Group Gift

A Part of the “Getting in the Christmas Spirit” Series

This year, I have been blessed with a new group of amazing friends.  Moving across the country to start law school was such a scary thing, and the wonderful girls that I have become close with have made the transition so much easier.  I don’t think that I could have gotten through my first semester without their support and the fun times that we’ve shared.  To show my appreciation, I decided to surprise them with holiday / good luck on finals gifts.

It’s important that when you do gifts for a large group of people who spend a lot of time together, you make sure that the gifts are not terribly different.  I don’t mean to say that you have to get the same gift for everyone, though that can be a good option.  However, if you decide not to, it’s really important to consider that everyone will see what everyone else got.  You don’t want to spend $40 on one person and only $5 on another… the person who you spent $40 will feel awkward and the person you spent $5 will have his or her feelings hurt. try to keep the gifts within the same basic price range!  If you do decide to give everyone the same gift, make sure that it is appropriate for every member of the group.  Don’t buy a bottle of wine for everyone if you know some of your friends don’t drink… whether you decide to just give them the wine to keep the gifts the same or you decide to get them a different gift, it will be awkward and not very tactful.

 

In this case, I found a gift that is basically the same, but personalized in a small way.  I think that this was a great way to go, because it shows a little extra thoughtfulness above buying the exact same gift for each person.  The only difference between the gifts was the color, so everyone got the same thing, just in her favorite color.  I got the idea from Lauren Conrad’s blog.  These Pura Vida bracelets are a great gift because they’re reasonably priced (I was able to buy 14 total!), they’re adorable, they’re trendy, and they give back to the community in more than one way.  You can check out their website or LC’s blog for more information.  Here’s a quote from her page:

“What you may not know is that Pura Vida is more than a hot accessory, it’s a movement. The phrase “Pura Vida” means ‘pure life’ in Spanish. It’s about learning to enjoy life slowly and celebrate good fortune while not taking anything for granted. Hand made in Costa Rica by the area’s finest artisans, these bracelets represent living life to the fullest and are meant to be a celebration of each day as a gift. …  “

 

Given the meaning behind these bracelets and the fact that they donate portions of the proceeds to charity, I thought it would be a perfect gift for the girls who have been working so hard in law school.  I made sure that they arrived during finals, so the bracelets could be a reminder to keep things in perspective as well as to serve as a good luck charm during exams.  Getting the same gift for everyone (I got one for myself, too!) was also a good way to tie us together before we all went our separate ways for winter break.  Everyone seemed to really appreciate them, and it brought me a lot of joy to see everyone wearing them.

This photo was taken at lunch after our last final... what an awesome way to celebrate after completing our first semester of law school!

Anyway, I just wanted to share a gift idea with a couple of tips on holiday gift-giving to large groups.  Hope you enjoy, and please feel free to share any of your favorite gift ideas!

 

ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! 😀

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Crafty Day

So today, after going to my first tailgate at my new university and watching the team completely dominate from home (we couldn’t even get tickets to the game!), I got inspired to do a craft project!  I am super excited because it’s the first project I’ve done in months, especially since I’ve been so busy with moving and then starting law school.

Here’s the layout of everything I used for my project!  I made a similar one for my previous university a few years ago (you’ll get to see it if you scroll down!) and was really excited to make one today for my new university, too.  If you’re wondering why I have cupcake baking cups, there is an explanation!  We don’t have any styrofoam bowls at the apartment yet (which is what I usually use for paint).  These actually worked pretty well!

I started off by painting the letters with the base color.  It ended up taking 3-4 coats to get it to look solid without streaks.  This ended up taking much longer than I expected!  Apparently, paint dries a lot faster in the desert than it does in a place with 80%+ humidity!  Go figure!

