Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Easy Holiday/Birthday Present Bows

We've all been there - you get a phone call that it's your cousin's birthday and they're hosting a huge bash.  And because you decide to go (they're a lot of fun) - you have to bring a present. don't have any bows lying around to top your present.  If you're anything like me, I cannot give a present that's wrapped haphazardly.  Doesn't matter if I spent $1 or $100, gotta have that present well dressed :)

My tip to you: pop to your local Dollar Tree (or PoundLand) and grab plenty of balloon string.  Any and every color they offer, because that's just about the only materials you'll need for this cute bow!!!


  • Wrapped Present
  • Balloon string (coordinating)
  • Tape
  • Stapler with staples
  • Scissors


1. Cut 6-8 strips of balloon string about 2-3 inches each.    Perfectly fine to "eyeball" this.
Gather the balloon string pieces together so that they line up relatively even.

Staple the pieces together at one end as shown.  Cut off the excess on the short side.
Using one side of the scissors, curl each string.  After you curl each string, give it a little fluffing to pull the curls apart.

Tape it to your present/package. 

If you're wondering how I got the string wrapped around the present - easy peasy!  I use the package to measure the string one direction by wrapping the string around the package.  Cut the string to size.

I then turn the package so the "taped" side is up and I pull the string tautly from both ends.  I lay it flat and straight and give it a good taping down. 

I repeat that going the other direction.  Doesn't matter if its centered (I think off-kilter wrapping like this looks better).

Then, take the bow you just made and tape it on the front side at the cross-hairs created by the wrapped-around string!  Voila!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thanksgiving Themed Birthday Card

If there is one thing I love - its Fall.  The leaves changing colors, the pumpkin spice scented candles, the slightly cooler weather that's such a nice break from the heat of summer before the chill of winter.

Now you can share the love of Fall colors for those with October/November birthdays!  Below is a birthday card I made for my little nephew turning One soon.

How to make a card like this?  Simple!!

You'll need:

  • White card base
  • Leaf die cutter or stickers (I used Creative Memories Leaf die cutter)
  • Fall colored stock paper (Fall colors like yellow, red and browns)
  • Fall themed sticker (I chose a moose, could be anything Fall related)
  • Happy Birthday sticker or stamp
  • Adhesive for paper
  • 3D Adhesive squares
  • Paper Trimmer

  • Using your die cutter (if you have one), make leaves from different colored paper
  • Using your 3D adhesive  squares, afix leaves to the edge (either bottom or right side) forming a border
  • Using your paper trimmer and coordinating paper colors, make a rectangle.  
  • Within that rectangle, afix Fall themed sticker or use another Fall-themed die cut.
  • On the other side of your embellishment, either stick or stamp a coordinating Happy Birthday.
  • Using your paper trimmer again, trim another piece of coordinating paper that is just a few centimeters wider on all sides than your Happy Birthday paper.
  • Using your regular favorite scrapbooking adhesive, afix embellished Happy Birthday paper onto the larger page.  Together, it should look like your Happy Birthday page is bordered.
  • Afix the above squarely onto your white card base!
  • Write a lovely note on the inside!
You could really use this template for just about any card.  It's simple, and with nice embellishments and card stock found at any craft store, you can create a card with any theme.

Happy Fall, Y'all!!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

School Supply Cake

Hello All,

I am back to crafting and cooking - and here's to hoping that its better than ever!!!

I didn't realise how "popular" I'd become during my hiatus.  But, many of you (20,000 nearly) have visited my page and some have even left comments in the past two years!  I am flattered beyond measure!!  I let this page go because I had "life" thrown at me - but now I realise the potential of Good I can provide to the world (while enjoying it wholeheartedly)!

My treat today is huge!  Many of you enjoyed the Teacher M&M Holiday gift I posted a while back.  Well, if you wanted to take it a step further, here's a huge project that teachers tear up over!!!!  This is typically a gift I give at the end of the school year.  My only caveat - this project can get rather expensive - but the point is to give teachers supplies that they would normally purchase for students themselves.  As a result, this project really becomes a humbling experience when you fully understand the cost of these things and how teachers take on these costs to ensure each child has supplies for optimal learning.  Of course, you can have supplies donated or catch the back-to-school sales at the beginning of the year!!!!

One part (optional) does require some investigating.  The 1-2 "gifts".  These, I usually chose something a bit expensive ($20) that suited their teaching style in some way.  This may be a sticker book, stamps with stamp pads, etc.  I chose for my son's teacher, for example, some owl stamps that said "Good Job".  I noticed that she loved owls.  My son's work would also come home doning the same "Good Job" stamp.  So, I figured she'd like a few more to choose from.

I also included many other things like pencils, erasers - pretty much anything that would fit into the hat boxes!!

