Tag Archives: gift ideas

Thoughtfulness through Presentation

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m re-developing the habit of thoughtfulness.

Time and budget constraints often prevent us from giving gifts, so I’m training myself to give smaller, simpler things.  I’ve even used my brownies a lot lately as gifts.   I watch for little things on sale that I can use as gifts or which can be used to package gifts in.

Wrapping a gift with someone special in mind can be a creative and happy experience.  It’s fun to rummage through bits of paper or ribbon and find ways to use them.

For President’s Day I gave away a couple copies of this amazing book.  I wanted the package to be patriotic and a bit more masculine in feel.  Lincoln and fluff just don’t go together in my mind.  For the first I used a simple red wrapping paper, followed by a rich blue raffia wrapped and criss-crossed around the book several times.  A patriotic tag tucked in and it was just right.

The second book I wrapped in the same wrapping paper.  I embellished the package with some navy tulle and burlap ribbon.

I tied a simple knot in the ribbons before taping them to the package.  I really like how it looked.  A tea-stained tag was hung on a Christmas ornament hook, which I then hooked to the ribbon.

I enjoy this process so much I would love to wrap a gift every day.  That would be a fun New Year’s resolution, wouldn’t it?  To give a gift every day of the year.  I love the creative experience of preparing the package and the feeling of anticipation it gives me to present it to the recipient.

Who doesn’t like a pretty package?  Have you given a beautiful package lately?

Have a great day!
Hopeful Homemaker

Valentine Brownies, part II

Presenting my second take on brownies-turned-Valentines.

We made a second batch of our favorite brownies, but this time we divided the batter into six inch cake pans.

I traced six inch circles onto parchment paper, cut them out, and lined the bottoms of the pans for easy release.  I also lightly sprayed the sides with non-stick baking spray.

Divide the batter between the three pans, then mix up these ingredients:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
2 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. flour

Mix until smooth.

We used this recipe to make this version in the fall.  I love how such a simple thing can be adapted to many occasions.  My girls decided they wanted to add pink food coloring this time.

Scoop the filling into a disposable decorating bag, cut off the tip, twist the ends, and set your daughters loose (or have some creative fun yourself).

They came up with these designs:

Bake them at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.  I’ve found that they sometimes need a little extra time because they’re so thick and the cream cheese on top makes the centers take longer to cook.  Watch the center carefully so you don’t end up with gooey, under-cooked brownies.

They’re so cute when they’re done, and we liked how the pink worked.

Once they’ve cooled, remove from the pan and peel the parchment paper off the bottom.  Place on a paper doily, then add a cardboard cake round to support the bottom.

We wrapped them in cellophane to share with friends.  This would also be a fun dessert to have at a romantic dinner for two.

I bought a little bunch of these roses at the dollar store recently.  I thought their slightly vintage feel would look fun on packages.  I wrapped the stem around the cellophane and added a simple tag.  Ready to go!

Next time I think I would order a set of these pans to bake brownies in.  So cute!

Hopeful Homemaker

Valentine Brownies, part I

Looking for a simple but sweet valentine gesture?

Whip up a batch of brownies (try this best ever brownie recipe for great results) and simply cut them using a heart shaped cookie cutter.

Simply place them on a pretty paper napkin and serve.  Your family or guests will love them.

Want to make them even more fun?  Package them.

I bought some super cute pink and white striped cookie bags and simply punched my favorite scalloped circle to make a tag.  A bit of hand lettering and a simple heart stamp finish it off.

I bought the bags here, and was impressed with how quickly they shipped them.  If I had a small fortune to spend on packaging, I think I’d buy some in every color.  They are just too cute.

Next I cut a piece of parchment paper to wrap around the brownie to prevent oil marks from forming on the striped bag.  Simply insert the brownie into the bag…

fold the top and punch holes in both the tag and bag.  Add a ribbon and you’re done!

It’s so much fun to wrap up a little treat as an unexpected gift.

If I had planned ahead and ordered different bags, I would be all over these two downloadable designs for Valentine treats.  This one is especially for brownies, and this you could use for any kind of treat.  It never occurred to me that I could run these little bags through an ink jet printer.   She has a shop where she sells the bags in sets of 25 for $5.  I hope she updates the brownie bag next year, because I’d love to use it.   Check them out!

Up next, Valentine Brownies Part II.

Hope you’re having a great day!

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