Stars, Stripes and Sailboats

Let me start by saying that it wasn’t my intention to spend my afternoon crafting, but sometimes impromptu crafting just happens and it is so much fun. And, believe you me, I ended up having more fun that one person should have on a rainy afternoon!

I was looking for some pictures on my computer when I ran across this picture:

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This was the window display of a paper store we walked by, and my heart skipped a beat or two when I saw this. I took this picture and then went into the shop to find out more about these absolutely adorable sailboats. I learned that all of these sailboats were made out of wrapping paper from a simple origami pattern. My favorite design was the polka dot paper at the bottom of the rows, so I ended up buying some of that paper, and left the shop thinking that the first thing I was going to do when I got home was look up how to make an origami sailboat.

Fast forward 2 years. I still have the wrapping paper, and I have bookmarked a pattern for a sailboat, but nothing more. Well…..I really can’t explain all that happened in the next 2 hours–all I know is that this picture sparked an idea, and the results of that idea were totally unexpected and totally awesome.

I began by making a sample sailboat from the pattern I had found. I started out with a 5″ square piece of wrapping paper, and ended up with a sailboat that was 3 1/2″ wide. I thought that was too small, so after some additional experimenting, I settled on a 7″ square piece of paper which gave me a sailboat that was 5″ wide. So it’s important to keep in mind that the end design will be smaller than the initial size paper square you start out with.

In what seemed like only a matter of minutes, I had four sailboats

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You could easily end up with a whole fleet of these babies in a matter of a few hours; it’s that quick and easy! I love the contrast of the white sails against the navy paper, and the pattern gives directions on how to accomplish this. The sailboats in the window display don’t have the contrast, so my best guess is that 2 squares of paper were adhered back to back before folding.

This is the point where things got interesting. I now have 4 sweet, navy and white polka dot sailboats; what am I going to do with them? The number 4 ended up being the key to the end result–I thought about all of the things I would need 4 of something for, and one of the first things that came to mind was table settings. And the rest goes something like this:

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I put one of the sailboats on a plate to check for size, and what hit me wasn’t anything to do with the size of the sailboat, but the fact that I had some major work to do to dress up this plate. Talk about boring! This was a situation! I definitely liked the size of the sailboat in comparison to the inner portion of the plate, but I needed to add something that added color and height, so that the sailboat would have some presence and take center stage.

One of the other pictures I ran across before all of this crafting began was of the rosettes I made to decorate the outside of my hand pie envelopes several years ago:

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I had a “eureka” moment, and decided to make some rosettes for the sailboats to sit on. I’ve never made large rosettes before, but I decided there was no time like the present and dove right in. The width of the inner portion of my plate is 7″, so I started with 7″ squares of paper. I cut 3 squares for each rosette. I accordion folded, or fan folded, each square in 1″ increments and then folded each strip in half and taped it together:

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From there I taped all three sections together, and when you attach the last two parts together, you get a rosette:

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I topped each rosette with a starburst circle to cover up the middle, and now was the moment of truth–were these rosettes going to transform the plates from “why bother” to “wow”?

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Oh I think so, hand’s down! At this point I am kind of in shock! Decorating my table for the Fourth of July was the furthest thing from my mind 2 hours ago, and yet now I am staring at the sweetest; most charming table decorations ever! These decorations combine both the nautical and patriotic themes in a way that I never would have imagined, and I couldn’t wait to see what the table looked like with all four places set!

And so, that is the tale of how I went from a picture of a window display

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to a table display

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all in 2 hours on a rainy afternoon. I was so excited with the end result that I couldn’t wait to show you. I did add some tiny star table scatter, which I know is impractical, but it looks good. Sometimes impractical is worth it!

