DIY Teacher and Neighbor Gifts for Under $2 : Altered M and M Candy Canes

Do you need a bunch of mini gifts for low cost?  Then these altered M&M candy canes might just be the perfect project for you.  They cost less than $2 each to make and even if you are a beginner crafter you will have success! 🙂  I made 17 canes in less than 2 hours.

 Before ~ $1 each!
 After ~ less than $1 for the decorations.

Lets Get Started!

Cut a strip of wrapping paper to fit around the stem of the candy cane.  Fold over the edges for a clean look.

Tape the paper to the tube.  Roll the paper around the tube and tape to secure.

Do this for all the canes.

Trim some tinsel trim into 3-4″ strips.  (you will need 2 per candy cane)

Hot glue the end of the tinsel around the end and neck of the tube. (use Mod Podge Hot Glue Gun Helpers so you don’t burn your fingers! ~ Available at Michaels)

repeat repeat repeat….

Grab some ribbon.  You will need about 16″ for a good bow.  (This ribbon is from my supply shop. It is crepe ribbon.)

Tie a snowflake to the center of the candy cane.  Knot to secure.

Tie a peppermint candy cane to the center of the snowflake.

These will be goodies for my neighbors this year!  Under $2 to make and I whipped them up in less than 2 hours.

Thanks for stopping by…xoxoxo
Cathie and Steve

Altered Valentine Candy Box with Mod Podge and Chipboard Letters

valentine candy box

Someone named Eddie is in for a sweet treat this Valentine’s day… 🙂  He is a total chocoholic.

The candy box started as a child’s design.  First I traced around the lid of the box onto some cute Valentine paper.  This paper was in the dollar spot at Target.

Next, I coated the box with a layer of Mod Podge.

Next, I positioned the paper onto the box.  Smoothed the paper with my fingers to remove any air bubbles.  Waited 15 min. Top-coated with a layer of Mod Podge.  Smoothed my brushstrokes.  Waited for it to dry.

I hot glued “EDDIE” across the center.

Homemade Hard Candies

Classic Hard Candy

The ingredients are simple, the steps are so easy and the flavors are divine. You can create a traditional lemon, English toffee or peppermint candy or try something a little more modern like root beer, pina colada or cappuccino candy.

Candy making shops and online suppliers have many different molds and flavorings. You can create lollipops or mini heart shapes, you can add exotic colors and delicious flavors the sky is the limit when it comes to making hard candy.

This classic recipe, with delicate lasting flavor and just enough sugar, always tames my sweet tooth. If you make a batch for yourself or as a gift, I guarantee it won’t be long before you are boiling up a second batch. One note about making candy, it best done on low humidity days. A rainy day can ruin a batch of candy.

Classic Hard Candy
2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon raspberry food grade flavoring
6 drops red food coloring
powdered sugar
candy thermometer
cookie sheet with a lip, greased with vegetable oil

In a large saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add your candy thermometer to the pan (avoid touching the bottom of the pan) Bring mixture to a boil without stirring. When syrup temperature reaches 260o F, add 6 drops of food coloring. Do not stir.

When the temperature reaches 300o F, promptly remove from the heat. After boiling action ceases, add flavoring and stir. Pour onto the cookie sheet. When cool, break into pieces and dust with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Store in airtight containers.

Yummy Yummy!
xo Cathie

DIY Wedding Favors – 11+ ideas

diy beach wedding favors

Wedding season is just around the corner and busy brides and grooms are working on all the details. Oh so many details when it comes to weddings. One easy DIY detail is the wedding favor. Many favors can be made by hand in advance or you can doctor up store bought items. Don’t forget to enlist friends and family for help!

Ribbon Wrapped Candy Tins


Clear top candy tins
Candies of choice
Round punched tags
Decorative ribbon

Glue the ribbon around the tin canister, fill with candies and glue a decorative tag in the center of the clear top.

Embossed Glassine Sleeves with Chocolate Hearts


Chocolate for melting
Candy molds
Cookie sheet
Glassine sleeve – Photo supply or craft store
Small rubber stamp
Embossing stamp pad
Embossing powder
Embossing or heat gun
File folder
Decorative tag
Hole punch
Ribbon – 6” per favor

1. Microwave the chocolate on low for one minute, then in additional 30-second intervals, stirring each time. When the chocolate is smooth and fully melted, it is ready to be poured into the molds.

2. With a spoon, fill each section of the mold with melted chocolate. Gently tap the mold to remove any air bubbles.

3. Allow to cool and pop out the chocolates. Use the edge of a knife to remove any extra bits of chocolate.

4. Emboss an image on the glassine sleeves, if desired. Stamp the rubber stamp using embossing ink and sprinkle embossing powder on the wet ink. Tap off excess powder. Work over a file folder so you can funnel the excess back into the embossing powder jar. Heat with the embossing or heat gun until the embossing powder has melted.

