Inexpensive DIY Valentine’s Day Gift

As much as I love Valentine’s Day there has always been one poignant downside..

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What in the world do I get for the man who has everything? It’s one of the hardest questions to answer! In the past I’ve tried nicer gifts like jewelry and even a sterling silver business card holder from Tiffany & Co. The problem with my husband is that he’s extremely particular and these types of gifts are things he’d rather purchase for himself, so I’m basically buying a gift off his “list”. Sometimes those kind of gifts just seem so impersonal. 

Especially for Valentine’s Day. I like to give something from the heart, something that will create a memory and put a smile on my husband’s face that truly comes from deep inside. I’ve found that simple DIY gifts that are still somewhat practical, not too corny and evoke sweet memories are the best gifts. A couple years ago I surprised him with this setup: 

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Hershey Kisses (one of his favorites) lined the hallway from our front door to the bedroom where there was a card and gift setup on the bed. The gift was very simple: three frames, one of us from a previous trip and two separate photos of us as toddlers in each of our father’s offices. I loved how we both had the same photo and both were a total premonition of our personalities as they are now. Baby Dan posed for his photo all business-like, talking on the phone and looking serious. Baby Lindsay completely dismissed the fact that she was wearing a dress, threw her legs up on the desk and shoved a big ol’ mug of coffee in her pie hole. Needless to say, little has changed. 

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The whole thing really put a smile on his face and for once he appreciated a homemade gift! It made me realize that if I’m going to do a DIY type gift for my husband, in order for it to be truly appreciated it must be well thought out, meaningful and in line with items he truly enjoys. Which brings me to this year’s gift.

We decided not to do candy this year since we’ve both been eating rather poorly the last few months (a brutal winter that keeps you cooped up inside will do that!). For the “edible” portion of his gift I got him a bottle of his favorite booze, Malibu (he’s a manly man who loves his Pina Colodas and there is NO shame in his game…I told you, we’re beach people). The Malibu is not in the picture simply because it’s a crazy blizzard outside currently so I have to wait until tomorrow to hit up the liquor store. 

I put a lot of thought into what to get for him that would be inexpensive and not too cheesy. I saw these ceramic coasters at Michael’s and they were so simple and understated; I knew they’d be perfect. My husband loves not ruining our fancy shmancy antique furniture coasters. We have tons of sets of them but they’re these boring fabric squares that neither of us are really into. I knew if he were to actually use these coasters they had to look good, read: not corny, not rushed or poorly done, not pink, not covered with a speck of glitter, whatsoEVER. So I decided to paint some understated beach scenes from our favorite islands. 

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I love how they capture several different oceans/seas: the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean Sea. Aruba is a special island to us as it’s where we took our first vacation together. Curacao is an island very close to Aruba, also in the Caribbean where we just had an amazing, peaceful, relaxing vacation during one of our most hectic summers. It’s a trip that holds such great memories for the both of us. The Curacao coaster is an actual picture of ours that Dan took of me walking along a little bridge over the beach at our resort. I couldn’t find a good scenery photo from our Aruba photos that would translate well to such a tiny canvas so I based that coaster off a magnet we brought home from one of our trips.

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The coaster of Hawaii is also painted after one of our own pictures, it’s also the photo I use as the header for this site so you can compare it for yourself! 🙂 Dan took that photo of me in Kauai at our resort during our honeymoon. I just love it because of all the colors; the tan skin, pale sand, crystal waters, coral bikini, my gosh it’s like beach heaven in one shot. Also, the background simply looks fake because it’s so outrageously beautiful. That’s how I felt every time I opened my eyes in Hawaii, it was like, “can someone pinch me? Is this seriously real?” Gosh, I’ve never seen such beauty. I knew we needed a Newport coaster since that’s the island we got married on! Once again, all my shots were simply too intricate for a tiny canvas so I found this photo online and it really inspired me with the gorgeous, rich orange color in the sunset. Plus, the Jamestown bridge is such an iconic Newport scene and we always point out that lighthouse every time we cross the bridge. I also liked how the photo was taken from the vantage point of Newport, looking out.

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This such a cute, inexpensive gift for just about anyone. We can all always use a set of coasters, no one likes a ring stain on their wood, right? The coasters cost me $1.99 and I purchased the cheapest paint I could find, aka, a five piece set of acrylic paints from Crayola with the three primary colors, white and black. Listen, an expensive paint kit does NOT make a masterpiece!! If you’ve got a bit of talent you can make do with even the cheapest tools. I also used the $.99 brushes, the ones that come three in a pack that are square on top. I trimmed them down a bit with scissors to give them a nice point. 

When they were done and dried I tied them up in twine and placed them in that cute little ceramic pig bowl, which I also found at Michael’s for $8.00. Behind the coaster I stuck a Valentine’s Pez dispenser because Dan likes Pez (who doesn’t?!). Along with that he’s got a chocolate scented candle (yea, that’s really more for me than for him…but..yea) and a framed photo of something that couldn’t be more appropriate for the holiday-me getting lei’d by my husband. Yup, I went there. 

Tomorrow, after this storm calms down I’m going to head over to the liquor store to complete the gift as well as Target to get a cute gift bag and some tissue paper to make it look presentable. Hopefully this gift will continue on my streak of proving that DIY gifts can be just as great and meaningful as an expensive, purchased gift. 

Hope this post inspires you to create beautiful DIY works and coasters of your own! 

xox

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