Shopping category product ideabooks

Houzz recently asked me to create monthly ideabooks of products that I love. Houzz is one of my favorite inspirational websites, and I relish window shopping, so I gladly agreed. My first ideabook is Cache & Carry: Portable and classy storage containers. I think you’ll find that my ideabooks will be more practical and affordable than most. That’s just how I roll. That doesn’t mean I won’t include favorite splurges here and there.

You can find a slideshow of my newest ideabooks in the sidebar to the right. Happy browsing! UPDATE 08/29/11:  I will be posting new ideabooks on Houzz every other month instead of monthly because of other demands on my time. Read more »

Stocking stuffers for kidsPhoto by rickszczechowski/

These stocking stuffers aren’t handmade, so they didn’t make the cut for my list of 137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, but no Christmas gift list would be complete without stocking stuffer ideas. Besides, I’m a sucker for classic toys and practical gifts. Parents sometimes fall back on candy and the latest cheap plastic junk (that kids discard as fast as they eat the candy). Instead, give your kids stocking stuffers that are useful and engaging. The best part? None of these require batteries!

Stocking stuffers for kids

  1. Woodstock Bluesband harmonica

    harmonica |

    Woodstock Blues Band Harmonica

  2. bag of marbles
  3. polished rocks
  4. sea shells
  5. foreign coins
  6. magnifying glass
  7. rubber bouncy ball
  8. magnets
    Rare-earth magnets
  9. stamp and stamp pad
  10. four-color pen
  11. drawing pad and pencils
  12. box of crayons or colored pencils
  13. toothbrush
  14. deck of card games (Uno, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, or Go-Fish)
  15. bubbles Read more »

Christmas presents hot cocoa cookie treePhoto by pinkcandy/

Personally selected gift sets are a great way to give a meaningful present without spending hours crafting. And they’re especially handy when the container is part of the gift. You’ll probably find ample baskets to choose from at your local thrift store. But even though the traditional gift basket is a solid choice, who says it has to be a basket? I’ve pictured many different containers to choose from, but don’t let me limit you. You can pack a gift set in anything—rubber rain boots, baseball helmet, paint can, etc. Click here for Part 4. On Monday: For children.

Part 5: Themed gift sets

Anthropologie Monogrammed Mugs

77. Fill a pretty mug, bowl, or dish with a friend’s favorite chocolates or other treats. Wrap in cellophane and tie with holiday ribbon.
Anthropologie monogrammed mugs

78. Fill a basket with bath items—soaps, oils, bubbles, lotions, natural sponge, hand towels, loofah, etc.
Crate and Barrel baskets

79. Create a winter car-safety kit. Fill a plastic crate with a first-aid kit, bottle of water, blanket, pocket knife, flashlight, canned food & can opener, socks, gloves & hat (try a thrift store), jumper cables, ice scraper to keep windows clear, and flares.
Hand-crank LED flashlight, cell phone charger, radio & alarm

Red clear tote bag

80. For someone who is on their feet a lot, gather foot salts, pumice or clay stone, peppermint foot lotion, sleep socks, pedicure toe separators, and a pair of spa slippers. Pack it all in an inexpensive tote bag.
Clear zippered tote bag

81. Give a hardy holiday breakfast. Place a package of specialty pancake mix (or make your own mix), fine maple syrup, and berry preserves in a mixing bowl.
Buttermilk pancake mix recipe

82. Someone taking a trip soon? Make his/her holiday gift a travel kit. Fill a zippered case with travel-size products you know he/she will need (toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, etc.). Clear travel cosmetic bag

Read more »

This post is the second of three in my Victoria magazine series.

As promised (though delivered a little late), here is my wish list inspired by Victoria magazine. Vintage bicycles, feminine hats, and luxurious toiletries were mainstays of Victoria. You could always find classic luggage and fashion too. The magazine also hosted artists- and authors-in-residence. I’ve included two books from my favorites (Madeleine L’Engle and Maryjo Koch). Jaunty umbrellas, bright bistro chairs, and dress forms are also typical Victoria. I think Penhaligon’s Bluebell Soap is the most beautiful soap in the world. Have any of you tried it? And who doesn’t love Tiffany’s heart locket paired with their beaded chain? Happy shopping!

Victoria wish list

Clockwise from top left: Linus bicycles, The Nest: An Artist’s Sketchbook, The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle, Peter Beaton hats, The Conran Shop bistro metal folding chairs, Hunter original rain boots, Urban Outfitters linen dress forms, SteamLine luggage, Penhaligon’s Bluebell Soap, Pare umbrellas, Tiffany Hearts Locket and beaded chain.