Bottles of cheer

by Laura M.

Anyone who knows me will confirm with you my love of Trader Joe’s. I love how economical their groceries are, the inventiveness and uniqueness of their offerings and even their packaging is often pleasing to the eye.

Take, for example, their lemonade and ginger ale bottles:

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Curvy, in a pretty green glass, with a fun topper – how can you possibly toss them in the recycle bin once you’re done enjoying the delicious beverage? I know I have a hard time with that.

Just today when I opened up my cabinet to get a water bottle my eye caught these pretty vessels and I thought, “Bet I could work that into our creativity blog!”

First thing I did was to wash off the labels. I was thinking they would leave behind that sticky residue but with plenty of hot water and just a little scrubbing, it all came off (although the ginger ale label glue was made of sturdier stuff – that will take a bit more time.) Hint: keep the lid screwed on tight to let in as little water as possible.

Then I took some origami paper I had lying around and sorted it by color, pulling out all the ones that were predominantly red, green, gold and silver. You can easily buy a cheap bundle of origami papers at Plaza Art.

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The aim is to funnel the papers down into the glass bottle through the opening. You want to fold the papers in a way so that (hopefully) once they make it down the neck of the bottle they’ll open up.

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I slid the papers in one at a time and jostled them around a bit.

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Once the bottles were full, I placed them on my fireplace mantel. You could also place them on an entryway table, your TV stand – anywhere you like to place holiday decor.

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I had on hand a beautiful green rope that was part of the wrapping from a present my friend Baerb had given me years ago. I knew it would come in handy one day! Yet again, something that was too pretty to throw out.

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I laced the rope around the necks of the three bottles. This created a way for me to hang holiday cards I receive. I simply took a small binder clip (a paper clip will do) and cinched it to the card and the rope. Here’s the first holiday card I received this season from my dear friend Alecia:

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Another thing you could do is put a cork in the bottle opening, ¬†partially unfold a paper clip and stick it in the cork and attach a photo to the other end of the paper clip. I didn’t have any corks on hand so I can’t demonstrate. But you know how it is: these days¬†at least half of the holiday cards we receive are photos so it’s a nice way to display them.

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You don’t even necessarily have to use the bottles as a display piece – you could just leave them as is. They brighten up the place, especially if you thread lights through them.

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So that’s an idea of how to add color and/or display your holiday cards. What are some creative things you’ve done?