Christmas Thrifts

Enjoy this Better After flashback, Christmas-style! <<<<<<<<<<<<
So maybe you don’t have tons of money to spend on Christmas. No big whoop. I for one love the idea of a thrifty Christmas, where you challenge yourself and your loved ones to makeover thrifted finds. Save the earth, save money and make a meaningful creative gift, who loses there? No one, that’s who. Except maybe Walmart.
I bet my family could get on board with this, how about yours? My sister and sister-in-law are creative masterminds, but my brothers on the other hand … I might get a used potholder or an empty box of bandaids or something. Hmmm, I might have to think this idea through a little better.
Here are some thrifty redos for some Christmas giving inspiration!
From NataLee at Designed to the Nines, a battered toy box gets a classy golf-themed redo. Seriously looks amazing.
old toy box makeover
golf themed chest makeover |
From Lindy at Cottage Hill, a 99 cent box gets made over into a handpainted treasure. WANT! Check out her blog for easy step-by-step instructions on how to achieve this look.
plain wooden box
bird painted box makeover |
And finally from Cassie at Hi Sugarplum, these dollar store vases get a high dollar look with simple burlap, jute string, plus easy to find religious candles. I actually just bought a couple of those myself for $1, wrapped them in silver paper and had an instant classy candle on my hands!
plain candles
easy candleholder makeover |


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Holiday Party Throwin’

Looking for a holiday party idea that is perfect for the whole family and doesn’t require an ugly sweater? I’m so glad you asked.

I’ve teamed up with the party-throwing pros at Evite to share some party planning ideas with you today that are sure to please even the scroogiest party guest. How many times can I say party in one sentence? A lot, apparently.


This gingerbread house decorating party is just the cutest idea.

evite gingerbread house party with m&ms


We have something similar in my family, only instead of a party it’s more of a gingerbread house decorating deathmatch. And I always win. ALWAYS. No one can touch me. Um, I will totally be nice though if you invite me to your party.

gingerbread house decorating party evite

I love Evite for many reasons: it’s super easy to create a customized invitation, they automatically email reminder emails to your guests, and it’s simple to keep track of who has responded.  I used Evite for my last major event, which was, in case you can’t remember, THE MOST AWESOME THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME.


But back to the gingerbread house party. Evite suggests having your guests provide their own gingerbread house while you provide the decorations, then eating them when you’re done!

(I suggest hot gluing the houses together and NOT eating them, because hot glue works a thousand times better than icing, and then also you can save them until New Year’s and blow them up with fireworks. JUST AN IDEA.)

evite gingerbread decorating party


These customized M&M’s add a special touch, and will undoubtedly leave your friends talking about how awesome you are, especially when you send them home with little bags of their own.

gingerbread decorating party favor

Evite has made it ridiculously easy to recreate these gingerbread house favors with a template that you simply print and cut.

gingerbread house decorating party supplies

Wondering where to order customized M&M’s in conveniently pre-packaged bags? Wonder no more.  You can find them right here at My M&M’s.

Lots of great ideas and inspiration over there, check it out!

evite and M&Ms gingerbread house

That is so gosh darn cute, I would probably never blow it up.


But the party don’t stop there. Here’s another fun way to use your customized M&M’s at holiday time.

m&m holiday treat wreath

A candy wreath! Such a festive way to share a treat.

You can check out all the detailed instructions for making a candy wreath on Evite, but here’s the gist.

making a holiday treat wreathPaint one of these wreath-form guys.

holiday treat wreath suppliesAdd a pretty bow.

m&m holiday treat tins

Attach magnets to the wreath form, then stick these candy tin sets right to the magnets.



Tuck some sprigs of holly in between the tins and send your guests packing with a smile!


More info here:

DIY Holiday Candy Wreath

Gingerbread House-Decorating Party

DIY Gingerbread-House Party Favors

M&M’s favor packs

M&M’s personalized candy tin sets

My M&M’s
>>>>This post is in partnership with Evite and M&M’s. All words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Better After!

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Wash n’ Go, but not in that order.

I actually don’t hate this wallpaper.  In the right space, chinoiserie birdcages could be pretty rad. However, in this space it looks like a preschool bathroom. And I should know.  I still remember the bathroom in my preschool.

What I remember most was this oversized contraption on the outside of the door that looked like a traffic light. Red, Yellow, Green.  Our teacher told us that if we didn’t wash our hands after using the bathroom, the light would flash red and everyone in the whole school would know and we would presumably be shunned in our filthiness forever.  I think she was lying because I never actually saw it flashing, but her technique of fear and shame worked on me.  That might explain my hand-washing obsession and why I still struggle using a public bathroom to this day, but probably not, haha! Ahahaha! Ha!


Anyway.  It doesn’t look like this anymore. It looks sophisticated and glamorous and inspiring thanks to the very talented Kris at Driven by Decor.


birdhouse - bathroom - before


Gray Walls - White Tile - Bathroom - Makeover |



I love how she made use of those built-in soap holders as teeny shelves. Perfect for washing your hands.


driven by decor bathroom m copy


driven by decor bathroom after copy

This bathroom is now used by Kris’ husband who probably appreciates his new color-scheme and overall lack of miniature birdcages.  And washes his hands.

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Meddling with Metal

If someone gave me an old chair that had been used – for YEARS – as a dog bed, I probably would thank them politely, wave a joyful goodbye, then drag it into my backyard and set it on fire.

Chris and Brad had other ideas.  They also had some vintage aircraft aluminum lying around.  Armed with that and a rustic leather hide, they completely transformed it into a mancave worthy chair that’s sure to spark up interesting conversation.  Like “Why on earth did you have vintage aircraft aluminum lying around?”

Answer: Brad’s father had planned to build a kit plane around 40 years ago, and never got around to it, that’s why.

sad - palm tree- chair - before


Aluminum - Chair - Makeover |

And the back view …

palm tree - chair - before


Aluminum - Chair - Makeover |

Just plane awesome! More rustic goodness to be found on their page Sawdust & Sparks.


This little cabinet also hopped aboard the metal trend train when Kellee outfitted it with embossed tin panels. She was going for a distressed look, so she lowered the shine of the tin by rubbing in some of the same midnight blue paint used to paint the piece, then glazed it all with black stain for extra drama.  How fortuitous that the old handles complement the design on the new tin so well!

See more on her page The Charmed Workshop.


wood - cabinet - before


metal tin cabinet


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