Archive for the ‘party favors’ Category

Summer Lunch

June 25, 2008

I had lunch today with two sweet nieces and an awesome sister-in-law. If you are looking for a simple and delicious menu, give this one a try!

We ate outside and each place had a tissue paper flower party favor filled with chocolates. I used these instructions, but used toilet paper rolls cut in half (what I had on hand at 10:00 pm) instead of the clear acetate containers. These were simple to make and inexpensive.

We ate salad with mandarin oranges and candied almonds along side a tomato pie.

Tomato Pie

4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
10 fresh large basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s light)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
salt and pepper
1 9″ pre-baked deep dish pie shell

Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and place in a colander to drain for at least 15 minutes. I prepared all of the ingredients early in the morning and then assembled just before baking. This gave the tomatoes plenty of time to drain to keep the crust from being soggy.

Combine grated cheeses, mayonnaise and sour cream.

Mix tomatoes, basil and onions and spread in the bottom of the pre-baked piecrust. Spread cheese mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Let set 15-20 minutes before serving. This is also good served at room temperature.

Mandarin Salad Dressing (from my friend Jenny)

Mix the following in a container that can be shaken:

1/4 olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
a dash of Tabasco pepper sauce
1 T chopped fresh parsley

I think it is best to make this dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to come together and fully get the sugar dissolved. Shake well before dressing the lettuce. This makes enough dressing for about 4-5 nice size salads (about 6 to 7 large handfuls of lettuce)

Candied Almonds

In a dry skillet place 3 T sugar and heat over medium heat. As soon as you see any of the sugar melting add in 1/2 cup slivered almonds. The sugar will turn to syrup and coat the almonds. As soon as you see the slightest color change on the almonds– remove from heat. The almonds will continue cooking and it is very easy to burn them. Sometimes when I make these I get more of a crystallized looking coating. It doesn’t matter—is is all good!

Toss mixed greens with dressing, a regular sized can of drained mandarin oranges and the candied almonds. Serve immediately after dressing the salad.

For dessert, Miniature Cherry Cheesecakes

I used this pan, but I think these could be easily made in mini muffin tins.

Cherry Cheesecakes

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (I used light)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup ground pecans
1/3 of a stick butter melted
3 T sugar
1 can cherry pie filling

Spray pan with nonstick spray. Blend cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla. Set aside. Mix ground nuts with butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Divide the nut mixture between 12 cups. Press in bottom and up sides. Fill cups evenly with cream cheese mixture. Bake about 14 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool on rack about 20 minutes and then remove from pan. Place cherries on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These freeze beautifully without the cherries on top. Makes 12 miniature cheesecakes.

Enjoy!

Oh and for drinks, try a little lemon-AID!

Here is a printable version of the recipes

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Bunny Egg Holder

March 21, 2008

I though these would make cute place-cards or table decorations

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Download bunny-egg-holder.pdf

Print on colored card-stock and cut out on dotted line.

Bring legs up then wrap one arm in front of legs and then bring the other arm around and place on top of the first arm. Staple where claws on bunny should be.

Want more bunnies? Check out Bunny Napkin Rings

How does your garden grow?

February 8, 2008

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Here is another free valentine download for you! This one is much simpler! Download the files, cut and assemble!

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Lollipop Lily

Leaf

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I’d SNAP at the chance to be your Valentine!

February 6, 2008

Here is a free Valentine download for you if you dare (lots of cutting, folding, gluing….)

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First download and print out an alligator and inside of mouth

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Cut out pieces

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Lightly score lines on pillow box and gently fold

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Put glue on side flap of pillow box and fold together, leaving the ends open. Allow to dry a few minutes before folding in the ends of the box.

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Score about 1/2 inch from the end of the upper mouth piece so it can open and close (see final picture). Fold in ends on box and begin gluing on upper and lower mouth and the tail.Use lots of glue stick! Use a rubber band to secure pieces while they are drying.

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Fold edge of each leg and glue to sides of box

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Add some googly eyes and fill box with candy

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Recycled Candy Containers

February 3, 2008

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Take a little tuna fish can and cover it with spray paint and paper. Hot glue plastic pony beads all the way around the side and run a yarn through the beads and you have a little drum. Be sure to use a safety can opener so that there are no sharp edges and the top of the can works as a lid.  I think it would be best to package the candy in little clear bags so the candy doesn’t take on any odd tastes from the can.

