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brown paper packages: September 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

{halloween book countdown}

One of my great loves in life is reading, along with books of all kinds. I also love Halloween--not the scary, ghoulish, gory kind, but the fun costumes, trick or treating, sugar cookies, and pumpkins on the porch kind.

To celebrate both of these, I created a Halloween Book Countdown---a really fun way to count down the 31 days to Halloween--starting with October 1st. I put together a list of some favorite Halloween books, along with some others I wanted to try, then headed to the library. (I'm working on collecting our own, but until then, the library is the perfect resource, and had all the titles I was looking for.) I found a black tub at Target in the holiday section, added some ribbon and vinyl, and our book countdown was ready!

Whether you label the books and go in order like an advent calendar, pull numbers out of a hat, or just let kids choose randomly, this can be a super fun way to enjoy the holiday together.

Here is my list of 31 books: (most of these books are targeted for ages 3-8)

1. Too Many Pumpkins, Linda White
2. Pumpkin Soup, Helen Cooper
3. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, Steven Kroll
4. Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden, George Levenson
5. How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?, Margaret McNamara
6. Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Jeanne Titherington
7. In the Haunted House, Eve Bunting
8. Room on the Broom, Julie Donaldson
9. The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything, Linda Williams
10. The Night Before Halloween, Natasha Wing
11. The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat, Stan & Jan Berenstain
12. The Big Pumpkin, Erica Silverman
13. The Vanishing Pumpkin, Tomie dePaola
14. Humbug Witch, Lorna Balian
15. Bug That Go Bump in the Night, David A. Carter
16. Five Little Pumpkins, Iris Van Rynbach
17. Scary, Scary, Halloween, Eve Bunting
18. Peek-A-Booooo!, Marie Torres Cimarusti
19. Mrs. McMurphy’s Pumpkin, Rick Walton
20. It’s Halloween!, Jack Prelutsky
21. Thirteen Nights of Halloween, Rebecca Dickinson
22. Miss Fiona’s Stupendous Pumpkin Pies, Mark Kimball Moulton
23. Ten Timid Ghosts, Jennifer O’ Connell
24. The Bumpy Little Pumpkin, Margery Cuyler
25. Halloween Night, Arden Druce
26. Haunted Castle on Hallows’ Eve, Mary Pope Osborne
27. All Hallow’s Eve – The Story of the Halloween Fairy, Lisa S. Johnson
28. Pumpkin Hill, Elizabeth Spurr
29. Skeleton Hiccups, Margery Cuyler
30. The Ugly Pumpkin, Dave Horowitz
31. Trick or Treat Countdown, Patricia Hubbard

Have a favorite story that's not listed here? Please share!

I'm looking forward to cozy nights, snuggled up with my kids, a good book, and
just maybe a cup of hot chocolate.


Monday, September 27, 2010

{sneak peek}

Well, I made it. I finished my race, and had such a great time--I actually want to do it again! Not much chance for crafting though, and with my parents in town we've just been enjoying our time with them.

However...I do have a sneak peek into the guest room I've been redoing. I will have more pics later this week, and even though I'll still have smaller touches to add, it will pretty much be finished!

It's not often that I show you something that I haven't painted, in fact, I don't think it's ever happened. For those of you that strongly recommended I NOT paint this fabulous vintage sewing table I found, I took your advice. For now. :) I usually paint everything, but something made me stop with this piece.

I love how it looks in the room, and the color of it adds some needed depth. Once the window I'm refinishing is hanging above it, it will look even better!


Friday, September 24, 2010

{friday favorites...craft coupons!}

I am a coupon girl. I love saving money on anything, including my craft supplies. I purchase a lot of my supplies at Joann Fabrics and Michaels, but usually only equipped with a handy 40% or 50% off coupon. It makes a HUGE difference. Both of these stores offer these coupons regularly, and if you sign up for their newsletters, the coupons will come right to your inbox. Where I live, they will each accept competitor's coupons, which I have taken advantage of many times. Ask at your local store--they may do the same.

I also use Crazy About Deals, which has craft coupons from both of these stores and others. Right now there is a 50% off coupon at JoAnn's, and both a 40% off regular priced items and a 15% off your entire purchase at Michaels. If you're thinking about Halloween costumes or decorations, this is the time to head on over!


