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Friday, May 20, 2011

"Chinese Take Out Swan" Favor

I'm always trying to come up with new ideas and themes for favors and gifts, especially for opening night gifts when I do theater. In a recent show there was a key reference and ongoing references to a Chinese restaurant. I was inspired to go with a Chinese Take Out theme and my tradition of some type of homemade candy. (I love to make homemade candy, something that can be both a science and an art.) I already had some mini Chinese style take out boxes on hand, but decided to add a mini aluminum swam full of candy.

For these opening night gifts, I used magic markers to add names and notes to the outside of the mini boxes and filled them with no bakes made from the crunchy noodles found in the Oriental foods aisle.

I started with a regular piece of aluminum foil. I wanted them about the size of a favor to fit in the palm of the hand, so I cut the piece of foil in half, making a rectangle. It needs to be rectangular for the swan to work. (The supplies are simple for this... aluminum foil like you find in your kitchen and something to put inside it. You don't need tape or glue to secure it, the foil will do it all by it's self.)

I placed the candy on the center of the foil, towards one side like in the picture. One end of the rectangle will be the tail (it's the short side) and the other will be the swan's head and neck (it needs to be the longer side). In this case, I used homemade candied orange peels mixed with semi-sweet chocolate chops for the inside. You want enough to give it body, but not too much or you won't be able to close it securely. (They are often dipped in chocolate, but I liked the appearance of the orange peels and chips for this case.)

I started with securing the foil by wrapping it around the candy pieces and folding into itself to keep the candy secure inside. Once again, make sure one end of the foil if longer than the other, one side for the neck & head, the other for the tail.

Roll the neck/head side to to create the elongated neck and shape into a slight hook with the neck leading to the head. Be careful not to tear the foil. (There is no need for any tape or anything else to secure. The crinkling of the foil will be enough.)

Pinch the other end (the tail end) slightly to secure the bottom end from the candy escaping. Fan out the bit of foil to create a fanned tail shape.

Just a few twists and pinches of the aluminum foil and you have a swan ready for any table setting or dressing room table. My mini swans and mini Chinese Take out boxes were a hit with my cast and crew. (The homemade candy inside was a huge hit as well.)

Anything and everything can be used as inspiration. For this I used something that might seem common place to many people, but when personalized, miniturized and filled with homemade candy it was proof that you can find humor AND inspiration anywhere to fit any theme.

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