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    

Pretty in… plastic?

Like many, I love to entertain.  Also like many, I rarely have the time or money to throw elaborate parties (but still want to at least give the impression that I do!)  One way to add some pizazz to your gatherings is to use simple, inexpensive plastic tablecloths -- and not necessarily in the traditional way of placing them on your tables.

Plastic Tablecloth Ceiling TreatmentTake a look at this easy idea of draping them across your ceiling, canopy-style, with a few balloon embellishments and streamers.  What a great way to add color and texture in a dramatic, eye-catching fashion, with few dollars and little effort.

  This decorating technique could be used for a variety of parties -- celebrating birthdays, baby or wedding showers, and holidays (e.g., Valentine's Day, Halloween, Christmas) --and could feature any number of color combinations to support a range of fun-to-elegant themes. tablecloth door entrancePlastic tablecloths can also be used to create a festive entrance to your party room, by draping them, in swag-curtain style, from your doorframe. Use bows, ribbons, tulle or any other thematic or seasonal flair (pine cones? baby rattles?) to complete the look.  Again, you can use one color or many, depending on the design you're after; and these can be pulled to one side only... or hung so that they drape both sides of your doorframe.  Maybe you want to drop them all the way to the floor so that they "puddle" like fabric draperies.   Last but not least, who has parties without photos, right?  Whether people are taking them for casual Facebook posts or to eventually print and frame as a remembrance of the occasion, snapshots are a given. How about using plastic tablecloths to make an interesting backdrop for your guests?  rainbow-photo-booth-backdrop-11Whether you go a bit whimsical with a rainbow design or opt for something more subtle, alternating light colors, this is sure to delight your party-goers.  You've not only created a conversation piece but a pseudo photo booth!  Add an empty picture frame or other props if you want to allow for more variety.   Whatever your party purpose, plastic tablecloths are an inexpensive and versatile way to add a temporary design to your room(s), without taking hours of preparation to deliver an interesting and memorable effect.  What are you waiting for?  The Dollar Store is just a few minutes away... ------------------------------------------------------------------ Photo credits:  Ceiling canopy photo provided by Toni Roberts (DesignDazzle.com) .  Doorway photo provided by Jaime Costiglio (ThatsMyLetter.blogspot.com).  Backdrop photo provided by Camille (Makoodle.com). For details on the "how to" behind these projects, please visit these sites.