January 31, 2013

Garage Sale Shopping 101 >> When To Shop

The time:
When heading out to garage sales the old saying is true, the early bird gets the worm. My least favorite part of shopping at garage sales is waking up early, let's be honest, I'm so not a morning person, but this may be the most important aspect of finding what you want to buy.
 When I say you need to get early, you need to be out driving around when the sun comes up. The exact time depends on the season, in the summer you will need to wake up earlier, while the winter season will allow you to sleep in a bit more. Right now (and keep in mind it's January) I wake up at 6:30, throw on some jeans and a sweatshirt, brush my teeth, and am out the door by 7.
The best shopping hours for garage sales are within the first 2 hours after the sun comes up, or when people let you start shopping. If I wake up late or have sick kids to take care of I don't even bother going, you're wasting your time. You will be looking at all the items other people picked over.
The day:
The best day to garage sale shop is always Saturday, although that may depend on the area where you live. When I used to live in Orange County, you could ONLY find garage sales on Saturday, but after moving to a more rural area a few years ago I noticed a lot of garage sales on Fridays. I would drive my kids to school and see garage sale signs everywhere.
I was like "whaaaaat".....
I checked out a few and realized that here in my new hometown there are a lot of stay-at-home moms who start their sales on Friday morning. There aren't as many as on Saturday, but if I have the time, or I know I can't shop on Saturday, I'll drive around and see what's out there.
You really need to drive around your town on Saturday mornings to see what's out there and "test the waters".
Are you ready to set your alarm?
Garage Sale Shopping Series:
-Get Organized

Happy shopping!

January 30, 2013

Free Valentine's Day Printables By Brittany Thomas

I'm super excited to announce that The Gingerbread Blog now has a graphic arts contributor! Each month we will offer several free printables such as inspirational quotes and holiday graphics that you can print out, frame, and share with your family. Get excited!
Brittany is a sweetie who just opened an Etsy shop filled with sweet designs you can check out over here.

I'm Brittany Thomas, a graphic designer, food enthusiast, Target fanatic, and Typography nerd. 

Here are two prints she made this month.
Aren't they adorable...
I can't wait to see what she has in store in the next few months! Now go print these bad boys out and frame them, or tape them to something with washi tape. Swoon! I may tape the cupcake print in the boys' rooms, because I DO think they are really sweet. 

January 29, 2013

What I Wore >> Thrifted Style

Happy Tuesday friends! What are you wearing today? I haven't been able to hit garage sales because of the rain (which is super sad), so I've been shopping at my local thrift stores. I generally visit them 2-3 times per week, looking for housewares and blankets for my shop, and clothes for myself. I prefer The Salvation Army to Goodwill, because they have better prices and don't ruin their clothes by poking holes in them with the tag gun. That really annoys me to no end. I mean, reallyMy favorite place to thrift is is a tiny Catholic thrift store that has the sweetest volunteer workers.
Here are a few outfits from this past week, via Instagram, including the little guy, who loves his clothes even more than I do.
Old Navy cardigan- Thrifted
Necklace- Thirfted
T-Shirt- Walmart
Jeans- Kohls
Flats- Target
 It was warm like a week ago, so I sported some cut offs.
Jeans I cut up- Thrifted
Old Navy Sweater- Thrifted
T-Shirt- Walmart
Skinny Jeans- Target (on clearance)
Converse- Thrifted
On me-
Vintage Sweater- Thrifted
Shirt- Kohls
Flats- Target

On Dylan-
Shirt- Target
Vest- Target
Skinny Jeans- Target
Shoes- Vans
* I generally don't find many thrifted items for my boys, simply because kids tear up their clothes. I only purchase items that are in good shape, and when it come to kids clothes, unless they are babies, are hard to come by.
You can read my thrifting series *here*. 
After my post last week I received an email from Kohls and they offered all of you a coupon code you can use to stack with any others on their website. Use the code "TENFORBLOG" at checkout from Jan. 29th to March 9th. Swoon!
Linking with these lovely ladies:
pleated poppyPhotobucket

January 26, 2013

Geometric Cupcake Topper Tutorial

Looking for a modern cupcake topper for a party? These geometric shapes are my new favorite! For this tutorial I used clay from the craft store, but if you're making these for a kids party just use fondant instead, following the same steps. 
You will need:
> Clay (I used Sculpey)
> Toothpicks
> Kitchen utensils to cut your clay (I used a pizza cutter)
> Foil
> Wax paper (to protect whatever surface you're working on from getting stained)
For circle shapes:
Break a piece of your clay off and roll into a burrito shape, I know I use really technical terms right?
Then cut your clay into slices.
Mold the clay into your desired circle and gently stick your toothpick through the clay. Set your finished toppers on a foil lined baking sheet.
For triangle shapes:
Roll your clay into a burrito shape and flatten with the flat side of your pizza cutter.

 Cut your flattened dough (I kept thinking of Flat Stanley for some reason) in a repeated diagonal as pictured below.
You now have a bunch of tiny triangles! Yay! Mold each of them until they have smooth edges and stick on your toothpicks.
Put these puppies aside for baking.
For square or rectangle shapes:
These are super easy, repeat your steps to make triangles, pressing two together and mold smooth. Don't you remember that from Geometry class in high school? Ha.
Bake your cupcake toppers according to it's packing directions. Every brand has different baking times and heat temperatures, so don't go and throw away the packaging. You'll need it later.
I think these toppers are colorful and fun!

January 25, 2013

Sweet Saturday Link Party

Welcome to Sweet Saturday, where you can link your creative projects, meet friends and find inspiration.

Let's start out with the features from last week.

