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I've intended to jump on the bandwagon for one of the Young House Love Pinterest Challenges since they started, but this time I finally did it. In fact, I did it twice. And...I'm gonna have to have another go.

The project I chose was animal bookends, made with plastic animals from the dollar store or similar. Several versions have popped up on Pinterest, including these, these, and these. First, I attempted the type mounted on wooden blocks, as instructed by kellyqc at Maddie Grace Interiors. The materials were simple:

The dinosaurs were from Dollar Tree ($1 each), the wooden blocks from Michael's (about $1.50 each, I think). The paint was leftover from another project and the adhesive was a couple of bucks at Big Lots.

The process was also simple--spray paint the dinos and the wood blocks, then glue A to B. And they turned out cute.

Unfortunately, they also turned out too lightweight to actually hold books. About a half second after this photo was taken, the books fell over. Oops. Back to the drawing board.

The next set, using acrylic photo frames, as described by Jessica at Mad in Crafts, had even more cheap and simple materials:

Again, leftover spray paint, and the same adhesive as above. The two photo frames were about $.50 each at the thrift store and the slightly larger dinosaur was from the $1 bins at Target. The hardest part was figuring out how to cut the plastic dino cut in half (in the end, I used a bread knife). Same process as before--I spray painted both pieces, then secured each half dino to a frame.

Again, turned out cute. And again, totally useless as bookends.

So now I plan to make a third try, using the directions Cassie gives at Hi, Sugarplum! I haven't decided yet whether I will buy some sort of stones at the hardware store or try to use a more natural set I gathered on a walk. At the very least, those should hold books up! I'll keep you informed. In the meantime, I'm glad to have attempted a Pinterest project! It's inspiring me to do a few more.

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I love the elephant ones so much.

Aw, it's a shame they didn't work out, but good for you for trying! I need to do something in my son's room with the trillions of dinosaurs he has lying around.

Why not try the metal bookends and paint and attach things to them? Same idea as the plastic frames, but those metal ones will hold up books. I like to glue felt on the bottom so I don't scratch up my bookshelves. Cute ideas.

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Dollar Store Craft: Pink & Shiny Valentine's Jars

As promised, my contribution to the dollar store craft repository!

It occurred to me, as I looked through around ten thousand Pinterest pins, that two of the things that make inexpensive materials and simple procedures look nice as gifts are 1) putting it in a jar (seriously, everything is better in a glass jar) and 2) color conformity. With those two things in mind, I conceived a craft project for my kid to send to some of the ladies in his life (the grandma ladies, that is) for Valentine's Day. I envisioned a jar full of small, pink, useful items. And when you're looking for small and inexpensive, where better to start than the dollar store?

I came home with this bounty:

Lots of pink stuff, right? Everything except for the Lindt truffles, which were from Target, came from the dollar store. I ended up supplementing with just a few things from the dollar bins at Target and stuff I had on hand, too, but this could easily be done with just dollar store finds. A few things I included were: fuzzy socks, shower sponges, multipurpose cleaning cloths, paracord bracelets (my favorite addition), hand sanitizer, pedicure kits, and candy. You could literally use anything, though, and it doesn't have to be pink--I think the important part is that it's all the same color, rather than which color you choose.

After I had my contents ready, I worked out what I wanted for vessels. Cheap and simple were the name of the game, so I used all supplies I had on hand:

Then it was pretty much a matter of adding A and B together! I covered each jar's lid with a circle of scrapbook paper, then glued ribbon around the rim (Washi tape would have been easier, probably, but I didn't have that on hand). I made some heart-shaped tags using the paper and some small pictures of Buzzy I had leftover from Christmas presents. And I stuffed each jar as full as possible with pink things!

Cute, right? I was happy with how these turned out. Hopefully the recipients will be thrilled as well!

