You may have noticed him featured in our bathroom makeover, but I made this little paint-dipped pot for a feature over on Polka Dot Bride.

Check out the full tutorial!


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Mug favour title

Gosh, Thursday already?! Which means it’s time for another Polka Dot Bride tutorial.

Find out how to design your own illustrated mugs to use as inexpensive wedding favours or gifts.

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gift card wrapping ideas
Gift card wrapping idea by So Shelli

I love choosing gifts for loved ones. But it can be tricky if your recipient:

  • struggles with clutter
  • has expressed desire to unclutter
  • lives far away from you
  • lives in a small space
  • is in a temporary living situation (eg dorm)
  • is moving soon or moves frequently
  • says they don’t need/want presents
  • is a person who ‘has everything’

I’ve had to buy for people in all of these situations (and am in a couple of them myself) so I thought I’d do a roundup of some no-clutter gift ideas to follow up from yesterday’s worst clutter gifts post.


Who wouldn’t want to be gifted a special night out?

  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Theatre
  • Art exhibitions


Experiences make wonderful and memorable gifts. Great for kids who have more than enough toys!

  • Zoo trip
  • Golf session
  • Travel voucher
  • Wine tasting


A great option but you’ll have to be sure it’s something the recipient is interested in and that they have time for it.


Services can be some of the best uncluttered gifts. Choose from me-time treats or time-saving practical options, depending on what your recipient would appreciate most.

  • Hairdressing
  • Manicure / pedicure
  • Massage
  • House cleaning
  • Car washing


A homemade voucher is an especially good gift for new parents or if you are on a tight budget. I provided some meals to my friend after the birth of her first baby last year and she’s still talking about it as one of the most appreciated gifts.

  • Homemade meal
  • Babysitting
  • House cleaning
  • Car washing
  • Preparing taxes
  • House painting
  • Gardening


An oldie but a goodie. Make sure they’re nicer than your normal plonk or biccies they would buy for themselves.

  • Wine
  • Spirits
  • Chocolates / sweets
  • Chutneys / jams / sauces

Digital media

Books, music and movies used to be some of the worst clutter offenders. Not anymore!

Charitable donation

A particularly good option if your recipient is known for their social conscience, is a bit older and ‘has everything’ or is experiencing a bereavement (as an alternative to flowers). The ones where you can sign up for a particular thing are good – a pair of slippers wouldn’t have meant much to my auntie but she was chuffed knowing that someone had been given the gift of sight in her name. Select a charity that resonates with the interests of your loved one. Here are a few:

Gift cards / cash

Obviously they could end up buying something ‘cluttery’ with it but the choice is theirs.

Tangible gifts

If you’re like me and prefer giving tangible gifts, there are still ways to keep it uncluttered.

  • To replace something else if you think they would appreciate it (eg a new lamp to replace a broken one, bonus points if it’s a versatile item that can replace more than one thing)
  • Something they need and would buy anyway, such as clothes (consider making it better quality than they would buy for themselves so it still feels special)
  • Something that will help get them organised (eg labels, scanner, calendar)
  • Chip in with others to purchase one more substantial or better quality item (give the newlyweds one kick-arse coffee machine instead of 20 platters)
  • Flowers!

So, what do you think? Anything you’d add to the list?

What are your favourite uncluttered gifts to give and receive?

P.S. Happy birthday to The Man!! The last year of our twenties and I’m sure it’ll be a good one. xxoo

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cake pop dual dipper

So it’s Birthday Month here on Atypical Type A so there’s a lot of talk about beautiful gifts. But what about bad gifts? Specifically, gifts that are merely clutter disguised with a pretty bow.

Some might be perfectly fine gifts but are completely impractical for the recipient due to size or lifestyle. The Man and I actually received a bain marie as a wedding present from a well-meaning relative, the box touting that it was suitable for conference catering. CONFERENCES! There are two of us. In a unit. With limited kitchen storage. And no dishwasher. Any more than six guests and we are ordering pizza.

Others are ridiculously specific unitaskers that simply take up cupboard space to be used once or twice (if that). Take this Cake Pop Dipper (dual, no less!) I spotted on Unclutter for example: I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t just use a microwave, double-boiler even just a bowl over a simmering saucepan, which is how I melt chocolate. Of course, you will also need the Cake Pop Maker itself (regular or deluxe flip-over version, your choice), and possibly a Cake Pop MultiFunction (!!) Decorating Station, just in case you can’t work out how to turn on your oven or put sprinkles in a bowl.

