Valentine Bottles

Valentine Bottles

I made this sweet Valentine’s gift last year for a friend who really likes M&Ms. I have seen a few versions of this type around Pinterest, but I thought I’d share my take on it so you can make your own for this Valentine’s Day. It’s coming up soon!

Materials:

  • Four or Six pack of bottles – just make sure the mouth is wide enough for what you want to put inside the bottles.
  • Decorative craft paper – any style that your recipient will like. I used four different patterns, but you can use as many or as few as you would like. *Note: I used a cardstock thickness. If I were to do this again, I would use a thinner paper so that it’s easier to adhere to the bottles.
  • Adhesive – I used a clear, double-sided adhesive. I didn’t worry too much about it because once the bottles were filled, you couldn’t see anything anyway.
  • Something to fill the bottles – candy, snacks, notes, sky’s the limit – well actually you are limited by the width of the mouth of the bottle…
  • Miscellaneous supplies: scoring mat and bone folder, die cut machine and dies, rubber stamps and ink, punches, any other decorative items you may like.

For this project you do need to go shopping a little bit early so you can get the bottles you need and drink the contents – that’s the yummy part for you! Once the bottles are empty, you will need to wash and dry them thoroughly. You will also need to remove the labels. If there is a label around the neck, try to get one of them to come off in one piece and save it to make a template. Don’t forget to save the cardboard container they came in, you’ll need it to hold all the bottles when you’re done.

The first step is to cover the cardboard holder. I placed mine sideways on the paper I selected and used it to measure the sides. I chose to cut four panels and adhere them, but you could just cut one long piece and wrap it in place, adhering as you go.

Lay the box down and measure the sides.

Lay the box down and measure the sides.

One side covered, on to the second side.

One side covered, on to the second side.

I even covered the bottom with a solid color.

I even covered the bottom with a solid color.

Now, I didn’t measure as well as I had thought – surprise, surprise! So I had a few gaps. I decided to add a folded strip to each corner to account for that, and fix some of the edges.

Gasp in my measuring.

Gasp in my measuring.

Here's one of the corners I made - creased down the center to equally cover both sides.

Here’s one of the corners I made – creased down the center to equally cover both sides.

Here's a view from the other side.

Here’s a view from the other side.

Now the edges look much better!

Now the edges look much better!

For the handle, I measured the height and cut a strip of paper to go around it on both sides. Next, I folded it around the sides to get creases. That way I could figure out where the hole in the handle should go. Then I just traced the hole onto my paper, cut it out, and adhered it to the handle part of the  box.

Tracing on the paper for the handle.

Tracing on the paper for the handle.

All cut out!

All cut out!

Adhered to the handle.

Adhered to the handle.

Another view of the finished handle.

Another view of the finished handle.

Now it’s time to pretty up the bottles! I apologize, in advance, for the blurriness of the next two photos, but I wanted to show you what I originally used. I could not find a link to this particular stack, but I found this paper (all the papers I used on this project actually came from the same stack) in a stack by DCWV. I love their stacks! It may actually be an addiction now… Anywhoo, I chose this paper because of the lines and thought they would look nice around the center of the bottle. I cut off the pink outsides, and left the cream-colored inside. Then I cut it into four strips long enough to go around the center of the bottles.

Original sheet of paper.

Original sheet of paper.

Now cut into four strips - one for each bottle.

Now cut into four strips – one for each bottle.

One by one, I took each strip and wrapped it around each bottle. Here is where a thinner style paper definitely would have come in handy. It took several attempts with different types of adhesive to get the thicker paper to stay put. But my perseverance paid off and they really looked good.

Strip wrapped around the center of the bottle.

Strip wrapped around the center of the bottle.

Now this next step may be a little tricky. I was fortunate to have the top label of the bottle come off very easily and in one piece. Because of this, I was able to trace it and make four identical wraps. Where this gets tricky is if yours doesn’t come off in one piece and your bottle is wider at the bottom than it is at the top. If you have to create something from scratch, keep in mind the the curve at the top will be shorter than the curve at the bottom in order to get it to wrap smoothly. I hope that makes sense. I apologize, but I don’t have a picture of the original template to show you what I mean.

 

View of the neck wrap.

View of the neck wrap.

Another view of the neck wrap.

Another view of the neck wrap.

Since the bottle cap had the soda’s logo on it, I decided to cover that up too. I took a circle punch that was about the same size as the cap and punched out a piece of black paper. Then I took a smaller punch and cut another circle out of matching pink paper and adhered them to the top. If you don’t have a punch that’s the right size, you can always turn the cap over and trace it.

Cap topped.

Cap topped.

