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brown paper packages: September 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

{back 2 basics} be different, act normal

I'm so glad Lorie is here today! She features some of the best ideas around, including her own.  She's also ending the Back 2 Basics series on a perfect note.  This has been such a fun month for me, and I hope for you as well.  We've been treated with such wonderful ideas--a HUGE thank you to each and every blogger and reader who has participated.  I can't wait until next year!

Hello everyone! I am Lorie and I blog over at Be Different, Act Normal.  I am excited to be here ate Brown Paper Packages sharing my back to school basics with you.

On the first day of school, my kiddos jumped out of bed the first time I called, hurried downstairs, quickly ate their breakfasts and were ready to go way ahead of schedule.  This is a picture of them standing outside the front door of the school.  We were outside because the doors were still locked.  When I said ahead of schedule I mean REALLY ahead of schedule!

But we have been in school for over a month now and all of that first day of school excitement is gone.  Our mornings look more like this now. 

The kids come downstairs and fall back asleep on the couch before I even have breakfast on the table.  You can only ask them to wake up, not fall asleep on the table, remember to brush their teeth, and yell for them to find their shoes so many times before you want to poke your eyes out.  So we have started to use an idea I read about in my September issue of Family Fun.  A soundtrack.

I put all of our favorite songs on a play list that I blast through the house in the morning.  Not only does it help get them moving, but they also know what tasks are associated with what song.

They have until the end of Rocketeer to get downstairs.  Keep Your Head Up (as in keep it up and off of the kitchen table) and Brighter Than The Sun are breakfast songs.  The songs also help remind them that you should brush your teeth for longer than 10 seconds too.

I can't say that I never have to yell up the stairs that it is time to be out the door, but it has worked really well for us!  We will have to switch out the songs throughout the year, but it is a great way to get everyone up and dancing in the morning.

What tips do you have to get your kids out the door?  And if you were to make a morning soundtrack, what songs would you use?  I am always looking for good music suggestions.

I really love this idea.  I'm a music girl and this really appeals to me.  I'm going to try it tomorrow! Make sure you head on over to Be Different Act Normal to check out all the awesome projects and ideas!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

{back 2 basics} tater tots and jello

 I just love Jen.  She is one of the first people that started reading my blog, and was so encouraging and kind. Not only is she the nicest girl around, but she's incredibly creative and talented.  It's an honor to have her here today!

Hi there!! I’m Jen from Tatertots & Jello. I’m so excited to be here at Brown Paper Packages. I have loved hearing all of the great ideas in Kierste’s Back to School series.

jennifer i heart faces profile

I am not a naturally organized person. So one of the things that’s hard when my kids go back to school is keeping track of all of the papers and notes that come home in their backpacks. There have been many times that some “crucial” papers have been accidentally swept into the garbage in one of my efforts to tidy up my kitchen. And the kitchen is where everything seems to get dumped after school.

messy desk

I have a desk in my kitchen that was the catch-all for everything that came in the door. Plus, the area right above my desk was full of outlets, a very unattractive intercom system thing-a-ma-bob and phones. Very ugly.

before with cords

So I tried to come up with an idea that would take all of those papers, plus make the space a little prettier.
Read more »

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

{back 2 basics} under the table and dreaming

 I just love Stephanie Lynn.  Her project and creativity get me drooling--I could look for hours! (and have...) I am so excited to have her here today!

I'm super thrilled to be back visiting Brown Paper Packages - Thanks so much Kierste for having me!

I'm Stephanie Lynn from Under the Table and Dreaming.

Like many, I'm a big fan of keeping things organized and always have a hard time with all the little things that don't necessarily have their own place {like all the little office supplies I like to keep on hand}

Read more »

Monday, September 26, 2011

{back 2 basics} infarrantly creative

Miss Beckie is one talented girl, and so, so creative.  It is a delight to have her here today!

Hello BPP fans. I am Beckie from Infarrantly Creative, Knock off Décor and Roadkill Rescue. Yep, I am a busy blogging gal. Thank you Kierste for inviting me to be a part of the Back to Basics series. Since I am a mom of a new kindergartner I finally get the joy of understanding what “Back to School” means!
When you have children in elementary school everything needs to be labeled if you have the remote chance of seeing it at the end of each day. I tried some backpack tags from a label company and it lasted all of about three school days. My kindergarten son needed something a little more durable…enter the resin backpack tags.
Read more »

Sunday, September 25, 2011

{lifestyle crafts new holiday releases} holiday tags

  Honestly, I can't believe that October is next week!  These next three months are the best time of the year in my oh so humble opinion. With the holiday season quickly approaching, I was excited to receive new die cuts and the Wintertide printing plate from Lifestyle Crafts' new holiday line..Be Splendid. Along with the printing plate, they sent a gold ink that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it...and I knew just how I wanted to use it.

