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.

First stage of seed pod packaging_2

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.

Finished seed pod packaging with yellow filler_1

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.

Finished seed pod packaging with white filler_1

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:

Side view of seed pod packaging_1

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.

Seed pod gift ensemble_1

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-

 

 

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It’s Memorial Day weekend–the unofficial start to summer. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see summer arrive, especially after the long, cold winter we endured this year. I decided that I wanted to make a special cocktail sometime over the weekend, so that my family and I could raise our glasses and toast all that this season has to offer.

A toast requires a beverage, and not just any beverage, but something fitting for the occasion. For New Year’s there’s champagne, for Christmas there’s hot apple cider, and for our Memorial Day toast, I’m going to try a Blackberry Mint Mojito. Any recipe with blackberries in it is special to me, as I consider them to be a summer delicacy. Plus, I think they are a really pretty fruit–I love their deep, rich purple color.

Now, a disclaimer: I never planned to blog about these mojitos. If everything had gone as I planned, I would have made the mojitos, loved them, made another batch for my family over the weekend, and blogged about a set of beach-themed cards I made this past week. But these mojitos took on a life of their own and snowballed into something above and beyond a Memorial Day cocktail.

Here’s how it happened:

The first thing I did was make a mojito by cutting the recipe in half. I used a half-pint mason jar as my glass.blackberry mojito

I was pleased with how it looked, but, before I tasted it, I decided I wanted to try making a non-alcoholic version as well. For this, I omitted the lime juice and the mint leaves, and substituted diet Sprite for the soda water, and made a blackberry spritzer of sorts. This picture shows the mojito on the left, and the spritzer on the right.alcoholic and non-alcoholic

At this point, I was excited to taste each version, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The rum and mint is a nice combination in the mojito, and I found the spritzer to be very refreshing.

Since I still had some puree left, I decided to try one more option.  I made some Crystal Light lemonade from a packet, and added it to another half-pint mason jar that had already been filled with a jigger (1.5 oz) of the puree and ice.  I stirred it up, took a sip, and decided that this was my favorite version so far.

blackberry lemonadeI now had three really good options to use for the Memorial Day toast, which I was pleased about, but the presentation of each of the drinks left a lot to be desired.  They were all just essentially a beverage in a mason jar, and left me asking “What’s so special about that”?

Here’s where the crafting comes in, as I decided that I needed to dress up the drinking glasses with paper products. I headed down to my studio to see what I could come up with. It’s amazing what a few simple paper products can do to change the look of something!

The first project I want to show you is what I did to dress up the glasses. Since the blackberry lemonade was my favorite option, I decided to go with a yellow and purple color scheme.  I changed out the mason jars for milk bottle glasses, as I thought they added more charm. Look what cupcake liners, paper straws, and doilies can do to a plain milk bottle glass:serving idea

These glasses went from “drab to fab”, and even water would look fantastic served in them! As an added bonus, if our Memorial Day toast happens outside, the cupcake liners will protect the drinks from the bugs. It was all beginning to come together, and I could have stopped there, knowing that I had solved how to give the drinking glasses some pizzaz, but I was having too much fun.

I then thought about how the ingredients for the blackberry lemonade would make a fun hostess/thank you gift, so I challenged myself to come up with a some packaging. I love to design packaging for gifts, so I was in my element. I determined that if you were going to give the gift to one person, then you would need a small jar of the blackberry puree, a milk bottle glass with cupcake liner and straw, a bag with a packet of crystal light and doily in it, a card, and a gift tag. thank you gift items

This is such a cheerful gift ensemble, and it would be perfect for an end of the year teacher gift, a thank you gift, or just to brighten someone’s day. I packaged the ensemble in a purple, polka dot paper loaf pan (say that three times!) that I had found at Michael’s last week, wrapped it all in clear cellophane, tied it up with baker’s twine and a tag, and here’s what it looks like all ready to give to someone:all wrapped up

I have one more idea and picture for you.  If you wanted to take the ingredients to a friend’s house and enjoy the blackberry lemonade together, you could use a cardboard beverage tray and include two dressed up milk bottle glasses tied up with tags, the small jar of blackberry puree, a bag with two packets of Crystal Light lemonade and two doilies in it, and a card, if appropriate.  It could look something like this:friend gift

And that, my friends, is the story of how I started out with a recipe for a Blackberry Mint Mojito, and ended up with blackberry lemonade, gift ensembles, and a huge mess in both my kitchen and my studio. Such is the life of a paper crafter–you start with a project in mind, and before you know it, that project snowballs into something else, and what you end up with is nothing like what you started out to make!

I am looking forward to this weekend, and to toasting the summer season with blackberry lemonade served in dressed up milk bottle glasses. I hope that you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend as well, and, as always, remember:

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

-C-