This Wrap Story is a part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of this blog. For more, click the “Wrap Story” link in the right-hand column.

My cousin D. was married this summer to the lovely R. I originally picked this picture where they look so serene, but this photo is more telling of their personalities.


Image courtesy Lisa Higaki

That’s D. high-fiving the entire wedding party as they enter the reception. D. is like a big kid – lots of fun, warm, and good-hearted. He just finished a rigorous graphic design program and is now designing professionally! R. is a good, mellow counterpart to D.’s energy. She was aptly described in a toast as “always prepared for the occasion” and has a great sense of style. It was great to celebrate with them.

We shopped for their wedding gift as a family. After fruitlessly wandering the “bath accessories” section of Macy’s, we decided on another item from their registry – a tea kettle. It’s something we enjoy using and hope they’ll get a lot of use out of.

I wrapped it with the celery-stamped kraft paper I blogged about a while ago. I totally had them in mind by the time I finished this fun stamping project. You can see I used the section of paper where the first row of stamps start. I thought it looked a bit more modern.

I tied a thin, grey ribbon around it to accent the silver ‘roses’. For embellishment, I tried out the grocery bag pom-pom from another previous post.

It looked way too small, and worse, rag-tag juxtaposed with the decorative paper. I didn’t have any suitable ribbon to make a bow. Time to improvise!

I liked the idea of a pom-pom, but clearly, this gift needed a bigger embellishment in proportion to the box. I remembered a Martha Stewart tutorial on making a tissue paper pom-pom. I’d seen these on a few blogs I admire but hadn’t tried making one myself.

It was very satisfying.

While I’ve shied away from more traditional looks in wrapping other wedding presents, this white blossom seemed really appropriate for the occasion. Below is a before-and-after to better compare the two poms.

Isn’t there a huge difference? It was a good reminder that sometimes, proportion is key. The plastic pom-pom looked great on other things, but on this gift it looked puny and a little sad. Match a bigger decoration to a bigger gift for an overall happier effect!

Do you think much about proportion when you wrap gifts? Is this information helpful, or does it stress you out? Let me know in the comments!

This Wrap Story is part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of this blog. For more, click the “Wrap Story” link in the right-hand column!


We know E. and B., who were married this summer, through our church. E. is the one whose bridal shower rose I documented in an earlier post.

This is one unique couple. They registered at some unusual places: Ten Thousand Villages and the gorgeous Heath Ceramics. In their desire to live simply, their first home is in a trailer park! Here they are happily riding into their outdoor reception on a tandem bike.


Image by Michelle McCotter

I got them some pottery from the Pasadena City College ceramics sale since I was so jazzed about it. I hoped the gift was in the spirit of their registry tastes.

There were a few challenges. First, I’d wrapped M. & M.’s similar gift in a gift bag. I wanted to try something different, but I didn’t have a box the right size. Inspiration hit when I noticed our neighbor was using a plastic food box to store her son’s toys. Ah ha!

We’d been eating salads all summer long and already had an empty box of mixed greens ready to go.

I cut the bride and groom’s initials from security envelopes and glued these and a red heart onto white cardstock. Next, I dip-dyed some paper I had to pad the bowls. I like this effect – it has the benefit of looking good even when crinkled.

I interspersed the dyed paper with strips of newsprint to protect the bowls, put on the lid, added a purple ribbon, and voila!

I enjoyed getting resourceful for this Wrap Story. I hope the gift and its wrapping reflect some of the quirkiness and shared values of our friends E. and B.

This Wrap Story is a part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of this blog. For more, click the “Wrap Story” link in the right-hand column!

As the wedding of our friends H. and J. approached earlier this year, I was excited to plan their gift. They are a unique couple, and I knew that the bride for sure is a fan of handmade things.

Personally, one of my most-appreciated wedding gifts was a few books of stamps. Utterly practical, these were quickly put to use on the countless numbers of thank you cards we wrote.

I saw this tutorial on making a fabric envelope and got inspired. These two posts helped seal the deal. I was making one!

I wanted to gather all the essentials together so the thank-you writing process could flow. Also, the couple’s wedding theme was ‘correspondence’, with even a typewriter on the invitation. Perfect!

