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brown paper packages: February 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

{baby food containers put to good use}

I just love finding ways to re-use and recycle. I also love containers, and finding new ways to keep organized. How adorable are these plastic baby food containers? They are such a perfect size, and be used for SO many things.
For me, I have been wanting a way to keep all my girls' hair things neat and organized. Because they have short hair, they mostly wear bows and flowers that are on clips, but we do have a collection of elastic hair bands, bobby pins, and other paraphernalia that needed their own place.
These containers are exactly right! I had considered using a plastic tackle box, or bead box, that have different compartments, but decided against it for several reasons.
First of all, I only use clear hair elastics, so I didn't really need to organize them by color. I was also worried that if the box spilled for some reason, I wouldn't just lose a few elastics, I would lose them all. These containers fit in the small stackable Rubbermaid drawers I have in my bathroom cupboards, and also in the plastic bins I have on the shelves. YAY!!

  • plastic baby food containers
  • scrapbook paper
  • cardstock
  • distress ink
  • double stick tape
  • Print out desired labels on cardstock. Ink all edges.
  • Tape words onto coordinating cardstock. Ink all edges.
  • Tape matted words onto scrapbook paper. Ink all edges.
  • Tape onto the top of your plastic container.
SO easy!!

  • Portable First Aid kit: bandaids, alcohol pad, safety pins, etc. Perfect for diaper bag or purse!
  • Store your extra Christmas bulbs, or other tiny Christmas or holiday items.
  • Desk storage: push pins, brads, paper clips, tacks, rubber bands, etc.
  • Tiny toys: Barbie shoes or accessories, small dress-up jewelry
  • Great for taking small items with you in your diaper bag or purse.
  • ***Reader tip...Perfect for storing tiny embellishments, brads, eyelets, etc. How fun to organize them by color, and then display! Thanks Jenn and Angela!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

{craft board}

Do you have any old or leftover crafts laying around that you just don't use anymore? Maybe stuff that you once loved, but doesn't quite work as it is now? Well, that's exactly what I had.
I took some wooden letters that had been sitting in my craft closet for awhile, along with some leftover wood. With a little scrapbook paper, hot glue, paint, and mod podge, I turned them into an adorable family sign for my basement.


  • wooden letters (I bought mine at Walmart, but if you use your 40% coupons at Michael's or JoAnn's, you can get some great deals there too)
  • wood board, cut to desired length and width
  • spray paint (or craft paint & foam brush)
  • distress ink
  • hot glue gun
  • scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge

  • Paint your board and letters; let dry.
  • Sand the edges as desired.
  • Trace each wooden letter onto a piece of scrapbook paper. You can either trace them backwards onto the back of the paper, or facing up, on the right side of the paper. I usually do the first option, because I don't like to have to erase pencil lines, but either one works.
  • Cut out letter.
  • Ink edges.
  • Apply paper letter to wooden letter, using mod podge and foam brush. (*Or, you can just use double stick tape to apply the the paper, and skip the mod podge step.) Let dry completely.
  • Using the hot glue gun, apply your letters to the board.

You're done! Simple and cute!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

{burlap tic-tac-toe}

I want to thank Stacie again, the talented girl behind The CrEaTiVe CraTe, for a darling project and fun blog swap yesterday! It was so fun!

Over at her blog, I posted this project:

This burlap tic-tac-toe game is perfect for my girls' little table, or for on the floor. I used their initials instead of the traditional x's and o's, and they love having their own letters to play with. How FUN would this be for a personalized gift? It's also perfect for taking in the car, or tucking in a bag to take on errands to entertain little ones.


  • burlap, cut in a square--mine is around 2 1/2 feet
  • craft paint and foam brush
  • painters tape
  • foil
  • ribbon--I used 7/8 inch
  • heat 'n bond
  • felt
  • scissors
  • Tape off your burlap like this:

    Make sure you place aluminum foil or wax paper underneath your burlap, because the paint will soak through. Make the tape long enough so it goes past your burlap and sticks the to the table--this will keep the burlap secure and in place to paint.

  • With the foam brush, paint down the middle of the pieces of tape, using a blotting motion.

