Creative Tablecloth Ideas

Creative Table Cloth Ideas

I love tablecloths.  I really do!  Do you wanna know why?  Since dining tables are usually at least somewhat large, when you change the tablecloth, you can change the whole look of a room.  Do you believe me?  Think about what a huge difference it makes to throw a different bedspread or comforter on your bed, it’s the same idea.  Bingo!  The whole room seems to change, am I right?  Of course I am!  Changing the tablecloth could almost be akin to painting a wall.  Only much quicker, less messy and, for fickle decorators like me, much easier to change the look of a room on a whim.

I have plenty of tablecloths.  More than I should have, probably.  I’m fickle, remember?  I’ve noticed that in recent months, however, I really don’t use my real tablecloths very often.  I have gotten creative and now use drapes and shower curtains instead and, I must say that I like the look of them so much more than my real tablecloths.  Want to see?

First, my current favorite:

Decorative Shower Curtain Used as a Tablecloth

This Moroccan-looking number is the most amazing shade of blue.  I can’t figure out how to photograph the color perfectly.

Close up of decorative shower curtain

I love how the black flocked design is so bold.  Yep, I love this shower curtain…turned table cloth.

Here is a shower curtain that I bought at Goodwill for $3.  I love-a-love-a-love it!  It is practically dripping with texture:

Decorative shower curtain used as a tablecloth

Close up of decorative shower curtain

I also have some curtain panels that I like to use as tablecloths:

Here are some close-up pics so you can really appreciate the textures:

Yeah…I really like my pseudo-tablecloths.  They don’t look exactly like what I see over and over in the tablecloth departments of stores.  It’s a pretty fair bet that I’m not going to walk into anyone else’s home and see that their table matches mine.  Call me crazy.  Call me creative.  Just don’t call me late for dinner (set on one of these creative table cloths, of course!).

What do you think?  Have you ever stepped outside of the box and used something other than a tablecloth for a table cloth?


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Making a Profit With Fundraising Gift Baskets

Cover Pic Fundraising Gift Baskets

Fundraisers…got to love ’em, right?  As a parent of 5 I have participated in LOTS of fundraisers over the years.  Just last night was our high school choir’s Spaghetti Dinner and a Show fundraiser.  Students (translate: moms) were allowed to bring gift baskets to raffle off and 100% of the money the baskets sold for would go into their student trip account.  I must say that I have a love/hate relationship with silent auction gift baskets.  Oh, I get all excited about coming up with fun themes for gift baskets and then go overboard trying to shove as much theme related stuff into the perfect basket and making it look all cute and desirable so that EVERYONE wants to buy my gift basket.  Can you feel the excitement?  Then comes the hate part where I realize that maybe our little community can’t really afford to pay the big dollar amounts of what these baskets might go for somewhere else.  Next, comes regret as I realize that I spent a huge chunk of time and money running around and fancying up so that just a few dollars of profit could go into my daughter’s choir account.  The hate part?  That is how I felt last year after our gift basket silent auction.  The love? That is how I felt after our fundraiser last night.  Hang on and I’ll tell you why:

Last year I spent hours and hours putting several baskets together.  I layed awake at night coming up with great theme ideas.  I hunted and hunted for baskets until I found these babies.  I really liked their shape, but hated the ugly orange stain so before I could even start filling, I had to paint them.  And distress them.  And stain them.  Whole day project.  I don’t have any good pics of the finished baskets, but you get the idea.  Here are last years assembled gift baskets:

Yeah, I told you I get all carried away.  Who brings 6 gift baskets to a fundraiser?  Here they are, in the back of my car…can’t you just feel the excitement?

Fundraising gift baskets

Last year’s basket themes were, Everything Chocolate, Spa Night, Beauty, Baby Girl, Valentine’s Day, and USA.  Overachievers unite!  The result?  My daughter got about $120 put into her trip account.  The downside?  I probably spent about $80 on supplies, plus days of my time.  Big downside!  I had one guy follow me around all night begging me to accept $15 for my beauty basket so he could buy it for his wife who really wanted it… and had put in so much time and effort for the spaghetti fundraiser… and was pregnant.    Ok…fine.  Whatever!  I only had about $25 into it.  No big.  I determined then and there- never again!

