I pride myself on being clever, and I do not make any apologies about it.  I also pride myself on being thrifty.  Again, no apologies. When we settled on a theme for Tessa's graduation, Gypsy Americana Travel, I immediately went to work--in my mind--on transforming our backyard shed into our food and gift center.  

The first order of business was to empty the shed of all the lawn equipment and miscellaneous junk.  That was not fun--at all.  The second order of business was to decide how to camouflage the gazillion bins of Christmas decorations in the loft area that I was not about to move.  Fortunately, my clever kicked in pretty quickly.

Well, nothing says gypsy like a mismatch of fabric, and all I had to do was shop the house for curtains, tablecloths, fabric, doilies, and trims in order to make a big gypsy statement.  I am a little embarrassed--or maybe I should be proud--of my extensive collection of curtains and tablecloths.  I did not even come close to using them all.

I added a few strands of Christmas lights and a few paper lanterns that I have been waiting for an occasion to use. I also made a banner using Tessa's friends' graduation announcements and a 2015 sign from the Dollar Tree.  Everything was hung using binder clips, safety pins, and nails.  We were able to use the tables and chairs from Kelly's art studio.  

I shopped my husband's workshop for scrap wood to make the directional sign that was hung on the outside of the shed and also the one in the shed that says, the world awaits.  It took me an hour or so to paint both projects. I absolutely had no plan at all--totally winged it.

Americana buntings were hung throughout the yard--like twenty or so. The roses on the table were cut from my neighbor's bushes and put in mason jars.

All in all, the only decorations I chose to spend money on were some new buntings which I will be able to use for the next few years.  I loved how everything turned out and even considered moving into the shed when the party was over.  I have always been a gypsy at heart.

Unfortunately there is no air conditioning in the shed.  

So the walls (curtains) came down and the lawn equipment moved back in, and my clever self did a whole bunch of laundry.


I am much better at executing mom's clever ideas than coming up with them.  In art is where I may have to become clever.  Sometimes, I have to look at the materials I have and wing something the kids will think is great.  This project was a success (minus the one glue gun burn.)


I'm pretty convinced that mom was gifted with most of the cleverness in this family.  I mean, occasionally I'll pull something out of thin air that is truly clever, but it's not a normal occurrence like it is for her.  She's just that good.  That being said, I have a great appreciation for clever, and since our topic is clever, I did come up with something to share.  

For my birthday several years ago, a friend of mine gave me a shadow box with a slit cut out of the top and a pretty saying inside. It is a ticket box.  

I got busy filling it with ticket stubs and programs from movies, plays, concerts, parking, plane rides, etc. right away.  My SocalityPDX ticket is tucked in the back next to a playbill from Phantom of the Opera.  Each slip of paper holds a memory that I don't want to forget, a memory of a piece of my life.  When I am feeling nostalgic, I am able to open the box and sift through the memories, and again give thanks for the opportunities I've had.


The best thing about this clever craft is how easy it is to make!  All you need is a shadow box, pretty paper to put in the back, and the ability to cut a hole in the top.  So, if you're looking for that clever AND useful gift, this is definitely it!