Tag Archives: DIY

Last Minute Gift Ideas

There’s just over one week until Christmas (eek!) and for most websites, this is the last week to order gifts and have them arrive in time to go under the tree. Before you turn to gift cards (which are a great gift by the way), check out these last minute gift ideas.

 

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PCmag.com

 

 

  • EXPERIENCE GIFT CERTIFICATES

 

Local deal websites are a great place to find some last minute gifts. Whether it’s a workout package to help kickstart your loved one’s New Year’s resolution, or a night out to dinner that they can enjoy after the holiday craziness dies down, you’re sure to find something for anyone on your list.* Your gift will be ready in an instant – all you have to do is buy, print, and wrap the voucher and you’re all set!

*Search by area to make sure the deal is easily accessible for your friend or family member. 

 

  • PHOTO CALENDARS

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Give the gift that keeps giving all year with a personalized photo calendar. They are such great, thoughtful gifts for anyone on your list, and with same day pick up at places like Walgreens and Walmart, you still have plenty of time to order.

 

  • FANCY SOCKS

 

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JCrew.com

 

Socks may seem like a lame gift, but most adults would be thrilled to receive a pretty pair. Fancy socks are the type of thing that most people wouldn’t splurge on for themselves. Help break your loved one’s plain sock monotony and splurge on a nice pair for them! Check stores like Macy’s, DSW and JCrew or, if you live in NYC, there are plenty of specialty sock stores that you can browse.

 

  • AMAZON PRIME

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Give yourself the gift of time – and help alleviate the stress of gift shopping by signing up for Amazon Prime. You get a free 30-day trial, so now is the perfect time to sign up and give it a try! There are tons of fun gifts that are eligible for free 2 day shipping – and you might even be able to get 2 hour shipping on certain items depending on your location.

Order a water bottle with a storage compartment for your gym loving friends or a corkcicle for your wine or beer loving friends.

 

 

 

 

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Decorate Your Small Space For The Holidays

Whether it’s for yourself or a holiday party, nothing gets people into the holiday spirit like decorations! If you live in a tiny apartment, getting festive for the holidays might seem impossible. You might not be able to have a huge tree or outdoor lights, but you can still deck your small halls with these simple holiday decor ideas.

  • TREE ALTERNATIVES

For those who celebrate Christmas, nothing gets you into the holiday spirit like a huge, beautifully decorated tree. If you have a small studio or one bedroom apartment, setting up a large tree is no easy task. Especially if you live in a walk up building! But it’s still possible to have a beautiful tree for Christmas, you just may have to think a little smaller.

Miniature Christmas Trees are a great option for those who live in tiny spaces. They can go pretty much anywhere (table top, dresser, shelf, etc.) and can look just as festive as a floor to ceiling version. You can go even smaller by decorating a few branches in a vase.

 

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If a mini tree isn’t going to cut it, try a half or quarter tree that fits perfectly in a corner or flush against a wall.

 

Not interested in cleaning up pine needles? No where to store an artificial tree no matter how small? Make a tree out of lights on your wall, or take your books off the shelves and stack them into a tree shape. The possibilities are endless!

 

  • MAKE USE OF FRAMES

Cover your picture frames with pretty wrapping paper to make them look like presents. This is a super cheap and easy way to make your apartment more festive.

If you don’t have frames on your walls or around your apartment, you can also wrap flat pieces of cardboard or small unused boxes and hang them with Command Hanging Strips. You don’t want to sacrifice your security deposit for a little holiday cheer.

  • DECORATE YOUR ENTRANCEWAY 

Get your guests into the holiday spirit as soon as the enter your space by decorating your entranceway. Hang a festive wreath or decorate the door to look like a giant present.

Hang some lights and garland around the entrance, or any doorway, to give your apartment a holiday glow.

 

  • CENTERPIECES  

Fill clear bowls or vases with ornaments to use as a centerpiece or just for decorations around your apartment.  You can get ornaments to match any color scheme, and everything can be purchased at the dollar store for super cheap.

Painted wine bottles are another way to create festive decorations for your apartment.

  • PICTURE TAKING AREA

If you’re having a holiday party in your apartment, create a picture taking area for your guests. Decorate a wall to look like a fireplace, or hang a shiny foil fringe or sequence backdrop for a truly festive backdrop that can work through New Years Eve!

 

No photo area is complete without some props! Buy them online or print your own and leave them around the apartment for your guests to use throughout the evening.

http://www.amazon.com/Rhode-Island-Novelty-Metallic-Curtains/dp/B004N5BKC0/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_cp_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=61dTKHV7wKL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_SL500_SR106%2C135_&refRID=1TS9PNYTFST3AW3AB7S9

 

 

Creative DIY Gifts for the Holidays

Finding thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list (and staying within budget) can be really difficult – and stressful! Making your own gifts can be a great cost effective way to get everyone something special without spending a fortune. But often times, DIY gift ideas can get very repetitive. I mean, really, how many framed pictures can a person fit on their walls? And while hot chocolate in a jar can be a great gift for a teacher or a mail person, it’s not the most thoughtful gift to give a loved one.

