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brown paper packages: March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

{easter eggs}

The other night, as I was trying to decide how to color my eggs this year, a thought came to me. I have had great success dying different fabrics with coffee or tea to get that great, rich brown color...why not Easter eggs? You're probably asking why I just didn't buy brown eggs (which would be darling, I think), and I thought about it. But I wanted to see what these would look like, and I'm glad I did! I LOVE how they turned out!

Since we aren't coffee/tea drinkers, I had to try and track some down (I didn't want to buy a whole can for this project), and I didn't even think about needing coffee filters (went with a paper towel), but I'm here to pass along what I learned.

  • ground coffee
  • boiling water
  • eggs
  • ribbon
  • double stick tape
  • Pour the boiling water in a large bowl. Add the coffee, and stir well. I probably had about 3 c. of water in my bowl, and around 1/2 c. coffee grounds. I really just kept on adding it until it was the shade I wanted it to be.
  • Place a coffee filter (I used a paper towel, since I didn't have any filters--either one will work) in the bottom of a strainer, with another large bowl underneath it. Pour your coffee mixture into the strainer, separating the grounds from the liquid.
  • Carefully place your eggs into the now-strained liquid. Let sit until the eggs are as dark as you would like them to be.
  • Remove them from the liquid, and place into egg container. Let dry.
  • Using double stick tape, adhere ribbon to the egg.
Ta-da! You have adorably brown Easter eggs--ready for display.

What a FUN table centerpiece! We host an Easter Egg Hunt every year, and I love putting my colored eggs in a glass vase for the middle of the table.

***Try coloring raw eggs! There aren't many hard-boiled egg lovers in our family, so they all used to go to waste. A couple of years ago I switched to using raw eggs, and I love it. Even with little ones, we haven't broken one yet. (And even when we do, which is probably inevitable, it will still be worth it!) The kids have so much fun in the weeks after Easter, choosing which colored eggs will go into the cookie dough, pancake batter, or omelets.

Happy Easter!


Monday, March 29, 2010

{lisa leonard designs giveaway}


Can I just tell you how excited I am? I am in love with everything over at lisa leonard designs, and have spent plenty of time browsing through all her fabulous pieces. So, I was so happy when she wanted to give one of my readers a gift certificate for $50, or a family crest necklace--your choice!

If you haven't been to her store yet, you must not delay! I can guarantee there will be more than one piece you will be wishing for!

For 1 entry:
  • Become a brown paper packages follower!
  • Leave me a comment, telling me which is your favorite (if you can decide!).

Want an extra entry?
  • Follow Lisa on twitter...(, then come back and leave me another comment.

Any extra comments will be deleted.

The giveaway will close Sunday, April 4th, at midnight, and the winner will be announced on Monday, April 5th.

GOOD LUCK!! And a BIG thank you to Lisa, for this incredible giveaway!


Friday, March 26, 2010

{furniture refinishing...bedroom desk}

We have had this old desk forever. My husband actually made it in his high school shop of the first pieces he ever made. When we moved to our new house, it just sat in storage for a couple of years, until a couple of weeks ago.

My son was finally ready to give up the play table in his room to make room for a desk, but we were actually able to make both of them work.

I had originally intended to paint it navy blue--the walls are brown, and his bedding is chocolate brown, cream, deep blue, and touches of red. With silver hardware, it would be perfect. Well, then you actually have to pick out the paint. We just got a new paint sprayer, HOORAY, and we couldn't wait to try it out, but since I usually use spray paint, it had been awhile since I had gone through paint chips to select a color. Can I tell you how hard a good and true navy is to find? Well, I did my best, but it did not end up being navy. It was more of a deep chambray blue, and the PERFECT color. It matched his curtains exactly, and the color of blue in is quilt exactly.

Ryan loves it, and so do I. He can't wait to go "desk shopping" this weekend to choose a lamp, and desk organization accessories. We are also building him a big framed cork/white board this weekend to go above the desk, so look for that next week.

And the play table? We made the top remove-able from the base, so we just took the top off and slid it under his bed. Now when he wants to play with his Legos, he can easily slide it out and then back again!

