Turn mint box into decorative gift card tin

By Times Staff, Wires
Published December 15, 2007

Giving someone a gift card? Here's a nice way to present one (thanks to Woman's Day and "green" entertainer Danny Seo for the inspiration): Spray-paint an Altoids mint box the color of your choice. Line the inside of the top with a scrap of wrapping paper (spray glue helps here). Fill the bottom with shredded paper and top it with a gift card. Giving a coffee-shop gift card? Set it on a bed of coffee beans. Top the box with a bow or a magnet, or glue on a shell.


Burn candles, not your house

The highest number of candle fires occurs on Christmas Day, followed by New Year's Day and Christmas Eve, the National Fire Protection Association says. Remember these tips from the Home Safety Council: Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can burn, including the bottom of a shelf above them. Use flameless (battery-powered or LED) candles. Don't let the kids burn candles or incense in their rooms. Candles and candlemaking kits should be used only when an adult is present: sober, awake and attentive.


Tips for wrapping presents like a pro

Monica Ficarrotta of Tampa, that wrapping enthusiast who was a finalist in this year's Scotch brand Most Gifted Wrapper competition, will appear Monday on Good Morning America on WFTS-Ch. 28. (Exact time of her segment is unknown; you'll just have to watch from 7 to 9 a.m.) Along with two other top wrappers, she'll offer tips to make your packages look like prize-winners.


Give an IOU for homemade treats

Is anyone in serious chocolate-chip deprivation? Thought not. Before you lovingly inflict a batch of homemade goodies on your neighbors, consider this: Make them a gift certificate for a batch of your specialties, to be delivered in, oh, mid January, or on Super Bowl weekend (Feb. 3). The recipients will appreciate them more later.



Exotic beginnings for candy canes

It's all connected: The candymaking techniques we use today to create candy canes are described in a collection of recipes written down in 13th century Baghdad. They likely were developed much earlier, farther to the east, candy history Web sites say, and transmitted westward with sugar cane and the knowledge of refining sugar itself.

Compiled by Times homes and garden editor Judy Stark