15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas

I don’t know about you, but I love wrapping gifts. Maybe it’s my creative side. I enjoy making the packages look pretty under the tree. Here are a few DIY gift wrap ideas to make your wrapping this year a breeze. 

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

This might be the easiest idea in this article! Grab a paper sack, a few stamps, and fresh eucalyptus and you’ll be all set. (Most grocery stores carry fresh eucalyptus in their floral departments.) The Beauty Dojo shares how to make these simple gift bags, perfect for oddly shaped presents.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

A few years ago, I was attempting to be as thrifty as possible over Christmas. I created these cute reusable bags as a way to wrap gifts! You won’t want to miss this super easy  over on Designers Sweet Spot. Bonus: you can use these bags again next year!

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

If you have kids that want to get involved in the wrapping, this could be a fun project! My Sweet Things decided on a Christmas tree design, but the possibilities for this are really endless.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Boxwood Avenue shares an excellent tutorial on how to make this cute Christmas light strand to dress up your packages.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

This is another great use for Washi tape. I love this idea from Almost Makes Perfect because it doesn’t require you to purchase anything specifically for your Christmas wrapping, but still looks festive!

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Check out this DIY over on 2 Bees in a Pod to see how thrifted shirts are used to create gift wrap.

 

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Here’s another thrift store DIY. Sadie Seasongoods used what others might consider trash (and some consider treasure) to wrap her gifts. Why haven’t I thought of this idea before?

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

If you’re really wanting to try something new this year, why not tie dye your gift wrap? Babble Dabble Do shares a very detailed tutorial on how to achieve the perfect tie dye look each time.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love old photos. Here’s a cute way to use them in your wrapping! The presents under Julie Blanner’s tree are beautiful, you won’t want to miss them.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

If you’re wanting to save money by using craft paper but still looking for some excitement, look no further! This is such an easy DIY and will cost less than the Starbucks you drank this morning. Shaken Together Life shares all the details over on her blog.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Chelsea Project shares some fun updates to the classic “brown paper packages tied up with string”.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

We love these fun gift bags from  Mod Podge Rocks. They remind me of Christmas lights on a dark December night. Sometimes the most festive things aren’t the typical Christmas red and green.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

The Graphics Fairy shares some great ideas on how to create your own unique wrapping paper this year!15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Here is another project that the kids could help you with! Southern State of Mind uses pom-poms to create this fun, festive paper.

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

These pretty gift tags from Today’s Creative Life add so much to a simple package! Less is more sometimes.

 

After so much inspiration, I’m ready to head to the store to get supplies to wrap my own gifts! Now the tricky part will be deciding on which idea to use. 

 

Needing some more festive ideas? Check out these other Christmasy posts:

Beautiful Christmas Tablescapes

12 Easy DIY Christmas Stockings

Festive Cocktails for Holiday Parties

DIY Decorative Holiday Pillow Roundup

Spiced Hot Apple Cider

 

Remember to pin this post for later! 

15 Christmas DIY Gift Wrap Ideas|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

5 Easy Ways to Save Big Money on Your Water Bill

Saving money on water also helps conserve our natural resources. Here are 5 easy things you can do to reduce your water cost and consumption! This is a sponsored post. Any opinions given are completely my own.

5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

5 Easy Ways to Save $$$

Our water bill used to be out of hand. We had 4 little boys who were dirty, messy and regularly needed their nightly baths. But as our kids grew, so did our water bill. It seemed the bigger they got, the longer they spent in the bathroom taking showers and bathing. Things got so bad, we had to make some new rules in order to keep our bills in check. Here’s the solutions that we have adopted over the years.

5 Easy Ways to Save Money on your Water Bill|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Top 5 $$$ Savers

  1. Install a water conserving shower head. This shower head from Waterpik uses only 2 gallons of water per shower. Even though we live in an area that has plenty of fresh water, this shower head greatly reduces our need to use more. The best part? Just unscrew the old shower head and screw on the new one. Installation is that easy! The waterfall design is lovely, and it even has massaging Power Pulse jet spray options. We don’t notice any reduction in water flow and the kids are none the wiser.  We plan to put one in each bathroom!

I love this video, it explains everything you need to know about this amazing shower head.

2. Teach your family members to take “SAILOR” showers. My father was in the Navy. During his time in the service the sailors took “sailor” showers. That is they only used enough water to get wet and rinse. He taught us to use the smallest amount of water possible in the shower. Turn on the water, get completely wet. Turn off the water and lather up with shampoo and soap. Then turn on the water again when you are ready to rinse. There is really no need to run the water the entire time. You can save a huge amount of water by using this technique.

Quick Showers take Discipline

3. Set a timer for 5 minutes each time you go into the shower. We are busy people. We don’t have time to lallygag in the shower every single morning. Our kids grew up with us knocking on the door when their 5 minutes in the shower were up. We strictly enforced this family rule. It just wasn’t allowed. We had one bathroom and everyone only got 5 minutes to get in  and out. It’s amazing how fast you can shower when you know you are on a time clock.

