Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Birthdays INSIDE the Box.

(don't know what's going on over the next two weeks?  Read the intro here, and join the party here!)

People have been sending care packages for millennia.  Ok, maybe not, but I'm not sure when it started and I know it was a long time ago.  Somewhere along the line, some parent or friend thought, 'I sure do miss this person on their birthday!' and they sent a package including cake mix, cupcake papers, balloons and a card.

And THEN, someone upped the ante.

I am currently a huge fan of birthdays in boxes.  Maybe it's the cute packaging.  Maybe it's because I don't live close to my best friends or mr's family, so these packages seem perfect.  Maybe it's because when you put any kind of theme in a box it's just way cuter.  Probably all of the above.

In any case, my very first inspiration for my themed party in a box came from this post on Katherine Maries.  

                                                                 Source: via Kimberly on Pinterest

I couldn't resist the delicious yellow-ness of this "Sunshine in a Box."  She created this box for a family she knew that was going through some hard times and I tucked the idea away in the "definitely doing this in the future" file.  Lo and behold, not long after, I had a friend going through a rough time.  And I knew how to make her feel better - I'd send her a little sunshine! Doesn't hurt that yellow is my favorite color of all time.  I'm going to share my version of sunshine in a box, plus some tips for cute wrapping and packaging everything up.

First off, find an assortment of yellow items you'd like to send.  These can really be anything at all.  Here's my list:
1. Fiddle Faddle (delicious caramel popcorn with nuts that's a mustard yellow color)
2. What I called "Mystery Foam" - ok, so it's usually for kids, and I think the actual name is "floam."  I got mine at the dollar store.
3. Lemonade flavored Ice Breakers gum.
4. A happy face on a stick.  (This is supposed to cheer her up, right?)
5. Yellow balloons.
6. Three boxes of Yoo-hoo.  
7. A box of those one serving lemonade mixes to go - the little packets that you shake into a water bottle?  
8. Chap stick.  Not just any chap stick.  It tastes like dippin' dots!  And it's yellow.
9. A smiley face pen.  It's squishy too.
10. Foot lotion.  Pedicures are supposed to be relaxing right?  If I'd been thinking I would have sent yellow polish too...
11. Bubbles.  Blowing bubbles makes everything better.
12. Daffodil flavored bath salts.  (flavored?  Smelled?  Scented!)
13. A glow in the dark butterfly wand.  (if you knew her, you'd understand)
14. Sunkist fruit chews.  (Technically these are orange, red AND yellow)
15. Lemonheads.
16. Smiley Face stickers.  In a rainbow.
17. A handmade felt rosette brooch/barrette.

Now, my advice is to check out your local dollar store or even shop at home.  There will probably be a lot of things you can use for your sunshine box if you think outside the box (ha!).  Obviously, think of your recipient and include personal touches (like the silly pen, the butterfly wand, the stickers and the lemonade in my case).  Also, if this is for a family, include age appropriate items.

Once you've gathered all your items, you'll want to think about repackaging them - because let's face it, most store bought items are a little garish or even cheap looking.  Ditch the plastic wrappers.  Ditch the strangely colored labels - peel them right off if you have to.  Make envelopes out of yellow patterned paper.  Be creative.  For instance:

I took the label off of the bubbles and made my own "Super Bubbles" label that is two layers.  Then I tied yellow ribbon around the lid.  To keep the balloons together, I tied them with yellow vintage lace.

I used mason jars in various sizes to repackage the more garish packaging.  I used ribbons and pompom trim around the lids and punched/cut paper into circles for the tops of the lids. That mystery foam is a baby food jar from long ago.  
I included a label on the mystery foam that reads:
You know, to get your frustration out.

I also used a clear plastic "paint can" type container I got in the dollar section at Target filled with a little yellow paper grass.  I tied different yellow ribbon in double knots along half of the handle.  The lemonade packets are stuffed into a toilet paper tube which I dressed up with paper, ribbon and pompom trim.  Lots and lots of ribbons, as you can see...

The fiddle faddle came in an awkward red, rectangular box.  I took the foil bag out of the original box, cut the top off, and placed it in this yellow take-out box I had in my stash.  I think I got them at the dollar store many moons ago.

