January 4, 2011 § 39 Comments
Excited for what’s to come in 2011, I’ve moved the year forward on my printy-dater as you probably have on yours, too. I figured, why not commemorate our most special occasions this coming year with date-stamped gifts?
There will be lots of gift-giving in store this year, so wrap those gifts in these very custom, personal gift wrap stamped with the celebrant’s or occasion’s special date. I’ve made some samples to show you just how charming date-stamped gift wrap could be. Even on very modest kraft paper (I picked up a generous 12-ft roll for $1 at the dollar store), patterns like stripes, grid, blooms, and herringbone look very well put together.
I have to admit, the fussiest pattern is the herringbone, so you have to give yourself time when creating it. I lightly drew 3/4″ x 1/4″ guides with pencil just to be sure I kept my printy-dater aligned. The simpler patterns are the grid (I drew 1″ square guides), stripes (lines are 2″ apart), and the blooms (which I stamped on randomly). Just one tip: use the index finger of your opposite hand to press the foot of the printy-dater to keep it in place when stamping.
Of course, the fun part is you can make any pattern on any type of paper you choose. Enjoy all the wonderful days to come in 2011!
December 13, 2010 § 4 Comments
1. Cut your gift wrap with an additional 1-1/2″ on each side of the box. Make sure the you can fold the gift wrap twice around your box.
2. Using double-sided tape, fold and adhere the bottom third of your gift wrap. Insert the box.
3. Fold a triangle on the top third.
4. Using circle punches and hole punches, punch two large circles and two small circles with a hole punched in the middle. Adhere the smaller circle on the large circle.
5. Using mounting tape, adhere a 12″ length of ribbon onto the back of only one of the circles.
6. Adhere the circles as shown and spool ribbon to close.
December 12, 2010 § 3 Comments
1. Take a full width of gift wrap and cut to approximately 18″ long. Find the center and make creases about 2″ apart to center the pattern.
2. To the left of the centered pattern, fold under and over to create 1/2″ pleats.
3. Repeat to the right of the pattern.
4. Turn over. Using double-sided tape, adhere a thin sheet of cardboard or chip board along the center to create a base. You can make the base as wide as you want. Place double-sided along both edges of the base as well as both edges of the wrap on one side.
5. Fold, adhere, and shape into a flat-bottomed fan.
6. Tape ribbon along the inside edges for use as handles.
7. Your pleated gift bag is ready to fill!
December 11, 2010 § 2 Comments
December 10, 2010 § 5 Comments
1. Wrap your gift without using any tape, making sure to center your pattern on the top of the box.
2. Unwrap and turn over. Using a pencil, stencil the mirror image of the letter in the center of the area that is designated as the top of your box.
3. Using a craft knife, carefully cut out the letter.
4. Adhere mounting tape along the edge of the letter. I used two layers of mounting tape to give a more recessed illusion.
5. Carefully align and adhere the top of the box to the designated area.
6. Wrap the gift completely.
Tip: You will be left with a letter cut out of gift wrap. Use this letter to monogram the card envelope or to make a greeting card. A great match to the boxed gift.
December 10, 2010 § 1 Comment
If you’re looking to wrap your holiday presents in unique and, importantly, achievable ways, look no further. I’ve been compiling a few of my gift wrapping ideas — none of which require the dexterity of an origami aficionado, as some other ideas out there may oblige.
Starting today and over the next few days, I will post the full photos and tutorials on each of the above:
Enjoy your holiday shopping and gift wrapping this weekend!
*Edit: I hope you’ve all had a great weekend of gift wrapping. To sum up the past four days, I’ve provided the link to each individual post directly from here. Just click one of the gift wrap ideas listed above to go directly to that tutorial.*
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December 6, 2010 § 4 Comments
It is certainly December! I drove back to Toronto to be met with a generous dusting of snow (oh, a good half a foot deep), after spending the weekend down in Michigan at my parents’. They threw a sizeable party for 50 people for a late Thanksgiving and early Christmas celebration. I’m utterly exhausted. I took on two experimental Asian desserts as well as prepared and packaged 50 favors — a small dent in an extensive party spread. I really can’t comprehend how mom hosts such big parties. I’ve got a lot to learn.
My idea for the party favors evolved quite, hmmm, favorably. About two weeks ago, I made a random visit to my local packaging supplier and found individual gold truffle boxes and miniature poinsettias on clearance for bargain-basement, jaw-dropping, only-a-fool-would-resist prices. The boxes were 25 for $1 and the poinsettias 36 for $1. For 50 people, $4 on all this beautiful packaging is beyond a steal.
Keeping things frugal and fuss-free, I thought of filling the truffle boxes with chocolate-covered roasted chestnuts. It’s the season for chestnuts roasting on an open fire, afterall. But there’s an easy substitute to buying fresh chestnuts for roasting. These days, Asian grocery stores sell packaged roasted chestnuts all year long, and they are just as good as fresh roasted chestnuts. A package will run you about $1.50, containing anywhere between 15-20 roasted chestnuts (already peeled), depending on quality and size. As luck would have it, I found packages of delicious chestnuts for $1 each. Three packages were enough for 50 favors. It took no more than half an hour to melt down a couple of dollars worth of Ghirardelli dark chocolate and dip the chestnuts.
