Wrap Story: Easy Does It

November 23, 2009

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 were invited to a church friend’s birthday lunch and G. kindly watched N. so I could go. I expected a small gathering, but to my surprise we filled two banquet-length tables on the patio of Daisy Mint!

I gave the birthday girl a notepad made with papers retrieved from the recycling bins of MOCA (by me, who else). I made it a card and gift in one by writing the birthday wishes on the first page of the pad.

As you can see, I just tied a sheer ribbon into a bow around the notepad. I thought it might be best to keep it simple for a simple gift.


I am very happy to present The Gifted Blog’s first guest post, written by my cousin Mia! Mia is a talented writer, currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Washington. Her emphasis is in poetry, and she is the associate editor for the Lantern Review, a new online journal of Asian American poetry. I could go on and on, but instead I will leave you with her inventive gift wrapping story!

“My husband and I wrapped this gift for two of our newest friends, Jack and Bri. We are relatively new to the Seattle area, and this couple has eased our transition considerably through their warmth and hospitality. When they invited us over last month to celebrate Jack’s birthday, we realized that we not only wanted to celebrate him, but both of them!

While brainstorming gift ideas, we realized that we had become friends with two people whose names were related to TWO OF OUR FAVORITE CHEESES! Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. We certainly love our cheese.

We stopped by our local Trader Joe’s to purchase some whole grain crackers, a bottle of wine (which, we were told, would complement our cheese nicely), and most importantly, a block of Jack Cheese and Brie. I almost bought a piece of Pepper Jack, but decided that plain Jack was the way to go.

Gift-wrapping is one of my favorite past times, and creative gift-wrapping is even better. I pulled out my staple materials: a roll of pinstripe yellow paper from the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Market (I love it because it’s brown on one side, and yellow on the other), and two rolls of satin ribbon, one green and one orange. I’ve been using this color scheme for most of our presents lately because it fits virtually every occasion: birthdays, weddings, baby showers…

A few hours before the party, Mark set to work cutting out the letters of Jack’s name, and I began decorating the bottle of wine and disguising the labels on the cheese so they said “Jack” and “Bri,” rather than Jack Cheese and Light Brie. Several cute stickers from a Korean stationery store did the trick.

We then assembled the separate parts of the gift, loaded everything into the car, and tried not to giggle as we ascended the elevator to Jack and Bri’s apartment. We were a little worried that they had gotten the same present before, but were assured us that though the joke had been made, no one had actually given them actual blocks of cheese!”

Gift Wrap Ideas for Kids

November 19, 2009

A reader suggested posting on kids’ wrapping ideas, especially with the holidays approaching. Good idea. I took a look around the web. It’s always fun for me to find other people who love wrapping gifts. We may be few, but we are enthusiastic about our craft!

Here is a roundup of three ideas for the kid(s) in your life. Even better, these are projects you can do with a kid, too.

Image via MerrimentDesign

Kathy of MerrimentDesign.com used chalkboard fabric and chalk to decorate a birthday boy’s gift. How fun that the tag can be played with long after the gift is opened! If you don’t have easy access to chalkboard fabric, I think this would work with a black piece of paper. You can spray hairspray on the finished tag to ‘set’ the chalk.

Image courtesy mamalibrarian

Amy of mamalibrarian made this flower wrapping with her 5-year old daughter. Beautiful, isn’t it? Most impressive, they recycled old tissue paper to make the blooms. Genius! It’s so hard to reuse tissue paper without it looking lame. I think this would be well-received by a grown-up, too!

Image courtesy mamalibrarian

Finally, and also from Amy, Lego print wrapping paper! She and her son stamped this plain paper with Duplo Legos for a Lego-themed birthday party. I bet their friend liked this gift.

I like that any of these can easily be adapted to a Christmas-y color theme or the gift recipient’s favorite colors. Do you have a favorite?

paminboots Giveaway Results

November 18, 2009

I am happy to announce iloveamandabynes is the winner of the paminboots gift tags! I hope you enjoy – and send us a picture so we can see them in action.

Many thanks again to Pam for the lovely papers and tags. If my post didn’t satisfy your craving for mushroom-stamped gift wrap, you may just have to head on over to the paminboots Etsy store yourself!

As you already know, the holidays are the time of year when the average person is most likely to be thinking about gift wrapping. I started psyching myself out by trying to think of all the things I could write about to address the needs of potential readers. In a word, this was stressful!

So, I am scaling it down to a mini-series called “A Gifted Christmas”. In it I’ll be keeping track of my personal Christmas gift-wrapping preparations. I hope you’ll join me along the way!

