December 19, 2011 § 4 Comments
Despite all the fancy packaging choices at stores, giving away your holiday home-baked goods in plastic containers isn’t necessarily such a tacky thing (given the right accessory!).
With your favorite heavy stock cut and folded into a sleeve, your ordinary disposable plastic container is easily dressed as a pretty little package for giving away anytime, not just Christmas. Punch out a monogram and make it more personal!
I first designed sleeves like these for Christmas favors way back in 2003. That was the time I realized store-bought holiday tins and boxes (though printed and pretty) are three things: 1) lacking in personal touch; 2) pricey (if considering volume gift-giving); and 3) not exactly what I want. Since then, and every year, I looked forward to making treats packaged in my own custom (most importantly: cost-effective!) designs which I gave away to family and friends in lieu of a Christmas card. This style is most personal to me, out of all annual packages I’ve designed in the last 8 years because this is the project that inspired my need for custom Christmas packaging going forward. It also happens to be the simplest. Overtime on this blog, I would love to share with you each and every one of my past annual custom packages given to my family and friends and co-workers, however, I will start from the very beginning with this simple piece from 2003.
My “Kuya” (“Big Brother” in Filipino) thoughtfully kept and preserved the original package I gave him (down to the bits of brownie stuck on the inside lid of the container — eeew!). Seeing it after eight years is what inspired me to post this project on this blog. But for the blog, I wanted to change it up to show some patterns I currently love: plaid, cane, and herringbone.
Of course, it would be a long search to find the exact blue shades of plaid, cane, and herringbone cardstock to match the containers, so I opted out of that challenge. Instead, I quickly designed my own plaid, cane, and herringbone paper using none other than Microsoft Word (a hack job I often do…which leads me to the thought that perhaps one day in the coming year, I will have a little blog instruction on how to easily utilize MS Word as a design tool, if you do not want to spend the big bucks on Adobe’s sophisticated offerings).
You will need to measure your plastic container and cut and fold your stock accordingly. I suggest a container no larger than 4″ in diameter, such as the ones I used, otherwise you will encounter the impossibility of fitting 12″ cardstock around it.
To remedy any gaps (due to lack of length of paper), overlap a tiny strip with a greeting for an added touch.
December 19, 2011 § 1 Comment
Lookie what came in the mail today! A package containing a Nikon Coolpix, an adorable T-shirt and matching patch. I have instructables.com to thank for the wonderful prize I was awarded for my entry into one of their Halloween Contests.
Remember the wearable gory brain I made with caulking and a fitted cap and wrote for Craft for Halloween? Well, I entered it into the Instructables Halloween Photos Challenge and won Second Place. Yay! Many, many thanks!
If you want to have your mind blown away, you ought to check out the projects over at Instructables. I get lost in a pool of creativity every time I poke around over there. Lots of superdupertalented crafters!
December 15, 2011 § 24 Comments
So I thought (we all thought) my paper clip Christmas crafts were done with. But I realized I hadn’t crafted a single Christmas card for the blog this season. Gasp! Is Christmas ten days away?
Given my recent posts, paper clips were right here within reach and this was just too easy. I happen to have a huge tub of colored paper clips with perfect shades for Christmas shapes.
These cards can be easily crafted by little hands. Just dab the paper clips on some glue and design away.
December 15, 2011 § 6 Comments
I haven’t been toParis. I could’ve been had I accepted my parents’ generous offer to have a family trip a decade ago, but I declined because I wanted to take summer courses on Late Baroque art and architecture here in Toronto. So off they went, mom, dad, and brother, to celebrate mom’s 50th in Europe and to see, in the flesh, the very places and art works I was studying in my books. Go figure. Sigh. Going to Paris on dad’s dime is an opportunity long gone. But I digress. Paris has come to us in 2011. Here it is, Ladurée‘s first and only North American branch opened in New York City late this summer.
I was in New York over the weekend to give O.T. emotional support as he signed a rental agreement on a new apartment in Hudson Valley, home to IBM’s headquarters and many campuses. As of Monday next week, he will be designing computer chips for IBM after several years of doing so for AMD. It is a very stressful time for him and a little sojourn was in order. A macaron moment! We spent a couple of hours in Manhattan for one purpose only: to indulge in macarons. Ok, fine, I admit. This was really more of my thing, but I was happy he conceded.
I love macarons, as I’ve recently attested through creating my own plaster macaron ornaments.
I was armed with $150 and managed to afford one box of 24 macarons and three boxes of 6 macarons as gifts, and a bag of 4 macarons for O.T. and I to snack on, leaving me $13 under budget. Yes, $137 gets you less than four dozen macarons at Ladurée, which may be hard to stomach, despite being able to scoff down a teeny macaron in two bites.
As for the taste of the macarons, I hate to say this, La Bamboche and Ruelo in Toronto are still my favorite, considering the exotic and innovative macarons they serve such as green tea-sesame, rose-lychee, mango-green tea, and yuzu, among other delightful flavors.
But isn’t Ladurée’s packaging so pretty? With less than four dozen macarons, perhaps I paid more for the packaging than I did the sweets. I love the details, down to the custom-cut wax paper that lines the boxes and the golden seal that secures said wax paper (in the box of 24) and the elegant slip of paper listing all the flavors available.
It’s an indulgence indeed and one I could only excuse now that it is Christmas.