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

 

 

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Summer Gift Tag Series–Part IV

I am down to designing the last 5 tags for this final bag style:

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The inspiration for this tag came from a Christmas ornament that I gave my husband several years ago. He has worked in corporate finance his entire career, and when I saw this ornament, I knew I had to get it for him. It is actually hanging above the towel hooks in our powder room, and, each time I look at it, I am reminded that I have always wanted to design a card or tag based on the concept:

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I think this is such a clever ornament, and I just love the play on words! I wanted each of my tags to feature an iconic, summer image, and surfboards definitely fit the bill.  The more I thought about the basic concept; the more I could picture the beginnings of a tag design in my mind. Since I have always wanted to re-create this idea, and since there is no time like the present, I decided to jump in and see what I could come up with. I can’t wait to show you how this tag turned out!

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I don’t own any surfboard stamps, so, just like with the flip flops, I found a template on line and reduced the scale to fit the tag base. The basic idea I had was to have 3 surfboards leaning up against a palm tree, so here is how I set the scene:

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The illusions of sand and water were created by sponging the inks directly onto the white background. The design was beginning to come together, but the pink board was too dark, and the surfboards look like fish. They needed definition and embellishment!

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Much better! Now all I needed was the lettering, and this is where I struggled. I had two options for the lettering stamps I chose to work with: I could either have white letters on ink squares

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or brown letters on colored card stock

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The original idea I had in my mind was to use the brown ink blocks with the white lettering, but when I laid it all out, I began to second guess myself. So I spent three days stamping all of the options pictured above, and, in the end, it came down to either the brown ink squares with the white lettering, or the brown letters on the pink card stock. I was really trying to stay away from using a lot of pink, so, after all of this time and effort, I circled back around to my initial choice.

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I glued the individual letter squares onto a card stock strip to keep them straight.

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And here it is; my finished tag. May I introduce you to my version of a summer “board meeting?! This tag took a lot of time, and trial and error, but I am really happy that I stuck with it. I love the final result, and I think this would be a fun tag to use for a summer company gathering. You’ll notice that I attached the tag with a mini clothespin rather than tying it on. After all of the time and effort I put in to this tag, I just couldn’t bare to punch a hole in it!

I’ve come to the end of my summer gift tag challenge, and I have designed and created 20 tags in a little over 2 weeks. Here’s a look at each individual tag:

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I set out to make bright, colorful tags featuring iconic summer images that coordinated with the 4 different bag styles that I found in my “stash”. I definitely think I accomplished my goal, and, as a result,  I have a basket full of fun tags to use throughout this season.

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Do you have a favorite? Each tag is so different from the others, and I did that on purpose–I wanted to end up with a fun assortment of choices that would work for a variety of recipients and gatherings.

I have mixed feelings about this challenge coming to an end–on the one hand, I have thoroughly enjoyed designing and creating these tags, but, on the other hand, I could use some time to restore a sense of order to my craft room. It’s a situation! Thank you for spending this time with me, and I hope we can continue to get together more often this summer. Until next time, take care, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

 

 

Summer Gift Tag Series–Part III

Today I will be focusing on creating a tag for the solid teal bag:

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and this tag is inspired by a trip my husband and I took to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park this past weekend. As you stand atop the summit of Cadillac Mountain, you have a panoramic view of Southwest Harbor and the Atlantic ocean. The boats in the harbor and out on the water look like small white specks from the mountain top. My pictures certainly don’t do the views justice, but you can at least get a sense of the scale of the harbor below:

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I love seeing the sailboats out on the water, so today’s tag will feature a sailboat and also a more neutral color scheme. The following pictures will show how this tag came together from start:

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to finish.

Since my other two tags have trended more to the feminine side, I wanted to mix things up and create something that is more masculine and versatile. The sailboat image; the stars; and the nautical color scheme all work together to accomplish this goal. The sailboat fits really well on the oval shape of this tag, but I needed to fill in a lot of white space around it. Splitting up the sentiment into separate words is a great technique to take up some of the extra white space.

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Looking at this picture, I am amazed at how this tag totally transforms the feel of this gift–the bag color by itself is definitely feminine, and yet when combined with the tag and plain tissue paper, it takes on a more neutral appearance which would be suitable for any recipient.