My favorite furniture pieces in my home are those that we refinished. Some are those I already had (hand-me-downs), and others are the result of fabulous finds at thrift shops, habitat re-stores, garage sales, and even off the side of the road.

Have you always wanted to delve into re-finishing? Do you have a piece of furniture right now that you have a vision for, and wish you could do something with? Do you have a few things that could really use an update? Do you want to take advantage of bargains you see?

Click HERE to see how I do it--so can you!!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!


Thursday, March 25, 2010



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

{a wooden stool makeover}

I have a wooden stool that has been a staple in our house for years, but it was needing a little face lift. I thought of all the little feet that have and will step on that stool, and I knew just what I wanted to do.

My kids' footprints add the perfect touch, and I will be able to look at those darling feet forever! (The smallest two feet are my baby boys--they are twins, but you'd never be able to tell by foot size! 

I apologize for the lack of pictures during the process, but if you could have only seen me trying to do this myself, it would have been a sight to see. It was all I could do to just get the footprints done and escape with as little paint as possible all over myself, the house, and them!


  • wooden stool
  • spray paint (2 coordinating colors)
  • sandpaper/power sander
  • scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge & foam brush
  • Finishing craft spray or poly
  1. Paint your stool. Let dry, then distress the edges.
  2. Footprints: I used spray paint, because it dries faster than wall paint, and doesn't get as gloppy. I sprayed the paint onto a paper plate ( eats foam plates; use paper ones), then using your finger or small brush, apply the paint to the bottom of the foot. Place it directly onto the surface, making sure to press down each toe. Press firmly, then carefully lift up. Repeat for each footprint. Let dry.
  3. Print names. date, or desired text onto scrapbook paper. (font is Wish I Were Taller) I inked the edges. :)
  4. Mod Podge the paper onto your stool, then cover the entire surface to seal the paint.
  5. Apply a finishing craft spray or poly according to directions.
There it is! Simple, and darling!

MOTHER'S DAY is coming up...HOW fun would this be for a mother or grandmother in your life?

*You could make this work with however many kids you had. With 1 child, you could do both footprints, with 2 kids you could one of each, or a set of each, etc.

Have a great day!


Friday, March 19, 2010

{covered decorative books}

There hasn't been much crafting going on this week, due to the wonderful, unusually warm weather. We have pretty cold winters, so it has been definitely something to celebrate---and I have, every afternoon at the park! It's been lovely!

I was able to work on this fun, easy project, and I'm so happy with it! We moved into our house almost 2 years ago, and my poor girls' room has been totally neglected. Part of me was waiting for us to get their beds done (we are making FARMHOUSE BEDS for their birthday next month...can't wait!)to really decorate. Now that we are starting to move forward, it's been fun to figure out what I wanted to do, and think about some of the small touches. I had something like this in mind, when I ran across another blog (I'm so sorry, I can't remember where!) that had something similar, and it just cemented the idea!

These fun covered books are just that...they look adorable on an end table or nightstand, on the top of a bookshelf, or any other flat surface you like. I love when they are stacked under a lamp, or old-fashioned pitcher (I spray painted this one cream), so that's exactly what I did. These can be made for any room in the house--family room, master bedroom, guest room, etc. LOVE them!

These are seriously so simple to make, but add so much to the room. In fact, I might have gone a little crazy. :)

  • books (I used old ones that we would have take to Salvation Army or Goodwill)
  • double stick tape
  • paper of choice...I mixed and matched Bazzill cardstock and scrapbook paper
  • distress ink
  • You are going to have three different pieces of paper to cover the book. Cut one piece of paper that will fit directly over the spine, and overlap onto each side of the book an inch or two. This will be what shows from the front, so choose paper accordingly. It needs to come right to the top and bottom edges of the book.
  • Place double stick tape down the spine of the book, and place your paper over the spine, and crease it well over the edges of the book. Tape down the rest of the paper, securing firmly.

  • Cut two identical pieces of paper for the front and back, also making sure that they fit the book perfectly--right to all the edges. I did this by placing the paper on the book where I wanted it to go, then making creases where it needed to be cut.

