Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thriftiest Gift Idea And Then Some

Friends, meet Cow II.

Cow II, meet all my homies.

I found this little honey in a dusty pile of junk a couple weeks ago at our local year-round garage sale.

It's as classy a joint as you would imagine.

She ran $6 and I almost passed her up...oh my gosh.
What was I thinking??

Well, I was thinking I shouldn't be buying stuff for myself.

I was supposed to be looking for mugs.
You know.

Guys, I've decided my Eveready battery rack/thrifted mug rack/Cow II corner is the best corner there ever was.

I can't stop loving it. It's so gratifying to scour all the haunts for these mugs and, I might add, they absolutely enhance my Earl Grey experiences.

My obsession became such that I needed a 12-step program. I knew it was time to start spreading the amore.

I present to you the thriftiest friend-gifts to grace the planet.

Only, the gift was really for me. Because I got to track them down.
I hit every thrift store in a tri-county area and two in Ohio. I LOVE a good hunt.

I didn't pay more than $1 for any mug, and most were 49 or even 25 cents.

A few times it hit me that it might be weird. Merry Christmas and I love you! Here's someone else's old coffee mug.

But then I shrugged off that idea like a bad sweater and kept on hunting.

People - rest assured - there are a lot of ugly coffee mugs in this world. I started strong then the crap hit the fan and I had to make a few concessions in the ways of adding a few teacups and espresso cups to the mix. (Question: is "espresso cup" a thing? because that's what I'm calling the tiny cups. but I'm no coffee drinker, so what do I know?)

What I can say is, I love them alllll.
My litmus test was this: Would I hang it on my battery rack?
(Isn't that what everyone says?)

Before long, I wanted to put stuff in the mugs.
Lipstick is always fun, but it's too pricey.


Because I scored these L'Oreal puppies on clearance for just over $1 a pop. BOOM.
I added a honey straw, an Early Grey tea bag, a salted dark chocolate, and one of my vintage hankies.

I stayed up until the wee hours crafting cute tags, then the blasted things kept slipping down the handles. So I stuck them in the mugs and called it a day.

The moral of the story? I'm an odd friend.
The other moral of the story? I think you guys are probably a bunch of odd-balls, too.
And if you are, your other friends probably are.

So the real moral of the story: If you're short on time and ideas, hit up the Salvation Army! Or an antiques store! Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Party People!

Here are a few of my other ideas:

Someone gave me this gift earlier this week and I swooned.
Give homemade. We all dig it.

And yes, sometimes we just want to be mall rats. Ain't no shame.

Here's a nod to commercialism and the downfall of mankind:

Body Shop Satsuma Body Butter (I also love Grapefruit and Honeymania) They have cute minis in the stores for $3 each and they're running mad online sales.

Some of the best gifts I've gotten in recent years include a new tea kettle and crazy socks.

And books!

I could go on and on about all the books I've loved. I do, in fact, right here.

But there are three books that have changed who I am on a cellular level.
Or at least on a very profound and important level.
Or at least that's the story I'm sticking to today.

Tattoos on the Heart

Grace for the Good Girl

Ragamuffin Gospel

Some music to go along with the books? My two favorite cd discoveries this year:
Mumford - Babel
Civil Wars

Kids love books, too! We've been reading:

Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Skippyjon Jones

Our kids get 3 gifts from us for Christmas. I bought each of the littles a craft kit this year. Don't tell! They love getting crafty and it'll be something to keep them busy during another sloggy winter. I found really cool kits for Silas and Ruby on Clearance at Target for 75% off a couple of months ago. Each was no more than $4.

Calvin's getting this:

Build Your Own Fighter Planes

While I'm already rambling, do you happen to have a Silas in your midst? My friend Heather wrote a couple years ago about the Melissa & Doug cutting fruits set. She also has a Silas and swore this was the only toy he cared about. So I ordered it immediately and, I kid you not, homeboy played independently and quietly and without destructive fall-out for the first time ever.

(This was 2 years ago and much progress has been made, but we've managed to not lose the knife and that's saying something.)

There you have it.

Merry Almost, Ladies and Gents. You sure make this gig fun.

