Woodland Creatures Cookies and Tree Trunk Packaging

A couple of months ago, my friend Nikki asked me to come up with a concept. She wanted to make gifts to give to her children’s teachers at the end of the year as a thank you gift. What made this request really interesting is that Nikki is a genius with biscuits, royal icing, cake and fondant and I’ve been dying for an opportunity to pick her brains and to work on a project together, so this was the perfect excuse!

We also both have little ones very similar in age, so with this project we had crafternoons and play-dates all rolled into one! Admittedly it wasn’t easy, Munchkin and her friend O liked to keep us on our toes! But after quite a few catch ups and some work alone once the little ones went to bed of an evening, we got them done.

Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies

When it comes to icing and piping work, I’ve not touched a piping bag in… years! And so when coming up with concepts my mind instantly went to things I felt I could help with. Then I remembered these amazing cookies I’d pinned a few years ago. I love the idea of using the cookie dough to create the image and then adding just a little icing for the details.

Detailed cutting and splicing I can do!

This is what I came up with. A series of woodland creatures including a fox, owl, hedgehog, squirrel and bear. All to be packaged up peeking out of a ‘tree trunk’.

Layout

Nikki mixed up a batch of each her (I’m told) delicious chocolate and vanilla doughs at home so as to avoid accidentally poisoning me with gluten, I was just very careful to wash my hands after handling the dough and definitely didn’t taste test it!

To make the cookies, we rolled the dough out using rolling pin guide strips so as to ensure all the dough was the same thickness, then put the dough in the freezer to harden up. Using templates created out of wax proof paper we’d traced, we then cut the hardened dough using a scalpel to get a nice clean finish (an X-acto knife would work just as well, just make sure you’ve given it a good clean first).

As fate would have it, we made these on the hottest days we’ve had this Summer! So we had dough cycling in and out of of my freezer making sure it all kept hard enough to assemble. We then spliced the pieces together, gently used our fingers to join the edges and baked them.

Unfortunately I had my hands so full of dough and babies that I didn’t get many photos taken during this process. But I’m going to re-create it with some gluten-free recipes and another template I’ve made to create a tutorial in the coming weeks.

This is what the owls looked like just before we baked them.

Woodland animal cookies

And this is what they looked like afterwards

Woodland animal cookies

Flash forward a few days, after we’d both completed cookies on our own (once the little ones had gone to bed) and we were ready to add the icing details! Nikki, whipped up some royal icing and after laying the templates underneath wax paper, traced the features in royal icing. It is a fabulous method I can’t wait to try myself, particularly as it allows you to keep going until you’ve created one you’re happy with before you apply it to the biscuit! Here’s some information on royal icing transfers.

Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies

We glued the eyes, beaks and noses down with some more royal icing.

Woodland animal cookies

The limit of my piping on this project consisted of using royal icing to glue toasted slivered almonds onto the hedgehog to give him spikes, and piping on the hedgehogs noses.

Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies

I think they turned out really cute.

Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies

Then I got to work making the packaging! I wanted to display them standing up and so made a box within a box. I glued the biscuits in using royal icing which allowed them to be transported without fear of them falling out of their peepholes. But if you wanted to you could add some acetate or clear plastic to the inside of the box to ensure your cookie is safe.

Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies

I’ve included all the templates in a PDF file at the bottom of the post if you want to try and make your own!

Here are the steps to put the packaging together.
You’ll need an x-acto knife, adhesive (I used a Pritt Stick) and 3 pieces of A3 card stock about 160 gsm or as thick as you can get through your printer.

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I then used a little bit of tape to hold the lid in place. But a clear sticker or double sided tape works well too.

Here’s the finished packaging.

And here they all are just before they went to school to be given to some lovely teachers!

I had a fantastic time working with Nikki on this project. I can’t wait until we get to do another one

Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies
Woodland animal cookies
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Happy Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

It’s that time of the year! That time when Spring arrives and all the shelves in every store are full of chocolate bunnies and pretty chocolate eggs. That time when we eat too many and then swear never to eat chocolate again.

 

Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

As I’m something of an enabler when it comes to spoiling ones-self and others; and in order to aid with your chocolate consumption and gifting this year, I’ve made up a pretty little Easter bunny milk carton template that you can customise with the names of both the gifter and giftee… or you could just fill in your name in both spaces.

 

Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

It’s quite simple and subtle, so it will allow your gorgeous gift inside to take centre stage.

To customise it, just open in Adobe Acrobat or Reader, fill in the fields in the form and print it off.

 

Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

Or simply print it off if you want them left blank.

