Mission Impossible: Memorable Gift for my Niece

My niece turned 10 earlier this year, and I wanted to find something truly special to mark her first decade birthday.  I searched high and low for something that was personal and memorable--something none of her friends had seen.

Ta-Da! I give you this beautiful custom handwriting bracelet from an Etsy shop called SilverHandwriting.  Vivian, the artisan, hand crafts custom bracelets using the script you hand write and upload to her site on Etsy.

It is the coolest gift for ages 10-90! You (or your loved ones) can write out anything, and upload it to create a unique bracelet.

 A few weeks before my niece's birthday, I asked her to write out her favorite saying on a piece of a paper (you can use a sharpie,or any bold pen).  I didn't tell her why, and, of course, she forgot that I asked.

On her birthday,  I presented her with this special bracelet that read "Rats Rule!" in her own handwriting.  This is a treasure she will enjoy now, and keep for her hope chest (I hope!).

I was impressed not only by the speed the order was completed, but also by the high quality of the bracelet.  It was something any adult would wear, and you can choose from Silver, White Gold, or Gold--all of which look expensive and well made. (the picture makes the gold look brassier than it is in real life--truly a nice quality in reality).

This bracelet makes a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Birthday/Mother's Day/Bridesmaid gift.  Anyone from a spouse writing "I love you", to grandparents signing a special note, to children signing their names side by side for their mother, to a bestie writing an inside joke to her friend,  it is a lasting treasure to see your loved ones' handwriting memorialized.

Vivian at SilverHandwriting has a variety of signature jewelry to choose from.  This one runs approximately $46.00 and she is running a 30% off special through the holidays.

Spice It Up:  This special birthday needed one more memorable treat.  Many of you have seen photo-collage pillows online previously, but I am a believer in this gift for it high quality.

Collage.com produces pillows with your favorite mix of photos, and helps you easily sort & size them to create a fun collage.  Unlike many other photocollage sites, their pillows are printed on a fine canvas fabric.  It is something you would be happy to have on your couch or bed (not that smooth cheap fabric that makes the photos fuzzy).

The pillows range in price, depending on size, from $12.00 to $125.00.  First time buyers to the site receive 60% off.  This pillow was the largest (so I could fit more photos on the pillow) at 26x26.  This would be $125.00, but their holiday promo keeps it at an affordable $40.00.

Jazz the pillow up a bit, by adding a fun design pic with their name.  I found this temporary tattoo design on the web at Tattofun.com.  Fortunately, the design was already available in my niece's name, but Tattoofun.com will custom inscribe/add any name to your selected design.

They were kind enough to send me the JPEG of the artwork, so it was easy to upload to Collage.com for the pillow (better resolution than copying it from the site).

I bought a few of the temporary tattoos in this same heart tattoo design for her friends to wear at the birthday party.  These were fairly large, and ran $2.95 each.  Pretty neat to have all your friends wearing your name in a temporary tattoo!

The coupe de grace:  I grabbed a few multi-color fabric markers at Jo-Anns and brought them to the party so her friends could sign the back of the pillow.  (Though, I will say that a single black marker will do the trick, and is less expensive).

Whew!  Memorable gift mission accomplished!

Aiding And Abetting

Got a friend who is your partner in crime?  You know--the one who turns an ordinary night out into an epic adventure for the record books?

This is a friend you want to honor with a wink and smile, and something worthy your hijinks!  

Bourbon & Boots celebrates co-conspirators with Thelma & Louise, Butch & Sundance, or Bonnie & Clyde etched cocktail glasses for $39.00 a pair.  

As Bourbon & Boots says, "Celebrate the girl that pushes you to do unbelievable and outrageous things...For the best friends who always have the wind in their hair, and the law hot on their heels and enjoy celebrating their friendship with a toast to each other."

Spice It Up:  Cocktail glasses are great, but if you're truly Thelma & Louise worthy you need an elixir handy.  These clever Trixie & Milo Flasks at $29.00 each are a perfect match to the glasses, and they have numerous styles to suit your friend's personality.  I especially like their packaging with the decorated cardboard gift box.