  • After the paint has dried, remove the tape. Then tape again, for the lines going the opposite way:

  • Paint as you did before:

  • After the paint has dried, remove the tape.
  • Following package directions, apply heat 'n bond to the ribbon--paper side up. Do one side at a time--planning ahead which ribbon you want to be on top of the other (overlapping on the corners).
  • For one side, I just cut the ribbon a little longer than the burlap, and ironed it on. That side was going to be the one with the ribbon on the bottom. On the side that was going to be on the top, I folded the ribbon over, and ironed it flat. I then applied the heat 'n bond on top of the fold, and ironed it down. Don't worry about having excess burlap --you will trim it off later. It's most important to get the ribbon straight.

  • It will look something like this when all the sides are done:

  • Trim off the excess burlap, cutting right next to the ribbon.

  • Print a template for the initial you need. I used the Century Gothic font, sized to 400. Trace your template on to the felt. Since the felt is the same on each side, it doesn't matter if you trace your letters on backwards or forwards. However, I prefer to trace mine backwards, so there is no evidence of my pencil on the front side when I cut it out. It's much harder to get rid of pencil lines on felt than other fabrics. Cut your letters out.



Friday, February 19, 2010

{welcoming...The CrEaTiVe CraTe}

Hi Brown Paper Packages FaNs!!
I'm Stacie...the craZy one behind The CrEaTiVe CraTe...and I am SuPer ExciTed to be swappin' blogs with Kierste's AweSoMe blog today!!

I LoVe doing crafts in my spare time...especially when I can create things with items that I already have @ home! Sooo...the project I am going to share one that I made out of a scrap 1x10 piece of pine.

Personalized Initials Board

First...I printed the letters on card stock {to the size that would fit on my scap 1x10}...and cut them out with a exact-o knife....

then painted the board...

then stenciled the letters on...
And...if you like the old "warn" could sand the edges...and the top.
Then...I wrapped it with a piece of tulle!
And...there ya have it!!

Sooo SiMpLe and CuTe!!

With the wedding season upon us...wouldn't these make a FuN gift??!!
Kierste...Thanks so much for letting me take over your FaBuLouS blog today!!
Have a great day everyone!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

{stocking your crafting pantry}

(picture via

I do most of my crafting at night, after my kids have gone to bed and the house is quiet. I can fit some things in during the day--like a coat or two of paint, or working on the computer. But if it involves a power tool, anything sharp, or an amount of time over 15 minutes, it has to wait.

With a very busy husband who often works past the time when stores are open, and with four children, ages three and under at home with me during the day (I have one son in school), my trips to the craft store are not usually spontaneous ones. To top it all off, I am not a patient person. :) Many times I will think of an idea, and have to do it just as soon as possible.

To allow for all of these things, I have a "craft pantry", which I keep stocked with all the crafting necessities. Similar to my food pantry, it holds all the basics--things I use all of the time, and items that many crafts will use.

I thought I would post that list here--so that if you are trying to build your own craft pantry, you will have an idea where to start. Again, just like your food pantry, you can attain these items slowly--when you see them on sale, with 40% off Michael's or JoAnn's coupons (sign up for these online...they will save you a bundle!), or when you can.

Another huge key is keeping everything organized. As you start building, dedicate a place you can keep your things. It doesn't need to be fancy--you can use totes, plastic drawers, a closet--wherever you have space. Separate each section of items as much as you can, so you can find them when you need them.


1. Cardstock: neutrals (including white, cream, black, dark brown, and tan), and some basic colors (red, orange, pink, shades of blue and green, and a few yellows). I generally have on hand colors that I use a lot, and colors I use in my home. I love the texture of Bazzill cardstock, but I also keep plain white that I buy at Walmart in bulk.
2. Patterned: I prefer two-sided paper--the ones with a pattern on one side, and a solid on the other. I usually pick a few pieces up at a time when I see something I like, then file it away for later. It's also a little heavier, which is nice in many crafting projects.
3. Newspaper: Just save a few pages of the classifieds, or other pages with a lot of smaller writing. Old phone book pages work well too.


1. Mod Podge: I like matte, and I always buy the big jar. It lasts forever--just keep the lid on tight.
2. Double stick tape: I go through this stuff like water. If you are a member of Sam's Club or Costco, look for it there. It comes in 10-packs, and it's usually a lot cheaper that way.
3. Wall putty
4. E-6000: Great craft adhesive.
5. Painters tape:


1. Burlap: It's cheap, and is all the rage now! I usually have about a yard.
2. Scraps: I save all my fabric scraps from sewing projects, and you would be surprised at how often I use them!
3. Felt: Not only has felt come in handy for crafting, but school projects as well.
4. Other: If you like a certain pattern or color of curtains, pillowcases, or other items that you aren't using anymore, keep them. Store them in a container, and save them for a rainy day.