The creamy texture of the chestnuts is comparable to very firm ganache, with some grit. In fact, I could’ve gotten away with calling these chestnut truffles, as they have the air and luxury of truffles. But at under $10 worth of ingredients and packaging for all 50 favors, there’s simply no putting up pretenses!
November 27, 2010 § 6 Comments
As I mentioned in a post almost two weeks ago, I was preparing favor boxes for the fundraiser, Music + Kids = Joy! on Saturday, November 20th. For this year’s event, I designed these tempting peppermint favor boxes, which I filled with some of my delicious peppermint candy cane Po’ Boy Truffles. These charming packages are also perfect for any homemade peppermint bark or candy cane shortbread.
They are uncomplicated and extremely cheap, each requiring only two styrofoam bowls and some strips of red electrical tape. You can get a package of 50 styrofoam bowls for about $2 at grocery stores and a spool of red electrical tape for less than $1 at hardware stores. That means, for a total $3, you can make 25 of these adorably cute boxes!
1. Take two styrofoam bowls and cut off the rim. With your scissors, you can follow the innermost ridge on the rim of the bowl to ensure the circle is cut evenly.
2. Fill one bowl with treats and top with the second bowl as a lid. Tape closed with strips of red electrical tape at four quadrants of the bowl.
3. Cut narrow strips of red electrical tape (you can divide the tape into three equal widths). Tape a narrow strip in the middle of each quadrant.
Here’s a handy assembly tip: I measured the length of the curve of the bowl and multiplied that by two to get the full length of each strip. Then, I measured and cut all the strips. To make the narrow strips, I placed pre-cut lengths on a cutting mat and cut each lengthwise into three equal widths. All of my strips were ready before applying them to the bowls. When I create favor boxes in huge quantities, I often embody a one-woman revolving assembly line.
November 19, 2010 § 41 Comments
Did I ever say how much I lovvvvve designing and making boxes? I hope that it shows in the harvest candy corn and itsy bitsy spider treat boxes that I’ve done previously. For my advent calendar, I summoned my inner child (as I do for most things) and was subjected to the most amusing time I’ve ever had making treat boxes (thus far, anyway). I can’t wait to start counting down to Christmas!
I admit, I sat on this idea for two weeks before lifting a finger in attempts at creating it. All I had was a very vague, incalculable vision: Lego + treat boxes = nifty advent calendar. But how? I knew if I were to make Lego-like boxes, they’d have to be pretty darn functional — it would be an affront to Lego if these imitative boxes couldn’t work as carefully as their real Lego counterparts. And it would also be a dirty waste to make them without any aim or purpose. It became imperative to plan them in such a way that, by Christmas day, there would be a built project to appreciate (not that anyone wouldn’t appreciate a treat box daily for the duration of nearly one month, but I know it would be more rewarding if the boxes were constructed to create something joyful and in the spirit of Christmas.
So, for the first time, I was overwhelmed with the thought of boxes. Many boxes. To be exact, twenty-five boxes. Boxes that have little nibs that fit through little nib-size holes with unforgiving mathematic precision. I sketched it out, scratched it over, and sketched it out again. It turns out twenty-five of these cute little things can make for a pretty festive Christmas tree wall, with the last and only yellow piece appropriately placed as the star on Christmas day. So my adventure proceeded.
To recreate this harder-than-it-looks project (don’t say I didn’t warn you!), you will need: card stock in red, green, white, and yellow, foam sheets in red, green, white, and yellow, 1/4″ hole punch, white glue, double-sided tape, and of course templates for the boxes which I am happy to provide here. Print the boxes in the following quantities: three 3″ red, three 2″ red, three 1″ red, four 3″ green, two 2″ green, three 1″ green, two 3″ white, two 2″ white, two 1″ white, and one 1″ yellow.
1. Using a 1/4″ hole punch, punch the foam sheets to make pieces in the following quantities: 216 red, 228 green, 144 white, and 12 yellow. That sums up to an even 600 punches. Yipee!
2. Glue together 3 punched foam circles of the same color to form a stack. These will be the nibs. In the end you will have stacks in the following quantities: 72 red, 76 green, 48 white, and 4 yellow. Set aside.
3. Using a 1/4″ hole punch, accurately punch the holes on the bottom of the boxes.
4. Slowly insert a pencil through each hole to expand it. This will allow the nibs to fit through with ease. There’s a total of 200 holes in this project, believe it or not!
5. Adhere double-sided tape on the tab of each box.
6. Fold each box. There are only 25, so it doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?
7. Dip the nibs in glue one by one and accurately place in the faintly outlined circles on the top of each box, in corresponding color. 200 nibs to go and you’re done!
You have some long eleven days to complete this project by December 1st! Happy box-making!
November 10, 2010 § 5 Comments
I carved my first soap with the helping hand of my very crafty grandmother when I was 7 years old. The chronicles of my crafting experiences with my grandmother are endless. But of all those many memories, our soap carving afternoon is most distinct. It was as though in the blink of an eye, she had made magic by turning a white detergent bar into an architectural wonder — a nipa hut with all the details of bamboo stilts and a thatched roof. I wish I had taken a picture.
