Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Handmade Christmas: Baking Part 3

I know you all have been busy baking and squirreling away all of your sweet treats in your freezers. Cookies and breads and candy. No? That's okay. I just started on Thursday night, so you have plenty of time. I baked enough for 3 packages Thursday night and thought it would be a perfect time to take pictures for all of you since I promised some packaging ideas. Just a few extra touches will make your packages stand out. It's worth a little extra time. This is your handmade gift after all : )

Here are my loaves of bread, cooled and wrapped in plastic wrap.

Then you'll need a few supplies. Ribbon, of course. This year I found the top and bottom ones at Sam's Club (only $8 for 50 yds - a steal) and the middle one is a Hobby Lobby staple and I catch it when it's 50% off, so only $4 for 30 yds.
A few gift bags or boxes, some clear or colored cellophane (not the shrink wrap gift basket stuff, just plain cellophane), gift tags, and cards if you send Christmas cards.

Some tissue paper or I've even used Christmas napkins.

Start with a piece of cellphone (it's clear so it's hard to see), a layer of tissue paper or the colored napking (face down of course), and your bread. You'll need more than you think. Give yourself plenty of material to work with, you can always trim the tops later. This one is about 2 to 2 1/2 feet long.
I find it's easiest to grab two opposite corners and scrunch first.

Then grab the other two sides. Not sure why, but this is much easier than grabbing all four at once.

Tie with ribbon and slide on a gift tag so you can write what it is. Surprises are fun, but with so many food allergies out there, it's better to be safe on this one.
I like to leave the ends tall, you'll see why later.
I also wanted to add a few pumpkin muffins to this bag, so I reached for these cellophane bags. I prefer not to use zip top bags. The cellobags are readily available at craft stores like Hobby Lobby or even stationery stores like If It's Paper and it will really complete your gift!

Use these bags for mini muffins, cookies, or candy. They come in a variety of sizes, but remember you will need to leave the top half or so empty to have enough room to tie them up.
Put your goodies in a gift bag, or a decorator box, or get creative. Baskets, mixing bowls, stockings, and pottery could be used just as well. I've found fun boxes at World Market, Garden Ridge, and Hobby Lobby. And look for sales on gift bags at stores like Old Time Pottery. I found these for only $.60 plus 50% off. Remember the long ends? It means I need less tissue paper in the bag.
I can't always find clear cellophane and this time of year, green and red looks great, too. Here is a green one I did. Love the ribbon on this one.
This one was for our neighbor, so I added some stationery from Fostering Creativity and the package was complete.

Some may argue that all this packaging is wasteful and unnecessary. I argue that if you're going to give a gift, it should look like you took a little time to put it together. You can choose recycled products, reuse gift bags you received, and search your closets for other baskets and containers you might have on hand already. Presentation is half of the gift, and it's the first half. Make a statement and let the recipient know you care. Plus, I find all the ribbons and paper fun, so I love it!

Have fun baking and wrapping. I'll have another good recipe for Raspberry Bars next.

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