Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's Day Goody Bags

This year I volunteered to supply the goody bags for my youngest’s pre-school Valentine’s party. A top priority was to not fill the bags with plastic junk that would be looked at for a second and then tossed in a landfill. Since bookmarks are small, useful, and can be designed for any holiday I chose a reading theme.

Each goody bag would be filled with:
  •     A card
  •     A bookmark
  •     A full-sized Kit Kat candy bar (because of its red packaging)
  •     2 pieces of Valentine’s Day taffy (to share with siblings. and because I love taffy)
First the bookmarks. I originally intended to create a cardboard bookmark. Well, I’d like to THINK that was my original intention. Because that would have been the wiser (and cheaper option), but I ended up making ribbon bookmarks. After scouring the web, I found instructions for creating them here and here. (I'm so glad that I found ImogensGarden's blog because that's where I learned to look for "ribbon clamps." Using the right words can save so much time when explaining to a sales person what one is looking for.)

This project could have cost a lot more than it did but I made several trips to Michaels with coupons in hand. I also found that the wedding craft section of that store is a great alternative for charms. If I’d chosen them from the jewelry section, it could have cost as much as $5.00 for 5 items. As it was, the wedding section had a packet of FIFTY (50!) heart charms for $4.99…that combined with a 40% discount made them very inexpensive.

I also returned to the wedding section for a package of 50 mini tulle bags to put each bookmark in. I then secured a bag inside each recipient’s Valentine’s Day card.

But I didn’t make 50 bookmarks. Oh, no. I didn’t have THAT much time on my hands. Besides which, each ribbon clamp package was only available in packs of 5 complete sets of varying sizes. Rather annoying. So as I was using coupons very actively, I only managed to get 5 packs…for 25 bookmarks. (It was annoying at the time, but in retrospect I am relieved that I was unable to find large packs of ribbon clamps. Because then I'd have had to make 50 bookmarks.)

Fortunately, though, the bookmarks were really quick to make. The most time consuming part was gathering the supplies. I applied the clamps and then focused on adding the beads. We were able to get them done in an hour or so. (I doubt it took much longer than that as I distinctly remember my sons patiently hovering around us as we worked…and it was getting to be dinner time…and they SO wouldn’t have let us work peacefully if their stomaches were growling…which means I was multi-tasking…but, regardless, it was a peaceful evening.)

I didn’t take any pictures of the bookmarks in progress, but I’m not going to reinvent the wheel with instructions for creating them. The earlier links to Imogen’s Garden and Michaels lead to great instructions for creating ribboned bookmarks of your own.

Now the cards. Creating the cards and the goody bags was the most time consuming part of the project. I scoured (again) the Web for reading-related Valentine’s text but not finding any I attempted to create my own. The final product was corny and not worthy of the beautiful bookmarks. After another I attempt, I found the PERFECT text. It was written by a librarian, her site gave permission for it’s re-use, and I want to credit her, but I can’t find the site now. (So Dear Librarian, or Friend-of-Dear-Librarian, if you should stumble across this blog, please send me a link to your site and I’ll add the info!)

If I’d known the cards would take me ALL day Saturday to create, I might not have done as much Xacto cutting and punching as I did.

Here’s the work table:
(Do you see the penguin waving at you? And the Lightning Thief Guide Book? --- Why, yes, we DID brave the crushing crowds last Saturday to meet some of the movie cast members!)

Here’s the incomplete supply list:
The supply list picture is missing: heart punch, hole punch, beading tools, Kit Kat bar, taffy, paper bag …umm, I’m sure there’s other stuff. But it’ll give a general idea as to what I used.

And the final product:
The inside of the card has a small tulle bag holding a bookmark with “Happy Valentine’s Day” stamped beneath it. On the back of the card is a small picture of smiling cherubs that were also individually punched out and then glued on. (I'm kind of glad I forgot pictures of the inside and back of the card because this blog entry would be unforgiveably long. Well. It's in that category already, I suppose.)

If I were making the card for grown-ups rather than four year olds, I would have used better quality paper for the text (I just used plain old typing paper). And, yes, I know the clamp on that ribbon on the left is too large. I doubt the four-year olds will notice. And, actually, there are a LOT of non-crafty grown-ups who wouldn’t notice as well. (But, of course, if I’d noticed the size discrepancy before production time arrived, I would have chosen another ribbon. Because I’m a perfectionist. Even when it nearly kills me.)

The delivery method:
I love lunch bags. I truly do. They are my preferred method of gift packaging. There’s so much that can be done with them AND they’re bio-degradable!

And that’s that for the goody bags. The party is this Friday. I also volunteered to supply decorations for the class so I’m making a felt heart banner. (Of the style that is sweeping the blogosphere this season. I’ll post pictures of it this weekend. I hope. Good intentions and all that…)