Sunday, May 1, 2011

~~~~~~A SWEET TUTORIAL FOR YOU~~~~~ Precious Gifts From Your Own Hands

Sweet Gifts for Pennies on the Dollar
(Left Click to Enlarge Pics)

Last week while my hubby and I were away visiting the beautiful state of Arizona we had the chance to visit some truly amazing little shoppes.  We ducked into more charming places than I have room to share.  Visiting small, privately owned businesses brought back many memories for me and reminded me how challenging owning a brick and mortar store can actually be.
Simple To Follow Directions

It's not for the 'faint of heart' I can assure you!  With the economy the way it is today I'm not surprised when I hear another one has closed.  

So, as much as I once loved my days running a 'Storefront Gifterie' I don't ever see myself returning to such a business.  Still, there were aspects of being a Shop Owner that I will always love tho... 
(Shopping Dollar Tree is Great!)

Going to Market (wholesale) four or five times a year (or more when necessary) provided endless hours of inspiration and proved to me on more than one occasion that nearly every idea I THOUGHT I'd come up with had in all likelihood been done many times before (bummer!)... 
(Found This Beauty at Tuesday Morning)

One of the most popular things sold in my A Gathering Place Shoppe (Yes! I've had the same name all these years!) were embellished soaps and decorated/bottled oils.  Back then I didn't even try to make them...  Quite honestly I was too busy trying to balance my books and was far too focused on trying to keep the lights turned on if you want to know the truth!  :(  (Trust me when I say there were LOTS of lean days even in the early 90's, too!)
(Lots of Sweet Finds @ Ross/TJ Max-i-million) 

Anyway, I learned a lot about marketing during those early days of owning a business and thankfully figured out that expensive isn't always better.  Creative Labor is extremely costly as we all know and many of the things found offered in the best boutiques were created by hard working (struggling?) peeps like yourself (and Moi).
(Cost $3.99-$4.99 for a Box of 3)

Boy...I'd love to tell you that the embellishment of soaps was all my own idea, but you know that would be TOTALEEE SILLY!  Just know that I'm just showing you my little spin on them!  I'm sure you'll come up with your own amazing styles and ideas that will suit you (and those you love) to a T!
(Sigh....) make these over-the-moon Embellished Soaps for the special lady in your life start by stopping into your neighborhood stores like ROSS, TJ Max, Marshall's and Tuesday Morning.

All of the stores I just mentioned sell amazing Soaps and Body Bars at discounted prices.  Lots of the ones I found smell truly heavenly and were made with high-quality ingredients!  It's the packaging/boxing that is UGLY!
(They are probably designed by a man!)
OMGOSH...did I say that????

This is easy to do...just like wrapping a gift box!  Secure with a TINY BIT of glue (hot or Tacky) if necessary.
I skipped the glue and just folded the ends over like you see above before tying up with my favorite rayon ribbon...

For the Soaps covered with solid pastel paper, old paper doilies were added for just a hint of chic panache before the ribbon was added!  Sweet, huh? 
 Now...I have tons and tons of vintage and older millinery blooms to work because I've collected them for years.  They truly add a special romantic touch to most of the things created in my AGP studio, but at the same time they can be very pricey.  
 ~ATTACH FLORALS TO THE TOP~ can find some amazing florals at Michael's and Hobby Lobby so check these places out when you have time.  Some of the best roses I've ever found (over 200) were at a garage sale and glued onto cheap looking baskets (the florals were great...the baskets not-so-much!).

I'm crazy about personalizing things and love coming up with sweet little decorative tags to attach to my gifts.  Use your imagination because the possibilities are endless...

Computers are wonderful if you know what you're doing, but you can also create amazing one-of-a-kind hang tags from rubber stamps and simple papers!  I made the labels you see above using a vintage postcard graphic and lettering.  Soap fragrance and/or ingredients can be added to the backside of the tag if you so desire.  On small items I've always believed simple is best and less is more!

