Friday, October 3, 2008

Dare to Be Domestic - The Gifts That Keep On Giving

The best gifts often don’t cost a thing and Derrick Johnson, Domestic Life Stylish Coach, is on a mission to let his generation know it all starts at home. His motto is “Making Home-life Easy,” and he gives readers a fresh breath of insight and information everyday on his blog Dare To Be Domestic

He’s described as a more hip version of Martha Stewart. On his website, the word “domestic” encompasses everything from entertaining and dating to wardrobing, shopping, interior design and decorating—even etiquette—in addition to household cleaning tasks. Just as Rachael Ray prides herself on cooking made simple, Derrick Johnson wants to make simple… everything else. Simple, yet creative and on a budget. Why shop designer when you can create one of a kind? Why not fill the walls of your apartment with art you create. Derrick’s blog is only a month old, but readers are tuning in!

I am so excited to have Derrick stop by today to share some great ideas on gifts that keep on giving - gifts you can create on little-to-no-budget that will make a statement for any occasion.
Hello Lemiga readers, I’m Derrick and below I’m sharing a few fun ‘artsy’ gifts you can make for your friends and family that are creative, memorable, low-cost and won’t get secretly thrown in the trash. I love this stuff. Enjoy!

Customizable Bottles of Wine
For my 30th birthday, a dozen of my closest friends and I did up Vegas big over two days. (I love being 30 btw!)I made them gift bags to hallmark the occasion. Of all the items I put in the bag, my own personal brand of wine was the biggest hit. Well, it wasn’t my own wine, but I made a killer label that people loved. I created it using Adobe Illustrator. I called it Derk John (a nickname from my friends) and it even had my picture. Try this crafty gift for any event; it is sure to turn heads. All you need is a printer (or Kinkos), paper, spray adhesive and a little creativity. Oh yeah, a hairdryer will help remove the original wine label. Just heat up the sticker and peel off. It’s easy, you can do it yourself, and the outcome is classy, real classy LOL! Download my template here. Simply change the text and picture to make it your own!

The Ultimate Mix CD
While the mix CD is no new concept, why not make one with an unusual theme? For birthdays, how about a disc filled with top Billboard songs from the year when your friend or family member was born? Maybe compile songs that only have your friend’s name in them, or maybe songs with inside jokes only you guys share? For my own birthday gift bags, I compiled a CD of my all time favorite songs throughout my 30 years. Then I designed an album cover with one of my baby pictures. The inside cover included a written description of why each song was special to me. iTunes makes making a mix CD easy and professional. If you really wanna shock them, record a personal message, convert it into a mp3 file and add it to the CD as an interlude. Works every time!
The Perfect Greeting Card
Why buy a card when you can make one? For one of my best friend’s 30th birthday, I did just that. Get out your old pics—you know the kind actually printed on paper—or print some out and cut them up to make a collage they will never forget. You could digitally scan the collage and using a card template in Word, print out the card on nice paper. And for the original collage, select a beautiful frame to house it – double whammy – a card and a keepsake all in one! There are many software programs or services like, or you can use. If you are using iPhoto, you can even order cards or prints directly from the program.(You can tell I’m a MAC man, huh?)Check out this link for a collage tutorial

Time Capsule
My best friend made one for me when I graduated high school. Almost 12 years later, we still have not opened it. It’s so simple to make. Find a decorative box that can close or lock. A cash box from an office supply store is a great solution. Fill it with items that have deep meaning between the two of you. This could include pictures, keepsakes, clothing articles, ticket stubs, old cards, a CD with music from the year the capsule is being made, a special book, anything! Present your friend with the gift capsule and a card with instructions on when to open it. How about 10 years from now? For added flair, decorate the capsule. Real special!

DVD Slideshow
If pictures say 1000 words, than pictures with music must say a million words. Put your director/film editor cap on and create a DVD slide show for your friend or family member using memorable photos and accompanying music. They will treasure this gift forever. There are many D.I.Y. programs for this and most new computers come with software to make such a product. Warning: This kind of gift can be a little embarrassing for the receiver, but it’s all in good fun!

Hope I sparked some new ideas. Be thoughtful of what your friend or family member likes and go from there. Have fun. Be creative. I Dare You To Be Domestic!


Thanks so much for stopping by today Derrick. I LOVE the ideas you gave us today. Ever looked at your apartment and wished it didn’t resemble a dorm room? Ever wonder what to do when the waiter presented you with the wine? Ever wonder how to plan the perfect date with $20.00? Check out Dare to be Domestic!

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