Done any dollar store crafting lately? Any special Valentine's? Leave a comment! Leave a link!
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Dollar Store Craft Love-In


Back before Christmas, I made a post about finding cool stocking stuffers at dollar stores (in my case, Dollar Tree). My "research" for that post (i.e. walking around the Dollar Tree near my house) reinvigorated a long-dormant love for the humble dollar store. So I did what anybody would do--I started a Pinterest board for all of the cool dollar store finds/ideas I could collect from around the web. Turns out, I'm not the only one with a bit of a dollar store crush. People all over the web have great ideas for crafts, organization projects, and gifts from dollar stores. There are whole blogs dedicated to it--Dollar Store Crafts, Dollar Store Mom, etc. And yeah, some of the ideas leave me wondering why you'd bother, even with dollar store materials, but others are a little bit genius, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite uses for:

1. Plastic animals

hi sugarplum bookends.jpg

Image via Hi Sugarplum!

Several bloggers made bookends from dollar store plastic animals and acrylic photo frames. Mad in Crafts has instructions, as does the Kansas City Public Library blog. Hi Sugarplum! suggests another version, replacing the frames with stones, and I absolutely adore the red elephant ones she made (shown above). I also really liked the more subdued matte white version on a wooden base at Maddie Grace Interiors.

Curbly editor Chris turns plastic animals into glimmering Christmas ornaments using glitter spray paint. Other Pinterest users point out things that might not be made from dollar store items, but could be emulated with them, including the animals mounted on wooden plaques and used as necklace hangers on Twinkie Chan and the amazing dinosaur topped novelty jars featured on Uncovet.

2. Glassware

Image via Nest of Posies.

Dollar store glassware was probably the most popular item used by blog crafters--there are tons of ideas out there! One Fabulous Mama suggests beautifying clear glass vases, while keeping shiny, by painting them on the inside. Similarly, Nest of Posies makes cool dipped votive holders with simple glass dollar store glasses and paint (shown above). Featured on Dollar Store Crafts, Barb from Craftsty uses glass bowls, and candlesticks to create a display stand. Vintage Gwen combines a dollar store vase and candlestick with small wooden disc and a finial dowel cap to make a cute mini dessert stand. Laura at The Steen Style makes a DIY version of an expensive piece, using glass dollar store vases, bowls, and candlesticks to create stylish apothecary jars. Finally, The Devil's Punchbowl explains how to use simple dollar store glasses to create gorgeous mini terrariums.

3. Ceramics

Image via Craftberry Bush.

Almost as popular as the glassware are the dollar stores ceramics. The baked Sharpie marker mugs suggested at A Beautiful Mess are probably the most popular dollar store craft on Pinterest right now. Lucy at Craftberry Bush turns three ceramic bowls and two glasses vases into an amazing tiered succulent planter (shown above). A Lotta Magazine, they use stainless steel bowls and table legs to create a posh and cheap craft organizer (but ceramic bowls would likely also work).

4. Other cookware

Image via Chickabug Blog.

The rest of the cookware section is not forgotten! On the Chickabug Blog, a dollar store tart pan and candlestick emulate a chic white cake stand (seen above). Carlee at Ladybird Lane has the ingenious idea of turning dollar store pizza pans into magnetic car games for kids. Thermoweb's Melissa does something similar, turning a cookie sheet into a child's magnetic chore chart. In another magnetic craft, Shannon at Madigan Made turns burner covers into magnetic memo boards. At the aptly named Crap I've Made blog, Char makes kitschy cool kitchen art from dollar store frames and silverware. So You Think You're Crafty features a dollar store kitchen towel and a mesh laundry bag turned into a farmer's market tote with produce bags. Nest of Posies tears it up in this category, too, making adorable mini chalkboards from dollar store chargers.

Sometimes, crafting as as easy as seeing how things could be packaged together. Dollar Store Mom Breanna has the great idea of wrapping up a bunch of small scale dollar store utensils (spatula, wooden spoon, strainer, basting brush, etc.) to gift to a cooking-obsessed kid. 

5. Everything else

Image via Dollar Store Crafts.

The creativity found all over the Internet astounds me sometimes. The Dollar Diva turns cheap ceramic figurines, small flower pots, and candle holders into finials. Meg & Andy package dollar store clamps, a flash light, glow sticks, clothespins, and suction cups with revamped twin sheets and cheap rope to create a "Super Hero Fort Kit." Dollar Store Crafts features a Waldorf-style doll made by Carrie of Sew Very Carrie, using all dollar store materials (shown above).

