Archive for June 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

notetrunk giveaway

NoteTrunk is a wonderful etsy shop that specializes in Custom Rubber Stamps, for Address, Wedding Invitations, Wedding Save the date, Housewarming Gifts and much more! NoteTrunk loves to combine old and vintage, with new and modern styles. Creating unique personalized stamps with a twist that will add a fresh look to all of your paper-goods. They offer both recycled Eco and Wood Handle mount stamps and convenient Self inking stampers.

Look at some of the beautiful designs they have to offer...

And that's just scratching the surface! There are pages and pages of NoteTrunk with all sorts of stamp designs. I love that you can just have a stamp and add your personal return address to any card or letter you send out! I always get so tired of hand-writing it or using the generic return address stickers I get from various organizations through the mail. Now you can have a beautiful stamp that reflects your personal style!

Today, NoteTrunk is giving away 2 $33 gift certificates! All you need to do to enter is visit Notetrunk and find your favorite stamp. Then come back and leave us a comment with which one it is. For a second entry you can like Notetrunk on Facebook. This giveaway will end on Tuesday, July 3rd at 11:59pm PT.

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kiwi crate

Kiwi Crate is a great site that offers crates filled with fun craft activities for kids delivered right to your door! You can join and get a crate each month. The crate comes with everything you need to complete two fun projects with your kids. They are centered around a certain theme and are so fun!

I received a Kiwi Crate to try out the other day and I was excited because it was just what I needed for a fun summer activity for my boys. I particularly liked that everything was planned and organized already for me. Sometimes it can get quite tedious thinking up crafts and getting all the supplies for it, so it was such a great thing to have it all ready to go. This crate had a garden theme, so my boys got to make a hanging window garden, and plant pots.

Here we are dropping water into the window garden to get the soil pellets wet.

Then we planted seeds in the soil and also decorated plant markers so we can see what grows!

For the other project in the Kiwi Crate, the boys were excited to work with modeling clay to decorate a plant pot. Then they colored plant cut-outs and added them to a pipe cleaner to make little plants to display in the pots. They had so much fun with it! 

Kiwi Crate was a really fun package to have delivered to our door to open up and have everything we needed for a fun activity.

This post is sponsored by Kiwi Crate. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

10 interior design tips {go from drab to fab}

Yes, I'm in the middle of another move, so we're feeling lucky to have a great guest post from Selina of Creative Juices Decor to share some fabulous interior design tips! (Remember her canvas map tutorial?) I love her advice--and looking forward to using it in my new home soon!

Hi Little Birdies Secret Readers!

Today I’m coming from CreativeJuicesDecor (a.k.a Selina) as an interior designer that wanted to share some easy tips and tricks how to decorate and  change your place from drab to fab. Smile  I promise if you follow these simple ideas you can really make a difference in how your home feels.


I understand that some folks can’t keep a plant alive for the life of them but there are some really nice faux plants out there too.  Sometimes they cost a lot – but they add so much to a room – definitely worth it. I just bought a beautiful palm tree for 35.00 at the thrift store (I was very lucky)  High end furniture stores I worked for sold these same trees for $250.00, but I’ve run across less expensive trees at home discount stores too.

  Photo from my house

2.) Create LAYERS and TEXTURE! 

An example would be a nice textured blanket (or fluffy sheep skin!) thrown across the edge of the sofa or chair. Prop layers of mirrors or frames against a wall, overlapping them slightly. Stacking books with a cool shaped vase on an end table or console table is great, see, now we’ve created dimension and layers!

blog final piano living room
My NEW house!! Come see the Tour!

3.) Organize your open areas!

Organize open shelving or armoires with cute storage bins or baskets. It pulls the room together and what could have looked like a cluttered mess now looks like a trendy designer look! 

      Kissingthejoy blog

4.) Add ambient lighting!

Luminaires (lamps) add so much! Many of the luminaires I own I have fixed up from a thrift store and cost me under 10 bucks a piece. Even if you have to spend lots of money on a luminaire or torchiere (light the shines upward) it is worth it for the mood it sets off in your home.  Luminaire lighting is so much softer than overhead lights.  Also up light your plants for a real designer look! (plant up lights can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes)

blog lamp
                                                         Thrift store lamp I bought and fixed up.  I also got the mirror second hand too.