I collect ribbon, and I'm crazy about it. All kinds, every kind. I have a lot of it, but here those ribbons I think are the basics:

1. Grosgrain: I love the look of grosgrain (grow-grain), so I have all the basic colors in my ribbon drawer, plus some polka dot.
2. Ricrac: I'm in love with ricrac--in all different widths and colors. You can buy it in packages, in the sewing section, or at a scrapbook store (if you're looking for more variety and sizes).
3. Sheer: Black, brown, red, cream, and some polka dot. These are the colors I use the most, and that are in my home. You will want to do the same--buy what you think you will use!
4. Gingham: I am obsessed with gingham. I use it all.the.time.
5. Yarn:
6. Embroidery Floss:

*Both Michael's and JoAnn's have small spools of scrapbooking ribbon for $1 or less--they usually have between 2-4 yards of ribbon on them, and are a great deal. I have found a lot of my favorites in those sections, and it doesn't break the bank, either!


1. Scissors: I have a good pair of scissors that I use just for crafting--they will last longer that way.
2. Paper trimmer: I have the regular small Fiskars one--it's 12 inches high, and 4 inches wide, but measures out to 12 inches wide. I have had it for years. I have never needed a bigger one, but those are nice as well.
3. Hole punch: The one I use the most is just the standard sized hole punch--especially in combination with ribbon.


1. Spray paint: I use a lot of spray paint, and I put it on just about everything! From frames to furniture, it gives many things a new look. I always have white, black, and cream spray paint on hand. I use the Rustoleum brand from Home Depot--they have a million colors to choose from, and it holds up really well.
2. Clip-on sprayer: You can buy this at Home Depot for around $6. It clips on to the top of your spray paint can, and will make your job a million times easier. Not only will it give your finger a break, but it eliminates some of the gloppiness and drippiness that can happen and gives you a more finished end product.
3. Foam brushes: I keep a variety of sizes...great for craft paint and Mod Podge.
4. Craft Paint: I don't use a lot of craft paint, since I prefer spray paint for just about everything, but I do keep a few neutrals on hand: black, white, chocolate brown, and a barn red. I mostly use craft paint with my foam stamps.
5. Stain/Glaze: I rarely make a wood project with using some kind of stain or glaze. My favorite stains are Dark Walnut and Provincial by Minwax. The Ralph Lauren glazes are good as well--the Faux Antique Glaze, or Smoke Glaze.


1. Twine (jute): This is so cheap, but can add so much to a project! I always keep a spool on hand.
2. Distress ink: I have black, and several shades of brown. You really only need one of each though. I don't use colored ink much, but if you like it, I would just wait until you need it.
3. Stapler: I love using a stapler to add ribbon to a cute note or invitation.
4. Button magnets: I suggest the extra-strong ones.
5. Clothespins:
6. Sandpaper: Medium grit
7. Glitter: You just never know. :)
8. Buttons: Collect & save all your extra buttons. These can be used for lots of different projects.
9. Popsicle sticks:
10. Saved containers: I save any container I think I can use--oatmeal canisters, gallon ice cream buckets, baby food jars and plastic containers, formula cans, etc.
11. Paper Bags: both the grocery size and lunch size
12. Wonder Under, or Heat 'n Bond: Wonder Under is at the cutting desk at your fabric store--you can buy as much as you need. Heat 'n Bond comes packaged in a pre-set amount. Other than that, they do the same thing.

WOOD, etc.:

1. Wood scraps: If you buy lumber of any size, for whatever reason, keep all your scraps. You will use them.
2. Sheet metal: I love this stuff! It comes in large sheets if you buy it a hardware store, and you usually won't use it all. I like having extra sheet metal around, because I love the look and inevitably end up using it.


1. Drill: I believe every girl should know how to use a drill. You will use it time and time again.
2. Power Sander: One of my favorite tools ever, and since I do a lot with wood, probably the most used. It will cut your sanding time down SO much.
3. Router: This will give the different edges on wood projects, and really takes things up a level.

The first two are the most basic power tools, and you will use them a ton. A router is another that I suggest if you want to work with wood--it puts the finishing edge on your projects, and makes a huge difference in the finished product. They are worth the investment. If your husband owns others--like a circular saw or table saw, have him teach you how to use them. You can totally do it, and it's nice not having to wait for them to do it for you. If you want to make frames, I suggest getting a pocket jig. They are AMAZING--and make all the difference.

