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brown paper packages: January 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

{250 ways to say i love you}

(image from

My friend smartmama is, well, smart. She really is incredible, and you will just have to go see what I mean. Her art, cakes, writing and philanthropy...she is just one of my favorite people. You can find her HERE.

A couple of years ago, she blogged "250 ways to say I love you", and they are fantastic! If you are looking for ideas for Valentine's Day, this is the place to check first. The best part though, is that these ideas can be implemented all through the year!



Sunday, January 24, 2010

{burlap flowers}

HOW adorable are these burlap flowers? They are so incredibly easy (and cheap) to make, and are super cute. They really make the perfect accessory--whether pinned on a jacket, attached to a headband, or clipped in your hair. In addition, because burlap is such a neutral color, it makes it a very versatile piece, and can be worn with numerous colors and styles. I am in love with these!! I am a huge fan of anything burlap, and when I wanted to use up some scraps I had that weren't big enough for anything else, I knew this was the perfect thing.
My little Emma is modeling the headband and flower, but you can bet I will be wearing them too! These are darling on big girls and little girls alike. I also used my jacket as an example, but think how cute it would be on a little girl's coat (I'm already thinking of making more for my girls' peacoats), along the edge of a white shirt, or even as an added embellishment on a pair of jeans?

  • burlap--scraps work well!
  • flower template (I found one online)
  • scissors
  • buttons
  • needle and thread
  • pin with a back on it
  • small piece of felt
  • headband
  • alligator clip (these are pretty cheap at Sally Beauty Supply, or similar store)
  • hot glue
  • Using double stick tape, adhere your template to the burlap, then cut it out with scissors. I found this works much better than even tracing it on with a pencil--the tape will keep it in place while you cut out the flower.
  • I made 2 different kinds of flowers...1: a layer of 5 flowers, all the same size, and 2: a layer of 3 flowers that are all different sizes, with the bottom flower being the largest and going smaller each time.
  • Stack your flowers, and sew your button in the center.
  • Bend up the edges of the petals, so it looks a little more crinkled, giving it more depth.

  • Hot glue the small piece of felt on the back of the flower, then glue on your pin. I'm not sure what they are technically called, but they are the pins with the small backing that you can attach to something.
  • Hot glue a small piece of grosgrain ribbon along the length of your alligator clip, and then a small piece of felt on to the bottom of the burlap flower.
  • Now you can glue your flower to the alligator clip!
  • For the headband, just hot glue the flower directly to it. You could also cover your headband in ribbon or fabric first!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

{family meal planner}

This project is not only adorable, it's extremely helpful and practical. Preparing meals is something we do everyday, and this is something I came up with to make my life a little easier.

Family Meal Planner

When I'm getting ready to go grocery shopping, I always sit down, make a menu, look at the ads, and then make my list from that information.

Well, I don't know about you, but I have more than one cookbook I use on a regular basis...a favorite recipes binder, a church cookbook, and couple others that I love. This means that when I sat down to make my list, I was pulling out a stack of cookbooks to go through to find a specific recipe and the ingredients required.

So, I decided to do something about that. I came up with "The Family Meal Planner", and I love it! I got that stack of cookbooks out, found all of the favorite, tried & true recipes our family eats the most, and got to work. I listed the name of the recipe, a list of the ingredients, and where I could find the recipe (in which cookbook). Now I can just pull out my meal planner, decide what our menu will be, and have a ready list of ingredients all in one place. It's the perfect size for my purse, so even if I don't have time to make a list, I can easily refer to it to make sure I don't forget anything. It also allows for new recipes to be easily added at any point.

  • cardstock
  • scrapbook paper, and coordinating papers
  • cookbooks, favorite recipes
  • silver clasp ring
  • distress ink
  • ribbon
  • Open a blank Word Document. I formatted it into 2 columns, and fit 4 recipes per page.
  • Print onto cardstock.
  • Cut into 4x4 squares, with one recipe per square.
  • Cut your scrapbook paper into a 4x4 square, and embellish as desired. Distress edges.
  • Using a hole punch, punch a hole into the left corner of each square. To make sure all the holes are in the same place, try this: punch a hole in the first square, then place each additional square one at a time underneath that first square. You will be able to then punch a hole directly over the top of the original hole.
  • Stack all your squares together, and place on silver ring.
  • Tie ribbon on ring.
This will initially require some time to get it all together, but you will be so glad! It's definitely worth it.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

{twine frame}

I seem to have this never-ending supply of frames that I don't love, don't use, and are just sitting in my craft closet. This one in particular I didn't know what to do with, because I couldn't just cover it with spray paint. It was this kind of leather material, that was falling apart, and it was looking like there was no hope.

