Monday, November 23, 2009

A Holiday Project And Food For Thought

I love this project because it's so versatile.  You can use them for a variety of different occasions and personalize them any way you want.  You can also make them in nearly any size you like.  I'm talking about pillowboxes.

I learned to make these years ago, long before I had the convenience of computer software and a printer.  You can make them out of any heavy, sturdy paper.  I prefer to use cardstock because it scores easily and holds it's shape well.  Heavy scrapbooking and decorative papers (even wallpaper) work well, too.

To begin, you need a template.  You could easily make your own with a piece of paper, a ruler and something to trace for the curves.  If you want to skip that part, I've scanned one of the templates that I used.  It is for a pair of pillowboxes. 

Be sure to click on the image before saving to get the largest size.

You can use this template as a guide to create your boxes with your photo software.  With the software I use, I add this template as my background.  After placing my photos and text, I delete the template so that the cut and score lines won't be printed on the finished product.  The next step is to print your sheets.

Before cutting and scoring

Now, place the template over your printed sheet.  Using a ball point pen and ruler, trace over all the straight lines of the template being sure to press very hard.  I usually go over each line twice.

Trace the curved lines next.  It is helpful to use something with the same curved edge as a guide to keep your lines clean.  I use a saucer.

After you have traced the entire sheet, you can cut your boxes out.  I use scissors, but you could use a mat knife if you prefer.

Next, fold along your straight score lines.  Then, secure the flap by using glue or double sided tape.  I used a glue stick that is purple when wet and clear when dry.  Be sure to let the glue dry before moving on to the next step.

Using gentle pressure on the straight sides, squeeze the box open.  Carefully fold in the end flaps along the score lines.  The flaps should stay closed.  That's it, you're done!  

You can fill your boxes with small items like candy, individual serving packets of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, photos or lottery tickets.   You can also wrap the boxes in ribbon and tie them up with a bow or add a loop of string for hanging on the Christmas tree.

I made some tiny boxes to use as placecards for Thanksgiving. 

Each little box is the perfect size for a single mint.

Here are some larger placecards made with the template I used for this demonstration. 

Christmas themed boxes. 

I'll be making plenty of these between now and Christmas!

Here are some boxes used as invitations to a holiday gathering. 

I printed the invitation on the front side and the address on the back side of each box.  They would have to be delivered by hand to keep their shape, of course.  You could tuck a map or a menu inside.

All of the lovely vintage graphics I used can be found (as well as lots of other great pictures and project ideas) at The Graphics Fairy.  Please visit her lovely website and check out her fabulous Brag Monday feature.

Food For Thought

I don't make as many homemade food gifts as I used to. I love to bake, so every year I made dozens of cakes, cookies, candies and pies to give as holidays gifts. It got to be pretty time consuming and, therefore, stressful to get it all done, so I've cut back over the last few years. Last year, Mr. Willoughby and I made batches of hot buttered rum batter, packaged them in attractive freezer containers (the batter is to be kept frozen) and paired them each with a bottle of spiced rum to give to friends and neighbors. We adorned each rum bottle with a silver Christmas ball on silver string and included the instructions for using the batter to make both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. They were simple to make and very well received.

I've been thinking about what to make for this year's gift, and I'm wondering how "homemade" I want to go. I read a survey where people were asked if they enjoyed homemade food gifts, and, while many said that it depended on who made the food, a large number of people admitted to throwing it away without taking a single taste. They appreciated the thought and the effort, of course, but didn't want to eat food prepared in someone else's kitchen. With all of the flu viruses going around, I'm guessing people will be more wary than ever, this year.

How do you feel about homemade food gifts (other than those from immediate family members)? If you were to be completely honest, have you ever received something that you threw away without tasting? What are your plans for homemade food gifts?



Raoulysgirl said...

First, I LOVE the pillowboxes!!! Now, if I can just find someone to make them for me!!! I am such a craft klutz!!

As for the food gifts, I'm not crazy about eating from other people's kitchens. I know that may be rude, but at least I'm honest!!! You know how neurotic I am!!!

Rook No. 17 said...

You rock sister! I love pillow boxes, and what you do with them is inspired! They're so beautiful! I'm going to have to try some myself. To answer your question, I enjoy food gifts. Anything that someone took the time to purchase ingredients for, bake with love (and do the dishes after), and package creatively is a gift that I appreciate and enjoy. It doesn't gather dust or add to the clutter, but leaves a nice warm feeling in your heart!

Purple Flowers said...