5 Ways to Save on Your Water Bill|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

4. Have the slowest person use the shower last. Our family has high standards for obedience. If you are in and  out of the shower on time, you get to use it first the next day. Using the shower first guarantee you have plenty of hot water. If you are too slow, you are moved to the last place in the family lineup. After 5 other people have had showers before you, there isn’t any hot water to be had. Thus the boys learn very quickly to shower within the required 5 minute time frame or risk getting a freezing cold shower the next day (which makes them get in and out even faster, LOL!).

The Showering Truth

5. Restrict the number of daily showers and baths. This may be tough for some folks. Perhaps you will disagree. But, let’s be honest.  Most people do not need to shower every single day. Every other day or every 2-3 days will do in most cases. Our sons who are mechanics need daily showers. Our son who is a writer, not so much. The number one rule is to always be clean for Sunday (my rule!). Other than that, you can pinch a bit here and there. Better yet, if you regularly go to the gym to work out, take your showers there!

5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

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Being on a tight budget requires some creativity! Using a different shower head is an easy way to start this journey! The Waterpik shower head is a great way to start and won’t break the budget.  If you aren’t sure how to install your shower head properly, click on this link for a complete tutorial:  Thanks to Waterpik for sponsoring this post!

If you enjoyed this post, try some of these other money saving ideas:

How to Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

DIY Cleaning Products: The Steam Cleaner

DIY Cleaning Products: Drain Cleaner

Stenciled Storage Jars

10 Steps to a Fixer Upper Style Bathroom, Budget Friendly

Big Family Bathroom Renovation on a Tiny Budget

This bathroom renovation project has been on the back burner for a while, but it’s time to get started on it. It’s been a long time since we tackled a big project like this, anything can happen!

Big Family Bathroom Renovation on a Tiny Budget|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Big Renovation, Tiny Budget

We have a leaky bath. This bathroom is on our second floor and is shared between the 4 upstairs bedrooms. When we bought this old house two years ago, we knew this would eventually be on our renovation plan. We had a vision to expand it, make a walk in shower and add a double vanity someday.

That day has come! Shortly after we moved in, we discovered the previous owners had cleverly concealed cracks in the shower surround by filling them with caulk. Over time, the caulk has peeled away leaving leaky cracks in it’s place. ARRRGHHH!

It is unfortunate that the inspector never found the cracks, we would have made sure it was fixed before we bought the house. However, it is too late for that now. We are sure the shower is leaking into the wall behind it, just not sure how bad the damage will be when we open it up.

Big Family Bath Renovation on a Tiny Budget|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

To make matters worse, we have had a lot of problems with clogged drains lately. The plumbing is old, is not vented and needs to be replaced. How do you do all this on a tiny budget??

Bathroom Renovation Master Plan

We are not strangers to renovations. We have renovated houses for years and have a lot of experience with how things can go wrong once you get started on a big project. This is why we have chosen to carefully think through all the options before starting.

We have drawn several different design plans. The plans range from easy to difficult. We aren’t really sure which one we will choose until we open up that back wall behind the shower and see how much water damage there is. The shower surround will be the first to come out then we can decide on a course of action.

Plan A:

If the damage is minimal and the studs are not rotten, we can put up tile backer board and install subway tile and a few decorative tiles around the existing tub. A bit of grout and all will be well! This renovation will cost about $250.00 if we do all the work. The rest of the room would remain untouched. We already have the tile, here’s a peek:

Big Family Bathroom Renovation on a Tiny Budget|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Beautiful 4″ square Mexican tiles.

We bought a case of this beautiful Mexican tile a few months ago, anticipating this project! Can’t wait to see it in the new bath!

Big Family Bathroom Renovation on a Tiny Budget|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
The itty-bitty toilet and pedestal sink make for a lousy bathroom.

Plan B:

This plan is worse case scenario. If the studs and floor behind the shower surround are rotten, we will need to remove the entire tub. Then replace the 2 x 4 framing, sub floor, and add tile backer board. We are able to do this work ourselves. If this is the case, and we have to do that, we will also replace the old plumbing and add needed venting to bring the plumbing up to code (probably will have to hire a plumber for this). When we started thinking about our plans, we decided we could even expand the entire bath since we have to take out a wall out anyway. Here’s our thought process:

By moving the shower back 4 feet into our master bedroom (which is behind the shower wall), we can get an extra large walk in shower in this bath. We can also move the sink to accommodate  a double vanity and move the toilet over to get a full size toilet fixture.

Big Family Bathroom Renovation on a Tiny Budget|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Temporary storage shelves above the toilet.

