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brown paper packages: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

{monday update}

Happy Monday everyone!

Well, my plans for the week have changed quite a bit since Saturday. I had several projects I was working on, and excited to get done this weekend when my husband was home.


Despite the 8-9 inches of snow we received during the night, I still decided to go outside and do my long run on Saturday morning. Doing anything over 5 miles on the treadmill makes me a crazy person, so I threw on my yaktrax, and off I went. Since I'm training for my first marathon, not doing it wasn't an option, so I braved all the looks of the normal people with snowblowers as I went along. The end result? I threw out my back overcompensating for all the snow and haven't been able to move since Saturday afternoon. Literally.

All those projects are now put on hold, because my main priority is trying to figure out how I'm going to heft my 32 pound 18 month old and his 26 pound twin brother in and out of their chairs car seats, and cribs, lol.

So...I'm going to be featuring and posting other fun and favorite projects I see around blogland this week--anything that strikes my fancy, from Valentine's Day to yummy recipes. I would love your projects as well, so if you have something you'd like , featured, e-mail it on over!


In other (BIG) news,

Silhouette can now cut fabric! I know I'm not the only one so excited about this, and I can't wait to try it.


It's also time vote in the second round of CWTS, which is decoupage projects. There really are some fantastic projects, and I LOVE what my partner did. She needed no help from me--she had a vision, and accomplished it beautifully. So go vote...I did!


Friday, January 28, 2011

{a place for everything...featuring Tater Tots & Jello}

burlap chair

Hi there! I’m Jen from Tatertots &Jello!

I’m so excited to be here at Brown Paper Packages -- one of my favorite creative blogs!!

I am not a very organized person, but there have been so many wonderful projects floating around the blogworld lately that have really inspired me to try to get my home a little more orderly.

from the side

I’d love to share my latest project with you –

My $6 Makeup Drawer Makeover!!

My makeup drawer is always a mess. I am embarrassed to show you the before picture – it is terrible. Basically all of my makeup, lotions and toothpaste is shoved in a drawer. This drawer definitely needed a makeover!


I found these containers at my local Dollar Tree.


And last week I saw this post from Kusak’s Closet that inspired me to use velcro! I picked some up at Walmart -- $2.

clean it out

So I cleaned out my drawer – finally!!

on the bottom

And then I put a few pieces of adhesive-backed velcro on the back of each of the Dollar Store containers.

put in the drawer

That way when I slide the drawer in and out, the containers stay in place. Such a good idea!!

from the side

I divided the containers up according to – tooth care, lotions and creams, foundations and concealers, brushes and makeup applicators.

bowls lip gloss

And I put a couple of stainless steel bowls with velcro on the bottom – one for lip glosses and another for tweezers and trimmers.

another view

Ahhh. It feels so good!! I showed my husband and he said he has never seen my makeup drawer looking like that in all the time we’ve been married – HA!


This velcro trick would work great in any type of a drawer – from your office, to your kitchen to your craft room!

Thanks for letting me stop by!!!!


A HUGE thank you to Jen for being our guest today, and for sharing her fantastically organized makeup drawer.

I love love the idea of velcro--genius! I can't wait to go buy some for myself!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

{valentine's day tea party}

Valentine's Day is the perfect time for a tea party, and I have some fun and yummy ideas for you!

I found the cookie recipe on the back of an old favorite--Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix. This mix is so versatile, and always popular, but can easily replace it with your own favorite sugar cookie recipe. Then about a week or so ago, I saw some pink hot chocolate mix in Michael's. It was super cute, but also really expensive. It started me thinking, and even though I didn't know how to make true hot chocolate pink (pink + brown??), I did have a yummy white hot chocolate recipe that I could try it with.


Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

1 package Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix (prepared as directed for drop cookies, + 3 T. flour), OR your favorite sugar cookie dough
raspberry jam
white chocolate chips

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb into the center of each ball, then place about 1/4 tsp. of raspberry jam in the indentation. Bake according to package or recipe directions. Cool for 10 minutes. Melt white chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave until smooth. Spoon the melted chips into a sandwich bag, forcing into one corner. Snip the very tip, and pipe the chocolate over the cookies.

I love the hearts! It really makes it an extra special Valentine treat. I also tried some xoxo's, and you could even write names, initials, or "be mine". So fun!


Pink Hot Chocolate

(recipe originally from Food Network)

1 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. heavy cream
4 c. half and half
red food coloring

In a large saucepan, melt the white chocolate chips with the heavy cream, stirring until completely smooth. Add the half and half, vanilla, then the food coloring to get your desired color (I used 7-8 drops). Heat through. Serve in mugs, topped with whipped cream!


Valentine Serving Tray

I wanted something fun to serve some of the treats in, but I didn't really have anything that I liked.

So, I took this box I had saved...

spray painted it white, and added some fun Valentine's Day paper to the bottom. I did distress all the edges first, using Distress Ink. A little Mod Podge adheres it on perfectly!



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

{conversation blocks...revisited}

I've had several e-mails asking about the conversation blocks, and what to do if you didn't have a Silhouette or access to vinyl.

Well...I've got an easy and inexpensive answer for you! Erica, over at Snippets of Wonderful, created her own version, using a printer and scrapbook paper! SO cute! Using materials you already have on hand is always fabulous!

Click HERE for the tutorial.

Don't you love that scrapbook paper? Perfect!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

{caramel marshmallow pops}

It's been so cold and snowy here lately, that we've stayed mostly inside trying to keep warm. This week I pulled out one of my most treasured recipe books--one I received from my grandmother--to try a favorite recipe from my growing up years. My kids loved the dipping, rolling, and then eating!

