Fall Birthday Happy Mail.

Posted by Michelle on November 6th, 2017

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m big on Happy Mail and celebrating others and trying really hard to make people feel special.  Especially on their birthday.  And doing so doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.  My husband has many aunts who are getting up there in years and don’t really need anything or have the space for anything but I still want to send them a little something for their birthday.  For the 2 aunt birthdays in the fall I picked up some lip moisturizer knowing that getting in to the winter, chapped lips and dry skin is a challenge for a lot of people.  And then I shopped my stash for how to package it all nice and pretty for fall.

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I knew I wanted orange for fall, of course, but I didn’t want to pair that with black or it would be too Halloween or brown because it would look too Thanksgiving.  So I found some dark pink elements to coordinate with my orange Casablanca Middy Bitty bag.  I found some dark pink tickets in my stash along with some pretty place cards that I bought on Easter clearance at Target for like 10-cents a pack and knew I had to use them as well.

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I stamped Aunt on the front of my place card and then I glued my tickets on a large white tag and tucked that in to the middle of the place card.  And then I adhered the entire piece to the front of the bag.

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The last step was to finish it off with some orange and white Divine Twine.

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I’ve really been trying to be mindful when selecting gifts to send to people of the size and weight of them.  Mailing has gotten so spendy, and sometimes the postage costs more than the gift itself!  For example, I found a tabletop baseball game on clearance at Target for $5 that I was going to send to my nephew in California for Christmas.  But it’s big and it’s a little heavy.  I know full well it’s going to cost at least $20 to ship it.  So now it’s going to be a donation item and I need to come up with a plan B for his gift.  But these little packages are small and light and will fit in to a plain catalog envelope and should be under $3 to ship.  I can handle that.

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Slow Cooker Soups.

Posted by Michelle on September 18th, 2017

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Fall is coming and the season of soups and stews is upon us so today I’m sharing 2 super easy and delicious slow cooker soups with you.
I bought the gigantic bag of onions at Costco and haven’t been going through it as fast as I should be so I decided that soup season would start now.  Fancy a little French onion soup?  Full recipe at the end of this post.

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Slice as thinly as possible 4 large onions.  (You can use a mandolin, we have one, but it scares me.)

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Sautée the onions in the butter until they are nice and golden and browning.

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Transfer onions to a slow cooker, and pour in your liquid mixture.

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Tie your thyme together with Whisker Graphics Divine Twine and drop it in to your slow cooker.  I love the addition of fresh herbs, but who wants to bite in to them?  Tying them up with Divine Twine and then pulling it at the end is so easy and you get the addition of fresh herb taste!

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8 hours later you have the most amazing, warm, comforting, salty and slightly sweet French onion soup.

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RECIPE
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

4 large onions, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1.5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
32 oz. carton of beef broth
Thyme (I pulled about 5 stalks of fresh thyme from my garden)
Salt to taste when finished

On the stove top, in a large pan, sautée the onions in the butter until they are nice and golden and browning.

While onions are sautéing, mix the flour, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, pepper, and beef broth in a mixing bowl.

When onions are finished caramelizing, transfer them to a slow cooker.

Add liquid mixture to onions in slow cooker.

Bundle thyme together and tie off with Whisker Graphics Divine Twine.

Drop thyme in to slow cooker.

Set slow cooker for 8 hours on low.

When slower cooker is finished, remove thyme, add salt to taste, and enjoy!

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I kept seeing this foil package in the freezer and never thought about what it was.  I asked my husband about it and he reminded me that it was the leftover ham bone from Easter.  And just like that, my dinner decision was made.

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Full recipe at the end of this post.

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Sautée your mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onion) in butter with salt and pepper.

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Transfer your mirepoix to a slow cooker and place frozen ham bone on top of it.

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Add beans, chicken broth, and your fresh herb bundle tied together with Whisker Graphics Divine Twine and drop it in to your slow cooker.

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8 hours later you have an amazing fall dinner!

RECIPE
Slow Cooker Ham & Bean Soup

1 large onion, sliced
1.5 cups petite carrots
3 celery stalks
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
Salt
Pepper
Frozen, leftover ham bone
3 cans of beans (I used 2 white kidney and 1 white cannellini)
32 oz. carton of chicken broth
Thyme (I pulled about 5 stalks of fresh thyme from my garden)
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste when finished

On the stove top, in a large pan, sautée the onions, celery, and carrots until onions are translucent.

