Archive for the ‘Wrapping’ Category

On being prepared

June 7, 2010

In stock now: a rainbow of ribbons

From time to time I’m told, “The presents you give are always so beautifully wrapped!  You’re so good at it – but I’m hopeless!”

Whereas the reality is: I’m not especially talented at gift wrapping.  Although I do try to ensure the gifts I give are attractively wrapped, I wouldn’t say I have any special skill at it.

What I do have is: organisation.  I keep gift wrapping paper in stock.  Also ribbons for trimming the parcel, and some greeting cards – birthday and general purpose.  And a dedicated place to store all of them.  It’s easier to have presents beautifully wrapped if you actually keep some supplies on hand at all times.  (This is a no-brainer, of course, but it’s amazing how people can overlook the need for this, and are then disappointed that the presents they wrap look either dull or incomplete.)

I’ve been noticing that my stocks of gift-wrapping ribbon were running a bit low recently.  So this weekend I snapped up some new stocks at a local haberdashery store that was having a sale.  Five metres apiece of eight different colours of gauze ribbon totalled just $17.40 (at 40% discount).  That’ll help replenish my stocks for another year, and ensure I have a enough range of colours to complement whatever wrapping paper I happen to be using.  I do like to use a variety of ribbon types, but for me, gauze ribbon is a basic staple – always looking festive. 

Having good wrapping supplies is similar to being well dressed.  It reminds me of a fashion quote I once read: “The more clothes you have, the better dressed you can be” (or words to that effect).  In essence – the more options you have on hand, the more combinations you can put together.  Which works equally well for fashion or gifts.

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Prompt, not pretty

April 30, 2010

Earlier this week it was my friend Beth’s birthday.  I’d been trying to find a copy of a certain book for her, which I’d read and thought she’d enjoy too (Don’t look behind you by Peter Allison, an entertaining memoir about his work as a safari guide in Africa).  Beth grew up in Africa and loves its wildlife, so I thought she’d enjoy this particular book.

Four days before her birthday, I still hadn’t been able to track down a copy of it.  So when I found a copy of it last Saturday (her birthday was the Tuesday following), I quickly purchased it – complete with exchange card, just in case – then pondered my options.

If I took the book home to wrap, I wouldn’t be able to post it until Monday, the day before her birthday.  So it might not arrive on time.  Plus it would take a special trip to get it posted (I have a few health complications – nothing life-threatening, but it means I need to slow down a bit just now.)

Having weighed all this up, and the fact there was a post office just around the corner, open for business, I made my decision.  Five minutes later the book was packaged, addressed and in the postal system.  Okay, there was no card or pretty wrapping paper with it, but it was going to arrive on time.  I made a choice, and ‘prompt’ won the day over ‘pretty’.

When I got home I emailed Beth to let her know her birthday present was en route, but undressed.  Beth is in her early 50s – she can handle an unwrapped gift (and she’s very popular – I know she’ll get many more gifts all gussied up in their finest!) 

However, if I was sending a gift to a child, I would definitely have taken the book home and made sure it was wrapped – the pleasure of unwrapping an attractive gift is, for a child, a big thrill indeed.

Give gift vouchers a golden glow

April 12, 2010

One problem with giving a gift voucher is that it looks so insubstantial: it’s just a slip of paper, after all.  And you can’t really ‘wrap it up’, because there’s hardly anything to wrap up.  So it ends up being tucked into a greeting card or perhaps an envelope.  Not very inspiring.

When I do give gift vouchers – not all that often, as discussed earlier – I’ve taken to putting them in a gold envelope (available in packs from stationery stores).  The glitter of the envelope lends a festive touch of colour, and announces, like gift wrapping on a present: “Something interesting is inside!”  Depending on how fabulous the gift voucher inside is, the gold envelope can also be dressed up further with ribbons, wax seals etc.

It definitely gets a better response from the gift recipient than, “Oh, what’s this?” as they bend to pick up the voucher that’s slid to the floor when they opened their card.

Recommended.

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Something old, something new…

February 2, 2010

Here’s a creative wedding gift idea I recently saw at the excellent giftwrapping site, The Gifted Blog.  The idea was in turn spotted at designer Erin Jang’s website.

In essence, it involves four gifts, each differently wrapped and labelled “Something old”, “something new”, “Something borrowed”, and “Something blue” – with appropriate gifts, meaningful to the gift recipient, in each parcel.  A great idea for a dear friend or family member.  Probably a bit difficult for someone you’re not all that close to.

