Quick Tips from the Dollar Store Diva


If you’re looking for something
different to use as a party favour this year, buy a couple of
packages of gift card holders. I found these at Dollarama for
$1.25 for a package of four. Instead of a gift card, enclose
wrapped chocolate and a small gift inside. (I tried it and it
works!) You could even add a Christmas riddle, if you like; sort
of a Christmas cracker without the snap. 

Fresh flowers are a wonderful
addition to any room. Unfortunately, they’re not long-lived. When
the bouquet gets to be past its prime, there are usually a few
blooms that still look good. Fill a clear low vase with water ,
snip the heads off and float one or more of them in the water for
continued enjoyment. You may want to add some decorative stones to
the bowl or a piece of greenery from the same bouquet. 

Give a plain lampshade a quick boost with a couple
of rolls of decorative trim. This corded trim has faux leaves
weaved throughout. One roll contains 6 feet, 6 inches of trim and
costs $1.50. One roll would be sufficient for a smaller lampshade.
I used a clear-drying glue to secure the trim to the top and
bottom edges of this larger shade.

Dress up plain vases and other
objects using stickers from the dollar store. In this case I used
part of a set of laptop stickers. Get more ideas from Sticker

Make your own battery-operated
lantern using a candle lantern you have on hand and a set of
battery-operated lights. I used this set of blue butterflies from
my summer stash. I pulled a few of the lights up through the top
of the lantern, rested some of them between the bars at the top of
the cage and spread the rest out around the base. 

Tuck as much of the cord inside
the lantern as you can, leaving just enough so that the battery
pack can be attached to the bottom of the lantern using Velcro or
Command strips. That way, you can hang the lantern up and still
have easy access to the on/off switch, while keeping the battery
pack pretty much out of sight.

Every spring, I get
masses of pretty yellow primroses blooming in my garden and I
wondered why I couldn’t bring some inside to enjoy, just like any
other flower. Trouble is finding a vase small enough! The
solution: a shot glass. It’s the perfect size for holding tiny
flowers like these.

Here’s an easy idea
for Mother’s Day that’s sure to please. Just buy a pretty
pot  at the dollar store, a flowering plant, (I found this
pretty pink geranium at my local grocery store garden center for
$3), and you’ve got a gift that will serve double-duty. 

Just put the plant,
still in its plastic pot, into the dollar store ceramic pot and
tuck some Spanish moss around the top edges. Add a butterfly pick
or some other embellishment, if you like. Mom can plant the flower
in her garden this spring and reuse the pot for another plant
either inside or outside.

Choose an appropriately-sized
flower pot or planter, fill it up with stones (I’ve used small
ones here) and just stick your succulent picks in to make a
pleasing arrangement, varying the heights. Easy to do, easy to

Dress up some taper candles
using rings. You can buy these rings at Dollarama for $2.50 per
card of four. I used three thin ones on the left candle and two
wider rings on the right one, as examples of how you can use them.
Of course, you’ll want to buy two sets of the same rings for a
matched look.

Keep all of your instruction
manuals that are related to the TV in a plastic folder like this
from the dollar store and tuck it in behind the TV. Then, when you
need to check the TV, game system, or Bluray manual, you won’t
have to dig through a file cabinet or drawer to find what you’re
looking for.

Make a fragrant sachet for
drawers and closets by filling a few of those drawstring gift bags
from the dollar store with your favourite potpourri. This would
also make a thoughtful gift for Valentine’s Day. 

If you’d like to keep your mini
lights with the same box they came in, but struggle to fit those
strings of round pegs back in the square hole, try wrapping them
around the outside of the box. You’ll save a lot of frustration
while at the same time keeping the lights from becoming
tangled. Mark where they were used on the box lid.

Dress up your ribbon with clear
stickers. Use clear-drying glue  to adhere them to wide
ribbon. Let dry thoroughly before using the ribbon on a package or
for holiday decorating.

Here’s an idea for
place card holders that use decorations you may already have on
hand. This snowman’s “hands” make the perfect place to
insert a name card. Plain cards can be embellished with a bright
Christmas sticker. Ornaments with flat bottoms and that have a bit
of weight to them work best, but don’t limit yourself; try other
types of ornaments as well, until you find something that works
for you. Place names can always be glued to an ornament’s

Now’s the time to start picking
up items for gift baskets and stocking stuffers like this box of
fancy cookies I found at Dollarama. Buying a few small items every
week will prevent panic from setting in as Christmas draws

The natural elements
all around us are free for the taking and make for easy fall
decorating. Here, a combination of small pinecones and acorns in
an attractive dish makes a quick and easy decorating accent for
fall and winter.

