Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Creating a Baby Basket on a Budget!! A DIY Baby Girl Gift Basket for $25!

A couple of weeks ago my girls and I received a sweet invitation to a friend's niece's Baby Shower that was a few days away. We were excited to go- who doesn't love a Mexican fiesta- however a bit of panic set in pretty quick.  The joys of single parenthood have put my little family of 3 on quite a tight budget lately! And while I love spur of the moment adventures/parties/fiestas, it's tough when you haven't factored that into your weekly budget. I'm sure the family and new mom would have been happy with even the smallest gift, or just our smiling faces, but we were thankful to have been invited & wanted to give something special
So my girls and I gave ourselves a budget of $25.00 to create a Fun Baby Gift Basket!
DIY Baby Girl Gift Basket for $25.00
Pink Garden Theme
3-6 month 6 piece outfit, pink blanket, basket, & flowers
It's great when your basket has a theme! Usually it's the outfit or a key piece you find that sets your basket's theme. For me, discount stores are great for finding baby gifts! At Ross Dress for Less, I found this 6 piece Girl's Baby Gift Set for a 3-6 month old, which included a long sleeve button jumper, a pink short sleeve onesie, a floral pair of pants, a little hat, a bib & a pair of socks all for 12.99
Once I found the outfit that led me to my theme for the basket:
Pink Floral Garden
I knew I wanted one more item for the basket and after an unsuccessful search for a cute stuffed animal at Ross, I decided on a soft pink blanket for $6.99.
So far we had spent just over $21.00
Basket & Decorations:
We found the basket at the thrift store for $1.00- normally I would have spray painted it white, pink or green for the new mom to use in the baby's nursery, but we were determined to stay within our budget! We bought two sprays of silk flowers- pink roses & white flowers- at the dollar store for $1.00 each
And with that purchase we had reached our budget and spent a grand total of $24.84
Creating the Basket:
Luckily for us we happened to find two spools of ribbon in our art supply stash- a roll of pink & sheer white. We also found some stickers & scrapbooking paper with birds & butterflies that we cut out to use in decorating the flower petals & tags
To make the basket I like to place all the main items in first and then add the decorations. I like stuffing the outfits and propping them up and to do this I use plain newsprint (not newspaper but newsprint, like for packing), shredded paper & tissue paper works too but you need to use quite a bit. You can also use it in the bottom & the back of the basket to prop things up. If your basket has a handle you can tie the outfits onto the handle too
I hung the onesie & pants together on a baby hanger and buttoned the birdie bib around it, stuffed the onesie & the floral jumper, and safety pinned the little hat onto the spray of white flowers. I rolled the soft pink blanket into a roll and tucked it into the middle, to add support to the outfits
We cut the roses spray of flowers to get individual roses, and placed them around and among the basket items. We left the white flower spray intact and used it to fill in the negative space in the back. We took some of our cut-out butterflies and glued a few to the petals of the flowers 
I like using small safety pins when I need to pin items together- clothespins are cute too- but here I used tiny gold safety pins to pin the socks together and stuffed them with a bit of paper.  Adding a little ribbon or tag always adds nice detail too
Our card is simple and decorated with some of the butterflies we cut out of paper. If you know it, it's sweet to add the mom or baby's name to the basket too. I taped a skewer stick to the back of the card & stuck it in the corner of the basket.
Ribbons look great tied onto just about everything, we tied them onto the hangers and card & luckily the blanket came with it's own nice white ribbon
It was a Lovely Baby Shower & of course it wasn't about the gifts, but the celebration of a family & their new Special little one! It turned out to be a fun family project for me and my girls too, to see how we could budget our money and create something unique & special, our
Baby Gift Basket on a Budget!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Unique Themed Baby Gift Baskets- More Pics Added!

June 2015....Most of these were created back in 2009, but since that post gets a lot of views, I'm adding some additional pics of baskets that we created that same year...Several people have messaged us over the years with other fun themes including Pirates, Environmentally Friendly, Organic, Ocean Theme, Superheroes & more...Even though these were made 6 years ago, there are some fun ideas that can be adapted for not only newborns but toddlers too.

Bath Time
Styrofoam balls painted blue and then dabbed with a bit of white make great bubbles,
we used a lot of skewer sticks in baskets to prop up items 

Antique Bike

Under the Big Top
The lion's hat is a Christmas ornament and we use actual baby bibs to tie onto the
stuffed animals.

