Homemade Fruit Gift Wrap

_MG_9902Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making my own gift wrap. While there are so many beautiful options readily available out there, I find that people notice when you’ve taken the time to paint it and that makes the gift all the more special.

In an effort to stretch out the summer, I’ve been going a little crazy with fruit-themed projects before the produce switches into Fall mode (hence The Perfect Fruit TartThailand-Inspired Fresh Fruit Shakes, & Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie). For the upcoming birthday and housewarming presents I’ll be gifting this month, I decided to stick to this theme and make fruit-inspired gift wrap with watercolors and acrylics. I love how colorful and sweet they looked in the end, especially as a group.


Materials:

  • Plain white gift wrap
  • Spray paint (optional, but it’s the ideal paint for your base layer)
  • Watercolors or acrylics
  • Paint brushes (one thick, one thin)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Green ribbon and bows

First, place a large piece of scrap paper or newspaper on the ground to protect from any mess you will make. Then cut the wrapping paper into the sizes of paper you need towrope your gifts. You’ll want to paint them one at a time, so place your first piece on the ground and tape down the edges.

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Going into this project, I already had two colors of spray paint, olive green and pink, so I went ahead and used those to make the base for the watermelon, kiwi, and strawberry papers. Simply spray an even coat over the paper and set aside to dry (for the watermelon, do half of it pink, half green, and leave a fuzzy strip of white in the middle).

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Using watercolors or watered-down acrylics, coat the remaining pieces of paper until completely covered. It may be a little wrinkly from the water (which is why the spray paint is ideal), but those waves will smooth out when you wrap your gift.

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Allow the base coats to dry completely.

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Once dry, you can begin painting details onto the papers. The amount of detail it up to you. I added seeds to the watermelon as well as a few strokes of darker green, I also add seeds to the strawberry and kiwi. I used acrylic to paint the pulp into the orange and lemon papers, and a simple black star to the blueberry. For the grapes, I liked the base enough to leave them alone.

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Once the paper is completely dry, wrap the gifts and decorate with green ribbon. Hope you have as much fun making these as I did!

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Happy wrapping!

-Kirby

Harry Potter Wine Charms

HP (5 of 17)Just recently it was the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter book. That blew my mind. Although Harry Potter has been a major part of my life even before I could read, J.K. Rowling’s magical world still feels so fresh and present to me, as if the books came out just yesterday. I don’t even bother pretending I’m not a total Harry Potter geek. Seriously, the intro song still makes me giddy. I remember Christmas when I was six and my mom, in typical Mrs. Weasley fashion, gave my brother and I matching Gryffindor sweaters, I remember dressing up in robes for the book release at our local bookstore, and I remember going to the midnight premieres of the movies in Spanish (we were living in Mexico at the time) and loving them even without understanding them. Everyone should have something that brings out their biggest dopiest smile, like Harry Potter does for me.

So upon realizing that it was the 20th anniversary, I decided it was time to make another Harry Potter craft (check out our sorting hat cupcakes from last year). I’ve combined the wizarding world with one of my other favorite passions: wine nights. These wine charms are super easy to make, the materials are cheap, and I absolutely love them! It’s a subtle way to distinguish your wine glass from others’ and they aren’t so “in your face” Harry Potter so you could get away with saying they are just charms…. shaped like lighting bolts… and broomsticks. I made 12 so I’m keeping half for myself and sending the other half to Michelle. Now that our wine nights will no longer be spent together we’ll have to find new Harry Potter loving friends!


Materials:

  • Harry Potter charms (I found mine here)
  • Jump rings
  • Earring hoops
  • Beads
  • (optional) Paper that looks like parchment
  • (optional) Thin black pen or marker
  • (optional) Card stock
  • (optional) Glue

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Loop the jump rings onto the charms so that they hang the right way. If you use different charms than I did, just check the angle of the charm’s loop to see if you need them.

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String half of the beads onto the earring hoop, then add the charm, and then add the remaining beads.

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Thread the open ended wire through the loop and bend it back over to hold it in place. Repeat with all of the other charms. Seriously, it is that easy!

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As an extra touch, I wrote Harry Potter wine puns (after some serious brainstorming) at the top of parchment colored paper and pinned the final charms to them.

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Glue a slightly smaller piece of card stock to the back so that it is sturdier.

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I opted for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Wine” and “It’s not wingardium leviosa, it’s wine-gardium leviosa”. Other ideas are “Sherry Potter” and “Moaning Merlot”. I’d love to hear if you guys can come up with any others!

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Happy crafting!

