Monday, December 22, 2008

Last-minute bath bomb recipe

Okay, I've dialed down the gift-giving this year but still, I like having some gifts on hand for hostess gifts or for friends. To that end, I whipped up some fragrant fizzy bath bombs in an ice-cube tray last night. You really only need a few supplies and you can make them up lickety-split. And you can package them up in a cute little box or drop them into a Ziploc bag or Gladware container. Easy peasy. I just like saying "easy peasy."

Learn how in my CraftStylish tutorial.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Alternative gifting

This year, time and money are in short supply so a couple of friends and I got together on Sunday to make a boatload of Christmas cookies for gifting. Laurel brought boxes and tissue, not to mention the dough for sugar cookies and thumbprint cookies. I brought my cowboy cookie dough. And Kerry and Piper had a grand time helping us embellish the cookies with all sorts of frostings and sprinkles.

We made about 12 or 15 boxes but the real gift was the fun afternoon spent together in a warm and fragrant kitchen with great friends. I highly recommend it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Restyling the regift

This week I've been thinking about regifting. Shocking, I know, especially from such a lovely gal such as myself. But you know, I'd rather give some wretched gift a new life in a loving home. And sometimes, this can't be done in its current form. So my latest post on CraftStylish gives you a few ideas on how to restyle that Cosby sweater or completely transform that stuffed penguin someone thought was a good idea. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rethinking the holidays: give the gift of yourself

The holidays are kicking me from one end of the street to the other. I'm not gonna lie. I'd like to say I'm making everything by hand and each precious gift will be exquisitely wrapped and shipped out by, well, now, but that's simply not the case.

Life, or in this case, my book deadline, gets in the way.

So my girlfriends and I decided to forego actual gifts to each other this year. Instead, we headed to Olympus Spa in Lynnwood for a relaxing evening of naked girl talk in hot tubs and crazy heated rooms with different properties: i.e., "Mud & Jade Room," "Charcoal Room," and "Salt Room." It was exactly what we needed to recharge and attack our work and the holidays. On the way home, we swung by Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream for some organic ice cream (candy cane ice cream for me, birthday cake with caramel sauce for the others).

In lieu of gifts, consider a shared experience this holiday season with loved ones, be it a dinner party, a weekend matinee, or naked hot tubbing. It's good for the soul and it's a gift that you'll be giving yourself. What's a better gift than quality time spent with your favorite people?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gifts for guys: a tutorial

Buying or making gifts for guys has always been a challenge. I have bought my brothers books, my dad a running watch or train memorabilia. One year, everyone received hand-knitted scarves; another Christmas, I gave pajama bottoms to the dudes (Old Navy loved me that year). But while women seem like a breeze to make something for, guys present a dilemma. They have everything already or it's questionable that they'll like what you create.

CraftStylish has loads of great ideas; this week, the site is running a gift guide of tutorials for all the boys to men in your life. I kick things off today with a tutorial on "shoe submarines," small inserts that he can slip into his stinky shoes to absorb moisture and odor. It's a great stocking stuffer for the gym rat or running enthusiast.

Come to think of it, it's just the thing for my running fool of a father...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great gift-giving story? Bring it on!

For my next Prairie Girl's Guide, I am looking for stories of meaningful, spot-on gift giving. Have you ever given or received an absolutely perfect gift? Something that touched you to the core? Made the recipient cry like a little girl? Was she a little girl? If so, I'd love to hear all about it.

To give you an example, my friend Jared knows of my obsession with photo booths and knew I was a bit envious of his framed wall of photo strips. So one Christmas, I unwrapped a long frame, complete with a matte cut for seven photo strips. He even prepaid the frame shop so I could have my favorite strips mounted. What a guy! What a gift!

If you have any great stories about thoughtful gifts, no matter how large or small, I'd love to hear them and include them in the book.

December 1, seriously?

It seems as if I can only manage to post something once a week these days. The good news is that I'm not blogging because I'm writing the second of three book manuscripts that are all due within a six-month period. As the Human League once so wisely observed, "I'm only human, of flesh and blood I'm made."

Anyway, I'm knee-deep in all things prairie again (look for a new Prairie Girl's Guide next fall!) and am busy hunting down experts, experimenting with the sewing machine and knitting needles, and whipping up a new crop of lotions and potions.

I took a break to create a restorative salt soak for CraftStylish this week. It's super easy and only requires four ingredients. It's a perfect little gift to give to hostesses, teachers, co-workers, and yes, even guys.

Check it out, along with all the other terrific holiday projects on CraftStylish. I"m always wowed by my fellow crafters.

A sampling of my books