The Sweet Smell of Summer

Hi everyone– how are you? How has your summer been? It just seems like this summer has flown by, and I can’t believe that we turned the calendar to August this week. I haven’t had much time to spend in my craft room until several weeks ago, when I found myself in need of some thank you gifts. I thought I would stop in and show you what I came up with.

I wanted these gifts to be somewhat special and out of the ordinary, so the most time-consuming part of this project was coming up with just the right idea. In times like this, I always refer back to my project photos and, in doing that, I ran across this picture of a Christmas stocking stuffer I made 11 years ago:

This is an envelope sachet that I made for my Mom, and she kept hers hanging in the bathroom. The minute I saw this picture, I knew I had found my project!

I had forgotten all about making these sachets, and how excited and proud I was of how they had turned out! I hadn’t been stamping for very long when I made these, and I remember how giddy I was that I could make something other than a simple card! I had gotten the idea from another Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, Carla Brasher, who had posted this project on her blog as part of her 12 Weeks of Christmas series. Her website is no longer active, but I was able to find a picture of her sachets on Pinterest. I used her instructions for the basic construction and sachet filling, but I changed the appearance of my sachets.

Fast forward to 2021. A lot has changed in 11 years, and in thinking about this project, I knew I could modify the instructions to make the sachet size more realistic, and the whole process more streamlined. To begin with, I changed the envelope size from 4 3/8 x 5 3/4 to 3 x 3, which is closer to a traditional sachet size. Secondly, I purchased some scented sachet material instead of making my own filling with corn cob bedding and essential oil. This method was certainly more convenient given my time constraints, but it isn’t a cost effective solution if you are mass producing these sachets. I will list the instructions for making your own sachet filling at the end of this post.

I chose to use a peach scent for my sachets. It seemed appropriate, since the peaches are at their best right now, and I have some new peach-themed stamps and paper that I was excited to use.

I started by cutting two coordinating patterns of paper to the measurements listed above, and attaching them to the base and flap of each of the envelopes. Once that was done, it was time to determine how to embellish the sachets. I wanted them to be soft and feminine, and this ended up being much more of a challenge than I had anticipated. After several hours and lots of trial and error, I finally landed on a neutral die-cut peach, some lace and a little bling.

I attached the die-cut peach to the lower right corner of the envelope before I added the filling. I used dimensionals so that the die-cut would be able to move freely as the filling shifted around inside the envelope.

Now it was time to fill the envelopes.

The scent of this sachet was fairly strong, so I only added 1 tsp of the mixture inside the envelope. I didn’t want the scent to be overpowering, and this amount also allowed the sachet to remain relatively flat. There was a little over 4 tsp of filling in this bag, so you would be able to fill 4 envelopes out of 1 sachet packet. I then sealed up the envelopes and added the rest of the embellishments, and my envelope sachets were finished.

For the packaging, I started by placing each sachet on top of some shredded paper at the bottom of some cellophane bags. All I needed now were the bows and tags, and I kept the design elements similar by using the same card stock, patterned paper, and lace. I layered my gift tag and tried to mimic the look of the sachet envelope with the base tag.

I am so pleased with how these sachets turned out! They are exactly what I had in mind–somewhat special, out of the ordinary, soft and feminine thank you gifts. The sachets would also be perfect for shower or luncheon favors, or as a craft class project.

Now, before I sign off, I wanted to give you the DIY instructions for the sachet filling. You will need some corn cob bedding, and essential oil in a scent of your choice. I remember purchasing the corn cob bedding at Walmart, but I discovered this week that neither Walmart or major pet stores carry it in store anymore. You can order it, and here is a picture of what PetSmart offers:

I followed Carla’s instructions and added 2 cups of the bedding and 1 oz. of oil to an airtight container. It’s better to start out light on the oil and add more if needed vs. adding too much at the beginning and having to start over. I stirred the mixture around twice a day for 5 days to make sure that the oil was completely absorbed. You may need more or less time, depending on what part of the country you live in. It is important to make sure that the mixture is completely dry before you add it to your envelopes, because otherwise you run the risk of the mixture staining the envelope and whatever material is sitting under or next to the sachet. Carla added 2 Tbsp. of filling to each standard A2 sized envelope; you would add much less if using a 3 x 3 envelope.

Making your own filling is definitely more cost effective if you are making a large amount of the sachets, but it is not without it’s inconveniences. You need to allow enough time on the front end to order and receive the bedding and oil, as well as the time to prepare and allow the filling to dry. Also, given the size of the bag of bedding that is available, you are going to have left-over bedding and filling, if you use a 3 x 3 envelope. You would have to consider all of these factors when planning out your project.

