Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet Treat Gift

Look what my wonderful, talented, sweet sister made for my birthday! Ooooh, she knows how I love chocolate.
My reaction?
1. Ooooohhhhhh, yum!
2. Did you MAKE this?
3. You are Soooooo good.
4. I love you!

So, yes, I pretty much immediately knew that I would have to slowly disassemble it to figure out how it was made (and of course share that info with you). I took photos as I took it apart, and here they are in reverse to show how to make one.

Begin with one large and one small styrofoam circle. Cover them in a color of tissue paper that coordinates with your ribbon (that way if it peaks through, it still matches!).

My sister cut a circle of cardboard to cover the bottom of the larger, tissue-covered circle. This may not be absolutely necessary, but it sure looks neater.
Attach the chocolates around the outer edge with pieces of two-face tape. After they are in place, wrap a rubber band around to hold them in place. This will be covered up by the ribbon later.

Place a few candies around the top, leaving the center uncovered.

Stick a few toothpicks in the middle to help attach the top circle.

Put a few toothpicks in the bottom of the "top", smaller circle, and press onto the base.

Surround the top layer with yummy squares in the same way the bottom layer was done...and top with a few more.

Leave a tiny spot open in the middle, and push a toothpick in there, too.

Wrap a layer (or two!) of ribbon around the base, and attach with two-face tape or glue dots.

Repeat your ribbon-wrapping magic on the top layer, too.
Tie a small piece of floral wire to the bottom of a ribbon bow. Attach the bow by wrapping the wire around the toothpick.

Now, if I can think of someone who deserves one (and don't we ALL?) for Valentine's Day,  I might just attempt a pink and red version. Let me know if you try it!

Gettin' Krafty With Itgiveaways

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Extra Minutes = A Lot of Saved Time

A few years ago, I decided to make coordinating wired bows for my staircase banisters, mantle, grandfather clock, etc. So I took the financial plunge (with coupons, of course) of purchasing quite a lot of good quality ribbon and got busy with my floral wire. Several evenings (and sore fingers) later I was pretty proud of my accomplishment.

So I think it's understandable that I take a bit of extra care in storing them. Each year, when I take them down ("boo" to putting away Christmas decorations!) I stuff them with fresh tissue paper. Any that were made in special sizes (a bit larger for the mantle and clock) are marked with paper tags labeling where they are to be placed the next year. Not as OCD as you might think, really.

I also have numerous garlands that swag up two levels of staircase, and overlook bannister, mantle, playroom get the idea.
I tag these with placement in the same way as the bows. Long slips of paper slipped through loops or around branches with reminders about where they go. Last year, I even marked the tops of each "swag point" with a colored paper clip. Wow, I loved not having to measure those lengths this year.
I can't tell you how fun it is to open these boxes each fall to find nice, fluffy bows and ready-to-go decorations. It doesn't take much more time than just packing them the old-fashioned way...but it makes them a LOT more fun to open and use the next year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where Did December Go?

Oh, how often I thought of ideas to post during the Christmas season...but the act of actually DOING the crafts and activities took precedence over POSTING about them. Ah, well...the best laid plans. My family and I did enjoy the holidays, and we hope that yours did, too. 
My daughter had two elves visiting her this year, sending reports back to Santa about her behavior. Harriet and Lizzie Beth managed to get into occasional trouble themselves whenever they were treated 
to sweets, but it was all in good fun. 
My daughter danced in "The Nutcracker" for the first time this year, so that kept our weekends hopping, getting to performances. It was a wonderful experience. I favorite performance was at a retirement home. The residents were so excited that the girls were there, and fascinated with their costumes.

Our Girl Scout Brownie troop went caroling at a retirement home, and handed out candy canes and cards. Don't know who had more fun, the residents or the girls. Guess it's a toss-up!

We made LOTS of jars to Christmas cookie mix for teachers, coaches, the postman and friends. Everyone seemed extra-excited that there were M&M's involved. I've been wanting to do mix jars for the holidays for years, but this is the first time I actually got my assembly line up and running. Glad that I made the effort, because they certainly brought smiles!

 White chocolate-covered Oreos, with candy corn noses and icing eyes and smiles. Need I say more? This plate was empty in NO time!

We change up our mantle decorations each year, so I made a felt "icicle" scarf and brightened it with a bit of spray mount and LOTS of glitter. But my favorite addition this time around was the apothecary jars. They're just so cheerful. Now, convincing my daughter that they were for DECORATION ONLY for a couple of weeks was another matter!
At the beginning of the holidays, I read about a new book titled "365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life", by John Kralik. I pre-orderd it through Amazon, and it has finally arrived. (It was only released a couple of days after Christmas.) The thought behind the book is the difference it can make in your and others lives by simply expressing gratitude for the small and big things in your life. I decided that's a worthwhile (if a bit imposing) resolution to add to my list for this year. One note a say thanks. The postman, a kind store clerk, one of your former teachers, a friend, the list goes on. And I can honestly say that I've stuck with this resolution so far! HURRAY! O.K., O.K., I know it's only January 2nd, so that only means two nots so far....but, hey! Take pride in small victories right?
So let's take on this new year and do wonderful, creative, fun things, and spread the love. I'll be turning 50 in a couple of weeks so I'm especially determined to make this year a contagiously joyous one.

Wishing you and your loved ones a fun-filled, exciting,
safe and happy 2011!

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