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I am 3/4ths of the way through this challenge–15 tags made; 5 tags to go. I am just “sailing right along” with these tags (I apologize–I couldn’t help myself!) and my basket is filling up nicely. I hope you’ll check back for the final part of this series, as, in my opinion, I have saved the best for last! Have a great week, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat, and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

 

Summer Gift Tag Series–Part II

As a quick recap–I found some gift bags in my craft room two weeks ago, and I have challenged myself to make summer gift tags for each of the four different bag styles. In Part I of this series, I made a tag to go with the polka dot teal bag:

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and today, in Part II of this series, I will be designing a tag for the solid pink bag:

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I want this tag to be bright and fun, so that it stands out against the solid background of the bag. In thinking about that goal, colorful flip flops came to mind, so that became the starting point for this tag. I played around with the flip flop stamps that I have, but I just couldn’t come up with a pattern that I liked. So, I abandoned the stamps and found a flip flop template on line. As my Mom used to say: “Sometimes you don’t try harder; you try different”. I will now let my pictures tell the story of my design process from start:

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to finish.

Once I had the template enlarged to my satisfaction, I cut the flip flop bases out of three different patterned papers. The patterned paper isn’t as sturdy as regular card stock, so I backed each tag with white card stock for extra stability. When I looked at the tag bases together, the navy ones were too dark, so I made additional lime green and teal flip flops to bring the total back to 6. Once I added the flowers and the sentiment, these flip flops really came to life. These tags are bright; they are fun; and they are the perfect summer decoration for these pink gift bags! They are nothing like I had pictured, but exactly what I had wanted to accomplish!

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Fun tags can’t be attached to the bags just any ole’ way, so I used the dog tag chains instead of bakers twine or clothespins. I got the idea from a new pair of shoes I purchased this past weekend. There was a key chain attached to one of the shoes with this type of chain. Inspiration is everywhere!

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I am halfway through this challenge, and my basket is half full with these colorful, summer gift tags.  They just make me smile! Stay tuned for Part III, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars.”

-C-

 

 

 

Summer Gift Tag Series–Part I

Look what I found as I was going through my craft room last week–

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Talk about charming gift bags! Just look at those colors; and those scallops; and those polka dots!  I am just as excited seeing them now, as I was when I purchased them last spring. The bags came packaged in sets of 10 for each color, so I have a total of 20 bags. The colors are so bright and happy, and I can just picture how cute they would look for summer gifts. BUT….. gift bags need tags. I need to make some tags.

I have issued myself a challenge to make 5 tags for each of the 4 different bags over the next several weeks, and I will be posting my tag designs and finished projects for you to see. I can’t wait to get started, as these bags are too cute to spend another summer in a bin!

I chose to start with the tag for the polka dot teal bag, as this is my favorite, hands down! My goal is to create a tag that is bright and playful, like the bag itself. I’m going to try something new and different today by just letting the pictures take you through my design process from start:

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to finish.

I’m really happy with how this tag turned out, and I definitely think I accomplished my goal of creating a bright, playful tag. I wasn’t sure if I would use the black and white paper on the tag base, but I’m really glad I did. I think all of the black elements help ground the tag, and provide a nice contrast against the bag color. I hadn’t planned on adding anything to the middle of the flowers, but I didn’t like how they looked with open centers on the tag.

The more I looked at this tag, however, the white space bothered me, so I tried adding the center dots from die-cutting the flowers around the tag.

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Wow–I can’t believe the difference these 3 little cardstock dots make! Not only do they help fill in some of the white space, but they also mimic the polka dots on the bag. I know I have said it before, and I’m going to say it again now–paper crafting is all about trial and error, and you should never be afraid to experiment with your ideas.  You never know when you might end up with a happy little discovery, like I did today.

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5 tags down; 15 to go.

Before I close for today, I have one more picture for you of one of these bags all dressed up and ready to use for a gift:

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It’s true what they say–it’s all about the packaging!

I hope your week has gotten off to a good start. I will be back with another tag design soon, so stay tuned.  Take care, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

 

 

 

Pocket Cards & Baby Blocks

We have a new baby girl in my family, so I recently created some gifts to welcome this little one into the world. It’s been hard to be patient, but I wanted to wait until the gifts were received and opened before I showed you what I made.

