The Other Side of My Valentine {Personalized Stamp}

Homemade Natural Graham Cracker RecipeIn my personal opinion, packaging is one of the most important parts of a gift. You’ve seen my Christmas presents. I rarely will even do a gift bag unless I can “cute-ify” it up a little and I think the same is true for food treats. I will never take something to work for a food day in tupperware or worse, on a paper plate. If you do this, I’m not judging. If your treat is yummy I don’t care if you had it to me on a paper towel. I just like to create a pretty package. That’s part of the fun for me.

What you saw on Monday was just a simple way to wrap up my yummy Homemade Chocolate Dipped Graham Crackers– parchment paper tied up with red ribbon and a little note. What you didn’t see was the other side of the note. My BFF knows my obsession passion for packaging and got me the most perfect Christmas present. Valentine Treat Label PackagingIt’s (obviously) a personalized stamp she ordered from Greenhouse Studios on Etsy. It is so stinking cute and I just love it. I’ve even used it to simply stamp a recipe I’m sharing but I’m most excited to use it for food gift giving. Valentine Treat Label PackagingIt’s the perfect way to “sign” my little treats without, well signing it :)

Happy Valentine’s day (gift packaging) from my kitchen to yours! Valentine Treat Label Packaging

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(Almost) Cute as a Button Cookies

Alternate title: How I almost flunked out of Country Living.

December County LivingDo you ever look through a magazine and really, really believe you can duplicate something in there? I’m sure we all do, and I know a lot of you actually succeed. Not me. I really, really wanted to have something fantabulous for this week’s Dare to DIY link party (Newly WoodwardsDecor and the DogMaybe Matilda and Two Twenty One) and the fun little semi-DIY gloves on page 58 were so stinking cute.

Country Living GlovesI had my supplies and my heart was set on making the “book worm” ones for my BFF, the librarian. (Dear BFF, don’t worry, I didn’t make them and I wouldn’t expect you to wear them anyway. I just liked the idea of making them for you and giving them to you but alas, failure.)

I tried and I could not make them look good enough to even finish all the letters. Oh well. Moving on. (But, before I move too far along please allow me to remind you of this same challenge last year. While my coasters turned out pretty good, I still have nightmares about all the awful salt dough ornaments I threw away.)

The challenge of the week was thankfully not to make gloves, but simply homemade gifts and can’t think of anything better than homemade cookies packaged super cute so I turned to another page of my December Country Living and attempted the Sugar Cookie Buttons because a) they were cute b) I had all the ingredients c) how hard is a sugar cookie? (you will soon learn the double meaning of that statement) and finally d) I could not let this magazine win.

I made them, pretty much according to the directions expect the chilling the dough for half an eternity twice part and baking them until they are bricks part (or so I thought).

I still think the idea of button cookies is so cute and actually easy to execute. You just start with a regular circular cookie. Button hole Collage

Then use a cookie cutter that is one size smaller for the indention. Stick in some straws to make the holes and you’ve got buttons! Once you take them out of the oven, you make need to use a skewer to clear out the holes totally but that’s still pretty easy. Button Cookies

They turned out pretty cute. Most of them, at least. And I really like the idea of tying up your cookies for a gift, cookie exchange, or just to limit your self to four in one setting.  The dough tasted GREAT. (I know you’re not supposed to eat that stuff, but seriously, who can wait for the cookies? Not this girl! I live on the edge) The cookies are supposed to be  hard and I don’t love hard cookies so I adjusted the cooking time. That resulted in pretty good cookies. I don;t know that I would use this recipe for a real gift without some tweaking, but I still adore the packaging idea. If you want to use slice-and-bake from the grocery store, I won’t tell anyone at all. Actually, send me a few because I know they will probably turn out  better than these. (they really weren’t that bad, I’m being dramatic. mostly)Button Cookies

So maybe I didn’t totally flunk out of my magazine ambitions, but I don’t consider this one a slam dunk but sometimes all you learn is what makes it worth it. I learned my cross-stitching skills did not accompany me to this millennium, cute packaging really does make a differnece and when in doubt- use slice and bake. Ahh, wisdom. You can thank me later.

