DIY Washi Tape Tree Tags

Gift tags certainly aren’t expensive and there are many beautiful options now a days, but that wasn’t always the case. I used to find that a majority of tags were either tacky or used colour combinations that were difficult to work with. The styles and designs have really improved over the last few years with many more options that are less busy and more versatile. These “Washi Tape” Christmas trees are not so much about saving money (although they probably cost no more that a couple of cents each), but rather just a fun DIY project that takes no more than a few minutes to add a personal homemade touch to your gifts. It is also a great way to use up those rolls of Washi Tape that you’ve collected and have yet to use!
I simply mounted the Washi Tape on a chunk of leftover card stock (about 4″ X 8 1/2″). My tape was older and wasn’t sticking well, so I just reinforced it with double-sided tape. I then flipped the cardstock and measured off 2″ staggered guide marks across the top and bottom (on the back). The guide marks were made every 2″, but with one end starting 1″ in from the edge to set up the “stagger” for diagonal cuts. I then used the guide marks to cut narrow triangle Christmas trees.

Check out this short video to see how it’s done!

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Holiday Gift Wrapping: Brown Paper & Polka Dots

Let’s face it…polka dots are fun! For this brown paper gift wrapping idea, I used a pencil eraser to add white polka dots to the surface of the gift. I love how the white polka dots give off a “Charlie Brown snowflake” kind of a vibe. I decided to stick with the snow theme and add white ribbon, a cute felt snowman garland and a splash of colour with the snowflake.

Check out my latest video to see how it all comes together!

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Holiday Gift Wrapping: Distressed Brown Paper

I have to admit….I’m addicted to brown paper wrapping! One of the reasons I love it so much is that it’s perfect for tutorials. Although many of my tips and tricks can be adapted and used with different papers and patterns, I like to demonstrate with plain paper (brown, black and white) primarily because it is so duplicatable. The whole premise for the tutorials is to make the designs achievable. Not only are the ideas simple and inexpensive, but I’ve also tried to use materials that are readily available.

In this video tutorial, I demonstrate how to use a dry brush technique to distress plain brown packaging paper. The paint in and of itself does not actually look that great, but when combined with simple rustic embellishments the final design makes quite a statement. Never underestimate the impact of dollar store items, especially when strategically combined. The burlap ribbon and wooden snowflake were purchased at the dollar store and the sprig of greenery is from my front yard cedars. I love how the embellishments stand out against the white paint.

Thanks for visiting! Check out All Things Christmas! in my blog menu for many more great Christmas ideas including DIY decor, traditions, recipes and of course, gift wrapping. Also, don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE!

Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas: A Festive Touch

As previously mentioned…this roll of Martha Stewart birch bark-like wrapping paper was certainly a great thrift store find! The paper is excellent quality and I love the simplicity of it. This design was inspired by a basic white on white look. Although the birch bark paper has some grey and black, I feel like the overall look speaks “white”. I love the concept of combining different shades of the same colour, as well as multiple textures. For this project, I used my DIY white paper ribbon along with a simple wired white ribbon. I recently picked up a package of wooden snowmen ornaments from the dollar store. They come in a pack of 6 for $1.25, so well worth the money. The wooden snowman really compliments the birch bark paper and helps create a very nature inspired look. The sprig of greenery not only brings a hint of colour, but also gives the gift a festive touch.

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Happy wrapping!

Holiday Gift Wrapping: Brown Paper with Layered Snowflakes

This simple tutorial combines a cream coloured felt ribbon with snowflakes. The larger snowflake is made from plain chipboard and the smaller wooden one came from a set purchased at the dollar store. I often find that the wood elements the dollar store sells are comparable in quality to the higher end craft stores. These snowflakes would probably cost close to $5 at a regular craft store. I picked them up for a $1.25 ….what a steal. I love how the smaller wooden snowflake picks up on the cream colour of the ribbon. This is a very simple design, but looks great with the brown paper base. Do you have 45 seconds? Check out my latest tutorial to see how simple it was to pull it all together.

Happy Wrapping!

Holiday Gift Wrapping: Birch Bark Paper & Snowflakes

I really scored when I picked-up this brand new roll of Martha Stewart birch bark-like wrapping paper at a thrift store for 50 cents! The paper is excellent quality and I love the simplicity of the design. What better combination than snowflakes and birch bark! Check out my latest wrapping tutorial that incorporates dollar store snowflake buttons. I bought a large bag of the snowflakes for $1.25 and they make fantastic embellishments for Christmas wrapping. Always be on the look out for great deals!

Happy wrapping!