 I {love} to add cute tags to just about anything and everything, and the holidays provide a lot of opportunities for just that. I used the scallop die cut to make 2 scalloped circles that were 3 inches around, then used the letterpress to add a darling gold Christmas tree and the text "Happy Holidays". I made another one for layering, adding gold dots to the scallop. Love it already!
These tags could be used in a variety of ways---how about gift tags?  SO cute.  Brown craft boxes are a great way to wrap presents, and they aren't too expensive (depending on the size--many are less than the cost of a gift bag).   Just thread a darling ribbon through the tags, and you're set!
Of course you can add it to a bag of treats, or one of a million other possibilities.

Do you want to give it a try?

You can get 20% off your total Lifestyle Crafts order (these items or any others) using the code BROWN PAPER.

*disclaimer:  I was not paid for this post.  I did, however, receive some product. All opinions are mine and mine alone.


Friday, September 23, 2011

{back 2 basics} skip to my lou

 Skip to my Lou is another one of those blogs that I've been reading and loving forever. I also love the name of her blog.  A lot.  :)

Hi, I'm Cindy from Skip to my Lou! I hope you will come visit me for some crafty tutorials, handmade gift ideas, teacher appreciation ideas, sewing patterns and recipes!

I'm so happy to have the chance to be here. Thank you Kierste for inviting me!

Today I am sharing free printable lunch box notes perfect for letting your kids know you are thinking about them throughout the day.

Free Printable Lunch Box Notes

Download the free printable. Print in color on white card-stock and cut apart. Keep these little notes handy so you can brighten up someone's lunch and make them feel extra special!

You might also be interested in these customizable lunch notes and fruit tags.


Thank you so much, Cindy!  I love little notes, and these are darling! You could even use these at home, under a pillow, or in a drawer to be found by someone you love. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

{back 2 basics} less cake {more frosting}

 I {love} Miss Ellie G. and her blog, Less Cake {more frosting} for lots of reasons.  Maybe it's that I hold that same philosophy myself (the only reason cake exists is for frosting...the thicker the better), or maybe because she's so darling and has the best ideas.  Mmmmmm....probably both.  :)


Hey Brown Paper Packages readers. My name is Ellie G (but my friends call me's a long story). I blog over at Less Cake {more frosting}. I love to blog about all kinds of things. Mostly what happens on all my creative endeavors. Sometimes it's awesome, sometimes it's less than awesome. But it's always fun!

I'm so happy to have the chance to be here. This was one of my very first craft blog reads. In fact, just the other day I was organizing "bookmarks" on my computer and came across my very first list of "must reads". It was only a handful of blogs. But this one was on it. Ahhh....memories.

Anyway. I'm excited to be here.

So. I have to be honest. I'm not a fan of "teacher gifts". I know! Don't shoot me! Let me explain. See, I love giving gifts to people I love. But I hate the guilt I feel when someone gives me something that just ends up cluttering my basement....long enough that I no longer feel bad....and then I chuck it.
So sad.

I worry that thousands of teachers all over the country are getting wooden apples, and dollar store frames, that they just can't use.

I always give my son's teacher a gift at the first of the year. And this year I just wasn't that prepared. And didn't have anything ready for the first day of school.

Guess what happened? That day, his teacher sent home a list of things that they could really use in their classroom. And I thought "BINGO!" For sure a gift that she'll use!

Read more »

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

{back 2 basics} little birdie secrets

 Little Birdie Secrets is one of the first blogs I started reading, and loved from the first minute.  I think they are just darling, and have the best ideas.  How fun to have them here!


Happy fall! I'm Mandy from Little Birdie Secrets, and I can't believe I was asked to be a part of this fabulous group of bloggers for the {Back 2 Basics} series! Holy cow! There is just too much good stuff here. I hope this quick and easy idea will help you get organized and stay organized this school year.

Read more »

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

{back 2 basics} whipperberry

I am just thrilled that Heather is here today!  Take one look at her fabulous blog, and you'll know why!  

Thank you, thank you Kierste for inviting me to participate in your fabulous Back to School series!!  I am truly honored.  Hello everyone, I'm Heather from WhipperBerry...