Don’t forget to check out all the other (way more successful projects) for the Dare to DIY party with Newly WoodwardsDecor and the DogMaybe Matilda and Two Twenty One for lots more ideas and inspiration.Button Cookies

Give a Coffee Break {Christmas Gift}

The most magical day of the year is almost here! We’ve been counting down since last year and we’ve almost made it. In just a little while longer and it will be… BLACK FRIDAY! I’m not one to camp out or start fights but I sure do love the deals. I might even pick up a few Christmas presents while I’m at it :)

It just so happens that last week was also a pretty fun time- my birthday! I got some wonderful gifts but there was one little thing in particular that made me start thinking about Christmas gifts. You want to see it? Ok! 

It’s not a mug but the Ceramic Euro Coffee Dripper from World Market and I LURVE it. Robb bought it for me and it is just perfect to make my own little cup of coffee. I’m cheap and I hate splurging on an afternoon cup at work so this is a life penny saver- hot water is FREE :) It is crazy simple to use. You just place it on your favorite mug, throw in a filter with your favorite coffee and then pour in the water. Then my BFF gave me another little treat that made me think even more…If you love coffee and you have not tried Dunkin’ Donuts- you don’t love coffee. You can’t even know what love is. It is the best! If you hate coffee but you’re thinking of this as a gift, trust me, everyone loves Dunkin. I put together a little gift basket and I think anyone who loves coffee would love you for giving them this. For reals.

 

A fun mug, non-refrigerated coffee creamer, your favorite spice and some filters and this would delight any coffee lover who may not always be around a fancy smancy electric coffee maker all day. I would like to tell you how many days I’ve used it, but I kind of lost count.

And there you have it! Inspiration for that other special day that is on it’s way. Have you started planning any special Christmas gifts yet? Let’s discuss :)

Pin It/Make It: Mother’s Day Garden Bucket

When I’m reading other blogs I tend to mentally categorize the projects. It could be something like “that looks great in their house, but I would never do that,” or “PERFECT- if I ever won the lottery.” And sometimes there is something I see that I must make, stat. So I pin it and start planning.

That was the case when I saw Jen’s Garden Bucket Caddy on I Heart Organizing. It was like she knew my mother and mother-in-law perfectly and it screamed “Make these for mother’s day!” as soon as I clicked her post. In case you missed it, here’s what Jen did…

So stinking cute AND functional. She just took a bucket, tied a super cute apron around it and created the perfect little garden caddy for her dirt and tools.

Now that both mommies have received their buckets, I can show you what I did without ruining a Mother’s Day surprise. I didn’t have an extra apron laying around or the time to order one, so I DIY-ed my own. And for some extra durability in the garden, I made it out of vinyl table clothes. I found two that I loved at TJ Maxx. They were so much cuter than any fabric I looked at in a similar price range so I picked them up, along with some thick grosgrain ribbon and headed home to start sewing. 

The first one took a bit if planning, thinking and adjusting, but the second was done in one hour- start to finish. Want to see the finished product? Ok, here you go!

I changed up the design a bit and placed the “apron” part below the handle so it’s still usable. I also made three pockets as opposed to the three tiered approach. Because I made my version shorter to utilize the handles, the middle layer would have been too covered up to enjoy or the small pockets too small to function.

Thanks to the pretty bow in the back, you can easily take it off to clean. I also used little velcro pieces underneath to keep it from sliding when it’s full of garden tools. Add some cute little, color coordinating accessories… …and you have yourself a cute mother’s day gift for some special ladies who happen to love to garden. And there you have it! Pinned it, did it!

Jen, thanks so much for the inspiration! These were a HUGE hit with both mommies. I only wish I would have made my self one too! So did anyone else DIY a mother’s day gift or are you maybe working on teacher gifts? Or did you receive an awesome Mother’s day gift? Anything you pinned and did? Can you tell I’m looking for some more inspiration, or perhaps trying to set a record for most questions ever asked in one post? :)

BTdubs- I am NOT a great seamstress or even a seamstress at all. I just have a sewing machine I play with, but if you would like a step-by-step of my little bucket cover, just let me know and I’ll be glad to work one up, in very non-technical terms, of course.