I’m Crackers for Animals

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One of my favourite booths at IDS 2014 was Imm Design.
They sell cheeky little storage solutions, kitchen tools, mirrors, hooks, even stationery!

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I fell for their stuff immediately and wanted to Buy All The Things!
Of course, this  reaction was not a practical one, so I set my cap for one of their crowned cookie jars to put in my kitchen (you know, the one that exists only in my head…) and contented myself with a more useful little treat in the interim.
I’ll show you that on Wednesday.

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In the meantime, here are some of their pretty bits and bobs, designed to bring a hit of charm and whimsy to any room.

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Be Mine

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Around Delovely HQ, Valentine’s Day is a total non-event.
Which, I admit, makes me sad.
{see: colours, imagery, general froufery}

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The good news is, I get to indulge my passion for all things crafty and theme-y by giving my students Valentines. This year, good ol’ Target hooked me up with some cute-as-a-button supplies from their dollar bins. I scored some pretty favour bags, some pens, pencils and stickers, to which I added a few chocolate lips and (my very favourite!) cinnamon hearts. The pretty ribbon I also picked up at Target and some grocery store Valentine cards helped me personalize the packets.

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The girls were delighted!

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However you celebrate (or don’t), Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

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Photobomber.

Flag Day

 Last week I was able to squirrel away a single chocolate cupcake from M’s birthday treats before I gave them to him. I popped it in the freezer to save it for my friend and colleague, R– her birthday is three days after M’s.

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To make it fun and celebratory, I spruced it up in some cute packaging.

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I made a sturdy cardboard base and wrapped it in pretty paper, then I made some washi tape flags on paper straws. A cellophane goodie bag and some glittery ribbon and ta-da!
A sweet treat for a sweet lady.

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I think these would also make cute party favours– you could serve slices of cake at the party and send guests home with cupcakes.

{Tip: use glue dots to secure bottom of cupcake wrapper to cardboard base.
Your cupcake will stay put and not slide around inside the cello bag.}

I’m Just Dotty…

…for gift wrap!
Seriously, I might have an addiction.
Which is how I have ended up with roll upon roll of pretty paper.

This past weekend, I got a chance to use some of it when I was invited to a baby shower for my friend S. She LOVES grey as much as I do and, like me, is a sucker for a polka dot. So of course I had to break out the dotty grey paper I snagged at Marshalls. I also had a gorgeous interlocking circle patterned paper in a darker grey (it’s not paper at all, actually– it’s made from STONE! Don’t ask me how… but it is very cool and has the silkiest, most durable texture), also a Marshalls find.

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A Tiffany-blue ribbon, some stripey washi tape and a polka-dotted clothespin in pale blue completed the packaging. S loved it (I knew she would!) and she also loved the contents of the package: mini Chuck Taylors!*

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*Tiny Converse sneakers are my favourite baby gift– I give them to EVERYONE who has a baby, ever since a colleague of mine told me that the very best gift she got when her little guy was born was a pair of miniature Chucks. Feel free to borrow this idea (as long as we are not invited to the same shower 😉 ).

Peggy Goes

There are so many exciting projects afoot here at Delovely HQ, but no time for photo-taking and documenting, so you will have to be patient while I restore a semblance of order to our daily lives before I can share with you some of the fun stuff we are up to around here.

In the meantime, I must introduce you to someone who stole my heart the second I saw her. Meet Peggy.

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When I was little, I made clothes-peg dolls by the dozens, taking hours and hours to make each one unique, making clothes, hair, faces and dreaming up individual stories and personalities and relationships for them. My mum found them stored in her basement and gave them back to me– they are hilarious! And I can still remember each and every one of them, as though they were real people. If we ever find my sewing room again in this chaos, I will be sure to post them for you to see so you can have a laugh.

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Knowing how I feel about clothes peg dollies (and about a certain someone named Peggy), you can imagine how my heart skipped a beat when I saw this enchanting little lady at Liberty! Peggy is busy– she goes on holiday, to the shops, to work, to Mexico…. Isn’t this a clever idea? What a sweet gift she would make for a sewist or other crafty sort.

 

Peek-a-Boo

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I love the peek-a-boo effect of glassine envelopes. They are so chic and tactile and lovely.
These ones, and the groovy cards inside them, are from Gus and Abby.
I got them in my swag bag from Blogshop last summer.

Because the ostrich and the camel work so well with the colours of the confetti garlands, they were the perfect “thank you” cards for this project. I think it’s fun that the girls will get a sneak peek at their garlands before they even open the envelopes. I added some confetti to each one because I love opening an envelope or package and having confetti fall out– it’s such a festive touch!

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Wraparound

Because they are long and a bit delicate, packaging up paper garlands can be a bit tricky.

I decided the best way to do it was to wrap each one around a cardboard tag. That way, I could write an explanation of the garland and give some suggestions for how to use it on the tag itself (in case the recipients wondered why I was giving them a string of paper flowers…).

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To make it coordinate with its garland, I stitched some confetti to the bottom of each tag.
No sewing machine? No problem. Use glue to attach the confetti or add some washi tape to pretty up the tag.

Next, I wrote a little message on the tag and then started wrapping the garland around it.

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Finally, I put a bit of washi tape on the garland to hold it in place. Ta-da!

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Emily

Dickinson, that is.

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune– without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

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One of my favourite poems inspired a bit of bunting I gave to an English teacher friend for her birthday. The gorgeous embroidered rick-rack came from a lovely little shop in Bath— alas, I cannot remember what it was called.
The buttons are made of tagua and I bought them in Ecuador.

You could easily do something similar with a holiday theme.

The Sun

…will come out tomorrow. Or so goes a line from my BFF’s favourite musical.
(Though asking her to pick a favourite musical is like asking a mother to choose her favourite child, to be honest.)

Last year, for her birthday, I sent a little treat her way. I thought she might like to hang it up in her office space, to help her keep her chin up on those days we all have at work now and then, the days when we wish someone would burst into song and do a little tap dance to make us smile.

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I made her some mini-bunting (flags are 3.5 inches tall), using some delicious fabric I had bought at the insanely amazing Beyond Fabrics on the Columbia Road and had been hoarding to be used for Something Very Special.
What could be more special than the birthday of someone you love?

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I hand-lettered the lyrics from that famous song onto the plain pennants and then sewed some sweet little buttons on as embellishment. It hangs in her office now and, I hope, makes her smile when she sees it.

Be My Guest

Stuck for hostess gifts? Teacher gifts? Something small and thoughtful to give a neighbour or a colleague?

I have a solution for you.
Make The Barefoot Contessa’s Parmesan, Thyme & Black Pepper Crackers. They are incredibly quick and easy and they are beyond yummy!
I make a whole gigantic bunch of them and keep them in the freezer so I have them on-hand during the holidays.

I like to give them away in vintage mason jars, but glassine or paper bags, or pretty little boxes would be sweet, too.
Add a nice bottle of red wine and you have the perfect hostess gift for the festive season.

They are so quick and easy that you will have time to sit down and enjoy a few with a nice glass of wine while congratulating yourself on your cleverness in making such a thoughtful, delicious gift!

You’re welcome. 😉