Carbs, Schmarbs Gift Bag

You would think, with all the gift bags and boxes I can’t resist buying at craft stores and online, that I would always have the perfect bag on hand. Well, I don’t. But I do always have a brown paper bag (and usually in several sizes!), and they’re so simple to embellish to fit any occasion.

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Stampin’ Up! supplies: Yippee Skippee stamp set; Pool Party and Whisper White cardstock; Epic Day Designer Series Paper; Calypso Coral and Basic Gray markers; Scallop Border and Designer Label punches, Corner Rounder, Calypso Coral Ribbon; Vintage Faceted Buttons; Pool Party Bakers’ Twine

I kinda love the sayings in the Yippee Skippee stamp set, and this one makes a perfect tag for a little birthday surprise. Because all the best birthday treats involve carbs, don’t they? To cover the front, just cut a sheet of decorative paper the width of the bag and long enough to be covered by the flap when it’s folded over. Attach it with some Sticky Strip or adhesive runner. WHILE THE BAG IS STILL FLATTENED. Trust me, don’t forget to do this BEFORE you’ve added the treat inside.

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I freehand-cut the candle flame, but if you have the holiday Bitty Punches, the Christmas light punch is a perfect flame. I snipped the corners of a rectangle of cardstock t make a tag shape, then scalloped the edge to make it even less like a rectangle. Oh, and I used Dimensionals to pop the label out from the candle.

This took about five minutes to put together, and you’ll get credit for making it yourself!

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February’s Paper Pumpkin

I continue to be ridiculously excited each month when I open the mailbox and see my Paper Pumpkin box from Stampin’ Up! waiting for me. I can hardly wait until the kids are in bed and my favorite GI Joe is engrossed in his iPad in the evening, so I can have a little creativity escape.  This month’s kit might just have been the best yet…gift bags and the supplies and stamps to embellish them!

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In the kit were five kraft bags, 10 ribbons, precut pieces for the medallions, a Stampin’ Spot in Pistachio Pudding, bakers’ twine, and a whole passel of tiny clothespins.  Oh, and the instructions, of course. And all of it some of my favorite colors: Pistachio Pudding, Coastal Cabana, and, always a great neutral, Crumb Cake.

It made my eye a little twitchy, but I let Princess Thundercloud do some of the stamping and assembling the medallions.  The circles with letters were already printed, so I just had to figure out what I wanted to say on each bag. We stamped the green zigzag circles in one of two patterned stamps that came in the kit. The eye twitches began as she was assembling the layers, which I was hoping to have centered. Oh, well, they’re pretty close.

We made bags that said “Yippee,” “Happy,” “Hello,” “For You,” and “Thanks.” I had enough paper circles and letters left over to make “Celebrate,” so we adhered those to a plain kraft bag I had in the gift bag drawer.FPP-Extra-ChaosServedDaily

These would be simple to make without the Paper Pumpkin kit…just a bit more work to cut all those circles and print or stamp all the letters.  I’m so glad Stampin Up! did those steps for me!

If you’re interested in subscribing to Paper Pumpkin (there’s even a great try-it option), you can visit My Paper Pumpkin.  And don’t forget that it’s Sale-a-Bration time, until the end of March, and that means FREE stuff for every $50 you order.  You can shop to your heart’s content on my Stampin’ Up! website, or, if you’d like a catalog, send me an email and I’ll get one to you (hooligansmom at gmail dot com). There’s lots of cute stamps and accessories to be had, people…and only during Sale-a-Bration!

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Cute and Easy Packaging with Tag a Bag

So I recently gave in to my acquisitive nature and ordered the Tag a Bag line from Stampin’ Up! And, of course, I couldn’t wait to create with them when they arrived…gift bags, gift boxes, and the accessory kit.  Super cute and even easier than they are cute, y’all!

Socks-ChaosServedDailyI also used my new Tags 4 You stamp set, which came in a bundle with the Label Bracket Punch…they coordinate perfectly, of course!  For this box of cozy Halloween socks (Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet…get it?), I inked up my stamp using Tangerine Tango and Basic Gray markers, running a bit of the gray along the top of the words for a little interest. Then I just punched it out, and layered it on a tag from the Tag a Bag Accessories Kit. The Tangerine Tango Bakers’ Twine was included in the kit, as well.

