Creative Birthday Card

Northwest Pearls: Birthday Card Map
Northwest Pearls: Birthday Card Map

I've seen greeting cards sold at REI before, but when I went to one REI location to buy one for a friend's birthday, they didn't have them. I'd been pretty set on these cards so I was disappointed when they weren't there. But a sales associate came up with the idea to use a map as a birthday card. It was the perfect idea and she came up with it on the spot.

The only problem was that I wasn't sure what maps he already had.

That problem almost made me give up but then I came across some thin flat paper maps and one covered a place we had gone snowshoeing. It's not the most useful map as I doubt he'll go back for a long time, and it covers such a small area, but it has sentimental meaning.

So I got it, folded it, and wrote "Happy Birthday!" along the front. That's all I fit on there, I didn't want to write more because of the map details, but I printed out a picture of him and his dog to write an actual birthday note on.

I loved how the map-card turned out, and in the future, I might even write a whole message on the map itself.

Do you have any creative card ideas?


2015+1 Graduation Gift 2016

Northwest Pearls: Graduation 2016 Gift My brother found this idea of giving a money graduation gift for the year 2015 where you used a 20 dollar bill, a 10, and a five. He modified it to make it for 2016 (2015+1) and put this together himself as a gift for our cousin.

He rolled/folded the bills and placed them into a jewelry box and then mailed them to our cousin.

What are some crafty graduation gifts you've seen?

Open When...

Northwest Pearls: Letters One of my closest friends left on a trip for six weeks and I knew I was going to miss him.

I wrote him a few letters for him to open when he's gone. One letter was to be opened soon after he left, another on his birthday which he'll be spending away from friends and family, another for if he's homesick, and the last one for when his time there is halfway over.

I also included some pictures of fun things we've done so if he gets homesick, he can look at those.

Do you have any ideas of things to give someone before they travel for a long period of time?

DIY Envelopes

While at Marshall's a few weeks ago I came across some pretty wrapping paper for Christmas. Because what I'm giving some people can fit in a card, I decided to make envelopes out of the new wrapping paper. So I searched for a tutorial on how to do it and was able to do it pretty easily. I just used the tutorial, scissors, a ruler, printer paper, and glue. (To make the envelope a little less floppy, I glued the printer paper to the back of the wrapping paper before cutting it all out. That way it had a weight similar to wallpaper.)

Below is my finished product!

Northwest Pearls: Christmas Envelopes

Northwest Pearls: Christmas Envelopes

Northwest Pearls: Christmas Envelopes

So now the envelopes coordinate with the rest of the gifts under the tree and I put a little extra love into the project.

Have you made any Christmas DIY's recently?

Simple Gift Wrap

Northwest Pearls: Simple Gift WrapA friend's birthday was this week and I wanted to wrap his present, not just put it in a bag, but when I was at the store I couldn't find anything that was appropriate for him. All the wrapping paper was for children or it was a little more feminine than I wanted for him. So I got some plain brown wrapping paper and wrapped his presents in that. The plan was to decorate the paper myself but when I couldn't find the markers I wanted I just wrote "Happy Birthday" in large, pretty font on the presents. The bright side about plain paper is that you can decorate it however; you can write "Happy Birthday" multiple times on it, you can draw dinosaurs, you can personalize it with a message, you can do almost anything with it. Northwest Pearls: Simple Gift Wrap

Wedding Guest Etiquette

Northwest Pearls: Wedding Guest Etiquette


As wedding season comes upon us, here's a few little etiquette rules that I try to follow:

RSVP. It's incredibly inconsiderate to not reply, even if you're not planning on going. If you know whether or not you're going to attend, then RSVP.

RSVP ASAP. The couple is probably stressing out about wedding stuff so waiting until the last minute to RSVP isn't very nice. Not everyone has an RSVP date on their invitations, but you should try to RSVP as soon as you can.

Buy a gift. This is a rule that I think may have gotten lost in translation for younger generations (or maybe it's just people that I know in the Northwest), but if you are invited, you should get the couple a gift.

Send the gift before the wedding.

Don't show up with an extra person or two if they haven't been invited. The couple has a head-count for the caterer and if they wanted you to bring the person you've been dating or your children, they would have specified and it would be okay. But if they haven't said "and guest" or listed your children's names, then you shouldn't bring them.

And here's a little tip:

When invited, since you're going to get them a gift, buy them something early. That way, if you're buying from the registry, you have many options to choose from.

You can check out more wedding etiquette from Emily Post.

Is there anything you'd add to the list?

Hostess Gifts

  I'm a big fan of giving gifts that you can enjoy until they're gone. Pie, cake, wine, macarons, flowers, etc. And not just for hostess gifts, but for birthday, Christmas, or just because.

When I stayed with some friends for a weekend, I brought them homemade French macarons and cookies as a gift. Who doesn't love sweets?

Hostess Gift

Here's a few ideas for hostess gifts.

Macarons: I made some here, and they could be made again to be used as a hostess gift. They were so good though, so you might not want to share.

Homemade Treats: Cookies, pie, you name it. You can bake it, or buy it, though I'd recommend buying it at smaller bakeries, they usually seem better from them.

Wine: This is fairly common, but it is easy to buy a bottle. Some grocery stores have staff that have actually gone to school to lean about wine and those people can be really helpful.

Flowers: Flowers don't seem as common as wine, but they are pretty. Bring a bouquet of flowers to your hostess. I'm sure she'll love them.

What do you think you'd give as a hostess gift?

Gift Ideas For Those Who Don't Want Much

Most of my favorite gift ideas involve something that won't be around forever. If you can eat it, then it's probably a great gift. I don't have a very large living space, so displaying gifts and knick-knacks around is hard for me. However, in my opinion, some of the best gifts don't need to be stored. 1. Food. I don't see how you could go wrong with food. There's chocolate, fruit, meals, etc. You could buy them coffee or dinner and spend time with them. You could give them their favorite chocolate. You could make them their favorite cake. There's lots of ways you could give food. Plus, who doesn't like eating?

Cooked Cookie Dough Bowls for ice cream

Chocolate Strawberries are a cool food gift too. I made a blog post about them here.

2. Stationery. I have a little problem with how much I like stationery.  I use it  a lot and always want more. But, unless you know the person, or can find something classic that most people would like, you might want to shy away from this so you don't give them something contrary to their tastes. However, when I'm using stationery, I try to use the cards that I think the recipient would most like, so having  a few different styles isn't a bad thing.

3. Books. I don't usually buy books for myself but I'm always looking for something to read. You don't want to buy them something they already own or have read, but if you can find something good that they don't have and you like, then getting a book can be great. You're getting a gift that someone else likes and you get to try it. Now, to be fair, books take up a bit of space. I don't have any room for them in my room, but e-books are great and I use my kindle for most reading.

4. Flowers. Most people don't buy flowers for themselves so receiving flowers from a friend can be pretty cool. They can sit on your table, nightstand, or counter top for you to look at. They're a very pretty gift and can be from a friend, or a significant other. I always love to receive flowers and I can always find room for them somewhere.

A large pink peony flower

Do you have any other gift ideas?