If you’re living in a
rental apartment with a boring back splash area, try using
over-sized wall stickers to give the area some colour. Vinyl wall
stickers won’t leave a sticky residue when removed and can be
wiped down with a damp cloth, so kitchen splatters shouldn’t be a
problem. When you get tired of one pattern, these stickers can be
easily replaced for a totally new look. 

Each sticker sheet has
six large decals on it. I found these at Dollar Tree.

Add a little
inexpensive bling to your curtains by using a dollar store
necklace as a tieback. Experiment with different types of
necklaces to get a look that’s right for your curtain and room décor. 

Tissue boxes sit out in the
open in our homes, so we want them to be attractive, as well as
useful, especially in places where visitors may see them. I
usually buy my tissues in packages of six and sometimes there’s a
box or two that I don’t like the looks of, for one reason or
another. Here’s an easy fix: Cut two-inch strips of wrapping paper
or scrapbook paper and tape or glue them around the outside of the
tissue box. (I recommend gluing to ensure that all the edges lay
flat.) I found this mirror-like paper in my scrapbook paper stash
and used it to glam up a plain tissue box for the powder room.

Did you know that you can use a
mug warmer to release candle scents? Well you can! I tried it and
it works great, especially when you have someone in your house who
is leery of open flames. 😉 Of course, you only want to do this
with candles in glass containers.

Re-purpose an old
metal pencil cup as a candle holder. Here, we’ve just turned it
upside down and added a mirror sticker embellishment. If you have
a metal pencil cup with cut-out shapes, you could put the candle
directly inside the pencil cup.

All you need is a
package of plain shower curtain rings and a bag of craft accents
to make your own version of fancy shower curtain rings. Be sure to
use a strong glue to adhere the accents to the rings. (Hot glue
melts in the heat and humidity of a bathroom.)

Use your imagination to come up with the right accent for your particular bathroom décor, keeping in mind that they should be waterproof, of a comparable size to the ones you see for sale in stores and not too heavy.
Read Tub
to see more easy bathroom upgrades.

I’ve been using this desk
organizer on the kitchen counter to hold things I use often. Keep
scissors, pens and pencils, note paper and even small tools handy
and within easy reach. It’s also a great place to store take-out
menus that you use often.

If you’re traveling this
summer, put together a first aid kit with supplies from the dollar
store. Besides these shown, you can find alcohol wipes, diarrhea
medicine, muscle ache patches, medical tape and more. Use a small
lidded box to store everything. To save space, remove things like
bandages from their original containers, taking just a few for
your travel kit. You could also add a few cotton balls, cotton
swabs and/or cotton pads stored in a small zipper seal bag. 

Customize your first aid kit
according to your family’s needs and be sure to replenish anything
you use after each outing. 

Dollar store garden ornaments
will have a greater impact if you group them together in sets of
three, rather than spreading them throughout the garden. 

Who says you have to use the
same type of candle holder in a grouping? Here we’ve used two
different tea light holders along with a  votive holder.
Unify the grouping by using the same colour tea light candle in
each holder. Fill the votive holder three quarters of the way full
with small shells or decorative sand to make a base for the tea

Got too many snack
boxes taking up space in your cupboards? Reduce the space need to
store them by using a cheap plastic box to store the snack bars
in. Then recycle the cardboard boxes. This storage box is about 9
1/2-inches long by about 6 1/2-inches wide and can store at least
three boxes worth of snack bars. Use these lidded boxes for
storing other things and stack them to save even more space.

You can throw some mood
lighting together quicker than you can say, “summer
party,” by putting clear glass stones in a small glass bowl
and nestling the top of a cheap solar light into it.

Now that the weather
is getting warmer, many of us want to hang our clothes outside. I
love the fresh smell  my clothes get after they’ve been
hanging outside to dry! But there’s a problem. With small
backyards being the norm these days, we are limited to using
portable clothes racks, rather than a clothes line. On a windy
day, these racks tend to tip over. 