         

Once the paint dried, I added the pawprints with white fabric (“puffy”) paint.  It worked great for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s thick enough to cover over the navy blue without a problem and without multiple coats.  It’s easy to work with because of the squeeze bottle and fine tip.  And finally, I think it gives it a fun 3-D effect. 🙂

While the pawprints were drying, I moved on to work on the base.  I decided to use collegiate style letters to spell out my favorite chant and then the self adhesive star gems for a little extra bling!  It’s definitely important to remember spacing when you do this!  As you can see (sort of…) I used my paper towel as scrap paper to write out what I would be spelling on the base to find the center spot.  I then used a ruler to find the center of the base and worked from the center of the base and the center of the letters outward.  Once the letter stickers were in place, I added the gem stars.  I found the letters and the gems in the scrapbook section of the craft store.

I LOVE SPARKLY THINGS!  A little sparkle was just what this project needed!  I originally planned to use ribbon (as I had done with the previous one I made).  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a ribbon that I liked in the colors I needed.  Boo!  I did find this “glitter tape” in the scrapbook section.  Let me tell you, it looks amazing, but it was really hard to make work!  Although it is somewhat sticky, it didn’t want to stay very well, especially on corners and curves.  I fought with it a lot and finally ended up busting out the hot glue gun to force its cooperation.  I also had to use an exacto knife to cut the edges off the back once I finished because it was just a little too wide for the letters.  In short, If I ever make one of these again, I’m using ribbon!

Despite my frustration with the glitter tape, the finished product made it totally worth it!  I am SO happy with it!  I LOVE this!  It is the perfect mix of school spirit and fun crafting and made for a really amazing project.  L-O-V-E!

Past meets present!  Just to give you another example of how to make these fun… 🙂  I am so happy to have both of these, and making each brought me a lot of joy.  Please feel free to take these ideas and apply them to your own crafty plans.

Although I haven’t done most of these yet, I think some other cute ideas would be …

  • Baby gift with the baby’s name
  • Sorority gift with the Greek letters
  • Mother’s Day/ Father’s Day gift (I’ve done both of these!)
  • Birthday gift
  • Engagement or wedding gift with the couple’s initials

Please share photos of anything similar that you’ve done or come up with!  I would love to see what creative ideas you have!

Fun Frames

Ever have an occasion (birthday, Christmas, congratulations, etc.) for which you need a gift for someone… but have NO idea what to get them?  Sure, you care about them enough to give a gift, but maybe not to spend a fortune on it.  Or maybe you just enjoy crafting, like I do!

One of my favorite gifts to give is picture frames.  I try to never give anyone an empty frame.  I usually try to find a photo that is related to the occasion in some way (ie. using a photo of the couple in an engagement gift) or include a carefully written or prettily typed quote.  Of course, the recipient can always put whatever he/she wants into the frame later, but I think it’s nice to give them something that’s already ready to go.

There are different ways to go about this, depending on your level of skill and enjoyment with crafting, your budget, time constraints, etc.  Here are a couple of examples:

Crafty Frame:

I made this frame for a friend’s engagement gift.  I took a plain wooden frame (I found it at Michael’s, but you can get them at just about any craft store, Wal Mart, etc.) and painted the edges white and the main front blue.  I used some of my favorite scrapbooking stuff to decorate the frame, including alpha stickers, 3-D decorations, sticky rhinestones, and rub-ons (on the bottom left).  I also bought wooden letters to spell “love”, painted them, and stuck them on with a hot glue gun.  I chose a photo that I found on her facebook page of her new fiancé  proposing.  She LOVED the frame and it still adorns her office nearly two years later!  The total cost to make the frame was about $5-7, but I admit that I did already have some of the decorations, the paint, and other supplies.  It may have been inexpensive, but she definitely appreciated the time and personalization that went into the gift.

Photo Collage Frame:

I was going to a wedding, and the bride and groom had this photo frame on their registry.  Rather than just sticking an empty frame in a gift bag and calling it a day, I filled the frame with photos of the couple and put their wedding invitation in the center spot.  They LOVED it!  It was a great way to give them something on their registry but personalize it to make it a bit more special.  Plus, I figure every married couple is getting tons of things to set up their home, and this one was ready to hang!

 

These are only a couple of examples, but I hope it’s a good start to convey the idea.  If anyone is interested, I’d be more than happy to do a “part 2” post later and share some others.  Or, if you have any “perfect gift” ideas you’d like to share, please leave a comment… I’d love to hear!