-Kirby

Emoji Lollipops

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Emojis have always held a special place in my heart. They add a little something extra to my digital life and are often the primary reason that I laugh out loud from texts with my friends. From my days recreating emojis with Snapchat’s drawing feature to procrastinating studying for finals to everyday texting with my friends and family, Emojis have always had my back. There is an emoji for pretty much everything and every mood. Can you even imagine a world without them??? (cue eye roll from mom and dad).

As Kirby and I are always looking for new and unique crafts to try for our blog, we absolutely love taking suggestions from our readers. We’d like to give a special shout-out to Diane Estephan for giving us this awesome idea. We had so much fun turning our favorite emoji faces into tasty lemon lollipops to share with everyone. 😍😂😳😉😎


Materials:

  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon flavoring (we used these)
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Candy thermometer
  • Lollipop molds and sticks
  • Royal icing (black, white, red, blue – find our recipe here)
  • Piping bags or ziplock bags

Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, lemon flavoring, and food coloring into a large saucepan over high heat.

 

Stir continuously until mixture is brought to a boil. Insert a candy thermometer and keep stirring until the mixture reaches 310˚F.

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Once the mixture has reached 310˚F, remove the saucepan from the stove and transfer it into another container with a spout (I used a Pyrex measuring cup). Carefully pour the mixture into the lollipop molds. Immediately after, insert the lollipop sticks. It is important not to wait too long as the mixture hardens relatively quickly!

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Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the molds.

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After removing the lollipops from the molds, you may begin turning the lollipops into your favorite emojis with royal icing!

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Allow the icing to set and harden before handing out and embracing your inner-emoji!

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Enjoy!

– Michelle

Father’s Day Beer “Can”dles

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For every Father’s Day since I was a little girl, I have hand crafted gifts for my dad. I’ve made cards, pop-up books, picture frames, paintings, placemats – you name it. In fact the other day when he and I were cleaning out the storage closet, I found a leaf family I once made him. There were dried leaves with cut out lips and eyes and paper hair that matched our family’s. It was pretty funny and also really sweet to see that he still had it. I never really believed him when he said he preferred handmade gifts and always vowed to buy him nice things once I had my own money, but now that I’m older I understand where he’s coming from.

These candles incorporate a classic dad favorite: beer. You can transform your dad’s favorite beer into decorative “can”dles (ha, get it?) that will always remind him of you.

I hope all the hardworking and loving fathers out there enjoy the holiday, as well as those who have selflessly stepped up and taken on that important role for children who aren’t as lucky as I’ve been to have an awesome dad. A special thanks to my dad, who loves and supports me endlessly, always pushing me to be courageous,  adventurous, curious, passionate, and kind. I’m very fortunate to have such an incredible role model.


Materials:

  • Wax
  • Empty beer cans
  • Candle wicks
  • Scissors
  • A funnel
  • Glass bowl
  • Can opener

First determine how many candles you plan to make and remove as much wax as you will need for them from the packaging. Cut the wax into smaller pieces so that it will melt easier. Place the pieces into a glass bowl and microwave on medium power for 30 second intervals until completely melted.

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While the wax melts, use a can opener to remove the top of the can. Be careful not to cut your fingers!

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The remaining lip of the can should be nice and smooth.

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Use oven mits to remove the hot wax. If you want to add a scent to your candle, go ahead and add that now. My dad isn’t a big fan of scented candles so I left mine unscented. Then dip the base of the wick into the wax and carefully position it in the bottom of the can. Allow the wax to harden for a few seconds so that the wick is secure.

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Insert the funnel so that the wick is in the middle.

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Pour the remaining hot wax into the funnel until the can is almost filled to the top.

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Leave the candle to completely cool and harden.

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Use scissors to trim the wick, and just like that, you have beer candles!

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Happy Father’s Day!

-Kirby

Lemon Flower Arrangement

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When life gives you lemons, make lemon filled vases for your flowers! The saying goes something like that… right? A flower arrangement is the easiest and most elegant way to elevate your home, but most people (like us) can’t afford fresh flower bouquets every week. So when we do buy them for celebratory occasions or when we need a little cheerer-upper, they make our homes feel extra special.

The addition of sliced lemons takes an already beautiful arrangement to the next level, just in time for the warm June weather. It’s more time consuming for sure, but the result is worth it. Our lemon flower arrangement is the perfect addition to the patio table, just in time for this week’s early summer BBQs and rosé nights with the girls.


Materials:

  • Flowers
  • Lemons (each lemon makes about 5-6 slices, so the number depends on your vase size)
  • Toothpicks
  • A vase that stands straight up (the angular ones don’t work with the lemons)
  • Scissors
  • A knife and chopping board

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Slice your lemons into even circles about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. If they are too thin, you will see the toothpicks so best to stay on the thick side just in case.