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Small olive and green chili cans would make cute little drums. You could also forget the beads and yarn and use glitter and other embellishments instead!

Sweet Deal

January 19, 2008

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Last year I wrote about making miniature heart cheesecakes. My pan is non-stick, made by Chicago Metallic and purchased from Williams Sonoma. I have found one that looks the same (I am not sure about the non-stick, but the bottoms come out so I don’t think removing the cheesecake would be a problem either way) at Amazon. I think this is a good deal at $13.49 —I paid more!

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Traditions

December 20, 2007

Since our oldest son was a toddler we have had friends come over IN THEIR PAJAMAS to read Christmas stories. Our oldest son is now 15 and this has become one of our most loved holiday traditions.

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There are no fancy clothes or fancy food and kids are definitely invited. At first the guests (especially the adults) might be shy about wearing their pajamas—but we insist. We sit around reading Christmas stories, drinking hot chocolate, sometimes we do a craft(decorating gingerbread houses and making gift tags are a favorite), and we eat a few simple snacks. It is such a special way to spend a cozy and relaxing evening with friends. We enjoy listening to our friends favorite Christmas books and as some of the children have gotten older they enjoy reading the stories also. I can’t say enough about how special the evening is for us. It is a moment in this busy time of year to slow down and remember what the Season is about!

When we moved to Germany I met my dear friend Wendy who was also having these parties. Her sister Tara has written some wonderful invitations. I “borrow” these poems and then make a theme around the invite. This is one of my favorite, The Polar Express.

We would like for you to join us for

a Christmas tale

We’ll gather for a story about a

little sleigh bell

We’ll be in our pajamas so that’s

how you should dress

All aboard headed north on the

Polar Express

Your time and date

Please bring your favorite Christmas

story to read!

Invitations can be made by layering holiday papers and adding a jingle bell at the top

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The best thing is we can always elaborate on the theme and change it up. Next time I use this I want to make jingle bell wreaths. Family Fun has cute jingle bell bracelets to make. The possibilities are endless. Party favors would be cute sent home in a bag clipped with this jingle bell clip.

So warm up some hot chocolate and invite some friends over and relax and enjoy some special family time. A sweet little 4 year old said it was the best party she had ever been to. Now that is a pretty good endorsement when you have been to a “princess” party before!

Breakfast with Santa

December 16, 2007

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For six years now we have hosted “Breakfast with Santa” for our son’s basketball team. 

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I try to make it look special from candles on the table to hanging stars from the chandelier.

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I hot glued three candy canes together to make an easel to hold each of the boys names for place-cards.  We drink hot coca out of Santa mugs and I let these rowdy boys use the fine china for such a special occasion!

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We eat pancakes, bacon and sausage ——and a few snowman doughnuts. Mini powder sugar doughnuts with a candy corn nose and candy eyes (from the cake decorating store).

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Usually we make a craft but this year I couldn’t resist playing “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” with these fifth grade boys.  Santa graciously agreed!

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Santa takes a photo with each boy

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Hands out a small gift to each boy

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In the past Santa has read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  This year Santa was so fabulous he said the entire poem from memory.  He also reminded the boys how lucky they were, to be good, listen to their moms (thank you Santa) and remember those who don’t have as much. 

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I’m thankful these boys still go along and just lose themselves in the magic of the morning!

Anticipation

October 24, 2007

This Saturday is the Halloween party that I look forward to all year long.  I love Halloween, the costumes, the decorations, the tricks and treats! However,  my friend Missy loves it more.  In fact this holiday is somewhat her speciality!  Each year she hosts an amazing party.  Each detail is painstakingly planned and beautifully executed.  It is truly a fabulous evening.  I thought I would show you some  of her handmade party decorations.  I hope you will find them as inspiring as I do. 

She decorates a table especially for the kids.  I can only imagine that the kids must  feel like they have stepped into paradise.

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A wonderfully decorated cone brimming with goodies dangled from each chair

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A darling paper mache  cat favor box sat at each place

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The adults sat down to dinner at this spooky but beautiful table wrapped in gauze

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Our favors were held in this unbelievable mummy topped box

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We dined underneath her chandelier that she had filled with black twigs, ghosts and then wrapped in gauze

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She sends an invitation that sets the tone of the party and gets everyone excited. This paper clay tombstone was found standing at our door inviting us to the party.