Festively Yours,
FPFG (& Cow II)

*Amazon links are affiliate links.


  1. love these ideas!!! love the cow. love the music selections. fondest memory of the year? (besides the birth of my fourth baby?) seeing Mumford. with my own eyes. I died and went to musical heaven.

  2. Just have to comment that I LOVE YOUR BLOG! My hands down favorite of the several I follow in my reader.When I see you have a new post, I always read asap! You have a great gift of writing and LOVE your quirky humor! Keep it coming :D I've been reading your blog for a couple years now and decided its high time to comment and say THANK YOU for a blog well done! ;) merry almost to you to!

    1. You're making me blush here in my falling-down ponytail and pjs!

  3. your mugs are fabulous! i've been shopping for our -kids hope/mentors/kids/families/every person we can wrangle in-
    cookie party, and gathering all the items is a blast!
    ps-we gave 'pretzel crack/bark' to my husband's office staff. they loved it! thanks for sharing, or not, because we've got leftovers tauting us and our teenagers and i'm 'bout sick already, and it's only the 19th.
    ONE BOOK THAT IS SPEAKING TO ME: The Circle of Seasons, Meeting God in the Church Year; by Kimberlee Conway Ireton. I was not raised following the church calendar, and have very little knowledge of liturgy and its accoutrements; this book is fascinating and challenging. Buy it, read it, and share it with friends.

  4. How did I miss "Tattoos on My Heart"? JUST added it to my wish list! THANKS!

    Love the idea of using the vintage hankie instead of tissue or cellophane!

    1. Girl, it's got some rough language and a bit of weird theology.
      Just feel like I should warn you!


  5. you are my kinda girl. but you already know that.

  6. I love this corner, nay, NEED this corner.
    Watch out, West Virginia thrift stores...mama needs some coffee mugs.

  7. I love to read your blog! It always leaves me smiling. Hands down my favorite find through the Hope Spoken conference! I love all of your super cute ideas for thrifting and decorating. I simply must find you while at the conference and give you a hug!

    1. Oh my word. Hi!
      I read this ages ago while I was at my parents house, but I couldn't respond then because if I logged them out of their computer, well, it wouldn't be pretty to then log them back in. :)
      Anyway, I wanted to give a proper hello. Your comment made me smile. :) :) (see??)
      Please find me at HS! It will be here before we know it. Can't wait to meet you!

  8. I'd love to receive a gift so lovingly thought over. What great ideas!

  9. I would love that gift! I would loce our random mug collection to look more like your battery rack. I just got my sister-in-law a mug at an antique store and she loves it! Her name is Alison, but we call her Al. I found a milk glass mug that says "Al". What are the chances?

    My Silas (aka 2 1/2 yr old Lillian) is getting the Melissa and Doug apple pie set. I hope she loves it too. It will let her cut apples and assemble a pie...maybe lessen the destruction around the house? I'm hoping.

    1. Hahaha! I found one of my friends a mug that says "Phyllis". Her name is not Phyllis. But of course I bought it. And THEN I found ANOTHER "Phyllis" mug. SO I BOUGHT HER ANOTHER ONE.

  10. Girl. This is awesome! And WHERE can I find a battery rack of my own??

  11. If I had friends that gave me gifts and I got one of those mugs, so unique and carefully selected, I'd cry a tear of happiness and hug the stuffing out of her! You rock!

  12. Where do you find those darling hankies? Cute idea...

  13. As if I needed any more confirmation that we're meant to be pals. I adore the same 2 CDs and books (haven't read tattoos though.) And I love me some thrifted, repurposed loot. You've got some lucky friends. : )

    1. Oh lady. Read Tattoos asap! I've read it twice and I can't say that about many books. It's a life-changer. With salty language. :)

  14. I found red-RED-loaf pans at IKEA for $4.99 each. I baked homemade English Muffin bread IN THE RED PANS, paired it with homemade strawberry freezer jam, tied them up with fun ribbon, baker's twine, and brown craft paper and called it GOOD! All friends report loving the gift! Yeah for frugal AND fun! Merry Christmas, Shannan!

