DIY Christmas Gifts: Contemporary Advent Calendar

It's officially Blog-mas! As such, every Thursday I will introduce a new DIY Christmas present idea. Stay tuned for some creative gift ideas to come!

To kickoff Blog-mas, the first DIY gift is a contemporary take on an old classic.  It's 25 days of gifts, a spin on the traditional Advent calendar. Each day until Christmas my boyfriend (aka the lucky recipient of this DIY) will get a small present. It's a little way of giving a variety of presents that needn't be too expensive.  And he has a surprise each day of December!

Depending on the items you give, you could actually make a physical calendar. Here are some cool ones from Diply. As most of my items are bigger, I am setting them out while he sleeps so he wakes up to a surprise!

Thrifty Ideas:
-$5 gift card to McDonalds or Taco Bell
- bottle of soda
-beef jerky
-lotto ticket
-lip balm
-water bottle
-Christmas ornament
-air freshener
-hot sauce
-shot glass

Expensive Ideas:
-yearly membership (Costco, Xbox live, Netflix, Gym)
-movie tickets
- clothing
-video game, dvd, blu-ray
-ugly Christmas sweater
-plant or flowers
-something to do with their hobby (weightlifting, hunting, woodworking, etc)
-impromptu date night
-certificate for an art class
-board game

Free Ideas:
- a love note
- 10 Things I Like About You
- a coupon book (massage, foot rub)
-write a song
-draw a poem
-give a clue about their Christmas present
- complete one of their regular chores for them
-a recipe
-handmade card
-cook their favorite meal
-a batch of cookies

Hot sauce, underwear, beef jerky, and his favorite chocolates are just a few ideas!

This idea can be adapted for anyone you'd like to spoil at Christmas! You could also try having a beer theme and give a different beer each day. Other ideas include: shooters, jewelry, nail polish, candy, hair accessories, or even love notes!

Have fun gifting!

Lots of Love,

Coffee Table DIY

When we moved in to our apartment, we bought a cheap coffee table from a local furniture store. At $99 I thought we had stolen it! Even though it was paperboard, it had convenient storage and a nice wood look-alike finish. On the fateful day I was assembling it, I learned the lesson that furniture made from paperboard CAN NEVER substitute a piece made of wood. As I attempted to put the leg on, the piece broke. Yes, the brand new table had a broken leg! For a few months we used wood glue but eventually, the leg fell off altogether. So for a good six months our coffee table rested on a couple of books. *embarrassing*

 Anyway a few weeks ago I had enough of of our shoddy table. We went digging around thrift stores and found this cool wooden one. Even though the finish is to oak-y for my taste, I could tell it had potential.  

In one eventful Saturday, I managed to sand, stain, and paint this lil beauty. When my boyfriend came home, he didn't even realize it was the same table!

First, I sanded the table with sand paper. I used various grits and pressures for a various textured appearance. 

I added little strokes of the stain in various areas before I painted the white. As you see, there are spots where the paint looks like its peeling. This is from the stain underneath. Next I painted the white. This took about three coats. 

I used a grey wood stain for the top. However, I painted thick layers and didn't wipe them off. As such it took a long time to dry. Every nick on the table shows (which I like) however if you're looking for a cleaner look, try regular paint, spray paint or chalk paint. This took about two coats.

Finally, I finished with a THIN layer of polycrylic. After several weeks of use I added another thicker coat. I would recommend doing two coats at the time of refinishing.

More great DIYs and renos to come!

Lot of Love,

Avocado Dark Chocolate Truffles

I have a major sweet tooth and often times it gets the better of me. As such I'm always looking for secretly healthy goodies that satisfy my urgent sweet tooth while offering a little nutrition. The base of this truffle is actually avocado! These lil beauties are full of omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your skin, brain and eyes. But did you know avocados also help beat depression? The high level or folate (aka folic acid) helps prevent nasty things from affecting your serotonin levels. With the addition of protein powder, these are a great choice to wrangle your chocolate cravings.

2  med avocados (approx 1 1/3 cups)
2 cups dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
topping of choice*
 *you can try crushed nuts, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, graham cracker crumbs, etc


Mash avocado and protein powder together with a fork, squashing any large chunks. Melt chocolate chips in a separate bowl. You can microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between rounds or use a double boiler. Now combine melted chocolate, avocado mixture and maple syrup in a blender or food processor. Blitz on short spurts to create even consistency and remove avocado chunks. With a spatula, pour mixture into square or rectangular casserole dish smoothing the top evenly. Create an even layer about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Place into fridge to chill for 30 minutes or the freezer for about 15. Once the mixture is evenly cooled, remove from fridge/freezer. Using a spoon, peel up a tablespoon of truffle mix and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll the ball in your topping of choice. I used ground almonds. Continue rolling balls with remaining mixture. 

Makes about 20-24 quarter sized truffles. Store in fridge if eating within a few days otherwise keep in  the freezer.

These are great with coffee or as an after lunch treat. They taste so decadent but you can feel good about indulging in these!

Next time I make these, I 'll try dipping them in melted chocolate for a different texture! 

Lots of Love,

DIY Autumnal Wreath

For less money than going out to lunch, you can DIY this awesome wreath! I made this a few weeks ago and love it! It will definitely stay in my fall decor for years to come. Get this assembled in time for Thanksgiving and welcome your turkey guests with a lovely autumnal greeting.

First, shopping!

From the craft store you will need*:
-One grapevine wreath
-Length of burlap
-Various fake accents (I used a pumpkin and little sticks   with decorative balls)
*always check online for coupons, I used one for 50% off

From the dollar store you will need:
2-3 bunches neutral colored flowers (I used off-white mums)
1 bunch accent color (I chose orange sunflowers)
1-2 bags artificial leaves in various fall colors

Scissors/ diagonal cutter (for cutting the stems)
Glue gun

Pin Me on Pinterest!

You can assemble your wreath however you'd like. Personally I like the off center flower arrangement, but you could completely cover your wreath. Of course this would cost more, but purchasing items at the dollar store allows for more budget flexibility. 

I first assembled the burlap bow. There are many tutorials like this one from Better Homes and Gardens. I loosely followed the "classic" tutorial. However, I added separate pieces of burlap for the bow strings. 

For the wreath, I started by placing and gluing my focal point: the pumpkin. From there I glued a neutral flower on the side of the pumpkin. The key part is to then glue a leaf under the flower. This allows the leaves to cover the wreath and creates the illusion of fullness. Glue another neutral flower on the other side of the leaf, following the pattern-- flower, leaf, flower and so on. Occasionally add your accent flower instead of a neutral one. Continue this on both side of your focal piece until you have achieved your desired look or you've run out of flowers! Now add your fake accent piece anywhere you'd like. Be sure to glue these or use their wires to attach to the wreath. 

Now hang your creation from your door! 

P.S. The dollar store has wreath hangers that go over the door and work just as well as $10 versions!

Lots of Love,