Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Size Matters!

Trying to decide which size drawstring bag you need? A size larger than what “just fits” is the short answer. The larger size is necessary for the bag to close properly and so it doesn't look like you skimped. In order for the bag to draw shut nicely it needs the extra space.
For instance, although you may feel a standard CD jewel case  (5” x 5-1/2”) should fit in a 5” x 7” drawstring bag you maybe disappointed in the appearance when you place the item in the bag as the bag will not close tightly and the corners of the case seem to protrude.  But… if you place the same CD jewel case in a 6” x 10” bag it will look lovely, the bag will close very nicely and it has the correct appearance.  The soft organza fabric needs to be able to fold around the rigid square jewel case for the drawstring closure near the top of the bag to be able to pull tightly shut.
Usable dimensions for a drawstring bag are always less than the actual dimensions. The usable dimension is the inside area of the drawstring bag that can be used for product(s) and still leave room for the bag to draw closed properly. Below are a few examples of actual bag size with their usable dimension size along with a product guide to give you an idea of how the bag will hold popular favor and gift contents.
Drawstring bag actual size 3” x 4” = usable dimensions 3” x 2”
A single lip balm up to 2-1/2” long or a single pot of lip gloss, lavender for a small sachet, small jewelry, a single tea light candle, birdseed, a golf ball.  3” x 2” organza bag holds 10 Hershey's Kisses TM 
Drawstring bag actual size 4” x 6” = usable dimensions 4” x 3”
Multiple lip balms, lipsticks or a pot of lip gloss, a 3 to 4 oz. bar of soap, a votive size candle and small holder, a Christmas ornament, potpourri sachet, jewelry pouch, cosmetics, a bath fizzy, a tennis ball. 4" x 6" organza bag holds 25 to 30 Hershey's Kisses TM
Drawstring bag actual size 5” x 7” = usable dimensions 5” x 4”
3" tall pillar candles, small (3.7 oz) apothecary style holders and candles, standard household size bar of soap or a bar of natural soap hand cut from a block, perfumes, other toiletries and cosmetics, 5" x 7" organza favor bag will hold 40 to 50 Hershey's Kisses TM

Drawstring bag actual size 6” x 10” = usable dimensions 6” x 8”
Multiple bars of soaps, a 4” to 5” pillar candle, sachets, jewelry, cosmetics, a CD,  6” x 10” organza favor bag will hold 1 lb of Hershey’s Kisses TM
Fun Tip: What do you do with organza bags when they have served their gift giving life...they go out to the garden, of course.  When capturing seeds to sow for next year slip the organza bag over the head of the flower just before it will drop its seeds draw the string around the stem and let the bag do the collecting for you. 

Monday, February 10, 2014


We often want to wrap bottles in cello to give them quick gift appeal and there is a simple way to do this. The most important rule..... Don't skimp on cellophane!  Be sure to cut off enough cellophane that all your edges will be tied into your ribbon and use a nice weight of cello (1 mil or higher). You can be very precise if you wish and measure your cellophane out with a yardstick or just eyeball it like I do. Really either way turns out just fine if you follow the don't skimp rule.
Cellophane (40" or wider roll)
1 yard of 1 1/2" wide ribbon (or more)
Other tools: sharp scissors, rubber band, ruler 
Step 1
Set bottle in the center of your cello. Pull up the lose edge about 6" above the top of your bottle then pull up the cello on the opposite side of the bottle (this should still be on the roll) to meet the lose edge. Cut cello off the roll at this point.
 Step 2
Gather all edges around the neck of the bottle, or above the bottle if preferred. I pull the corners up first and then gently gather the rest of the cello around the neck and smooth the cello from the bottom up. Keep hold of the gather point with your hand (or borrow someone else for a third hand)
 Step 3
Tie your ribbon around the cello at your gathering point and tie off in a decorative soft satin bow as we have, or just use a handful of curling ribbon to create a tussled bow. Pull Bows or pre-made poly bows make a great alternative if you don't want to hand tie a ribbon bow. You may find it helpful to tie the cello off first with a scrap of curling ribbon that will be hidden under your finished ribbon.
Step 4 (Optional)
At this point if you want to trim up your plume of cello on the top you can. You can round it off, create more points by cutting into the long straight edges or leave it the way it is. This is a matter personal taste.
Hint: If you are having trouble smoothing the cello around the bottle and/or getting your ribbon tied on, slip a rubber band around the cello at the point you want to tie it off then smooth the cello up the bottle and adjust folds as needed. When done tying off with ribbon remove the rubber band. The most difficult part of cello wrapping is keeping hold of the entire gather of cello while tying it off. If you don't have an extra set of hands around to help the rubber band makes a good alternate.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Sometimes it is just good to know a little about the products we are using. When I have tried to use plastic wrap in place of cellophane the project usually turns out poorly. Why?  Typically cello has a lot more body and is thicker than plastic wrap, so I quickly gave up trying to improvise with plastic wrap.