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 I love to sit at dinner in this stunning environment with good friends and enjoy their company and the fun of the season. Each year I look forward to the unique favors and decorations she has made.   Missy is so talented and creative and so generously bestows her gifts on her friends.  So if you can’t tell, I can’t wait for Saturday night!

Halloween Treats

October 7, 2007

I made these pencil pops for my daughter’s bake sale at her preschool.  I think they would make really cute (and easy) favors for classroom parties at school also!

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I know, a little cheating since no baking is involved! I used Almond Bark in chocolate and vanilla purchased from the grocery store. I found the plastic molds, pencil pops, bags and candy melting discs in orange at my local cake and candy supply. 

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Melt the chocolate (I know this is NOT chocolate) in the microwave.  Do not overheat.   I melt it for a minute at first and then 30 intervals until smooth and melted.  I work in small batches melting only what I think I need to fill the molds.  The chocolate can easily be re-heated.  Place the plastic pencil pops in the molds.  Spoon melted chocolate into jack-o-lantern mold and ghost mold and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.  The suckers will easily pop out of the molds when thoroughly cooled.  One pound of orange candy disks makes 11 pumpkins.  One package of vanilla almond bark will make about 24 Ghosts.

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Melt about 3-4 squares of chocolate almond bark.  Place slightly cooled melted chocolate into a freezer zip-loc bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag.  Gently squeeze chocolate out of the bag to embellish the jack-o-lanterns and ghosts.

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I wrapped each sucker individually in a candy bag and then tied with ribbon.  I stuck all of the Pencil Pop suckers into a block of green Styrofoam covered with black paper shreds and placed in a plastic cauldron.

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Happy Fourth of July

July 4, 2007

Setting our breakfast tables

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Firecracker Party Favors

July 3, 2007

Before our Fourth of July parade we have a breakfast. I have been working on these paper firecracker party favors

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from the July Country Living Magazine.

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Mine will be filled with fireworks. They are (so far —notice I haven’t gotten that far) really simple to make.

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You can download images from their site, here. I used vintage clip-art from this book.

From my nest to yours

April 4, 2007

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This is my last minute solution for simple Easter table decorations. I purchase mini grapevine wreaths, bundled in a 6 pack, from the craft store. They are really inexpensive and can be found even cheaper this week at Hobby Lobby—-50% off! (I used the same wreaths for the chalkboard eggs.)

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Fill the center of each wreath with Easter grass and then a few foil wrapped chocolate eggs. I place one nest in the center of each guest’s plate.

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Bon Appetit!

Please eat your vegetables!

March 27, 2007

My friend, Shelly, made cute carrots like these years ago and I have never forgotten them. Such a simple treat. The bag is a disposable cake decorating bag. Not all brands of these bags are created equal so make sure you are buying clear ones. Fill the bag with cheese curls, puffs or balls and then tie with green ribbon.

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I am off for a few days with my husband. See you next week!

Egg Shaped Sidewalk Chalk

March 12, 2007

Just in time for Spring—-egg shaped chalk. 

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These were so easy to make.  You will need:

  • Plaster of Paris
  • Tempera Paint
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • plastic Easter eggs
  • disposable cups
  • disposable spoons or wooden craft sticks
  • egg carton

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Take petroleum jelly and liberally coat the insides of the eggs and then place in the egg carton.  Mix 1/2 cup Plaster of Paris with 1/4 cup water and stir well.  Mix in enough liquid tempera paint to get your desired color.  We added about a teaspoon or so.  You can also use powdered tempera paint (start with about 1 tablespoon and go from there). We mixed up a blue batch, poured it into the eggs then immediatley mixed up a pink batch.

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Pour mixture into egg halves.  This amount makes about 1 1/2 eggs.  We used the 1/2 to make  two colored eggs. DO NOT pour extra plaster down your sink drain –I tell you this is a no no. Throw it in the trash!

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Allow this mixture to set about 5 minutes—just until thick enough to put the egg halves together.  Once together, hold tightly and carefully  give egg a good shake and a firm tap on a hard surface  to allow plaster to form to the egg and the halves to come together.

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Allow eggs to harden overnight.  We couldn’t wait (patience issues) and rushed ours  allowing only about 3 hours (this is overnight in child time isn’t it?) to dry.  To remove them from the plastic an adult must use a knife to work the halves apart. I would like to make a few of these to put back into plastic eggs once first removed and dry to hide on our egg hunt.  I think gray ones would make cute favors for a dinosaur party.

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Chalk On!!