5.) The Miracle of Mirrors.

Mirror’s are amazing!!  They can really give the illusion of more space and can lighten up an area immensely. Be sure plan a space for a big mirror – you’ll be so happy you did! 

                    My small dining area in my previous home – the mirror makes it look twice as large.

6.) Everything should have a spot.

Have an organized spot for your “daily messes”. Find a nice wicker serving tray for the remotes on your table, and a fun iron mail organizer.  Believe me, this will really help with making your space look better.

7.) Fireplace holes.

Don’t let your fireplace become the black hole in “off” seasons.  Fill it with a collection of candle pillars or a woven basket or colorful pots.


8.)  ADD plates to your wall! 

This is also one of my favorites (along with #1).  It is just so simple and cheap!!!  It gives your space a big bang for your buck.

9.) First impressions count!!!

If you only have a small budget spend it on your entry.  Start by bringing in a small dresser, table or bench to create a focal point, then add accessories.  Place an umbrella stand or a tall vase next to the table/dresser to give it some dimension.  (see point 2)  Pretend you are a stranger and open your front door – what do you see, is there anything that grabs your attention? a focal point? something that looks pretty???  If not, pull some stuff around and make that great entry!

Bailey Console Table, Cognac stain

Again, this is my new home we built.

10) Adding art and how to place your art.

If your art seems to just float in a space move it closer to the sofa or table it’s hanging above.  The items should relate, not disconnect.  My personal rule of thumb is to hang pictures 8-10” above the top of whatever it is I am hanging it over. Need a big piece of art?  Combine a bunch of smaller frames next to each other to create a large wall collage.

Check out the post of my brother's BEFORE AND AFTER pictures where I implemented these tips all on a thrift store budget!  Or, do you need tips how to decorate the tops of your cabinets?  Just click the link and I'll show you how!

blog top of china hutch decorating idea

All right my friends!  Come follow along and have fun making your home look great! ~ Creative Juices Decor ~

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

summer movie fun {sparking imagination}

Summer is here and my constant task is finding fun activities for my boys to do each day. Sometimes it's an art project, sometimes it's playing with friends, or at the park and sometimes it's a movie day!
Recently we went to Redbox and got Dino Dan: Dino Trackers/Ready? Set? Dino! and my boys loved it.

When looking for movies for my boys to watch, I like to pick something that will spark their imagination. Since this was a movie about dinosaurs I knew it would definitely hold their attention while also encouraging imagination. The boys watched it and then afterwards they began exploring around the house like they were tracking dinosaurs. It was so fun to watch. They put backpacks on and found a magnifying glass to hunt with. They also pulled out their dino pillow pets to pretend they found dinosaurs. They even discussed the different features of each dinosaur! I was so happy that not only did they watch a movie that they really enjoyed, but they spent a better part of the day using their imagination and playing together!

Ignite your child’s imagination this summer! Rent Dino Dan: Dino Trackers / Ready? Set? Dino! and other Family Fun movies & games from Redbox this summer and you could win one of three family vacations, including a trip for four to Toronto for a walk-on role in Dino Dan (if you rent before 7/8)! Official Sweepstakes Rules

3 Easy ways to enter!
1. Rent a participating movie or game at a Redbox kiosk before 8/27 and enter your email at check out. Click here for a complete list of participating titles
2. Reserve a Summer Family Fun title online
3. Go here to find out how to enter without renting

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Redbox. The opinions and text are all mine.

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comet spring cleaning giveaway winner

Thanks for entering our comet spring cleaning giveaway. The giveaway has ended and we are excited to announce the lucky winner! The winner of a spring cleaning caddy filled with goodies from comet is...

Mami2jcn who said, 
"I'd like to try the stainless steel cream . Thanks!"