I am one of those love it and hate it kind of back-to-school kind of people.  I LOVE buying new school supplies and secretly I have a stash of some brand new crayons and pencils that I keep all to myself.  I love the new beginnings and the energy in the air.  I hate having to get back to the grind, wake up early and have to shuffle sleepy eyed kiddos out the door.  This year {gulp} I have a freshman in high school, a whole new world for us here!  Let's just say, life is getting a little more well... BUSY!  Not too long ago I was thrifting with my sweet husband and came across this field sketch board at the local Goodwill and thought it would transform nicely into a fun memo board for my new high schooler...

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Monday, September 19, 2011

{back 2 basics} this little project

Happy Monday everyone!  We are starting the week off right with a really fun idea from Jedda, over at This Little Project.  She's super talented and creative, and I've learned a lot from her.  She's also a good friend in real life...lucky me!
Hi, I'm Jedda from This Little Project.  I'm lucky to know Kierste in real life and am excited to share in the back-to-school fun here!

Today's {little project} is about celebrating what comes home in your child's backpack.

I know you groan to have to go through it.  But {this little project} today will help both of you look forward to going through the "treasures" and papers that come home each day.


Because we are making 
a "Wall of Fame!"
Read more »

Saturday, September 17, 2011

{recipe} turtle tassies

The holiday season is absolutely my favorite time to make goodies of all kinds--from breads and rolls to cookies, cakes, and pies. Something about the change in weather automatically makes me want to make something warm and delicious. It's been chilly here, and all I want to do is bake!

I made Turtle Tassies this week, and I {LOVE} them!!! ♥

Here's why...
Read more »

Friday, September 16, 2011

{back 2 basics} eighteen25

The ladies from eighteen25 are here! How lucky are we!

hi there! we are jamie, jodie and jennifer from the blog eighteen25 and we are so excited to be participating in kierste's back 2 basics event! there have been so many fun ideas shared already and we look forward to many more to come!

today we want to share with you our school supplies organizer.
Read more »

Thursday, September 15, 2011

{back 2 basics} brassy apple

I just {adore} Megan's style, and her blog is chock full of all of her amazing ideas. I am really so excited she is here today!


Hello! It's Megan from Brassy Apple and my new photo blog, I AM MORE

Having taken Art classes since I was a young child, I have a special place in my heart for Art Teachers. The classroom teachers get lots of back to school gifts, holiday and end of year gifts but what about the Art Teacher? She is assigned to ALL the classes and children in elementary school so I wanted to create a gift just for her!

Gift for the Art Teacher

Read more »

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

{back 2 basics} how does she?

 Who doesn't love HowDoesShe?  They have a fantastic blog featuring so many great ideas, and I'm thrilled to have them here today.


Hey Everyone! My name is Heather Lynne and I’m a writer for HowDoesShe and my blog, Raising Memories. I’m so happy to be here, sharing a fun idea with you!

I made this for my daughter's teacher at the end of the school year, but you could use it at the beginning of the school year or for Teacher appreciation week, or even for your kids to get them excited about school- whatever you want! And your kids can totally help you with this little project- no matter how young they are!
Read more »

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

{back 2 basics} snippets of wonderful

 Wahoo!  I'm delighted to introduce you to my bestie Erica, from Snippets of Wonderful.  You can take my word for it, there isn't anything this girl can't do.  She has the greatest ideas for everything from food and exercise to crafting, decorating, to educational ideas for little ones.  {LOVE} her, and so will you!

Thanks Kierste for inviting me to be part of your month long Back to Basics party! My name is Erica and I'm one of those lucky ones who actually knows Miss Crafty in real life - part of being her bestie is that I get to steal all her great ideas! I love to craft, cook, exercise, decorate, play, and teach my two little ones - go check out my blog Snippets of Wonderful to see what I'm up to - definitely don't expect any consistency though!