Fast forward a year.  The hate part was fresh in my mind as our annual fundraiser came closer.  Last week I was bagging stuff to donate to the local thrift store and came across some Hawaiian shirts my boys no longer wanted.  I also realized that I had a couple of really nice purses heading to the thrift store and decided to hold them back as well.  Ta da!  Gift baskets!  The excitement came back.  For just the cost of a couple of thrift store baskets and the addition a few other items I had on hand, my baskets were complete.

Before putting the Hawaiian shirts in the basket, I laundered and ironed them and made a tag, showing the shirt sizes and brand labels…

Gift basket tag

… and then I added a beach sign that I had made a few years ago and threw in a box of Hawaiian Punch fruit snacks for good measure.

My purses gift basket was just as easy and cost me only the cost of a thrifted flat wicker basket.  I don’t know if you have ever noticed this, but garage sales and thrift stores seem to have an abundance of purses.  I only purchase them if they are in perfect condition and usually only pay a dollar or two for them.  Often the original tags are still attached.  I think that us women like the idea of having more than one purse, but in reality, it is really a pain to transfer stuff to a different purse, so we use the same one most of the time.  I just grabbed a few purses that I had on hand to create a raffle basket.   Don’t worry, I still have plenty of purses left.

Bottom line?  My purses sold for $40 and the Hawaiian shirts sold for $30.  In our little community, even!  $70 has been added to my daughter’s travel account and it cost me less than $5 total.  That’s righ, $65 profit!  MMAnother bonus:  I spent less than an hour total preparing and assembling.  Bingo!

Do you have a gift basket fundraiser coming up?  Look around your house for items that have been minimally used and/or are no longer loved by you or your family.  We are talking tip top shape, people.  This is not the time to pass on junk!  Some little girl would surely love a basket filled with no longer hoarded Beanie Babies.  You know the bins and bins filled with Matchbox cars?  Grab 20 of them and display them well.   The drawer full of scarves that you never, ever wear?  That works, too.  Craft supplies that you have never used?  Fishing lures?  Teddy Bears?  Board games and puzzles that never got opened.  What is the bottom line for turning a profit?  Don’t spend the big bucks.  Use what you have and then fill in the rest.

What is lurking in your closets, drawers, under beds, or hidden away in the garage that could make a fabulous gift basket or two…or six?


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10 Minute Tidy: Unpack That Suitcase!

Got 10 minutes unpack that suitcase

What is your least favorite part of a vacation or overnight trip?  My least favorite part- hands down- is unpacking my stuff.  Are you with me here?  That suitcase that I was eager to pack up before the trip began has been reduced to the stuff that I have to put away.  Fun is over…work begins.  Am I right?  Or am I right?  OR, am I right?

Unpacked open suitcase

I’ll admit that this is not the way my suitcase looked the first night I brought it home.  Nope.  It look, well, less full.  I immediately pulled out the laundry bag filled with my dirty clothes and that nearly emptied my bag.  If I would have finished unpacking my bag that night, like I usually do when I get home from a trip, this could have been a 3 minute tidy post.  Obviously THAT did not happen.  This time my suitcase sat on the floor in the corner of my bedroom for about a week and, although I don’t normally allow myself to leave piles around my bedroom, several times during the week I lifted that suitcase lid, laid clothes that I should have just put away on top and then closed the lid.  Not exactly covert.

Thinking that this would be a perfect 10 Minute Tidy Tuesday challenge I decided to take it on.  Just like that dreaded “monster under the bed” that seems larger than life, my unpacking chore seemed unrealistically big, but you know what?  It really wasn’t.  To be honest, I set my stopwatch to show just how much time it actually took to unpack my bag and several hours later I realized that my stopwatch was still going.  Hmmm.  Let’s just say that this project can easily be labeled a 10 minute or less project.