Add garlic to pan and sautée for just a few minutes more.

Transfer vegetables to a slow cooker.

Place frozen ham bone on top of vegetables in slow cooker.

Rinse beans, and pour them around the ham bone.

Pour chicken broth over all.

Bundle thyme and bay leaves together and tie off with Whisker Graphics Divine Twine.

Drop herbs in to slow cooker.

Set slow cooker for 8 hours on low.

When slower cooker is finished, remove herb bundle, add salt to taste (mine didn’t need it – remember, ham is salty), and enjoy!

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The first gifts of Christmas are done!

Posted by Michelle on August 22nd, 2017

DISCLAIMER: I am a hyper-prepared gift and gift-wrapping fool.
I am super organized about gifts and have Christmas and birthday and Mother’s Day and Easter (and every other occasion) gifts bought, made, or otherwise planned months and months – sometimes years – in advance.

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I always like to do some crafty wrapping with my gifts too.  Don’t get me wrong – I do “regular” gift wrap too, but sometimes regular wrapping paper and store-bought bows get tired.  And too – sometimes there are those odd-shaped gifts that are hard to wrap.  Like lotion.
I found these Martha Stewart lotions online at Macy’s for super cheap and snatched them up for my husband’s aunts and my mother-in-law.  But they would be a little difficult to wrap with regular gift wrap.  Bags are perfect for odd-shaped things.  So I reached for these gorgeous gray Casablanca Middy Bitty Bags from Whisker Graphics and coordinating large gray gift tags.

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I ran my gift tags through my Big Shot with an impression plate just to get a raised pattern on them for some extra interest and texture.

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And then it was as simple as coordinating with a fun ephemera collection (I’ve used pieces from Fancy Pants Designs here) and layering it all up.

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I also stamped a little on the bag in lieu of a to/from tag.  My finishing is done with Silver Metallic Divine Twine (also from Whisker Graphics).

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And if you don’t have time for that, or you feel like you’re not crafty enough, just buy a pre-made tag and smack that on your Whisker Graphics bag.  Your gift will still stand out from the crowd!

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Repurposed and Upcycled gift Wrap.

Posted by Michelle on July 20th, 2017

Summer is here with all it’s vibrant yellows and oranges, and heat, God bless that dang heat.  Here in my part of the country we are in the midst of a 15 day run with heat over 100°.  So when I needed some gift packaging recently, naturally I navigated toward those summery colors.
I had some beautiful card fronts sitting on my desk that I had cut off and saved from handmade cards that were sent to me from friends.  And I thought they would go nicely with these great Casablanca Middy Bitty Bags in yellow.

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I popped in my gifts (Kylie Jenner lipsticks because what else do teenage girls want these days?), folded the bag over, and secured it with some washi tape.

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Then I adhered my card front with some bits of glue and finished it off with some coordinating Divine Twine and a white tag to write their name on them.

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I love being creative with gift packaging, and getting extra mileage out of a handmade card that someone put time and love in to.

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Easy Crafty Birthday Gift Packaging.

Posted by Michelle on June 20th, 2017

Today I’m sharing some gift wrap for odd-size/shape gifts.
Up first are some mermaid necklaces for my niece.  I could not find my Whisker Graphics Little Bitty Bags to save my life, so I had to improvise.

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I took a Middy Bitty Bag in this fantastic navy and gold Casablanca pattern and cut it down a bit.

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I kinda felt bad about cutting it down and having half the bag go to waste, so I decided to die cut the word HAPPY to use on my tag with the remaining part of the bag.

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I wrapped my necklaces in some tissue paper, tucked them in to the bag, and then folded it down in sort of a pillowbox style.

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I embellished a large white tag with my die cut HAPPY, some silver washi tape, and a little silver heart sticker.

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I adhered my tag to the front of the package and finished it off with some Silver Metallic Divine Twine.
(I had started this project out with Gold Metallic Divine Twine in mind and then somewhere along the way decided to pair silver with the gold on the bag and went a different direction.)

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My second gift is super easy.  It’s an iTunes gift card that I bought online and printed out to give as a gift.

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I easily and quickly embossed a large white tag with a fun party pattern.

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And then I attached it to a Bigger Bitty Glassine Bag with a pretty clothespin, and it was ready to be presented.

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