NESTED HEARTS–PART II

Hi again everyone! Welcome back to Part II of my nested hearts post. I have a folder of Valentine project ideas that I have been compiling since my kids were in grade school. I pulled it out recently, and it was in looking through the file that I ran across these nested hearts. The original instructions showed attaching a Tootsie Pop up the middle of the heart to give as a Valentine. Gone are the days where my kids need class valentines, but it’s kind of a cool idea nonetheless.

I ended up using the nested hearts for something entirely different. I love to give my kids a little something for Valentine’s Day, and so I had decorated the fronts of plain white gift bags to use for their gifts. The bags were definitely “valentine-y”, but they lacked that extra pizzaz to make them special. When I saw the instructions for the nested hearts, I knew I had found my pizzaz!

These next few pictures will show you my step-by-step process for decorating one of the bags:

Heart stencil

Decorative paper

Ruffled ribbon trim for the finish ( I definitely have been watching way too much of the Olympics!) As I said earlier, the bag front was OK, but it lacked personality and pizzaz. So I added a nested heart to the bag, and look at the transformation:

Talk about pizzaz! The nested heart was exactly what this bag needed–it brought the bag to life! I was so excited, I could hardly wait to put the heart on the other bag!

Here is a side-by-side picture of both of the bags, along with the coordinating Valentines I made. I couldn’t be happier with how these bags turned out, and I am so glad that I saved and came across these nested heart instructions!

Riding high on the success of the gift bag decorations, I decided to make a larger version to use as a table decoration for our Valentine’s Day dinner.

The original nested heart is in the middle, so you can see that the others are quite a bit bigger. I followed the same steps, but I started out with 8″, 9 1/2″, and 11″ strips of paper.

I love setting the table for holidays and special occasions, and I think the nested hearts are the perfect addition to the place settings for our Valentine’s Day dinner.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day dinner, I found a recipe for what I think will be the perfect dessert that I wanted to share with you. We will be having a mini chocolate cream pie and I will link the recipe at the end of the post. It uses a 6″ pie plate instead of a regular sized one. Here is a comparison of the two pie plates side by side:

The 6″ pie plate is the cutest thing ever, and I think it will make the perfect amount of dessert for my husband and I. I am hoping that it will take away the age old battle of not wanting to eat an entire pie but not wanting it to go to waste either. With a mini pie, there won’t be a lot left over.

Thank you for stopping in again today. Have a good rest of your week, Happy Valentine’s Day, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

Recipe: http://www.dessertfortwo.com/chocolate-cream-pie-2/

NESTED HEARTS–PART I

Hi everyone! I hope this post finds you healthy and surviving the winter, wherever you are. Have you been watching any of the Winter Olympics? I love watching it all, but my favorite events are the figure skating and downhill skiing competitions. I watched a new event last night–Big Air–where some of the competitors skied backwards to and up a ramp to perform aerial jumps/tricks. I was totally amazed that one could do that and remain upright!

With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, I have a fun project for you that looks impressive yet requires very little time or supplies. What could be better than that! I am going to show you how to make paper nested hearts, and the only supplies you will need are 6 strips of paper and staples. You can use solid or patterned card stock in any combination that you choose, and the paper strips can be any length you want as long as the three different measurements are in 1 1/2″ increments.

I chose to use solid card stock for the top and bottom layers, and a patterned paper for the middle layer. The patterned paper was double-sided and I didn’t like the other design, so I glued 2 strips together to give me the same pattern on both sides. My strips are 3/4″ wide, and I cut two strips at 5″, 6 1/2″, and 8″ respectfully.

Start by laying the strips out as pictured above, where the two short strips are the bookends, and the two long strips are side by side in the middle. Once you have your paper strips arranged, the next step is to attach the baker’s twine, if you are planning to use the hearts as a garland or gift bag decoration.

I used 12″ lengths of baker’s twine, and I adhered one string to the underside of the left-hand long strip, and the other string to the topside of the right-hand long paper strip.

Now gather the paper strips into one pile, going in order from left to right as you have them arranged. Layer each additional strip behind the short left-hand strip, such that the two short strips are on the very top and bottom of your pile. Staple all of the paper strips together at the bottom edge.

These next three steps are my favorite, as the project really begins to take shape and everything begins to make sense!

Turn your paper strips to the side, as you will be working with the left and right hand sides separately. Starting with the three left-hand strips, curl the solid card stock strips several times with a bone folder or pencil to help break down the paper fibers a bit.

Match up all three ends together,

and bring the ends down and staple them in line with the bottom edge. Repeat the above three steps on the right-hand side and this is what the finished project looks like:

Ta da! I give you nested hearts! I think these hearts look quite impressive, and the best part is that they aren’t complicated to make!

I did make some other variations to show you, and I learned some things in the process which I’d like to pass along to you.

I made a monochromatic version, and the patterned paper I used was double-sided. I decided to keep both patterns this time, so I arranged my strips with the same pattern facing up on both the left and right hand sides. I ended up with a mis-matched middle layer.

To avoid making the same mistake, arrange your patterned paper strips such that the design you want on top is face up on the right-hand side, and the opposite design is face up on the left-hand side. When you put it all together, you end up with symmetrical middle layers.

Much better!

I also decided to try making a version out of ribbon. The heaviest ribbon I had was a saddleback ribbon, so that’s what I used. I thought the added weight would help to hold the shape better.