On your gift card inscribe the wise words of Thelma:  
"Louise, no matter what happens, I'm glad I came with you."

Where to Buy: The cocktail glasses can be purchased directly from Bourbon & Boots online.  The Flasks are from Trixie & Milo which can be purchased from them directly or I have seen them in numerous gift shops.  In Dallas, you can find them at Froggies, Betty Lou, etc.

Snowball Express

Some of the best memories of childhood are playing in the snow, making snow angels, sledding, and having snowball fights.  Simple, pure, fun!

Capture that unbridled joy with this Indoor Snowball Fight for $29.99.  Even if you have no snow this year, your kids can celebrate with an epic snowball fight without hurting each other or breaking your favorite vase!

I gave this gift to my niece last Christmas, and it was hands down the favorite toy of the day.  Not only did she love it, but all of the adults joined in the fun to toss snowballs at each other throughout the day.  Surprise attacks ensued around each corner of the house!

So, are you the favorite Aunt/Uncle/Grandparent/Friend coming over on Christmas Eve or Hannukah?  Bring a bucket of Indoor Snowball fun and you will be the hero!  This makes a terrific Christmas Eve fun gift to open for kids who are anxiously waiting Santa, or a memorable night of Hannukah.

And, of course, it is completely electronics/battery free--simple good fun to get kids of all ages off the couch.  The snowballs are the one toy everyone will play with throughout the winter.  Even in July we broke out the snowballs for some impromptu fun!

Spice It Up:  Step up your snowball fight game with blow up shields at $24.99 which serve to deflect errant snowballs! 

Tip:  Used gift wrap tubes are effective bats for the snowballs.  Help your kiddo defend their turf by building an "igloo" (a.k.a. a Fort) of white sheets or blankets. 

Also, the shields come with 6 snowballs, but for effective enjoyment I recommend the bucket of 40 snowballs if you have to choose.

Good Grief Charlie Brown!

In honor of today's premiere of the new Peanuts movie, I am selecting gifts for all you Snoopy fans out there!  Charles Schulz created one of the most endearing comicstrips. We all grew up enjoying their hijinks, and more importantly learned to be a bit kinder watching Charlie Brown and his misadventures.

I am a diehard Peanuts fan.  Yes, as a kid, I had both Snoopy & Belle and collected all of their outfits!

Pottery Barn Teen (aka PB Teen) has several Peanuts themed items to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a Charlie Brown Christmas.

As a Snoopy fan and dog lover, I think this cute Snoopy & Woodstock pillow for $39.50 is going under the tree just for me!  

Snuggle up this winter in flannel Peanuts sheets for $32.50, and cozy Peanuts Pajamas at $69.00 per pair.

 Perfect to sit by the fire, sip hot cocoa, and watch the Peanuts kids make a limp little Christmas tree into something special!

Spice It Up:  Honor your Peanuts fan with a donation to support the Charles Schulz museum.  In this modern era of animation, it is good to support a museum which will preserve the heritage of a beloved and legendary cartoonist and his Peanuts gang!

The Charles Schulz Museum is a true gem--the architecture of the building and the design of the exhibits are beautiful!  A true homage to Peanuts and Charles Schulz.  From Schulz' initial drawings, to the historical timeline of Peanuts, to artistic interpretations of his work, the museum delights at every turn,

If you haven't been, and you're up near Napa, take a detour to Santa Rosa for a charming tour of the ice rink and museum.  I had the opportunity to visit them last year when I was in the area for a friend's wedding (a shout out to Emmy, the bride, and Devon, my fellow Peanuts fan!).

Need Peanuts Toys, Clothes or other accessories? There are so many wonderful Peanuts logo items, but the best place to find them is at Snoopy's Gift Shop at Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rosa, California.  This is the skating rink that Charles Schulz built for his neighborhood kids, and the one he frequented daily for 30+ years.

Snoopy's gift shop has everything from original Peanuts comic strips, to tshirts, to lunchboxes, etc. There are more items available next door at the Schulz Museum gift shop as well.