Necklaces, Gift Tags, Name Tags…

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I just love how versatile Paper Key Tags are for crafting. I have covered them with scrapbook paper and added letter stickers to use as gift tags. Make one for “MOM” this Mother’s Day, or use the letters “THX” to give a thank you gift. Or you can add them to a card as a cute embellishment.

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All you need are the key tags which you can find at office supply stores, craft stores and even some grocery stores.

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Then cut out a circle of scrapbook paper or a photograph to personalize it. Simply glue the circle on and punch a hole in the top over the existing hole.

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I currently have one on my scripture bag so I can quickly tell which one is mine. (We have a few black scripture bags in this house).

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Or for a really fun idea you can take your kids pictures and make a fun necklace for them or for Grandma for a fun Mother’s Day gift. Or add them to a bracelet with multiple pictures. I also thought they would be fun on bookmarks too.

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There really is no limit to the places these would be fun to use. And the best part is that they are really inexpensive and super easy to make.

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Gift Cans

Looking for a fun and creative way to package some of your gifts  Look how fun these gifts in a cans can be?

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I recently heard of using food cans and repurposing them into cute gift packages.  These are so easy but can be a fun and unique way to give a personalized gift in a new and creative way.

All you need is a can that has been sterilized and cleaned with the labels removed. When you open the can, be sure to use a Smooth Edge Can Opener. These can openers leave a “smooth edge” with a lip around the end. This allows you to fill the can and then glue it back together. I have found that it is best to open the bottom end of the can (but when the paper is off, there really is no top or bottom). That way when they open the can, they can open the top of the can with their own can opener.

Simply cover your can with some cute scrapbook paper with Mod Podge. Then fill the gift with your gift items, and then reseal the lid with glue. I used my glue gun and was careful to quickly wipe up the excess glue from around the edges of the can lid. I placed a book on top of the can to hold it together while it dried. Also, if you have a can that has a residue smell leftover from the previous occupant, use some vinegar to clean it with. It should help alleviate the smell. You don’t want your goodies to absorb some of the smell or they will taste funny.

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Then be sure to include some directions to “open” the can with your gift tag attached to the can. With all the people on your list, there could be many different uses for all different sizes of cans and gift ideas. Go ahead and get creative. What would you gift in a can?

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Personalized Embroidered Hand Towels

**If you haven’t entered the giveaway for the RecessionistaPary handbag, be sure to click here and enter!

Make a festive hand embroidered dish towel to celebrate the season…every season. Do you remember these handtowels I made for some friends last Christmas? Well,I just made a Thanksgiving version for my kitchen.

I typed out the word blessing and then traced it onto the bottom half (in the middle) of a flour sac hand towel with a pencil. I found mine at Ben Franklin for $1.50. I have also seen them at Wal-Mart, etc. I then cut out some material (the same material I used for my oven hand mitts) and applied the flowers as an applique to the towel under the word I had penciled on the towel

Then I placed an embroidery hoop around the letters and embroidered the word using a backstitch. I wanted the word to be thick, so I used 4 strands of the embroidery floss.

The fun thing would be to have one for every holiday and season. I had planned on making one for Halloween with the word Boo, but never got around to it. Since the flour sac towels are so large, I think I will just turn the towel around and add the Boo to the other side. Then you could use the same hand towel for both seasons. Just turn the towel to the right side for the season. These could not be simpler to make.

I have this hanging on the handle of my oven door and have tied a ribbon around it, I don’t have to hang it back up anytime the kids get near the towel (if you know what I mean). When the kids dry their hands on it, it actually stays in place!

If you are interested, I have posted the pattern I used along with patterns for Boo!, LOVE, and Gratitude. Click here for the downloadable version.

English Toffee

I am feeling so much better! Thanks for your well wishes! It only lasted 2 days thankgoodness. I spent the whole next day sanitizing the house from top to bottom trying to get rid of the germs so we could maybe get rid of the gunk, till next time of course.

We love English Toffee! Who would believe it could be so EASY to make. This recipe is so simple and yet the candy looks so professional when you are finished. This is one of our favorite treats to give away during the holidays. Try some for yourself!

Here is our recipe:

1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds or pecans (for bottom layer)
1 cup butter (salted)
1 cup sugar
1 T light corn syrup
3 T water
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds or pecans (for top layer)

Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and sprinkle 1/2 cup of toasted almonds in the pan on the foil. In heavy saucepan melt butter. Add sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling.

Cook and stir over medium heat to 290 degrees using a candy thermometer (soft-crack stage). Watch carefully and stir, it can burn easily after 280 degrees. Remove from heat and pour mixture over the nuts in the pan immediately. Let stand 5 minutes or until firm but still hot. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let the stand for 1 to 2 minutes. When softened, spread chocolate over mixture. Sprinkle the chocolate with nuts. Chill till firm. Break into peices. Store tightly covered. Makes 1 1/2 pounds.

Oven Hand Mitt Tutorial

Doesn’t the onset of cooler fall weather make you want to bake something yummy? I have been doing a little baking which inspired me to finally make a cute oven hand mitt I had seen recently in a store. I came up with a tutorial so that you can make one too! I love how easy they are to use. Plus, they are a lot more functional than those big, thick akward oven mitts.

I have provided you with a free downloadable pattern, click here to print it (select the large size; it should fill a 8.5 x 11 in. paper). After you have it printed you will be able to use the patterns to cut out your material and get started.