1. LOVE those pillow boxes! If you lived near me, I'd pay you for them. I'm not the best crafter in the world - not so great at working on small crafts w/my hands.
2. I love and eat homemade goodies. I know who they come from (friends and family). I also bake alot for friends,family, neighbors, post man. They all seem to love them and look forward to them. Many of them talk about last years' goodies. How sad people throw good food w/good intentions away. And what hungry child would love a bag of cookies? Sometimes I don't know about this crazy world, but I have to remain positive and keep on bakin'. :)

Donna-FFW said...

Love your craft!!

As far as food gifts, I will eat from family and very close friends I know and trust,and who are immaculate, but say Joe Blow down the way brings me some food, nope, wont touch it. How do Iknow if he washes his hands?

I love to give away trays of cookies each year, bout 15 different kinds, also quick breads, sometimes muffins, and fudge. Chocolate covered pretzals with sprinkles, bark, etc..

5thsister said...

Food gifts are okay by me (but not from complete strangers). So, what are you going to send me! :o)

Your pillow boxes are truly inspired. I don't know if I could do them but it looks like it is well worth the try!

Karen- The Graphics Fairy said...

Those boxes are wonderful! So professional looking and how nice of you to include a template!!

We actually prefer food gifts at our house. We have 4 teenagers here so free food is always welcome! Instead, we usually get a lot of knickknack type items that we don't really need. I usually donate them to a charity.

Deidra said...

Wow! Those are cool. I had no idea what a pillow box was before I read this post. Always learning something new over here on your blog!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amy said...

I love the gift you and Mr. Willoughby gave last year, the bottle of rum with the hot buttered rum batter - it's unique, creative and sounds delicious. I think homemade gifts are fantastic but am used to people ntossing them out since that's what my family - my mother and her sister and my "aunt-in-law" used to do. I always thought it was such a shame to throw out yummy creations someone made for you. You have a point about viruses and things. But I prefer to enjoy life!

The boxes you made & showed us how to make are wonderful! Thank you! I really like the idea of using them as place markers at holiday dinner.

You impress me so much Mrs. Willoughby!

ChristineM said...

Those boxes are sooo cool! Are you sure someone like me would be able to make them? ;)

While I love to bake for people, I can understand and respect that some people aren't comfortable with food gifts, perhaps this year more than ever. I'm usually pretty open about receiving food - not from total strangers, but friends and acquaintances I pretty much trust. I have a couple neighbors/friends that I swap cookies with, and I bring a big platter to work, and to whatever family gatherings we have... but I try to be sure it's not going to someone who will toss it. It's a labor of love for me, but still a labor, and and I don't want all that to go to waste!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

I love the pillow boxes...and putting a mint inside is such a good idea..and as far as the homemade food gifts go..I do love them.

I want to make some Panetonne this year...that italian fruit bread, but using the dried fruit instead of candied fruit,I did it last year and it seemed to be a pretty big hit..or so they said...who really knows for sure :-{

As far as greener grass....I don't know...but I am sitting here in shorts and flip flops..on Thanksgiving.... :-{

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving....

Best to you,

Chicago Mom said...

We have a ton of cardstock paper in the basement I have been trying to come up with a reason to use - thanks for the reason! Those pillowboxes are so cute! I can let my daughter decorate some too, which she will totally get a kick out of!

I will eat food gifts from family and close friends, but would not from someone I did not know well. Actually, almost all my neighbors and I only exchange homemade food for gifts at Christmas. Definitely not the time to be on a diet on my block!

Kathy said...

Great project! I always make dozens of cookies to give out, but it didn't even cross my mind that people might be throwing them away! All that effort for nothing. I didn't even think about not doing it because of the flu, I may have to rethink my gift giving this year.

prashant said...

I will eat from family and very close friends I know and trust,and who are immaculate,

Work From Home india

Cameron said...

happy turkey day!!!!!

elvira pajarola said...

Wonderful work and how many ideas !!!!
really lovely and I'd like to copy them too....!
I love to invent and create little things like those also.....actually I work a lot with ribbons and fabrics; even without sewing..!

You did a fantastic creativ job!

I wish you a wonderful and joyful Thanksgiving day!!!

ciao elvira
(here in Tuscany we celebrate Monday our yearly Provincia holiday...!)

Holly said...

Your boxes are awesome. I am so impressed! The way you decorated them is divine.

I make my cakes in a jar for far as I know people eat them...maybe they are just being nice. I do enjoy homemade gifts. The edible gifts that I hate actually come from..should I say it...Harry and David. I'd much rather have a homemade goodie than that.

Happy Thanksgiving.



Amy said...

Hi! I just wanted to wish you a wonderful & enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend! I hope you're relaxing :o)

~ Amy

kys said...

I love those little boxes! I'll eat food gifts from family and close friends. One year my oldest and I made an assortment of candy and gave them to several people (Sunday school teachers, teachers, bus driver, garbage men) and they all said they loved it. (Now I wonder if they just threw it out!)