Maybe it is easier to start off with what cellophane isn't! Cellophane, which is also known as cello, is not plastic kitchen wrap. Plastic kitchen wrap has been around for about 100 years but gained popularity during WWII as a substitute for aluminum foil which was in short supply at that time. Food grade plastic wrap is thin, clingy, dissolves when placed near a heat source and is usually quite narrow in width.

A little later in history Jacque Brandenberger developed cellophane (early 1900's) in Switzerland. The idea apparently came to him during dinner out at a restaurant when he witnessed a guest spill a glass of wine on the white tablecloth. He thought.... how handy it would be to just wipe up the spill rather than all the commotion of changing linens during dinner. He began working on development of a textile with a clear coating.  Although that endeavor failed, it was the beginning of the transparent layer we now call cellophane which is thicker, full-bodied, not clingy, heat tolerant, and comes in some pretty wide widths.

Dupont perfected Jacque's original cellophane by improving the moisture proofing. True... cellophane may have begun as a product being developed for the food service industry, but it quickly caught on in the packaging industry because of it's bacteria, moisture and grease resistance. Cello keeps products fresher because of its low air permeability. When used as a gift wrapping it provides a layer of clear protection for your decorative paper wrappings, it is a nice filler for gift bags and gift baskets, it is a heat sealable, food safe barrier, that is widely used as the finishing wrap on gift baskets and other gift items.

Amazingly enough cellophane is made from wood and/or cotton pulp...I know...neither of these products are transparent! With further processing, washing and bleaching the finished product that we use today is created. It comes in varying clarity and thickness, and can be purchased on rolls, in sheets and even pre-made cello bags. Cellophane is a biodegradable, eco-friendly product that can be found not only in clear, but also in printed and solid colors.
Whitman's candy company was the first to use cellophane to package their candy samplers. We still enjoy using it for packaging candy and much more. 

Some uses for cellophane are.....

   Gift baskets, mugs and bottles

   Gift wrapping

   Floral wrap

   Substitute for tissue paper

   Food safe barrier

   Food packaging

   Protective and/or decorative table covering

   General crafting

Wow! Just noticed that people are wrapping themselves in cellophane during workouts to speed up weight loss. I think I'll pass on this use, but it just goes to show that there ARE many uses for cellophane.


Thursday, October 31, 2013


 Shopping Local

BelleWood Acres opened up their new store in Whatcom County last year. Although they have been a family owned orchard since 1996 they ventured out and created this fun store that not only carries their bountiful harvest of apples, but many products that are perfect for gift giving, party planning, cooking and decorating.

Fall Decorating
Fresh from the farm! 

Gift Giving 
Specialty butters to fancy up with great gift packaging

Soup Mixes
for easy entertaining
Now who wouldn't love to receive some delicious, crisp apples as a gift? We have used the single handled produce bag, available at Bellewood Acres free when you purchase your produce, and dressed it up with colored tissue paper, raffia ribbon and a handmade tag. Just a few simple additions and it becomes a gift!
Here is what we used:
Paper produce bag
Scarlet Red Tissue Paper - 2 sheets 20" x 30"
Matte Raffia Ribbon - red and kraft - 2 yards each color
Handmade tag
and Honey Crisp Apples.


Visit store website for more information

Photo credit: Ribbons and Favors.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Shopping Local

If you live in Washington's Whatcom County (home turf for Ribbons and Favors) and are planning a small party, or large event we found a trio of gems side by side on the corner of Cornwall and Champion in Downtown Bellingham. It is always a planning bonus when you don't have to drive all over the place for every item and this little corner has three perfect businesses to help you out.