Holiday Gift Wrapping: Simple Snowflake

This brown paper gift wrapping idea couldn’t be easier. In this video tutorial, you will see how to take a dollarstore Christmas ornament and transform it into the focal point for this gift. Snowflakes are one of my favourite Christmas gift accessories, but you want to make sure your purchases don’t look cheap (even though they are!) I often use dollar store elements in my gift wrapping, but the key is to pay special attention to the “finish” of the ornament when making purchases. I will usually opt for white or wood finishes, as I often find that the sparkly ornaments tend to look cheap and tacky. (I do purchase glittery elements as well, but I make all of my purchases with a very critical eye.) Another trick to up staging the quality of your embellishments, is to give careful consideration to the other elements you include in your design.

For this look, I combine a plain white string with a white plastic snowflake ornament. The simplicity of the string off-sets the finish of the ornament. The finishing touch in this look is a Scrabble Tile “gift tag”. I placed the name in the bottom corner, to add more interest. Even if you don’t use the Scrabble tile idea, this gift would look great with a simple brown or white coverstock tag. Don’t ruin the look by sticking on a tag that doesn’t fit the look of the gift….stick with the theme!

You can check out the full tutorial (‘Tis the Season) or opt for the quicker version (READY, SET, WRAP!}. Enjoy!

Happy wrapping!

Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas: Scrabble Tile Gift Greetings

I’m so excited about the holiday season and have been busy pulling together tons of gift wrapping ideas. I’ve been making some tweaks to my videos and will be launching something new beginning with this video. The holidays are a very busy time of the year and to save us all some time, I’m producing shorter versions of my video tutorials. I’m hoping this will eventually shorten the editing process and thus allow me to post more tutorials. It’s great for you as well because you can get the same info in a condensed version. The biggest difference is that I’m using subtitles in lieu of verbal instructions. I know how tired I get of hearing my own voice, so perhaps this will be a blessing for you too! I will see how this new system works and may continue to produce full versions as an option for those who like the additional tips I typically add in throughout my videos.

‘Tis the SEASON

‘Tis the SEASON is the name of my holiday video tutorial playlist. It will contain any videos that I produce in full version with verbal instructions.

READY, SET, WRAP!

READY, SET, WRAP! is the name of my holiday video tutorial playlist in a condensed version with my voice removed and replaced with subtitles. Much of the video will be in “fast forward” mode to move along at a much quicker pace. This is a great way to watch the video in its entirety without it taking so long to get through. Obviously, if you watch the condensed version and want more information, you can always view the full version on my ‘Tis the SEASON playlist.I

In today’s tutorial, you will learn how to use old Scrabble tiles as Christmas greetings on a gift. I often pick-up old Scrabble games when out thrifting. You can purchased them for a buck or two and the possibilities are really endless. I also demonstrate how to create your own custom paper ribbon. This is both a cost effective and easy option for customizing your gift. This particular video combines white paper ribbon, cord and the Scrabble tile greeting on a brown paper surface. Simple, yet eye catching!

Check out my first video from my new READY, SET, WRAP! Christmas Playlist.

I would really appreciate some feedback on how you like the new tutorial format. Feel free to comment below.

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Christmas Chaos

buy christmas treeI have to admit that I have not been myself since hitting my head in July. After several weeks of recovery, I finally felt well enough to get back to volleyball. On the first night out, in early September, I blew my rotator cuff and have been sidelined ever since. Between the two injuries, I have found myself struggling to do simple things like get something from high up on a shelf or reach back for something in the back seat. Needless to say any thing that requires any amount of strength or a large range of motion has pretty much been impossible. My house is neglected, my projects shelved and my motivation at an all time low. I feel frustrated and generally speaking, I’m just not myself. I miss blogging, but to be honest, I don’t have much to say these days. I’m working hard at school, but by the time I get home from work and running the kids to their activities, I’m literally out of gas. Most of my days off have consisted of making lists of the things I need to get done, but with very little actually getting accomplished. It just isn’t like me.

