Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wrapping it up with style, Part 1

Making our own wrapping paper has been an annual event in my family for as long as I can remember. It's a beautiful and fun way to personalize our gifts to each other and add some variety under the tree.

Mama-la-la would haul down the roll of butcher paper as my sister and I brainstormed and sketched designs to painstakingly carve into potato stamps - simple silhouettes of trees, stars, and bells.

The designs got more intricate each year, eventually including a striped candy cane, skis & boots, mittens, a scarf, and even a 2-piece stamp of a present wrapped with a bow.

Mama-la-la gets high-class with it, breaking out her stenciling skills. Personally, I stick with the classic potato stamps.

-big potatoes
-sharp little knife
-paint and trays
-big paper

-Draw your design with a pencil before carving it out with the knife.
-Cut a handle into the back. I learned from experience that this is a BIG help when it comes to stamping.
-Cover the stamp with paint, trim any high spots.
-PRACTICE on an extra sheet of paper. Potato + paint = slippery = smudgy prints

My 2009 Collection:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spread the love, simply

One of the most simple gift ideas that I so often forget? Plants!

I have a very enthusiastic aloe plant on my sunny kitchen window sill that has been split, re-potted, and shared many times as a farewell gift, housewarming, thank-you, etc. Houseplants have all kinds of benefits, and aloe is great to keep in the kitchen for burns. It benefits my plant too, which has a habit of growing too big for its pot.

You can go fancy, purchasing a new pot or painting a custom container for it, or more casual if the recipient is a bit of a green thumb and able to re-pot it themselves. It only took a short time for me to re-pot a piece for my roommate's darling girlfriend, and it even looks sufficiently festive with the bright green spikes and red bow!