Congrats! We know you will love these cleaners. We have sent you an email so we can get your address to send the prize. Enjoy!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

comet spring cleaning giveaway

Have you already gotten all your spring cleaning done? I sure haven't. I have gotten some closets cleaned out and re-organized some things but as far as cleaning goes...well that's an everyday battle at my house.

Am I the only one who has stainless steel appliances that are constantly covered in kid fingerprints and smudges? Comet recently sent me some of their new stainless steel cleaners to try out and I was really excited to try them because I need a good stainless steel cleaner!

I really love the Comet Stainless Steel Spray. This was perfect for cleaning my dishwasher, oven, and fridge. It got the fingerprints off with no streaking! Winner.

There is also a stainless steel cream which you can use to clean your stainless steel cookware without scratching it, which is great.

Then they have a stainless steel powder which I used on my stainless steel sink and I don't think it has been that shiny and clean since it was brand new!

All the cleaners are really great and I am happy to have found some great products to use. Lucky for you, one of you has the chance to win some of these fabulous products from Comet! Look at this great cleaning caddy filled with goodies...

You can win all the cleaners, plus other great items like coupons and a gift card to buy more supplies! All you need to do is leave a comment telling us which cleaner you want to try the most from the new Comet Stainless Steel Cleaners. For a second entry you can share this giveaway on Facebook. Leave us a link to your post! This giveaway will end on Tuesday, June 26th at 11:59pm PT. Good Luck!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

twisted yarn jewelry {craft camp}

I'm in the middle of packing for another cross-country move, so my summer crafts with the kids have had to be relatively simple. Like this twisted yarn necklace we made for Skip To My Lou's Craft Camp this week. I made one for myself and I actually wear it!

Skip on over to Skip To My Lou to get the how to for this cool technique. You can use up scrap yarn while keeping the kids busy for a minute or two. And while you're there you can find more Summer Craft Camp crafts for kids from 30 fun bloggers!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

make a temporary tiered serving plate {guest post}

Last week I shared this easy temporary tiered serving plate idea over at Make and Takes. I've been having lunch with different friends the last few weeks as we get ready to say goodbye to Iowa (has it been a year already?). Since all my cute serving plates are in storage in Seattle, I've gotten creative with my one set of everyday dishes I have here to make my presentation a little more interesting. After throwing down a piece of wrapping paper for a table runner, I made these tiered serving plates to hold cupcakes and cookies. Yeah, I totally forgot to photograph them with food on them. I even forgot to take pictures with my cute friends. That is just a perfect example of how my brain is working these days! Please forgive.

The reason I love these is that you can make these cake platters out of any dish you own, but it doesn't have to be permanent (like this upcycled cake platter and these cupcake stands I made). Check out the full tutorial over at Make and Takes and take some of the stress out of summer entertaining!

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summer party invitations {tiny prints discount code}

Summer is here and that means the Fourth of July and Summer Parties! BBQs are seriously one of my favorite parts of summer. We've had one every week of the summer so far! Burgers, corn-on-the-cob, ice cream sandwiches--I cannot get enough of summer food and hanging out outside with friends.
OK, so you have an All-American menu ready, a guest list in mind and the grill is already warming up. That’s a great start. Now it’s time to invite some friends over!
I know most of us have gotten used to using an online invitation for get-togethers, but I miss the paper invites! The only problem is that these days I'm too busy to make them. My fave new printing service is Tiny Prints. They are the best for all things invitations. You can choose from over 100 designs, including some specifically for July 4th.
These are not your run of the mill, off the shelf invitations, either. They are seriously classy…and you can customize everything. The process could not be simpler:
1.    You choose from one of over 100 of their summer party invitation designs.
2.    You personalize them. Change the font, change the text colors, upload a picture, etc.
3.    You approve them and use promo code 15INVITES when you checkout to save 15% (ends midnight Pacific Time June 26, 2012).
4.    They send them for you (this only costs the price of a stamp).
5.    People come over to your house, blow some stuff up, and everyone eats way too much food.
6.    Everyone wants to come back next year. You are a local legend.
It’s time to order, so check them out today. Don’t forget the 15% off sale ends at midnight June 26, 2012.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