The first gift is a set of 20 thank you cards, which is one of my favorite gifts to make and give to new parents. Thank you cards aren’t usually high on the couple’s priority list of items to purchase and have on hand prior to their baby’s birth, and once the new baby comes home and the baby gifts start to arrive, there isn’t the time nor the energy to run out and get some.

I started with a pocket card design with a flap.

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It’s important to use a strong, narrow adhesive when creating the pocket to maximize the size of the card insert. I used 1/8″ double sided tape, and place the tape as close to the edges as possible:

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I knew that I wanted a sweet, pink baby elephant to be the main image on the card, and my original thought was to stamp the elephant and some flowers on the flap of the card. By stamping all of the images, the card would remain flat and wouldn’t require extra postage and hand-cancelling at the post office.

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I was definitely on the right track, but this design was too basic for me. This card needed more personality and charm for my taste, so I went back to the drawing board and started over. I did want to show you, however, that with the addition of a twine bow and the card insert, I was able to salvage this simple design and turn it  into a cute new baby card:

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This card would be perfect for a beginning stamper to make. It really is a sweet card, and I could have stopped here and changed the sentiment and used this as my final design, but I wanted more.

I started by punching the elephant out of paper, rather than stamping it, and I adhered it to a die-cut circle. I kept the flowers on either side of the elephant, but added a scalloped border to the bottom edge of the flap. My last addition was to attach a “thank you” tag to the circle die-cut with baker’s twine. Not only did the tag add to the charm of the card, but it freed up the entire card insert for the handwritten note.

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Now this is more like it! What a transformation. How sweet is that pink, polka dot elephant! The elephant, combined with the scalloped border and the tag added the charm and personality I was looking for. Here’s a look at the finished card:

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I packaged the 20 cards and envelopes, along with 4 extra insert cards and the stamps for mailing in a box, and gift #1 was complete.

Gift #2 is a home decor piece for the nursery wall, using a shadow box.  I created a stack of paper baby blocks, and embellished them with a variety of punched/die-cut images. I incorporated the colors of the crib bedding in the design, which are navy, mustard yellow, and mint green, and brought in some pink in the background. This first picture was taken before I put it in the shadow box frame, and you can see the detail much more clearly:

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I die-cut the initial out of both navy and pink card stock, and offset them slightly to create the shadow effect.

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The shadow box frame is 9 x 9, and it caught my eye one day when I was shopping at Michaels. I just loved the distressed look and color of the wood.

I have one last picture for you before I close: we were having some work done upstairs while I was working on these gifts, so I needed to move my operation temporarily to the dining room table. This is a behind-the-scene look at how messy creativity can get!

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Take care, stay warm, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

A Tradition In Non-Traditional Colors

Traditions. All families have them, and they help keep memories of the past alive. Traditions come in many forms, and start when something is done the same way, or at the same time from year to year; from generation to generation. They almost always provide a connection to a person or place, but can also provide a connection to a season or holiday.

One of the traditions that my children looked forward to at this time of year was receiving an advent calendar from my mother-in-law; one of the pre-printed cards with a piece of chocolate behind each door. It marked the beginning of the Christmas season for them, and it was an exciting way to count down the days until Christmas. The fact that they also got to eat a piece of chocolate for 24 straight days in a row didn’t hurt either! For my daughter, it held even more meaning, as not only did the calendar count down the days until Christmas;  it also counted down the days until her birthday. The first thing she would do when she received her calendar was to look for the door on her birthday.

Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away in September, and it didn’t occur to me until I read this blog post that my kids weren’t going to get an advent calendar from her going forward. I wasn’t about to let this tradition end, so I decided right then and there that I was going to make an advent calendar for both my son and daughter. Now, I can hear you saying that I could have just bought a pre-printed calendar for each of them, and you’re right, I could have. But making things is what I do, and can do, and, besides, the time and care I put in to these calendars will be a nice tribute to my Mother-in-law”s memory.

