Monday, December 15, 2014

Fabric Wrapped Presents

Wrapping presents with fabric has become the preferred method for me and Jesse (it’s man approved too!). We started a few years ago, and continue to use this method for each other because it works so well. If you are a sewist and/or quilter you probably always have a large stash of fabric on hand – so this method would be perfect for you! It is also fairly easy to do, and pretty close to the same amount of time and energy it takes to wrap with paper.

I will say, I only use the fabric wrapping for certain giving situations. Me and Jesse use this with each other, because it’s known that the fabric will go back in the stash. But if I’m wrapping a gift for anyone else, I will stick to paper. I feel like it’s not socially acceptable to ask for the fabric back:) If it’s a person that I know likes fabric, and the gift is small enough to use little fabric (fabric is expensive, and I usually don’t want to add that cost to what I’ve already spent) I will wrap with fabric, and the fabric wrapping becomes part of the gift. This year my in-laws will be spending Christmas at our house, so we are wrapping their gifts with fabric. I feel like since it’s in our home, it’s acceptable to collect the fabric after unwrapping and put it back in the stash.

I love this method for many reasons. I save money by not buying paper, and less paper makes it to the recycle or waste bin. Using fabric makes me feel less guilty about my large stash of fabric, and I’m able to get more use out of it too (there is some amazing fabric out there – and it looks great on a gift). Lastly, it’s a lot of fun! Because a fabric stash varies from year to year, and because gift sizes and shapes change, there is variety every time you wrap. Unwrapping fabric is just as much fun as unwrapping paper – and a lot more fun than opening a gift from a bag.    

There are really just a few things you need for this: fabric in a variety of sizes (sometimes scraps will even work) and a collection of ribbons. I save the ribbons I receive from gifts or packaging. Cloth ribbon, yarn and other embellishments can be pretty cheap if you need to purchase a bit to build up your ribbon collection.

-Start by pulling out a variety of fabrics. You may have a specific color scheme in mind depending on the holiday or gift recipient.
-If you have larger gifts or a piece that is slightly too big or small, safety pins and double sided tape can help to make your wrapping more secure. I only have to use that less than 10% of the time though.
-I never cut down fabric or ribbon. I make it work with what I have by folding in the extra fabric, or find another piece that works better.

I generally wrap with fabric the same as I do with paper – meeting the sides in the middle, and than folding the ends in. I use the ribbon to secure the ends so I don’t have to use tape or safety pins. If I have enough fabric, I like to tie the ends together. This technique is like the Japanese wrapping cloth called Furoshiki. You can find lots of tutorials on the internet if you are interested in that. You can also leave the ends loose, and tie them off with ribbon (place the gift in the middle of the fabric, pull up the fabric around the gift, and tie it closed with a ribbon at the top). Fabric is really versatile, so you can adjust your technique based on the shape and size of the gift.

To make the tags, I cut shapes out of cereal boxes. I love using cereal boxes for lots of different things, because we already have them around the house, and I really like the look of the kraft paper backing. Sometimes I draw the shape out with pencil and than cut them out with an x-acto, but a lot of the time I just wing it. Write the name on with a black pen and attach to gift. Sometimes you can tuck it under the ribbon, and it stays in place, other times you make have to make a slit or hole to run the ribbon through the tag. On a couple of the gifts I added some branches from our Christmas tree (a Balsam Fir this year).

Me and Jesse wrap in our own ways, but neither of us tries to wrap perfectly. Raw edges show, sections may be more bulky than others, and the fabric may be a little wrinkly. I feel like you can get away with a little more because it has that handmade feel when you are done. Most importantly, it should be fun, so let yourself play around and see what different things you can come up with!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You can do whatever you want to do.

I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis. It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you should do, or what others are doing or telling you, but it’s always best to just trust yourself.

This phrase became one of my mottos to live by in college. I was taking a ceramics class at the time (I was a graphic design major, but there were a certain number of studio art classes that were required) and I was struggling. I waste a lot of time in self-doubt and being indecisive and I’m really good at overcomplicating things.

Luckily, I had a friend in ceramics class with me. Usually my self-doubt would get in the way, and I would ask her for advice or confirmation of my ideas. I would ask something along the lines of “Margo, what should I do?” (in probably a very frazzled manner) and on this particular day she responded, “Katie, you can do whatever you want to do.” (in a very calm and patient manner).

It was very simple advice, but somehow it really hit me. Whenever I get into those spirals of not trusting myself, those words really help bring everything into perspective. Somehow everything becomes clearer, and deciding what decision to make or what my next step should be becomes easier.

In case you need to hear this same advice every now and then, here are some prints for you! There are four to choose from – you can choose whatever print you would like! A simple black & white, a crazy black & white that would make a fun coloring page, and two other color options. See, I’m not very good at making decisions (I couldn’t choose just one) but this is my blog and I can do whatever I want:)

Download the black & white versions, or color versions. Note, these will print on an 8.5” x 11x sheet of paper, with each design measuring 5” x 5”. If you would like a smaller 4” x 4” version, print out the file at 80%.