Here are a few views of the finished bottles:

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Now, I thought the bottles looked a little plain. So I took my die cut machine and a label die from Papertrey Ink and cut out four small labels, one for the front of each bottle. Then I stamped a saying on each one and adhered them to the fronts of the bottles.

Bottles with labels.

Bottles with labels.

Now comes the really fun (and delicious) part! Fill each bottle with your treat of choice. I was lucky enough to fill the bottles and have some M&Ms left over. Who am I to waste?

All filled and decked out!

All filled and decked out!

Now they are all ready to give to your sweetheart, your kids, or your best friend! While this one was created for Valentine’s Day, you could make it for any holiday or ‘just because’ – just change up the paper to match the occasion!

Have you ever made something like these? I would love to see your version!

 * This post is linked to: Homemaker’s Challenge and Growing Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Gift Bag

My niece and God-daughter has recently graduated from high school and we are attending her graduation party soon. So I got out my DCWV (Die Cuts With a View) Blossoms & Butterflies stack and made her a gift bag.

First, I took two pieces of 12×12 paper of the same pattern. Then I scored each page. The left sides, right sides, and bottoms were all scored at 2″, then folded.

When all three sides are folded, a square is formed in the bottom left and right corners. I took my scissors and cut from the bottom (on the fold) to the intersecting fold. That makes two 2″ cuts from the bottom. This will create two flaps on the side panels.

Fold the sides in and, using double-sided tape, adhere the two small flaps to the bottom panel (the tape will be in the printed side). The bottom will look like this:

Take the second piece of paper – already scored, folded, and the flaps cut – and fold the sides and bottom in. Add adhesive to the white side of the two long side panels, all the way to the bottom of the paper. Combine this with the other page and adhere the panels to the other piece already completed. The flaps will be adhered to the bottom as well.

Now adhere the remaining bottom flap to the bag, and the basic bag is complete. I decided to add a pair of handles to my bag as well. I raided my daughter’s pencil box and borrowed her protractor. Using this, I traced two handles and cut them out.

Knowing that I wanted to put something in the bag that would be rather heavy, I decided to staple the handles to the bag. However, you could also use your adhesive to do this if your bag will contain something lighter. I had some bee stickers that were the perfect size, so I used them to cover the staples. Since the paper was butterflies and flowers, these were perfect!

Then I added some tissue paper and my niece’s gifts. I can’t wait to give them to her! Oh, I almost forgot… instead of discarding the scraps from the handles, I decided to put them together to make a little gift card holder for part of her gift. I thought it came out cute!

Thanks for taking a look. If you decide to make one of these, please link to yours in the comments!

Valentine Treats

Since Sarah is hosting Pinning it Down today, I thought I’d share a couple of treats I made for the family for Valentine’s Day. Obviously, it’s too late to re-create these for this year, perhaps you can pin them for next year or adapt them to another celebration you have coming up.

But before I show my projects, I want to wish Sarah from Amongst Lovely Things a very happy and safe delivery of her blessed baby girl. She is officially ‘overdue’ and is anxious for her darling daughter to make her appearance. May God bless you both with a healthy delivery!

The projects…

First, I made a basket of gifts for the family based on this idea from sixsistersstuff.com. The original idea had a separate gift for each of the 14 days leading up to Valentine’s Day. However, a couple of the suggestions weren’t possible for us to do due to allergies {and I couldn’t come up with anything better} so I decided to use what we could do and place it all together in one basket.

The original pin had some  free printables, but I was also low on color ink so I had to improvise. I got out my cricut and cut these heart-shaped locks out of pink paper. Then I hand-wrote the the loving puns. The kids loved reading the puns and laughing at them. Then they all enjoyed digging into the feast. Here are a couple of close-ups of the puns we used…

 

 

Everyone seemed happy with their treats and they were a lot of fun to make!

This post is linked to Pinning It Down – did you try something off your pinterest boards this week? Join the party and let us know what you did!

This post is also linked to Titus 2sday and Women Living Well.

Contentment

As this holiday season comes to a close with Epiphany, I find myself reflecting on how this last month or two went. As I think, I realize that this has been one of the best Christmases ever.

  • It wasn’t because I got the best gifts.
  • It wasn’t because we hosted the best parties.
  • It wasn’t even because we attended the best parties.
  • It wasn’t because we had the best clothes.
  • It wasn’t because all the food turned out great.

