Wednesday 28 December 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey see, Monkey do.
Everyone else is doing it, so I guess I will too!

Here are Brown Paper Packages' most popular posts from 2011
and my personal faves at the end...

By FAR the most popular post...almost entirely thanks to Pinterest!
It makes me laugh every time I look at my stats because that is the one project where I followed a tutorial from another blog! Oh the traffic that has been sent her way!

These were a lot of fun to create out of old clothes lying around in my fabric totes...but I certainly didn't expect them to go over as well as they did. What a fun surprise!

I'm so glad you stopped by! : ) 

And guess what? We still love it! 
Which is a verrrry good thing, cause I don't have any intentions of repainting that wall anytime in the next decade or so.

Have I mentioned that the candy tree fell over four times and had to be completely redecorated every time?!

Still lovin' on the black and white and no plans to change it out...yet!

Easiest. Project. Ever.

The kiddies are still lovin' on this one too and it has made a great step ladder for me when I need to get something out of a high cupboard...whoo!
And three of my favorites?

Cement Look Candle Holders

There's been quite a bit of crafting going on around here in 2011 and I look forward to sharing lots more with you in 2012...and hopefully lots more design changes in our home and yard too!

Until then though...we still have one more Christmas celebration to attend, New Years Eve to celebrate, a big birthday and retirement party to help I'm going to continue on with my little blogging break while I spend time with family and friends, and leave you now with my biggest wishes for a very happy and blessed New Year to each one of you!!!

Saturday 24 December 2011

To All My Fab Readers...

Well, it's here...ready or not!
"Christmas" starts on Christmas Eve for me...thanks to my Scandinavian heritage.
So...Merry Christmas to all of you!!!
Thank you so much for your support and interest in Brown Paper Packages!
It's been really fun getting to know you over the past few months
and I'm looking forward to getting to know you all even better in 2012!
But until wishes for a happy Christmas weekend to you and your families from myself and my family!
May your hearts and tummies be filled to the brim!

Now I'm off to cross more things off my to do list!!
We're celebrating a pretty important birthday party over here, you know!

Be blessed this Season!

Evie & family

P.S. My most sincere apologies to all of you who have left such kind comments the last couple weeks and have not heard back from me. I love reading your comments - they mean so much to me - but unfortunately I've been rather swamped the last while and have not been able to respond as I would have liked. Just know that I appreciate you all so much!
Also a big ol' welcome to all new BPPackages followers!!
I'm looking forward to hearing more from you in the weeks to come!

Sunday 18 December 2011

Comfort in a Crust

It's that time of year!
If you're anything like me, you're running around desperate to finish wrapping gifts, buying a few forgotten gifts, finishing up the baking (or starting) and smacking your head for yet again forgetting to buy and mail Christmas cards for your family members.
Or - if you're like a certain sister-in-law of mine who's name I shall not finished everything on Dec. 1st.
Which means you don't need to read the rest of this post.
But you probably will anyhow, just cause everything else is done and you're bored.

Anyhow, for the rest of you who are like me (running around in circles and possibly collapsing into a dramatic heap of tears), here's a handy dandy AND super yummy recipe that'll give you a bit of much needed time while dinner is baking and satisfy your taste buds. It's even a teeny bit healthy cause it has...shhh...spinach in it. 
(There's enough cheese in it to make sure it doesn't taste healthy, don't worry)


I'm not a huge spinach lover, really, but this dish is one of my favorites.
It's so yummy, savoury and cheesy.
Total comfort food on a cold, snowy day.

First you'll need a pie crust. Buy one if you want.
I usually make up a batch of pastry using the recipe on the back of the Tenderflake box (works great every time!), then I portion it into six balls and freeze it. That way, when I know I'm going to be short on time, I pull out a ball, thaw it during the day and it's ready to roll by dinner time.

