Category: Gift Ideas

Feb 08

How to Make DIY Valentines Gifts

How To Make DIY Valentine Gifts (courtesy of GlamTrotter.com)

Hey you guys, it’s Amber, and this is going to be a little Valentine’s do-it-yourself video, and this is something that I like to do for my husband, as well as my friends and family. We love chocolate covered strawberries – I think a lot of people probably do – and, they can be quite expensive when you’re picking them up from a bakery, or like, Godiva in the mall for example. They’re so expensive! Like $6.00 for 2 strawberries! So, I’m gonna show you kind of a cute, little way to do it yourself – to make your own chocolate covered strawberries, and sort of turn them into a Valentine’s Day gift. So, if you are interested in how I make them, please stay tuned, and I will show you how I kind of present them and package them as well, at the end of this video.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Measuring Cup

Your Choice of Chocolate Morsels

1 Quart of Washed Strawberries

Ribbon with a Wired Edge

Package of Empty Treat Boxes

Wax Paper

Tray/Plate Lined with Wax Paper

Add 1 cup of morsels.

Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Churn the mixture from bottom to top.

Heat mixture for 30 seconds.

Again, churn the mixture from bottom to top.

Heat mixture for another 30 seconds.

Finally the chocolate is ready for dipping!

Since these are gifts, select the most attractive berries. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Line your box with wax paper.

Place the berries in the gift box.

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Jan 19

How To Make Christmas Photo Ornaments

How To Make Christmas Photo Ornaments (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Decorate your Christmas tree with this keepsake ornament featuring a photo of a loved one. You will need:

Photo
Scissors
Transparent ornament with a removable top
Pencil
Cotton swab
Glue
Decorations
Acrylic paint
Paintbrush
Ribbon

Step 1: Cut out the photo you want to use into a circle that measures about 3 inches across.

Step 2: Remove the hanger and cap from the bulb. Then wrap the photo around a pencil, making sure the photo is facing outward.

Step 3: Holding the photo around the pencil, slip it inside the bulb. Release the photo from the pencil.

Step 4: Position and straighten the photo with a cotton swab.

Step 5: Get creative and glue small shells, colored tinsel, colored sand, and even popcorn to the inside and outside of the ornament. Gluing decorations inside will also help keep the photo in place.

Step 6: Write the date on the back of the ornament with acrylic paint, and a message if you like. Finish by tying a bow around the top of the ornament and give it as a gift to the person in the picture or hang it on your own tree.

Did you know? Ornaments on the 2008 National Christmas tree were made with holographic film to make the tree look lit all day!

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Jan 19

How To Prevent Common Christmas Disasters

How To Prevent Common Christmas Disasters (courtesy of Howcast.com)

With a little forethought, you can avoid many embarrassing, annoying, and downright dangerous holiday mishaps! You will need:

Emergency gifts
A drink limit
Kiss-avoidance strategies
Graciousness
Fishing wire
A computer with internet access
Orange and lemon rinds (optional)

Step 1: Have wrapped, unisex gifts on hand in case you forget someone. This is also useful if someone gives you something that cost twice as much as what you gave them: Just say, “And here’s your other gift!” Pick things you can use if you don’t give them as gifts, or stuff that can hold until next year.

Step 2: Figure out how much alcohol you can drink at the office Christmas party before you’re at risk of doing something you’ll regret. Then stick to your limit.

Step 3: Avoid an unwelcome mistletoe kiss by saying you have a cold – or feigning a cough or sneeze as the person closes in on you.

Step 4: If someone gives you a lousy gift, simply say, “Thank you.” If you pretend to like it, you may get more of the same next year.

Step 5: Prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian by keeping sweet treats away from dogs and cats. Chocolate toxicity is the most common holiday-related illness for pets. Poinsettias are also poisonous to your four-legged friends.

Step 6: Keep kids and pets from knocking over the Christmas tree by securing it with clear fishing line attached to the treetop and a ceiling hook. If you have a cat, scatter orange and lemon rinds on the tree skirt; most cats hate citrus scents.