As you can see in this photo, there is zero storage in this room. I used to love pedestal sinks, but the complete lack of storage just isn’t worth it. When we moved in, my husband built these shelves above the toilet for storage. However, when he went to put them up, we discovered that the studs in the wall are almost 30″ apart. What??? There should be studs every 16 inches. Some do it yourself-er cut a lot of corners when they installed this bath! We can’t hang much of anything on the wall because there are no studs to anchor anything. Not good!

The toilet in this room is also a problem since it is a mini-sized one. I call it the child size toilet. What were they thinking when they installed that?? No one wants a mini sized toilet!

City code requires a minimum of 18″ clearance from the center of the toilet to the wall or any other fixture (according to the BHG blog, you can read more here) As you can see, we have about 8″ of space between the toilet and the wall, clearly a code violation.

The itty-bitty potty has to go away for good!

Renovation Expenses Estimate

Plan B expenses will run considerably more, even with us doing a majority of the work.  Here’s a quick estimate:

Tile, grout and backer board supplies about $350.00 (We already have the tile, same as plan A)

Estimate to move shower plumbing back 4 feet, move toilet and add additional sink hookup $3000.00 (I am guessing here, it could be considerably more. We will have to hire a professional plumber for this work.)

New sink and shower faucets $500.00

Double vanity $500.00 (we may be able to save some money here)

Double Sinks $500.00

New full size toilet $300.00

Flooring $200.00

Lighting $200.00

Electrical work $300.00

Big Family Tiny Budget Bath Renovation|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
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Summing it Up

We can install the vanity and sinks ourselves, but the plumber would have to install the shower base and toilet to guarantee no leaks. Wowzers, we are looking at a $5000-$6000 renovation. This is a lot of money, however it would be so much more if we hired all the work done, we will do as much as we can ourselves. One of the estimates we got for the entire project was $30,000. No way! Ideally we would like to get the entire job done for about $4000. We will see how that goes!

The good news is that this renovation will add a lot of value to our home for resale, but we may have to compromise in some areas to get the job done within our budget.

Lets hope we can stick with plan A! We will be gutting this room very soon and I will keep you posted on our progress!

If you need more bathroom ideas, check out these posts:

10 Beautiful Farmhouse Bathrooms

Bathroom Update on a Budget

Beautiful Bathroom Tile Roundup

10 Steps to a Fixer Upper Style Bathroom, Budget Friendly

Top 20 Bathroom Transformations

Five Dollar Bathroom Update

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Sew Along Masterclass Poll, Help Find the Dream!

Planning this Sew Along Masterclass for next year. Now is your chance to give me your opinion on what you want to learn and  help me find the dream!

Sew Along Masterclass Poll|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Coming in 2018, the Sew Along Masterclass!

2018 Sew Along Masterclass

I have been working behind the scenes for several months planning my blog content for the next year. It’s been a whirlwind battle, one that I have finally won and mastered.

It hasn’t been an easy journey.

At first I wasn’t even sure I would be blogging next year. Growth on the blog has been slow and I am frustrated with the way things have been going the last couple of years. The millions of followers that I expected to have when I began blogging 8 years ago just aren’t there despite the considerable time and effort that I put into this business.

I even started looking for full time apparel design jobs, which I haven’t done since 1994.

There were even full time job interviews. Several of them. However, in the long run I decided that I just can’t go back to working for a large corporation just yet.

Finishing the Blogging Dream

It’s hard to give up on a dream. This blogging dream isn’t finished yet. When I started this blog so long ago I always had the thought that I would go back to my fashion design roots at some point and become a fashion blogger. At the time I began writing in 2009, it seemed like growing my following through home decor would be the hard part, and becoming a fashion blogger at some point in the future would be an easier thing to do once I was established. Fashion is something I understand.

Now is the time to see where this dream goes, this blog journey is beginning anew. As a lifestyle branded blog, Designers Sweet Spot has the potential to not only be a home decor brand, but also fashion brand as well. A few months ago, I launched a new pattern shop called Chambray Blues.com. This domain is where you can purchase my original sewing patterns, sewing supplies, fabric and video sewing tutorials (coming soon!). See the Link in side bar and in header of this page or click on the link below:

VISIT MY SHOP CHAMBRAY BLUES.COM

Sew Along Master Class Insights

My sewing posts are some of my most read content. Thousands of page views over the last 8 years have proven this content to be valuable and what people really want to learn. I am excited to offer an entire 12 months of Sew Along Tutorials and accompanying patterns in 2018.

But, I need your help. This is a huge year long commitment for me. I need to know if this is what YOU the reader REALLY want to learn about here on the blog. You will have the option of sewing one project, several projects, or all of the projects as you choose during the 2018 year.