5. Place a few chocolates in a glassine sleeve, fold over the top edge of the sleeve.

6. Punch one hole in the top center of the tag. Punch a matching hole in the top center of the decorative tag.

7. Layer the tag over the glassine sleeve. Fold the ribbon in half, thread the looped end through the holes and loop the tails back through the folded loop. Trim the ends on an angle.


Charmed Thank You Card and Wine Stopper

Supplies for Card:
Clear flat bags (to fit card)
4” X 6” Folded Card
3” X 5” Flat Card
8” piece of ribbon
Pewter Charm (significant to the bride and groom)
Hole Punch (small diameter)
Glue Stick

1. Print the bride and grooms initial on the lower portion of the 3” X 5” card.

2. Print or handwrite a thank you note in the inside of the 4” X 6” folded card. You can also include a note about the significance of the charm. An Irish couple may choose a 4 leaf clover, if you are having a wedding at a winery you might choose a small bunch of grapes charm etc.

3. Center the flat card over the front flap of the folded card. Punch 2 holes about 1/4” apart through both the flat card and the front flap of the folded card. You should punch the holes approximately 1/2” down from the top. You can use two traditional round hole punches, or you can punch once with a “ribbon lace” punch that provides two slits in the card.

4. Thread the ribbon through the holes, lacing the smaller card to the larger card, and tie on a charm. Trim the ends of the ribbon.

5. Slide the card into the clear flap envelope and seal the back.

Supplies for Wine Stopper:
Wine cork
Decorative drawer pull
Craft drill
Decorative metal initial—found in the scrap booking section of craft stores
Thin wire-edged ribbon
Hole punch
Oval punch

1. Drill a hole into the center top of the cork. Make sure the hole is slightly larger than the stem of the drawer pull.

2. Screw until the pull is secure with a screwdriver.

3. Punch an oval of cardstock and punch with a hole punch. Attach a metal initial—a monogram—with ribbon, backed by the cardstock oval. Alternatively, you could thread the oval and letter on a scrapbooking metal curly-q. Curl the ends of the wire-edged ribbon.

Quick Cookie Packaging

Large homemade, bakers, or grocery store cookies
Clear cookie bags – flat

1. Place the large cookie in the bag.

2. Cut a square of cardstock the same width as the opening of the plastic bag. Print the lower half of the card with the couple’s names. Flip the square and print with a saying or other text, oriented through the printer so that this text is upside down relative to the couple’s names.

3. Fold the cardstock square in half and sandwich the cookie bag. Staple twice across the bottom of the tag. Now the text is right side up on both sides!

Bubble Bottle Makeover
bubble bottles
scrap paper
glue stick

1. Trim the papers to fit around the bottles. Use punches to create decorative shapes. Attach to the bottle with a glue stick.

2. Tie ribbons around the neck and add additional embellishments if desired.

Sea Shell Soy Candles From the Microwave

Paper or paper bags
Soy wax pellets
Wick and metal wick holder (both available at craft stores)
Disposable pipettes—available at candle- and soap-making stores on-line
Small dish
Old knife
Tulle Circles
Sea-themed die-cut
Rub-on letters


1. Choose your shells — the ones with deeper cavities will hold more wax and burn the longest. Clean them in a mild solution of water and bleach, and rinse with cold water.

2. Crumple paper or a paper bag and put in a bowl. Place the shell on the crumpled paper and arrange it so that it is flat. This will stabilize the shell while you are pouring wax.

3. Place the wick with pre-attached metal wick holders, which are great for shallow vessels — into the center of the shell.

4. Melt soy wax in the microwave, per the package instructions. Use the disposable pipette-to-pipette wax in to the shell.

5. Allow the wax to cool for at least 30 minutes — although the surface may look hard sooner, the wax underneath takes this long to fully harden. Trim wicks.

6. Choose a sea-themed die-cut. Rub-on an initial. The back of a paintbrush or a popsicle stick can be used to rub the letter.Place the candle in the center of a tulle circle, wrap the candle and attach the monogrammed die-cut with a ribbon.

Message in a Bottle

Sand—in different natural-toned colors
Small sauce-sized bottle
Tiny shells
Small pearl beads
Sticker paper
Printed poem or “Thank You” note on parchment paper

1. Add a few spoonfuls of sand to the bottle—you can layer different natural-tone colors and a few shells and/or pearls into the bottle.

2. Print small rectangle labels with the couple’s names and an image on sticker paper. Stick to the bottle.

3. Trim the printed poem or thank you to the appropriate size for the bottle. Scroll the printed poem—you can use a pencil to roll it.