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Use toothpicks to connect strands of lemons. Each strand should be the height of your vase.

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Our vase was quite tall so we made alternating strands of 3 and 4 lemons.

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Trim your flowers and arrange them inside the vase with water. Carefully insert the strands of lemons along the circumference of the vase. We used alternating lengths of strands so that the lemons filled all of the gaps.

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After about fifteen minutes of intense fiddling, you are done and your efforts will be well worth it.

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-Kirby and Michelle

 

Homemade Raspberry Jam

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Summer is coming! We honestly could not be more excited. With summer comes berries and with berries come all our favorite berry recipes — ice cream (if you haven’t seen last week’s post on homemade blackberry vanilla bean ice cream, definitely check it out), pies, and of course, berry jam! This week, we decided to share our favorite homemade raspberry jam recipe with you all. From morning breakfasts with toast, brunch with croissants and brie, or tea with scones, this jam is a staple item in our diets.

Whether you want to add a little something extra to your meals at home or you need the perfect summer gift for your friends, this jam is your answer. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own jams at home and delightfully better than anything you can buy at your local grocery store – guaranteed!


Ingredients/Materials:

  • 1 lb raspberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle
  • Candy thermometer
  • 5 8oz. mason jars
  • Twine
  • Labels

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Wash your berries well before you begin.

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Combine sugar, raspberries, and lemon juice into a large saucepan over high heat.

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Stir continuously until mixture is brought to a boil.

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Insert a candy thermometer and keep stirring and skimming foam from the surface (as needed) until the mixture reaches 221˚F.

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To test if the mixture is ready the be jarred, scoop a small amount into a bowl and place into the freezer for 3 minutes. If the jam has a gelatinous consistency when taken out, you’re ready to proceed.

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Using a ladle, transfer the jam from the saucepan into the mason jars. Seal and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours for best results. If you are gifting the jam and want to add an extra touch, create labels and attach to the jar with twine. Enjoy!

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** Note: in the interest of time, we did not go through the canning process. This process is not necessary unless you plan on storing the jam over a period of months.**

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Happy jamming!

– Kirby and Michelle

 

 

 

Homemade Sugar Cube Tins

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Is there any time in a day more important than coffee time? When we’re moaning and groaning at 6:30 a.m., hair in a nest on our heads, drool still dried onto our faces, the only thing that gets us out of our warm beds is the comfort of the glorious coffee maker.

This craft makes that coffee time a little bit more special (it’s true, that is possible!). We made our own sugar cubes and decorated little tin cans to put them in. It is pretty enough to set out on the counter and we don’t know why but for some reason sugar is much more exciting when it comes in tiny cubes! We made one batch plain and one with cinnamon and cocoa. In the future we’ll try out some new ideas such as raw sugar or adding dried mint leaves for tea.


Materials

  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon and cocoa (optional)
  • Sugar cube molds

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Decorative Letters

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Throughout our college careers (as is the norm for most college students), we’ve constantly been on the move — in and out of dorms, sorority houses, apartments. Each new school year comes with a new place and new people to call home. While definitely exciting as each place will inevitably bring new memories with our friends at school, it makes it a little harder to create that “home away from home” feeling.

When we moved into Towngirls (the 4-girl room in our sorority) together sophomore year, we decided to make a little housewarming gift for our roommates to brighten up the standard white walls and grey carpets of our room and make the place feel a bit more lived-in. Since then, it has been a tradition to begin each school year with this housewarming gift for our new roommates.

This craft is unbelievably easy to make (you’ll be surprised) and can be tailored to each person’s favorite color, pattern, etc. These letters make the perfect housewarming, birthday, holiday gift for friends and family — really, it’s great for any occasion!


Materials:

  • Cardboard letters (we got ours on Amazon, here)
  • Acrylic paint/paintbrush (you can also use spray paint)
  • Decorative paper (we got ours at the Paper Source, here)
  • Modge podge
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

After carefully peeling off all the price stickers from the cardboard (you want to begin with as smooth a surface as possible), we began to paint the letters completely. Two layers ensured a rich paint color. Let dry completely before moving on!

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Next, we flipped the letter upside-down and traced onto the matching decorative paper with a pencil. It’s really important to make sure you are tracing the letter backwards onto the back side of the paper — we don’t want to pull a Karen from Mean Girls!!

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Then, carefully cut out with scissors. Make sure to stay as close to the pencil line as possible so that the paper lines up with the letter so there is no excess or shortage.

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Finally, we painted Modge podge onto the front side of the letter so we could attach the decorative paper. Carefully lay the paper onto the Modge podged surface so that there are no wrinkles. Press down firmly to secure.

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Now you’re ready to keep ’em, gift ’em, hang ’em on a wall – whatever your heart desires!

