Friday, November 14, 2014

Everyone Deserves a Little Sussie...

Growing up my dad would occasionally give me or my sister a "sussie"- as he called the little unexpected surprise gifts he occasional would give.  This type of gift was usually just from my dad himself which made it that much more special.  Like most dads of that era, he took a hands-off approach to gift-giving for his children instead he let my mom chose the majority of our gifts.
Last month two of my friend were down in the dumps.  One is struggling to find her place at college.  She just can't seem to connect to other students and find that group of friends that make college seem a little smaller and a lot more manageable.  The perfect time to send a little sussie.

The other is someone I met on Tumblr...or "stalked down is on Tumblr" is probably a more accurate description of how we met but it is safe to say we are now real friends.  Unfortunately, she has had some MAJOR crap to deal with recently and is feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.  Another perfect time for a sussie.

I spent a few days shopping at a different stores, picking up little things here and there and I forced my daughter's artistically-talented boyfriend to make an incredibly cool cup (below).  I could have just boxed everything up and sent them on their way... but what fun would that be?  Instead, I did some very simple embellishing and with a little time, a few sheets of paper, and some ribbon scraps I had two gifts that cost little but looked expensive and full of love.

I started with these Whisker Graphics kraft with polka-dots bags (available  I filled them with some of everyone's favorite candies-Kisses, M&M's, Recess etc.  Then I simply added strips of decorative paper, a few die cuts, a little ribbon and Voila. Such simple additions to a kraft bag- even one without the fun polka-dots- make a darling presentation that feels really special but is something anyone can do.
The paper pad that I used contained a sheet of journaling tags and ephemera.  I simply either cut them out-if the sides were straight (like the ticket)- or used a punch that best fit the circles.  Then it just takes a second to grab 2 or 3 and staple them in a little cluster.  Add a piece of velvet ric-rak glued on using tiny dots of hot glue.  The bags were all stapled shut using a Tiny Attacher but if you don't have one you can also use a regular stapler. .  
The two thin strips of paper embellishing the top of this bag were cut using Alterations Off the Edge Scallop and Pinking.  They were stapled using a Tiny Attacher and I added a pink seam-binding bow.  My favorite embellishment? The feathers.  I cut two feathers using Alterations Writing Desk and embellished the tops using a mixture of Martha Stewart White Gold glitter and Sterling Silver glitter. Feather are big right now so there are lots of options-Jenni Bowlin sells the paper feathers already to add to your design, many companies are offering feather dies, you can get a single SVG image and cut them using your Cricut or Silhouette.  Finally, you can easily hand cut them either a hand drawing or an image you find online.  
To mix things up a bit I added some Washi tape to the top and bottom of this bag.  Then I used a large circle punch to cut the large circle from a pretty area of my decorative cardstock. By putting the circle punch on the paper upside-down you can move it around until you find the perfect spot to cut.  Since everything looks better with a little sparkle I added self-adhesive rhinestones to the center of the flowers.  The paper running across the top of the bag is actually the off cut of the pennant Sizzlet Ribbon Flag.  I used a similar piece of off-cut waste on the bag below along the look at  your scraps, you might find pieces that are still very usable.  The tiny tags were cut using Alterations Tiny Tabs and Tags and stamped using some small word stamps.
For the final bag design I used Alterations Ribbon Flags that were simply grouped and stapled in place. I added a larger tag cut using Tiny Tabs and Tags that I labeled with black letter stickers and a blue seam binding bow. The top was adorned with a single row of iridescent sequin ribbon (I honestly don't know what this is called....what do we call sequins on a string?). I added a label to this bag as it was the only bag that contained candies that didn't have wrappers and since they weren't regular M&M's I thought a heads up was a good idea. 

The candies were split between the 2 boxes, so I made two everything.  I used cellophane bags to hold several candies and I made two of each of these as well.