I made this rosette brooch/barrette with felt rosettes.

All of my labels were made with the same line of scrapbook paper so the patterns are different, but they all go together.  I used scissors to cut some and a label-shaped punch I got at Hobby Lobby to punch others.  I used double sided tape to put everything together.  The words are handwritten in normal black sharpie.  You could, of course, use a computer to print everything out, but I liked the handwritten, personal touch.

When you are packing everything off to send, of course you have to think about breakables/cushioning.  But you want to stick with the theme, right?  I used yellow paper grass on the bottom of my box.  I place my items carefully (it was a lot like a puzzle to get them all in) and then I blew up a few yellow balloons I had leftover and put them in the top of the box instead of using bubble wrap.  Be sure to include a card or note letting them know you're sending some sunshine their way!

In case you're wondering, all 17 of my items fit inside a medium flat rate box from USPS, so it was economical to send as well.

And I will admit, hers does seem a bit more sophisticated and just plain prettier than mine, yes?  But it's a fun idea, nonetheless. 

Of course, you can send any kind of themed party in a box, but I've picked some of my favorite versions from around blogland to share with you.

1.  This may have been the very first birthday in a box, I'm not sure.  Many blog fingers point back to this one as inspiration.  In any case, it's super cute... everything you need for a completely color coordinated party - birthday cupcakes (fancied up cake mix, cute patterned papers, colorful sprinkles, handmade cupcake toppers, candles, polka dot plates, wooden mini forks), adorable banners, cute napkins, a felt ball garland, muslin favor bags, confetti, balloons, a birthday crown, and even invitations - all in one adorable box with magnetized lid that was spray painted and covered with paper.  Hello, love!  This birthday box idea, and others, can be found on You Are My Fave.
2.  An updated version using that super trendy medium - chalkboard paint!  Lola's Girl shows you how to make this Party in a Box.  It starts with a wooden box which is painted with chalkboard paint.  Lots of birthday party goodies are placed inside.  And the best part?  A personalized message (of course) that can be changed and changed as the receiver sees fit - or even passed on from one birthday girl to the next with new items placed inside and a new message drawn in chalk!
3.  Don't have a heavy duty box hanging around?  Never fear!  You can cutesy up just about anything, as the Fab Miss B shows with her shirt box turned birthday box!  Just decorate and fill!  
4.  For a variation on the theme and a slightly "less pricey to ship" option, try sending an ice cream party in an envelop!  How can you send ice cream in an envelop?  With a gift card, of course!  But don't forget to fill the envelop with small bags and packages of sprinkles, nuts, coconut, and any other favorite ice cream toppings - along with a spoon, some balloons and confetti - before sealing it up and sending it off.  You can see the whole fun idea on Symphanie.
5.  No one missed this adorable Birthday Party in a Suitcase from Funkytime, did they?  It floated around blogland for while this past summer.  I myself featured here, because I couldn't resist it - the vintage charm, the color combo, the handmade items, the just plain CUTEness. 
6.  This little party in a box from All Things G&D is a dressed up version.  Start with a cardboard box, line it with wrapping paper, and add a banner inside.  When opened, the banner pops up, offering an adorable birthday wish to the recipient.  Looks fun and easy.

I did find one little variation on the party in a box idea that seemed different from the others.
Yes, it includes favors (paper mustaches and cute little buttons), and adorable decor (striped paper straws and confetti), and treats (jelly beans)... but the twist with this party is that you send it to the guests, not the birthday boy or girl!  Want to throw a party for yourself or significant other?  Do all your friends and family live too far away?  You can see how to throw a party by mail on Amanda Jane Jones Blog.  Have everyone take a picture of their individual celebration and send it to you so you can join in!  I adore this idea and can picture lots and lots of uses...

Now go think INSIDE the box for a change!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Creative Raisins said...

I love this idea, I'm gonna have to put in on my to-do list.

Amie {Kitty Cats and Airplanes} said...

This is amaaaaazing super awesome!!! Love this idea, I'm gonna send ME one of these!

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