Tag Archives: gift guide

Clutter-Free Christmas: Mother/Daughter Experience Gifts

clutter free christmas

OK, first, it must be said that my mother, sister, and I lean towards girlier pursuits when we are together. While these suggestions may be very my-family-specific, I hope they serve as useful examples of how we give each other experiences. Your mileage may vary.

Making Things Together

For those who are crafty, check out your local craft stores for classes. My mother, sister, and I have loved making necklaces at Beadniks, a local bead store. Everyone gets to design their own item (which is useful when people have different tastes).

Here in Chicago, we have 1154 Lill Studio, a custom, design-your-own handbag place. You pick your bag style and fabric and three weeks later, you have a new, unique purse. It’s a mother-daughter favorite. It was actually going to be my gift to my bridesmaids, but things didn’t quite workout that way (though I’m in love with they way things did work out).

Doing Things Together

Because we are crafty-types, we love going to craft fairs together. Most craft fairs are free, but some (like the One of a Kind event we are attending this Friday) have small ticket fees.

My mom is quite the gardener, so flower shows are also a much-loved activity. We are lucky that Chicago has several.

My family is also pretty active. One year, I gave my mother the gift of classes at assorted gyms in my area. This sounds like the worst, most passive-aggressive gift ever, but we love doing yoga and kettlebells together. This year, my gift to my sister (a combined Christmas and Birthday gift) is a trip for us to Utah to ski this coming January (right after Alt Summit). Don’t worry, she already knows.

Clutter-Free Christmas: Gift Guides

Will and I aren’t exchanging gifts this Christmas.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Technically, we gave each other a wedding. It was awesome.

My family is big on what we call “Experience Gifts” – gifts centered on something we do together. Making memories and whatnot. This started in part because my sister and I are adults and generally just buy things for ourselves when we need them rather than saving up a list for St Nick. Also, my whole family firmly embraces the idea of limiting clutter. Fewer things, more memories.

Thus, a theme was born:

clutter free christmas

This week, I’ll be sharing my Clutter-Free Christmas gift guides.

Tuesday: Experience Gifts for the Foodie

Wednesday: Experience Gifts for Mother/Daughter Weekends

Thursday: Experience Gifts for the “Cultured”

Stay tuned!

Etsy Valentine Cards (Vol. 2: The Cuties)

Lovely is lovely, but sometimes you need a cuter card. Etsy to the rescue once again!

ONE: I Love You More Than Diet Coke / TWO: You are the Salt to my Pretzel / THREE: Perfect for Beer Lovers / FOUR: Robots in Love / FIVE: Monsters in Love / SIX: Dinosaurs in Love

That Diet Coke one may be a little too perfect to describe my relationship with certain family members…

Etsy Valentine Cards (Vol. 1: The Lovelies)

It may still be January, but it’s time to start thinking about St. Valentine. As always, I turn to Etsy. These lovely cards would be perfect for friends, family, and special loved ones.

ONE: Feather Card (with matching magnet for fridge-displaying purposes) / TWO: Paper Lace Card / THREE: Purple Letterpress Heart / FOUR: Purple & Green Hearts / FIVE: Calligraphy Quote from Mr Darcy

Not to brag, but I found the perfect card for Will on Etsy. No, it’s not featured above. Perhaps I will share with y’all on February 15.


Etsy Gift Guide: For the Home

The last in the series – items for the home!

  1. A small fabric bin to keep clutter in order.
  2. Doxie. Coasters. So cute.
  3. A cheery wooden welcome for your abode.
  4. This pretty pink lamp looks good on or off.
  5. This pig flower pot should inspire anyone to tend their green thumbs.
  6. This cheerful pillow comes in many colors. Not feeling the love? Other options remind you to “Be Nice or Leave” or, simply, “merde.”
  7. Should you need your pillows to keep their opnions to themselves, this red and gold pillow is classy, silent glam.
  8. I’ve long been in love with Tilly Maison’s lucite trays. I have one corralling my perfume bottles.
  9. This striped bottle vase looks just as great empty (or makes simple stems look fancy!).
  10. Or, hang these vases on the wall!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series! I’m crazy about Etsy and love sharing my finds. Perhaps some of them will make it into the hands of your friends and loved ones this season.

Etsy Gift Guide: Artwork

Monday was gifts under $25. Tuesday was Kitchen items. Wednesday was Jewelry.

Today, I’m sharing my favorite Etsy art pieces.

Esty is just about my favorite place to buy artwork. Etsy prints feature prominently in our home – especially in our “Where We’ve Been” Wall.


  1. This Giraffe Print is printed on a page from an old French book.
  2. Heart cut-outs – intricate texture. So lovely.
  3. A bunny with a flower for a tail – I see him in a bathroom or dressing area.
  4. I’ve loved this sweet flower-wreath print for awhile now – sweet with a punch of color.
  5. I know I’m a raging Francophile, but I think anyone could love this simple map of Paris.
  6. This stag beetle is a hand-cut paper silhouette. Very impressive.
  7. Fun teapots would add a dash of color to the kitchen.
  8. Black cat! Yep. I. love. cats.
  9. Some home state love – check her stores for other states should Illinois not be your top choice.

 Tomorrow – items for your home!


Etsy Gift Guide: Jewelry!

I’ve done Gifts Under $25 and Kitchen Items. Today, Jewelry!

  • Pretty gold bangles would go with anything.
  • A lovely red necklace made of lace!
  • These earrings make me wish my ears were pierced.
  • This is not just a bird – it’s a finch covered in a page from a worn-out copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. The shop also sells whales covered in pages from Moby Dick should your tastes run more toward the marine.
  • This gumdrop necklace is beyond fun. It would make a simple t-shirt look like a party outfit.
  • This ring is fantastically intricate (and has a fun science-y story!).
  • This one isn’t actually my absolute favorite from Rachelle D’s fantastic shop. Why aren’t I showing you my fave? Because it will soon be gracing my lovely neck. Yep, putting these gift guides together without treating myself proved impossible. This one is my other favorite.

 Tomorrow – Artwork!



Etsy Gift Guide: In the Kitchen

Welcome to Day Two of the Esty Gift Guide week. Yesterday was gifts for under $25. Today’s gift guide: Kitchen items.



  1. This Small Gold Cake Stand would add shine at any party (gold goes with so many color schemes!)
  2. Should you not want an Illinois Cutting Board, they make other states as well.
  3. These Circus Cups make tea fun.
  4. I love the vintage feel of these Salt & Pepper Shakers.
  5. This cotton towel has a cheery message.
  6. I’ve been in love with these Flower Nesting Bowls for ages. They are so pretty.

Tomorrow: Jewelry!


Etsy Gift Guide: Under $25

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

This week I’ll be bringing you gift guides from Etsy. Why Etsy? Because I love Etsy.

Up first: Gifts for under $25.


  1. Nerdy Cat Printed Moleskin. A kitty in glasses? You slay me.
  2. Mini Round Concrete Pot. I’m a plant person, and this simple, round pot makes me gleeful.
  3. MicroRobbie Trophy. I love (humane) trophy walls. Cardboard Safari is the bees’ knees.
  4. Sea Salt Caramel Body Lotion. I adore all things Salted Caramel.
  5. Nesting Dolls Rubber Stamps. How cute are these?
  6. Reusable Lunch Bag. Bringing leftovers to work just got punchy.
Giving is so much more fun than getting… Stop by tomorrow for my Etsy Kitchen Gift Guide!