Step 7: Don’t panic if you still need gifts and even the drugstores are closed: Just go online, order a gift, and print out a photo of it. On your way out when you realize you’ve forgotten someone? Pick up some movie passes or a gas gift card.

Did you know? The average person gives up on trying to make their new electronic gift work at 11:48 a.m. on Christmas morning, according to a survey!

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Jan 19

Learn How To Celebrate Christmas On A Budget

How To Celebrate Christmas On A Budget (courtesy of Howcast.com)

It’s not just about buying less during the holiday season; it’s about buying smarter. You will need:

A budget
A gift list
Shopping web sites
Haggling skills
Secondhand purchases
Supermarket flyers

Step 1: Set an overall gift budget and use it to determine how much you can spend on each person on your list. Make sure you stick to it! Consider a family agreement to buy gifts for the children only.

Step 2: Search for gifts on eBay, Craigslist, and sites that offer discontinued or overstock items. Use price comparison web sites to ensure you’re getting the best deal, and look for rebates.

Step 3: Check out thrift shops, secondhand stores, and pawn shops – the latter in particular offer great savings on jewelry, watches, and electronics.

Step 4: Learn how to haggle. You can often get a discount just by asking for it, especially if it’s a small store, you’re a good customer, and you offer to pay in cash. Just remember to be polite and ask discreetly. Always ask salespeople if there are any coupons, promotions, or discounts available.

Step 5: Bake holiday treats from scratch to reduce costs, and consider giving some of them as gifts. Start scanning supermarket flyers a few weeks in advance for sales on baking supplies so you can stock up when prices are low. Butter stays good in the freezer for several months.

Step 6: Find ways to save on decorations. If you buy a real Christmas tree, make a wreath out of trimmings. Fill colorful bowls and vases with edibles, like fruit and nuts. Turn stemware upside down and put votive candles on the base for an unusual candleholder, or float votives in the glasses right side up.

Step 7: Trim your holiday card list by only sending greetings to people you rarely see. Then shop the post-Christmas sales to stock up for next year!

Did you know? The average American family spends over $1,000 on Christmas!

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Jan 05

How To Make Lavender and Chamomile Sugar Scrub

How To Make Lavendar and Chamomile Sugar Scrub (courtesy of NoreensKitchen.com)

Hi everyone! It’s Noreen, and welcome to my kitchen! And welcome to another episode of The holidays are coming! Now, last week, we did bath salts, and I did want to make a statement about that. In some states, what they call “bath salts” have been made “illegal” because it’s a certain type of drug, that, I think you smoke – I don’t even know. But, they’re not the bath salts that I make. So, when you talk about bath salts and you hear that in the news, that’s not what we’re talking about. That’s something totally different – it’s just called the same thing.

But anyway, we’re gonna kinda go a step further today, and we’re gonna make a sugar scrub. This is really nice – you take it in the shower and then you scrub it all over your skin, and you rinse it off when you wash off, and it exfoliates all of those dead skin cells and it makes your skin glow, and it helps your body absorb moisturizer a lot more quickly, and it helps you to – the things that are in it are gonna help the toxins escape from your body, and it’s gonna be wonderful!

So, let’s see what goes in this! This is another thing that you could make assembly line style. You can make a whole bunch of it and just jar it up. You could even sell this at bazaars – it would be fantastic. So, what we’re gonna start with is a cup of Demerara sugar, and I’ll show you what that looks like. I should have left it out – you know what? I have a full one over here, let me grab it. I buy this in my grocery store – this is also what I use in my favorite bread recipe! This is pure cane sugar – sugar before it’s refined – so it still has a lot of molasses in it. Still has a lot of nutrients and minerals in it that refined sugar does not have. In the bowl it goes – a cup.

And, this is a ¼ cup of epsom salt. Not sea salt – a ¼ cup of epsom salt, because epsom salt is gonna help extract toxins from your body.

The next thing we’re gonna do…this is Vitamin E oil. You can get this at the health food store, you can get it online, I bought it in the vitamin section at Walmart, and it was about $3.00. And this will go a very long way – except you have to get it open! I’m gonna use a tablespoon of Vitamin E oil.