So, there you go. It probably looks overwhelming, but you might be surprised at how much of this you already have. Just start small, and start adding little by little. Pretty soon you'll have your own craft pantry!

If there are any items not on this list that you just love, and have in your craft pantry, I would love for you to let me know!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

{valentine chain}

Each year my husband has decorated a room in the house for me for Valentine's Day. This year the tradition continued, but in addition to the balloons & crete paper, he got a little crafty (and he is not one to usually do something like this, so it's really saying something)!
I thought he had a really clever idea for a Valentine chain, and wanted to pass it along. He actually used it as a card, and left messages on each heart. I think it would be darling strung across a mantel or doorway!

  • red & pink construction paper
  • double stick tape
  • Draw out your heart shape template. At the bottom tip of the heart, leave a gap on either side, and make a "tail", about 4-5 inches long, or as big as want your loop.
  • Cut out as many hearts as you need, plus the same amount of regular chain pieces.
  • For the hearts, bend the tail piece back and and tape it to the back of the heart to make a loop.
  • Alternate the heart loops and the regular loops to form a chain.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

{burlap curtains}

When we finished the basement, we also finished under the stairs to make the girls a playhouse. We framed in a couple of windows to match the rest of the windows in our house, which means I needed curtains!
What could be cuter than curtains made out of burlap? I added a thick black & white polka dot ribbon at the bottom to add some oomph, and match the color scheme. Despite my lack of sewing skills (truly--this is not a forte of mine, although I keep trying), I am really pleased with the way they turned out.

So...for all you seamstresses out there, please do not look too closely at the stitches. I am a work in progress. :)

  • burlap
  • heavy duty will be going through several layers of burlap
  • thread ( I used black, because I wanted the contrast.)
  • thick ribbon
  • heat 'n bond, or wonder under
  • iron
  • Cut your burlap to the size needed. Make sure you add in at least 1 1/2 inch on either side for the hem, plus as many inches extra as you want for gathering. I added another 10 inches for gathering for the window with 2 panels, so a total of 11 1/2-12 inches for each panel. For the one panel I was doing for the smaller window, I added on about 20 extra inches, plus the hem amount. For the top hem, allow enough for the hem (another 1 1/2 inches), PLUS some to fold over to make your rod pocket. Look at your rod first, so you know exactly how much you need for it to fit through. You will not be hemming the bottom.

  • Proceed as you normally would to make curtains...doing the side hems, THEN the top hem and rod pocket. Make sure you don't do the rod pocket before the side hems, or you will sew it closed. And yes, I have done that before. Live and learn, lol. DON'T do a bottom hem. I used a longer stitch length, and a heavy duty needle.
  • To leave a finished edge on the ribbon, fold over each end and iron. Then you will be able to apply the heat 'n bond over the top of the folded edge. Measure each end to make sure it fits the width first.

  • Peel off the paper. You will then be able to position your ribbon along the bottom of the burlap, before you iron it on. Don't worry if your burlap isn't totally even on the bottom, you will trim it off later. Measure from the top of your curtain, to the bottom edge of the ribbon, to make sure it is as many inches long as you need it to be. Make sure it is even all the way across.

  • Iron on the ribbon.
  • With your scissors, trim along the bottom edge of the ribbon to remove any excess burlap, where it was uneven.

You're done! Hang those adorable curtains, and enjoy! My girls are already loving theirs. I was debating whether or not to do tiebacks, but so far they have been insisting on keeping them shut. I guess they like to cook in secret. :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

{framed sheet metal decor}

  • frame of choice (We made this one, because I wanted something specific. You can either make one, or purchase one you love. I think a chunky frame looks best.)
  • sheet metal, cut to to fit the frame
  • E6000, craft adhesive
  • vinyl lettering
  • If you bought the frame, remove the glass and cardboard.
  • Cut sheet metal to fit the inside of where the glass was. (If I buy it at Home Depot, I use a sharpie marker and a ruler to mark the size, then use tin snips to cut the metal. I have also purchased sheet metal from a manufacturer, who cut it just the right size.)
  • Using the E6000, carefully glue the sheet metal to the back inside of the frame. Let dry.
  • Apply the vinyl lettering.

What's so fun about this project, is that there are million places you could put it, and a million options for quotes and colors.
It would fit any room in the house--how fun in a child's bedroom, with a fun quote, or even their name? In the guest bath, over the master bed, or in your family room?