Putting Together a Wedding Giftie

We attended a wedding celebration this last weekend, the bride is one of my husband’s cousins.  I don’t know her very well, but she comes from a very kind, conservative, Christian family.  She and her new husband will be starting a brand-new home, and it appears from peeping at the registry they will be building it from the floor up.  Lots of basics are on the roster for this new couple.

The Finished Basket

The Finished Basket

The deal is this– we don’t have a lot of money budgeted each month for gifts, and that same weekend I would also be attending TWO baby showers for my husband’s pregnant sister.  Some of the sister’s baby’s gifts will be books passed on from our son’s collection– and my SIL is completely fine with this– but still I’m under the pressure to come up with some nice stuff to cover all of these bases.  (And this is just one weekend in July.)  Twenty bucks is what I’ve got to spend.  That amount buys a great gift for a 7 year-old’s birthday, but gifted as cash to newlyweds– it’s sort of embarrassing.  I have decided instead to take that twenty and parlay it into the most amazing gift basket that I can possibly imagine and afford.

I’d peeked at their registry.  (And purchased a few small items.)  Mainly I did this so that I could get an idea as to their taste and coordinate with what they’re getting.  Overall, their choices are rather vanilla.  Now, before you go and take offense at that word, I want you to remember that vanilla comes from a very exotic jungle orchid and has a beautiful, sweet, intoxicating scent.  There is nothing boring about any of that.  This is not an insult, people!   It’s just that I know I’m rocky road or rainbow sherbet or something, so in comparison their style seems rather conservative and non-fussy.  Classic.  Traditional.  (Like vanilla.)  I want to be respectful of that, so mostly I chose colors entirely from their selected palette.  There was a lot of brown and tan and brown.  And cream.  And tan.  And did I mention brown?  (Maybe I should have used “coffee” instead of “vanilla.”)  I may have jazzed it up a little in my combination of fabrics, but I tried to go with solids and patterns in delicate or small scales.  I planned to keep it pretty simple and non-fussy.

Fabric A-- Teensy Dot On Olive

Fabric A– Teensy Multi Dot On Olive

I went through my heaping crafty stash, and I found several fabrics I could pull out and use to make them a few things.  Everything I already had was either really basic or just a remnant, so I needed a fabric that sort of tied it all together (fabric A), and something a little more special and fun in the pattern department (fabric B).  I headed to JoAnn’s to see what I could find that would be just for them.  Obviously, JoAnn’s had a few options, so I purchased a quarter of a yard of the teensy dot (it is micro-tiny, ya’ll) and a full yard of the tan with swirls, both of them on sale and amounting to less than ten dollars together and with tax.

Fabric B-- Brown and Cream Swirl On Tan

Fabric B– Brown and Cream Swirl On Tan

I brought my fresh yardage home and pre-washed it, and set about to making them some functional fabric pieces for their dining room.  Now, I’m going to say right upfront that I am a BIG fan of cloth napkins.  I think they’re smart from an environmental standpoint, absolutely, but they are also sooo thrifty.  They save you so much money on paper napkins, paper towels doled out by the handful, all of that.  You don’t need to add them to the grocery list, and if you do laundry regularly and have more than a couple of meals worth, you never run out.  Plus they’re classy.  A baloney sandwich suddenly feels more swank when you’re dabbing your mouth with crisp yellow gingham.

If you plan on making some cloth napkins– and you should– I would suggest choosing a good cotton or poly-cotton, and I like a print for a napkin, if at all possible.  Both of these reasons have to do with staining and washability.  Yes, you can bleach white, but eventually they get yellowed and dingy-gross with everyday use.  As ya’ll know, food is prone to being stainy.  Even if they are clean they can have grease spots, lipstick, coffee blots, that one little place where you once ‘attractively displayed’ a blueberry muffin and made a purple mark.  Not that I would know or anything.  Some pattern gives your napkins longevity because they hide a multitude of sins.

The Placemats And Napkins

The Placemats And Napkins

For the newlywed couple, I made two sets of eight napkins, one set being in the ‘fabric B’ tan swirl shown above.  The other set is of a light cornflower blue, for I think of blue as being one of the easiest non-neutrals for color-timid people to try and use in their home.  I also used those same fabrics in all six of the coordinating place mats.  My place mats were simple squares, with a pocket along one side.  The pockets all share a strip of the deep dotty green, a strip of the browny swirls, as well as another strip of ‘highlight’ fabric.  I did six total mats, two of each in three coordinating fabrics from my stash.  The design of the mat is a simple one I developed on the spot for them, hoping it would give them a little bit of serving versatility.  (I’m actually thinking of doing some of these in the den’s colors for our house, I think they would be *great* for draping across laps while watching TV and eating on the couch– and you won’t lose your napkin!)  If there is interest, I can show them as a proper tutorial, but as of right now I have plenty to blog about, so I’ll wait for possible input.

