Fully loaded!

Why time spent watching YouTube is never wasted….

Without even trying, I somehow came across a video of a loaded pocket (I think they are also called loaded envelopes). I had never heard of these before so obviously had to check it out. Whoa! Why has the universe kept these from me up until now?! I watched a second video, then I got stuck in. If anyone else has been similarly unaware, they are basically made with either a gift bag, or a US style lunch bag. You add extra pockets and then load them up with goodies.

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This one is for my sister and contains bits and pieces I either know she needs, or can use, plus a bit of fun too. I chose a paper pad that I have had for years but will be to her taste, and added in a bit of Anna Griffin. I made a few quick note cards and then the envelopes from patterned paper, plus some circular seals. Also some slim gift tags as she often makes jewellery for her friends. The mini pegs were easy to cover with scraps of paper, and the fridge magnets are punched circles of more paper scraps glued into bottle caps and then a dome sticker over the top. I put a double layer of magnetic tape on the back as the grab was a bit feeble! I think they are still more decorative than useful but what the heck.

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I made the rosette thingie (sorry, I have no clue what it is actually called) with an embossing board that came free with a magazine recently. Its purpose is purely decorative and I think it was a bit of a waste of time to be honest. I had no instructions, so winged it to make the support stick. A straw was the right thickness but too weak, so I strengthened it by gluing a kebab stick inside before covering it with paper and fastening to the header piece. All a bit of a faff, really.

Also going in are some craft items, but there is no need to take pictures of them, and a big bar of chocolate. Just because.

You can get a LOT of stuff into one of these and making it and the various elements was fun. It could easily be used to give different small gifts – maybe pampering goodies, flower or vegetable seeds, stationery, herbs and spices or cake decorating supplies. Anything really. And again, the best bit is the feel of the stuffed pocket and the rustling noise. Heaven!

 

 

Countdown to Easter: Eggsbox, but no games

Making a mountain out of mini eggs

Easter eggs are not just for kids, or at least not as far as I am concerned. I like to gift a few mini eggs to friends and family too. But handing over a rather dull net of chocolate is, well, a bit humdrum, so usually I try to gussie them up a bit.

In previous years I have made little ‘shopping bags’ and folded pouches but I thought it was time to try something different. This presentation is not 100% successful. It is a bit wobbly and needs to go into a flat bottom cello bag for transportation (as in to the recipient, not to a penal colony). Also I am not wild about the foil wrapping on the eggs. It is a bit busy for my tastes but that is how they come. The hard candy shell eggs would have been better visually, but obviously hygiene prohibits the use of unwrapped items. I don’t think anyone would like a mouthful of glitter along with their chocolate. Or indeed a little bit of Riley now that we are in moulting season!

Still, the idea is ok, I think. I just made a quick box base from double sided gingham card and added a layer of with shredded paper. Shakespeare, in case the recipient should also fancy a jigsaw puzzle and some light reading. The outside is covered with multiple cuts of a picket fence die that was free with issue 144 of Papercraft Essentials magazine. Good free stuff!! Then I filled the box with some polystyrene eggs (from The Works) that had been covered in Martha Stewart glitter, one of my sadly deformed chicks and as many mini eggs as seemed feasible. Think of loading to the max a salad bowl, or a skip, whichever you can best identify with.

The final touch is a banner made with Clearly Besotted Mini Banners stamps and die. I cut the shape twice – once around the stamped image and once from plain gingham cardstock. I used red liner tape to fix an couple of cocktail sticks to the back of the stamped image and then 3D foam to cover the workings with the second die cut. A couple of Lawn Fawn Hoppy Easter eggs were hanging around so they got used too.

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Having stared at chocolate so much I am now off to eat some!

 

 

Lickety Split: If I were a dinosaur, I would be a velocowrappter….

Gift wrapping seems to give so many people stress, and at this time of year it is like immersion therapy for the daunted. I will happily hold my hand up to being a gift wrap nerd. I love to wrap a present, to make it look pretty, or fun, or glamorous or just different. But I am not one of those who can tie an immaculate bow, and I dont use the most expensive gift wrap, just whatever the high street stores have to offer.  The gifts don’t have to be perfect, or ‘shop style’ or works of art. ‘Pretty’ will do fine! Dont get me wrong, if I could spend bazillions on wrappy stuff it would ABSOLUTELY happen. I once heard that the Spelling family (of TV and/or movie fame) had a gift wrap room in their house. I swear I have never in the whole of my life wanted to be someone else more than I did right then. But now I have a craft room and maybe that is better!

Gift wrap is my spiritual home as a crafter. However, I have been told so often by people that they struggle with it. I can’t think how many times someone has handed me a gift and apologised about the wrapping. Well, they should NEVER feel they have to apologise. It IS the thought that counts and a person shouldn’t feel pressurised into striving for some kind of perfect presentation. Realistic and achievable will do nicely, if someone wants to give it a go. But if is just not in their skill set, who really cares?! Not me, for sure.

But, if you are despondently soaking your paper cuts in antiseptic before taking another deep breath, maybe also a fortifying swig of mulled wine before getting back in there amongst the paper rolls and curling ribbon, here is a little something that might help.

The PaperPuff Pockety Pouchy Thing. Yes indeed. So maybe the name needs a little tweaking. Bear with. Imagine you have some little presents for the girls at work. Maybe some hand cream tubes and a nail colour, or body lotion in a squeezy bottle, that kind of thing. Or male grooming products. All lovely gifts, but a struggle to wrap. Now this won’t be pristine angles and hospital corners, but it is easy, it works, and it looks fine and dandy. Plus, it takes just a few minutes.

Lock and load.

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So, now there are plenty of options to close it up. You can:

Cut the edge with fancy scissors (or you could have die cut the edge at an earlier stage if you wanted), cut or punch several holes, or just two holes, and thread some ribbon through, or even a strip of paper

Use pretty pegs or clips to fasten it

Here I have just done the simplest thing. I folded the top open edge over twice to the back (neat edges = happy) and then knotted some organza ribbon around it.

This really takes just a few minutes and then you can add whatever embellishments you fancy! I like tiny baubles/ornaments, jingle bells, candy canes or chocolate coins, or sometimes a bit of real evergreen and a pine cone.

wrapping-final

Sorry some of the pictures are a bit blurry. I think my eyes need polishing. The basic idea is just to create your U shape and don’t worry about the height of it: it can be shallow or tall, and longer on one side than the other is also fine! I only wrapped one item here, but you can wrap several things together and you can always secure them to the card with a bit of sticky tack, or tape if it makes it easier for you.  This isn’t meant to win us any competitions, after all, just get us through Christmas!

Hope everyone is having fun, or at least surviving anyway!