Lastly...I opted to cello-bag my embellished soaps.  I love this look and all you need to do after one is tied up is to place it in a small gift bag and you are good to go.  You can also wrap the original soap box in matching paper and then place the embellished soaps (without the cello bag wrapping) back inside.  Then cover the entire box with clear cello wrap and secure with a single tag and ribbon.

Before I scoot I just MUST show you the most amazing church I've seen in many a moon!  It is Catholic Church located in Flagstaff, Arizona and is about 100 years old if I remember correctly!  I was totally awestruck to see it person and knowing it comes trimmed out with PINK PAINT made it even more, um...
(Sorry...couldn't resist).

Thank you for stopping by today!  Don't forget tomorrow I will begin another fun Give-A-Way...
Blessings for a lovely Sunday.  Isn't God Good?

Love to you...


Kerri said...

Hi Rebecca, thanks for the soap idea. Those are really pretty! They will make nice gifts too. I love the pic of the church, I am catholic and my favorite color is pink!


Angie said...

Rebecca, thank you so much for the wonderful photos and the lovely idea. I never thought of re-wrapping soaps, but I love the visual appeal of anything so feminine.

I sold items on Ebay for a few years and even that was "taxing!" I can't imagine running my own storefront!


Old Time Cindy said...

Know what you mean about owning a B&M. I have owned two separate shops in the past and I prefer my online methods much more now. Thanks for sharing the pretty soaps. Hope to make some for my sisters!

Home and Heart said...

So pretty! I often wrap them ( without the tags) for my bathroom. You made lovely gifts!

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs said...

Your soaps are just beautiful!
I love how you embellish things and make them so special ~
Thank you for sharing with us :)


Theresa said...

Oh Sweet Rebecca, what a wonderful tutorial for those gorgeous soap beauties! I am stopping at Marshall's, TJMaxx or Ross on my way home from Church:) I'll tell the Hubby that it is your fault... hehe!

Have a HEAVENLY day! HUGS!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca! Oh, I'm so glad you had a great time on your trip. The church is gorgeous and pink trim?
Now, those little soaps are so beautiful! You really know how to make pretty! I've just become the leader of our women's ministry at church and this is one little project I'm going to use for little treats for the gals! You're just amazing! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

bee'nme said...

Hey Rebecca!

LOVELY tutorial...these are such wonderful yet simple ideas! I REALLY appreciate you sharing the steps and your sources... Great ideas for Mother's Day!!

I can't even imagine running a brick and mortar store...just having space in one was a huge time burner with never ending details and constant tweaking...I can't imaging the stress of keeping the lights on! I do miss the fun of display and the wonderful interactions with our sweet customers though...

And isn't Arizona fabulous!? I love Flagstaff...but I never saw that church...glorious!! Did you guys go to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona? Stunning! (sorry if you did and I missed a post about it).

Have a great week!

Hugs & Blessings,

Barbara Jean said...

Good morning Rebecca.

Lovely post and sweet idea for the soaps.

And boy did you say a mouthful about owning a shop!! You hit the nail on he head. It is a LOT of work!! Bookkeeping: YUCK!!!

But, meeting the people, serving them, getting to know and care for them, bringing some sunshine to their day, is such a joy.

For three years my store has been my ministry, and I love it. And because it is God's store, He is causing it to grow. (we almost broke even this year) =)

But that is secondary to His work in me, through me, and to others.
A blessing and a gift from Him, for however long He chooses this season to be.

Whoa! Can you tell I am excited???
Life story over for today. =)

sweet blessings to a sweet lady!

barbara jean

stefanie said...

what a sweet tutorial!!!
oh, what a beautiful church!!!

Sue @ Not the Good Scissors! said...

Thank you for sharing the romantic soap tutorial. I have been considering making my own soaps and this would be a lovely addition to the packaging. This would make lovely Mother's Day gifts for the women in my family. Hmmm. Maybe I should start getting busy :)

Have a blessed week. Hugs, Sue
P.S. The church is beautiful.

