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brown paper packages: December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

{calendar blocks}

Who doesn't love countdown blocks? Well, I wanted to be able to use it all year long, and all it took was one simple change.

For the bottom block, I made a removable tag for each month (just cardstock, distressed and matted on scrapbook paper--font Mr. Giggles), which makes it so easy to just change it out every month. I thought about making 6 bottom blocks, and putting vinyl on each side--then changing out a block every 2 months. You could still do that if you prefer, but I really wanted to go with simple, and reduce the amount I had to store. To stick on the month, I actually used a little bit of double stick tape--it comes off the mod podged surface pretty easily. (In the process of making it, I added and removed a month at least 10 times, and it always worked well.)

I actually made this one for a gift, so if you're name starts with an A, and you live in Idaho, please act surprised. :) (And forgive me for not getting it mailed before Christmas--with 5 sick little ones, it was all about survival.)

Now you've got a darling way to count down each day in the year, and never have to put them away!


Calendar Block Specifics

Wood: 4x4 posts, cut into 2 square blocks, 2x4--7 inches
Number Placement: Block 1--0,1,2,3,4,5
Block 2--0,1,2,6,7,8 (6 doubles as the 9, so make sure you put it on non-directional paper)

Paint your blocks, mod podge desired paper, sand and distress block edges, add numbers!



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

{ballet bags & baby gifts}

As you can imagine, as soon as I got the Silhouette in the mail, my mind was racing through all the projects I wanted to try. I even made a spreadsheet, so I could keep track of them all! :)

With the machine, they sent me a few rolls of heat transfer paper to try, including a really fun yellow. I thought it would be perfect for some burp cloths I wanted to cute-sy up for baby gifts. I also really wanted to make my girls bags specifically for their ballet clothes--so we could just hang it up and be ready to go. With all my supplies in hand, I got to work!

Ballet Bags

  • canvas bag, or other fabric bag
  • fabric, in two coordinating colors
  • Silhouette & heat transfer paper
  • fabric, and heat 'n bond, and iron on transfer

First of all I want to say that you don't have to have a Silhouette to make these bags. I would just look for an iron-on transfer of whatever you're looking for. I've seen them at JoAnn Fabrics, and other sewing/hobby stores. You would use fabric and heat 'n bond to create the name, following the package directions. The rest of it--the ruffle--is the same.

1. I found the ballet stick figure in the online Silhouette store, and the font I used for the names is Impervious. I cut it out, and ironed it on the bag.

2. Since the bag was already made, I couldn't sew a ruffle directly onto it (at least that I knew how to do!). So, I took a piece of the black & white gingham fabric, and measured it to fit my bag. I then cut out about a 1 1/2 inch wide piece of the pink, the entire length of the fabric--about 36 inches.

3. I sewed the pink on to the gingham to make a ruffle, like I did HERE. I used one entire strip, and had to use a little of another one.

4. To attach the whole thing to the bag, I used wonder under, even though I wish I would have used heat 'n bond. They do the same thing--wonder under you buy by the yard at the cutting desk, and heat 'n bond you buy in packages or rolls. I find heat 'n bond easier to use, but I think it's a personal preference.

I LOVE them. They will be perfect for ballet shoes, leos, tutus, skirts, and maybe even a little snack. Can't wait for ballet next week!

You could make these bags for a myriad of things--library books, groceries, teacher gifts (stuffed with school supplies), overnight or car trip bags...anything you like!


Burp Cloths

I found these ADORABLE vehicles in the Silhouette online store, and the font is Century Gothic (my most favorite plain font). It was super easy to do, and now I've got an adorable baby gift!

I can't wait to buy a few different colors of the heat transfer paper, because I also found the most darling construction vehicles that I want to put on to tees for my babies. I'm thinking chocolate brown and orange, what do you think?


Don't forget to enter the Silhouette machine giveaway! Click HERE to enter! And remember, if you don't win, you can take advantage of the great deal they're running right now...$175 for the Silhouette, with a $9.99 monthly subscription to the online store. That's a really great price--lowest I've seen! Vinyl is also 10% off. Just use the promo code "BPP"!


Monday, December 27, 2010


For the past few weeks, the major project around here was a dollhouse and furniture for my 4 year old girls' Christmas present. They had been asking for one for awhile, and it was the perfect time. My husband's brother came into town at a crucial time, and also put his woodworking talents to work, creating fabulous furniture, and putting up with all my design requests.

Some of my favorite aspects of the house are the maple wood floor, the planked wood on the beds, front door, table, and benches, the darling barn-style shutters,arched doorways and window, and the baseboards in the family room and kitchen.

Their attention to detail really makes the house so wonderful, although it made me laugh every time I went into the shop and saw the Barbie Princess they were using as a guide hanging from the ceiling or wherever they had her at the time! They even measured the angle of the way she sat, and then matched the angle of the couch accordingly, so she would sit up exactly straight.

Their room is pink, chocolate brown, with white and cream, so of course we had to make it to match! It's been affectionately dubbed "Neapolitan House", because of the colors. I have a few things I still want to add--bedding, throw pillows for the couch, nursery furniture for the loft, a wreath for the front door (I was thinking a berry napkin ring could work...), and a few other odds and ends.