Thanks for spending some time with me today. I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, 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-

Unexpected Inspiration

Today’s project started at Home Depot……

With this display……

Home Depot display

I am always on the lookout for interesting seasonal gift items to have on hand for whenever the need or opportunity arises, and when I saw these seed pods, I knew I had just found that “perfect little something” for my springtime gifts. I was so excited! It’s not everyday that you find such a fun and unique product! I thought that the herb pods would be the most versatile and appealing, so I purchased 2 of them and left the store with a big smile on my face.

Now for the fun part–the packaging! The packaging is just as important as the gift, and it is one of my most favorite things to design. I had already begun to think about all sorts of ideas the minute I saw the display, so I could hardly wait to get home and start creating.

The most challenging part of the project was finding a container to fit the depth of the seed pod. I had initially thought that I would use a flower pot, but the pots I had were either too shallow or too wide at the top. I didn’t have any boxes that were the right size, so I thought about making one, but that was going to require more effort than I really wanted to put into this project. I knew I could use a cellophane bag, but I was reserving that as a last resort– I was really hoping I could come up with something more creative than a bag. The turning point came when I found a package of berry boxes during a final search through all of my gift wrap supplies, and folks, we had a winner. The seed pod fit perfectly in the berry box! With container in hand, the rest of the design came together quickly.

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I wanted the packaging to have a garden theme in the same yellow and green color scheme found on the pod label. I started out by wrapping the top edge of the berry box with some vintage lace, before adding the strip of patterned paper. I added the lace not only for softness, but to help tone down the vibrant green paper. The flower pattern on the paper and the flower embellishment helped to support the garden theme, and the felt and the tiny button used on the flower helped provide additional softness and charm. The only other thing I wanted to do was add a plant marker before filling the basket with the pod.

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The second most challenging part of the project was choosing what color of shredded filler paper to use in the basket. I had thought all along that I would use brown paper to imitate dirt, but it didn’t even last long enough in the basket for me to snap a picture! Brown was definitely the wrong color. My next choice was yellow, and, while it stayed in the basket long enough for a picture, it too was the wrong color. The only green paper I had wasn’t the right green, so I moved on to white paper, which ended up being the perfect choice. The pod stood out better against the white background, and the white color didn’t compete with or detract from the overall project.

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I think the plant marker is so sweet, and I can’t decide what I love more–the fonts used on the sentiment or the tiny yellow button and twine bow. I’m so happy with how this packaging turn out; it just makes me smile. Here’s a side view of the basket:

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This project isn’t done yet, though, as you can’t give a gift without a card, can you? I kept the same color scheme and used some of the same elements to make a coordinating notecard.

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It would be very easy to tailor this card to any occasion by just changing out the sentiments. It doesn’t get much better than that–a fun and versatile gift with a versatile card design. And to think that this all started at Home Depot, of all places!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit today, and I hope my project has put a little extra “spring” in your step. Have a good rest of the week, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

 

 

One In A “Melon”

Watermelon; sweet watermelon. It’s so cool and refreshing on a hot, summer’s day. Not only is it a staple at most summer gatherings, but it also seems to be a popular theme and trend this season. I am seeing watermelon images everywhere, from paper products to craft projects. Case in point, I saw this display at my local grocery store several weeks ago:Watermelon display

Stampin’ Up! has even gotten in on the trend–one of the new colors that they introduced in June is called Watermelon Wonder. This has sparked a multitude of watermelon-themed projects, including this mini treat bag designed by Cindy Schuster. I thought it was so sweet and clever that I needed to make one for myself. I used the same basic elements that Cindy did, but I changed the design slightly to make it my own.

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The paper is double-sided, and the striped pattern on the inside breaks up the solid color and adds a lot of interest and charm to the bag. And look at that beautiful lace trim! The color and pattern are very elegant, and yet is takes on a casual, fun appearance in this instance. I made the seeds using a heart paper punch, just as Cindy explains in her blog post. It is such a creative idea!

I decided to turn my project into a thank you note, so instead of enclosing a treat, I made a notecard to slip inside.

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I love having the flexibility to use a product in more than one way, and, in fact, versatility is one of the main factors I consider before purchasing a stamping product. I have to know that I’m going to be able to get more bang for my buck before I’ll buy something. I knew that the mini treat bag die by Stampin’ Up! passed my versatility test when I learned that it can fit inside a standard-sized envelope (5 3/4″ x 4 3/8″). It’s one thing to know that you can create cute projects like this, but to know that you can mail them too–that just put’s it over the top, in my opinion! Who wouldn’t want to receive one of these bags in the mail!

bag in standard envelope_1As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, watermelon seems to be a popular theme for this summer. Besides seeing some interesting projects,  I’ve also found some recipes that I’d like to try. First on my list is The Pioneer Woman’s Watermelon Pico de Gallo (salsa). For all of the other watermelon recipes, products, and projects I’ve discovered, please check out my Pinterest board.

Thanks a “melon” for stopping by today, and, as always, remember:

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

-C