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brown paper packages: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

{ABC's in a can}

About a month ago, I was able to share this tutorial over at Ucreate. I wanted to share it here with all of you, too!

I just love to personalize things--I think it makes everything more fun! This project also has the components that are perfect for little ones...the thickness of the juice can lids is just right for their hands, and the clink when they hit the bottom of the can is sure to please. It's also easy to do, and can be finished in a day. What a fun gift!

Here's how I did it!


  • #10 can (you could even use a formula can--they are a little smaller, but it would work)
  • 26 frozen concentrate lids (My plan is to make more for numbers 1-10, so you would need 36 if you wanted to do this as well.)
  • scrapbook paper
  • 2 inch circle punch (this is optional, but makes it MUCH faster and easier)
  • distress ink
  • Mod Podge and foam brush
  • ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • drill
  • Print the alphabet onto desired scrapbook paper. I did both upper and lowercase, using 2 different papers. The font is Century Gothic, sized to 100. I fit 8 of that size letter on a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper (I cut mine down from 12x12, since my printer won't accept that size), and it was just enough to cut the size of circles I needed.

  • Using your circle punch, center each letter in the middle of your circle and punch it out. I LOVE this punch by Fiskars--it allows you to see exactly what you are punching out, instead of doing it blindly. If you don't have a circle punch, you can always use a glass, trace around the letters, and cut them out.

  • Once they are all cut out, distress them with distress ink.

  • Make sure your juice lids are washed well, then completely dried. Using a foam brush, apply Mod Podge to the bottom of the circle, then center it in the middle of the lid. Mod Podge over the top of the paper as well, and let dry. Once it's dry, you can repeat the process on the other side with the other set (lower or upper). Make sure you match up the letters on each lid--Dd, Ee, etc. **Because my boys' names don't have any repeating letters, I used the contrasting paper for the initials of their name. For example, the lowercase letters were done in the green polka dot paper, so for Jack's name, I used the cream paper for the lowercase j, a, c, and k. I did the same with Henry's name.

  • While your letters are drying, you can move onto the can. I cut two coordinating papers into strips---3.5 x 12 inches. This wouldn't quite go around the can, so I cut another piece 3.25 x 7.25 inches to fill the gap. On my can, this made the edges meet up exactly--you will want to measure yours to see if that's accurate. I then distressed the edges of my paper. Apply Mod Podge to the bottom of the can, and place your paper on the can, pressing firmly, then add more Mod Podge on top of the paper. Add the second bottom piece, making sure the edges line up. Repeat the process for the top pieces. Let dry completely.

  • After your paper is completely dry, you are ready to add any paper embellishments you like. I used the same letter circles to spell the boys' names--I loved the contrast of the papers. You could use also use vinyl, paint, etc. If you use paper like I did, use Mod Podge to secure it in place. Let dry.

  • Hot glue your ribbon around the can, where the two papers meet.
  • I used a drill for the slit on top of the can. I chose a thick drill bit (a little thicker than the thickness of the lid), and drilled two holes about 2.5 inches long--just a little longer than the width of the lid. Then I took a pencil and drew two lines--connecting the two holes, and forming a rectangle. You can then use an exact-o knife or razor blade to cut it out.

    You're done! How darling and fun, plus educational...can't beat that!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

{amazing brownies}

I don't use the term "amazing" lightly, but these really fit the bill.

The handful of marshmallows make them unique, and along with the white chocolate chips, and chocolate chips, make for a wonderfully, gooey brownie.

In the picture above, I turned them into mint brownies, by adding a layer of mint buttercream frosting, and another of chocolate ganache. Usually though, I frost them with a traditional chocolate buttercream frosting.


3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. + 2 T. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. white sugar
1/2 c. chocolate chips
handful mini marshmallows
3 eggs
2/3 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla, then cocoa. Mix in flour and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows. The batter will the thick. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-32 minutes, or until the middle is set. They will be gooey--and a toothpick may not necessarily come out clean due to the melted chocolate chips. Do not overbake. Let cool to room temperature, then frost. Chill for 30 minutes, then cut into squares.

Chocolate Buttercream:

4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 stick butter
4-6 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. (Add more or less cocoa, depending on chocolate preference.) Add the butter and 1-2 T. of milk, and start beating. Gradually add more milk while beating well, until it reaches the desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt, then beat until light and creamy.

If you like mint...

Mint Buttercream:

4 c. powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
4-6 T. milk
dash salt
2-3 drops green food coloring
1 tsp. peppermint flavoring

Place powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add softened butter, and 1-2 T. of milk. Start beating with electric mixer, and gradually add milk until it reaches desired consistency. Add extract, salt, and food coloring, then beat until light and creamy.

Chocolate Ganache:

2 c. chocolate chips, or finely chopped chocolate squares (I prefer milk chocolate, but semi-sweet is generally used.)
8-10 T. whipping cream

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Add 8 T. of the cream, then a little more if necessary, stirring until glossy.

-Once brownies have cooled to room temperature, add the mint frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then add the ganache layer. Refrigerate until firm, then cut into squares.

ENJOY! You will LOVE these!


Monday, April 26, 2010

{piggy's & petals...giveaway!}

Piggy's and Petals has the most adorable accessories for babies, toddlers, and little girls!

From the crocheted beanies & flowers...

to the darling headbands...


and more...

there is something for everyone! Randi specializes in custom orders, and loves creating something unique for each customer.

So...I am thrilled to announce that she is giving a $25 gift certificate to one of my lucky readers!

Just go check out Piggy's and Petals, and then come back and let me know what you would choose. That's it! One entry per person, please.

