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!

Time flies, and before we knew it, our niece was about to turn one! Inspired by the cute baby stuff at Unique L.A. last May, I set out to make her a personalized t-shirt. I embroidered her name onto pear fabric and used this tutorial from the lovely  Shim + Sons blog to affix it to a stripy shirt.

I like how it turned out. The wrapping was quite simple, since I was in a rush to ship it to the opposite coast. I wrote out a tag and pinned it to the shirt to mimic a standard apparel tag. I was excited to use this teeny kitty pin that I have had for ages.

I used some hand-dyed tissue paper to wrap the shirt and popped it into a manilla envelope. Nothing too crazy. I drew a few flowers and leaves for fun.

All set to go!

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.

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!

A friend, E., was married this summer, and I had the privilege of attending her bridal shower in the weeks leading up to the big day. It was a gray morning, but we enjoyed good company and funny games at a neighborhood park.


Images courtesy Jessica Jew

By this time I had started work on Gifted, a line of reusable gift wrap. I was in the process of sewing several cloth gift bags, but what next? Knowing the gift bags couldn’t accommodate every size gift, I wanted to make something that could be used with a larger present.

With the goal of making another beautiful, user-friendly product, I made a rose that could be used in place of a bow. I had great material on hand – a cashmere top that never fit right. It felt luxurious, perfect for a bridal shower gift. I was pleased that its deep red matched one of the bride and groom’s wedding colors.

I sewed the rose and attached it to an unbleached elastic band. I got excited about the thought that E. could use it again. I glued two paper leaves to the box (wrapped, as you see, with kraft paper) and used one as the “to/from” tag.

Present-opening time! Here’s the happy bride-to-be.

She opened the gift and something spontaneous happened. Some of the shower guests said, “Oh! You could use it as a headband!” E. obliged and put the rose on. Doesn’t she look cute? I felt so happy that this gift wrapping turned into a small experience of its own, contributing to the fun, festive atmosphere.

It’s probably too lofty a goal to have every gift I wrap turn into a dress-up experience, but it was pretty fun to have it turn out this way this time.

As much as I love gift wrapping, I am well aware that for many people it is a chore. When I got the idea for Gifted, a line of reusable gift wrap, I loved the thought of making things that both gift-wrap-lovers and -haters could enjoy. For lovers, it’s a fresh, handmade way to package a gift. For the haters, it’s as easy as throwing the present in a paper gift bag…but without the stigma of “oh, you just threw this into a paper gift bag”!

I found instructions for sewing drawstring bags and went to town.  The first batch are small, 6″x5″ ones perfect for a fancy bar of soap, mini journal, set of stationery, or other small gift (like a Leatherman multitool (see, who said this was a blog just for girls?)).

For weeks, I had an awesome rhythm of measuring, cutting, and sewing in the mornings while N. napped. Then I just ran out of steam. I was so close to finishing this little batch and I freaked out a little. I had in mind to sell these – but I was afraid of actually showing them to anyone!

It took a crafting get-together with a friend to get out my rut. Sitting at the dining room table, I began the final step of threading the drawstring ribbons through and knotting them.

It was a cool lesson in the power of doing something collectively. Anyone else up for making stuff together?

Work in Progress

August 12, 2009

Back in April, I got the urge to make things with my hands. This is not uncommon. It is something that is built into me by my family, and even more so, built into me by God.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.

Though this is a God who knit and wove each one of us by his hand, I sometimes have a hard time believing he would value my own creating. Back in April, I wanted to invest time in making things, but I didn’t know if there was value in it.

I prayed with a friend who sensed God bringing this passage to mind:

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel…”

This really resonated with me. The story was not a familiar one, but God used it to highlight two things. Specifically, I felt God encouraging me to see the worth of the work of Zerubbabel’s hands. I also felt exhorted to not despise “the day of small things”. Often my projects seem like “small things”. It is hard to imagine something larger coming from them.

So I set out to be faithful in little, to make time to create things and take risks in doing so.

I honestly didn’t mean to write this as I began this post! I was all set to write about drawstring gift bags(!). But I feel this is important context for this blog and the work displayed here. I would love to know how you feel about your creative work. Does it come easy for you to see its value? Or is it hard to see its place in your life?

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