 

Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

The finished box is 9cm wide x 9cm deep x 13 cm high

 

Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

It’s as simple as printing it out on A3 card stock, cutting it out, scoring along the dotted lines and folding.

Update: I’ve had a question about ‘card stock’. Sorry, I should have been clearer. Just print it out on the thickest card you can get through your printer. Anything about 160 gsm should work well.

 

Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

Then use double-sided tape or paper glue to stick it together and you’ll have a super cute little box in a jiffy.

 

Easter Bunny Milk Cartons
Easter Bunny Milk Cartons

 

In the interest of full disclosure, the inspiration for this little design came from one of my favourite outfits for Munchkin. We bought it in Australia. It’s this beautiful little jumpsuit by Oeuf NYC. I love it so much I’ve plans to buy it in more colours and larger sizes so that she can wear them for as long as possible.

 


My templates and tutorials are free for personal use only

Munchkin - Nicola Pravato

 

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Collection of free Valentines Printables

 

Valentines Day is fast approaching. Are you prepared?

For those of you who aren’t, I’ve collated a collection of free Valentines Day printables. So if you’re stuck for ideas, why not have a look? Just click on the images to link through to the respective blogs and downloadable files.

My husband and I are a bit rubbish at Valentines Day. It’s often forgotten until the day before or the morning of.

We avoid all the really commercial aspects of the day and don’t go out to crazily expensive and often mediocre dinners or buy each-other expensive gifts. But we do something. This year my husband will have just gotten off the plane after an 11 hour flight followed by a 2 1/2 hour train trip, having spent just 3 days in San Francisco. So we’re going for low key this year. I’m going to make us a nutritious and delicious dinner and then, if my lovely other half can keep his eyes open, we’ll watch a movie.

Usually I make a card. But last year I forgot about Valentines Day all-together as I was suffering from a hideous bout of morning sickness. I have no idea what I’m going to do this year. Some people appear to be using my Little Mr Robot Advent Calendar as a Valentines Gift, so I may do something similar.

 

Via The Black Apple
Via The Black Apple

 

Via Design Wash Rince Repeat
Via Design Wash Rince Repeat

 

Via Pumpkins and Posies
Via Pumpkins and Posies

 

Via Everyday Cheer
Via Everyday Cheer

 

Via Pumpkins and Posies
Via Pumpkins and Posies

 

Via Everyday Cheer
Via Everyday Cheer

 

Via One Charming Party
Via One Charming Party

 

Via Love Vs Design
Via Love Vs Design

 

Via Whisker Graphics
Via Whisker Graphics

 

Via Rockin Boys
Via Rockin Boys

 

Via Fancy That Design House
Via Fancy That Design House

 

Via A Blog Made Vibrant
Via A Blog Made Vibrant

 

Via Theo Design
Via Theo Design

 

A little robot advent

It’s coming round to that time of year wherein I look at the calendar and panic. I’ve not even started to think about Christmas presents for friends and family, let alone creating an advent calendar. And this year is particularly difficult as I’m trying to do it all whilst sleep deprived and often with a Munchkin who won’t let me put her down. So this year, I’m remaking some of the advents I created last year and thought you might want to do so too.

So here’s a slightly revised Little Mr Robot advent blog post:

A friend of mine dropped into conversation that she thought that I sketch I’d done years ago would look rather cute as an advent calendar. So I spent a little time this week playing with it to see if I could get it to work. Et voilà!! Here is the result!

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Switzerland’s New Papershop – Ikea

 

I received an email from Ikea yesterday and immediately made arrangements to go and check out my local store. Why? It’s not like they were handing out free Sczchfgdudnkfdskj’s, and I’m not a huge fan of their disposable furniture. Like with my chocolate, I’m more a ‘one good quality piece rather than a 400 gram block of average stuff’ girl. But I do like their gluten-free cake! And cheap glassware, lighting and teacups for parties.

They do a roaring trade with the expats here. Where else can you go, do a confusingly long, windy lap through a warehouse and walk out the front door with a complete house-full of furniture and appliances?! We do have some pieces bought over the years that I’ve yet to find suitable replacements for, but that’s mainly because second hand and vintage are so insanely expensive here; and as up until recently we’ve not had a car for me to take ‘brocante excursions’ in.

So why was I heading to Ikea with haste?

 

 

I went to check out their new Paperstore. I love paper-stores! Switzerland isn’t the best place to buy wrapping paper or stationery. When we arrived here almost 4 years ago it was near on impossible to buy wrapping paper or cards that weren’t bedazzled in some form (usually with glitter AND metallic foiling) and that often cost more than the item you wanted to wrap! Thankfully the situation has changed of late, and whilst still expensive, the range and quality have improved. For example Globus have come so far as to stock limited ranges of letterpress stationery.