I’m kinda loving the Tag a Bag Gift Boxes…kraft boxes with a heavy plastic sleeve. Since you get 8 for $6.95, they’re a great price for neighbor or teacher gift packaging.

While I was at my craft table, I also whipped up this fun Thanksgiving treat bag, perfect for favors or small gifts.

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Again, I used the Tags for You stamp set and Label Bracket punch, and a bit of the Sweater Weather Designer Series Paper I’m using every chance I get this fall. I don’t know if you can see, but the orange paper in the photo has a knitted sweater print. Adorable! For the stamp, I stamped it in Tangerine Tango, then used the “Rock-n-Roll” technique to add a bit of Cajun Craze ink around the edges. You just ink up your stamp with the main color, then roll the edges around a darker color ink pad

I clipped the tag over one of the Tag a Bag Gift Bags, already printed with a trendy chevron design, using a mini-clothespin and bakers’ twine from the Accessory Kit. I filled the bags with a mix of caramel corn, candy corn, and peanuts, if you’re curious. Of course, that will be stale before Thanksgiving, so I just went ahead and ate it after I took the photo.

So there you have it…two fabulous ways to package your gifts, created in less than fifteen minutes for both…and that was thinking of the concept, too, so once you got started, it would go even faster, I think. I made these between morning soccer games and leaving for Legofest in Portland Saturday, and only had a few minutes for a creativity break…but was sorely in need of a little respite from kid stuff before I could face Legos and ten thousand kids for an afternoon!

Here’s a list of all my supplies, if you’re interested in ordering any of them:

  • 130927 Tag a Bag Gift Boxes,set of 8         $6.95
  • 131370 Tag a Bag Gift Bags, set of 10        $3.95
  • 130153 Tag a Bag Accessory Kit                 $7.95
  • 133293 Tags 4 You Wood Bundle              $30.95
  • 133294 Tags 4 You Clear Bundle               $26.95
  • 132184 Sweater Weather DSP                  $10.95

The Tags 4 You stamp set and Label Bracket Punch are available separately, as well, but you can save 15% by ordering the bundle!

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Really Good Greetings Treat Bag

I’m kinda loving this new stamp set from Stampin’ Up!….Really Good Greetings.

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Cute, right?  And sort of all-purpose.  I’ve used it for graduation, birthday, thanks, and goodbye cards already. And I’ve only had it for a few weeks!

We needed a little goodbye gift for Princess Thundercloud’s gymnastics coach (I use the tem coach loosely in her case…he’s more like a really patient and tolerant cat herder for the 4Kers). Anyway, the “I Miss You Already” was a perfect sentiment.

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I just used a small paper bag from the craft store and some printed DSP from an old 6×6 pad I had to embellish it.  After coloring my stamp with markers, I stamped the sentiment on Whisper White card stock and punched it out using the Decorative Label punch. After filling the bag, I stapled it shut, then hid the staple using the label.

Quick, simple, and inexpensive…right up my alley! This idea, of course, would work for any occasion, whether for a gift or a party favor. So go get creative!

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Folded Paper Gift Pocket

Sometimes, when I give people a gift, I’d like to just whip up a little container for it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made these folded pockets, in various sizes, for cookies and other small gifts. They’re practically perfect…and oh-so-easy to remember how to make, so you’re not always having to Google it!

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I made some shortbread hearts using molds from Pampered Chef (which I really wish they still made!); they’re about 6” across, so I needed a fairly large pocket. I wrapped the cookie in plastic wrap before putting it in the pocket. Because it might contain just a pinch of butter. Anyway, here’s how:

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It’s important to use double-sided paper since both sides show. Fortunately, Stampin’ Up! feeds my paper addiction nicely.

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Ignore my chubby fingers…I was retaining water. Yeah, that’s it.

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Now why isn’t the color the same on this one?  It’s a mystery.

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Then just embellish it however you’d like…I just tied a Valentine on mine using…yep!…bakers’ twine!

Now there’s a life skill you can use again and again!

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Lemon Ginger Shortbread

Generally speaking, I don’t love cookies.  If I were choosing one dessert category to have for the rest of my life, cookies wouldn’t even be in the running.  Pie, however, would. But I digress. I do enjoy a good shortbread cookie, especially with tea or coffee, and especially when I’m not forced to share them with the hooligans. I do a lot of 2:30 in the afternoon snacking for this very reason, before they arrive home from school.