I picked a combination of fabrics that I hoped were suitable for a man and a woman. I sewed up the envelope and added a little slot for a pen on the left-hand side. Then I filled it with some handmade cards, postage stamps, postcards made out of cereal and other food boxes, and one of my favorite kinds of pens (we used this exact kind to write many a thank you card).

I had a few embroidered tags leftover from my last big creative project (a reconstructed t-shirt and accessory line called Phoenix) and couldn’t resist adding that last handmade touch!

I put the kit in a patterned gift bag and taped a card with a contrasting design on the outside. That was the official wrapping for this gift. However, it was wrapped before The Gifted Blog began, so I didn’t think to take a picture of it. Luckily, H. was kind enough to bring the gift to our apartment so I could snap some photos (yes, the kind of thing you can only ask of a friend…”Um, can you bring the gift that I gave you back to my house?”).

I like this as an alternative to throwaway wrapping. It might be nice to make a variation for gift certificates or other flat items.

Wrap Story: M&M Bowls

August 18, 2009

This Wrap Story is a part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of this blog. For more, click the “Wrap Story” link at the bottom of the post!


Image courtesy Lisa Higaki

My cousin M. got married! She is a writer (more specifically, a poet), and I was especially excited to pick out a gift for her and her husband because we share some aesthetic sensibilities. She loves handmade things and is an artist herself.

Partially because I have fond memories of childhood pottery classes, and partially because I was stoked about buying some (budget-friendly) locally made goods, I went to Pasadena City College’s ceramics sale. This is an annual event to benefit the Art Department that takes place in the beginning of May. I was a little concerned about the selection beforehand. The sale was over three days, and I wasn’t able to make it there until late on the last day. But there was plenty of good stuff. I took N. out of his stroller and we circled around and around the tables until I found three sets of pottery that I was excited to purchase and give.

Here is the pair of bowls I picked for M. and her husband, M.:

I knew this would pose a bit of a wrapping challenge, since the bowls did not come with a box and would have to be wrapped in a way that protected them and accommodated their unusual shape. Though it wasn’t my first choice, I found a plain paper gift bag in my stash and decided to use it once I realized the bowls just fit inside.

I crumpled plain packing paper to give some protection at the bottom of the bag, then wrapped each bowl well. In thinking of how to decorate the bag, M. and M.’s wedding invitation came to mind. The invitation and reception card came in the mail about a month before the wedding and are lovely:

I cut out the flower design and chose a light yellow rice paper to back it. I finished off the gift with an artificial bud tendril and bow. The tendril and ribbon were from my stash. I am not above ironing out the wrinkles!

Here’s the final present, pictured with gifts from my grandparents and a giant spreadsheet of the wedding day activities, made by M. and M.’s friend and wedding coordinator.

The sad reality of wedding invitations is that often so much effort goes into making them, yet the vast majority are tossed once their purpose is served. My hope is that M. and M. enjoyed seeing the image they selected for their celebration used again on their wedding present!

This Wrap Story is a part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of this blog. For more, click the “Wrap Story” link at the bottom of the post!

Greg’s cousin S. (at right) was married to W. in the spring of 2008 in Monrovia Canyon Park. S. and W.’s story is a unique one – their wedding united not only themselves, but nine children total from previous marriages. It takes a special commitment to blend families like that! It was fitting that the wedding itself was unconventional. The ceremony was held in a small cabin, and the reception was a was in a friend’s backyard afterward, catered by the In-n-Out truck!

The couple was registered at Sur la Table, so we went in with Greg’s parents to get them a joint gift. We settled on a steak knife set and a bright oilcloth tablecloth, thinking they might be able to use both for an outdoor meal.

The tablecloth was so pretty that I decided to use it to wrap the knife set. It took a few tries to get the knife box positioned in the right place. Since the tablecloth material was stiff, I wrapped a band of kraft paper around the middle to keep the ends in place and tied a bright blue ribbon around the package. A little polka-dot card in a glassine envelope finished it off.

I was afraid it would look a little out of place amongst the other gifts, but knowing a little of S. and W.’s story made me feel more comfortable with playing around. In the end I think it made for a festive and untraditional-looking wedding present!

This idea could be used in other circumstances – wrapping a blanket around a baby’s gift, for example. Is this something you’ve tried? Let me know in the comments!

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