Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Minute T-Shirt Present Wrap

I needed to wrap a present quickly for my son's birthday and didn't have much wrapping paper that didn't look girly, so I grabbed one of his too small T-shirts and used it to make an eco friendly present wrap. Items used:
  • 1 T-shirt
  • 1 rectangular box (I used and empty 24 pk box of Diet Coke)
  • 1 rubber band
  • 2 safety pins

This t-shirt is a medium, but a larger t-shirt would probably work better. Put the box in the shirt and position the logo how you want it to look on the box. Flip the box over and tie the sleeves together. Fold up the bottom like you would a present and secure the folded up edge by putting the rubber band around it.

Fold up the neck the same way you would a present and secure with the two safety pins. This is how the back looks when completed.

This is how the front looked when completed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nearly White Chocolate "Throwing Stars" - almost a fail

My son wanted to make a version of the Peanut Butter magic wands I had made, but instead make use regular small pretzels dipped in white chocolate and call them "throwing stars"
Unfortunately, instead of starting with 1 TBSP of mile to dilute the melted chocolate, he added 1 cup of milk and it was a runny mess. We tried fixing it by adding a cup of powered sugar and while it did stiffen up he mixture but made it very sugary and not at all chocolate like. He dipped them and we ate them anyway and they were ok, but if you want to make your own chocolate throwing stars, don't add to much milk to the chocolate!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Fun packaging to wrap up to give to a car enthusiast!

My son just turned 16 and is car obessed, so for his birthday I decided to decorate one his presents to look like a stop light.

Items used:

  • Tissue paper
  • White printer paper
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Jar lid or other circular item
  • Markers (optional if you use red, green and yellow tissue paper)

Wrap the present in white printer paper if the box has writing on it indicating what it is the package before wrapping it in the tissue paper (I chose to use yellow tissue for the main part of the stoplight) and secure the pieces with tape as you go.

This turned a little tricky when I decided to buy him a lava lamp that he wanted and it was in a tall, cynlindrical package instead of box. To cover the ends in paper, put in the center of a white piece of paper and draw around it, then cut approximately 2-3 inches away from the drawn circle.

Make cut around the circumference of the piece up to the center circle like so then apply the glue stick to the edges,
Line up the center circle with the top of the item to be wrap and press down each of the tabs individually and overlapping them to and you go so it will be flat around the edges (if you have ever made a tom-tom out of an oatmeal box, it is the same concept). Repeat for the other end if desired.
Repeat the above steps with the yellow tissue paper. For the lights on the stoplight, use a lid or other circular object that is proportionate for your gift box, making one red, green and yellow.
I cut out 3 layers of the green light in tissue paper and glued each layer together.
I didn't like how the red looked and as the base was yellow, needed a different shade of yellow for the other lights, so I used printer paper and colored with red and yellow markers.
Use the glue stick to glue the the red, yellow and green "lights" on the package. I then outlined each of the lights with a black marker so they would stand out more.


Make a low-to-no cost lawn decoration using an small paper bag. I saw this project over at one of my favorite blogs, Dollar Store Crafts, and knew this would be perfect for the decorating the outside of our house. Items used:
  • Small paper bag or lunch sack
  • Bamboo skewers or sticks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors

Probaby goes without saying that you wouldn't want to use a lunch sack that had any sort of anything that leaked, dripped or permeated the bag as it would attract bugs and varmits, but I have teen in my house that unless you indicate things explictly, he tries to get me on the technicality "but you never said that!" so I will just go ahead and say it.

There is a detailed photo tutorial at the following:

I varied mine slighly as I did not use any rubber bands as I wanted mine more poofy and offbeat for what is going to turn into the fairy garden under the eaves outside of my garage, but rubber bands would likely produce a more true-to-life looking one.

I also cut the bottom 2 inches off of the bag as I wanted it shorter and used a wooden skewer that is used for holding carmel apples.

Customized Digital Collage Birthday Card

This is a customized digital collage that I put on my son's Facebook wall for his 16th birthday. I used the free online software at and the basic steps used in the project, except I used a 3 photo template under the "Brag Book" option: I also added a sticker with a key and a car in yellow, then overlayed it in black. The meaning of the "A's =" and the key and car is a subliminal prod to remind him although he will be old enough to get his learners permit in a month, he won't be getting it unless his grades are good in school.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Peanut Butter Magic Wands

A fun snack for an afternoon treat or a Harry Potter or Halloween party. The inspiration for this project was the carmel chocolate wands at the following site: My son didn't want chocolate as it aggravates his acne, so we decided on making them peanut butter instead. Items used:
  • 1 pkg. Peanut butter chips (we used Reece's)
  • 1 pkg.Pretzel Rods
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower seeds
  • 2 TBSP milk.
  • Double boiler or eqivalent
  • Baking Parchment or wax paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Large spoon
  • Large bowl or mug(s) to pretzels up in after dipping.

Fill the bottom pan with water about 3/4 full and put the top pan in. Add more water if needed. Put the chips in the top pan of your boiler and turn on to medium heat, stirring occassionally with a large spoon.

When the chips have mostly melted, add in the 2 TBSP of milk. Blend melted chips and milk together. Coat the top of the pretzel with the melted chip mixture.

Place the completed pretzels in a bowl or several mugs while finishing up the pretzels. Place parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet spread out the sunflower seeds and roll the top of the pretzel in the seeds to coat them. Place completed wands in the refridgerator to harden for a few minutes, then serve.


This is a fun novelty cookie to eat, as you get a crackle and pop in every bite. This is a fun cookie to make, if you can find Pop Rocks. Around the 4th of July I ran across several posts on the internet that incorporated Pop Rocks in to cookies but when I went to find Pop Rocks at major retailers/grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Meijers and Kroger, I found they didn't carry them and I had all but chucked the idea, until my son brought home a pack that he had picked up at Family Dollar (we have found since they also carry them at Dollar General). Item used: (This made 24 1 inch mini-cookies)
  • Slice and Bake or pre-formed squares Sugar Cookie dough
  • 1 can Vanilla Frosting
  • 2 pack pkg of Pop Rocks
  • Blue Food Coloring (optional)

Bake the Sugar cookies according to the instructions on the package and allow them to cool.

If you want to tint the frosting, you can just put a few drops in the frosting can and stir it up.

Frost the top of the cookies.

Sprinkle the Pop Rocks on top of cookies.