I am realizing that for the first time, I really put Christ in CHRISTmas.Here’s how:

  • We participated in Holy Heroes Advent Adventure;
  • We took my daughter’s doll cradle and some shredded paper (added for acts of kindness and sacrifice) and made a bed for Baby Jesus;
  • We wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a Manger;
  • We followed the genealogy of Jesus with a homemade Jesse Tree:
  • We celebrated the lives and Feast Days of some Saints who loved Jesus long before we were alive – we discovered we can learn a lot from their faith and example!
  • We made many of our gifts, removing ourselves from the malls (we did go to a couple of stores, but were determined not to participate in the madness);
  • We made Christmas Eve Mass a priority – it was something special – we arrived early and didn’t rush out. We lingered. We studied the beautiful Creche. Then we went home and read The Night Before Christmas, but the last thing we did as a family was to read the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke.

It was such a beautiful time this year. There was no stress. There were no worries about the ‘perfect’ gift. There was just family and love. From the First and Holy family, to our immediate and extended family.

I am convinced now that this is a lot closer to the way things are supposed to be. It’s amazing that the more I let go of the way the world thinks I should do something, the more I feel at peace. How about you? How did you make your Christmas season centered more around Christ? Happy Feast of Epiphany!

Handmade Holidays

Well, now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is complete, we can sit back and just relax while we enjoy the remainder of the Christmas season! I am so glad that this season does not just end at 11:59 pm on December 25th.

So while I’m relaxing I thought I’d share some of the handmade gifts my children and I made for our recipients. I joined pinterest earlier this year and began saving ideas of gifts to make and recipes to try for Christmas. Feel free to check out my boards.

The first project Diva and I made included a few varieties of Sugar Scrubs. These are really expensive in the stores, but are oh so easy (and much less expensive) to make at home. Here’s the links to what we tried: Sugar Scrubs, Coffee Scrub, and Foot Soak.

And here’s what we made…

The kitchen smelled so wonderfully when we were done, even though we used a variety of scents. I won’t go into details on the recipes for each of these as you can go directly to each tutorial from its link on pinterest. But I will tell you how we personalized them. After mixing each batch, we put each scrub or soak into a clean canning jar and tied a pretty ribbon around the lid. I cut tags using Papertrey Ink’s Tag Sale #1 Die and wrote some basic instructions on each one. For the labels, I used Papertrey Ink’s Limitless Layers 1 3/4″ Circle Collection (Letter E), wrote the scent on it and ran it through the Xyron Sticker Maker and attached it to the lid. We then added the completed jars to a basket for an at-home spa gift.

We gave this to my cousin who is pregnant with her second child. Her daughter, who was about to turn two a couple of days later, absolutely loved the coffee scrub! She loved its aroma so much that she refused to put it down and open any other presents!

Next Diva wanted to make some gifts of her own for her Godparents. She collaborated with LegoFan to make a set for their Grandmother as well. What did they make? Well, they made their own versions of these Post-it Note Holders and Decorated Clipboards. We forgot to take pictures of the ones for Diva’s Godmother, but here are the ones for her Godfather and their Grandmother…

I think it’s obvious which set is for the Grandmother and which is for the Godmother! It doesn’t show up really well, but we used glitter mod podge on the blue clipboard. On each piece we die cut a label using Papertrey Ink’s Angled Labels Die Collection (scroll about half-way down the page) and attached it with more mod podge.

This last gift I’m going to mention here is my absolute favorite. I made this for my brother and my sister-in-love who have been married for a little over a year. Anyone who has been reading my blog for the past year knows that my marriage has been a rocky one at best. We have had some major issues over the last 11 years because we didn’t make our marriage a priority. We are actively working on changing that – a New Year’s Resolution of sorts.

I recently came across a blog called Dating Divas, which has a wealth of ideas on how to keep the romance alive in your marriage. One post was how one of their readers took their date ideas and turned them into a gift. They provided some printables that made putting this together really easy. The only real work I had to do was decide on the dates and format the instructions. Once that was done, I printed them out and placed everything into a couple of pocket folders. The idea is that each spouse plans a date on the alternating months, so that they get 12 dates during the year. They are not supposed to share the date ideas with each other so that each month is a surprise. They are also not designed to break the bank. They are simple, fun, creative ways to continue to grow in love as a couple. I really hope that they have fun with this gift – it was my favorite gift to make! There are a few other couples in my circle that may see one of these gifts in the future – it’s a simple, homemade gift that has the capacity to last a lifetime!

Well, that covers most of our handmade gifts this year. If you give any of them a try, please let me know how they turn out.

On this New Year’s Eve 2011, I pray that you and your family will celebrate safely and that we will all welcome in a wonderful New Year. May God continue to Bless you all this coming year.

This post is linked up to Pinning it Down at Amongst Lovely Things.

* None of these links are affiliate links.