There are so many different and creative ways to make an advent calendar–from using a mini muffin tin to creating a banner. The sky is the limit, and it took quite a bit of time to research all of my options. I ended up circling back around to the calendar made in the above highlighted blog post, however–it really appealed to me. I loved the chalkboard frame, the take-out boxes arranged into a tree shape, the buffalo check pattern on the boxes, and the overall simple, rustic charm of the finished project. With a few modifications, I knew it would appeal to my kids as well.

Here’s where the non-traditional colors come in. The first modification I made was to  the color choices for the tree. Instead of a traditional brown and green tree, I decided to make my trees gray and cream. The second modification I made was using cardstock for the top box instead of using glittered paper. I would then use matching glittered paper for the stars scattered around the tree. I had three cardstock colors that had matching glittered paper, so I let my kids decide what color they wanted for their top box. Here is the picture I sent them, which shows the gray and cream tree plus the three color choices for the top box:

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Here is another view showing the buffalo check pattern on the boxes:

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My daughter wanted a red tree topper, and my son wanted a green one. With their choices made, I could now focus on how I was going to number the boxes and finish off the top of the frame.

The numbering and the design element at the top of the frame took the longest to create, and, in the end, I decided to continue the star theme by using stars cut out of vellum paper for the numbers and the decoration at the top of the frame.

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This is a picture of my daughter’s calendar laid out on the frame, and you can see that I cut the numbers out of gray cardstock and adhered them to a vellum star, which, in turn, got attached to the top flap of each box. I numbered my calendar from bottom to top because I wanted the colored cardstock box to be for December 24th. There is no right or wrong in paper crafting, so you could easily switch the numbering from top to bottom, if that is your preference. For the design at the top of the frame, I started with a larger star cut from vellum cardstock, and then I layered the word December and some glittered snowflakes on top of it.

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This is a close-up of the top of the frame.

It’s now time to glue everything down onto the chalkboard, but, before I do, I wanted to season the chalkboard to soften the color. To season the chalkboard, put your chalk on its side and drag it down the entire length of the chalk area from top to bottom as shown:

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When you’ve covered the entire chalk area, then just wipe down the area with a dry cloth.

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The chalkboard on the left is new, and the one on the right has been seasoned. It may be a subtle, but the seasoning softened the chalk area and I like how much better it looks.

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Since I only get one chance to glue everything onto the chalkboard, I took the time to mark the middle of the area with twine, and also made chalk marks where the top edge of the top box should be, as well as where the bottom edge of where the bottom box should be. I had my hot glue gun heating up while I was marking the frames.

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I figured out that if I adhered boxes 2, 3, 6, & 7 down first, the layout should remain straight and adding in the additional boxes should go fairly smoothly. I also adhered the vellum star on to the top of the frame before I removed the twine to ensure that it was in the middle.

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Drum roll please….here are the completed calendars, and they turned out even better than what I had pictured in my mind. The color scheme is fresh and modern, and by having used cream cardstock for the body of the tree, the top box and the stars really stand out. I couldn’t be happier, and I was excited to be able to give these to my kids over Thanksgiving.

Below are additional pictures I took of each calendar separately, and then a side view to see the buffalo check pattern again:

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My daughter’s calendar,

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and my son’s calendar.

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Another look at the buffalo check pattern on the boxes. Isn’t it awesome?!

And this completes my story of how I was able to continue a special family tradition for my kids using a non-traditional color scheme. I bought a variety of Christmas chocolate candy and filled each box with 2 pieces–heavy on the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and the new hot chocolate kisses.

My story isn’t over yet, however, as it was during the filling of the boxes that I discovered a few design flaws. First of all, the tabs on the boxes are very fragile, and opening each box takes some finesse. So, I’m not convinced these boxes will hold up beyond this year. Second of all, I discovered that hot glue doesn’t work well on chalkboard, and so a lot of the boxes came off. I ended up using a fast-drying epoxy glue which did the trick. Live and learn, as they say!

Okay, now my story is done. I hope all of you are enjoying this Christmas season, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-