Then...I remembered the twine. How I love that stuff! You might look at this frame, and wonder how long it actually took me to cover it, but surprisingly, it only took about 10 minutes.

I adore how it turned out, and with a darling flower as an embellishment, it is the perfect thing for the table in my music room.

  • old frame
  • twine (jute) --I used a little less than half a spool on a 5x7 frame.
  • flower
  • hot glue

  • Leaving your twine on the spool, take one end, loop it around a corner of the your frame, and tie a tight knot on the back side, leaving a long piece on the end. (this will come in handy later)

  • Continue to wind the twine around and around the frame, (you have to pass the spool through each time), pulling it tight each time.

  • To do the corners, try this: Wrap the twine until you get to the edge of the corner, then skipping the corner, wrap the other edge of that same corner. Then continue to do the corner itself. I know--that probably sounds confusing, so hopefully the picture will help. Also--please ignore the fuzzy picture, I'm sorry! I didn't realize it was fuzzy until I was all finished!

  • Once you have wrapped the whole frame, and you are back to where you started, take the end of your twine, and tie it to the long piece you left in the first knot you tied. This should be on the back side, and will keep your twine in place.
  • Hot glue your flower in place, and you're ready to display!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

{clothespin valentines}

I adore clothespins, and how fun are these darling valentines? Super easy to make, and totally affordable. You can buy packages of 100 clothespins for a little over $1!

  • clothespin (Remember these? Directions HERE) They were perfect for this!
  • cardstock; one neutral, two coordinating colors
  • distress ink
  • double stick tape
  • paper trimmer
  • printed words (I used fonts "A Little Pot", and "Century Gothic")
  • small plastic treat bags (I bought mine at Michael's. I think they were around $4 for 50 bags--around 1 1/2 inches wide by 3 inches high.)
  • candy (I love the look of the pink & red M&Ms!)
  • ribbon, of course!
  • Print your valentine words on white card stock. I like the texture of Bazzill, but you can use whatever you have.
  • Using your paper trimmer, cut out two coordinating colors of cardstock--one slightly larger than the other. I cut my colored paper about twice as wide as the white, to make room for the clothespin and candy.
  • Ink all edges.
  • With the double stick tape, adhere the white card stock to your smaller piece of colored cardstock, then tape that onto the larger piece.
  • Place a small piece of double stick towards the middle of the back of your clothespin, then clip it onto the top left of your card. The tape will just give it a little extra security.
  • Fill one of the bags with candy, fold over the top, then clip it onto the card using the clothespin.
  • I couldn't resist some ribbon! Tie it around the lower part of the clothespin.
LOVE these! I can't wait to make a dozen more!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

{front door decor}

I love cute front doors. They welcome friends and guests to your home, and can show a little of your personality to anyone that drives by.
I also adore berry wreaths. I just do. I'm not sure why, and it has to be the right kind, but they add just the perfect pop of color. I use red berries in the winter months, and this season I added a fat piece of burlap (another big favorite) and tied it in a knot at the top of the wreath. Love it!
I have also always really liked the vinyl lettering words or phrases, such as "welcome", but never wanted to fully commit to putting the lettering on my door.
So, I made my own version, which is easily removable, and can be changed or switched out at any time. Wouldn't it be fun to have different words for the different holidays, and even birthdays? I think I'm going to make a few more that I can put up at other times of the year. They are fast, easy, and really inexpensive to make. Home decor doesn't have to be can be simple, and be done on a budget.