Have a great weekend, everyone!
I'm trying to stay calm---I'm running my first half marathon tomorrow morning!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

{soap...all dressed up}

This is a simple, totally cute way to dress up any kind of hand soap or lotion!
  • holiday soaps & lotions in a guest bath or kitchen
  • monogrammed soaps for home or personalized gifts
  • personalized soaps for your kids' bathroom
  • teacher gifts
  • neighbor & friend gifts
  • office gifts--or for your own!
  • add the words "bath", "kitchen", etc.
I just used very cheap (originally purple) hand soap that I found for about $1 each. That's the beauty of this project--it doesn't matter what the soap or lotion looks like, since it will be totally disguised when it's finished. I made three different kinds--a spooky soap for Halloween, one for Christmas, and one with a monogram. I also switched up what I used for the text-- I used vinyl on two of them, and paint on the other. I like both ways--they each have their own look, so you can decide which you like better.

Soap...all dressed up!

  • soap or lotion--any size or shape
  • spray primer
  • spray paint
  • text: vinyl, foam stamps & craft paint
  • ribbon

1. Remove any labels, and excess "gooey" stuff from the outside of the soap. Goo Gone, or any adhesive remover should work well. Make sure the container is clean and dry.

2. Remove the lid/pump. This step is IMPORTANT---you must prime the bottle BEFORE painting. If you don't, the paint will run, or leave you with major streaks and bumps. I used a spray paint primer--I like Rustoleum--and sprayed it very lightly, just to cover. Let dry completely. *Note: One can of primer will last quite awhile. I made several, and still had a lot of paint left.

3. Next step...painting. When using spray paint, remember, less is more. Stand back a little more than you would if you were painting wood, and kind of let it mist over it. It will cover quickly, so you really don't want too much. Let dry completely.

4. Now you're ready for text! I rummaged through some extra vinyl I had, and chose a "w" for our monogram, and "joy" for a Christmas version. I also wanted to try using paint and my foam stamps for one, which I did for the Halloween version. If you're using vinyl, apply as you normally would. If you're using paint, you need to do one of two things--either use spray paint (just spray some paint onto a paper plate--not foam-- and use your finger to apply it to the stamp), or you'll need to spray the bottle with a moisture-resistant craft spray to protect the craft paint. If not, as soon as it gets wet, the paint will run.

5. Add your ribbon, and you're done!


Monday, September 20, 2010

{preschool tote bags...and scentsy winner!}

After my girls first year of preschool last year, I decided not to go with the traditional backpack again. So many of their projects are over-sized, and you just can't get very many things inside the small backpack that fits their frames. I just ended up carrying so much stuff, that I thought I would give something else a try.

Enter in the lovely canvas tote bag! They really are so versatile, and can be used for so many things. The girls will now have these personalized bags that they can use after preschool is over, and even before that--perfect for taking in the car on trips, overnights, or any time they need to have a bag for their things. The straps easily fit over their shoulders, and every art project easily slides inside. I made two bags for around $6, and they love that they are personalized just for them.

If you don't have a preschooler, think of it for library books, church, trick-or-treating, groceries, and more! Seriously, this can not get any easier, or cuter! My girls love them!

Preschool Tote Bag

  • canvas tote bag (I purchased mine at JoAnn Fabrics--3 pack for $5)
  • fabric--several coordinating patterns and solids
  • fabric adhesive spray
  • heat 'n bond, or wonder under

1. Cut a piece of fabric to fit the front of your bag, not quite to the edges of the bag.
2. Using the fabric adhesive spray, and following the directions on the can, adhere the fabric to the front of the bag. You could also use heat 'n bond for this, but it's less expensive to use the spray, and works just as well.

2. Print out the letter/word of your choice and cut it out. Follow the directions on the heat 'n bond package (make sure you get the non-sewing package), and apply it on top of the fabric.

3. Tie some coordinating fabric on the handle at the bottom, where the strap meets the bag.

That's it! Can you believe it? From drab to fab, quick as a wink!


Our LUCKY Scentsy winners are...

#125: DeAnna, who said:

Visited Emily's site. I have one burner, but need one for the basement. Too many to choose from, but the cinnamon cider scent sounds yummy for the kitchen. I think the scent packets would work great in a drawer. Posted the giveaway on my blog as well.


You've won the darling Scentsy Buddy!

#134: keday, who said:

I just "liked" Emily's FB page and posted a comment! Thanks again!

You've won the full-size warmer and 3 bars of your choice!


Congratulations!! Please e-mail me your info, so we can get those out to you.

Thanks again, Emily, for such a fantastic giveaway!!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

{satin poppy hair clips}

I've had the stuff to make these forever, but just never got to them. This morning (the first day of preschool), when I was looking for something for my girls' hair , nothing I had was quite right. I decided it was time to get them made, and I'm so glad I did! It literally took me less than 10 minutes to make the pink poppies for this morning, and then I came home a finished off some more just as quickly.

So, if you're like me, and haven't tried them, make them soon! And if you haven't seen them before, this is the time to try it. With the holidays coming up, these would look fabulous with holiday dresses and outfits. They are simple, inexpensive, and absolutely darling.