father's day crafty gifts for guys {roundup}

More fun ideas today for great Father's Day gifts, including our Sculpey pens tutorial! The Dating Divas are back with another great roundup of Father's Day crafts that are cute but not too cutesy--love that! 
#1) Measure Up: Father's Day Card {The Dating Divas} - Write a cute note to your spouse or father on this special day to let him know he "measures up!" 
 #2) Sculpey Pens {Little Birdie Secrets} - Dads can be hard to craft for, but every dad can use a pen, right? This fun and creative craft gives kids a chance to make something for dad that he'll actually use!
A 2x4 We Love Daddy Photo Stand {How Does She?} -
The perfect desktop frame to remind him how much he is loved!
Father's Day Magnet Board {WhipperBerry}
- A fun magnet board to dress up Daddy's office.
#5) Father's Day Super Hero Pop Box Set {Lil' Luna} - A SUPER cute and SUPER easy gift filled with your hubby or daddy's favorite goodies to give on Father's Day!
Father's Day Handprint Tree (Free Printable) {The Crafting Chicks}
- Showcase and preserve the kids' handprints in this sentimental gift for Father's Day. Free Printable too!
#7) Remote Control Cookie {Somewhat Simple} - Yep, that picture is an actual edible cookie! (Almost too cute to eat!) Give your husband the remote for the day with this darling cookie idea!

#8) Father's Day Candy Bouquet {The Dating Divas}
- Women aren't the ONLY ones who like to receive bouquets! Change those flowers out for some of your man's favorite treats and this easy idea is sure to be a hit!
#9) Finger Paint Picture Frame {Sweet Rose Studio} - What Dad doesn't love a little artwork from his kidlets to decorate his office? These picture frames are a perfect way to showcase your little one's masterpiece!  
#10) Golf Get Together {My Insanity} - Easy golf-themed cupcakes and lots more ideas that would be great for a Father's Day celebration for a golfer. 
 #11) Cereal Box Craft Tutorial {The Dating Divas} - Made out of CEREAL BOXES - you can showcase 30 reasons why you love your spouse! The results are stunning!
#12) A Tie-riffic Father's Day {My Insanity} - DIY banner, food, gift packaging and more--all paying homage to the quintisenntial Father's Day symbol: The Tie

That got my creative juices flowing! With such a variety of ideas, there is a little something for every guy out there. Thanks to The Dating Divas and all our amazing blogging friends who shared such great Father's Day crafts!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

quick and easy father's day gift ideas {roundup}

This is such a fun time of year in our house--we celebrate my husband's birthday, our anniversary, and Father's Day, three days in a row! We really get to spoil him rotten. I love that my boys love getting creative and making gifts for Daddy, but coming up with three multiple gifts the same week every year is hard. Luckily, The Dating Divas have rounded up a bunch of the best "Quick & Easy" ideas from around the blogging community for us this Father's Day, which means they're perfect for including kids. Or if you are running out of time and need to come up with something FABULOUS for Father's Day--these ideas should take you 15 minutes or less to prepare. Sweet!
#1) Framed Father's Day Quote {Somewhat Simple} - Darling and sooooo easy!! It doesn't get any easier than this! Print directly from the computer or use some vinyl to stick on the glass with scrapbook paper behind it. Simple and sweet.  
#2) Money Shirt For Your Guy {HowDoesShe?} - A new way to give him some "man cash" to show how much you love him: An Origami Man Shirt  
#3) Homemade M&M Dispenser {The Dating Divas} - If the father of the house LOVES M&M's - then you should definitely check out this hilarious and fun idea to surprise him on Father's Day!  
#4) A Basket of Love For Dad or Grandpa {Somewhat Simple} - Get the kids involved by asking them what they love most about their dad or grandpa. Type up and print their responses and attach them to small items that illustrate their answers. With this gift, it isn't so much about the items you buy, but more about the meaning of those items that will make him feel special- perfect for the guy who already has everything!!! 
#5) Father's Day Card Tutorial {The Dating Divas} - Print off this printable listing all the synonyms that go along with being a father! Grab some colorful paper and your Father's Day card is complete!  
#6) Father's Day Printables {WhipperBerry} - A cute little tag to add to Dad's favorite bottle of Pop. It says "Pop you put the Fizz into my Life!" 
#7) Surprise Love Notes {HowDoesShe?} - Surprise him throughout the day with these adorable love notes on his favorite foods and places. 
#8) Father's Day Print {Sweet Rose Studio} - This simple gift is perfect and easy for a last minute present for the special dad in your life! Print it out, frame it, and it's ready to go!  
#9) Father's Day Word Art {The Crafting Chicks} - A meaningful quote turned into a beautiful free printable to frame for Dad.  
#10) The Sock Bouquet {HowDoesShe?} - A beautiful new way to give your love his favorite socks!  
#11) Free Father's Day Questionaire Printable {The Crafting Chicks} - Kids say the funniest things! Quiz your kids to see what they think about their dads and grandpas, it'll be the hit of the day!
 #12) World's Best POP! {The Dating Divas} - All you need is a can of your man's favorite soda, this darling printable, and a strip of fabric. Adorable way to let him know he's loved. 
 #13) More Father's Day Printables {Sweet Rose Studio} - Celebrate Dad on his special day with these great cupcake toppers and a sweet banner! 