Spruce Stationery and Design is the newcomer to the group. Complimenting the other two business with customized invites for your wedding, corporate event or personal celebrations. Located at 1422 Cornwall Ave in Bellingham


Chocolate Necessities has total deliciousness for your chocolate gift favors. Their truffles and chocolates all begin with pure Belgium Callebaut chocolate. Located at 1424 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham.
Pure Bliss Desserts with their amazing "made from scratch" baked creations. They will prepare baked goods for your sensational event or create a spectacular wedding cake for your special day. Cake sampling for your event is available by appointment.
Visit store websites for more information.
Photo Credit - Ribbons and Favors

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Beautiful gifting of homemade cookies is a snap when you keep the right packaging supplies on hand. If you like to bake and take the opportunity to share your talent and delicious results with others, package your cookies in pretty boxes for the final touch. When you purchase delicious baked treats from a bakery the best bakers always package the order in a bakers box and tie it up with bakers twine, or seal the box shut with an attractive label. You put in the work of a Pastry Chef why not add pretty packaging like a pro, especially when it is so simple.

6" x 6" x 4" Gourmet Favor Box
20" x 30" Tissue Paper
10" Gold Stretch Loop
Wax Paper

We have used a 6" x 6" x 4" Brown Ivory Stripe Favor Box, 20" x 30" sheet of Candy Dots Tissue Paper, 10" Gold Stretch Loop from Ribbons and Favors for our project. Wax paper is used for our food safe barrier and 25 homemade Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies (recipe below) fit nicely.

Assemble favor box, fold printed tissue paper in half so your finished folded size is 15" x 20". Tuck tissue paper into the box first, then line the bottom and sides with a piece of waxed paper.

Add your delicious cookies. We fit 25 into the box.

Tuck tissue paper across the top of the cookies. Put the assembled lid on the favor box base, then slip the 10" Stretch Loop around the box. You can add a handmade tag or adhesive label if you wish.  


1 1/2 cup butter
2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 cups rolled oats
2 - 11 oz packages butterscotch flavored chips

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft and smooth. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with mixer. If your mixer begins to stall as the batter becomes heavy, hand mix the rest of the flour. Stir in rolled oats and butterscotch chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool cookies on wire rack. Makes about 80 cookies. Ingredients can be cut in half for a smaller batch.   Enjoy ~ Sandra

Ribbons and Favors Shopping List

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Create this casual western style embellishment on a Solid Kraft Shopping Style gift bag. If you happen to be a back pocket hoarder like me (weird I know) you will have no trouble finding pockets to create you very own version of this bag. If you haven't been saving pockets from worn out jeans, now you have a reason to begin. can even use the welted seam from the leg of the jeans for a ribbon. Currently bling and fancy embroidery on jean pockets is very popular. I can hardly wait to see a gift bag done up with one of these fancy pockets. Don't know if I can wait for the jeans to wear out. Colored jeans are all the rage this year which will open up a whole new selection of pockets to coordinate with the Solid Color Shopping Style gift bags.

Jeans (with back pockets)
Navy Blue Kraft Gift Bag
1 Sheet Red Bandana Tissue Paper
2 Sheets Solid Red Tissue Paper

Tools: scissors, hot glue, hot glue gun

Step 1
Cut the pockets out of the jeans keeping the scissors as close as possible to the outer edge of the pocket face.  Leave the fabric on the back of the pocket intact.

Step 2
Run a bead of hot glue around the edge of the pocket on the wrong side. Place it right side up on the front of your gift bag.  Keep in mind what you plan on putting in the pocket to help you determine the pocket placement on the gift bag. We have used an XL KitKat bar and a pocket from adult size jeans, so my pocket was centered on the gift bag and placed 1" from the bottom of an 11" bag.

Step 3
Cut a sheet of Bandana Tissue Paper into quarters (should measure approximately 10" x 15" after cutting).  Tuck Bandana Tissue into pocket behind candy in pocket and arrange.  Add Solid Red Tissue Paper to the top of the bag.

Tips: Add details with Red Matte Raffia tied to the handle in a shoelace style bow, or tie up a Matte Raffia bow and hot glue it onto the pocket.  Create spa themed gift bags, sports themed, a candy shop or bake shop bag, a pet theme, teen theme...oh my...the list could go on and on. I'll stop and let you take over! 

Ribbons and Favors Shopping List
Navy Shopping Style Gift Bags, Red Bandana Tissue Paper 20" x 30",
Solid Red Tissue Paper 20" x 30", Matte Raffia