Sunday, October 16, 2011

Retirement Money Tree

My Uncle recently had a retirement party and I wanted to give him a fun, unique gift that didn't cost me a fortune. Here's what I made:

I was inspired by this money plant idea on Creativity Portal.

Here's what you'll need:
(I got all my items in a trip to the Dollar Tree, the dollars were bought off a nice server at a restaurant nearby.)

1 new clean toilet plunger
1 basket that will fit the toilet plunger
20 crisp dollar bills (give or take, you can change the denominations too)
2 bags of River rocks
rubber bands (not pictured)
decorations for the basket like embellishments, ribbon etc. (optional)
coins (optional)

Place the plunger in the basket.

Cover with 2 bags of river rocks

Then start folding the bills. Start with a dollar bill face down so that the green side is up.

Fold in half with the green side on the inside. Crease and unfold.

Turn the bill over and fold one corner to the center crease line.

Fold again to the center.

Repeat on all four corners.

Turn over and zig zag fold one side like shown. Crease.

You should now have this.

Repeat for all 20 bills. This can be a bit time consuming. You should now have 20 dollar bill leaves.

Wrap the plunger handle with five rubber bands evenly spaced. Wrap the band at the top of the handle and roll down to where you want it.

Slip the unfolded end of the dollar bill leaf into the rubber band as shown.

Place five leaves in the bottom 3 rubber bands each. Then three leaves in the next rubber band and two leaves in the top rubber band.

Stagger the second rung of leaves to be over the gaps in the previous level like in the photo.

The bills are small so I decided, with the help of my kitty there, to slide the leaves to the top to make a tree instead of a plant like in my inspiration.

I decorated the basket by hot gluing a strip of moss roll to the edge. I took a wide roll of wired ribbon and tied a pretty bow. I cut the bow ends into V's and attached it to the pole by looping a rubber band over one bow loop, then around the pole and over the other bow loop.

Then I hot glued on another scrap of moss roll and a sheriff badge (leftover from Charlie's badge's) to honor my Uncle's cowboy nature.


I included a card with a note along the lines of: "May this prosperity tree bring you wealth in your retirement. Feel free to pluck a leaf whenever you need it. When the leaves are all gone, you will find another useful surprise." Then I let him try to figure out what the surprise is. It took him a while to guess a the plunger was fairly disguised but it made for a good laugh when I pushed aside some of the rocks as a hint.

This would be a great gift idea for anytime you want to give the gift of money such as a milestone birthday (1 bill for every year old), a graduation or even a new home which especially appropriate when you use all the dollars on your new home you will have another useful home tool ; ) !

It was a fairly fast project. he bill folding took the most time. I thought it would be fun to make this with those giant dollar bills in the toy section of the dollar store or from costume and party stores.

Of course you can always by the e-book on Creativity Portal for another design. This one also comes with a cute printable for a seed packet to go along with the plant that you can put pennies in.

Harry Potter Halloween: Charlie's Badges

These badges are a part of Charlie's Dragon Researcher's Desk (to follow).

Supplies Needed:

Clear Packing Tape
Pack of toy badges
A sheet of cardstock
Clear tape

Total Cost: $1 and up

I bought these play badges at the Dollar Tree:

Then I found that Charlie Weasley, Ron's big brother who studies dragons in Romania, was, in his time, a Gryffindor Prefect, A Quidditch Seeker and later Captain of the Quidditch team. (He was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix.)

To represent these things on the table I decided to make these badges as if Charlie kept them with him as a memento of his Hogwarts days.

First print out these badges here on cardstock.

Then place a piece of clear packing tape over each image and cut them out. You will need to cut out the extra stuff on the Quidditch captain badge to get it to fit.

Match the images to the badges like the in the photos below.

Attach the images to the badges with a loop of clear tape or two and you're done!

In retrospect, I would have purchased the gold badges instead of the silver ones but I think they turned out nice anyways.


Inspiring Halloween Candy Buffets

Elengant! Love the draped fabric background!

Great display idea!

Awesome details and ways of making unique displays!

I like the floating pumpkins!

A simple buffet. Love the candy corn trees!

My all time favorite

Picture this with Halloween colors

Awesome Colors! Small Buffet Idea!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Printable Witch Politician Costume

Here's a simple way to put a fun spin on a traditional witch costume. I was inspired by this yard sign that can be bought at Party Cheap.

I knew I wanted to be a witch but wanted to do something unique so I went with a Witch Politician. Running or President no less!!

First, buy this yard sign and stick it in the yard. You can also carry it around if you prefer. Then you can print several of this same image out smaller for political postcard to hand out. I printed a few on 4x6 photo paper I got at the Dollar Tree for a bright, clean, semi gloss finish.

Then I printed out a few campaign buttons. Here's the three images I used. There's two ways to do this. If you have a Badge-a-minit button maker, then print them on paper and turn them into nice buttons. Or simply print them onto more photo paper and cut them out. I taped a small safety pin to the back of each and they looked great!

That's it! Too simple but really fun. I'm throwing a Harry Potter inspired Halloween party this year so I'm thinking of writing "I will no tell lies" on the back of one hand as a wink to the books. I think it's fitting for a political candidate ; ) (That's my little kitten in the photo trying to get my buttons.)

There is also "Wolfman for Sheriff" at Party Cheap and I think other sites have a few other designs. You could do a group thang. What a great idea for those Halloween pub crawls and such.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Zombie Dessert Buffet Ideas

Remember my previous post on a Simple Dollar Store Dessert Buffet? Here's how to use cheap finds to turn it into a Zombie Dessert Buffet! This is cute enough for all ages and gross enough for adults too!


This "Blood stained tablecloth is excellent (and cheap!)


For a simple background, stretch a few strips of this caution tape back and forth behind the dessert table.

TABLE WARE: I love these "I Love Zombies" table wares. There's cups, plates and napkins. Don't forget to order a few plastic cutlery in lime green or red.


*PUDDING CUPS- Simply open cups of pre-packaged chocolate or tapioca pudding. Pop in a plastic spoon, top with crushed Oreo style cookies and top with one of these zombie hands picks

*GELATIN- Using dollar store Jell-O and this awesome brain mold, make a giant brain Jell-O mold. Display on a few leaves of salad on a silver tray or similar. Make sure to leave cups, spoons and a knife nearby for serving.

*SUCKERS- These brain candy mold suckers can be really neatly displayed. One idea is to fill a lipped tray with floral foam. Cover foam in cling wrap. Neatly line up suckers by poking them in the foam. Cover exposed foam with loose candy like red hots. Another idea is a sucker tree. Grab a floral cone this time and cover with suckers. Then wrap from top to bottom in red ribbon, going between the sucker sticks and covering the exposed foam.

*LOOSE CANDY- Loose candy, popcorn or salty treats work well stuffed into these monster hands treat bags. Line them up, fingers up, in a tray of more crushed Oreos or line the tray with a scrap of astro turf for the zombie hands coming out of the ground look.

*CUPCAKES- you can make your own using dollar store cake mix and frosting, but to save time, just get some plain ones from the grocery store. frost lightly with red tinted frosting then pipe pink brain pattern on top with a pastry bag or a plastic baggie with one corner snipped. I love these skull cupcake holders!

*ICE- serve these brain ice cubes in an insulated ice bucket next to the soda or punch bowl. Make sure to leave out plenty of red or lime green straws and glasses.