Empty suitcase

Dun, dun, Done!  Easy peasy! Lesson learned: don’t put off for tomorrow (or next week!) what you can do today.

Have you recently returned from a trip?  Go unpack that suitcase!  You’ll be glad you did.


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Christmas Home Tour 2015

I guess that I may as well jump on the blogging bandwagon and post some pics of my holiday home.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will mostly let the pictures do the talking.

My Front Porch:

Christmas front porch santa foil wreath

Front Entry and Living Room

Pool Table Room/Library:

Kitchen and Dining Rooms:

Family Room:


Well, that about sums it up.   Thanks so much for stopping by!  I would love to offer you a nice hot cup of cocoa, but, well…you know.  You will have to really stop by my home for that to happen.  Until then, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Easy Recycled Gift Tags


Recycled gift tags

It’s time for Christmas gift buying, gift wrapping and gift tagging.  Don’t you just love Christmas time?   To me, wrapping presents is fun and pretty relaxing, but I’ll admit that one of my least favorite parts of wrapping is tagging my wrapped gifts.  Am I the only one?  I always make sure to buy gift tags at the after-Christmas sales so I have plenty on hand, but the things make me crazy.  The plain ones are often, well…boring and the beautiful foiled ones always seem to repel ink.   Seriously, someone should test those things out before they sell them as gift tags.  It seems that if I can find a pen that actually writes on them, the ink always smears when I try to stick it on the package.   Urrgggh.

This year, I decided to make some more permanent tags.  I went as far as my recycling bin to find my main supplies-  these empty thin cardboard boxes:

Empty food cartons for gift tags

First thing that I did was to cut simple tag shapes, pairing two for each tag.  I made sure that the plain side faced out as I cut them, because really, who really wants a picture of a tri tip sandwich on their gift tag.

recycled cardboard gift tags

The first couple of tags that I made had a layer of flannel sandwiched between them:

As you can see, I used a tiny loop of tape to hold each side of the fabric/cardboard in place, making sure to line the cardboard up well.  Easy.  Next, I took it to my sewing machine and used a long, straight stitch around the whole thing.  I made sure to start at the center-top of the tag and overlapped a few stitches to secure the thread, knowing that the ribbon would hide the cut threads.  Once the sewing was complete, I trimmed the fabric to the actual shape of the tag.  For added effect, I frayed the flannel edges of one of my tags, and the other tag I snipped lots of tiny cuts along the whole fabric edge to create my own fringe.

After doing a couple this way, I got lazy and just ended up gluing the two pieces of cardboard together, skipping the flannel.  I think that I prefer this simpler look, actually, and it makes tag making so much easier and faster.  Once the tag layers were secured, I used my hole punch at the top.

Of course I could have hand-written the names on these, but instead I went to my computer and found some fun, bold fonts which I printed in large sizes and glued on my tags.  I used white paper, but colored or lightly patterned paper would be fun, too.   Glitter, stickers, and other embellishments would spiff these up even more.  Really, the sky’s the limit on what you could do with these.   You can have all of your tags exactly the same, with only the names different, or you can color code for each child/recipient, or you can make each tag totally different.

Gift tags made from recycled carton cardboard

You might think that, with the rush and fun and craziness of Christmas morning unwrapping that these tags will just get tossed in with the other trash.  Maybe…maybe not.  These gift tags are actually very study and feel substantial in your hands.  I don’t think that they will easily get mixed up with tossed gift wrap and bows.  I’m going to tell my children to save them so I can use them next year…and the year after that…and the year after that, etc., etc. .

What started out as trash will be avoiding the trashcan for years to come.  That’s the plan.  Now, I just need to invade my recycling bin again to make a couple dozen more tags.

So, do you have any empty cereal, crackers, or other thin cardboard boxes in your trash right now?  I think it’s time to rescue them!


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