With the variety of soap-making kits and molds sold at craft stores these days, the art of carving soaps is antiquated. And that’s what I love about it. Soap carving makes me wax nostalgic.
For my holiday gift-making, I thought to dust off my memories and bring back some soap carving into my list. I like monogrammed soaps as gifts. They’re very personal and sentimental. Even more so if they are carved by hand.
1. Take a circle cookie cutter and press into the center of a bar of soap.
2. Carve the sides away until you are left with the circle. I just used a regular kitchen knife.
3. Using a printed letter as a stencil, draw the initial using a sharp pencil.
4. Carve outside of the letter using a smaller knife. I used a craft knife.
5. Using a sharp pencil, create hatch lines.
6. Carve beveled edges around the circle and the perimeter of the soap.
For the box, you will need to measure the size of the soap and cut the top and bottom of the box accordingly. I used two colors and, as an added touch, made sure the top of the box is shorter so the bottom of the box peaks through when closed. I added a band by layering a strip of Japanese chiyogami paper on another strip of stock . I attached a round monogrammed tag on the top of the band.
November 1, 2010 § 22 Comments
I started my blog days before Canadian Thanksgiving and agonize at having missed the opportunity to post some crafts for the holiday. It’s a blessing that American Thanksgiving is still to come! I like entitling myself to the double celebration of Thanksgiving each year, considering that three of the four most important people in my life live in America. Every American Thanksgiving weekend has been spent at my parents’ in Michigan. Having said that, my next few crafts may regrettably be a few weeks out of date for my beloved Canadians, but for my American family and friends, the crafts are just in season.
You will need scissors, good quality double-sided tape (I always use the ones with backing), and the following:
a. Corn patterned paper. Don’t worry, I’ve done the designing for you!! I am happy to provide the sheet here for free for you to download and print on cardstock. Each sheet has two yellow corn patterns and two Indian corn patterns. Kindly note that this sheet is only for your personal use. *Edit: I’ve had a special request for a black & white version of the corn pattern so that your little ones can color the kernels in, so you can upload the b&w version, too. Thanks for the great suggestion, Bridget!*
b. Green and yellow crepe streamers.
c. Candy corn.
Now, to make this fun and easy project:
1. Using double-sided tape, roll the corn pattern into a tube.
2. Take the quarters of tissue paper and roll into balls.
3. Plug one end of the corn tube with a ball of tissue paper, then fill with candy corn, and plug the other end with a second ball of tissue paper.
4. Cut your streamers into 5-1/2″, 6-1/2″, and 7″ strips and shape into husks. Each corn will need two 5-1/2″ strips, two 6-1/2″ strips, and one 7″ strip. I used green streamer for the yellow corn and yellow streamer for the Indian corn.
5. Using double-sided tape, arrange and adhere the husks to cover the bottom of the tube entirely, the sides of the tube, and the top of the tube partially.
October 18, 2010 § 3 Comments
Here is a wickedly easy craft that will have you flying off the handle!
There is a substantial collection of disposable plastic lidded bowls in my cupboard (thanks to Costco’s tasty frozen shrimp wonton soup). I’ve been saving the bowls and their lids for this year’s Halloween favors: candy-filled witch’s cauldrons.
a. Black bowl and lid. If you haven’t tried Costco’s frozen shrimp wonton soup, I highly recommend it. It comes with 6 black bowls with lids, the delicious soup is a bonus! :p Of course, if your cupboards are bursting with food containers, you can grab a bowl and lid between 3-1/2″ – 4-1/2″ in diameter and paint the exterior black.
b. Yellow paper, colored with shades of orange/red for flames. Cut along the outline of the flames and make sure to leave about an inch of space at the bottom for adhesives.
c. 4 wine corks.
d. A handful of decorative spider web. There is plenty at dollar stores this time of year.
e. Black pen and 2″ pieces of raffia, enough to cover the pen cap. Glue the raffia on the cap and have a piece of raffia to tie it for a finished look. This will be the witch’s broomstick.
1. Using double-sided tape, adhere the flames around the bottom and along the sides of the bowl.
2. Randomly adhere the wine corks to the bottom of the bowl using a glue gun.
3. Cut a small hole through the lid, large enough for the pen to slide through. Dot some glue on the top of the lid, and adhere the spider web for a bubbling look. Make sure you slide the pen through the lid before closing.
Don’t forget to fill with eerie treats. I used gummy witches’ fingers from my favorite dollar store, Dollarama.
October 5, 2010 § 7 Comments
Two weeks ago, I assisted in hosting a surprise bridal brunch for a friend. We wanted to thank the guests with a memorable favor. It became unanimous that we would take a group photo right after the surprise, run the camera to the drug store (conveniently across the restaurant) for 1-hour photo finishing, and have the photos given to the guests before parting. We wanted the photos inserted into something more personal than store-bought picture frames. So I proposed to make thank you card frames instead. They were uncomplicated, practical, and definitely surprised the guests and bride-to-be.