(Sorry, rant over.)

So, generally clutteriffic gifts will fall under one of these categories:

  • Something big (does your apartment-dwelling brother have room for a four-burner barbecue?)
  • Something they won’t use frequently (sure a paint sprayer might be handy but I would simply borrow my parents’ if we needed it)
  • Something that’s not to their taste (how often have you kept something out of guilt?)
  • Something they don’t have anywhere to store (cupcake towers might be cute but I literally would not have anywhere to store one)
  • Something that doesn’t suit their lifestyle (don’t give your friend with a full-time job and three little kids a slow-food cookbook with four-hour recipes)
  • Something that has only one use (unitaskers such as popcorn/muffin/hotdog makers where existing kitchen basics would suffice)

Of course, your sister might really want that ice-cream maker/leaf blower/vase which is great, go ahead! But always keep in mind the home, needs and lifestyle of your loved one before buying a gift.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the best uncluttered gifts. Til then, give yourself a laugh by browsing the archives of Unclutterer’s Unitasker Wednesday.

Share in the comments your stories about gifts-turned-clutter.

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Akimbo Clever Hello Club

How are we today, friends? I’m still recovering from my huge weekend at Bowerbird Bazaar – no stamina now since I turned 29 on Saturday 😉

I wanted to tell you about an awesome project I’ve been working on and have just released. Called the Clever Hello Club, it’s a greeting card subscription service where you receive two of my Akimbo cards each month.

Some will be seasonal and others will be for life’s occasions, both big and little. I love having a stash of cards ready to go for any occasion because I hate that last-minute dash to the shops before a party, don’t you?

You can choose from either a 6 or 12 month subscription for yourself or as a gift (ahemmothersdayahem). And because I know you’re spread all over the world, I’m not charging any more for international shipping (you can’t say I don’t look after you!).

I’m currently taking orders for the first shipment which will go out in June. Join us in the Clever Hello Club!

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DIY steampunk lipgloss

The Man: What did you do today?

Me: I made lipgloss and put it in a watch.

The Man: …

See, it all makes sense when you see it! Get the how-to over on Polka Dot Bride today.

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I can’t believe it’s May again, which means that it’s Birthday Month here at Atypical Type A. It’s not only the blog’s birthday (3 years this week!) but also my birthday, The Man’s birthday and my business‘s birthday.

So it’s time to celebrate! This month we will be talking all things parties and gifts. If you have any questions or dilemmas on either of these topics, please feel free to email me or to drop a comment below or over on our Facebook page and I’ll be sure to answer what I can.

For a bit of fun, I thought we’d kick things off with what’s on my wishlist this year. Do you spy any things that you have your little eye on?

Atypical Type A birthday wish list

My existing case doesn’t hold quite everything so I want this Apple & Bee cosmetic case.

I’m too lazy to do my nails the old fashioned way so I’m dying to get an electric nail buffer.

Are you as much of a fan of Young House Love as I am?

Canon 50mm lens pleasepleasepleaseplease?

I adore statement necklaces but haven’t bought a new one in so long. This ModCloth necklace would be perfect to freshen up my wardrobe.

My friend Georgina has an awesome new accessories business called Gulp & Gasp. The foxy bag is my fave.

I found out about the Modern Art Desserts book while ordering the Mondrian cake at SFMOMA.


Atypical Type A - Mothers Day gift guide 2013

Stella & Dot interlocking hoop necklace | Dwell Studio jar candle | Custom Blurb photobook | ModCloth peacock scarf | Jonathan Adler dove spoon rest | Outfit Additions fishbone bracelet | Clothbound Classics ‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austin

I have a couple of friends who will be celebrating their first ever Mother’s Day this year with their adorable little bubs, which will be really special for them. Have you made plans to celebrate yet?

Here are some sweet suggestions for the mums in your life.


Atypical Type A guest picks - nursery artworks
Product photo courtesy Andrea Smith

It’s a public holiday here but I had to pop in to share my latest guest post up on Houzz.

I’m going to a friend’s baby shower on the weekend and I’m giving her one of my framed art prints (er, spoiler alert, Cat!). With that in mind I thought it would be fun to round up some of my favourites by other artists, including the adorable one above by Andrea Smith.

See the full roundup over on Houzz.

Aussie and Kiwi readers, I hope you have a restful and reflective ANZAC Day. Everyone else, happy Thursday (or Wednesday as the case may be in your time zone) and I’ll see you tomorrow with a Mother’s Day gift guide.

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A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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