I have to admit my heart went pitter patter when I first found out she wanted me to post about back to school. I used to be a 2nd grade teacher and I secretly {heart} all things school related. The new clothes, school supplies, backpacks, classroom decorations, etc. all get me a little giddy this time of year!
But from my teaching turned mommy perspective I now know about all the PAPERS sent home (and my little one is only in preschool) - there's newsletters and book orders and worksheets and fundraisers and more book orders - what the heck do you do with all of them???!!!
Here's the solution. Or just my solution ;)

I {heart} Goodwill. Cheap. Good prices. Returnable. My mom is also a fan so when we get together complete with my grandma in tow- we're a force to be reckoned with. Here's the goodie I found last time we went -

This past trip I managed to snap these babies up for 99 cents. What are they? Hanging file holders.
Read more »

Monday, September 12, 2011

{back 2 basics} seven thirty three---a creative blog

I am so excited to have Kim from seven thirty three---a creative blog here today!  She does it all, from crafting to blog design (including mine, and I love it!), and she's one of the nicest girls I know.
Hi brown paper packages readers!  I am Kim from seven thirty three - - - a creative blog and I am so excited that Kierste asked me to participate in her Back 2 Basics series!  In my household we have several school-time traditions.  The first involves me and my trusty camera taking as many 1st day of school photos as possible.  At least one has to have an image of my daughter with fingers held up indicating what grade she is in (this year we are a full hand!).

Read more »

Saturday, September 10, 2011

{lifestyle crafts new holiday releases} fall wood project

Lifestyle Crafts released their new holiday dies this week, and I was lucky enough to get to try a few things from their Thanksgiving line. One of the things they sent was a tree die with darling leaves in three different shapes, and I thought it would make a cute fall/Thanksgiving display.  

I cut out the tree using a dark brown Bazzill cardstock ( I love textured paper!), and chose three different patterned papers for the leaves--in orange, yellow and green. The wood is just plywood I had in my workshop, and it's cut to 12x12.  I spray painted it cream (antique white by Rustoleum), then sanded the edges and front with a power sander.  I like my stuff pretty distressed, with the wood showing through--I love the way it looks!  You can always do it less if you like.  I used Mod Podge and a foam brush to adhere the tree first--then I arranged the leaves the way I wanted them and mod podged them on too. 

Once it was completely dry, I used distress ink to go around all the edges and a little on the front to give it even more of an antiqued look.  I printed out the text (font = americana) on cream cardstock, then matted it on brown cardstock and matching orange patterned paper.

I {love} how it turned out, and it's just right for my fall decorations!  You could really use this technique for any kind of die cuts, and for any holiday--so quick and easy!

If you want to try out the new holiday line, you can get 20% off by using the code "BROWN PAPER".

Can you believe fall is here already?


Friday, September 9, 2011

{back 2 basics} sew dang cute

 I think Tam is one of the most talented girls around, and I'm delighted to have her with us today!


Hey Brown Paper Packages peeps! I’m Tam from Sew Dang Cute Crafts and I’m so excited to be here today as part of Kierste’s “Back 2 Basics” series!


I’m probably best known for the “Crafting with the Stars” competition (auditions are going on right now BTW), but my blog is also full of tutorials and projects that are mostly DIY and sewing, but I venture out every now and then in other areas - even paper crafting.


My oldest daughter just started Kindergarten so we have now entered the world of “reading daily” as part of homework. I wanted to make it a little more fun for my kids, so I came up with this Reading Treat Box.

Reading treat box
Read more »

Thursday, September 8, 2011

{back 2 basics} the crafting chicks

Seriously, how lucky are we to have The Crafting Chicks here today! I have loved their blog for such a long time, and it's so fun for me to have them here. 

Hi, I'm Brooke and I am one of The Crafting Chicks! I LOVE Brown Paper Packages and am thrilled to be here sharing a project with you today--and to be a part of Kierste's Back to Basics month along with some of my favorite super creative bloggers. I can't wait to see what everyone shares the rest of this month! Over at The Crafting Chicks we share a wide variety of projects, including trash-to-treasure makeovers, recipes, home decor, gift ideas, tips and tutorials, free printables, kids crafts and all sorts of things to inspire you have a creative life. All 5 of us Chicks are moms and like to use creativity as a form of therapy in the midst of our hectic lives raising children! ;) We'd love to have you join us!

Today I am sharing with you a sweet little way to get organized for the new school year--a beadboard caddy for school supplies! I am using this on the little desk in our kitchen, but you could use it in your kids' rooms or even make it as a useful (and adorable) gift for a favorite teacher. It was a quick and simple project, using mostly items I already had on hand, and I'm really happy with how it turned out!
Read more »

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

{back 2 basics} lil' luna

 Miss Kristyn could not get any cuter, and neither could her blog.  I am so happy to have her here today!
Hi there Brown Paper Packages Readers!
My name is Kristyn and I blog over at Lil' Luna.
I am so thrilled that Kierste asked me to be a part of this series.
I just love the girl and everything she creates. :)

I don't know about you but Back to School time means Back to making LUNCHES!
I don't have little ones in school just yet, BUT I have a hubby who LOVES it when I make his lunches.

