December 14, 2021
You’re in a quandary and a pickle! You have no idea what to give your fiancé’s mother for Christmas, or what to do for your wife that hasn’t already been done! Christmas is fast approaching and you’re stuck! Both decorate in the coastal theme, but you have no ideas, no clues and you desperately need help!
Worry no more. You have options and one of those is the gift of time: time spent creating something for them, not shopping for them. Yes, you may have to shop a little, but these ideas may also involve mostly things you already have lying around somewhere and all you have to do is put in the time to make the best Christmas gift they’ll get because it’s from you, your elbow grease and creativity (at least, as far as they know) and they will thank you for it with hugs and kisses.
The first idea is a Family Communication Center. What’s that and how does it fit in with a Coastal theme? It’s easy. Get a cork bulletin board that you may already have lying in the corner of a closet, basement, or utility room somewhere. If you have some light blue, seafoam green, or white paint, paint the frame of the cork board and after it dries, sand it down here and there to give it that weathered look. Get a drill and drill two appropriately sized holes on each long side, then attach a towel hook from Sea Life Cabinet Knobs in each of those holes. It may be four of the same, or four different hooks, it doesn’t matter unless the person you are giving it to is picky. This is where you will hang your keys, a flashlight, an umbrella, whatever.
After you get that done, get twine, measure the width, long side to long side, and add an inch on each side to allow for knots you will tie at each end. Hold the knotted twine at the top of the vertical cork board and push thumbtacks into the twine just inside the knots. Then decide how many columns you want for your communication board. For instance, if you want three columns – one for scheduled activities, one for communications between family members (“Honey, please remember to go to the bank and get cash for the weekend.”; that sort of thing) and one for grocery shopping items needed, or add a fourth for upcoming important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, etc. -- then do that. Choose how many columns you will need and put a piece of twine tied from the horizontal piece with a knot, and hang a seashell at the bottom of each piece of vertical twine. Put a thumbtack in each vertical twine piece just above the seashells to keep the columns in place. Choose a complimentary colored paper (sticky pad paper, or cut-to-size 5x7” recipe cards) to use as the “entry pads” and have plenty of those and thumbtacks in separate baskets/containers hanging on each side of the Communication Center. As your family uses it, they will thank you for the new organization that has resulted and you will be a hit with those who benefit from it.
The second option is just as easy. Get a wooden box: one that isn’t old and that will get you in trouble if you do something that will ruin an old, Art Deco box, a box Grandma’s jewelry was stored in and has a beautiful finish, etc., and watch the video that will teach you how to do decoupage. After you watch the video, get a wooden box, some glue and some ocean-themed scrapbook paper from your local craft store. Following the instructions, make a coastal trinket box for your family’s treasures. This will take a few hours, but your reward will be enormous! It may even look something like this:
If you’re good with tools, get some old pallets, tear them apart and follow the instructions on how to build a storage trunk out of pallets. If you wish to make it even better, use a bit of twine made into a loop and a scallop knob as a way to secure the lid. Do a whitewash effect on the trunk, or if the pallets are old enough, leave it with the finish as is, except for a bit of sanding to prevent splinters.
If those seem like too much for you to carry off, go shopping for a wall clock in working order and that has a bit of a frame around it: probably at least 1” wide would be best. Get some white glue, some sand and some seashells and hot glue or E6000 craft glue. Pour the white glue into a plastic bowl and using an old paint brush, coat the frame of the clock with white glue. Before it dries, cover the glue with the sand and make sure every spot is covered. Scrape off any glue and sand that got onto the clock face and allow to dry completely. With the E6000 craft glue, glue the seashells onto the frame of the clock. Allow that to dry and finish it with a good cleaning of the glass over the clock face. You'll have a clock that looks something like this:
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do a Coastal Christmas. A little elbow grease goes a long way and creates a great keepsake, and makes you a Coastal Christmas hero.
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