Did you find the perfect gift idea like I did? If you did find something amazing, don't be shy about sharing the love! PIN it, comment on our post, comment on our amazing friends posts! We love hearing from you!

Happy Father's Day!!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

free father's day card {coupon code}

FREE Father's Day card--TWO HOURS ONLY! Perfect for procrastinators and cheapskates like me!
Today, June 12, 2012, between now and 11:00am Pacific Time (2:00 pm ET), you can get a FREE Father’s Day card from Treat!
Just in time too, as today is the LAST day to guarantee shipment before Father’s Day.
Just use the code WEEKENDTREAT and enjoy a free, customized, card. This offer applies to all new and returning customers.
Here is how it works:
·         You choose your card from their hundreds of Father’s Day designs.
·         Personalize it with photos, nicknames, inside jokes, whatever you want to add. This is your chance to make it YOUR card. Be creative. Be funny. Be sappy. Make dad laugh, cry, or just smile.
·         Use the code WEEKENDTREAT to get this special deal. (Note: This offer is good all customers, whether this is your first time or 100th time using Treat).
Treat will truly brighten your day…and your dad’s! So check them out now and take advantage of this awesome offer!
Note: You can choose the “Send it to me first” shipping option to receive the card free. If you choose “Mail it directly to the recipient,” you will be charged $0.44 for postage. Limit one per household. You will also be asked for your credit card to verify your identity and prohibit fraud, but you will not be charged for a free card if you mail to yourself.

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father's day craft {roundup}

Father's Day is coming up, and what better way to show your love than with a thoughtful present? Men don't always love the cutsie things that we create, but they love feeling special. Fathers tend to be forgotten during the year, so the little things we do can make them feel more appreciated.