Here’s a solution
using garden staples. The picture on the left is a 5 1/2-inch long
garden staple. These staples come in a package of ten for
$1.50  at Dollarama. The picture on the right shows how you
can use three or four of these staples to anchor your clothes rack
into the ground so it won’t blow over on a windy day. 

A row of three dimensional
flower stickers placed around the middle of a vase makes a quick
and easy way to decorate a candle holder for spring and summer.

In years past it seems that
everyone had coloured covers for their toilet seat lids that
matched the bath rugs, but that trend has since fallen out of
favour. Still, if you’d like to add a little extra colour to your
bathroom, try using some wall stickers. These came on a large
sheet for two bucks at Dollarama. 

A word of warning: These wall
stickers will be more of a challenge to remove from plastic and
porcelain than if they were on a wall, where they can be easily
repositioned, so be sure you get the design you’ve chosen where
you want it the first time as they may stretch and tear when
you’re trying to reposition them.

Arrange different shapes of
cork trivets on a wall to create an outside-the-box message centre.
Trivets are thicker than the usual cork board so you can be sure
push pins won’t scratch walls. 3M Comand strips work well to adhere the cork to the wall.

The embellishments are 3D
stickers also found at the dollar store. I’m always surprised by
how many surfaces stickers will adhere to.

Label your closet bins
using pictures, rather than writing on labels. Stickers work well.
For instance, if you have dog gear in one basket, like I do, you
can always find stickers with dogs on them. Or, if you can draw or
have a talented relative in your family, put a hand-drawn picture
on the label. In my case, my son Curtis helped me label the bin
with extra hats and gloves in it and made another label that
designates all things related to shoes, such as laces, polishes
and spray protectors. 

Keeping such things
all in one place makes them easy to find when you need them.

Someone gifted me with
apple-scented potpourri years ago. Although the scent is long
gone, the potpourri is still attractive. For contrast, I’ve added
some elements from other vase fillers, such as the cream-coloured
paper flower, as well as some pinecones and faux acorns. Served up
in a wooden bowl, it makes an attractive decoration on a coffee
table that will last throughout fall and winter.

Here’s a quick and easy party
favour for your next fall party: Simply wrap regular-size
chocolate bars in scrapbook paper. Here, we’ve left the ends open.
Place a faux leaf on top and secure it in place with baker’s twine
as you wrap the chocolate like a gift. Tie a knot in the twine,
leaving the ends long. 

Print messages such as
“Thankful for You!”, “Give Thanks” or place
names, if you prefer, onto a sheet of address labels and cut them
out. Apply messages or names to small tags, add a small
embellishment like the leaf confetti shown here and tie the label
onto the ends of the baker’s twine.

Okay, so the zipper
pull on one of my fabric storage bags broke. Since this isn’t
something on display for all to see, a safety pin works as the
perfect quick fix for the problem.

If you’re like me, you hate to
throw out reusable gift bags but what can you do with a bunch of
paper wine bottle bags? I mean,  you don’t gift someone with
a bottle of wine everyday. If you have a collection of these tall
paper gift bags, here’s the answer. Just cut them down
to a shorter size (however tall or short you want), leaving about
an extra inch at the top to fold down on the inside
of the bag and use a one-hole punch to make holes for a ribbon or
decorative cord handle. Voila! A gift bag that’s wider than your
average small gift bag and great for smaller gifts.

Perch small potted succulents
atop glass candlesticks of varying heights for a quick and easy
coffee table centrepiece. If your faux succulents are in larger
pots, use candlesticks with wider tops.

Organize your craft
supplies and make them easily accessible by using a lazy Susan. We
cut a piece of non-slip shelf liner to fit the top of this 10-inch
glass lazy Susan and added six mini glass canisters to hold small
craft pieces like buttons, tacks and other small pieces. These
small canisters come in a set of three for two bucks. Place a
square votive candle holder in the middle to store things like
sharpie markers and paint brushes.

Pull out a few of your votive
candle holders, fill part way with birdseed and nestle bird-shaped
tea lights into them. This is a quick, easy and very affordable
idea you can use for casual entertaining this summer.  You
can buy a small bag of birdseed for a buck at Dollarama. The bird
tea light candles are from there, too.
See more summer candle ideas here: Light
of the Party

Tips, Continued….