We’re gonna use a ¼ cup of some sort of oil, but, this is organic olive oil – cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, ok? I will warn you – you cannot use vegetable oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, with this. You can use these 3 types of oil. You can use olive oil, you can use liquid coconut oil or you can use almond oil for this scrub. The olive oil contains lots of antioxidants that are fabulous for your skin, so you’re nourishing your body as well as having healthier skin.

Now, I’m also going to add a tablespoon each of lavender flowers and dried camomile flowers. Put those both in. You can do anything with this. If you want to make a lemon scrub, you can zest a lemon and you can put the lemon zest in here and it will smell fabulous. You can throw some black tea in here – just pop open a couple of black tea bags – or you can use green tea, or you can open up your favorite herbal tea and just toss a couple of those loose tea bags in here. Not the bag part, just the herb part.

Now, let me show you these herbs here before we move forward. This bag of lavender flowers was less than $5.00, and I get this from San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company, and their website is HerbSpiceTea.com, and I love them! They have fantastic prices and an amazing, amazing selection to choose from, and they have medicinal herbs, they have culinary herbs and spices. And then, this is whole chamomile flowers, and both of these bags are a pound. You know, that’s a lot. When you think, I’m gonna buy a pound, that’s a huge bag. A huge bag! But, the chamomile flowers are fabulous. Chamomile helps you to relax. It takes the edge off, it has a natural calming quality about it, so this is perfect for taking a shower in the evening. It’s gonna help you exfoliate your skin as well, along with everything else that we’ve put in this scrub. This one I got from MountainRoseHerbs, which is another one of my favorite purveyors, or vendors, for herbal supplies. And, I will put their web addresses in the underbar, and their website is MountainRoseHerbs.com. And again, they have fabulous prices, and they also have – they have some things that San Francisco Herb and Tea doesn’t have, and vice versa. They also have a fantastic website where they actually have videos – they have a YouTube channel, and they have recipes and demonstrations, and you can learn a lot on their website about the origins and the uses for all of the herbs and everything that you’re looking at on there.

So, back to this! The only thing left to do know is to jar this up. I just put my trusty canning funnel up here, and I may have to tap this down. You’re gonna get more than a jar’s worth. This is just for demonstration purposes. You can pretty up that jar, put it in a cellophane bag, tie it with a bow, and you’re ready for gift giving! You can put a tag on it, and leave instructions below on how to use it. In fact, I’ll show you right here. I’ll just take some warm water – I’ll just do it on my arm, here. Just take a handful of it and rub it on your skin, and you’ll be able to feel – it’s gonna exfoliate all of the dry skin of of your body wherever you use it. It smells wonderful, and the, you know, the oil is not gonna be greasy on your skin, and you’re gonna wash it off with soap after you’re done. And I’ll just reach over here and get some of my hand soap. And it’s just like, if you’ve ever gone to Bath and Body Works or Crabtree and Evelyn or some really – like The Body shop, they’re really expensive places where you can go and get body care items. And you just dry off. But, this makes your skin really soft – feel it. Really soft!

So, give this a try. It’s a great gift! We’ve added the extra vitamin e in there. You don’t have to use a tablespoon if you choose not to. You can use a teaspoon. If you’re looking out for your budge, you don’t have to use it at all. So, there you have it – Sugar and Olive Oil Body Scrub that you make from home to give to your friends and family for Christmas. It’s not expensive, and you can make – if you buy a container of the Demarar sugar, a bottle of olive oil, a bag of epsom salts and a little bit of chamomile or lavender or spearmint or whatever herb you choose to put in there, or you don’t have to put herbs in it at all. You can make a whole bunch really cheap, and you can give it to everybody that you know and care about for Christmas. So, there’s another idea for holiday gift giving…I hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it! Until next time – I’ll see ya!