The girls are in love with it, and I love that they will always have something that their dad and uncle made just for them!

Neapolitan House

I hope you each had an absolutely wonderful Christmas with your family & friends!


Don't forget to enter the SILHOUETTE MACHINE GIVEAWAY!!!

This week, you can also purchase the Silhouette for only $175, with the purchase of a $9.99 monthly subscription to their online store. You just need to use the promo code "BPP". What a great deal! Click on the button below to check it out!

Silhouette Electronic Cutting Tool


Sunday, December 26, 2010

{silhouette machine giveaway!!!!}


Okay you guys, I am THRILLED about today's giveaway. I really could not be more excited about this! I have wanted some kind of cutting tool FOREVER. I debated, went back and forth, and came close quite a few times to purchasing one, but kept putting it off. There have been times when I've been in the middle of a project, painstakingly cutting out tiny letters, and wishing for something to make it easier and faster. How glad am I that I waited!

I was impressed by the Silhouette as soon as I started to see them cartridges to buy, you could use fonts you already had (of which I have at least a million), and it hooked right up to your own computer! So, when Silhouette wanted to not only send me one for my review, but give away another one to one of my fabulous readers, to say I was ecstatic is putting it mildly. Mine came in the mail 2 days before Christmas (Merry Christmas to me!), and next week's tutorials will be highlighting the Silhouette, and the projects I've been able to make with it.

I adore vinyl. I just do. I love to be organized and have labels for everything. (My son is worried that I'm going to label his underwear. Lol.) Vinyl is perfect for so many projects, and the Silhouette makes it easy.

Love paper crafts? How fun to be able to make your own cards for birthdays, thank yous, and thinking of yous? Or, add a special touch to birthday parties and holidays.

Want to add your own personal touch to fabric, like t-shirts for your kids, throw pillows, and more? I definitely have a few of these on my list of projects! I also love the glass etching possibilities.

The Silhouette can do all of this, and more! Can you believe it? I KNOW!!!! Silhouette is giving one of YOU a Silhouette of your very own, valued at $299.

This giveaway includes:

The Silhouette SD machine
Software for Windows XP/Vista or Mac
Power cable and USB cable
2 cutting mats (1 for thick media and one for thin media)
1 cutting blade
1 $10 gift certificate to the Silhouette download store

To enter:

Head on over to Silhouette, and check out all the amazing things it has to offer. Then come back here and leave me a comment about which feature makes you the most excited!

For extra entries: (please leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry--if you lump them in one comment, it will only count as one entry)

1. Blog about this giveaway linking back to this post, then come back here and post the link.

2. Facebook or twitter about this giveaway, linking back this this post, then come back and let me know.

3. Follow the Silhouette blog, and leave a comment there.

4. Follow brown paper packages!

The giveaway will be open from December 26th-midnight EST January 1st. The winner will be chosen via random. org, and announced on January 2nd. Due to shipping customs, Silhouette can only ship to U.S. addresses. The winner will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.

GOOD LUCK, and a HUGE thanks to Silhouette for this fabulous giveaway!

*All opinions expressed here are my own.


Can you believe that's NOT ALL??

Silhouette is also running a huge promotion for the week of December 26th-January can purchase the Silhouette SD machine for only $175 with the purchase of a subscription to the online store for $9.99 a month, plus they're offering 10% off vinyl purchases. You just need to use my promo code BPP!


Friday, December 24, 2010

{sleigh bells}

One of my most favorite parts of the Christmas season is music, and I loved being able to perform in community Christmas concert this year with a good friend. We weren't able to tape the actual performance, but here is one of our rehearsals. (you can hear cute little voices in the background!)

You'll just have to imagine the jingle bells and whip that we had during the concert. :)


I will see you back here on the 26th---with a FABULOUS giveaway! You really won't want to miss this! I have been waiting a long time for this giveaway, waiting for the right moment, and it's finally here!

I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

{smooshy smooshy}

Don't you just love that title? My friend Emily shared this recipe with me, and that's her name for it. So much better than what I would have called it...Chewy Chex Mix. Lol.

I made a gigantic batch to take around to friends and neighbors, and it was so easy...and yummy! I made so much, that it was on a super long piece of aluminum foil all the way down my island, and it was super hard to resist. SO good!

I made just a few changes to the original recipe--I switched out the sliced almonds for honey roasted peanuts, and added original M&Ms for a little chocolate.

Whether you wrap it up and take it to neighbors, share it at a party, or leave it out on your own countertop for snacking, it is delicious and irresistible.

Smooshy Smooshy

Mix in a large bowl:
1 box Golden Grahams
1 box Chex
3 c. shredded coconut
2 c. sliced almonds

Boil for 3 minutes:
2 c. sugar
3 c. white Karo syrup
2 1/2 cubes of butter (nope, not a typo!)

Remove from heat and add 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour over cereal mix and stir until cereal is well coated. Spread on 2 cookie sheets until cool. Store in a covered container.