  15. We would be lost without the fruit cutting set! When we saw pictures of our son in foster care, he was playing with a fruit cutting set, so we bought the Melissa and Doug one for him as soon as we brought him home. He loves to pretend to prepare and serve meals, so we are adding a few mini pots and pans for Christmas this year :)

  16. I found a recipe on Pinterest for honey butter and for cinnamon/sugar bread..BOOYAH...homemade Christmas it is...the gifts were loved and adored by all and NO bake cranberry oat chocolate cookies...small red platters @ the thrift store for .25 cents and BOOYAH...cookie platters for the cancer center and my shopping for the plates and making something to give for the holidays...I have received rosemary sea salt in a jar and my friend helped me make homemade cinnamon rolls in those disposable tins and I scour the 2nd hand store for the large cinnamon rolls on napkin...pull up and tie with pretty ribbon....LOVE the gift making and giving of the season...check out William Sonoma or Macy on line and IKEA pie plates are 4,99..Christmas Blessings to the Martin Family !

    1. Love these ideas! I made that honey butter one year. SUPER yum!

  17. I would absolutely LOVE to receive an adorable retro mug gift set! The fact that it was someone's "old mug" would never cross my mind, but then again, I have no problem giving thrifted gifts! Your mug collection is fabulous!

    1. That's why you're obviously one of my people. At least in theory. :)

  18. my grandparents had that same cow head (they were dairy farmers)! makes me miss them, and wish I could find one of those myself.

  19. LOL-I've owned quite a few of the mugs in your collection!

  20. I think I got the best one! ;) and the $1 lip gloss, what a steal! i still haven't touched the mug yet. i just like looking at it!

  21. SWEET MAMA JAMA! The cow from my childhood home has made its way to a thrift store in IN. I kid you not, that cow, which by the way is actually a dish towel rack, was hanging in my home my entire childhood. It even moved with us to a new house and then eventually disappeared when my parents re-did the kitchen. I thought they had just put it into the attic, but perhaps it actually wandered its way from Oregon to Indiana?

    1. Spoooooky!
      This is the great thing about thrifting. You just never know!

    2. I was going to say that was MY mom's cow head towel holder that hung in our kitchen my entire childhood. Perhaps that's even spookier- knowing your cow has a twin sister out there somewhere!! ;))

  22. Hey Shannan!!

    I just came across your blog and I LOVE it! You're a girl after my own heart with all the thrift store talk! That cow is about a million shades of awesomeness. Can't wait to read more.


  23. Love this mug idea! You always make my heart smile:)


  24. You are the cutest friend ever to be had.We should clone you and send some my way! I would be a happy peep if a friend gifted me a sweet filled previously loved mug.Happy Holidays Missy !!!

  25. Cow No 2 is Awesome!
    Merry Christmas

  26. I have that exact cow, except it's a pig! Always hung in my bedroom, and now hangs in my bathroom today, 35 years later. One of my sisters actually has that exact cow.......classics! Can't remember what our other sister was given (by our parents one Christmas) - perhaps a bear? - must inquire this Christmas!
    xo b

  27. I love how your thrifty stuff looks so fabulous. You have the knack. I on the other hand make it look like I was dumpster diving and inebriated when I put it together.

    I am however into the homemade gifts. Love to give them and get them!

  28. Oh my word...first I WANT your battery rack, aint denying it. Second, I wish I was one of your besties to get one of your adorable mugs. My starbucks mug from Goodwill recently had an accident, and cannot be fixed, and I'm heartbroken. It was my favorite. I have been on the hunt ever since.

    Merry Christmas!

  29. i have a battery box but mine doesn't have the hooks. major score. i use mine to hold my shutterfly memory books. it's happy yellow:)

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Love these ideas! Those mugs are awesome.

  32. When you mentioned Ragamuffin book it made me remember Rich Mullins. You may be too young to remember him. He was a musician. I loved his work. I love your mugs and holder! Great post, as usual!

    1. Oh man, I WISH I was too young to remember! Nope, scratch that. Because I LOVE Rich Mullins. Have you read An Arrow Pointing to Heaven? Fantastic read.

  33. What a great corner and sweet gifts. Really perfect. I have just requested 2 of your book suggestions from my library. Thanks!

