Gifted People: Stacey

November 5, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the line of gift wrap I started making, because, honestly, I’ve been more excited about writing this blog than getting Gifted items up on Etsy. But, this post has been in draft form for too long! I wanted to write about a friend who has been instrumental in helping me pursue a creative life.

Stacey and I first became friends toward the end of sophomore year of college. I had been praying for God to give me good friends. It was one of those relationships where you are a little in disbelief that this amazing person would want to be your friend, too.

Stacey has been one of my biggest creative cheerleaders. No matter how modest my attempts, she affirms what I do and spurs me to think bigger. Our senior year I was selling reconstructed t-shirts and skirts on consignment at a little boutique. It was my first time selling stuff at that level, and it was a thrill. Unfortunately, the boutique folded, and the owner sent the remaining clothing to me.

I don’t know whose idea it was (probably hers), but Stacey and I decided to have an open house to sell the clothing I made. She made a sign for our door and little shirt-shaped fliers to pass out to the dorm and other friends. Because of her belief in what I was passionate about, Stacey was the best PR I could ask for! Where I was shy to self-promote, Stacey did not hesitate to spread the word.

The open house was one of the most fulfilling things I did in college. It was wonderful to be sharing my work. Girls went to the bathroom to try things on and came back to model them. In those two hours we sold more items than my whole time selling at the boutique.

Here’s a picture from our senior year. (We look like babies!)

Fast forward five years, and Stacey is still there for me, asking if I’m going to make clothes again and giving me feedback on my Gifted bags. I gave her a Gifted gift card holder as a thank-you for being my cheerleader.

Stacey had the great idea to use it as a business card case:

I can bet that simply through her natural enthusiasm, other people will find out about what I’m doing with Gifted. I love you, Stacey! Thank you for cheering me on over the seven years of our friendship.

Last but not least, I think this picture suggests the increased opportunities for success (professional and personal) that carrying a Gifted product will bring.

Just teasing.

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?

Gifted: An Introduction

July 19, 2009

Sometimes, when you really get to thinking, you can be surprised by what brings you pleasure. I became a mom last year, and it has given me some time to think about what I truly enjoy. I always knew I liked making things. And more specifically, I like making things that are functional. Beautiful things that serve a purpose.

With the current popularity of handmade goods and Etsy, was it time to take ‘making things’ seriously? It seems like a crafter’s ultimate goal these days is to not just make things, but sell them, too. There is definitely a thrill in seeing the work of your hands being enjoyed by people you don’t even know, making its own small difference in the world.

I don’t think I am cut out to be a full-time entrepreneur, but I had the idea to start a line of gift wrap. Why gift wrap? I love how the commonplace task of gift wrapping can become an opportunity for creativity. In our lives, how often are we called upon to paint a canvas? But occasions for gift-giving crop up regularly, and with them, the need to wrap the gift. I love the spontaneous creative energy that is generated by solving the small but important problem of concealing the gift, creating anticipation before the recipient unveils their present. Whether this vision will become reality remains to be seen. I am starting this blog with the hope of starting small. With any luck a line of gift wrap called Gifted may emerge!

For now, I hope to share ideas and to play around, to see what comes of this. I hope to relate with you, whether you love paper like me or are sitting, stumped, about to make your first gift-wrapping attempt. Welcome to The Gifted Blog!