Monday, December 20, 2010

{children designed gift tags}

I love doing projects with my kids, and this not only includes them, but highlights their creations. Yesterday afternoon I asked my kids to draw me some Christmas pictures--anything they wanted. We brought out the markers and the white paper, and they went to town. I took their artwork, and made them into absolutely adorable gift tags. The colors are so fun in the unconventional look of the pink tree--it's a true representation of my 4 year old, and I love it!

I love the idea of designing a gift tag for each child, so they can put it on the presents they're giving. Or, just using them on any gifts you're giving! I know my parents would love getting gifts featuring a tag with my children's drawings. How fun for your child's teacher, too!

I made my tags in photoshop, but if you don't have it, don't worry! You can still make them--I'll tell you how!

Children Designed Gift Tags

  • your children's artwork! (on white paper, with marker, any size will work!)
  • scanner
  • cardstock
  • paper trimmer
  • distress ink
  • ribbon

1. Once the art is ready, scan it with your scanner, and save it as a file. My son had quite a few drawings on one paper, so I cropped each picture and saved it as it's own file.

Photoshop/Gimp: I created a file that was 5 inches wide, and 3 inches high. I inserted the picture I wanted, then added text and saved it as a jpg file. I opened a new Word document, inserted the jpg file, and adjusted the size. I was able to fit 6 tags on one page. You can also insert your file into a mailing label document, then print onto labels.

Without Photoshop: You have a couple of different options!

The first is to open a Word (or even Power Point) document, insert your picture, and the create a text box for your text. This isn't hard, you will just need to play around with the formatting/sizing until it's how you want it to be. Then you can copy and paste to fit more on the page--I was able to get 6 larger tags.

The second option is to create mailing labels--I suggest the 2x4 inch size, or larger. Open a new label document, then insert your picture and add your text.

2. Print your tags! You can either print them on cardstock as I did, or create mailing labels so they are sticky!

3. If you print on cardstock, cut them to size, distress the edges, and then mat onto coordinating cardstock. You can either punch a hole in the corner to add ribbon, or tape the label flat onto a package. If you print onto label, you can just stick your label on as is, or mat the label as indicated above.

They are just so fun! I can't wait for Christmas Eve, which is the night that my husband and I sit down together and wrap all our kids' gifts together. We've done it since we've been married, and it's one of our favorite traditions. Once the kids are in bed, we pop in a Christmas movie, grab some yummy Christmas treats, and get to work.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

{monogrammed tea towel aprons}

Need another gift idea? You're going to love this's fast, easy, inexpensive, and adorable!


My super cute and talented friend Stephanie made the most darling tea towel aprons for a gift this year, and as soon as I saw them (I can't resist anything monogrammed!)I knew I had to share!

They are easy enough for even the most beginning sewer, and make such fun, personalized gifts for teachers, friends, or family. I can't wait to make a matching set for my girls and me!

These are her directions:

Monogrammed Tea Towel Aprons

  • tea towel
  • ribbon/ric rac
  • coordinating fabric
  • heat 'n bond

1. Iron the tea-towel and fold in the top corners. Trim the ends of the triangle and sew it along the edge. Leave enough room for the ribbon to slide through.

2. Sew ribbon on the bottom edge of the towel. Add any extra ribbon/ ric rac by just sewing it straight onto the towel where you want it.

3. You can add pockets or any embellishments. I monogrammed each one by using heat n’ bond. After I ironed the contrasting fabric onto the heat n’ bond, I printed out a large letter, cut it out and pinned it to the heat n’ bond. I then cut out the fabric letter and ironed it onto the apron.

4. To wear the apron, slide the ribbon through the corners, criss-cross the ribbon behind your back and then tie it in the front.

Here's Miss Stephanie!

Thanks so much Steph, for sharing your fabulous aprons!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

{chocolate dipped candy canes}

Hot chocolate is just about one of my favorite things ever, and when you add a chocolate dipped candy cane, it's perfection! These are delicious eaten on their own too--you just can't go wrong.

I thought these would be so fun for our Christmas morning hot chocolate, but I might need to make another batch--these are way too tempting to sit for 9 more days!

Chocolate Dipped Candy Canes

  • candy canes
  • chocolate chips or melting chocolate--white & milk/dark
  • floral foam
  • tinfoil or wax paper

1. Starting at the crook, unwrap the candy canes halfway.

2. Melt your milk or dark chocolate in a large glass bowl. If you're using chocolate chips, make sure to add a little shortening--it will make the chocolate much more smooth and easier to work with. For one bag of chips, I use about 1 T. of shortening.

3. Dip the crook and top half the candy cane into the chocolate, holding it by the bottom wrapped part. Twist and shake off any excess chocolate, then stick it into the floral foam to dry. Once you're finished dipping, place into the fridge to firm up--about 5 or so minutes.

4. Once firm, take the candy canes out of the fridge, and lay them out on a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper. Melt the white chocolate chips in a small glass bowl until smooth. Place the white chocolate into the corner of a sandwich bag, then snip off a tiny piece of the corner--now you have your piping bag! Drizzle the white chocolate over the chocolate, then let harden.\

*I was able to dip almost 2 boxes (around 20) with 1 bag of chocolate chips.

These would be adorable in bags or buckets, and given as anyone!