Then I gave each a bar of handmade soap. I am ADDICTED to handmade cold process soap and will probably share a few of the incredible soapers I have found recently. While the soaps came in their own boxes, I wanted to add another layer of protection so the other items in the box didn't end up smelling-and testing-like soap.  To the front of the soap bags I add a simple price ribbon I made using Tim's Rosette Sizzlet, a die-cut flower from a Martha Stewart punch and two of the ribbon flags from Tim's die as the ribbon tails.
While the candies were divided between the boxes but everything else was personalized to the individuals.  To the college student I tried to remember things that I used to keep my sanity among the stress of college.  Things like weed, whisky, and wine.  No...I am just kidding.  I went to the University of Michigan people...there was no time for fun....I studied all the time.  No, I am not kidding.  

Pay attention and get serious now....ok? ok.  So one thing I remember doing to pamper myself-on a college student's budget- was to always use a special cup to drink tea or coffee.  

Starbucks Create-Your-Own
2013 Mug 
I found this cup at Starbucks ($14.95). You can see the black band along the bottom;  most of the area under the green cardboard label is plain white.  The cup comes with a double-ended black and white marker allowing you to draw your own permanent design on the cup.  I will post more about the cup as well as the finished item in a separate post. 

Old Fashioned Potpourri Warmer
Another thing I remember using to pamper myself while I was studying was to burn potpourri...remember how I just told you that about all I did in college was study?  I had a little ceramic potpourri warmer that was similar to this one I found on Ebay.  The potpourri goes in the top dish along with water. A tea candle placed in the base heats the water to a simmer which releases the fragrance into the room.  My favorite potpourri was a Christmas blend from Crabtree and Evelyn called Noel.  I remembered barely having any extra cash but splurging on what at that time seemed like a lot of money for a small bag of the potpourri.  This was my go-to fragrance all year I loved it so much.  You can still buy the fragrance and I recommend you give it a whiff if you ever have the chance because it is divine.  Like all good things potpourri has passed its heyday meaning Noel, is no longer available as that chunky mix of dried flower petals, tiny pinecones and whole spices I loved so much.  However, it is available as Fragrance Oil ($9), Fragrance Spray ($19), a gorgeous Porcelain Diffuser ($45) or candles available in several sizes ($12-45)

Crabtree and Eveyln Noel Porcelain Diffuser
Today the warmers are mostly electric and the scent comes from wax melts- really an improvement all around.
A lot of things I included in the boxes didn't get wrapped- I am just not that ambitious and honestly it isn't necessary.  The packaging should be a fun touch... not overkill and I was shipping these boxes.  I fit a lot of stuff in a small space and that would have been more difficult if everything was wrapped and it also would mean a lot of the embellishments would get smashed in the transit.  But, keep in mind that my sussies were for grown women, if your gift is for a child or even a teen you might want to wrap everything just to give them the excitement of opening the gifts.  I would stick to the kraft paper theme- it's cheap and easy to purchase at any store that sells mailing supplies- Target, Walmart.  Add seam binding bows and more of the paper embellishments like I used above and you have beautifully wrapped gifts.

Besides the warmer and wax melts, some of the other unwrapped items that went to college included tea, pumpkin spice chai tea bags, and nail polish.  The second box contained items to spoil my friend as well and for her to share with her husband and almost 3-year-old son. I sent her several bottles of Factor X Sephora Nail Polishes, several boxes of Starbucks and other flavored coffees for her Keurig, flavored creamers, lotion,  Halloween plates napkins, orange and black polka-dot paper straws, some Halloween lights and decorations. Her box was so full I had to leave one set of lights out.  I know I am forgetting something.....

So that is it.
I meant for this post to be half as long but I always talk too much.

Glitter is my favorite color......

This post was linked to the following Linky Parties
Pink When
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1 comment:

  1. Danee thank you for visiting my blog (twice!) and commenting on my tags. I love your idea of sussies and how the wrapping and decorating makes them so special. I'm sure your friends loved them!


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