  • Distress the edges first, then tape them on the book, making sure to overlap the piece on the spine.
  • Distress everything else. :)
  • Repeat for each book, mixing and matching coordinating papers as desired.

Have wonderful weekend, everyone!!

I'm linking up today...


Monday, March 15, 2010

{twine vase}

Spring is coming, and that means my favorite flowers are too! I love love love having fresh flowers in my house, and I try to have them as often as I can throughout the spring and summer. I just can't wait for the farmers' market to open...

Tulips are in season now, and my cute husband brought some home for me last week. As I went to pull out a vase, I realized I had some that I didn't love, and I knew just what to do to change that. Add a little twine, and you've got yourself a whole new look!

  • twine (jute)
  • vase
  • scrapbook paper
  • cardstock
  • distress ink
  • double stick tape
  • clothespin

1. First of all, I apologize I don't have any pictures of the actual process. My camera battery died right when I was starting, and since I knew I wouldn't have another chance to do it, I went ahead with it. I didn't want to use hot glue, but you certainly could if you wanted to. I would suggest you use a vase that is either the same size from top to bottom (like the square one I did), or one that goes from small to large. I tried one that started big, was smaller in the middle, and then was bigger at the bottom, and it was a disaster--the twine wouldn't stay tightened.

2. I started at the bottom of the vase, and turned it upside down so it was now at the top. I wrapped the one length of the twine around the very top (the base), then tied it tightly on using a square knot (right over left, left over right).

3. After the knot is secure, start wrapping the twine tightly around the vase, continuing to push the twine close together as you go.

4. When you get to the top of the vase, tie another knot to secure it in place, then trim the end and tuck it under.

5. Print your desired letter/word, then distress the edges and mat on your scrapbook paper.

6. Clip it to the vase using the clothespin.

Ta-da! Fill your twine vase with lovely flowers, and enjoy! The clothespin makes it easy to switch out words/flower names/initials. How fun would this be as a wedding gift--with their monogram on the front? Or with the words "congratulations", "baby", "get well soon", or "thinking of you"?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

{family values canvas}

I just LOVED THIS family rules canvas over at the pleated poppy as soon as I saw it, and couldn't wait to make one of my own.
I did make a few changes. I decided on a 24x36 canvas. This way, I could fit two 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper (landscape view) next to each other, and then have a one inch border on either side. I knew I wouldn't be able to freehand the fonts, nor was I confident in my printer abilities to be able to print out a continuing sentence on different sheets of 12x12 paper. It was perfect for our family values, which would only have one word printed on each piece of paper.

  • art canvas (get this on sale, or use a coupon!)
  • scrapbook paper...lots of it! I chose 8 different papers--7 of them for the values (used each one twice) and one for the title. I used 12x12 paper, I just cut it down to 8 1/2 x 11 to fit in my printer.
  • spray paint
  • Mod Podge and foam brush
  • printer and lots of cute fonts


1. I decided which fonts I wanted to for each word, then typed and formatted them in Word. I used the landscape view, and printed two words on each paper. (Once I cut it in half, I would have 2 words, each 4.25 x 11 inches. I chose this size because my canvas was 36 inches tall, and it would fit 8 pieces that size with a one inch border perfectly.)
2. Once the words were printed on my paper, I cut them to size (in half) and inked all the edges.
3. I had already spray painted my canvas black, so I spread out my words and figured out where I wanted each of them to go.
4. I secured them in place with a little double stick tape, because doing it is way required several edges to meet up, and I needed it to stay in place until I could Mod Podge it.
5. After they were taped on, I Mod Podged each word on individually, making sure to keep all my edges and borders even. Another layer of Mod Podge went on top, and I was done!

I LOVE how it turned out. It's the perfect touch in our kitchen/dining room, where we can all see it often each day.

P.S. Check out THIS's brand new! To celebrate their grand opening, they are donating 15% of all proceeds from this week to Autism Speaks.

***AFTER 1 DAY***

I was too impatient last night to wait to take pics (imagine that, lol), and the Mod Podge wasn't quite dry so some of the papers were still a little bubbly. This morning, after it had a chance to dry overnight, almost all the bubbles were gone! Plus, the light is a lot better. :)