Satin Poppy Hair Clips

  • satin or silk fabric
  • matches
  • scrapbook brads
  • felt
  • alligator clips
  • hot glue gun

1. Cut out three different sized circles from the silk. These do not have to perfect--I just free handed them.

2. Light your match (or one of those hand held lighter things--I couldn't find ours. but matches work just as well), and carefully put it right up the edge of your first circle. It doesn't need to touch it, just get really close to it. The heat will melt the silk, and you will see the edges of your circle curl up. Go all the way around your circle, then repeat with the rest of your circles. I actually tried to get a picture of that part for you, but it didn't work so well. :)

3. Stack your flowers, then take your scrapbook brad and poke it right through the middle of all your circles. It will go right through--I didn't have to cut it first. Bend back the prongs on the bottom side of the flower.

4. Cut out a small piece of felt, and hot glue it to the bottom of the flower, covering up the brad.

5. Hot glue the alligator clip to the felt, and you're good to go!

I told you! So, so cute!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

{candy pumpkin bracelets}

Here is my "spooktacular"post from yesterday, over at eighteen25:

I was shopping last weekend, and saw the most adorable pumpkin bracelet in one of my favorite children's stores. I had to come home and try it, but in this super fun, candy version.

These would be the perfect addition to any Halloween party--as a favor, or as a craft. It's also a really fun activity to do with your kids at home, and my girls loved to help. They are simple to make, and really inexpensive, making it easy to make a bunch, or just one!

Candy Pumpkin Bracelets

  • candy pumpkins
  • dental floss
  • needle, with large eye
  • ribbon

1. Cut off a long piece of floss. You will trim it later, but you want plenty to work with. I used white floss, but it doesn't really matter, since it will be completely covered. Thread it through your needle, just enough to get it through, plus a little bit.

2. Poke your needle into the bottom of the first pumpkin, and push it through the top. You will definitely need something to help push it through--your finger alone will not be strong enough. I used the dental floss case as leverage, and it worked perfectly.

3. Repeat this process, until you have enough pumpkins to completely circle wrist, and have a little bit of wiggle room. My girls are 4 years old, and I used 9 pumpkins on each of their bracelets.

4. Once you have the desired amount of pumpkins, tie your two ends of floss together to make a bracelet, then trim the ends.

5. Tie short pieces of ribbon in between the pumpkins. I made one bracelet with all black gingham ribbon, and the other I alternated the black gingham and an orange polka dot.

6. Wear 'em! For as long as they last. :)


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

{a school lunch treat}

School started for us yesterday, and we are now in the mode of making school lunches. I like to send a little treat in with them, and one of their favorites is O Henry Bars. They are delicious, easy-to-make, and perfect to tuck inside a lunch box or paper bag.

After I make a batch, I like to cut them in to 2x2 inch-ish squares, wrap them in plastic wrap, and tie them with a cute ribbon. Then I can place them in a basket in the pantry, and they're ready for packing!

O Henry Bars

1 c. sugar
1 c. Karo syrup
2 c. peanut butter
5 c. Rice Krispies
6 oz. chocolate chips (1/2 bag)
6 oz. butterscotch chips (1/2 bag)

Bring the sugar and Karo syrup to a boil, then remove from the stove. Add the peanut butter, and mix well. Stir in the Rice Krispies. Pour the mixture into a greased (or sprayed with cooking spray) 9 x 13 pan. Combine the butterscotch and chocolate chips in a glass bowl. You can use a double boiler to melt them, or the microwave. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between. It usually takes me about 1 minute total, to get them melted enough to spread. Be careful--they can scorch if in too long. Once it's melted, spread over the top of the Rice Krispie mixture. Chill until set, then cut into bars. Yum!


{poppyseed project winners}


to our winners of the
Poppyseed Projects giveaway!



E-mail me your info, and we'll get those out to you!

Thanks again to Poppyseed Projects, for this fabulous giveaway!


Monday, September 6, 2010

{2x4 wood pumpkin}

When I was making the flag blocks a few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to make something for fall out of the remaining 2x4.

I made them the same size as the flag blocks, but you could really make this in several sizes--by either stacking more pieces of wood, or by not cutting them as wide.

How darling would a set of three pumpkins be, sitting on your porch, or on the hearth?

I made them just like the flag blocks (click HERE for the tutorial), but kept the wood all the same size (7 inches wide) and painted them orange.

Super simple, darling, and cheap. Can't beat that!

P.S. Thanks to all of you who suggested I turn the blocks the other way! You'll see both vertical and horizontal at the first of the post. Both are cute--which one do you like?