December 9, 2011 § 3 Comments
For a while I felt chalkboard crafts have grown tired, but I just couldn’t resist another! It’s been a while since my last (the 3-D chalkboard cake I made for Craft was back in July). What I also couldn’t resist (the carrot Easter basket I made for Canadian Living‘s The Craft Blog glares at me daily as it hangs by the doorway to my craft room) is another project using a dollar store safety cone…
So here it is, a chalkboard Christmas tree born out of a love affair between chalkboard spray paint and an orange safety cone. And a couple of sprays of primer (you don’t want to skip priming!).
This project has actually been sitting on newspapers on the floor for the past week, dried and unattended for days. I was so wrapped up in researching (nightly; obsessively) my own Christmas present to myself, erm, to Paper, Plate, and Plane (i.e. a new camera!), that I forgot all about it. Then this morning, amidst packing my lunch for work and packing my clothes for an upcoming weekend in NYC with O.T., I remembered it was incomplete. I hastily scribbled some designs before leaving for work. As much as I would’ve wanted to spend time on them, I couldn’t. But if and when you make one for yourself or your kids or grandkids, I wish you many hours of doodling merriment!
December 6, 2011 § 6 Comments
Push pins. Rubber bands. And now for my final installment of Christmas décor out of office supplies. A $4 box of 1,000 paper clips made up this avant-garde tree.
I was most looking forward to creating this out of all four trees I made, assuming all four would be equally simple. I was wrong about this one. The concept is simple, but, admittedly, fussy to achieve.
First you have to create a garland of paper clips by stringing them through a thin, light gauge wire. I calculated about 2,000 consecutive seconds (33 minutes, at 2 seconds per paper clip) to finish this first and important step. However, I was also intent on having each paper clip face the exact same way and discovered it was best to string the paper clip through the end that has a smaller loop. The smaller loop acts as a lock to prevent the paper clip from shifting as much as it would had it been strung through the larger loop. And I didn’t account for several spills. Oh, also, 1,000 paper clips weren’t quite sufficient. Luckily, I had some extras stashed from when I designed my paper clip necklace last December. I used about 1,100 paper clips all in all, and the garland took much longer than the time allocated.
Then attaching the garland to a 6″ Styrofoam cone is presumably simple, too. But not. I inserted one end (at least 1-1/2″) of the wire into the side of the cone and started wrapping the garland around the cone (it really is important to use thin wire and not string, as the purpose of the wire is to be stuck into the cone). This was when I ran into the problem of paper clips bunching together. After several ineffective attempts, I managed to keep the paper clips aligned and flat on the table as I slowly wrapped the garland upwards. I made sure I formed the wire along the cone to minimize the garland from sliding down (the weight of 1,100 paper clips will slide down). Again, another important reason to use wire: so that the shape can be maintained. When that is done, then the rest is simple. I just secured the wire (at least 1-1/2″) into the top of the cone.
Despite it all, I’m glad I did this and the other trees! If you’re just tuning in now, over the past three posts I made crystal Christmas trees from push pins, a shag Christmas tree from rubber bands, and rubber-band wrapped trees. Enjoy!
December 5, 2011 § 11 Comments
I had enough rubber bands to spare from my one-pound bag to make these rubber band-wrapped Christmas trees as the third installment of my Christmas décor from office supplies.
If you’ve missed the previous two, you can find crystal Christmas trees from push pins here and a shag Christmas tree from rubber bands here. And if you’re not into shaggy trees made of rubber bands, these here are chic and just as easy.
Cover Styrofoam cone with rubber bands horizontally. Then vertically. Done! Now wasn’t that quicker than wrapping and gluing cones with sisal?
December 5, 2011 § 4 Comments
Now, now. We all know the 70’s have made a feverish comeback. Middle-parted long hair, wide jeans and trousers, and elevator wedges are rapidly ousting teased poufs, skinny pants, and flats. Now onto 70’s shag for some home décor!
As you know, I’ve spent the majority of my weekend making holiday décor out office supplies.
So, I reached for a huge bag of rubber bands at Staples (a pound for less than $4) to hail the big comeback of the 70’s with a quick-n-easy shag Christmas tree. No, not that kind of quick-n-easy shag. Umm. Indeed, a very quirky craft compared to yesterday’s classy crystal Christmas trees from clear push pins. But who doesn’t love quirky?
One pound of rubber bands is more than enough to make two 9″ shag trees.
1. Cut one rubber band open. Thread through rubber bands.
2. When you have enough rubber bands threaded through, tie in a knot to close.
3. Take your ring of rubber bands and place around the bottom of Styrofoam cone.
4. Cut all rubber bands open.
5. Continue steps 1-4 until you have your tree covered.
Now that I’ve stared at this craft for too long, I think I might add paper wings to the sides and a small Styrofoam ball (with closed eyes and a smile) on top of the tree and I’ve got a very unique Christmas angel! I shall try it out…
Another variation of rubber band Christmas trees to follow.
December 4, 2011 § 16 Comments
So this is what my container of push pins got me. Crystal Christmas trees! Ok, not to rival Swarovski. However, an acceptable substitute for those on a dime.
These plastic push pins really shine, far better than I imagined.
One container of 500 push pins (which I picked up at Staples for $6; likely cheaper for lucky Americans with better pricing south of the border!) is enough, with few to spare, to cover one 9″ Styrofoam cone.
Up next (tomorrow), two variations of Christmas trees out of rubber bands…
December 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
I’ve been busily crafting some chic (and unique!) Christmas décor out of office supplies. Yup. Office supplies.
I went to Staples and splurged on a box of 1,000 paper clips for $4, a container of 500 clear push pins for $6, and one hefty one-pounder bag of rubber bands for $4.
Out-of-the-ordinary Christmas décor coming your way over the next few posts…