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Dec 09

Learn How To Make Christmas Cookie Bouquets

Learn How To make Christmas Cookie Bouquets (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Follow this recipe to make a festive, edible decoration that everyone will enjoy! You will need:

Roll of cookie dough
1/3 c. pasteurized egg whites
4 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Cookie and cake decorations
Peppermint candies
Equipment:
Christmas cookie cutters
Wooden skewers
Electric mixer with paddle attachment
Colorful ribbon
Holiday-themed bowl
Florist foam
Red and green food coloring (optional)

Step 1: Roll out the cookie dough to double the thickness of your skewers. Then use your cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Poke the skewers into the sides of the cookies to make cookie lollipops.

Step 2: Bake the cookie lollipops according to package directions, adding one to two minutes to account for the added thickness. Allow the cookies to cool completely.

Step 3: Make the icing by beating the egg whites in the mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Step 4: Change the mixer speed to medium-low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Use more sugar for stiff icing to decorate designs and less sugar for loose icing to fill in the designs.

Step 5: Add the lemon juice, increasing the speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form and the icing is no longer shiny — six to eight minutes. Then ice the cookies. Divide the icing and add red and green food coloring.
Step 6: Use festive cookie and cake decorations to embellish the cookie lollipops. Tie a piece of colorful ribbon around each stick.

Step 7: Stick the lollipops into the florists’ foam in the bowl and hide the foam with peppermint candies. Use your bouquet as a festive centerpiece — if you can stand not eating it first!

Did you know? In 1979, in honor of the American hostages in Iran, only the top ornament of the National Christmas Tree was lit.

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Nov 16

Learn How To Get Really Creative For The Holidays

How To Get Really Creative For The Holidays (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

It’s that time of year again, when Jack Frost nips at your nose, and the Grinch’s heart grows 3 times its size. It’s winter in the city, and holiday season everywhere!

Well, hello there, my Threadbanger friends, and welcome to the Décor It Yourself holiday special! If thinking about the upcoming holiday season stresses you out, relax! The holidays aren’t about spending money that none of us have. They’re about spending time with those that we love. So today, we’re gonna create the invitations, décor and gifts to give our loved ones a warm, wintry evening.

Gifts can be one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season – especially during these hard times. I’m gonna give you 3 easy gift ideas, that cost no more than $10!

For our first gift, we’ll take inspiration from our Earth Day episode, and create a gift by putting a cut plant in a vintage vessel. Who doesn’t need a little extra green, especially during these hard times.

These lovely coasters were made from remnants of fabric from leftover DIY projects. I still get in trouble when I go home to my folk’s house and don’t use a coaster. Sorry, mom!

For our last gift, you’ll need cinnamon sticks, cloves and clementine peels. Place your ingredients into an old mason jar and take a cool dishtowel and wrap it around it. Tie it with a bow, and you have a nice, warm gift of aromatic mulling spices. For more on mulling spices, check out the first episode of Décor It Yourself.

And now, on to my favorite element of any time of year – the décor!

For a quick and classy element of décor, spray a candle with adhesive, roll it in some glitter and place into an old shot glass or decorated vessel.

For our next décor piece, we’ll use our old wire hangars to create cool, seasonal sayings.

And, for the easiest of our décor ideas, take an old mirror and place on it your favorite woodland friends. Add a touch of glitter for a little snow flurry.

For our final low-budget décor piece, we’re gonna put our own spin on an old, kitschy idea. You’ll need some airtight glass containers, a glue gun, some figurines, glycerin, glitter and distilled water.

First, sand the inside of the container’s lid. Glue the feet of your figurine to the inside of the container’s lid and allow to dry.

Add 2 tablespoons of glitter to the vessel and fill with distilled water. To distill water, just boil and allow to cool.

Now, just add one drop of glycerin to the container, close the lid, and use your snowglobe as winter décor, or add a bow, and you have another gift to give!

Now that we have our seasonal décor and our gifts to give, we’re ready to invite our guests. After all, opening your home is a gift in itself! For unique invite ideas, check the DIY weddings episode of Décor It Yourself. But, for the holiday invite, we’re using a polaroid from last years’ Christmas. Look at us – living together in sin!

