Inspired By: Church Potlucks

September 16, 2009

This Inspired By post is part of a mini-series on the things and people that inspire my gift wrapping. Inspiration can strike at any time! For more, click the “Inspired By” link at the bottom of this post.

The last “Inspired By” post was about my hunt for vintage scarves to use for gift wrapping. There’s too much good stuff to say about these scarves! This post is about what else inspires their use in my life.

I grew up a part of a predominantly Japanese-American, Presbyterian church. Although I didn’t always see this growing up, it is a vibrant and very nurturing spiritual community. And besides loving God, each other, and the world beyond the church, my home church throws a mean potluck!

Now, if you recall potlucks from your early adult years, chances are that three people brought chips and salsa, and maybe one other person just brought chips.

But my home church’s potlucks are, no exaggeration, feasts. Chicken wings, sushi rice, a crockpot of chili, Spam musubi, fruit platters, chow mein, rice krispie treats, rainbow0-layered Jello, Auntie Julianne’s famous sour cream twist cookies, etc, etc, etc… For some excellent photographs, please click here for images taken by talented family friend Jordan Nicholson.

But what does this have to do with gift wrapping? Well, often times, church ladies will put plastic wrap over their potluck dish, then wrap it in a furoshiki for transport. Originally used to hold one’s personal items at the Japanese public bathhouse, these versatile square cloths came to be used to hold merchants’ wares, boxed lunches, gifts, and more. It holds everything together and provides a little knotted handle, to boot!

courtesy Kraig Donald, CC-BY-SA-3.0

So, it was time to test out a scarf-wrapped gift, furoshiki style! I picked my scarf of choice. I liked this one for its unusual pattern and ample size.

I spread it out and placed a gift box on the diagonal. I took opposite corners and tied a square knot in the center of the box, then repeated with the remaining two corners. I tucked the ends of the first knot beneath the gathers, and, voila!

So cool! I was a bit afraid the feather pattern would be too bizarre for most people’s tastes. I was pleased to see how nice it looked gathered around the box.

This idea can be used for a traditional gift – or, you could riff on the church potluck idea to present a dinner host with a plate of cookies. The scarf will gift-wrap the food as well as protect it from slipping off the plate.

Since this was just a trial run, I look forward to the next present when I can actually use this idea!


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