Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Wrapping Themes

I have been seeing a lot of different themes for wrapping Christmas gifts on Pinterest which reminded me of my own Christmas gift wrapping themes I have done over the past two years.

It turns out I have wrapped the gifts, made labels, and photographed these themes for two years, but I only wrote an actual blog post about one of them. So this year I have two different themes for Christmas presents I want to present: Red and White, and Brown Paper with Baking Twine. Both have handmade labels.

Brown Paper with Baking Twine Wrapping Theme

This theme was fun. I already had plenty of brown paper from a huge roll I bought at a clearance sale for an office supply store. By the way, buying that huge roll of paper was one of the best impulse purchases in my life. I have used it as drop cloths for painting, and table covers that can be drawn on among many other uses. 

I then added a touch of class with the red and white baker's twine. I used a double thickness of the twine to really make it pop. 

Each gift had a tag with the recipient's initial on it. I printed the initials on card-stock and then punched the labels out with my hand puncher.

I really love the look of these gifts with their labels and the baker's twine. Baker's twine is so much fun. I may have chosen this theme so I had an excuse to buy the twine. ;)

Red and White Wrapping Theme

Last year I decided to go with normal wrapping paper in red and white. I wanted to make the gifts a little more festive and less "1940's book package." The previous year was fun, but I wanted to get a little more traditional.

I used several predominantly red papers, white ribbon and black lettered  labels. 

With the new addition of my nephew last year I had to add a second letter to my labels (we now have two family members with the first initial "A".)  I used the same label punch with red paper. If had a color printer I would have done white card-stock with red initials for the red presents, but our color printer died earlier that year. 

To compliment the red presents I also wrapped some of them with white paper and red ribbon. This was not as successful because the white paper needs to be doubled over if you don't want the gift showing through. I'm not sure what happened to the rest of the presents wrapped in white, but I didn't get any pictures of them.

I also had a lot more presents last year. I bought a bunch of little presents to go with the big ones. So I had to get a little creative with the red paper. In the end I used some pure red, and some red with Santa. It worked out well.

I think the red is nice and festive under our tree. This year I'm all ready for the next theme with wrapping paper, but I have to think about the labels and ribbon.

Do you like to wrap your Christmas (or Hanukkah) presents with one theme of do you have a different system all together? Or maybe no system at all?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wine Charms Number 2

I really love to make these wine charms. They are like little jewels that you can put on your glasses. I made a set about a year ago. Then this winter I started a set for my friend's birthday. It took me a long time to finish them, but once I did, I had to do another photo shoot. Go here for the full instructions to make your own.

What I like about these guys is that each is different, each is special and each one actually feels as great as they look. The resin layers on both sides protects the decoupage and adds a bit of class.

This time around I used all gold glitter and numbers for the "back" and some really beautiful paper for the front. My friend loves the color blue, so I made half of them with blue tones, and the other half with red. I always imagine my friend's hubby would like the red ones.

For the final touch I also made a little case. I recycled an old card I had for the cover. I first added a single layer of card-stock to hide the impression from the "Altoids" box. I then glued the old card for the design. After gluing it with Mod Podge I coated the whole thing with more resin.

I'm not sure if you can tell in these pictures but there is a good layer of thick resin on top of this box. I managed to eliminate the "Altoids" impression and make a nice cover for the box. I also love that the gold in the paper carried through to the gold on the backs of the charms.

I decided not to paint the rest of the box. It looked good enough and I was late on my gift.

The simple silver ring holds them onto the glass stem.

These little guys are not so cheap to make. I thought about selling them but they would probably not sell for even the cost of supplies. Instead only very special people get them. I must say, they are worth the work for a loved one. In the end they look so beautiful.

Even though my birthday gift was six months late, my friend was very excited to get this little gift (or she was just very gracious, she is quite a gracious lady). Let's hope I'm a little better with the timing next year. :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Power of Sunshine

Getting the "Funk" Out of Old Shirts

My husband likes to wear black undershirts to work. In fact, he really loves his little black shirts and wears them all the time. We buy the bags of shirts they sell at Target and he's happy. 

The problem is that after a while the shirts develop a strange smell. A "funk" if you will. I don't leave his clothes in the washer wet, and my washer is not funky either. In fact, none of our other clothes have this funk at all. I don't even really smell it myself, but my husband swears that some shirts have it, and some don't. He does a smell test before he puts a shirt on, if the shirt has this funk, he puts it back in the drawer (that's a man's idea of fixing the problem I guess).

In the past we have thrown out the old shirts and just gone out and bought new ones. This year, with a little one on the way, I decided to try something new. Operation de-funk was under way one summer day (ha I'm a poet, JK, not really).

Step One: Wash

I took all my hubby's shirts out of the drawer and washed them in the washer on high with both my home-made detergent and a half cup of white vinegar for good measure. Vinegar is known for it's disinfecting properties. 

Step Two: Dry

Now, this is wear the "summer day" part of my plan comes in. Growing up, we always took our bedding out in the spring and put it in the sun. I was never sure why we did this, but my mom assured me this would help "air it out" and clean our mattresses and comforters. I didn't really have a choice, but they did smell better by the end of the day so I figured she was on to something. 

Twenty years later, I'm reading the tag on my down comforter and it advises me to put the comforter in the sun twice a year. With a little research I found that the disinfecting power of the sun is a real thing, and my mom is not a nut-job that just liked to watch us drag our mattresses around every spring (sorry mom, I was a teenager).

With all this in mind, I took my husband's newly washed undershirts and hung them in the sun. 

They hung out in the sun for most of the day. 

Boy, do I love my clothes line, every time I look at it I'm happy (thanks hubby!). By the time I got around to taking these pictures the sun had gone behind the trees, but believe me, they were in the sun for at least a couple of hours. 

Step Three: The Result

I brought them in, and gave them to my hubby for the final test. Success! The funk was gone. Although I'm sure the vinegar helped, I KNOW the sunlight made the final step to really get those shirts clean and smelling good again. 

I don't really like a lot of harsh chemicals or super smelly detergents, this proves they are not needed. It has been five months, I went back to washing them the normal way (with a dryer, not on the line). They still smell fine. 

It's funny how it takes years to fully appreciate the knowledge your parents passed down to you as a child. Maybe because I'm having a child, I'm relearning all these little tricks. 
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