Well, we’re almost ready for our guests! But, to keep your party stress-free and low budget, choose one signature cocktail and one tasty treat. We’re doing sparkling peach and pomegranate schnapps, along with cookies, cupcakes and pumpkin bread.

I guess it’s time to celebrate!

Well, that was a hit! I’m off to clean up, but be sure to check back the first Wednesday of every month for more nesting. And remember, Your Nest Needs You!

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Oct 27

Learn How To Repurpose TShirts Into Tote Bags

How To Re-Purpose T-Shirts Into Tote Bags (courtesy of Threadbangers.com)

Hey Threadbangers! Today, it’s all about the earth. Earth Day was this week, so today I’m gonna turn the episode over to G from Refashionoso.com, and she’s gonna show us an easy way to turn old kids’ clothes into a new bag…check it out!

Here we are! From 2 t-shirts from Zara Kids, let’s create a new bag! Yo – enjoy!

What I’ve got today are 2 t-shirts from my daughter. These 2. These are 2 small for her now. So, what we are going to do, because the cotton is still fantastic, is create a bag! Are you ready for this? Yes, I am!

Let’s put the t-shirts on the floor, one with the design up, the 2nd one with the design face down. With pins, pin 3 sides of the t-shirts, leaving the 4th one and the sleeves free. After that, simply start to sew!

OK, guys, done! Now, we have to create the handles of the bag, using the sleeves of the 2 t-shirts. Let’s do it!

First of all, you need 4 buttons, and 4 pieces of textile, like this – look – with a hole in the middle, so we can use that like this. If you don’t have this, simply take a piece of denim, cut a little bit – cut a little piece like this – and make a hole in the middle, ’cause the denim is very hard material, it’s very good to do this kind of thing.

Simply, in one edge of the sleeve, sew the piece of textile with the hole in the middle. In the other sleeve, sew the button. Let’s do the same for the 4 sleeves of the 2 t-shirts. This way you can see how is simple to create the handles of the bag.

Look! We have done! And here as well – yes! Now, what we have to do – we cut the 2 labels, yes. We put this part inside like this, and we fix with pins. OK, and now, we simply have to close our new bag.

To close it, I want to use an old piece of t-shirt, denim t-shirt. I’m going to put this inside, and the button of the t-shirt outside. You can close it this way. I mean, you can use the buttons, everything you want and everything you like – it’s up to you. Ad then, start to sew.

OK, guys! We have done! Yes! It’s our new bag, look! And now, just open it. That’s it, and put inside all what you need: wallet, book, keys, close it. Yes! And now, we are ready to go out! Yes! I love it!

Thanks for the video, G. You’re a rockin’ eco-fashionista!

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Aug 08

Learn How To Make Your Own Bath Salts

How To Make Your Own Bath Salts (courtesy of About.com)

Hi! I’m Jen D’Amore with About.com, and today I’m gonna show you how to make our own, fancy bath salts. Bath Salts make a great gift, and a great indulgence – especially when you’ve personally selected and put together all the ingredients. First, let’s gather your materials. You’ll need:

A Bowl – for mixing,and a spoon

Salts – we’re gonna use a combination of Dead Sea salt and Epsom Salt

Moisturizing Oil – in this case, we’ll use Sunflower oil, but you can also use Jojoba or Castor oil.

Essential Oil – in this case, Sandalwood. And finally,

a Fancy Jar

These are the basics. You can also use fresh or dried flowers. They add a nice touch, especially if you’re giving it as a gift.

First, combine 1 cup of Moisturizing oil with 10 drops of Essential oil. Add the salts to the bowl. Measuring doesn’t need to be exact, but you want about 4 cups of salt per 1 cup of oil. Then, stir gently, until the oil is evenly spread throughout the salt.

The salt will need to sit for 2 days before you use it. You can cover the bowl and store it there, or go right into the fancy jars. Let’s keep ours in the fancy jars. Just spoon them in, add some fresh or dried flowers, a ribbon – and there you have it! Homemade, Fancy Bath Salts…for a gift to friends, or to yourself!