You will cut 2 large ovals in your fabric choice A (use 100% cotton fabric). Then using the same pattern you will cut out 2 patterns of your Insul-Bright (found at most fabric stores), and 1 pattern of quilt batting (also use 100% cotton batting).

**Edit–After using my hot pads several times now, I have noticed that I am beginning to feel some heat through the hot pad. I think it would be better to add two layers of Insul-Bright instead of the one layer I had first suggested. The pattern you download will say cut 1 of the Insul-bright, but you should cut 2 to provide extra heat protection!

Place one of the fabric pieces right side down on the table. Then place 2 layers of the Insul-Bright on the fabric. Next lay down the batting layer and finally top with the other piece of fabric.

Pin together all the different layers. Sew around the entire thing using a 1/8 inch seam. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your sewing.

Next, you will need to cut out 4 half-circle pieces of your fabric B. Iron the flat edge down 1/4 inch. Cut out 2 half-circles of the quilt batting and place them on the fabric. The fabric should be facing right side down like the picture. Be sure to place the batting up under the folded edge so that it does not show through the material.

Now add the other piece of fabric with the right side facing up and pin together. You will repeat this process with the other 2 pieces of fabric and the other piece of batting. These will be the finger and thumb pockets for your oven mitt.

Now sew along the top flat edge of each pocket.

Take your coordinating ribbon (or ric-rac) and sew it onto the top flat edge of the pocket. I used a thread that matched my ribbon and sewed it right onto the edge on both sides of the ribbon. Do this for both pockets.

Now pin your pockets onto the top of the larger oval shape you have already sewn. **Make sure that the layer of Insul-Bright is under the batting so that it will be the first to contact the hot items. This will ensure proper insulation from burns. You can tell by looking for the silvery material as opposed to the batting.

Now sew around the entire oven mitt.

Take your bias tape and also sew it around the entire mitt. I sewed close to the edge but was extra careful to not miss the tape on the other side.

And there you have it! Easy huh? I have found these are much easier to work with when pulling things out of a hot oven. They would make a perfect gift for the baker in your life this holiday season.

**The fabric was purchased at Hobby Lobby. It is labeled as 2008 Brother Sister Design Studio B24-R-P07.

Edible Crayons

When I saw these over at Gourmet Mom on the Go, I immediately wanted to make some for the kids first week of school. They look so real and are super easy to make. Gourmet Mom on the Go even provides you with the downloadable template to make your own edible crayon wrappers.

All you need are some pretzel rods (broken in half), white candy melts and some food coloring. It just so happened that I had some left-over pretzels and candy melts from a previous project and I was able to use the rest of the bag up.

The kids loved them! I sent the extras with the kids in their school lunches as a lunch time snack. These would also make a fun teacher gift or a birthday party favor.

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

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I made these cute water bottles for the kids teachers as a thank you gift a couple of weeks ago when it was Teacher Appreciation Week. I realized I forgot to blog about them, so here they are. They are so simple yet practical and affordable. I found the idea for them and some other gifts here. I know Teacher Appreciation Week has come and gone, but maybe you are looking for something little to give your kids teacher now that the school year is coming to an end. Or you may want to make some personalized hand-sanitizer or liquid soap. You can find my previous tutorial for them here.

My kids are counting down the days. No homework, no more books, no more science projects or history reports. Wahoo! We love summertime!

Personalized Hand Sanitizer & Soaps

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In need of some great and extremely useful teacher gifts? Have a germ-a-phobic friend? or a friend with a new baby trying to keep germs away from well-wishers? Try making some Home Made Soap Bottles. I saw this idea about two years ago on a local television show and have made several as gifts since then.

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Simply print your own personalized message or quote onto some transparency film using a laser printer. If you don’t have a laser printer, print it out with your ink jet printer and then copy it onto the transparency film. You can also take your paper and have the copy center copy it onto transparencies which is usually around $1. The reason it needs to be copied or printed from a laser printer is so the ink will no run and fall apart in the soap.

If you don’t want to come up with your own, I am providing you with the template I have used.

**Click here for a downloadable template, or on the image below…


You may need to resize it according to the size of your bottles. Then personalize it by adding a name (etc.) to the top and underline it in a font of your choice and size. Crop to fit if needed. It should be 3 inches wide by 3.5 inches high for the hand soaps and 3 inches wide by 4 inches high for the sanitizer bottles I used.

I usually buy my soap from the dollar store, but there are also places who sell the empty soap bottle dispensers online.

Anyways, below is a tutorial, of sorts, to help you come up with the finished product.

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Remove all stickers and labels from the bottles. I got my paper labels wet and they easily scraped off. To clean off any glue residue, I used Goof Off which I had bought earlier to remove a million stickers manufacturers had placed on our girls headboards. (Why do they do that??). If I remember right, I bought it at Home Depot.

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Cut around your printed label as straight and as close as you can get to the writing so that it fits properly into your bottle. Check before you cut the bottom of the label to be sure that it will sit as high in the bottle as you would like to to.

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Roll up the label so that the writing is in front. I roll mine backwards. Stuff it into the bottle carefully.

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Use the soap dispenser to push the label to the front wall of the bottle and to straighten it in the right position.

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And…There you go! Some practical and affordable gifts that are sure to please.

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