Here are some relatively easy to make DIY gift ideas that are sure to bring some holiday cheer.

  • STATE OF ART

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Many New York City residents were not born in New York State. It is America’s melting pot, after all. Pay homage to your loved one’s home state by turning it into string art! It’s pretty easy to make and can be customized in a variety of ways.

The picture above was made for a friend of mind who was originally born in LA, but now call Brooklyn her home. I stained two pieces of wood, then hand painted the city’s name repeatedly (I first used a ruler to light draw lines in pencil for guidelines). Then I printed out an outline of each state, cut them out and traced it onto the wood. I then hammered nails around the outline and made a heart of nails around where each city would be located. I used different colored yarn to fill in the state, and red yarn to fill in the heart.

Here are tutorials for other examples of DIY state art.

Not into states? Here are some other things you can make using the string art method.

  • WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU

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A deck of cards, a hole punch, and some kind words are all you really need to make this thoughtful gift.

If you prefer letters over numbers, this is another version of the same idea that is just as touching.

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  • SIPPING PRETTY

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Start someone’s morning off in style by making them a stylish coffee mug. There are SO MANY different DIY mug tutorials, the hardest part will be choosing which one you like best.

If the person you’re making a gift for already has too many mugs, you can make a pretty wine glass as well.

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Or even mason jar – which can be used for drinking or decoration!

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  • WING IT

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A few years ago, I found this DIY tutorial on Pinterest on how to make angel wings from old sheet music. I loved the idea of angel wings, but wasn’t so into the sheet music part. So I decided to tweak it a little, after all isn’t that what DIY is all about?

My mom LOVES angels. She also loves red and yellow, so I decided to replace the sheet music with fabric in her favorite colors. I purchased pieces of fabric in different colors and patterns from Walmart. Look for the clearance fabric bins or fat quarters like the ones below. At less than a dollar each, you can get a bunch of different coordinating prints. You shouldn’t need more than one sheet, depending on how many different prints you use. I also added some white lace.

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First, I cut out the wings from cardboard (great way to make use of all of that Cyber Monday packaging!)

Then I cut up the fabric and lace into small rectangles of the same size. Starting from the bottom, I added each piece in rows using a little hot glue.

For the middle, I cut out an oval from a piece of cardboard, printed out “Believe” in a color and font that I liked, then glued the paper to the cardboard, trimming off the excess. I also added a little glitter grapevine garland around the middle to give it a little shine.

A really pretty, custom piece of artwork that is super easy to make. Once the supplies are purchased it can be completed in a day!

 

  • WRITING ON THE WALL

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Letter art is another great DIY gift. They can be customized so many different ways, and can be hung on a wall or door, or placed on a shelf or dresser.

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Plain wooden, cardboard, and tin letters can be found at just about any craft store or craft section.

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Here are some great tutorials for wall letter projects.

  • A MAGNET-ICENT GIFT

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Magnets can be those things that everyone needs, but no one wants to spend the money on. Help you friends and family out my making them some one of a kind magnets that will make their fridge stand out.

These DIY magnets, are a great way to turn plastic toy animals into pretty decorations for your fridge.

I saw this tutorial on DIY polaroid photo magnets and thought it was such a great gift idea!

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This is a great idea for turning plain childish letter magnets into something little more grown up.

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Decorate Your Small Space For Thanksgiving

Hosting Thanksgiving can be stressful no matter what size your living space is. If you live in a typical shoebox-sized NYC apartment, it can seem almost impossible! But living in the city doesn’t mean you can’t host an awesome dinner party. Here are some tips for making your small space work for Thanksgiving.

  • REARRANGE YOUR SPACE

Move any furniture you won’t need for the evening. If you live in a one bedroom or bigger (definitely something to be thankful for!), move furniture into other rooms. It’s kind of a pain, but it will make a big difference in space. You can even go as far as moving your TV into your bedroom – you probably won’t need it for the party and it might free up some space for drinks, desserts, or decorations. Rearrange any necessary furniture to better accommodate the party needs.

Need more seating? Brooklyn Party Rentals offers chairs and tables in various sizes for really great prices.

  • DECORATE YOUR SPACE

Spice up your apartment with a few festive decorations.  Here are a few ideas for any budget and apartment size.

FESTIVE BALLONS

Nothing says “party” like balloons! If you have the wall space, you can spell out a festive message with these letter balloons. They’re super cute and pretty inexpensive, depending on what you want to spell. “Give Thanks” will only cost you about $27. It might be a little late to get them in time for Thanksgiving, but it’s still possible to order for Christmas or New Years!

This site has similar balloons for a little more money, but they have fast shipping!

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If you don’t have the wall space to hang a balloon message, you can always get some plain helium balloons in your party’s color theme and place them in bunches around the apartment.

TABLE DECOR 

Decorate your table and counter space with really simple decorations. These leaf mason jars are quick, easy, cheap – and perfect for the fall. If you don’t feel like gathering (possibly urine soaked) leaves from the streets of New York, grab some fake ones from a local craft store or online from amazon. You can also buy tissue paper and cut it in the shape of leaves for a similar effect.