Southwest Chicken Wraps
By: Semi Homemade Mom

Strawberry Valentines Oreo Cookies

Wine Cork Wreath Tutorial

DIY Valentine Art

DIY Painted Dresser Update

Reese's (freezer friendly) Oatmeal Cookies

Thank you to all of you who linked up! 

Here are the details:
* Please link up your crafty, yummy or DIY post, not your blog address. 
Features will be posted on next weeks' Sweet Saturday.* I "pin" each feature *HERE* on my Pinterest page specially made for features.
Happy Crafting!

January 24, 2013

Toy Wreath Tutorial

It's pretty obvious to anyone who either reads my blog or knows me in "real" life that I love to craft and be creative. My kids have watched me sew, hot glue and Mod Podge many projects over the years.
My 11 year old has never been much of a crafter, although he does love photography and sketching. He just doesn't get the craft thing, and that's O.K. with me. My youngest Dylan, he is all about crafts and decorating. I recently found every.thing. from his room in the hallway because he said he was redecorating, and I had to seriously bite my tongue and walk away. 
For Christmas I crafted a holiday wreath for his bedroom and he LOVED it, but cried big ol'alligator tears when I took it down and packed it away in the garage. So I agreed to make him another wreath for him to enjoy, thus this toy wreath tutorial.
You will need:
> Foam wreath
> Thick white ribbon
> Few feet of ribbon (any color you choose) to hang on the wall
> Glue gun (with lots of glue sticks)
> Plastic toys (ranging in size)
* I bought my toys at garage sales, thrift stores and the Dollar Store.
Wrap your wreath form with white ribbon, hot gluing it tight. Then tie your ribbon to the top of your wreath for hanging. You want to do this step now so you can hot glue some on the toys on top to hide the ribbon.
Glue your largest toys on your wreath so they will lay flat and face forward.
Now glue your smaller toys on the inside and outside of the wreath, trying to glue them really close together. I filled in the super small spaces with army soldiers and small dinosaurs.
The final result is a crazy wreath of characters from my sons' favorite movies and T.V. shows.
Dylan loves it, he spent the first couple of days just staring at it trying find each and every character. 
Do your kids share any of your hobbies or passions? I feel super blessed that Dylan loves my projects as much as I do. 

January 22, 2013

What I Wore >> Garage Sale Shopping 101

After writing todays' Garage Sales 101 post I thumbed through my Instagram feed (@gingerbreadblog) and was totally able to point out every thrifted article of clothing I had on in each outfit! I'm pretty sure I can also tell you how much I paid for every.single.thing. I thought with your new tips and tricks you might want to see examples of the sorts of things I buy along the way, so here we go. A reverse shop my closet, I'm going to show you what I bought!
Pants- Target (Clearance)
Reef Flip Flops- Garage Sale
J Crew Dress Shirt- Garage Sale
L.A.M.B Bag- Garage Sale (I know, it was $20)
Sunnies- Dollar Store Craft (tutorial HERE)

Pants- Kohls (I have a big booty, so I have to try pants on)
Sandals- Thrifted
Sweater- Thrifted

Glasses- Vender at Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco (mind you they were $3)
Denim Guess Shirt- Garage Sale ($1)
White T- Walmart (and I bought it recently, so if you need great t-shirts with some length go get some)

Shopping at garage sales is definitely a passion of mine, and I hope to inspire you to try it out. There's no reason you can't save money and look great at the same time!
The Garage Sales 101 series:
- Introduction
- Get Organized
*Linking up here...
pleated poppy

Garage Sale Shopping 101 >> Get Organized

One part of successful garage sale shopping is being organized, and by that I mean having everything necessary to utilize the things you find. Are you looking to buy furniture for your living room, maybe a new dining room table? What are the dimensions of the ideal table you're looking forThose are things you need to think about before you wake up early feeling like a hot mess and wonder "hmm is this table too big?" I've bought things that are too big or the wrong color or style many times, which is a huge waste of money, and when shopping garage sales you can't very well take it back, so be confident in your purchases.
Before you head out to shop you should have a few things stuffed in your purse that will help you make smart purchases. 
1. A measuring tape- to check for furniture or appliance dimensions.
2. Business cards- if I make an offer on an item and the seller turns me down sometimes I give them a card and tell them at the end of the day if they change their mind to email me or give me a call. Trust me, it works.
3. Paint chips- to match colors.
4. A list of items you are looking for- know what you want ahead of time to avoid impulse buys.
5. Small bills- I always feel like a jerk when I haggle someone down a few dollars on a frame and then pull out a $20 to pay for it. Be polite and carry $1 bills if you can.
6. A smile- I know it sounds silly, but if you communicate with people in a nice and optimistic way, you will always get a better price. 
I also try to let other people know (like friends and family) what I'm looking to buy. If I need a new bedroom set I let everyone know about it, then if they see something I may like, they text me a photo so I can take a look. My mom and I shop like that all the time, and I have scored some great buys from text shopping! 
This step is one of the most important to successful garage sale shopping, so get yourself ready now, so when Saturday comes you'll be ready.
In case you missed:
*Garage sale shopping 101- an introduction

January 18, 2013

Sweet Saturday Link Party

Welcome to Sweet Saturday, where you can link your creative projects, meet friends and find inspiration. 

Let's start out with the features from last week. 
Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins

DIY State Art

Budget Bathroom Makeover

DIY Sweater Vase

Stenciled Truck Tee

Thank you to all of you who linked up! 
Welcome to Sweet Saturday, where you can link your creative projects, meet friends and find inspiration. 
Here are the details:
* Please link up your crafty, yummy or DIY post, not your blog address. 

* Features will be posted on next weeks' Sweet Saturday.

* I "pin" each feature *HERE* on my Pinterest page specially made for features.
Happy Crafting!