So the prospect of cheap wrapping paper and stationery lured me in and I went for an ogle. It’s not earth-shattering. The designs are relatively modern but nothing that you’ve not seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they take it in and how up to date they keep the ranges. I like the black and white, and brown paper and white ranges but wasn’t overly enamoured with the green, blue or pink options. But it is cheap (eg. 10 gift tags for 1.95 chf) and going by the number of people filling yellow bags with notebooks and gift tags, is quite popular. So if you find yourself having to wrap presents galore, need party favours or have decided that the Sczchfgdudnkfdskj you’ve just bought needs to be wrapped before you take it home, it’s the perfect place to go.

 

 

You can find the list of Ikea stores that contain the Papershop range in Switzerland here. The range and prices in Switzerland are shown here.

 

 

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Seriously cute

I’ve just backed this project on Kickstarter. It’s so very cute! I backed it for Munchkin. Seriously I did. Not for me. No. Not for me at all… I’m not dying to play with them and set up a series of them looking all gorgeous, cute and quirky in her nursery**.

The project is currently 92% funded and has 8 days to go.

 

**I’ve just discovered a side benefit of having kids! Being able to legitimately buy all the cool toys you really want.

 

 

Coral and mint dotty notelets printable

 

Coral and mint dotty notelets

 

A couple of weeks ago I post my ‘Dots and doilies’ envelope printable on the blog for you to download and print. Now, for your scribbling pleasure, here are the matching notelets!

As with the envelopes, they’re very easy. Just print your choice of ‘Front’ design on the thickest card stock you can get through your printer. For the ones in the photos, I used a 220 gsm.

Then, put the paper back through the printer, after flipping it so that you’ll be printing on the reverse. Select the ‘Back/Reverse’ pattern you want and print away!

Finally, grab your scissors or x-acto knife and ruler and crop along the dotted lines shown on the ‘Front’.

Perfect for that emergency thank you note or birthday message! They’d look really pretty with a little personalisation. Add some washi tape or your own illustrations for something really cute and personal.

If you do… send me a photo? I’d love to see what you come up with! Read more

Dots and doilies

 

Dots and Doilies

 

We’re currently holidaying in South-West France. Enjoying some sunshine, sea air and the relaxed surfing culture that Hossegor provides. I’ve just commenced the third trimester and Munchkin is growing quickly! For this reason we are in the mood for a low key holiday. Lots of relaxing by the pool and beach, drives up and down the coast and attempting to eat our bodyweight in fresh seafood are on the agenda.

 

Dots and Doilies

 

But before I left I put together a couple of posts that I’ll be sharing with you whilst we’re away. One of them is this cute envelope template! I love the coral and mint colours this season and have a bit of an addiction to paper doilies. So combining them all was something of a given. I love the results. They could be fabulous for letters, invitations, birth announcements, birthday cards or thank you notes… anything that requires a pretty envelope!

 

Dots and Doilies

 

They’re really easy to put together. Just print out on A3 paper and print the inside pattern of your choice on the reverse side. Cut out and follow the instructions on the template to score and glue.

 

Dots and Doilies

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Diamond shaped gift box packaging

 

Diamond shaped packaging/ gift box
Diamond shaped packaging/ gift box

 

I’ve been having some fun of late creating packaging and gift boxes. This diamond shaped one is one of my favourites (second only to my tea cups). They’d make really cute packaging for party favours, for small gifts or just as decoration.

 

Diamond shaped packaging/ gift box
Diamond shaped packaging/ gift box

 

They’re really easy to put together once you know how and can be printed on a standard A4 piece of card stock. I’ve left the template blank so that you can customise and decorate it to your hearts content! Following is the tutorial. click on the images for a larger view. Read more

In Print…

Inside Out Magazine

 

I’m really honoured to be included in the latest issue of Inside Out Magazine. Inside Out Magazine was one of my regular reads when I lived in Australia. So to find myself featured in their ’6 blogs to bookmark’ section held even more excitement!

 

Image via http://instagram.com/p/ab_SRNgnjZ/
Image via http://instagram.com/p/ab_SRNgnjZ/

 

I’ve since found out it is now possible to subscribe online to the magazine via Zinio. Why not check them out for a monthly dose of design and interiors goodness?

 

Image from http://instagram.com/p/aZvySagnh_/
Image from http://instagram.com/p/aZvySagnh_/