Now make up the filling:

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 package cream cheese (8 oz.), softened
300 gr. pkg. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
4 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
8 oz. grated cheese, Jack, Cheddar or Mozzarella
Handful of crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll out pie crust and place in pie dish.
Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Add spinach, eggs and seasonings. Mix well.
Add grated cheese and pour into pie crust.

Sprinkle feta cheese (as much or as little as you want) over top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until set in the middle.

Cut into slices, serve up with a salad.

This is truly one of our family favorites...the three different cheeses may have something to do with that...but even our little kiddies LOVE it. So it can't be all that bad then, can it?

Mmm hmmm good!


Feathered Nest Friday

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tip Junkie handmade projects


To see the other great parties I'm linking up to, click HERE!

Make Your Own Tree Filler Flowers!

Have you ever noticed how those fancy trees in the department stores and boutiques are so amazing?
I know...dumb question.
For years, I would study those trees like nobodies business and try to figure out how to replicate it at home. Well, my trees are a far cry from those beauties, but there was one trick I learned.
Flowers. Big flowers. Lots of big flowers.
(Along with bazillions of other "stuff" but that's beside the point today.)

Back in the day when Hubs and I were a double-income-no-kids unit, buying those big, glittery flowers to fill up our tree wasn't a painful deal.
But now...well, let's just say I wanted the flowers without the price tag and that could only mean one thing...
a DIY project was comin' up!

I wanted some filler flowers for the white tree in our bedroom, so I tried to think of fabrics that would work with that color scheme...silver, grey, blue and white. I remembered a (yet another) stash of black and white plaid fabric I've been hauling around for a couple decades or so and thought I'd give it a go.

After some monkeying around and trying to figure out what would work, I was finally able to come up with a flower that made me smile and fit the style and color scheme of the tree really well.
Yippeee! Gotta love it when things work out.

Here's how you can make your own:

First you will need to make templates. I took a piece of paper and sketched out a simple petal shape, and then drew three more, getting smaller each time. I just used plain old note paper...nothing fancy here peoples, I have to work fast around these parts. The largest petal is roughly about 3.5 inches long and 2 inches wide. Make the petals just a bit smaller as you go. It really isn't too fussy as the shape and size will change with every petal as you go along in your project.

Next, cut out six petals of each size.
Here's what I used:

Six petals of plaid in the largest size,

six petals of fine white netting in the large size
AND six petals of white satin in the same large size,

six petals of plaid in the medium size
AND six petals of fine white netting in the same medium size,

then finally six petals of white satin in the small size.

The main thing you need to remember when choosing your fabric cannot be a natural fiber fabric.
You need fabric that has plastic in it, so that it will melt when heat is applied.

Which brings me to the next will be using an open flame to shape your petals.
Obviously common sense is needed when using fire!
For instance...don't put your petal in the flame then turn away to gaze at your adorable children playing and sharing oh-so-nicely together on the kitchen floor. The petal will catch on fire and things go downhill rather quickly from there. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Have I skeered you yet? Good!

Once you have your candle ready, hold your petal in front of the flame and watch it closely. Turn the petal so that heat is applied to all of the edges. The more heat applied, the more the fabric will curl up. It's important to remember to keep the heat coming from the back, as that will make the fabric curl forward as it melts.

Keep in mind that different fabrics will react differently to the heat. In my experience the satin curled and formed the easiest, more heat was needed for the plaid fabric, and the netting would melt extremely quickly. I suggest cutting out sample petals and testing it to see how the fabric will react first.

Here you can see how the satin is starting to curl forward.
Once you get the hang of it, it's really fun!

Lay out your six largest petals as shown in the picture, and glue together at the bottom with hot glue.
My glue gun is one of my best friends, have you noticed?

Then continue on with each layer of petals, making sure the petals are staggered with the layer under them. Make sense? You want the petals on top to be between the petals on the bottom. are worth a thousand words...!
So to recap: Plaid petals, netting petals, satin petals, plaid petals, netting petals, satin petals.
Then hot glue a sparkly gemstone in the middle!

You could leave the flower as is now...or you could add a little glue the bottom layer of petals to bring it all together...