Blarney Treasure Stones

March 6, 2007

Tradition says if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be given the gift of gab. You will be able to talk eloquently and convincingly. I don’t think these girls need any help with the gift of gab, but we still thought we would make these Blarney Stones. A treasure can be found in the middle of each stone.

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Mix up:

  • 1 cup used coffee grounds (or used dry espresso grounds–what we had)  If they are too wet I am sure it would change the color of the mixture
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sand
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • (I think it would be very easy to tint this mixture with tempera paint—they might be dull colors when dry)

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Mix together dry ingredients and then slowly add enough of the water to make a stiff dough—you might not need all off the water, so add slowly.

Knead the mixture on a floured surface until fairly smooth.

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Break the dough into desired sizes. We divided it into 4 equal pieces.  Hide your trinkets (super balls, small plastic toys, etc.) or money in the center of each ball of dough.

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Bake at 150F degrees for 2 hours (I turned them over half way through)  and then air dry 2-3 days (or longer).  If you make smaller rocks I would dry one hour in the oven and then air dry 2 days or more.  The size of rock and the amount of humidity in your home will affect the drying time.  They will look and feel like rocks when dry.

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I had hoped to paint them with green and white paint for fun and wait to open them on St Patrick’s Day, but nobody was willing to wait to crack them open with a hammer— let alone wait for paint to dry. 

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I think we might make some egg shaped ones for Easter.  These would make great favors for a Dinosaur birthday party!

The Toymaker

February 23, 2007

I think this is the most wonderful site filled with beautifully illustrated toys ,boxes, books, games and cards. We made this sweet dancing Irish Fairie, you put her on a pencil, blow gently and she will spin and dance.

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I think this magic fairie box would be so cute filled with chocolate coins for St Patrick’s Day. After we cut out our fairie and box we gave them plenty of clear glitter to make them sparkle.

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There are holiday ideas and plenty of toys to keep us all busy. Many of the toys use a marble so they move easily—how clever. Check out the marble mice or bunny bowling. Too fun! This site has so many ways to add pizazz to a parties and holidays but most importantly it is the perfect solution to, “Mom, I’m bored!”

Do you have a tissue?

February 12, 2007

I ended up mailing my friend’s birthday present in the heart pouch I made and then went on to make 10 travel tissue holders.

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I wrapped them like this.

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I started with a template from here. It was too small so I had to enlarge it to fit the tissues. I would love to give you the template but my computer skills aren’t there yet—–just give me time and I will have some goodies for you. Really though, the pattern is simple and was easy to enlarge.

A Celebration Of Hearts

February 11, 2007

I went to the most fabulous party on Saturday.  My friend Missy created the most magical atmosphere.  The invitation set the mood———–it was beautiful!

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Every detail was totally and beautifully carried out.  The kids were greeted with this amazing table. Hearts hung from the ceiling dancing over their heads.  Plates were sat on handmade heart place-mats.

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Each child received this handmade (by her) cone filled with treats and trinkets.

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The children played fun games like eating sugar cookies off of a string and a conversation heart relay.  They shot darts at hand-painted heart targets while the moms crafted homemade valentines.

The moms sat down to this dramtic and stunning table. 

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 We each recieved a hanging heart box (made by her) filled with a giant chocolate bar re-wrapped in a Love wrapper.

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We dined on delectable goodies like creamy potato soup, chicken salad served over fresh greens and fluffy heart shaped blueberry muffins.  Trays of the yummiest sugar cookies could be found everywhere.

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We finished  with a delicious double layer pot de creme served with whipped cream and a strawberry sliced to look like a heart.

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It is truly a dreamy party every year.  Love is in the details and I  leave this party feeling loved!

Pocket full of hearts

February 7, 2007

I was thinking about making these for some special teachers.  I would have to make about three more sets—so we will have to see if I have the steam.  If not I will give these to a friend.  They were very quick and easy!

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Twelve 22 has a great tutorial on how to make the little pouch.  Instructions for the tissue holder can be found at Bell Dia, a beautiful blog.  She has a wonderful tea cozy today.  I did adapt the instructions for the tissue holder.  I used Kleenex sized travel tissues which must be considerably smaller than what she used.  I found mine worked if I used fabric and lining each measuring 6 1/2 inches by 7 inches.  I used 1/4 seams throughout. The final seams at each end were less than 1/4 inch (a touch more than an 1/8 inch).  I also left the opening to turn on the long side —this kept me from having to whip it shut once turned, because it is hidden on the inside.