The question, then, is how do-able are these crafts by someone who is...not that crafty? Do the awesome craft bloggers just make it look easy, or are these things a mere mortal could manage? Over the next few weeks, I think I'm going to try a couple of these ideas and report back. I'll also be adding a dollar store craft idea of my own to the mix, for Valentine's Day. Stay tuned, things are gonna get crafty!

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Limited Time Only: Tiny Shiny Things Jars!


Tiny Shiny Things JarsOK, does everybody remember my Tiny Shiny Things jars? I made quite a few of them a year or two ago, sold a couple, gave more away, and then stopped.

Well, I'm ready to make some more. About 1/2 dozen more. I have supplies already, it's just a matter of putting them together. And I want to use them for a benefit or fundraiser of some sort.

So, here's the deal: if you want one, make a donation to your favorite charity. Size of donation and charity is up to you--whatever you think is fair. Then drop me a note and let me know, and I'll send you a jar. Just let me know if it's for a kid (and approx age) or an adult.

First come, first serve.


I am so in. It's for me and I am a 30 yr old kid. I'll probably give the money to already give (and get paid back) by the people ON, but kiva itself needs money to continue letting people lend. I think the whole microlending thing is a really great way to get people into charity because it's not really giving--it's loaning. I think after people experience that they're so much more pro-lending. I

oooh yes please!!! I am a woman and an adult, whose a child at heart and loves lovely things!

Sure! Email me your address.

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March Little Black Box


March Black BoxAs I mentioned I was going to last month, I got March's Little Black Box. And I'm much more impressed with it than I was with February's offering.

It includes:

Like I said, much better than last time. I can't wait to try some of this stuff. And I'm likely intrigued enough to get April's box if I have the cash when it comes out. So stay tuned!


Was just thinking, do you search online to see if anyone else posts the contents before you order? The box is a neat idea!

Is anything you get the sort of thing that could be used as small gifts?

I was thinking that for the cost, if you could get 3-4 small gifts for friends it could be worth it.

I bought one of these this month and was so let down. I love the idea, but the execution left me cold. The earrings and jewelry stuff was so crappy I wouldn't even give it away. I'll probably end up tossing it out.

I love bath products, but was underimpressed with the smell and quality of the items in the bag. I have high hopes for the soap, which I haven't tried yet.

And, Mugsy wouldn't touch the dog treats. Pixel helped him out though.

Neither of my candles came with a wick.

Bah. I'm grumpy about this bag idea. It could be great.

I bought it on your sort-of recommendation and am pleased with March's offering. I will be gifting the cat/dog items to a friend and probably some earrings, too.

I was having an incredibly shitty day yesterday, so when it arrived I was especially pleased for the bright spot in the day.

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Little Black Box

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Have you ever heard of The Little Black Box? Basically, it's an independent company that gathers up samples from lots of indie businesses and puts them together in monthly "black boxes." The boxes are geared and teen girls and women and contain lots of beauty/bath type samples, jewelry, etc. They are different every month, depending on which indie businesses decide to contribute, and not all of the boxes are the same every month, depending on how many of each thing there are, though all of the boxes do have the same general value/number of items. There are a limited number of boxes for sale each month. The boxes cost $23 including priority mail shipping.

I heard about the program a year or so ago and desperately wanted to order one, but didn't have any extra cash at the time and forgot all about it. Then, recently, someone on a message board reminded me about them and I looked them back up. Since there were still February boxes left, I ordered one, and it arrived yesterday.

Little Black Box BagThe Little Black Box is actually a little black bag, pictured at left. I don't know why that disappointed me, but it did. However, packaging doesn't really matter all that much--I was more interested in what was inside!