 I know a lot of mom's don't make their kids' lunches, but I know there are some that do. I always told myself I would because I still remember the NOTES from my mom in my lunch and the comics my dad would draw on my lunch sack.

Any who,
the one problem about lunch making is figuring out who wants what in their lunch.
Problem Solved. :)

Here is what I did...

Read more »

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

{back 2 basics} a little tipsy

 I adore Michelle and her darling blog, A Little Tipsy, and I'm so excited she's here!


Hi, I'm Michelle from A Little Tipsy {creative tips and ideas}. I am so excited to be visiting here on Brown Paper Packages for the Back 2 Basics event!

My oldest turns four this winter so we have not yet braved the big boy school, but he did start preschool last month. His teacher send home a calendar each month of what they will be learning each day and suggestions to reinforce their learning at home. If you're like me, it is a lot to ask to keep track of a piece of paper for a whole month.

I was inspired by this post for an altered clipboard and thought it would be perfect for organizing school papers. It could also be used as a super cute teacher appreciation gift!

Read more »

Monday, September 5, 2011

{back 2 basics} somewhat simple

I am thrilled that Stephanie is here today--she was one of the first blogs that I read, and LOVED. She knows how to make everything look so darling!  


Hi, I'm Stephanie, from Somewhat Simple!

School is starting soon, and that means all those cute papers, projects and awards you little ones bring home will need a place to stay without getting crumpled or spilled on by tomorrows bowl of cereal!

Up until yesterday, all of Ethan' s stuff was at least stashed in an expanding file folder, but then I saw Becca's idea, and I was sold!

I made one box for each of my kids- each box has a file folder for each grade. These boxes are durable and can stack on top of each other or fit nicely in a corner on the top shelf in a closet to save space.
Read more »

Sunday, September 4, 2011

{crafting with the stars is back!]

It's time again, for Crafting with the Stars! I'm so excited to be a participating again--it's going to be a great season.  Auditions are now in full swing, and will be open through September 15th over at Sew Dang Cute Crafts.

To enter your project, go HERE!  I would love to work with one of you, so head on over soon!

P.S.  There are PRIZES!!! 


Friday, September 2, 2011

{back 2 basics} oopsey daisy

Day 2...Please welcome Alison from Oopsey Daisy!  I've fallen in love with her blog and all of her great ideas.  Today is no exception, take a look!

Hello! My name is Alison, and my blogging home is Oopsey Daisy.
I am thrilled to be here because Brown Paper Packages really is one of my favorite things!

Once upon a time, I taught first grade. I taught oodles of adorable kiddos and loved every minute of it. In fact, I miss it. Sometimes I want to walk through elementary schools and look at their bulletin boards just for fun.
Although I don't have any children in school yet, I do teach Mommy School at home to my little toddler. For me, back to school definitely means back to basics!

I created this ABC mat to help my son learn the alphabet!

We are enjoying this ABC mat so much! In fact, Little Man begs to get it out each and every day. We play all kinds of games so that he can stretch, run, hop, and jump all over the alphabet! (Think hopscotch mat for ABC's!)

I whipped up this ABC mat in one afternoon. Want to make your very own?
Let's get started!
Read more »

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{back 2 basics} craftaholics anonymous

Welcome to Back to Basics!  


September has long been one of my most favorite months, and as a little girl I LOVED school.  Nothing was more exciting to me than choosing a new outfit, packing my backpack and lunch, organizing my supplies, and heading out the door on that first day of school.  Since my son started school, I've felt the same way as a mom.  Can I just tell you how much I enjoy walking up and down the aisles of school supplies?  :)  

This month I'm delighted to present to you some of the most talented bloggers around, as they give you great tips, tutorials, ideas, and recipes for back to school days.  

First up?  Please welcome  the adorable Linda, from Craftaholics Anonymous!

Thank you for having me over today, Kierste! Hi everyone! My name is Linda and I'm a Craftaholic. I'm a regular at Craftaholics Anonymous, so stop by and say hi!

I'm excited to share a family with you today that we use for special occasions......and the first day of school is a very special day! My 2 little guys are too little for school yet {phew!}, but when they get older, I can imagine myself making them these chocolate pancakes for them as a little pep talk for that nerve racking first day of school.
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