The ribbon was more flexible to work with, but if you want to hang this as part of a garland or to a gift bag, it just can’t hold the shape.

I’m going to leave you today with a picture of all the different nested hearts I made. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow, as I can’t wait to show how I used them. Have a good rest of your day, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-

Hearts and Envelopes

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I want to show you how to make a small gift bag that would be perfect for packaging Valentine’s treats. The best part about this bag is that it starts with a common household product. It’s called a bag-a-lope, and, while it’s not a fancy name, it’s certainly very descriptive of the end result. A bag-a-lope is simply a bag made out of an envelope. I learned how to make one at my very first stamping class, and I recently came across the printed instructions I received at that class. It’s relatively simple to make; it doesn’t require a lot of supplies; and it’s a good idea to have in your back pocket should you have an unexpected need for a small gift bag!

Let me walk you through the basic construction first, and then I will show you the bag-a-lopes I made for Valentine’s Day this year.

You can make a bag-a-lope from any envelope. Most of us have both standard and legal sized envelopes around, and I am going to show you the basic construction using a legal sized envelope. You can use a standard envelope, but it ends up being a tall, narrow bag, so it isn’t as versatile. When you use a legal sized envelope, you actually cut it in half, giving you two bags that are the perfect size for small gifts.

The first thing you want to do is seal your envelope at the top, end to end.

Now cut the envelope in half. Each half will measure basically 4″ x 4 3/4″. The next step is the most important one:

With the open end at the top, fold in or score the two long sides and the bottom at the same measurement. For most bag-a-lopes, the fold measurement is 1/2″ or 3/4″. There is no set measurement–it really depends on the size of your envelope and how large an opening you need or want for your bag. If you use a larger mailing envelope, you might end up folding each side in an inch or more. The important thing to remember is to have all three fold measurements consistent. In this example, I have scored all three sides in at 1/2″. Make sure that you press each fold line both towards the font and towards the back of the bag to really set those lines.

Once you have your fold lines made, you can decorate your bag between the side and bottom folds, which is indicated by the cardstock. If you are going to cover the entire space between the fold lines with paper, then use the side with the seam in it. If you are going to stamp, or just use a small tag or embellishment on the front, then use the side without the seam.

Once you have decorated your bag, it’s now time to start to open it up. Start at the top of one of the long sides, and gently begin to open up the envelope as you work your way down to the bottom. Once you get close to the bottom, you will begin to see a triangle form. Gently push up from the bottom of the bag while you finish opening up the side to help with the triangle formation. Do the same for the other long side of the envelope.

When both sides of the envelope are open, your bag should look like this. Stand the bag up flat, and give those triangles a good press. Then put adhesive on the underside of the point of the triangle, and adhere the triangles to the bottom of the bag. I like to use glue dots for my adhesive.

And that’s it! From one legal sized envelope, you just made two small gift bags that each measure 3 1/8″ x 4 3/4″, and are 1″ wide. These bags are the perfect size for small gifts or treats. You can finish the bag any way you like–I’ve shown you two different options in the picture above. You could add a ribbon handle by punching holes on either side of the bag, and tying knots in the ribbon on the inside of the bag. This would allow you to deliver a treat to someone’s house by hanging the bag on the front door handle. The other option is to tie up the treats in a separate bag, add a tag, and place the treat bag inside of the bag-a-lope. The sky is the limit, and the wonderful things is that these bag-a-lopes are very versatile and adaptable to a variety of needs.

Now that you have a general idea of what a bag-a-lope is and how to make one, I want to show you a set of Valentine bag-a-lopes I made this week. I love to give my kids something homemade and handmade on the holidays; especially Valentine’s Day. We are meeting both of our kids tomorrow for separate, Covid-approved visits, and I wanted to bring them a little something special that they can put at the table on Valentine’s Day.

I bought this Valentines kit from Stampin’ Up! last month that includes notecards in 2 designs; layering cards in both the landscape and portrait orientations; and gold foil lined envelopes in 2 different patterns. The more I looked at this kit, the more I decided that I wouldn’t use it as it was designed. So I decided to “de-construct” the kit and use the contents to decorate some bag-a-lopes that were more my style. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I was a little timid at first cutting all of these cards up. Once I had my first bag done, however, I just let my creative juices flow, and the ideas came faster than I could create them! I used a standard A2 card envelope for my bags, as I wanted them to be solid white inside. The envelope measures 4 3/8″ x 5 3/4″. I cut 3/4″ off one side for the opening, and scored the other three sides at 3/4″. Here’s what I came up with:

I told you that I de-constructed the kit! I used every element in the kit in some way, and, along with other Valentine stamp sets, punches, and dies that I had, I was able to come up with six different bag designs that have the personality and charm that I love. Not even the envelopes were spared. It’s a lot to take in looking at all of them together, so here are some pictures of smaller groupings for you:

I had a wonderful time making and decorating these bag-a-lopes, and I can’t wait to give them to our kids! I am hoping that they will put these on their tables, so that they have a little treat to go along with their Valentine’s Day dinner. I will do the same for my husband and I. Here’s a picture of the bags all filled, along with a picture of how one of the bags will look on our table:

That’s all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed today’s treat packaging idea, and that you’ll give making a bag-a-lope a try. Stay safe and healthy, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-