A few years ago, I created (that’s a fancy word for made up) a recipe for Lemon Ginger Shortbread that I feel is perfect for winter’s gloomy chill…the lemon is a spot of brightness, and the crystallized ginger gives just a hint of spiciness. And I made them in a cute as a button shape, too.  (See, they look like giant buttons!)

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Lemon-Ginger Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice powder (from King Arthur or True Lemon brand from the grocery store juice aisle)
  • ¼ cup diced crystallized ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt, if using unsalted butter

1. Combine butter and sugar, then stir in flour, salt if needed, and lemon juice powder. When evenly combined, fold in ginger bits.Shortbread-ingredients

2. Press into shortbread molds, or roll to a little more than 1/4” thickness and cut into rounds or desired shapes. To make buttons, cut into rounds, then make an imprint with a smaller round, not going all the way through. Use a toothpick to make 4 small holes in the center.Buttons-for-oven

3. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, until edges start to brown. If using a mold, it will take about 30-35 minutes.

4. When you remove cookies from oven, you may need to use a toothpick to clean up the holes a bit.

Makes about 24 button cookies

Click here for the printable recipe

I use a set of nested biscuit cutters, but you could also just use two drinking glasses. If you haven’t tried the True Lemon powder yet, you should!  The packets are fabulous to carry in your purse to sprinkle into water to liven it up a bit, and it also comes in a shaker jar to use at home and in recipes.

You can find crystallized ginger bits at the grocery store or World Market…I like to carry them when we travel, to settle any queasy tummies from motion sickness. Or I eat them from the can, just ‘cause I like them so much!

My point being lemon juice powder and crystallized ginger are great ingredients to keep on hand in your pantry…for so much more than shortbread (although that’s a wonderful use for them!).

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Ornamental Elegance Kit {squeal!!}

How exciting is this?  Stampin’ Up! has a limited release of a new ornament kit, called Ornamental Elegance.

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I showed you this ornament I made for Amy over at My Little One Room Schoolhouse for an ornament swap?  Well, while I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to make the cover creation of the Holiday Catalog, it was a little labor intensive, what with stamping and die-cutting all the arms of pieces. I’m really happy I made every piece by hand, and have made a couple more since, but I can’t tell you how excited I am that Stampin’ Up! has this new kit WITH THE PIECES PRINTED AND DIECUT!!!!

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The Ornamental Elegance Kit (132832) is $14.95 and includes:

  • Die-Cut Cardstock Elements
  • Cherry Cobbler 3-1/2″ Scalloped Tulle Ribbon
  • Natural Linen Thread
  • Vintage Faceted Designer Buttons
  • Large Pearl Basic Jewels

Each kit makes ten ornaments, which is a steal of a deal! You only need to provide adhesive, a glue gun, and scissors.  Order these now so you will have plenty of time to make them for Christmas gifting–or for your family tree! Again, I say…available while supplies last only.

Just to be super helpful, Stampin’ Up! also has two holiday packaging bundles available.

Petite Treats Bundle

Petite Treats Bundle
Includes
• Glassine Bags with die-cut edges (10 bags; 3″ x 5″ x 1-1/2″)
• Handmade Holidays Stitched Felt (8 pieces)
• Gumball Green 3/8″ Stitched Satin Ribbon (10 yards)
$13.50 132770 (a $16.85 value)

Trimmings & Tags Bundle

Trimmings & Tags Bundle
Includes
• Gusseted Cellophane Bags (25 bags; 5″ x 3″ x 11-1/2″)
• Snow Festival Designer Printed Tags (25 double-sided tags; 4-1/2″ x 3-1/8″)
• Cherry Cobbler 1/4″ Sweater Trim (10 yards)
$13.50 132769 (a $16.85 value)

As always, shop in your PJ’s 24/7 at my Stampin’ Up! website,

http://meganodonnell.stampinup.net

Soul-Warming Russian Tea

I frequently find myself whisked back to my childhood as the holidays approach, with a whiff of cloves and oranges, or perhaps hearing a few notes of “Silver Bells,” my grandma’s favorite carol.  Russian Tea evokes memories of so many frosty winter gatherings, and so that’s what I’m sharing with you today.  I know, it’s not a trendy coffee drink (which as you know, I have absolutely nothing against!) or am invigorating herbal blend…but it warms you to your core and comforts body and soul.