4. Place the scroll halfway into the bottle. Tie the neck of the bottle with a decorative ribbon.


Hot Coco To Go

Large tub or bowl
1 pound cocoa (4 cups)
2 pounds granulated sugar (4 cups)
6 pounds dry milk (15 cups)
1-teaspoon salt
Small plastic zip top bag
Muslin parts bags
Iron-on transfer paper
Ink jet printer
Small printed cocoa instructions note

1. Sift cocoa, if necessary. Mix with sugar, dry milk and salt.

2. Transfer a scoop into a small plastic bag and seal with a tie.

3. Design and print your image to transfer on a computer and ink jet printer. Reverse any text if necessary, as indicated on the transfer paper instructions. Trim the edges of the transfer if needed. Following the instructions on the transfer paper, iron the design to the front of the muslin parts bag.

4. Fill the bag with the plastic bag of cocoa and tie on the instructions tag. Tie a bow with the strings.

Golf Themed Wedding Favor

Golf ball
Golf tees
Small cardboard jewelry box 3” X 3”
Decorative ribbon
Craft glue
Decorative paper
Paper glue
Rit Fabric dye


1. Use craft glue to attach a decorative ribbon around the lower portion of the box.

2. Print the bride and grooms initials and the words “Fore Ever” on a piece of decorative paper. Trim the paper to 2.75” X 2.75”.

3. Center the paper over the top of the lid and glue in place using paper glue.

4. You can dye the golf balls by making a dye bath per the dye manufacturer’s instructions, and soaking the balls in the bath for approximately half an hour.

5. Fill the box with moss and place the golf ball in the center with the golf tees around the ball.

Porcelain Ornaments

Porcelain ornament blank
Embossing powder
Metallic ink
Rubber stamp
Porcelain paint pen
Spray matte sealer

1. Use a rubber stamp, metallic embossing powder and a heat gun to achieve an elegant gilded and raised effect by stamping a design onto the ornament blank. Stamp the rubber stamp using embossing ink and sprinkle embossing powder on the wet ink. Tap off excess powder. Work over a file folder so you can funnel the excess back into the embossing powder jar. Heat with the embossing or heat gun until the embossing powder has melted. The heat setting process will take longer on porcelain than it does on paper. Brush markers will give the stamped design a soft color.

2. Add a message to the back of the ornament with a porcelain paint pen. Allow to cure for 24 hours.

3. Spray the ornament with a matte-finish sealer for lasting durability. Attach a ribbon for a hanger, or epoxy a magnet to the back. Add a tag.

Make it: Valentine Altered Candy Boxes

Altered Candy Boxes

Mod Podge matte
Folkart paint 413 pink
Folkart Extreme Glitter hologram
Clear heart shaped favor box
Foam paintbrush
Hot glue
Decorative paper
Wood heart
Ribbon or trim
Silk or paper flower


1. Trace the lid of the candy box onto decorative paper.

2. Apply a layer of Mod Podge on to the box lid and to the back of the paper. Place the paper on the lid. Apply more mod podge to the top, press with your finger until smooth. Apply more Mod Podge is necessary. Smooth your brush strokes.

3. Paint the wood heart pink. Topcoat with 3 coats of extreme glitter. Allow to dry. Using hot glue, add trim across the box, the heart to the top of the box and a silk flower and rhinestone to the heart.

Bake it: Peppermint Bark

peppermint bark I love this time of the year! I feel like a busy kitchen elf, baking cookies, making sweet breads and my famous peppermint bark. Homemade treats never last long so I always suggest doubling sweet treat recipes! My sister is making something similar this week – but she is substituting the peppermints for lemon drops and coffee candy.

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Happy Holidays!
Cathie and Steve

What you need:
12 oz. quality white chocolate, finely chopped
30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
12 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Teaspoon peppermint extract
Kitchen Tools:
Measuring cup
Rubber spatula
Sharp knife
Aluminum foil
Cookie sheet
Sauce pan
Glass jar
Note: This recipe makes around 1-1/2 pounds.

Line the cookie sheet with a 12″ length of foil.
Combine bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, whipping cream, and peppermint extract in a bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water – (homemade double boiler) – do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth. The chocolate will feel warm to touch. Remove from over water.
Pour the chocolate onto the foil. Using the rubber spatula spread an even layer of chocolate over the foil. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 20 minutes.

Remove the chocolate and peppermint from the refrigerator. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Pour all of the white chocolate over the chilled chocolate and peppermints. Using the rubber spatula spread the white chocolate in even layer. Top with the remaining crushed peppermints. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Once hardened, use your hands to break the bark into chunks. Allow bark to stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. (Note: This recipe can be made 2 weeks ahead and chilled in an airtight container.)
For gift giving, package the peppermint bark in clean glass jars. Glue stick wrapping paper scraps to the metal lid. Attach a bow, ornament and a tag.