Geri and I recently wanted to send a fruit basket to a friend as a thank-you for her generosity. Since we’re both on a budget and love doing projects ourselves anyway, we did what any two respectable Strive-to-Simplify girls could do. We made our own!

We have a wonderful string of stores close to home. On the left there’s a new, clean Goodwill store, followed by a Dollar Tree, and then a Sunflower Market with fresh, locally grown, natural produce. One stop shopping!

We started at the Dollar Tree, picking up a lovely card for 50¢ and a cellophane gift bag (for a $1, what else?) like the kind you use for Easter baskets. It even came with a bow that we can use for another project.

Next, off to Goodwill for a basket. We found some nice ones, but then I saw a beautiful plate originally from World Market…it even had the World Market stamp on the bottom. With my (“shush”) senior discount, the plate came to $3.39.

Finally, we go to Sunflower for some fresh fruits. We brought the plate in with us so we didn’t under or over buy on fruit. I wanted to put a small potted plant in the middles and Geri picked out the perfect one. It had lovely purple lilies between strong green leaves; just beautiful! We had fun shopping for a variety of colorful, fresh looking fruits. We really took our time to get just the perfect ones, something I’m sure not all florists would do.

We chose navel oranges, lemons, peaches, bananas, limes, red pears, Fuji apples, granny smith apples, and grapes. And for fun, we bought a small amount of colorful salt water taffy in assorted reds, lime greens, purples, and yellows to complement the fruit colors. The whole bill for the plant, fruit, and candies came to $22.77.

Geri has a large supply of cloth ribbon, so off to her house we went. After washing the plate and rinsing the fruit, the fun began. We first laid the plate in the cellophane bag. Then in went the plant in the middle, surrounded by the fruit. Finally, the candies topped it off. Geri picked out some beautiful complimentary ribbon, and we fashioned a bow in no time to tie around the bag.

See if you agree that we made a large beautiful fruit basket that any florist would be jealous of, and for a fourth of the price that they’d charge. Try this project yourself with any variety of fruits that you like, impress the recipient, and save a lot of money.

Our cost: $1.50 Dollar Tree $3.39 Goodwill $22.77 Sunflower