How to make – Large, faux CHRISTMAS CANDY Decorations

Every year, pool owners purchase these inexpensive (apx. $1.00 each) 5-foot, foam “noodle” floats.  Eventually, they fade and are, many times, thrown out.   As always, I LOVE to think of ways to recycle and repurpose things (instead of adding to the landfill) and came up with a creative idea, using  retired pool noodles.  Of course, you can also buy them new (on clearance – post summer!) to make this project too.

My vision was to create several large, faux candies (for holiday decorating), mainly because they’re lightweight and won’t weigh down (tree, wreath & garland) greenery … PLUS, they’re inexpensive!

ONE

Begin by deciding approximately how long you would like to make each piece of candy (I chose 9″) and divide that number into the total length of the pool noodle to determine how many you’ll be able to cut from each one.  Mark (that individual measurement) along the length of the pool noodle (using a black marker) and then, carefully cut (using a knife) through the foam at each marking, on a safe surface.  I ended up with six (6) lengths, apx. 9″ each.

TWO

Choose a gift wrap, scrapbook or tissue paper to cover them with and cut pieces large enough to wrap each (cut) foam piece and wide enough so you have extra to fold down at each end of the foam piece (to hide the end of the foam).

To create a neat closure, fold over one end (of the length) and place one foam piece, in the center, at the other end.

Before you roll the foam piece up in the paper, add 3 pieces of double-sided tape along the length of the fold, half on the folded paper and half on the underneath (blank) side of the paper.

Now, when you roll up the foam piece, the tape will automatically secure the paper (closed).  Unless you want to, don’t worry if the pattern doesn’t match up perfectly because that will be the “back side” of your ornament.

Fold down the paper on each end and use a piece of regular scotch tape to secure it.

 

THREE

Repeat the paper cutting process (above), but this time using clear, plastic basket wrap.  This time, however, make sure the length is even longer (by 6″).

Place your gift-wrapped foam length in the center of the plastic wrap, at one end of the width.  Before you roll it up, once again, add 3 small pieces of double-sided tape on the other end (of the width) so the plastic wrap will automatically close, after rolling up the foam candy in it.  Also, try to line up the 2 closures (paper & plastic wrap) and that can be the back side of your ornament.

FOUR

Cut two (2) lengths of ribbon, using one to tie each end (of the plastic wrap) closed, displaying the bow on the front/top side of the ornament.

When you’re done, you’ll have inexpensive, lightweight Christmas candy decorations for approximately 50 cents each.  I found that mine tucked into my holiday greenery easily without the aid of a hanger.  But, if you’re using them to decorate garland, add a length of fishing line (tying it to each end, before adding your ribbon) as an ornament hanger.

I’m excited to share with you how I used mine in one of The Seasonal Home 2012 Christmas designs this year… so stay tuned… COMING SOON! 🙂

And don’t forget to consider this idea for other holidays!

ENJOY THE CREATIVITY!

Eileen

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Christmas Gift Wrapping Idea

[click on photos for a more, detailed enlarged view ]

When I wrap a gift, I love to add embellishments for a finishing touch and I enjoy creative re-purposing in this area too!  So, keep this idea in mind when you’re in a store, after Christmas, and you come across any singular ornaments, hanging by their lonesome, at 90% off.    As long as it’s a flat-backed ornament, it will work, so….  BUY IT! 🙂

Here’s how I like to use a flat-back ornament to finish my gift wrap design:

STEP ONE – Wrap your present, in gift wrap paper, as you normally would.

STEP TWO – Cut a length of ribbon, long enough to fit around your package, with a little extra.

STEP THREE – Put a piece of tape on the wrapping paper, where the ribbon ends will meet, on the front of the package.  Using a low-melt, hot glue gun, add 1 or 2 dots of glue (add it to the center of the tape, to protect the package).

STEP FOUR –  While glue is still warm, place one end of your ribbon over it.  Add a second spot or two of glue on top of the ribbon end you just glued.  Again, while the glue is still warm, quickly bring the remaining length of ribbon around the back and sides of your box and place the other end of the ribbon over the top of the first ribbon end.  Now, both ends of your ribbon should be joined at the front of your gift box. 

STEP FIVE – Tape down the ornament hanger to the back of the ornament, in a couple of spots.

STEP SIX – Add a touch of hot glue on top of both pieces of tape and while still warm, attach the ornament back to the gift front, over the area of the ribbon where you joined it together.  It makes the cutest finishing touch to your gifts.  And once the gift recipient removes the tape on the back, they can hang it on their tree.  This is especially nice if you choose an ornament you can personalize with their family name(s), like the one shown above.

Don’t want to purchase an ornament, even at 90% off?  Then, consider recycling the fronts of all of those beautiful holiday cards you receive.  If you choose ones that have blank areas, on which you can write with an ink pen, you can even add a holiday sentiment or turn it into a TO and FROM gift tag!   This idea is perfect for those of you who ship gifts because there is no bow to get crushed.  Also, think about using this idea at other times of the year.  A seed packet in the spring or summer, that becomes something they can plant, etc…. you get the idea… it should match the season, holiday, occasion or compliment the gift in some way.  Have fun!

Patchwork Gift Wrap Idea!

[check out my other ideas under the categories, listed on the right]

If you would like to try a unique idea for wrapping a gift, here’s one…

This idea is especially helpful when you are short on time and find that you only have a small amount left of your favorite gift wraps.  It also falls under the “waste not, want not” category in life!   In this case, my favorite plain white paper came up a little short (on the ends of my gift) AND I only had a small amount of my other favorite black & white toile paper left.  So, it occurred to me that I should combine the 2 papers and unify them through my ribbon choice.  Here is the end result, which was a TRUE attention getter at the birthday party I took it to!

