“Thinking of You” Gift Ideas

My friend Michelle told me that she often makes “loaves” as gifts for teachers. Evidently Michael’s sells miniature loaf pans throughout the Christmas season and if you watch for them to go on sale after Christmas, you can pick them up for very little cost. She stocks up each year after Christmas for the following year. I think it is a brilliant idea, but I haven’t yet “cashed” in on the great after Christmas loaf pan sales, so I was pretty excited when I found a set of 6 cardboard loaf pans for sale at Dollarama. I figured I would pick some up and make some zucchini bread with the huge zucchini my neighbour gave me…thanks Kelli! I made a double batch of the recipe and it made 7 pans. The loaves are quite small, but cute. The pans seemed to work well, but I did find the cardboard had enough”give” that the loaves expanded slightly in width, as well as height (when they rose). No big deal, but perhaps not a perfectly formed domed-top and symmetrical shape.

To dress up the loaves for delivery, I just used scalloped scissors to trim the edges of freezer paper (like parchment). I then put a ribbon, cover wire tie and tag on to finish it off. This was super easy and quick to do. The tag was simply a stamped apple that I cut out. The kids took them to their teachers. Of course, baking is always a great gift. My neighbour Jen brought a loaf over the other day and it was such a treat to have fresh baking in the house during my first week back to school! So thoughtful.

If you like to bake, I would suggest picking up some of these next time your at the dollar store. I think I’ll always keep some on hand. I can’t wait to share the awesome pumpkin loaf I discovered last year! If you find yourself down about the cold weather and the end of summer, beat the blues by doing something kind for someone else!

Sentimental Birthday Jar

My friend Michelle told me about this idea and the timing couldn’t have been better. As mentioned in an earlier post, my dad’s 78th birthday was on Easter weekend. I had planned on making him a card and then just giving him a gift card or some cash to go and buy himself some clothes. (He loves clothes and enjoys shopping, so I thought this would be good, but not very personal.)  Michelle’s birthday jar idea was a perfect addition to the card and cash.

Birthday Jar:


  • mason jar
  • adhesive (tape and/or glue)
  • coordinating scrapbooking paper
  • letters (I used my Cricut, but you could buy stickers)
  • ribbon

Using the metal circle from the lid as a tracer, I cut and insert a paper circle under the ring on the lid.  Using a long piece (about 3″ X 12″) of scrapbook paper, I wrapped the jar and secured the paper in place. I then made a label and added a few embellishments and a ribbon. It was super easy to make.

For the inside, I cut strips of coordinating paper (about 1/2″ X 12″). Each member of our family wrote down as many things as they could think of to describe why/how my dad was important to them. We started each strip with “YOU…..”. I had everyone leave a space and then begin a new phrase on the same strip. When they were done. We cut the strips, so that there was only one phrase per strip. I then used a pencil to curl the strips and put them in the jar.

I made the card so that it matched the jar. My dad absolutely loved the gift and I could tell he was very touched by the words as he read each strip out loud. I know that he will cherish this as I could see the joy that it brought him. Thanks for the awesome idea Michelle!

This is the perfect gift for someone who has everything. Everyone loves to hear how they have touched the lives of others!

Easter Bunny Snack Bags

I was looking at Pinterest over the weekend and found this cute idea for Easter snacks. I picked up some disposable icing bags at the dollar store and a bag of Goldfish crackers. Fill the “cone-shaped” bags with fish crackers and tie the end with a green ribbon. One bag of crackers fills 3 icing bags. It can’t get much easier than this! I thought I would stick these in the kid’s Easter baskets along with the sweet treats I picked-up for Easter. They both love fish crackers and what a simple way to “Easterize” them!

Great Idea for Giving a Coffee Gift Card

So, with all of the components of the gift basket made, it was finally time to pull this gift basket together. The mug in this basket is really not so much part of the gift as a great way to hide the real gift. I saw this idea on Pinterest (can’t find it now) and I loved the concept, but just changed it a bit to make it my own. Here is what I did:

  • bought a “coffee” themed mug
  • taped a Starbucks stopper/stir stick to coffee gift card.
  • slid the card in the mug
  • poured coffee beans over the card to fill the mug

I loved this idea because it not only looks good, but smells delicious too.