Hanging Memo Board

Hanging Memo Board

I picked my stuff stash over to see what I had that could suit their taste.  (I have a ton of currently-unlisted etsy stock as well as other thrifty scores that I can troll through.  My own little tiny store!)  I had two of these square drink trays from the fifties, they aren’t very big but the green was a rather vivid chartreuse.  I chose the more damaged of the two trays, and then went over the entire surface with a piece of sandpaper, effectively ‘dimming’ the colors and giving it a more shabby chic feel.  I used a piece of vintage chocolate satin ribbon for its hanger (just with simple hot glue) and dressed-up magnets with brown vintage buttons, all parts of that were already in my crafty stash.

I also found in my little personal shop a couple of little accessories– this wooden picture frame is really fine wooden inlay, again with a little bit of color but nothing that should scare them off.  The card image/ insert (also shown on the board to the right) came from a friendly etsy transaction, and I like the simplicity of the image and how it echos some of the other motifs I’m using for their gift.  Since the card had been written on, I cut it into two parts, papered over the written sides, and used both parts.  The side with the image was gifted in the frame (but no hard feels if she decides to switch it out with a pic of her loves).  The other side was further decorated and used as the tag that I attached to the gift basket.  Two pieces that ‘bump up’ the elegance factor of the gift by simply recycling!  LOVE THAT!

Small Frame And Brown Vase

Small Frame And Brown Vase

I sort of also love the little cocoa vase, its shape is sweet, and I know that it will make an elegant simple arrangement with just a couple of blooms.  Part of my attachment may be that it looks a little bit like a Hershey’s kiss!  I hope she likes it as much as I do.

Lastly, I pulled a green vintage bushel basket that is large enough to hold a few towels or a stack of magazines well.  This basket might have been a little bright for them had it been new, but it has worn over the years to a more faded, natural green.  I think it complimented and held my choices nicely!

I decided to further get creative with my remaining thirteen or so bucks, so I went to that super-cheap superstore I hate (you know the one) because they are admittedly great at the buck-stretching.  I got the rolling pin (on their registry); a tiny set of salt and pepper shakers; two “clean laundry” scented candles in glass containers that are a pale blue color similar to cornflower fabric; a wall clock in a white wooden frame for four dollars; nice chocolates and a clearance pack of silvery wall decals in a silhouetted botanical.

The Clock With Decals

The Clock With Decals

I used the decals in several places.  Ya’ll this is just about one of the easiest things you can do, and it makes your stuff looks sooo much more expensive, coordinated, and it will be completely yours.  Or in this case, theirs.  You know what I mean!  All I did was windex the face of the clock to be sure its clean, figure out which decals I was going to use, trim them to size, and use my fingers and the edge of an old credit card to carefully apply.

Because the ones I chose were silhouettes on clear film, I could cover a larger area of the clock face because you can still see through it.  If you were to choose another type of decal, just use your discretion in sticker placement, you don’t want to render the clock completely unusable because you can’t see the numbers or hands.

I also used a large wall sticker on the glass candle holders.  Once again I windexed to remove all fingerprints and smudgees, selected a decal, and I caaaaarefully cut it in half.  I peeled 1/2 and placed the sliced line along the top edge of the candleholder, pressing the exact same way as with the clock with the edge of the credit card until all bubbles are gone.  Because of their size and the simplicity of the image, I was able to use one large sticker to decorate both of the inexpensive candles.  I just popped their clear protective caps back on for keeping them nice until they’re in their new home, and then wrapped them in white tissue like big pieces of elegant blue candy.

The Finished Clock

The Finished Clock

Bedecked Candles

Bedecked Candles

In fact, I wrapped a lot of it up in white tissue, just because its simple and cheap, but it looks pretty, no? I tucked in a couple of poufed pieces to prop up the message tray and clock and make it look a little more dressy.  The things that were left unwrapped got tagged or tied up with a piece of cream satin ribbon, like my stacks of napkins and the rolling pin.  Overall, I think the basket turned out great, on budget, and I couldn’t have been happier to have given it.  I think it looks a little more elegant and is a wee bit more sentimental than twenty bucks!

Judging from some blog posts I’ve read lately, there are some snarky newlyweds out there that would be totally grossed-out by our non-cash offerings, and I am so thankful that our family isn’t like that.  I truly feel that they appreciated any gift they were given at this occasion, they are those kind of people.  Its my hope that our basket of goodies didn’t feel hodge-podged but instead thoughtful, and maybe some of it will actually be liked enough to be used.  At the very least it should give them some basics for their new place, until they can fill in with things they like better.  I guess what I’m trying to say is, know your couple, and feel comfortable with them being okay with a gift like this, lest you open yourself up to viral public shaming.

**This text war is utterly ridiculous, but what I am basing those statements upon–  jezebel.com/the-most-amazing-wedding-text-message-fight-of-our-time-514528769

 

Basket Contents

Basket Contents

 


 

2 Responses to “Putting Together a Wedding Giftie”

  1. This is the best wedding gift basket ever! Pan blew bubbles at my wedding with all the kids, that was the second best wedding gift ever. Many happy returns to your cousin-in-laws. xo

  2. Just catching up on your blog and I love this! What a thoughtful gift. And I also love cloth napkins. Haven’t bought the boring white paper kind in a few years.


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