What you'll need:

  • A telescoping set of hat boxes
  • A carrying tray (optional, but helpful)
    • Here's what I used: Amazon Tray
    • May be able to find one at the dollar store
  • 2 boxes Crayola Markers (I usually purchase 4)
  • 8-10 boxes of Crayola Crayons (I usually purchase 10)
  • 6 Elmer's Glue Bottles (I usually purchase 8-10)
  • 8-10 Elmer's Glue Sticks (I usually purchase an extra pack)
  • 4-6 To-Go Tissues (I usually grab more than that)
  • 3 bottles of paint (colors of your choosing - but know that each box will take most of a small bottle of craft paint)
  • Coordinating 2-3" ribbon with coordinating bow.  You can choose just one ribbon color or different colors (as long as they coordinate with the painted boxes).  You'll need a total of 86" inches of ribbon for all three tiers.
  • Hot glue gun with plenty of hot glue sticks
  • 1-2 items the teacher would LOVE as gifts.

  • Get all parts to the hat boxes (3 lids and 3 bases)
    • Paint each coordinating lid and base one color chosen
      • Above, I chose a light teal, a pastel orange and sand paints
      • You may have to paint multiple coats allowing to dry between coats.
      • Does get messy, I suggest having newspapers down on a large table
      • Allow to dry overnight to ensure the paint completely dries
  • Once dried, put hat boxes together and stack largest on bottom to smallest on top. 
    • Put a hot glue dot atop the lid of largest box and carefully place middle box.  Make sure that the box is placed evenly!!
    • Place a hot glue dot atop the lid of the middle box and carefully stack the smallest box on top.  Again, make sure that the box is placed evenly!
    • Place the three tiered "hat box cake" inside the tray.  
  • Pull out your school supplies
    • Start placing (but do not glue!) the school supplies along the sides of the boxes.  Because the size of glue bottles and crayon boxes vary, you'll want to ensure you've got a symmetrical fit.  
      • I typically alternate the glue bottle, several glue sticks and the tissues along the bottom box.
      • The middle box has crayon boxes.  If you did multiple types of crayon boxes as I did, you can alternate those.
      • The top layer alternates loose markers and tissues.
  • Notice that I mentioned I purchase extras?  Before you start gluing supplies down, put any school supplies that did not make it to the sides of the "cake" inside the boxes.  This includes the little "gift" for them.  
    • Do not forget that you've glued the boxes down!!  The big box's lid will be stuck to the middle box's base!  And the  same between the middle box's lid and small box's base!!!!  
  • Now, you can start placing the supplies along the sides.  I placed a very small hot glue dot to afix each school supply to the box.
  • Once you have finished all three tiers, wrap the large, middle and small boxes with ribbon.  I used a small hot glue dot to afix the ribbon just in the back (you'll need to establish which side is the back - sometimes it would be a blemished side :)).  Do this for all three tiers.
  • Take the last bit of ribbon and make a bow.  Michael's will make a bow for you for a small fee.  Afix bow to the top of the small box as a "topper".
Once you have it all put together, coordinate a time for you to drop the cake off to the teacher (or teachers).  I typically do not tell them why I'm dropping in, I  just mention it's a surprise.  

This goes over well with teachers!  Every teacher I have ever made one for has been brought to tears!!!  It is a fun, but labor intensive projects that brings something (albeit small) back to the community!!  I hope more people take on these projects (or donate supplies) to local schools to unburden the teacher's wallets.  At the end of the day, it's for all of the children to enjoy!

Happy Learning and Crafting!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Non-Perishable Lunch Ideas

Hi all!  I'm still alive, just as busy as ever!  Caden and Leo are growing up quickly (too quickly).

But, lately I've hit a conundrum, and I wanted to share what I've come up with!  This will be super duper handy for my food allergic readers :).

Back-story: I am taking Caden (alone) to Williamsburg for a 2-3 day trip.  We are also visiting Luray Caverns soon, too.  The trouble with touristy areas is that they don't have much in the way of "national food chains".  Under normal circumstances, I would find that a good thing!  The more family businesses, the better :).  But for those of us with food allergies, it does add a little bit of uncertainty about what to eat!!

Caden's also starting cub scouts in the Fall, so this was actually good practice for those long camping trips :).

The conundrum: Feeding ourselves with no fridge, know, amenities!  Therefore, nonperishable (but healthy) food ideas.  Here's what I've come up with.

Picture from Brian Green's Blog

Who says you can't eat snacks for lunch?  You don't have to have a square meal the way you envision every meal.  Lunch doesn't need to be a sandwich, so let go of convention and you'll be better off :).  Here are some great snacking foods that you could substitute for the perishable counterparts!