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Buy large glass candle holders, fill them with a pillar candle and unpeopled popcorn – and you have beautiful center pieces for less than 6 bucks!

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Print out pretty images or sayings and put them in nice picture frames. Click here or here for DIY tutorials on how to make your own frames.

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Want more decoration ideas? Click here.

PICTURE TAKING AREA

No party is complete without the pictures that document how amazing it was! If you have the space, decorate a corner of the room or small section of wall as a picture taking area. Keep it in the Thanksgiving/fall theme by covering kraft paper with leaves and pin or tape it to the wall. Spray the leaves with glue and dip in glitter for some added shine.

Don’t have the time to paint and tape leaves? Make a wall full of balloons! You can either blow them up on your own and tape to the wall, or get a bunch of helium balloons and tape the string to the floor.

Click here for more DIY backdrop ideas.

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No space for a picture area? Buy or print some fun photo booth props to have on hand to make those Instagram pictures a little more interesting.

 

 

Designer frames on a dollar store budget

City apartments might be tiny, but decorating them can put a big hole in your bank account. When it comes to decorating your walls, you can save money on expensive picture frames by making your own! Just buy some cheap frames from a dollar store and paint them to match your decor. It takes a little time to complete (this project took a few hours total), but you can make the most of your time and get some errands done while you’re waiting for the coats of paint to dry.

First, find some frames that are the shape and size that you want. The colors and designs don’t matter since you’ll be painting over them anyway.

You don’t want to lose your deposit by getting paint all over your floors or rugs, so you’ll want to put something down to protect them. I use a garbage bag (cut down the middle). You can also use a cheap tablecloth or shower curtain.

You’ll need some primer to make sure that the paint sticks regardless of the material the frames are made out of. This also helps you get the truest color of the paint you choose.

Primer is really important. I’ve skipped this step before and had to repaint them because the paint kept peeling off.

Save money on paint by buying sample sizes of the colors you want instead of buying the larger containers. These small sample sizes last a long time and will definitely be enough to paint picture frames – and you can save the left overs for your next DIY project!

You’ll also need paint brushes. Stores like Ikea, Target, and Amazon all have some really cheap options. If you’re thinking of doing some patterns or designs you might need some painter’s tape.

Tape off any designs you want on the frames and start priming! I used two coats of primer and waited about an hour in-between each one. Read the directions on your particular brand of primer for a more accurate wait time.

If you’re planning on doing this over the course of several days, you can save time cleaning brushes by wrapping the used brush in plastic wrap and putting it in a ziplock bag. This will keep it from drying out until you’re all done with the project.

Once the last coat of primer is dry you can start painting your frames! Keep them on the plastic until they are completely dry. There’s nothing worse than spending hours on something only to have it ruined by impatience – and I’m saying that from experience!

And that’s it! Create beautiful expensive looking picture frames for a fraction of the price.

Cheap Costumes in a Crunch

Halloween is less than a week away and if you don’t have your costume picked out yet you’re probably freaking out a little. Instead of buying an overpriced, generic or “sexy” costume from a costume shop, take a look around your house! I’m willing to bet you have most, if not all, of the elements for a Halloween costume right in front of you!

SKELETON

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A skeleton is a relatively easy costume to pull off for Halloween – but it does take some make-up skills. There are tons of tutorials out there on how to create the skeleton look, and it’s actually a lot easier than you’d think. Once the make-up is done, you can wear basically anything you want.

If you have the time and want to take it a step further*, you can go to the dollar store and buy plastic spiders and fake webs to add to your hair.

*I added tights and gloves to my costume – but I planned ahead. Since Halloween is less than a week away, and this post is about cheap costumes I’m leaving those details out.

BLACK CAT

If you have an all black outfit but don’t have the make-up skills or steady hand for the skeleton look, you can quickly transform yourself into a black cat. All you need is a black eyeliner for the makeup! Paint the tip of your nose black, add some whiskers, and you’re all set. If you want to get a little more fancy with your face, there are plenty of tutorials out there.

Need ears? There’s a great tutorial here on how to make cat ears using scissors, a greeting card, bobby pins, some tape, and a black marker.

ZOMBIE …ANYTHING

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You can basically pair anything in your closet with some zombie make-up and have a super creepy, and very relevant, Halloween costume.

Zombie make-up is super cheap, and you don’t have to have make-up artist skills in order for it to look good. A pale face, with darkened eyes and fake blood will do the trick. Of course, if you want to get a little more into it, you can purchase the ‘rotten skin’ kits from the store and have a little more fun. If you can’t find a costume store near you, zombie make-up kits can be purchased at any CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc.

DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS

Have a blue dress in your closet and time to run to the story to buy some devil ears? Pair them together and you can go as a devil in a blue dress!

80’s AEROBICS INSTRUCTOR

For this costume, all you need is some spandex leggings, a bathing suit, leg warmers (or thick socks) and a hoodie. You can also cut the neck off of an oversized sweatshirt or t-shirt to create the off-the-shoulder look that was big in the 80’s.

If you have all of these elements in bright colors, that’s an added bonus!