Sweet Treat Trike
These bikes are from the garden department at discount stores

Giddy Up

Sweet Style
You really don't need a lot of items, tying on big bows and accenting each item with ribbons
and tags fills up the space

Beary Sweet
Containers like these are quite easy to find at discount stores

Pink Picket Fence

Safari Sweetie

Wagon Wrangler
Sweet Treat

Cupcake Cutie
Dressing up the stuffed animal in a newborn outfit is a cute way to display it
Her hat is just a plush slice of cake pinned to her head
We used the styrofoam balls here as ice cream scoops
Tea Time Picnic

Hoppy Baby

Baby Bloom
Vintage Toy Luggage

Sweetest Goal

Garden Party for Little Miss Iona Taylor
Secret Garden
Froggy Trike
Old fashion diaper pins you can find at the dollar store and they make great accent pieces

You were made perfectly to be loved-and surely I have loved you, in the idea of you, my whole life long.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you've made me smile
The entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand.

babies are such a nice way to start people
-Don Herold

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Miss Denise

Denise Spears Adams Chafin 1949-2014

My mom, Denise, created this blog a few years back when she entered the vintage re-sale scene. She was an elementary school teacher by trade but an artist, collector, and treasure hunter by heart. Students, parents & faculty loved her but it was later in her teaching career where she had the opportunity to work in the visual arts department that really lit her spark for teaching and being an advocate for the artist in all of us.  She absolutely loved it. She worked with schools, companies & the community to host art shows, school exhibits, teacher workshops, and was most passionate about integrating the arts into student's lives. She inspired, supported & challenged both students & teachers. A few years ago we were set up at an art show and a parent recognized my mom, (well I should say she noticed my mom's accent - her charming Southern West Virginia twang) and my mom remembered the family and as they hugged, the parent eagerly began to tell the story of her daughter. Her daughter was a gifted painter in high school and it was my mom who encouraged her to enter her work in exhibits & shows, win scholarships, and really helped her believe in herself and her artwork. The daughter went on to art school and upon graduating college decided to become a college art professor herself. The mother was grateful to my mom, even though 15 years had passed, their family still remembered the support & positive influence Denise had on their family. In listening to that story, in that moment, I just remember feeling so proud of my mom. She loved what she did and I hoped she knew the impact on herself & others she had by living her true spark.

After retiring from the teaching world she was able to focus on her love of gardening & flea markets. The gardening bug was from her mom- when I was a kid, my grandma's garden was full of everything from pumpkins, to giant corn stalks to vines of green beans. My grandma knew every flower & plant on her property and loved walking around and telling you about each one. Denise was the same way but roses were definitely her favorite. My mom could spend from sun up to sun down in her plants, yard & garden, and in the last few years I really think that's what kept her energy up & her spirit fed. You would have never known she had stage 3 ovarian cancer, and most people didn't.

The love of  flea markets, auctions, & garage sales was from her dad. I would bet my grandpa was known in at least 5 states as one of the coolest trading & dealing old timers around. The countless stories I've heard about him over the years could easily fill a book or two. People would actually drive hours out of their way just to stop by and see what he had, and most of the time 'folks' really just wanted to sit and listen to him tell stories. He was a true American Picker decades before any reality TV shows.  He taught my mom a lot: to see value in things, monetary value but more importantly the history, the workmanship & the creativity in anything from an antique coin to the engine of a Model T Ford. Denise married her knowledge of antiques and her love of art. Many of her favorite finds she loved as they were, but she also had an eye for finding pieces that she could add to, take apart, re-paint, or "marry" with another piece. In the mid 1990's we had a tiny little art gallery where we held workshops on our back patio & inside we mainly featured her art chairs. Nothing excited her more than finding an odd chair. It was a creative challenge for her to find just the right woman to paint on the chair. It was fun to watch her work, and she loved it.

She & her husband spent several years in retirement buying, fixing & flipping homes. As a kid she would tell me about how she would get a shoe box and the Sears & Montgomery Wards catalogues and cut out sofas, lamps and chairs and glue them into the shoe box to create her dream house. And so it was during these home buying years that she fed her passion to decorate with hand painted murals & themed rooms - like Paris Apartment & Greco Roman Villa.

Years later, she started White Horse Relics, and when I returned from living in Mexico I not only helped with her business but soon after her cancer treatments as well.

She was first diagnosed with 12 tumors, 8 of them the size of golf balls. Surgeries & chemo cocktails followed her for the next 3 1/2 years. We went through just about every western medical treatment, she saw the best doctors on two different coasts. The day she got the diagnosis I looked up an old friend, you gotta love Facebook (sometimes).