Like so...dab a little glue along the edge of the petal, pinch it to the petal beside it and...

Voila! The glue brings the bottom layer "up" and the flower will not be as floppy.

Stuff the flowers in the tree, then sit back and enjoy the customized prettiness!

These flowers cost somewhere around fifty cents each in supplies.
That sounds a lot better to me than $8 or more a stem! And I love that the black and white works so well with the tree style and our room!

Now...go forth and make some flowers!
Just...don't take your eyes off that flame!
: )


Feathered Nest Friday

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Weekend Bloggy Reading

The DIY Show Off

Tip Junkie handmade projects


To see the other great parties I'm linking up to, click HERE!

Friday 16 December 2011

Christmas 2011 Outdoor Decor

Hello again, friends!
Are you all happy and tired from touring all the great homes in blogland this week?
What a lot of inspiration out there!

Well, I'm happy to finally be showing you the outside decorating we've done around here.
To be honest, I was kind of stumped on what to do. I just didn't seem to be getting any good ideas at all...until I realized there really isn't anything wrong with reverting to "old faithful"...that is, the same style of outdoor decorating I have done for a few years now.
I have enjoyed putting out a garden bench of some sort by our front door and decorating it up with lots of greenery, lights and outdoorsy "stuff". I've always loved it. So why stop now?

As you probably already know, this Christmas we have a new house...and a new garden bench!
Those of you who have been following along since earlier last summer might remember the cute little story about this twig bench, from my garden tour post in July.
I thought it might add a nice rustic touch in the front for Christmas, so we dragged it around...and I say "we" rather loosely, because it wasn't "we" at was all the male half of "we" that dragged it around front. And he wasn't particularly impressed with the female half of "we" either when I suggested it, since he'd been shoveling off all the snow on our deck onto the bench below for several weeks.
Well, he's a good man and didn't grumble too much...and now it sits in the front.

In our neck of the woods (I love saying that), you can buy a permit at the town office and cut down up to three trees in certain designated of the we packed up the kids, a sled, some snacks and off we went to find our trees.
This beautiful tree was one of our lovely finds. I think it adds a bit of a woodsy feel, and I love that. 

I cut off some pine and spruce branches to line the bench and then wove lights around the branches for a bit of added twinkle at night.

I've had this old lantern for so long, I don't even remember where I got it!
One of the glass panels is broken out now, but it's still a much loved addition to our outdoor accessories.

In the summertime, these cast iron pots are filled with overflowing flowers and vines, but in the winter we like to fill them with more greenery, lights and a twiggy lit up tree.

Another tree stuffed into another cast iron pot by the front door.
This tree required a bit of a haircut to fit into the entryway! This is the first year I've put a live tree into a pot, and I will admit I'm really happy with the look...I believe it might be a permanent addition to the "old faithful" decor every year now!

Hubs found this big lantern at Home Sense several years ago and convinced me to buy it...not that it really took too much rubber arm twisting... *wink*

And last, but not least, more greenery on the door.
I could not come up with any ideas for a wreath for the door and even considered just leaving the door empty...until I remembered this old wall hangy thingie that I had spray painted black last summer.
Duh! It worked great and all it needed was some more pine branches!
It doesn't get any easier than that.

Now c'mon in while I take you through the house to the deck off the kitchen...
If you missed touring the rest of the house earlier this week, you can go here.

Again - usually this is filled with my favorite red geraniums in the summertime, but now it's filled with more pine and spruce, sticks, lights and lit up twiggy branches.

We enjoy seeing the twinkly lights through the window at night while we're eating dinner together!

Thanks again for visiting!
I'll be sharing a fun tutorial for a tree filler flower in the next couple days, so I hope you'll be back to check that out! Although...for your sake...I hope you've finished your tree decorating by now so that you can sit back and enjoy it for a while!


Feathered Nest Friday

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Weekend Bloggy Reading


To see the other great parties I'm linking up to, click HERE!
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