Monday, October 26, 2009

A Tale of Tea Bag Holders

So where have I been and what have I been doing? C'mon, I know you are curious, am I right?

Instead of working on the several custom orders I have in the queue (yay!), I decided to start making more Tea Bag Holders. I do not know what came over me, but I went into the Craft Room and started hacking into card stock. I took a partial pack of textured Rich Regal 12x12 and cut them into 7.5"x3" sections. Then I scored each and every one of them at 3.5" & 4", and this is what resulted:

Yeah, it was a few.

Then I rummaged in my cabinets for papers that coordinated with the various colors of card stock. After a while I figure I'd pulled out almost 25 sheets of 12x12 papers, and cut those down to size. I knew I did not have enough for every base I had, but it was a respectable start.

And I set to work. I went through the bases and patterned papers and matched them up, and just set aside the ones without pretty papers. I'll address them another time or re-purpose them, or something.

Then I counted: 55. Uh-huh. I had 55 of these Tea Bag/Candy Holders to assemble. What was I thinking?! Apparently I was not.

Here's my first few bases + pockets:

Lemme tell you: I went through a few rolls of red sticky tape. Phew!

Here I have a few of the folded-but-not-taped pockets for those blue bases. That roll of red sticky tape is a "mega" roll I got at Angela's, and it is about half gone. You use a strip to hold the pocket together, plus a strip to hold the pocket to the base. Times 55.

Here's the next set waiting in the wings. I decided to break up the work by base color, just to keep me from going insane. Plus, it kept the papers with the bases, and that actually made it a bit easier.

Here's all 55 of the bases + pockets. Was I done, oh no, no, no, no. Next I had to figure out what the heck to do for the fronts. What, you think I had a PLAN or something?

But I did get a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. As I have mentioned before, no matter what I do, people at my markets and craft shows ask me what things are, what is in them, how much are they, etc., and it makes no matter how much information I include with my signage.

So my brilliant idea was to use the remaining pieces of the patterned papers to decorate the outsides of the folders, thus showing everyone what the inside paper was. PLUS, this would use up a few more square inches of all that paper. Brilliant, yes, I know.

So all I did was punch a scalloped square from the remnants of the pretty papers I had used and called that my 'design' for the front. I decided this would make the project actually completable (if that is not a word, it is now). Whatever I decided to do needed to be done 55 times. You can appreciate my thought process, can't you? ;-)

Next I took a 100-yard spool of cream ribbon, laid it across each and every one of those folders, taped it down with more red sticky tape, then used my trusty ATG with 1/4" adhesive to anchor the scalloped square over the ribbon on the front. You will see all of this in a moment. But first:

Ta-da! My stack of 55 be-ribboned folders. You'd think I'd call it a night after all this, right? HA! Not. Look what I did next:

I took most of a package of 12x12 Kraft card stock and cut out - you guessed it: 55 Top Note Die shapes, then scored them all at the half-way mark. These would become the toppers for my packaging. Ah, yes, the packaging. It has turned out to be about as much work as making the folders!

How about we look at a finished product? K?

Here is the burgundy base with its pretty paper pockets. In the left pocket I have a Spiced Chai Tea Bag, and in the right pocket I have a piece of chocolate.

Here I show that a gift card would also fit in one of the pockets. No, the gift card is not included, though at least 4 times I managed to tie the folder closed with the for-display-only gift card instead of the tea bag.

This is what the outside looks like when it is tied closed for packaging. I left the ends of the ribbon long so the purchaser can open it to put in a gift card and still have enough ribbon to easily re-tie it.

I decided plain was good, because this way it is not specific to any one holiday or occasion.

Now, let's talk about the packaging.

I put each folder into one of my clear bags I use for my cards. In the back (I'll spare you the photo, plus, I forgot to take one) is a picture of the tea bag and chocolate so people will hopefully figure out what is in them, but they'll ask me anyway. That is okay, because as a craft vendor, I am here to serve.

The scored Top Note Die shape became the topper (yes, this one is crooked). I decided to take a 1 1/4" punch and add a swatch of the base + paper colors so people rifling through my stuff at the shows can get a quick look at what's in each bag. Plus, I had no better idea how to do this times 55 that would work for every color.

On the back of the topper will (eventually) be a clear label describing what it is and what's in it, just in case anyone wants to read it. Or the sign. But they'll ask me anyway.

So I am packaging these two at a time so I can take the photos of each one. My big plans are to add some of them to my etsy store and take some to my holiday craft shows - kinda spread it around. Plus, I know I will never fit 55 of these into my car, so the ones I post to etsy can stay home.

And all along I'll bet you thought I had a plan or something. Sheesh. I had planned to do something else, but with 55 of these buggers taking up all available space, I have no choice but to finish the packaging this week and get them out of the way. THEN I can do my custom orders, hopefully by the end of the week.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

I thank you for stopping by!


I'd love to hear what you really think! :-)

PS: I've had to disable Anonymous comments, because the spammers were killing me. If you are unable to comment, please email me your comment and I'll get it posted for you. Sorry. (stoopid spammers)