I usually don't care for marshmallows, but you can't keep me away from these. I think it's the caramel. And the nuts. :) They are delicious, and so fun for any occasion. I like them because they're just a little different from the chocolate-dipped marshmallows--a fun twist on a favorite!

Caramel Marshmallow Pops

1 package large marshmallows
1 lb. package Kraft caramels
3/4 c. half and half
finely chopped pecans
lollipop sticks (optional)

Put marshmallows onto the lollipop sticks. Place the pecans in a pie plate or other shallow dish. Heat caramel and half and half very slowly until thoroughly melted and smooth. Dip the marshmallows one by one into the caramel, then roll it in the pecans. Place them on a plate, with the sticks pointing up. Let the caramel set--an hour or so--before serving.



Sunday, January 23, 2011


Jonie, from Just Between Friends!! I consider myself lucky to have her as a CWTS partner, and I've really enjoyed working with her. She has so many great ideas, and I love the way her mind works. You really have to go visit her, and see for yourself!

She is one talented girl..just check out some of her projects!

Her audition project...

LOVE this anthro inspired necklace!

She made this pillow from one a bridesmaid dress (her sister's) from her wedding...fabulous idea, and gorgeous pillow!

I'm loving this Knot Top...darling!


Today is voting for Round 1, so make sure you head on over to Sew Dang Cute , check out all the fabulous projects, and vote!!


Friday, January 21, 2011

{a place for everything}

If you've got kids, you've got toys, and finding a place for all of them can sometimes be a challenge.

I follow a few simple steps that help me keep everything in place:

1. Containers:

Whether you've got a large or small space, there are containers out there that will make it easier for toy organization. Not only will you keep toys together, but the room will seem bigger when you can hide all those toys away.

I have several different places I keep toys, and I love them each for different reasons.

In our playroom toy closet, the majority of toys are separated into categories and stored in plastic bins. I love them all to match--my favorite are the ones by Rubbermaid, with the latch lids, because most lids are the same size--and labeled. It makes the closet look so nice. :)

I used my Silhouette to cut out black vinyl (font = century gothic), and label each bin--no matter who cleans up will be able to tell what goes where. I would rather have less bins that are bigger, rather than a bunch of smaller bins, if possible. It cleans up the space, and I think I can actually fit more in that way. It also simplifies clean up, which is important for me, and my kids!

Anything by IKEA is fabulous--shelves with baskets are always beautiful, and I love them! However, I didn't have anywhere in my playroom for something like that, so I came up with a few other things that I have loved. If you don't have the space either, or are looking for something inexpensive, consider one of these ideas...

Old Dresser

I found this dresser at Goodwill for $20, and refinished it. It holds all my girls' dress ups--purses, wands, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. Each drawer holds different plastic bins, organizing different items. I love it, because it fits a lot in a relatively small space. This would work anywhere--in a playroom, or bedroom, even inside a closet.

Fabric Laundry Bin

After our laundry shelves were built, I decided to take advantage of all that potential storage, and move it down to the basement. It has three fabric bins, each deep and fairly large. They are perfect for those larger items, that are tricky to fit into bins and take up a lot of space--like our fairy wings, hat collection, and pom poms. I used my Silhouette to cut out labels onto heat transfer sheets, but you could just as easily do it by hand using heat 'n bond.

2. Clean out toys regularly

I have found that it is possible to have too many toys. My kids seem to play with the same favorites all the time, leaving others to collect dust on shelves. In my opinion, less is more--both for my kids, and for space reasons. Each year I go through all the toys (right after Christmas is a great time to do this, but anytime will do!), and donate/give away any toys that have not been used, or have rarely left the shelf. It will be less daunting for everyone involved!

3. Keep toys in one central space

We have lived the majority of our lives in small spaces--apartments and townhomes, as we went through school, and even a couple of years afterward. We're now in a home, with a lot more space, but my philosophy on this has not changed. I like to have toys in one central area, rather than scattered throughout the house. I have always designated a space for the toys, and made it work. Now it's our playroom, but when we had less space, it was sometimes a bedroom, and sometimes a corner of the family room. My kids still love to take toys out, and follow me around the house with them, but there is always one spot that they go back to.


There are a lot of great ideas out there for playroom and toy storage, and I will be highlighting some of my favorites very soon!


Just a reminder...tomorrow is the last day of the Silhouette deal of the week!

A Silhouette SD machine, 2 rolls of premium vinyl, 1 roll of transfer, and the Home Décor CD for only $225, which is a $395 value!!


Any premium vinyl is 25% off.

Just use the promo code BPP at checkout!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

{love buckets...a valentine countdown}

I just love Valentine's Day. I love it even more now, being able to celebrate it with my kids, as well as my husband.

I found these darling red and pink tin buckets at Michael's for only $1.99, and bought one for each child. Next, I pulled out my trusty Silhouette, cut out their names in vinyl (font = century gothic), and placed them on the outside of the bucket. I also used it to cut out a stack of red, pink, and white cardstock hearts. You certainly don't have to have Silhouette to do this, though. You could print names on white cardstock, mat them on pink/red cardstock, and use either mod podge or double stick tape to adhere them to your buckets or boxes.

Each day starting February 1st, and running through February 14th, I will leave a little love note in each of their buckets, writing something special about them, plus either a small treat or letting them know of a fun activity planned for that day.

I will also encourage each of them to write notes for each other (on the hearts I cut out), and leave them in their buckets for them to find. There will be no limit to the amount of notes/drawings they can write--just anytime they want to!

Some ideas for activities:

Valentine Bingo
make homemade Valentines
make a Valentine chain
decorate sugar cookies
watch a fun Valentine show
have a tea party
make paper sack puppets
make a heart mobile