  • Beef Jerky- high in protein, delicious, and you could carry this for months on a backpacking trip.  There's a reason why jerky was a prime food source in the Hunger Games books!  Protein packs a huge calorie punch, and when you are walking (hiking, climbing, etc.) this is a great way to replenish your protein!
  • Dried fruit- if you get them organically, they pack the same goodness punch as the fresh versions!  They don't do anything to the fruit other than dry it out :).
  • Dried Veggies- you can find these, but not as readily.  Sometimes, you can find them in chip form, too.  A great brand I suggest is Terra Chips.
  • Crackers and cheese- if its for lunch in 6 hours or so and you can pack a small icepack, then those string cheeses would be great!  They are made for lunchboxes, therefore typically made out of harder cheeses (like cheddar) that don't go bad as quickly.
  • Tuna and chicken cans- I know, gross sounding, but in a pinch its great!  I would be sure to get the cans that DO NOT require a can opener.  Take along some bread and you have a presto! Sandwich :).
  • Built-in-container-foods: Avacados are one of the best examples of this!  Find foods that contain themselves!  Avacados are fantastic because of how they are assembled.  The thick outer"shell" helps keep the internal goodness :). Great with chips (a on-the-go guacamole).  The great thing is that it comes with its own "bowl" that you toss when you are done :).  It is a BYOK (bring your own knife) food though!
  • Any other snacks.  You still need your grains, and of course this is the easy food group to pack!  Cheese crackers are even better because they pack in a little more protein punch!!!
  • Nuts/Seeds- I know, suggesting this on a "food allergic" blog sounds preposterous!  But not all people suffering from food restrictions are allergic to nuts!  So, I'll suggest it anyway!  Make your own trailmix with your favorite seeds or nuts!  Mix in your dried fruit and veggies.  MMMM!
  • Leads me to: protein bars.  If you can have them (I really can't), go for it!
And a tip I kept seeing while doing my research.  Baggies!  Use them!  You don't want to share your food with lovely insects :).
So, there you have it!  Happy Camping, Hiking, Visiting Landmarks, ALL!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reindeer Food

I was tasked with making Reindeer Food for my son's PTA.  They are hosting a holiday store, but what a cute and adorable craft you can do at home with any child.  Its easy and it probably includes ingredients you already have on hand :).  I made 24 of these baggies, so I had to bulk up on ingredients :).

1/2 c. oats (plain)
1/2 c. sugar (white)
1/4 c. green and red sugar crystals
Sandwich baggie

Put all ingredients into baggie.  To shake, hold the baggie by the zipper top and bop the bottom around (so you don't have accidental leakage) until all ingredients are well mixed together.

In the past, people have used glitter for the shiny colored part.  It is advised that you no longer use glitter as small animals do eat it and the glitter is known to cause problems in their tummies.

Here are the full instructions as well as free printables:

Melted Snowmen

This is one of the cutest and simplest ornament projects I've ever worked on.  This is a great project to do with a little bit older child (5-8 years old or so) as it does involve a hot glue gun.  It was very easy though and really hones in on those fine motor skills :)

I got the project idea from:


Hot glue gun
Plenty of glue sticks for glue gun
Tons of black glass beads (the very small ones)
Orange glass beads (the very small ones)
A cookie tin
Aluminum Foil


Plug in your glue gun with a glue stick in it to preheat it.

Wrap your cookie tin with some Aluminum foil.  It will make dislodging your completed snowmen much easier.

Count 2 black beads and place them on the cookie tin as the eyes.  Grab an orange bead and place as the nose.  Then take 5-6 black beads and form a mouth.

Tie a 5-6 inch peice of string to form a circle.  Fold one side of the circle and hold in place (I did this with my hands).

Get the glue gun ready and squirt glue all over the face.  Ensure that you are also including the string as this becomes your ornament string.  Fill in the face completely in the general shape of a circle.

Allow snowmen to dry.  Once they are dry, tear off the aluminum foil around your snowmen.  Then slowly and carefully peel the aluminum from behind your snowman (mine just peeled off pretty easily).

Viola :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm Treats

So, what in the world is one to do with 4 CUPS of roasted pumpkin seeds?  Find your nearest baby for this one :).  I jarred some of them up and will pass them out to the adults in our neighborhood.  Figured they would appreciate the healthy snack over the kiddy candy anyway :)

Find or keep some small (stage 1 or 2) glass baby food jars.  Clean them out well.  I used hot soapy water to get the paper labels off well.  Then Goo Gone to get the glue itself off.  I couldn't get the big spots of glue off, but it won't be that noticeable.  Clean them again with soapy water and dry very well.

Load in the seeds.

I had some pumpkin fabric on hand, but you can use any fabric that's orange or otherwise Halloween themed.  Cut the fabric into 4 inch squares.

I also used my tag punch to make some tags for my bottles.

Next, find some twine, string, or balloon string to wrap around it, cut 12 inch srings (for however many jars you have).

I taped the sides of the fabric down to the side of the jar.  I pre-knotted the string and wrapped it around the jar, and pulled tight as I nudged the string to tighten into the spot beneath the lip of the jar lid (where the jar is at its smallest diameter).  I pulled tightly and tied the knot.

I then wrote a message on my tags, and tied them into the string that was sticking out.   I tied that into a bow :).

You can use this technique for many things, like hot cocoa for Christmas or candy hearts for Valentine's.  Looks really neat and reuses baby food jars :).