The giveaway will run through midnight on Monday, May 3rd, and I will announce the winner on Tuesday the 4th.

Good luck!


Friday, April 23, 2010

{a few of my favorite things...mothers' day}

Happy Friday!

I am so excited to show you even more fantastic ideas from our Mothers' Day party. I know I said last week that I would feature projects on Thursday, but with preparing for my girls' birthday and dance recital this weekend, today worked into the schedule much better. And I love that I can use the saying: Friday's "a few of my favorite things"...I've been wanting to do that since I started this blog!

These are the projects that made my favorites list this week.


Holy moly, isn't this CUTE!


I totally love this idea. You could really adapt it for all sorts of things...what about a teacher's gift? So, so fun!


This is a darling paper crafting idea. So spring-y!


How creative!


I :heart: this quote. Darling.


I love seeing all your creative ideas! The party will be open until the May 8th, so you can still add your links as you finish up any projects that you would like to share.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

{tin can vase}

Isn't this adorable? Erica, over at Snippets of Wonderful, made this darling vase.

It's amazing what a tin can and some paint can do for a beautiful bunch of flowers, and it's a great way to recycle. I LOVE it!

Happy Earth Day!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

{personalized notepaper}

I {love} to give personalized gifts.  There is just something about receiving a gift that you know was made just for you, and giving one is even more fun!

Personalized notepaper is actually one of my most favorite gifts to give, and the most requested from my mom. She {loves} to keep it by her phone, and every year we design her a new set.  It makes such a great gift because it's so versatile, and can be given to anyone special in your life.  Parents, grandparents, teachers (HOW fun to have each child in the class sign their name for the design, with the teacher's name at the top!!!), friends...the list goes on and on.Whether it's Mother's Day, Father's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Christmas, a birthday, or just because, personalized notepaper is a delightful gift!

When I make it for my mom, I always have my kids do the design work.  However, depending on who it's for, you could do it any way you like--using graphics, text, hand drawn art--that's the beauty of it!   Once I made stationery (in a larger size) for my sister who was living away for a couple of years. She loved it, and so did we, when we received letters from her on paper designed by us!

This is such an easy project, and you don't need many supplies--just a pen, some white paper, and a printer! The outcome is SO fun--anyone would love this gift!

  • 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of white paper
  • pen
  • printer
  • your imagination!

1. Using a pencil, draw a line at the bottom of your paper, approximately 2-2 1/2 inches high. This is the area that you will place any artwork, etc.

2. Start creating! The space is yours! I give my kids the freedom to do what they like, but I make sure their name is included.

3. Once that part is finished, completely erase the pencil line.

4. You could actually do this step first if you prefer, but it doesn't really matter. (Unless the artwork at the bottom would be ruined going through the printer--then you would want to do this step first.) I also do it in this order, just in case someone wants to start over. This way I don't have to keep printing out the words until I know they are ready to go.

In Word (or other word processing software), type any text that you would like to be at the top of your notepaper, then print. I chose a different font for each child, and sized it to 16. You don't want it to be too big, so you have plenty of space for the actual notepaper.

5. Now you're ready for the printer! I use a local print shop, but I called first to make sure they made notepaper. I had them put four to a page, so 1/4 sheets. (25 copies = 100 pieces of notepaper) When I made stationery, I did 1/2 sheets instead, so they would be a little bigger. You can also use Staples, Office Max, or other large printing company--I would check around for prices first, since there can be a huge price difference from place to place. They are bound at the top, just like any other notepad you would find at the store, so the sheets just tear off the top.

Ta-da! The most darling notepaper ever!

Monday, April 19, 2010

{tile backsplash makeover}

I have a very talented friend named Linsey, over at Voila! She is in the middle of one huge kitchen makeover, and you have to go check out everything she's doing. From staining her concrete countertops, to painting her tile backsplash, she's not afraid to try out her ideas.

I just had to show you this though...her fantastic tile backsplash!



Isn't that fabulous? She stained the grout, then hand painted the tiles cream and blue.

So, go say hi, and prepare to be amazed!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

{canvas drop cloth wreath}

Last Friday I had the pleasure of posting a tutorial on somewhat simple, while we were lucky enough to have Steph's fun picture recipe cards here on brown paper packages.
(Great idea, by the way!)

So, do you remember all that canvas I had leftover after my disastrous project? Well, something else came out of it, and I shared it with her readers.
Today I thought I would post it here for you!


  • canvas drop cloth (I purchased mine at Home Depot--painting section)
  • floral wire wreath, or Styrofoam wreath
  • ribbon or fabric
  • any desired embellishments


Cut the canvas into strips--you'll want a good stack to start with, but you can always cut more. My strips were 18 inches long, and about 1 1/2 inches wide.

Lay one strip across the top of the wreath.

Take the ends and cross them underneath the wreath.

Bring up the ends again, and tie them in a knot. Repeat until the wreath is completely covered.

When the wreath is filled, you will have spaces in between the knots. To fill these spaces, take your strips (same size), and just tie them in regular knots in between each already existing knot. (you won't be wrapping them around first, just tying them.) They will be longer than the first knots you tied, and this will fill in the wreath and give it some dimension.

When you're finished, this is what it will look like:

Now you can just have fun with it! One of the things that I love about this wreath, is that it's so versatile. The color is neutral, so any other color(s) can be paired with it.
I chose to hang it on my black armoire, which provided lovely contrast, and then tied it up with a simple red piece of fabric.
Other ideas? You could hang it by ribbon or fabric in a large chunky frame. Want more color? Embellish it with fabric or burlap could even make some for different seasons or holidays and switch them out. The canvas is heavy duty and water resistant, so it's perfect for hanging on your front door.