LBB contentsThe following was included in my February Little Black Box:

  1. From Artists Helping Animals: a sticker, a promotional magnet, and a small plastic owl magnet

  2. From No Duplicates: two (screenprinted, I think?) Christmas gift tags

  3. From babai alainn: a small knitted beanie (doll sized)

  4. From Vegan Etsy: a BOGO coupon for dog treat recipes

  5. From Kreations by Kathie: four small heart-shaped cinammon scented mini scent tarts and a 15% off coupon

  6. From Gems by Jerri: a pair of beaded earrings and a 15% off coupon

  7. From fluffnflowers: four emerald okra seeds

  8. From The Crocheted Baby: a crocheted mini face scrubber (like this) and a BOGO coupon

  9. From a shop whose name I could not read: a small beaded string--maybe intended to be a keychain?

  10. From Bloomhill Baby: a small embroidered guardian angel and a 15% off coupon

  11. From girls just wanna have fun: a crocheted face scrubbie and a 15% off coupon

  12. From Photobeads: a large colorful bead and a small promotional calendar

  13. From Augavino: a photo card and a 20% off coupon

  14. From Hippy Dippy Designs: a pair of beaded earrings

  15. From McGuinness Photography: a photo card and a 15% off coupon

  16. From Cottonwood Herbals: a 4 oz bar of "Clothesline Fresh" scented soap

  17. From Soap that Makes Scents: a lavender scented soap petal

  18. From Cheri's Organics: a small bar of green tea jasmine soap

  19. From Skin Candy: a 20% off coupon, 2 oz rice krispie treats lotion, lavender vanilla shower gel sample, coconut pear body butter sample, and watermelon taffy whipped cream soap sample

  20. From Simply Sentimental: a 10% off coupon

  21. From Lincoln Christie: a glass tile necklace

  22. A PETA sticker featuring a pig barking like a dog

  23. A Little Black Box button

All in all, I was neither blown away nor disappointed. There was nothing in the box I would have chosen for myself, but most of it seems pretty usable and reasonable to pay for. I found the companies that contributed coupons but no merchandise irritating--I shouldn't have to pay for your coupons. I thought the Skin Candy company was generous, as was Lincoln Christie. I would have liked more bath stuff and less jewelry, but I understand that's the luck of the draw. And I still love the concept.

So, I think I will try March's box and see what it holds. The website says it will be on sale March 27. And in the meantime, I'm considering contributing to the boxes once I get Crushworthy back up and running. Little tins of sugar scrub would be perfect, I think...


Very interesting...I also love the concept but think that the all the companies should contribute a sample of their product.

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Tiny Shiny Things


Tiny Shiny Things JarsRemember when I found the Jar of Whimsies at the Bins and was all excited about making my own? Well, I've finally started doing it. And it's just as much fun as I'd thought it would be.

First, I spent a couple of weeks gathering up stuff at the Bins. Each trip, I'd grab a Ziploc bag (there are always some around there) and start shoving all the tiny, shiny things I find into it. Like what? Small toys, especially old or interesting ones; tiny paper goods; bouncy balls; doll clothes and furniture; game pieces; rubber duckies; bells; marbles; dice--whatever strikes my fancy that is small enough to fit in a jar.

Next, I separated all my stuff into bags. I thought about doing it by color, so insure having a good color mix in the jars, but decided to do it by type instead. So I have one bag of marbles and bells, one of bouncy balls, a couple different ones of toys, one of small pine cones, one of vintage pieces, one of beads...etc.

Now I needed jars. As luck would have it, I have a vast collection of thrifted jars (aren't you shocked?). Most of them, however, are canning style jars that I have writing or ornamentation on them. For this, something plainer is better, so I choose some plain Ikea jars (these) that came from the GW a bit ago.

Then I put the pieces together. I did it without a plan. I just picked a few things from each bag, tossed them in, then took a look at the jar. Then I added, subtracted, moved things around, and shook the jar until I was satisfied.

This is my kind of craft--more time spent thrifting, less time spent with glue or a sewing machine. And the result is so great. It's this joyful little package. And, the best part? 100% recycled. There is nothing new in any of the jars I've made, and I don't see any reason why there would need to be anything new in any I'll make in the future. I can't feel a bit bad about that!


The baby in the jar is freaking me out! Eets looking at me! Aie!

I love these! They are so colorful and fun to look at. Great idea, Grace.

ooh, I want.

I one of those kids that never grew up who is constantly stuffing her pockets with shells and shiny rocks and fish bones and stuff. It drives DW crazy. Maybe if I put it all in a pretty jar...hmmm....

I love the sock monkey! I may adapt this idea with my six year old. She has so many little trinkets kicking around her room, it would be fun to try your idea. Thanks!

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