Advent Calendar Inspiration

I had intended to put my bee themed invitations and thank you cards up for this weeks blog post, and to have a baking post for you! But this week has been chaotic!

DM has been away at a conference in Dublin so I’ve been looking after Munchkin full-time. This isn’t a problem, but it does mean I don’t sleep as well, so I’m not as on the ball as usual.

I’ve also been busy making cute little modelling chocolate cake decorations for a first birthday party in my spare time. They’re for a cake to match these sweet party decorations from Meri Meri.  I’ve also been trying to make a Christmas/ Birthday present for another little lady who is about to turn one too!

And this morning the lady who gives me a couple of hours help once a week cancelled, meaning I have to clean my house instead of blogging and baking. Again, just a first world problem and not a big one at that! But it does mean I’m going to have to take a rain check and post this weeks post next week.

I’ve also been thinking about advent calendars for this year. These are my previous ones, they’re both now available on my store.
 

Robot Advent 2012
Advent Calendar 2012 craft gawker

 
I’d like to make something for Munchkin that is a bit easier to get into. And that doesn’t take endless hours to put together as my daughter appears to have a love of packaging (just like her mother!) but they often don’t survive said loving. It also needs to be big enough to hold something other than lollies as I really don’t want to give her sugar every day.
I’ve been wracking my brain and as yet haven’t come up with anything fabulous. I really like these ideas (click on images to go to photo websites).
 

julkalender-11
Zenzi Adventswolke
CALENDRIER-NOEL-ZU1
Modern-Advent-Calendar 4
PicMonkey-Collage4

 
What do you think? What kind of Advent calendar are you making this year? I’d love to see them! Post a link in the comments and show me?
 

Bee Geometric Gift Box

 

Bee/ Geometric Goodie/ Gift Box

 
For Munchkin’s first birthday party I made up a suite of items that all fit with the Bee theme we’d set. I wanted them to be modern and sweet, without covering everything with flowers or running with a black and yellow bee theme.

On the day, I incorporated loads of fresh flowers and lots of little modelling chocolate bees into the decorations. But for the invitations, thank you cards and goodie/ gift boxes, we went with something a little more modern.

This was as we had lots of our friends around, not just Munchkin’s playmates. Starting next year, we’ll have much smaller parties with her friends and it’ll all be based around what she decides she loves at that time. So I’m expecting to have to create Totoro, Curious George or Winnie the Pooh themed parties!

The gift boxes were a hit. We filled them with sweets and chocolates. They also perfectly matched the cookies we gave away.
 

Bee/ Geometric Goodie/ Gift Box

 
The templates for matching invitations, thank you cards and their respective envelopes will be on the blog next week.

They’re cut out of A4 card stock (as per usual, the thickest you can get through your printer!). I used 200 gsm. And they make up a box 8cm (tall) x 9cm (wide) x 6cm (high)

I cut the goodie boxes out with my Graphtec cutter, but a little research has shown me that the Silhouette system now has all the same functionality. So if you have a Silhouette you can make these exactly as I have. If you want to change them, you can. Load up the file in Illustrator and modify it to your hearts content.
 

Bee/ Geometric Goodie/ Gift Box

 
For those of you without a cutting system, I’ve also included PDF files with the entire image printed on the top as shown below. One with the score lines marked and one without. This means it can be cut out by hand excluding all the intricate detail in the top of the box.
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Kawaii Halloween Frankenstein Gift Box

 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Frankenstiny

 
As promised, here is the 2nd in my kawaii Halloween series. This time a cute little kawaii Frankenstein to go along with kawaii Ghosty! They make really cute little gift boxes.
 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Frankenstiny

 
The boxes go together just like Kawaii Ghosty but are a bit simpler as they’re a traditional rectangle.

You’ll need 3 pieces of A4 card stock, the thickest you can get through your printer (I used 200 gsm) and your choice of adhesive (I used a Pritt stick)

Then just print and cut out each of the pieces in the PDF template at the bottom of this post. Scoring and/or folding along the dotted lines.
 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Frankenstiny

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Kawaii Halloween Ghosty Giftboxes

 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Ghosty

 
As I’ve mentioned in posts before, we don’t really celebrate Halloween beyond making sure I have a packet of something to give to the one or two children who might turn up with their parents.

But I know that a large number of you lovely readers, and quite a few of my friends here in Switzerland, do celebrate it! So I decided to revisit my Kawaii Halloween Cupcake Toppers and to play with the design a little! I’ve come up with two designs (the other I’ll share with you next week) to make some easy gift boxes.

This gift box template could be used for Halloween, for a Ghoulish Birthday Party, or just as a gift box for your favourite Goth or Kawaii fan.
 

Kawaii Halloween Boxes- Ghosty

 
Each box comes to 130mm x 115mm and is 40mm deep. The inside compartment is (at it’s widest) 115mm x 80mm. They’re fairly large, but you can easily scale them down if you want something smaller. Just make sure to scale all the templates the same percentage.

To make this little Kawaii Ghosty, you just need to print out the three templates in the PDF file attached onto A4 card stock. Use the thickest you can get through your printer. I used 200gsm.
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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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