifts with just one map; see background at right.

(All images via Art & Facts)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Wreath It Is (Part 3)

Every holiday season brings out the best "cheapskate" in me. Not only do new gifts add up for everyone on your list, but holiday decor is another thing to take a hit on your wallet. (Decor is important! It lends a hand at getting your cranky self into the holiday mood!)

So here we have another Cheapskate Tip: The Christmas holiday wreath as a follow-up to Part 1 (Halloween) and Part 2 (Thanksgiving) wreath decoration tutorials.


  1. The holidays are a busy time. Don't spend too much time decking the halls. Simple goes a long way. 
  2. With my wreath, I removed the "garnishes" to the Thanksgiving wreath and left the burlap wrapping on it. Now, we are ready to add new "garnishes" to the wreath.
  3. I tend to buy clearance scraps of Christmas wrapping items and craft store decor pieces. I use them on gifts, decor and other miscellaneous items the following year. Dig around in your stash boxes for such items.
  4. Wrap holiday ribbon around the entire wreath or just around a portion of it. I found this classic old plaid ribbon to wrap around like a candy cane.
  5. Affix your focal pieces. I located this red raffia flower bow that was made for gift wrapping. Bah humbug it will be used for wrapping! It must be used as decor! I affixed this flower to the wreath using a pearl-capped floral pin.
  6. It looked a little too plain, so I found some glitter decor leaves to pin behind the flower and lends a bit more texture to the wreath.
  7. Done and done! This wreath took about 10 minutes to create and the best part is that it cost absolutely no cash to make. Again, the best part to being a cheapskate is to use the items we hoard away. You can change it up year to year, and it still won't cost you anything!