Have you ever considered working from home? A revolutionary blogging system has hit the market.  If you are interested in learning how to blog and earn money from home, you need to click this link.

Coffee Themed Bookmark

Paint ChipsPaint chip projects are all over the web and like so many others, I absolutely love the cool things that are being made with them. I have wanted to do something with paint chips for a long time, but have never really gotten around to committing to anything quite yet. I guess a part of me is a little uncomfortable with going and taking an entire stash of paint chips. I know they are free for the taking, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable. For this project I did select a few panels as I was on a very specific mission. I don’t know my children’s teacher very well, but I do know she likes coffee. For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make her a little coffee themed goody bag. I thought that a coffee themed bookmark would be a cool idea and then I could finally say I have done a paint chip project.

Coffee Themed Bookmark

I went to the paint store and found a small selection of colours that actually have “coffee terminology” in their title. I was able to find the following:  light mocha, cappuccino, café mocha, and espresso. Of course, they weren’t on the same panel, so I had to cut three of the squares out and cover the existing squares on the “espresso” panel. I then double mounted the paint chip card on white card stock, followed by brown on the base. I found some coffee clip art online and just printed the little coffee logo off on my computer and then cut it out with my circle cutter. For the reverse side, I found this cute little poem type verse on-line called Coffeeology.* I basically just retyped the words on my computer using various fonts to create the final look. When typing, I created a text box that worked with the long and narrow dimensions of the bookmark.  Finally, I punched a hole in the top and added an eyelet to prevent the paper from tearing. I added a ribbon and a little wire with beads at the end (both were salvaged from the Christmas Crackers handed out at Christmas dinner). I also added a little button to the Coffeeology side of the bookmark.

*Coffeeology is all over the web and therefore I don’t know who the original source or author is. I tried to research it, but came up empty. There is a coffee shop called Coffeeology in North Carolina, but I can’t seem to connect the two. So just to be very clear, I did not write this, but would love to give credit to the author, so if you know something I don’t, please let me know and I will update this post.

If you are interested in learning to blog, do not miss this opportunity to learn how the pros blog with a revolutionary new blogging platform.  Click here to learn more.

Upcycled Cereal Box

I was putting together a little something for the kids’ teacher for Valentine’s Day and really wanted to put it in some kind of an open box. The problem was that I couldn’t find anything that was the perfect size, colour and shape. I didn’t want to use a gift bag, because it was really important the gift didn’t tip over or the contents would spill, and thus a box was a must. I finally decided to make one. I did a quick search and came up with this awesome website full of cardboard projects. Being that my kids are a bit older, I can’t say that many of the projects appealed to me, but some awesome ideas if your kids are a bit younger. What I found to be the most helpful for me on iKatbag was Lorraine’s post on the different types of cardboard and what purposes they best serve. Her tutorial is very thorough and complete with pictures and a great explanation.

Working With Cardboard:

First and foremost, if you plan on making any cardboard projects I would check-out Lorraine’s post. Why re-invent the wheel? Clearly she knows what she is talking about. Here are a few tips from her post:

  • avoid pre-existing creases unless you plan to incorporate them into your project
  • always make your folds, bends and roll lines parallel to the corrugated flutes between the liners
  • make tabs that will overlap the other piece or cardboard when joining two pieces together
  • Turn the cardboard inside out, so that the print ends up on the inside
  • score before making new folds (run the back of a knife blade along the cardboard to weaken the surface, but don’t cut through it)

I followed Lorraine’s suggestions for how to re-use a cereal box and all of her suggestions were great. In making mine, I used the existing bottom of the box, but cut down the height and length of the box following her directions.  I then covered the exterior with brown butcher paper in much the same way as you would wrap a gift. Finally, I punched holes for handles and ran a string through. This gave me the versatility to make the box the size and shape I wanted and I was also able to finish it off in the colour that best suited my needs.

At the end of her post, Lorraine has a picture library consisting of all of her fabulous projects (over 50) with links to her full tutorials. Thanks for sharing all of your cardboard wisdom, Lorraine!

Have you ever considered working from home? A revolutionary blogging system has hit the market.  If you are interested in learning how to blog and earn money from home, you need to click this link.