  34. I discovered Civil Wars this year too! Have you heard their version of Billie Jean? Sooo good.

  35. I love your coffee cup gift idea... I only wish I had an odd friend like you because I would have loved to receive one of your mug gifts! I'll have to remember this too because when I'm shopping my favorite thrift stores I often see cute mugs but there is only one and I think... what am I going to do with just one?


  36. Oh! and I almost forgot, I love your little cow... I have one just like it! :o)


  37. Otr 214427
    Work from home theory is fast gaining popularity because of the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. Since one is not bound by fixed working hours, they can schedule their work at the time when they feel most productive and convenient to them. Women & Men benefit a lot from this concept of work since they can balance their home and work perfectly. People mostly find that in this situation, their productivity is higher and stress levels lower. Those who like isolation and a tranquil work environment also tend to prefer this way of working. Today, with the kind of communication networks available, millions of people worldwide are considering this option.

    Women & Men who want to be independent but cannot afford to leave their responsibilities at home aside will benefit a lot from this concept of work. It makes it easier to maintain a healthy balance between home and work. The family doesn't get neglected and you can get your work done too. You can thus effectively juggle home responsibilities with your career. Working from home is definitely a viable option but it also needs a lot of hard work and discipline. You have to make a time schedule for yourself and stick to it. There will be a time frame of course for any job you take up and you have to fulfill that project within that time frame.

    There are many things that can be done working from home. A few of them is listed below that will give you a general idea about the benefits of this concept.

    This is the most common and highly preferred job that Women & Men like doing. Since in today's competitive world both the parents have to work they need a secure place to leave behind their children who will take care of them and parents can also relax without being worried all the time. In this job you don't require any degree or qualifications. You only have to know how to take care of children. Parents are happy to pay handsome salary and you can also earn a lot without putting too much of an effort.

    For those who have a garden or an open space at your disposal and are also interested in gardening can go for this method of earning money. If given proper time and efforts nursery business can flourish very well and you will earn handsomely. But just as all jobs establishing it will be a bit difficult but the end results are outstanding.

    Freelance can be in different wings. Either you can be a freelance reporter or a freelance photographer. You can also do designing or be in the advertising field doing project on your own. Being independent and working independently will depend on your field of work and the availability of its worth in the market. If you like doing jewellery designing you can do that at home totally independently. You can also work on freelancing as a marketing executive working from home. know more, email us on and we will send you information on how you can actually work as a marketing freelancer.

    Internet related work
    This is a very vast field and here sky is the limit. All you need is a computer and Internet facility. Whatever field you are into work at home is perfect match in the software field. You can match your time according to your convenience and complete whatever projects you get. To learn more about how to work from home, contact us today on workfromhome.otr214427@gmail.comand our team will get you started on some excellent work from home projects.

    Diet food
    Since now a days Women & Men are more conscious of the food that they eat hence they prefer to have homemade low cal food and if you can start supplying low cal food to various offices then it will be a very good source of income and not too much of efforts. You can hire a few ladies who will help you out and this can be a good business.

    Thus think over this concept and go ahead.

  38. Ok..! so i have an friendly store for online shopping for gift items for people who’s want shop online for you can go to and enjoy with online shopping for gifts we have many type of gifts like birthday, gift for her or gift for him and many more…thanks

  39. So I realize this was from last year and I'm just now reading it, but my jaw dropped when I saw your collection of mugs, because I've been doing the same thing for years now, and I love it. Everywhere we go I have to run in and do a quick check in the knick knack section for a unique cup, and I've found some lovelies! I love your findings too, and I was already scheming recently of how to do this in a gifty way, and I love your addition of vintage hankies. So I now consider you a thrifty mug kindred spirit--even as weird as it sounds!!!

  40. We have authors who work on the orders of clients who hire our online college essay writing Services. They have an extensive research skills and knowledge to develop a top quality Best College Essay Writing Service.

  41. I think this is an informative post and it is very beneficial and knowledgeable. Therefore, I would like to thank you for the endeavors that you have made in writing this article. All the content is absolutely well-researched. Thanks... Coffee Mugs