(Please ignore that crooked curtain, it's driving me nuts! Once I noticed it in the picture, it was too late to go take another one. :) )

  • cereal boxes, or other cardboard on the thin side
  • scrapbook paper
  • ribbon
  • distress ink
  • hole punch
  • double stick tape
  • wall putty, or strong magnets
  • letter templates (i.e. printed off the computer)
  • Print out the letters of your word. I used the Cafe Rojo font, sized to 400. I wanted it the letters to be chunky enough to have some substance--a skinnier font wouldn't work as well for this project.
  • Cut out the letters, then trace into the cereal box and scrapbook paper. I trace onto the back of the paper, so you can't see the pencil lines, but this means you have to trace them backwards. Don't forget, or your letters won't be right when you flip them over.
  • Using the double stick tape, attach the scrapbook letters onto the cardboard letters. Trim any excess. (Sandpaper also works well.)
  • Ink all the edges.
  • Punch a hole where you want the ribbon to be, and then tie it through. (optional...I'm not sure I would add it if I was to do it over again. This was not its original destination; I thought of the front door after I made it. I can't decide if the ribbon adds to it, or takes away from it, but I love ribbon so much it doesn't really bother me.)
  • You can either hot glue magnets on the back if your door is magnetic. If not, you can see wall putty (which is what I did).
  • Attach to your door!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

{EASY frame makeover}

Seriously, this has to be the easiest makeover ever, and I'm in love with it! I had a frame that I liked, but didn't love, but it fit the pictures I wanted to display perfectly. When I placed it in the space I had for it, it just didn't look quite right.


So...out came the scrapbook paper! This project literally took me less than 10 minutes, but it transformed the frame, and the whole look of the space. I used a solid color--I really wanted the vintage-y look of the distress ink to stand out. Regardless of the paper you are using, the key to this project is the distress really gives it what it needs to make it work.


  • frame (The frame that will work best for this is a flat frame. You could even use the wooden frames they sell for cheap at Michael's or Joann's...they would be perfect!)
  • scrapbook paper
  • double stick tape
  • distress ink
  • paper trimmer
  • mod podge & foam brush
  • Measure each side of your frame, and trim paper to fit the space. I cut it to make the pattern I liked, instead of just four solid strips of paper that go the whole length of the frame. It gives it much more of a unique look than usual. You could even mix and match patterns/solids if you wanted to! Many frames will be big enough that you need to plan out how you will place your paper, so lay it out first to make sure it works.
  • Distress the edges! Don't skip this really is necessary.
  • Using double stick tape, adhere the paper to the frame.
  • When the paper is where you want it, apply mod podge with the brush. ( I haven't done this step yet...I'm trying it out in my space for the day before I commit to the color. :) )
  • Let dry, and display!
I told you it was easy!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

{personalized scripture totes & scripture covers}

When I came across THIS tutorial for scripture covers, I was so excited! I had never even thought about it before, with my girls being so little. ( I don't think my son would have appreciated scrapbook paper quite the same way!) However, with my girls starting Primary tomorrow (our church's Sunday School program for children 3-11), I couldn't wait to start these two projects that go hand-in-hand.


I found the perfect mini canvas totes (5-pack for $5.99) at Joann's---they measure 6 inches high and 5.5 inches wide, which is just the right size for the pocket size scriptures I bought for my girls. When I first envisioned this project, I was going to make the totes themselves, but when I stumbled across these, I knew just what I would do. This is super easy, super fast, and super cute!

  • canvas tote
  • fabric
  • heat 'n bond
  • iron
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • printed monogram, desired font & size (I used the elephants in cherry trees font, sized to 250--I needed it to be chunky enough to see the polka dots on my fabric.)

  • Take the ribbon you will be using on the outside of the tote and wrap it around the tote, to see how much you will need to go all the way around, plus a little overlap. Cut that amount off with your scissors.

  • Cut an exact amount of heat 'n bond, using the piece of ribbon as a guide.

  • Iron the sticky side of the heat 'n bond to the side of the ribbon that will be facing down.

  • Remove the paper backing, and place the sticky side down onto the tote.
  • Before you iron, decide where you want the overlap of ribbon to be. I placed it in the center of my bag, so that when I applied the monogram, it would cover the rough edges.
  • Iron ribbon on, according to heat 'n bond directions.

  • Print monogram out on white paper, in desired font.
  • Cut the letter out along lines, then continue to follow heat 'n bond directions.
  • Iron on monogram, according to directions.

  • Tie ribbons of choice on the bottom of one of the handles.


I followed the tutorial found HERE. However, I did make a few changes. First of all, I used pocket-sized scriptures. I love this size--isn't everything cuter when it's tiny? I also eliminated the ribbon to tie it shut and other embellishments. My girls are only 3, and the less they need to worry about, the better. I also distressed all the edges of every paper I used.

These were so fun to do, and I can't wait for my cute girlies to take these to church tomorrow!