Quick Tip Tuesday: Spice up your gift wrapping

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It is possible to be environmentally conscious and still present a well-wrapped gift that doesn’t get newsprint all over the fingers of the recipient (and the wrapper).  The best bet is to use upcycled paper bags or craft paper.  At the very least choose wrapping paper without the glossy coating so it can be recycled (as shown here).  Typical gift ribbons can also be replaced by real ribbon or, in this case, bias tape.  It gives the gift a much more polished look and can be reused by the recipient in a craft project or to wrap another gift (or stolen back by the giver to use again).

Also, you don’t have to wrap every part of the gift.  I made a nice little arrangement, with a couple wrapped gifts and the card, and some extra gifts (that would have been hard to wrap or taken a lot of extra paper.

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Of course, parents and grandparents always love things that are decorated or written on by their kids/grandkids.  For this one, I had our boy label the packages and then color on some warmed-up rocks with crayon (it makes a nice, melty effect).  The rocks served as the “bows”.

ImageAnd incorporating something unexpected in your wrapping, like the palm branch from a recent Palm Sunday, is really the icing on the cake.

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ICAD- Crown and recycle themes

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Here’s my next ICAD contribution (I didn’t do one yesterday because I was working on my Mandala, but I’ll catch up).  I spent about an hour weeding my garden and planting a few stray flowers and pepper plants that I had to get in the ground before they died.  Then, I found some seed packets my wife brought home from work.  They were from last year, so they may not work out so well but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.  I put the Morning Glory seeds in to soak before planting tomorrow and I was left with a beautiful seed-packet just begging to be reused.  After looking at it for a while and thinking about the optional prompts from Daily Yellow’s list, I started putting this together.  The phrase “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” from the Hallelujah Chorus literally leapt into my head.  My church invites people to go up and sing it with the Choir every Easter and every year, without fail, it gives me chills.

I started with a thin layer of gesso and stuck the packet on with that, brushing some over the top of the packet and rubbing it off in places with my finger tip.  I used a couple of butterfly stamps, because I always think of the emergence of butterflies from their cocoons in relation to the story of Jesus rising from the dead.  Then, I noticed the word “Heavenly” in the variety name, so I traced over that with a thin black Sharpie to bring it out a little.  I used thin and thick Sharpies for the words and thin Sharpies to trace over the butterflies and the flowers and do some other random shading/highlighting.  I kind of snuck in the zebra prompt with the butterfly on the right hand side, too.  The white that was showing in the background seemed a little bright, so I use some really diluted water color pencils to lightly shade the background.  I thought about putting in an actual crown somewhere, but figured I should leave well-enough alone.  As almost an afterthought, I added in an actual morning glory seed with some green glitter glue.  I figured a little bit of bling never hurt anyone.

Thanks for looking.

More inspiration

Winter Owls’ owls in the pram (above) are so incredibly cute I had the urge to run to the closest thrift store for fabric and start my own collection.  Easter was coming up and I happened to have two old towels that were about to be donated to our dogs and a big ribbon and button collection.

Here’s what I came up with…

Easter Snuggies

They’re nowhere near as cute as the owls, but my niece and nephew (4 and 1) loved them.  I glued the eyes on the one on the right hand side (in addition to sewing them) to make it less likely the 1 year old would pull them off and swallow them.  They started out as chicks (in my mind) for Easter but then the feet were more like duck feet and I only had enough room for one foot on each.  I guess they ended up being more like Easter Aliens.  Oh well.  They make me laugh.

Winter Owls

It has been a busy sewing week and my house looks like a bomb has hit it. My brother and his family are coming over to visit from the United States so I have a lot of tidying up to do. Thankfully it’s cooler in Melbourne at the moment which always makes me feel more like handling cosy fabrics like vintage chenille bedspreads. My dear friend Mary tells me she has the blue bed spread at her parent’s beach house. I did tease that they might find a few owl shaped holes after the next time I visit there…

Some of the owls went to a local school fete and the rest will fly off to my Etsy store soon. My younger son and I found this lovely old pram on a pile of junk put out on the nature strip. He was rather horrified when I asked him to pop…

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“Treasure Rocks” for Easter

My mom has some Australian friends who e-mailed her a cool alternative to Easter eggs which I’m trying out for our annual “hunt” this year. I used baking soda, cocoa powder (for color) and water to make a play-dough like substance and then hid “treasures” inside them, forming a rock shape. This, I’m told, will dry to be relatively hard and I’ll then hide the “rocks” amongst real rocks in my parents’ patio. The cool things is that when vinegar is added (either dripped on slowly or through immersing the “rock” in a bowl of it) the baking soda concoction will fizz up and dissolve, leaving just the treasure behind.

I’ve tried a few with red sprinkles to give them a pinkish hue and a bunch with silver and gold glitter (I like those the best). Inside, I hid quarters and tarnished pennies (so we can watch as the vinegar shines them up), little plastic dinosaur toys, and a couple of rubber Dora bracelets (she’s my niece’s favorite).

I can’t wait for the kiddos to find them and then go through the process of uncovering the treasures inside! What a great tie in to the Easter story (and a little science experiment to go along with it).

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Update:  The “rock hunt” was a huge success!  They actually blended in amazingly well with the rocks on my parents’ patio and were somewhat difficult to find, but that made it all the more fun.

Treasure Rocks

We had done a test run with the boy and realized that the dripping vinegar slowly on the rocks would take until next Easter to dissolve them so we went for the full immersion/volcano effect.  They loved it.  We had to help them along by squeezing them a bit to crack them open but once they saw that there was stuff inside, they were even more eager to get in there and help out.

Cracking the Rock

The best parts about it:  it did not result in any extra Easter candy, we made it into a little science lesson (about acids and bases), and no plastic eggs were harmed in the making of this adventure.

If you’re interested in trying these with your kids, but don’t have the time or inclination to make them yourself, I’m also selling some in my Etsy store.  I’m happy to customize them with whatever kind of toys or coins you’d like!    https://www.etsy.com/listing/129853106/treasure-rocks

If you want a little more specific instruction, I wrote up the “recipe” last time I made them (for Vacation Bible Camp):

32 oz. baking soda

1 oz. baking cocoa (for color) (A little goes a long way and too much will make them look like poop- literally.)

approx. 1 cup water

 

glitter (optional but highly encouraged)

Directions:  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add about 3/4 of the water and then try mushing it around with your hands.  You want it to be moldable and stick together well, but not so wet that it doesn’t keep its shape while drying.  Add more water or baking soda if needed.  Make rock-shapes and then stick whatever small object you want to hide inside, mushing the dough around the object.  Let dry overnight before dissolving them in vinegar.  (I tried using a drying rack at first, but then realized that my “rocks” were getting a waffle pattern on the side that was resting on the rack.  I put newspaper under them and they dried just fine.)