The cute girls at The Dating Divas have gathered up some darling ideas to create for the dad in your life with the help of many different websites, like US! This was a HUGE collaboration to give you tons of wonderful ideas for Father's Day. There is so much to choose from, and if you like an idea click on the title. It's that easy!
#1) Spouse Subway Art {The Dating Divas} - Custom-make a subway art piece based ON your husband! This free site we found will help you do just that!
 #2) Luggage Handle Cover {Little Birdie Secrets} - A great "manly" gift for the guy who travels! This luggage handle cover is a quick and easy project, but one that will surely be appreciated by the dad in your life. Not only does it make his luggage handle more comfortable when lugging it through the airport, but it makes his bag easier to spot on the luggage carousel!
 #3) Best Daddy Ever Beans {The Letter 4} - This is so fun for the daddy who loves jelly beans! The printable provided renames the jelly bean jar "Best Daddy Ever Beans" and the flavors of each bean are replaced with a trait of daddy. ex. smart, caring, kind, etc.
 #4) "You're a Catch" Pail {Lil' Luna} - Super cute and easy gift to give to your spouse to thank him for being such a great catch and awesome daddy!  
#5) "All About You" Basket {The Dating Divas} - Who DOESN'T love to get compliments? Write down things you love about the man in your life & pair them with fun little presents to create the ULTIMATE "all about you" basket!  
#6)Father's Day Canvas Collage {Somewhat Simple} - A sweet and simple gift to Dad from the kiddos.  
#7) Manly Apron for Dad {The Crafting Chicks} - Here's an idea for a more manly apron for the grillmaster in the family, using Silhouette's heat transfer kit.  
#8) "My Pop Rocks!" {My Insanity} - This gift basket is so fun and easy to put together with free printables! Does your "pop" rock? Tell him with this pop-themed basket, featuring pop rocks, popcorn, soda pop and more!
 #9)Map O'Love {How Does She?} - Create a memory of your lives together using maps of where you have lived and the special moments that happened there...all in one special Map O'Love book. A beautiful, meaningful, personal gift.
 #10)Hot Stuff Grilling Father {My Insanity} - "Hot Stuff"-themed Father's Day for the the grill master (or hot man) in your life. DIY grilling apron and cake that lights on fire! #11)The Tickle Monster {How Does She?} - There is not much that is more beautiful than a child's laugh. This tickle set is the perfect gift your love and his children.  
#12)Father's Day Message Plaque {The Crafting Chicks} - A fun and simple gift where the kiddos can write love messages to their daddy. The best part is that it's dry erase vinyl, so the message can be changed every day!
 #13) Birthday Week Gifts 4 Him {The Dating Divas} - Originally a birthday post, these GREAT ideas for "manly" gifts would double perfectly for Father's Day!

And that's today's list of ideas for great Father's Day presents to make! Be sure to check back tomorrow for even more Father's Day ideas!

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Monday, June 11, 2012

easy mason jar centerpiece

I was looking for a small table centerpiece recently and after searching around and either not finding anything I liked or not wanting to pay a ton of money, I decided to make my own! With just a few simple supplies from Plaid and Walmart, I was able to create a beautiful mason jar centerpiece that I just love!

Plaid sent me a box of supplies that Walmart is now carrying in a Plaid Crafts section of the store and I was excited to try the new items out on my centerpiece. I also bought a container of pint jars for my project.

So, here's how easy it is to make your own mason jar centerpiece. You can customize it however you want, and I think it would be so pretty to make several of them and line a long table in coordinating colors and patterns!

You need:
--acrylic paint or spray paint (depending on how you want to paint your jar)
--patterned paper
--pint jar
--mod podge
--twine or ribbon or other embellishments you choose
--flowers or other greenery you want in the jar
--optional: stencil, if you want that variation

1st, paint your jar. You can paint it by hand, you can spray paint it, whatever you do, just paint the jar. Pick a pretty color while you're at it. It might take several coats for the jar to have full coverage. These Plaid attachments that fit perfectly onto their paint bottles came in handy for me. Love it!

After I painted my mason jar (and it had dried!), I cut a strip of patterned paper and brushed mod podge onto the back of it.

Then I attached the paper around the mason jar and glued it together where it matched up.

After the paper was on the jar, I brushed over the paper with more mod podge so it would really flatten out and adhere to the jar.

After that had dried, I wanted to embellish my jar with a little twine ribbon wrapped around it.

Finally, I snipped some flowers out of my yard and added them to the jar. You could actually add soil and a plant to the jar if you wanted to keep it around for a while.

There it is. You have an easy, simple centerpiece. Now go make some more to give as a lovely house-warming gift, or for a dinner party or just to line a long table with.

I also made another version that had a monogram stencil on it. I received some stencils from Plaid, so I just used that along with the acrylic paint and the brush attachment. I painted the stencil right onto my patterned paper.

This would be such a great idea to give as a gift or if you wanted to personalize centerpieces for a wedding or other event.

For more fabulous craft ideas and for information on Plaid, visit Plaid on Facebook and Twitter.
I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own. 

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