Stocking up

January 11, 2010

A fresh selection of wrapping paper for 2010

On a recent rainy day I went to a local Two Dollar Shop and splurged on gift wrapping paper to see me through 2010.  Supplies had gradually diminished during 2009, and towards the end of the year my gift wrapping was becoming more and more “creative”, out of necessity, as I re-used preloved wrapping paper and odds ‘n’ ends of new paper. 

So it was joyous to stock up on a wide range of discounted gift paper in a variety of styles: generic pretty; monochromatic; feminine; masculine; papers for the birth of new babies and birthdays of children; and so forth.  They’ll all go into my gift wrapping drawer, awaiting a suitable occasion.  I didn’t find much in the way of pretty ribbons – my stock of these is depleted as well – but I’m gonna keep my eye out for them over coming weeks.

I recommend this approach because at this time of year cards and wrapping paper are often heavily discounted in the post-Christmas sales.  Also, it’s a great time to stock up for the year ahead, while things are relatively quiet.  I find that buying giftwrap in advance actually helps me save money (and reduces stress), as I don’t have to rush out and buy full-price paper when a gift-giving occasion arises and I find I don’t have the right wrapping paper to hand.

Wrapping gifts from kids

January 7, 2010

Children's paintings as gift wrap

This year at Christmas, my infant daughter gave – with parental assistance, of course – her grandparents a little gift each (some nice candy).  To wrap the gifts, instead of using normal Christmas gift wrap, I took a different approach.

I used two of the colourful paintings she’d done at Playcentre as gift wrap, and tied the parcels with ribbon in matching colours.  The wrapped gifts looked so unusual and pretty and childish; they were real standouts – far, far better than if we’d taken the normal mainstream approach and used generic Christmas giftwrap.  Plus it’s a great way to re-use some of her (non keeper) paintings, of which we have dozens!

It’s a wrap!

December 18, 2009

Everyone has their own approach to wrapping Christmas gifts. Some leave it all to the the last minute and do it all in one (big) hit.  Others get them wrapped in-store at the time of purchase.  Some people wrap all their gifts in the same paper/ribbon combination, others like variety.  Some, like my mother in law, love buying gifts but hate wrapping them!

A new approach I’m trying this year is a two-phased system: wrap the gifts in giftpaper when I have the time and privacy, noting the recipients’ names either in biro or with a gift card/sticker.  Then, closer to Christmas Day, I’ll finish off the job by trimming the wrapped gifts with ribbon, curling foil and rosettes. 

The advantage with this approach is that I can take my time with the trimming, in order to get it right, and not have to do it in private.  For, unless the gift is a distinctive shape, nobody will be able to guess the content’s identity once it’s safely wrapped in paper.

Say Cheese!

October 1, 2009
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I’ve found some nifty cotton teatowels on special, with a lively print of various French cheeses (as pictured). 

They inspired me to make a gift out of them: they’ll make a colourful, interesting liner to a plain basket, which I’ll fill with gourmet cheeses and other nibbles.

I don’t have a (cheese-loving) recipient in mind, just yet, but for now they’re stashed away in my ‘rainy day’ gift drawer.

Related link: Basket case.

Wrapping 101

June 30, 2009

In which a lady shows us how to wrap a box. Yes, really.  I suppose there are people who need guidance at this level, but personally I’ve always felt they would do just as well asking a grownup to help.

Interesting to know that such resources are out there.

Gift wrapping: going another round

June 10, 2009

So here’s my dirty little secret: I recycle – or more accurately, reuse – gift wrapping.

Not all the time, just where the wrapping is still largely intact and uncreased, meaning it can go another round still looking like new. I do the same with ribbons and rosettes.

In fact, recycled wrapping has become a bit of an in-joke in our family. “Do I recognise that red ribbon?” the birthday guest will smile knowingly. Chances are, they do. Often gift paper will undergo several ‘incarnations’ between our households before finally being consigned to the rubbish bin.

Perhaps I’m a little shamefaced about it – but only a little. Because it’s wasteful to throw perfectly good (and often quite expensive) wrapping paper away, just to go out and buy an identical lot for the next birthday that comes along. As well as saving you money, it’s better for the environment.

I’m no wrapping paper tyrant, forcing gift-openers to slice open their parcels carefully in order to save the wrapping. Children especially for delight in tearing open a package (love that ripping sound!)

But often the wrapping is perfectly good for another outing – possibly for a smaller parcel, after any rips along the paper’s border have been trimmed off. Have a place to keep it, somewhere out of the way where it can remain flat and undamaged; I have a nook under the stairs where I tuck gift paper away – both new and used, out of harm’s way until it’s needed.

P.S.  Tammy Donroe of BlogHer has more suggestions on reusing household items.