Thinking outside the box: Homemade gift-wrapping

Since stores have showcased Christmas decorations since the end of their "Back-to-School" promotions (ugh!), I'm giving myself permission to post a blog about Christmas/Hanukkah crafting pre-Halloween.  And this time, I'm asking you to think outside the box.  Literally. Years ago, I had a friend who gave me the most amazing homemade gifts. What impressed me the most, however -- and has stayed with me all this time -- is how she packaged everything:  With hand-crafted wrapping paper and embellishments. She was my Secret Santa at work and, each day, I found a uniquely wrapped box on my desk.  One day, it was a box wrapped in plain brown paper, with white snowflake stenciling and a sprig of evergreen tucked neatly under a ribbon. Another day, it was a package in white, with cut-outs of words and pictures from newspapers and magazines.  My favorite was one in which she took three heart doilies and stacked them, with the largest on the bottom, to resemble a Christmas tree; she used different-colored buttons for the ornaments! This "special treatment" is an inexpensive and creative way to show your thoughtfulness and stand out during this giving season.  Below are some great ideas to consider. Snowflake or folded-paper cut-outs and doilies make for easy designs.  Use a piece of twine or string in place of a ribbon for an old-fashioned look. DIY Paper flowers How cool would it be for your family members to identify their gifts by the photos you used to tag them?  (And the photos are gifts, too!) Photocopy photos and use in place of gift tags What about a collage of color photos?  Take your design to a copy center to print it on larger sheets of paper. Homeade wrapping paper. Just made this for my boyfriend's birthday! Why not be silly?  Clip images from magazines or use stamps to make a repeating design.  Perfect for kids and teens.    StampedPaper Give yourself license to do something different this holiday season and wrap your gifts in style.  There's nothing like a "grand opening." 🙂 --------------------------------------- Photo credits:  DIY Pinterest; Daily Suze; Our Suburban Farm; Originals; Top Inspired; Sweet Paul Mag    

It’s still rack-n-roll to me

Sometimes I think about all those people out there with their nifty little "craft rooms" and "gift-wrap stations," largely commercialized by the Martha Stewarts of the world.  And sometimes -- in my head -- I secretly make fun of them, telling myself that it is all just gratuitous luxury for people with too much time and money on their hands.  (But also secretly -- I'm just plain jealous!) 🙂 So while I'm working my way up to admitting that I want this... and figuring out a way to make it happen, I've discovered a great way to house rolls of wrapping paper in a very simple and inexpensive way -- via free-standing wine racks.

Wine rack for wrapping paper

Okay, I know what you're thinking.  Didn't this chic JUST talk about wine racks in one of her last posts -- for storing rolled magazines?  Why yes, yes I did.  Who knew how much one could be inspired by wine... er... wine racks. 🙂 This idea actually came to me a while back, when I moved into a house with this lovely rack sitting in a closet.  (Sadly), I didn't have nearly enough wine bottles to fill it, so I started thinking of ways to repurpose it. Prior to using the wine rack for my wrapping paper, I stored my rolls in horizontal plastic bins and containers -- one for the long rolls... one for the short rolls... one for Christmas... one for birthdays.  Before I knew it, I was laden with bins... or is that bin-laden?  (Okay, bad joke. :-)) Regardless, you get the picture.  This was taking up a lot of space, bin-wise, and some of the rolls were just standing against my closet walls -- anxious to fall out whenever I opened the door. Plus, whenever I wanted to find a roll, I would have to pull out all the bins, open each one, and do a seek-and-find.  This did not bode well for my impatient temperament. So I found peace in marrying the practical with the pretty and using my wine rack for my wrapping paper rolls -- standing them upright.  Now the rack sits in my finished basement, next to a counter, and allows me to easily store and see what I have, making quick work for my wrapping projects. While I may continue to secretly dream of having a glorious craft room, all pimped out with various crafting stations, multi-tiered shelving, and proper task-lighting, I can get some comfort in using my repurposed wine rack.  Oh... and drinking wine. 🙂