His name is Frederick, and I first met him when I was 19 & my Mom and I were at (of all things) an estate sale one weekend, where this artsy & energetic lady was moving and selling a lot of fun stuff. We spent at least two hours just oohing and aweing and picking. And of course she and my mom hit it off, my mom was like my grandpa- people were just drawn to her energy. Because of this new love fest with the cool lady & her neat stuff, she felt open enough to invite us back the next day to a party she was having with friends. That's when we met Frederick. A spiritual healer, teacher & guide who has this calm & knowing energy about him that is intoxicating . People come into your life at certain times and sometimes it's not evident right then as to why. While we stayed friends and kept in touch with him over the next 5 years, it was almost 15 years later that the real reason for the friendship revealed itself. The love, support & guidance that he gave Denise, myself & my girls is immeasurable. It was through the cancer that my mom healed. She learned to love herself, to forgive herself, to feel, to love, to let go. She worked through her hurt and her fear and her anger. It wasn't easy and it took several years, but she came to a place of trust, calm & knowing. Of course she still had hopes & dreams, things she still wanted to do in this life, but we feel she was at peace to make the transition and she went in December of last year at the age of 65.

It's obviously taken me many months to be able to write this post. I would sit at the computer and honestly I couldn't write one single word. The tears would start flowing and the emotions would overtake me and I was paralyzed. I think I felt like as long as I didn't write this, her passing wouldn't be real in some way. With the sweet smiles of my girls & the loving support of a friend, I was able to do this today. Really no words exist that can even come close to describing her, her impact on the people she knew & loved or how much she is missed. It was standing room only at her memorial service in the small town where she went to high school and her mother still lives. She wore many hats in her lifetime ( or as she would prefer to wear 'crowns' ). From the Little Girl skipping down a dirt hollow road in a coal mine town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, to high school Homecoming Queen, to an Inspiring Educator, to a Beautiful Mom, to an Artist, to a Wannabe Motown Dancer, to a Life Long Friend, to Daughter, to Pinterest Addict, to Sister, to my girl's Amazing Nani & the list could go on....but really to Anyone that knew her she is Simply Unforgettable.

My daughters and I are slowly getting back to creating and hope to continue some of Denise's projects. We definitely don't have her unique eye but I think we do have a bit of her spark & love for creating.

Thanks for taking the time to read this about my mom, she was my best friend and I'm blessed to have been able to call her Mom...Smiles, Ashley

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Adventures.....

As Denise makes her move to the East Coast & my girls and I travel to the Mexican Coast, we're excited to see where our next chapters take us & look forward to finding & creating fun pieces along the way.........

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Our Final Month at Antiques on Cedros in Solana Beach, Ca!


As we focus on our move to the east coast & new adventures, we unfortunately have to say a Sweet Goodbye to our booth at Antiques on Cedros in Solana Beach. We've loved every minute of being vendors in this eclectic & beautiful store! A Special Thanks to owners Tony & Wanda, and previous  owners Eldon & Anisa, for all of their positive energy & support for our artwork & fun finds. We've really enjoyed the opportunity to meet & work with this wonderful group of people! Best wishes & continued success to everyone at AOC!
WHR booth at AOC, May 2014

Vintage Sacred Heart Madonna with Blue Glass Bead Rosary & Vintage Prayer Book

Assembled Child's Dress Form with Vintage Doll Head and Santos Crown from Mexico,
Vintage Yellow Glass Bead Rosary from France. Watch & Key parts from my Sweet Grandpa's building.
Our final week is June 23rd-27th.
If you're in the area, stop in and look for many of our items on sale starting the first week of June!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Daughter Nature

Sophia's Creative Design project for April 2014, 
she titled Daughter Nature
 She enjoys this class this semester, the students have a lot of freedom
in choosing the medium and concepts for projects
 Many of these pieces she found in her Grandmother's studio,
others she found at our favorite thrift store
The ears and fur head piece she made from a fur collar she found at the thrift

The hair, also from the thrift, are long clip-in extensions
She cut bangs, added feathers and braided strands
Black feather eyelashes
And I now know what snake bite piercings are

She built the shoulders and thigh bowls in order to plant live plants
At 15, there's a confidence in her that I admire, a trust
 in being open to the creative process, a belief in herself and her vision, all reflecting in her work
 She's fun and inspiring and a Naturally Lovely Daughter