I finally got inspired to start this series after attending a holiday open house at Fugu Fugu Press. Fugu Fugu Press is a small letterpress company here in Pasadena. I saw them online some time ago, and was pleasantly surprised to learn their studio is within walking distance from our place!

I look longingly at their (shuttered) windows when I walk to the library and church, and I was excited to have the chance to take a peek at their studio and line of adorable cards! I had seen the holiday elves card (at the start of the post) online and had a few people in mind I wanted to get them for.

I could just post about the cards, but I got so many great pictures I thought I’d indulge in a little photo essay. Here’s the view from the corner.

A canine shopkeeper.

One of the presses, backed by boxes of neatly organized cards.

Shoppers perusing the wares. There were two young siblings selecting birthday cards for friends. Sophisticated taste!

A shot of the card display.

Outdoor entertainment – very lively, this song!

The goodies I walked away with.

I felt like a kid in a candy store when I found a box of misprints selling for a buck each. These are some impeccable-looking misprints! The irresistible graphics on this one are making me think of ways to wrap a gift that would showcase, not hide, these little faces.

All in all, it was a nice experience to see Fugu Fugu in person, pick up some beautiful cards, and meet co-owner Shino (I believe Ken was playing the piano at the time). It’s energizing to think of this quality, crafty business running just around the corner!

How are you feeling about the approach of Christmas? Have you done any early preparations?

My First Workshop!

November 17, 2009

Do you browse cool DIY ideas online but never get around to trying them? Want to wrap your gifts with something new, but not sure where to start? Are you dreading the Christmas gift-wrapping process and need some inspiration?

Then, I present for your consideration – a Gifted Workshop: Gift Toppers!

Each participant will learn how to make a grocery bag pom-pom, tissue paper blossom, and Mylar wrapper ribbon in an encouraging and fun class environment. The workshop is capped at a small size to allow plenty of individualized attention.

These embellishments are yours to take home and use, along with a spool of ribbon to jump-start your gift wrapping practice!

The details:
Saturday, December 5th
Pasadena, CA
E-mail giftedmailbox[at]gmail[dot]com to register.

Please bring a pair of sharp scissors. All other supplies are included in the cost of the class! I am super excited about this new venture and look forward to having you join me. I think this class would make a great gift, a creative date idea, or a fun outing for friends!

Please e-mail or comment below if you have any questions – I’d be happy to answer them.

Not to be sneaky, but this post is also, secretly, a Tutorial Tryout. I just couldn’t fit it into the title in good conscience.

I was browsing Etsy back in September in search of possible products to feature. There doesn’t seem to be too much beyond the realm of gift tags, so I was thrilled to stumble upon this hand printed wrapping paper by Pam of paminboots! It was very fun corresponding with her about her craft.

I flipped over the woodblock-y style of the hearts and the graphic mushrooms especially. The designs on the kraft paper are screenprinted, and the hearts and mushrooms are – no joke – stamped individually by hand. What a labor of love!

Pam writes:

My mom loves mushrooms. Somehow, she never seems to tire of their cuteness, and she loves spotting them along the road when we’re driving and shouting, “Mushrooms!” Oddly enough, this is something I have taken to doing as well. Because she loves mushrooms so much, my brother and I often give/make her mushroom-themed gifts. I can just imagine how thrilled she’ll be when she sees all the mushrooms sprouting up underneath the Christmas tree this year and how annoyed my brother will be when he hears all us girls squealing, “Mushrooms! Mushrooms! Mushrooms!”

I love it. With all the commercially printed gift wrap in the world, how nice to have one that was made with just one mom in mind. You can see a full view of this beautiful wrapping paper here.

I saw this tutorial for a gift wrap covered canister on Instructables and wanted to try it before the holidays. Covering a container like this means it can be used and re-used, no worse for wear! I used the last of the 1-minute oats and was ready to go.

I followed the instructions pretty much as-is, substituting a scrapbooking adhesive and glue stick for double-sided tape. I painted the top of the lid so the printing wouldn’t show through the white paper.

The kraft paper Pam used for the hearts and hands pattern was plenty thick and covered the body of the canister beautifully. I hadn’t originally thought about using the two papers together, and I really love how the patterns look juxtaposed!

I am most comfortable with small-sized projects, so it felt good to make something that could hold a larger gift. And though it took time upfront, how easy is wrapping going to be? Just pop the lid on, maybe add a bow, and you’re golden!

As a treat for my readers, I’m hosting a giveaway of these heart and hand gift tags by paminboots. Printed on index cards, you can write the to/from on the front and include a little note on the reverse side.

To enter, leave a comment before 8pm Tuesday (PST). The lucky winner will receive the set of four gift tags pictured below.

Good luck!