Thanks for watching!

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Feb 22

Learn How To Dry Flowers

How To Dry Flowers (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Dried flowers make great decorations for your home and are perfect for making unique gifts. Spruce up your home with this fun and inexpensive hobby. You will need:

Pruning shears
Hangers
Dental floss
Rubber bands
Dark, warm and well-ventilated area
Hairspray

Step 1: Pick flowers for drying from early spring to late fall. Choose blooms that have not fully matured. The blooms will open as they dry.

Step 2: Choose healthy-looking flowers that are insect and disease free.

Step 3: Air dry the flowers. Cut the stems to no shorter than 6 inches in length and pull off any excess foliage.

Step 4: Tie the stems to a hanger with dental floss. Tie them individually or bunch the stems together with a rubber band.

Step 5: Allow the flowers to dry upside down in a dark, warm, and well-ventilated area for two to three weeks.

Step 6: Spray the flowers with hairspray after they are completely dry. Display your dried flowers around your home, keeping them out of sunny areas.

Did you know? No species of wild plant produces a flower or blossom that is absolutely black.

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Oct 29

Learn How To Make A Diaper Cake

How To Make A Diaper Cake (courtesy of CreativeBabyShowerIdeas.com)

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Apr 01

Wedding How-To – French Spiral Bouquet

How To Make A French Spiral Wedding Bouquet (courtesy of DominoMag.com)

Today, we’re going to learn how to make a traditional french style bouquet. We’re gonna be using all one flower. We chose roses just because they’re simple, straight-stemmed flowers, and also, because they’re beautiful!

So, the first thing that you want to do is you want to clean all of the foliage and the thorns, in this case because of the roses, off of your flower. You don’t want to have the foliage under water. It creates bacteria and just doesn’t look very clean or nice.

So, take a heavy cloth or bath rag, maybe something canvas or a gardening glove, and just really strip straight down and just pull them off. You want to get a vase full of water ready, and you’d like to probably have some raffia, which we have, or string or ribbon – something that you’re gonna use to bind your finished bouquet.

Okay, you want to slowly choose flowers, and you’re gonna be crossing your stems. This is gonna be our base flower, and you’re gonna slowly cross your stems to start with the center, that’s going to be round and mounded from the middle, and it will slowly spiral out. So, you’re gonna come out with a sort of perfect, half-ball shape, once you’re finished. And, you just want to turn it, always holding with your thumb and pointer finger. I’m just making this really, simple pattern, which is allowing a lot of space around each flower and showing off every one individually.

It’s important to look at it from all different angles. As you can see, I’m sort of making it heavy on this side, so what I do is just sort of turn it around – it can be scary, but you can do it – and sort of just work from that other side.

As you can see here, I have nicely, spiraled stems, and I’m holding it with my thumb and pointer finger as I started out. You want to take your raffia and use your pointer finger to help. You wanna hold that pretty taut, and you want to just wrap it around a couple times – just tight, as you’re holding it – because this is gonna be the anchor that’s gonna keep your flowers in place. So I’ve wound this around – and you want to tie just like a double knot. Nothing fancy – just like you were tying your own shoe. You wanna make sure that it’s not gonna get untied and not gonna go anywhere. It’s a little tricky…you can lean it against your body or do what you need to do. So, we have our scissors here, I’ll just cut that down short.

So, we’re almost done with our lovely, round bouquet. My vase is all ready with the water in it, and, we’re gonna cut this relatively short – probably shorter than you would think. And, you know, you can sort of bring your vase up and figure out, sort of eyeball, where you think you should be cutting it. We’re gonna just cut some stems – you wanna just cut straight across, and this will be resting on it. If you give it a cut on an angle, they have much more of a surface area to drink from.

And, what’s important – with roses especially – but, a lot of flowers that have these – these are nodes from where the leaves were growing out – you always want to cut above it or just below it. But, I’m gonna continue to cut these straight across, and you just want to guide it in there, give it a little tap and poke, and there we have our pretty french, round bouquet – viola!

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