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Happy Modge Podge-ing!

– Kirby and Michelle

Coconut Macaroon Birds’ Nests

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We hope everyone has an amazing Easter this upcoming Sunday! We will both be spending it the best way possible, with family. This is one holiday that, although it was a blast as a kid (who doesn’t love a good Easter egg hunt?), it is still just as special as an adult. Maybe it’s the fact that the weather is nice, family and friends are around, or that it always is on a Sunday, but neither of us can remember having a bad Easter. Plus, the Easter candy selection might be the best of all the holidays. Hard to compete with that.

This past week we tested out some coconut macaroons as a sweet treat to contribute to our Easter parties. Instead of traditional coconut mounds, we shaped them into nests that perfectly fit three little cadbury eggs in the center. The result is an adorable Easter themed treat that tastes like a dream.


Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (1 14 oz bag)
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A bag of cadbury mini eggs

Preheat the oven to 375º F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In our test run, the cookies stuck a little bit so next time we will grease the paper as well just to be careful. Mix together the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla until well combined.

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In a separate bowl, use and electric mixer to whisk the egg whites and salt until they form stiff peaks.

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Carefully fold the egg white mixture into the coconut mixture.

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Use a spoon to form a heaping mound of mixture onto the baking sheet.

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Then use your fingers to press down in the center to create a “nest” shape. You might want to test the size of it with three eggs to make sure that they will fit. Repeat this until you have used all of your mixture.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges are golden. Then allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, fill them with mini cadbury eggs and you are done!

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Lola thought they were pretty tasty, too hehe.

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Happy Easter!

-Michelle and Kirby

Beauty and the Beast Belle Cupcakes

belle (22 of 24)Michelle and I are beyond excited for Disney’s new live action Beauty and the Beast. The costumes look stunning and I adore Emma Watson, she is the perfect embodiment of Belle, on screen and in real life. Belle was always the Disney princess I associated myself with as a kid… but looking back that’s probably just because she looked the most like me.

There’s nothing quite like a themed cupcake to get me even more excited for something. Michelle and I made these two-tiered Belle cupcakes for the occasion. They brought me right back to my 6th birthday party when I had a Barbie cake. Did anyone else have one of those, with the real Barbie inside the cake “dress”? This whole week has been filled with a whole lot of Disney/Barbie/princess nostalgia!

On another note, Michelle and I have officially finished college as of yesterday and we are off to Thailand for two weeks! I have no idea how four years flew by that fast. We can barely contain our excitement for this trip and can’t wait to see what adventures await us. We have some fun content lined up while we’re gone and hopefully upon our return we’ll have some Thai-inspired crafts to share with you all.


Materials:

  • Cupcakes (not shame in using a boxed mix – the college budget is real)
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Yellow food coloring (we used golden yellow and bright yellow to create two separate shades)
  • A printed Belle template (here’s our Belle Template)
  • Toothpicks
  • Super glue or hot glue
  • A knife
  • Plastic ziplock bags or piping bags

Bake your cupcakes and allow them to cool completely. We used red cupcake liners to symbolize the red rose from the film.

Belle cupcakes

 

These cupcakes are actually created by stacking one cupcake on top of another in order to get the correct dress shape. Start by unwrapping the paper from a cupcake. Flip it over so that the bottom is on top. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut away slivers of the cake to make the cupcake a more conical shape. Grab another cupcake and spread frosting on top of it. Finally, place your upside down carved cupcake onto the iced cupcake. Repeat these steps with all of the other cupcakes.

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Separate a small amount of your icing and use your dyes to mix a deep golden yellow color. Spoon it into a zip lock bag or piping bag and cut a small hole in the corner. With the remaining icing, use your dyes to mix a lighter shade of yellow for the main part of the dress. Spoon that into a different baggie and cut a larger hole in the corner, about a centimeter wide.

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Starting at the top of the cupcake, carefully create vertical stripes using the yellow frosting. The key is to move faster at the top and slow down towards the bottom so that the stripes are wide at the base. They should be tall narrow triangles, and they don’t have to be perfect – in fact, the lumpiness makes the frosting look more like fabric.

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Continue making stripes until the entire cupcake is covered and none of the cake part is exposed. If there is cake exposed at the very top, just use a little bit of frosting to cover it up.

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Using your darker shade of yellow frosting, carefully pipe the ribbon around the dress, following the wave pattern of the stripes.

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Next, print your Belle template and cut out only the top half of her body.

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Use super glue or hot glue to attach toothpicks to the backs of the cutouts and allow them to dry.

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Once they have dried, insert them into the top of the cake, and you are finished. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did, and enjoy the movie!

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Happy baking!

-Kirby