Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

...These are a few of my favorite things! I'm so overdue to watch The Sound of Music again. :)  Yankee Candle has this new limited edition line of candles inspired by the song My Favorite Things. I recently finished burning Bright Copper Kettles and am saving Warm Woolen Mittens for January (Holiday Sage is burning now - LOVE!) I digress.

So, back to brown paper packages....

Wrapping Christmas gifts is a favorite past time of mine. As in, before kids. Christmas gift wrapping used to be a big, fun project that I put a lot of time and detail into. I'd save every box that entered my house so I'd always have just the right size one for any gift. That was when I had a 3rd floor simply for storage. (When I could have been on an episode of Hoarders. It took me days to break down all those boxes before we moved.)

I was, and still am, pretty particular about my wrapping paper designs. I used to amass as much beautiful ribbon as I could, especially the wired kind, by saving them from gifts I received or scoring beautiful spools full at yard sales and Sally's. I loved stacking up boxes and tying them together. One of my signature wraps involved twine, cinnamon sticks, pine cones, greenery and berries. And I could put together one heck of a gift basket if I do say so myself. With baskets picked up at yard sales and thrift shops, of course. Oh, those were the days. The good ole' days.

For the past six years or so I've usually resorted to my stash of recycled gift bags. I use whatever bag I can fit the gift in and stuff it with plain white tissue paper. If a gift comes boxed then sure, I'll give it a little TLC wrap, but not like I used to.

This year I decided to have a little more fun wrapping again. My idea began with trying to find a use for this large stack of (250) jumbo green vintage tags I picked up on a treasure hunt I shared back in March.

I try not to buy things I don't already have a use in mind for when I purchase them but I felt pretty confident I'd come up with something fun to do with these eventually. I loved the color, shape, and size of these tags as well as the reinforcement detail around the hole.

Shortly after buying the tags, an idea popped into my head. I would use them to craft hand made Christmas cards. I would loop some pretty red or red and white patterned ribbon through the hole, attach a photo of the kids on one side, and write a personal message on the other side. I had been looking forward to implementing this project ever since. Every time I'd visit the craft store I'd check the clearance ribbons for red ones under $1 and started stocking up.

I had the whole project ready to go by October. I just needed a photo with all three girls. In fact, I even brought all my supplies to the hospital when I had my c-section, thinking I'd have time to start cutting/looping ribbon or addressing envelopes. Clearly I was dilusional.

Enter my friend Kelley, a casual photographer with a good eye and a nice camera. She offered to take photos of my girls for my Christmas cards this year. She envisioned a nice photo collage full of cute little poses like the ones she'd been pinning on Pinterest. She didn't know about my project...where I would only have room for one picture of all three girls. So I told her about my idea and showed her the green tags. She totally talked me out of it. The tags are only 3"x6". If I wanted to keep any green border around the that picture I'd mount on it, I would have to print wallet sized pictures and then people would need a magnifying glass to see the kids' faces. And when would I have time to put together almost 100 hand made cards between teaching my Kindergardener and taking care of a newborn? She was right. Besides, getting one great shot of all three girls proved to be near impossible.

My idea was deflated.  I'll admit I was disappointed but it just wasn't meant to be. In the end, Kelley's hard work gave me quite a few options, resulting in my nice little photo collage Christmas card:

A picture of a picture because my scanner is currently out of commission. :(
That left me desperately wanting a new idea for how to use the green tags. Then it hit me. Duuuhhh...Gift tags. Tied with red ribbons (not string).  Around brown paper packages. That was it. Simple and casual. I figured I'd wrap as many gifts as I could that way, excluding the kids (they get cheesy character paper).  And if I ran out of red ribbon, I'd dip into my stash for other colors. So I started saving all my boxes immediately and I came home with a big stack of brown paper bags from my next grocery shopping trip.

I've started making some wrapping progress. Here are some I've pumped out this week:

Hmmm...the tags look two totally different colors when photographed in different lighting.

My sister's birthday is Christmas Day. (Its a milestone year for her.) I often forget to wrap her gift in birthday paper! Oops!

Skinny red velvet ribbon

I hadn't paid much attention to the small print around the hole until just the other day. It says "DENNISON MFG. CO. U.S.A.  8GC"  So I Googled "Dennison Manufacturing Company" with a pretty good hunch about what I'd find and sure enough - it turns out that it was a Framingham, MA based Fortune 500 company that was established in the 1800s and merged with Avery International Corporation in 1991 to form Avery Dennison - the company most well-known for its labels.  That has significance for me considering this recent post! I'm not superstitious, really.

Red gross-grain with white stitching
Quite a few years ago the adults in my immediate family started picking names out of a hat to buy for just one other person will a dollar limit. It keeps Christmas shopping simpler and easier on the wallet. Christmas day becomes easier to focus on Christ and family rather than gifts.This year, I'm buying for my mom.

I did end up needing to dip into some of my other ribbon so I looked into my "ribbons & notions" basket on my cellar stairs.

This sits between my "paints" and "sewing stuff" basket. I don't do much with either!

This was all I had left of Christmas colors.

Green ric-rac, dark green and red gross-grain, and burgandy satin

Wrapping presents is so therapeutic. For me its a welcome creative outlet, not a chore. I finished my shopping today (big sigh!) so I'll be back to having fun wrapping tonight...in front of HGTV of course.


Christine said...

Very nice! I used to put a lot more effort into wrapping (pre-kids)...but I love to do it too! In fact, that's what I'm about to do right now! P.S. Did you get a new camera? The quality of the pics looks improved.

Hailey said...

I'm borrowing mom's camera for a little while to play around and see what features it has I might want. I didn't have time to play with settings yet though.

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