Buy Christmas Tree: ✔︎

I have to admit, I have been pretty slow to embrace the Christmas spirit this year and the little bit of shopping I have done has been online. I can’t even imagine braving the lines in the mall.  I’m usually super organized and done my shopping before most people even start, but not this year. I was even dreading the annual Christmas tree shopping trip. Although I have mellowed over the years, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that picking out a tree was at least a 4 hour event. This wouldn’t be bad if we actually trudged into the forest with an axe in hand and chopped down our own tree, but it seems a little ridiculous when we were shopping the tree lots. It was not uncommon for me to haul the family to 4 or 5 lots in search of the perfect tree, only to decide that the best one was at the first lot. (I can’t actually believe my husband condoned this behaviour.) It is however a testament to the type of radical Christmas fanatic I’ve always been. I have always loved Christmas….the shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, entertaining and making crafts. However, my attitude this year seems to be more of do what has to get done and with the least amount of effort possible. I even bought cookies for the event I had on this evening. To date, I have not stepped into a mall, but have gotten a few gifts to get me started through online shopping, our church craft sale and a gift card fundraiser my son’s hockey team did. I’ve done no baking or crafting, but did muster up the motivation to remove the rag wreath I made last year from the plastic bag and hang it on the nail that is still stuck in my door from last year. (That was my big accomplishment on my last day off….UGH!) You can imagine how surprised my family was when we managed to park, scan the tree lot, pick a tree, pay and strap it on the roof within 6 minutes! I have to admit I went in to it with less of a “its all about tradition” and “let’s embrace the process” type of attitude and more of a “how fast can we complete this mission” kind of thinking. My daughter wasn’t even with us, but I did check with her to see if she minded if we picked-up a tree without her.

With the tree thawing in the living room and the scent of Douglas Fur filling the house, I managed to make a grocery list in hopes of actually getting some baking done. I’m sure that the holidays will provide me with the time I need to recharge my batteries. Until then, I will plug away doing what needs to get done to prepare for Christmas. At least I can say that I have checked one thing off the list of “to do’s”. (I wonder how long the tree will sit in the mop pail in the living room before we actually set it up and decorate it?)

Our church celebrates Christmas every Sunday in December with carols and children performing each week. I’m sure that tomorrow will help to get me into the spirit of the season. If you are looking for a great way to get into the Christmas Spirit, why not check out Springs Church….you’re sure to be impressed!

If you’re interested in some great Christmas crafts, baking, decorating or gift wrapping ideas, check-out the “All Things Christmas” section of my blog.

 

Red Velvet Oreo Brownies

Happy Valentine’s Day! The kids have a bake sale at school today and last night I finished up some Red Velvet Oreo Brownies for the sale. My passion for red velvet only began a year or so ago. I had tasted it occasionally before, but it didn’t become such an obsession until I tasted Piazza De Nardi’s Red Velvet Cake ~ Oh my goodness! Since then, I have tried out recipes now and again, but a Valentine’s Day bake sale seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out a few more red velvet recipes. Earlier in the week, I made Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies. They are absolutely delicious and the recipe is a definite keeper.

Well, these Red Velvet Oreo Brownies are incredibly good as well and the three layers make them look so pretty!  I found the recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, so all of the credit goes to her. She mentions at the end of her post, that she adapted the Red velvet layer from Sunny Anderson at the Food Network.

Red Velvet Oreo Brownies:

Ingredients:

BROWNIES

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon red food colouring
  • 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

COOKIES ‘N CREAM FROSTING

(I adapted this slightly as I thought it would be criminal not to include a bit of cream cheese.)

  • 1/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 and 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons whipping cream 
  • 6 Oreos, crushed (plus 3 extra to break on top of ganache)

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream 
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature

Directions:

  • Set out the butter to soften.
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Foil line an 8×8 baking pan with extra foil extending over the sides, so that you can easily lift the cook brownies out of the pan after. Set aside or freeze and complete the last two layers closer to the day you need the brownies.

Brownies:

Beat the eggs in a small bowl.  Set aside. Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Add each of the following ingredients one at a time in the suggested order, stirring between each addition: sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food colouring, and vinegar. Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely incorporated, but do not over mix. Pour the brownie batter into prepared baking pan. Bake the brownies for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few small moist crumbs. Allow the brownies to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely.

Oreo Frosting:

Whip the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer, until creamy.  Add the icing sugar and 2 Tbsp cream, beating on medium until creamy.  I found that 2 Tbsp of cream was enough, but if needed you can add 1 more Tbsp cream. You don’t want the frosting to be too thin, so be careful not to add to much cream ~ keep the icing thick, but spreadable.  Fold in the crushed Oreos. Lift the cooled brownies out of the pan, remove the foil and spread them with the frosting. Stick them into the refrigerator as your prepare the ganache. You want the frosting to slightly chill on the brownies.

Ganache: 

Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream until boiling, either in the microwave or on the stove top. (I microwaved mine.) Pour boiling cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Cut in the butter, one small piece at a time, and stir until smooth. Spread over frosted brownies. Add the additional crushed Oreos to the top and then chill for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

  • Cut the brownies into squares and then cover them tightly in a sealed container. They can keep chilled in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • If you double this recipe, use a 9×13 baking pan and bake for 35-45 minutes at 350.

These turned out really good. I was sad to package them up to send to the bake sale. I am sure the original frosting recipe would be very good as well, but I love the cream cheese flavour with red velvet. These are a must try!

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