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Crafty Christmas -- Using your imagination to create the most perfect, one-of-a-kind gift this holiday season

December 23, 2015
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Looking for the most perfect, unique, one-of-a-kind item to gift your loved one(s) this holiday season? The answer can be right at the tips of your very own fingers and the imagination of your very own mind! Crafting your own gifts can be both affordable on your wallet, easier than you think, and well-appreciated by the recipients.

Getting artsy with chalk paint

Thrifting pre-owned furniture or decor from local thrift shops like the Kiwanis of Fort Myers Beach (11050 Summerlin Square Drive, 239-454-8090) or Goodwill (19041 San Carlos Blvd., 239-765-5151) and using the specialty chalk paint available at the Salty Dog Gallery and Gifts (1901 Estero Blvd., 239-463-9900) infuses vintage character with your own creativity and love, for the perfect gift.

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You don’t need a Masters in Art History to create a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of artwork to gift to your favorite person this holiday season. A little paint, cardboard, thrifted items and your intuition and creativity goes a long way!

"Chalk paint has been around for several years and continues to grow in popularity," said Carla Pine, owner of the Salty Dog shop. "We are a nation of Do-It-Yourselfers; everyone watches HGTV and wants to try new and different things. Chalk paint allows you to explore your artistic talent (or lack thereof), using your vivid imagination, and the simplicity of the paint allows everyone to have great success."

Peruse the thrift shop aisles for small furniture pieces, like end tables or smaller shelving units/cabinets, or perhaps some framed mirrors, vases, candlestick holders, gift boxes, jewelry boxes or other unique home accessories, pick up a few jars of chalk paint, and go to town.

Still worried you'll somehow manage to mess it up? Call Carla at the Salty Dog; she often offers chalk paint classes and tutorials and offers her own talents to customize your gift. "We have such a ball the classes are so fun, and you'd be amazed what you can do with a piece of junk and some chalk paint. Stop by and see what you can do!" Carla said.

Hit the library

Our very own Fort Myers Beach Library offers a plethora of publications on at-home crafting for one-of-a-kind gifts, and if you have time, be sure to attend one of the many artistic courses offered whether it's jewelry-crafting, drawing or painting, you're sure to find a medium in which you're most comfortable.

The hardware store

The hardware store: it's not just for home improvement. This shop has all types of items you can utilize to make your gift usable and that much more enjoyable.

Swing by Gavin's Ace Hardware (16025 San Carlos Blvd., 239-466-7777) or Sun Hardware (7205 Estero Blvd., 239-765-5000) for just what you need to turn a craft project into a useful item around the home.

Have some cardboard just sitting around? After some clipping and crimping, add some LED light strips for a personal light fixture. Cut out some holes, strips, some folding and bending tie a piece of string and you have a unique hanging piece of wall art. Add a light fixture to that and voila a one-of-a-kind accent lamp. Don't be afraid to dive in and see where your imagination takes you.

Just use your imagination

It's amazing to think of the endless possibilities that are at your disposal with just some ingenuity, paint, glue and a little imagination. Don't be afraid to dive in and have fun. It'll show in the finished result. Worst case scenario: WalMart is open 24 hours.

Happy holidays to all! ~~~Melissa



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