Simply use double-sided scotch tape to adhere side pieces of gift wrap

GIFTING DAD, a GRAD, SPECIAL BIRTHDAY, Bride/Groom or New Parents, etc.

MOVED Note

This is one of the most popular and only one of the creative traditions in my book.
I don’t know too many Dads who wouldn’t enjoy receiving this for Father’s Day or even Graduates, someone with a BIG approaching birthday (#16, #21, #30, #40, etc.), a Baby or Bridal Shower!  Whatever occasion you choose to do this for, keep in mind that it’s even better when you add a little humor to the gift!

First, purchase an inexpensive umbrella (Dollar Tree). Cut varying lengths of curling ribbon equal (in number) to the amount of items you will be placing inside the umbrella. Using double-sided tape, attach either money (21 – $1 bills for 21st birthday or16 – $1 bills for birthday #16), gift cards(i.e. favorite lunch spots, coffee shop, D.I.Y. store, where he buys his CDs or DVDs, movie rental store, gas card, etc.) or the most economical choice: simple, handwritten or printed certificates (“This is good for onehug, car wash, hour of uninterrupted T.V.viewing time, etc.”), one to the end of each piece of ribbon. Tie the other end of each piece of ribbon to the inside frame of the umbrella, spreading them around as evenly as possible. Turn the umbrella upside down and hand place each ribbon/gift inside and carefully close the umbrella. Gift wrap the umbrella (click here for a gift wrap suggestion).
Now comes the FUN part: when Dad (or any gift recipient) opens his gift, imagine his surprise when he finds a simple umbrella inside. Then, imagine his further surprise when you suggest that he open it “to make sure it works properly because you purchased it from the Dollar Tree” (indicating, of course, that you aren’t too sure about the quality). O.k., now he’s thinking your gift is not only odd, but also CHEAP! As in any good tale, however, the ending is a happy one when Dad opens his umbrella ‘o gifts and is showered with ribbons of goodies he can enjoy.
BONUS IDEA:This also makes a great gift for birthdays (esp. for teens), high school or college graduations, weddings, baby or bridal showers (as a group gift), etc.  Reactions may vary, but it is always hilarious!

SECRET AGENT 00-DAD

Just prior to Christmas, every year, my husband and I along with our grown children set aside a day to be together and grab a little adventure that none of us have ever experienced before.  We call it our “Family Fun Day” and it’s just one of the ways we stay close.  With that in mind, I came up with this Father’s Day gift idea.

As I thought back over the past few years of our adventures (photos below), I realized that we did a lot of very macho activities…  simply perfect for a Secret Agent Father’s Day! Your mission(should you decide to accept it) will involve setting up appointments at 2 or 3 local Adventure facilities and scheduling them to begin in the morning and progress through the day. Below are a few potential ideas that may inspire an idea or two:

Adventure #1: a 5 minute helicopter ride

Adventure #2: five laps in a real race car at a REAL race car speed!

Adventure #3: five minutes in a simulated skydive

Adventure #3: five minutes in a simulated skydive (Design/Image/Idea copyrighted by Creative Family Traditions. All rights reserved.)

Other ideas for adventures you may have in your area:
  • Discovery flight (at a local Executive Airport)—fly both an airplane and helicopter
  • Parasailing
  • Fly in an open cockpit bi-plane (available at some regional airports)
  • Hang gliding
  • Glider ride
  • Zip Line (this eco adventure is popping up everywhere these days)

By the end of his adventures, Dad should feel as though he just experienced a day in the life of a Secret Agent (on a much tighter budget, of course; apx. cost for 3 ideas shown – $185)! And since gift stores usually carry a wide variety of frames, finding the perfect one to display Dad’s memorable photos in should be a cinch!

Idea/Photo courtesy of www.CreativeFamilyTraditions.com

2 Themed Gift Wrap Ideas

GIFT WRAP IDEA #1: Cut a large triangle (almost equal in length to the height of your gift bag) out of a piece of white Foamie or plain, white card stock paper. Also cut a bow tie and 3 button shapes out of a sheet of black Foamie or plain, black card stock. Glue to the front of a black gift bag for your 00-Dad gift. Gift suggestion: a watch, with a ton of special functions, for your Secret Agent Dad!!

GIFT WRAP IDEA #2: Glue a photo of Dad enjoying his favorite hobby to the back of a paper frame (found in the Scrapbook Dept. of stores). Optional: adhere a Personal (self-adhesive) message to the top and bottom of the frame (messages & alpha letters also in Scrapbook Dept.).  Glue framed photo to the front of Dad’s gift bag for the perfect, personalized gift wrap!

Idea/Photos courtesy of www.CreativeFamilyTraditions.com

BONUS IDEA!!!  If you like my idea of a Family Fun Day (around the holidays), you may also want to use that  day as a photo “op” for your Christmas or New Year Greeting Card.   It’s easy to create on your computer and then you have a unique e-Card to email to family and friends. Talk about saving money (postage, paper, etc.) in a tight economy!  As a sample, below are a couple of my own from previous years.  You may notice that my e-Cards are “New Year’s” Greetings.  That’s the price you pay when you own a  holiday design firm ~ no time to send out anything during Christmas! :-))  The neat thing I have learned, however, about sending out a New Year’s greeting is that everyone has finally slowed down, so your greeting is more memorable!  And as you can see (below), keeping your greeting light-hearted (by making sure it reflects something funny) will have your family & friends looking forward to receiving it each and every year!
Turning your greeting into a .jpg makes it easy to e-mail!

Turning your greeting into a jpeg will make it easy to attach to your e-mail

This year, we called ourselves the "Swamp Mafia" :-)

In this greeting, I simply couldn’t overlook all the sunglasses, so we called ourselves the “Swamp Mafia” 🙂

Our 2010 Adventure – Horseback Riding!