Sew Along Masterclass|Designers Sweet Spot|desginerssweetspot.com

The 12 Month Sew Along Masterclass will Include:

  1. Funnel Neck Knit Sweat Shirt
  2. Knit Fit and Flare Tunic with Variegated Hem
  3. Unisex Sleepwear Flannel Pajama pants
  4. Spring Floral Sack Dress
  5. Little Black Party Dress
  6. Loosely Flowing Caftan
  7. Men’s Boxer Shorts
  8. Home Decor Rag Baby Quilt
  9. Home Decor Duvet Cover
  10. Home Decor Pillow Shams
  11. Japanese Knot Bag
  12. Unisex Fleece Robe

These 12 projects have been selected for their simple design and require only basic sewing skills. You will learn step by step how to choose fabrics and supplies, print and assemble the patterns, alter patterns to fit your body type, properly layout/cut each item, and sew each one like a BOSS.

Could you take a few minutes to complete this short survey and give me your opinion? It will take less than 5 minutes of your time.

TAKE THE 2018 SEWING MASTERCLASS SURVEY HERE

Thank you for your support!

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

Sew Along Masterclass|Designers Sweet Spot|designerssweetspot.com
Give me your opinion on this Sew Along Masterclass!

If you enjoy creative projects, try some of these other ideas:

How to Craft Seriously Cute Denim Quilted Coasters

How to Hem Jeans

Simple Pillow Tutorial

Sewing with Peach Skin

Sewing a Cowl Blouse

7 Easy Beginner Sewing Projects

 

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How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown

Make a Fleece Lounging Gown to slip into after a long day at work or relax after a hectic day with the family. This gown is a great project for beginner seamstresses! This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small commission from your purchase at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Successful sewing comes from knowing what to make!

This fleece fabric caught my eye at the fabric store recently. Loved the soft color pallet!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Fleece fabric is easy to cut and sew.

 

Fleece Lounging is King

Making anything with fleece is always a good idea. Fleece is inexpensive, easy to sew and comes in tons of great patterns and colors. Fleece is also stretchy and very forgiving for new sewers who aren’t exactly sure of them selves. This project is easy to whip up in a single afternoon without a lot of fuss.

It’s been a while since I have sewn much for myself. However, I have stocked up on fabric and patterns for a major sewing project in the future! More to come on that soon!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

This pattern is Mc Calls 7061.(affiliate link)

I am sure I will be making several more of these lounging gowns, perhaps even a couple of them for holiday gifts.

Speaking of gifts, check out my pattern shop for more handmade gift ideas here.

The robe features a hood and a “kangaroo” style pocket which I love for keeping my cell phone close by. You could also make some booties or leggings to keep your feet and legs warm (they are included in this pattern). The modesty of this piece was one of the things that attracted me to it. Love the coverage in this garment! It feels cozy enough that I could run to the grocery store or chat with family members without having to worry about being too “exposed”.

Sewing with fleece is easy to use because you don’t have to finish the seams. The seams will never unravel, even with repeated washing. Also, they have improved the overall quality of the fleece so much that it rarely pills with wear. I always purchase the “pill proof” version of the fabric which costs a little bit more. But, the regular fleece is greatly improved as well and I have never had many problems with it. Alternatively, you could use a ponte knit, french terry or a heavier weight knit jersey for this project.

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Since I didn’t quite have enough fabric, I added a center back seam. You can barely even tell it’s there with the printed fabric.

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Sewing Pattern Adjustments

For this pattern, I didn’t need to change anything in the sewing directions. The instructions were easy to follow and it went together quickly. The sizing is good and quite generous, so the only alteration I had to make was in the length. Overall I added a total of 2″ to the lenth of the gown (I prefer knee length) and could have added even a bit more. True knee length for me would require an addition of 3-4″. Most of the time I sew patterns more than once before I am content with the way they turn out and I plan to make another gown like this in french terry with the additional length adjustment.

Fleece doesn’t shrink in the laundry so that is another plus. I didn’t have to prewash the fabric before cutting, which I usually do. As a general rule, always prewash your fabrics for the best results before cutting.

The fabric store was short on the grey printed fleece, so I used solid grey fleece on the hood and sleeves. I like the contrast of the two fabrics, sometimes unexpected obstacles create the best results!

You can find similar grey patterned fabric here on my Amazon affiliate link.

You can find solid grey fleece fabric here on my Amazon affiliate link.

Sewing Technique and Tips

Honestly, I just used a regular straight stitch for this garment. The fleece is a bit thicker than most fabrics so you may need to use a walking foot or increase your stitch length to keep it flowing smoothly through your sewing machine. The stitch length I used was 3.5, a bit longer then my usual 2.5 for this garment. No special thread or needles are required so it’s a breeze to sew! Love how it turned out!

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Great project for holiday gifts!

If you like this project, try some of these other ideas:

Sewing a Fleece Robe

How to Sew a Satin Robe

Sewing with Lace

Sewing with Lace: Part 2

How to Hem Jeans

 

 

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