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Russian Tea

2 cups sugar

2 cups orange-flavored breakfast drink (yes, that’s Tang)

2/3 cup presweetened lemonade mix

1/2 cup instant tea mix

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp ground cloves

Directions:  Stir it all together and package in cute containers!

Make 4-1/2 cups

Directions to give with the mix:

To serve, place 2 heaping tablespoons mix in a mug.  Add 1 cup boiling water and stir well.

Of course, I created some cute labels to go on jars or pillow boxes…and you can download them so easily!  They’re sized to punch out with a 2-1/2” circle punch and will print 12 to a sheet.

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Click here to download the printable labels

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Bats and Spiders and Treats, Oh My!

Today is Post # 14 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge (31 posts in 31 days)…which explains why you’re hearing from me on the weekends this month!

I found some cute little brown lunch-style bags in the Target Dollar Spot, and thought they’d be a perfect size for treats…

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…and give me another excuse to use some of my favorite Halloween products from the Stampin’ Up! Holiday Catalog.

The topper is made from Howlstooth and Scaringbone DSP using my Big Shot and the largest die from the Labels Collection Framelits.  The bags are 3-1/2” x 6” and about 2” deep. When I ordered the Ghoulish Googlies Bundle, I saved 15 percent and got the Ghoulish Googlies Designer Kit, which I used to make a card and treat bag in an earlier post,along with the Googly Ghouls stamp set.

The Designer Kit came with more than enough tags and googlie eyes for ten clear bags included in the kit, so I used one of the tags here, just stamping the bat on it. The spiders also came from the Googly Ghouls stamp set.

The “Happy Halloween” stamp is available in the Seasonal Sayings set, but as of last week, it’s also available individually for a limited time.  The single stamp program is a test that will run through the end of the year, so if that’s something that interests you, be sure to order soon so Stampin’ Up! will continue the program.   Read more about it here, on my Stampin’ Up! website.

To finish it off, I stapled the tag onto the bag, adding 1/8” ribbon in Pumpkin Pie and Basic Black under the staple.  Then I just tied them in a knot.

There you go…a quick and easy treat bag…just don’t forget to add the treats before you staple the tag on.  Like anyone would do that. Especially anyone who might be named Megan. Well, she probably wouldn’t do it more than once, anyway.

Halloween Treat Pouch

I’m sure I’ve posted about this before, but I think these “Sour Cream Pouch” treats are fabulous for any occasion. I’ve even made them from clear plastic sheets, so the treats inside can be seen.

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If you’ve not made them before, here’s a tutorial…they’re a must-have addition to your crafting ideas.  The only item you might not have (and it’s pretty essential) is a paper crimper.  You can pick one up at any craft store.  I use mine quite often, to add texture to cards, as well as making these cartons.

Start with a 6”x6” piece of scrapbook paper. You can make these any size you like, to maximize your paper.  4-1/4”x 5-1/2” will get four out of an 8-1/2” x 11” sheet of paper.

I’ve used double-sided Stampin’ Up! Howlstooth and Scaringbone DSP here, but it doesn’t need to be double-sided.  Put Sticky Strip or another strong tape along three sides of it.SourCream1-ChaosServedDaily

Adhere the side without tape to the opposite side, forming a tube.

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Adhere one end together, squeezing in the center and smoothing to the edges.

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Fill it with your treat.  Don’t pack it in…you’ll need room to seal the ends. Fill it loosely, maybe halfway.

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Seal the open end, at a 90-degree angle from the first end (squeeze it together the opposite way).

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Next comes the crimper’s role.  Place one end in the crimper and turn until it’s crimped about 1/2”, 4 or 5 crimps.  Be careful not to smash your treat! Repeat for the other end.

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Embellish as you’d like.  For this one, I used a tag from a booklet I got at Michael’s, stamping the sentiment using Stampin’ Up!’s Seasonal Sayings stamp set (Item 128009, $16.95 for clear) and markers to ink it.  I can’t tell you what a perfect set this is…see?

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And here’s some really exciting news…these stamps are among three sets that have just become available as individual stamps.  Now you can buy only the one you really, really want!  Anyway, that’s my little sales pitch for the day…if you’d like to order, you can click on the link to my website in the right sidebar…no pressure, really!