Janet said...

The soaps are just heavenly. What a great idea and special gift for someone. Thanks for sharing your amazing talent. Hugs, Janet

Lynn Stevens said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful tutorial on your soaps, What a darling gift they will make.
Love the church !
hugs Lynn


Hi Rebecca,
Thanks for visiting me! Recoloring means that he added more color to my existing tattoo! He made it all pretty again as the colors can fade over time.
LOVE how you made the soaps so pretty in their new wrappers!

NanE said...

Awesome tut Rebecca, thanks for sharing. And that Church is beautiful. Have a wonderful Sunday, Nan

A Shabby Moment in Time said...

Thanks for sharing how frugally we can dress up the ordinary in our lives. The soap idea is simply beautiful. Love learning new things from all you talented ladies in blogland.
Blessings & Hugs,

Sherrie said...

Beautiful! Thank you for the tutorial on how you create your gorgeousness!

Stephanie Suzanne Designs said...

Hi Rebecca,

You are so correct...there truly is nothing under the sun that is NEW..tee hee

All I can say is great minds think alike! We just put our own unique expression on the ideas that we have. Forget what everyone else is doing.

Those embellished soap bars are so lovely...obviously they are never to be used! Who would want to spoil that beautiful wrapping? Well, on second thought maybe a Queen would use them. tee hee :-)

I really want to know how Miss Mollie made out while you were gone as well as you {being away from your shadow}??

Miss Morgan has traveled everywhere I've ever gone in the past 5 years.

Pink Sparkles for your day,
Stephanie ♥

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Beautiful!! I have often thought about doing soaps in my booth, it is on my todo list! You were just closing your shop when I started blogging, it would have been fun to follow your journey. I totally believe it was very difficult and stressful!


Shabby T said...

oh thankyou for sharing such a wonderful idea.. I always think of beautiful gifts that you would not necessarily purchased for yourself hey moms are so special and they do deserve somethin beautiful...
tahnks again
love shabbyt

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Hi Rebecca
Very nice soap gift tutorial - I think these would make a wonderful hostess gift. And you are right about presentation, an inexpensive item wrapped prettily and embellished makes the gift look like much more than it actually is.
Have a great week.

Unknown said...

Too Pretty! Girl, you just NEVAH run out of ideas!

Pink Roses and Teacups said...

Hello sweet Rebecca,

Hope you are good on this Monday morning! Thank you so much for this pretty tutorial on decorating our own soaps! What a great Mother's Day idea! have a great week sweetie!

Love and Hugs,

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Rebecca,
I love all your ideas for decorating creative girl!
What a fun trip you had to AZ. we are planning a trip to Jerome AZ, my Dad was born and raised in Jerome.
You and Mr. GPA Man look wonderful!!! A beautiful couple.
Gary and I are still fluffy, but we are working on losing some of the fluff.
Have a sweet day my friend and big hugs, Elizabeth

Charlene said...

I'm with you in being so very glad that I don't have my shop anymore! I was in Oklahoma City on Saturday for a QUICK visit to the Glitter Market at The Ppaer Crown. Soon I hope to plan a weekend & hope we can connect & I can see you space at the Antique Mall. Have a great week

Ginger said...

Rebecca what a wonderful idea you have given me. I moved my booth to a different shop in downtown Enid called Dees Hidden Treasures and I think I will try those. They have a web site at if you want to check it out. They show my booth which is tiny but for now that will do. Love, love, love you.

Mari said...



Tammy Neal said...

Hi Rebecca!

The bars of soap are just heavenly and I can't wait to make my own for my friends and family. Thank you so much for walking us through each step. Having a tutorial like that really helps, so thank you! I just hope mine turn out as pretty as yours did! Thanks again for more wonderful inspiraton. You are an amazing lady!!! Blessings for your week!
Love Tammy

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