Wrap and Tag - Brown Paper Packages

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you got all your gifts bought (or made), wrapped, and tucked away somewhere safe from prying eyes yet? Well, I don't. This year, at least for the grown-ups, I'll be making most, if not all, of my gifts. Since I have to wait for some of them to grow, wrapping up has to wait. It's been my experience that one of the joys of getting a gift is the gift wrap and so, one of the things I've learned about gift wrapping is that it's often the outside of the gift that creates the excitement - who cares what's inside! Well, maybe not.

My favourite wrapping is, of course, something that I've recycled and often it's the brown postal wrap that I get when friends send me gifts. I usually smooth out the paper and roll it around those cardboard paper towel inserts until I need to use. it.

Picture Source

Anyway, this year I will be wrapping all my gifts in my recycled brown paper wrap. Not only is this gift wrap easy on your wallet but it saves you have to run around the malls or shops to find that PERFECT wrap. If you don't have a horde of your own brown paper (like I do) t's readily available at your local post office. My friend Sean calls it the LBD of gift wrap because, just like that little black dress, brown paper wrap can easily be dressed up for any occasion. The ways to transform this seemingly ho-hum wrap are, to use an old cliché, endless.

Here are a few ideas I spotted for decorating plain brown paper wrapping:


Here's an idea from Ideas Magazine (November 2016 edition) - make your own lino stamps using photos and then dress up that old kraft wrapping paper with the image. Now, I'm not attempting this one as if I did, my fingers would be cut off in pieces - I'm not too handy with Xacto knives but if your fingers are agile enough, go for it.

The online version of this magazine is now gone unfortunately, but I did find instructions for making your own lino stamps here.


No need to run out and buy fancy bows for your plain Jane wrapper - just use the same paper to make the bows. Blogger Amy from My Life From Home shares her gran's instructions for making a bow to match your gift wrap. For gran's instructions, click here.


The folks over at Anthropology know a good thing when they see it and so 'borrowed' this idea of a toy car or truck with a mini tree on top. It appeared everywhere on Instagram and Pinterest last year and it really is cute. Anthropology used this wrap idea for flogging soap but it's easy enough to 'borrow' for other gifts for both kids and adults (hint, hint).

If, like me, drawing is not your strong suit, the guys over at Junior Card Designer have a good tutorial, originally designed for young children, for drawing a car. If you have a car lover in the family, this site will keep them busy for quite a while For a little car tutorial, click here.

You know you've made it when Anthropology 'borrows' your idea!


Actually, journalist and blogger, Heather Young, at Growing Spaces intended this idea for summer gifting but it's one that is easy enough to adapt for Christmas (if you can draw!) by drawing what might be in the parcel.

I think the picnic hamper would be a cute idea for any food gift wrapper - just add a bit of holly berries and leaves, maybe. Click here for Heather's instructions.


Couldn't leave this post without one of my own ideas. I made a pompom from twine that I also used to wrap around the gift. The moose was copied from an old book on forest animals of the north. 


All the these ideas can be made by you and any little ones in your life. Why not invite friends (of all ages) over to create any one or all of the above ideas. And there are loads more online.




Christmas Recycling - Colour Me House Kits

Posted on December 12, 2015 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I had time this week to do a little construction work using one of our lady Martha's house templates to make a few kits featuring what I call my Colour Me Housing Estates. Several friends mentioned that they would love to make Putz houses as decorations but had little time to actually download, print, cutout, and decorate these before Christmas. So - I decided to help out and this is the result. 

I constructed each little house using junk mail card weight paper from my recycling bin. The box used to be a cereal box in a former life. I used a box template from the Template Maker and modified it a little to suit my own style.

Since I like to add a little zip to each of my gifts, I'll be wrapping each box in LED string lights. At delivery, each box will be lit up before presentation. 

NOTE: Remember to shop your recycle bin for paper and cardboard to make your own Christmas real estate! Now I just have to find the time to get out there and deliver!

For Martha's little house templates, go here

To make boxes of the size you need, visit my favourite box making site, The Template Maker


Christmas Recycling - Holiday Hangups

Posted on November 22, 2015 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Continuing on with my recycling Christmas holiday kits, here's an idea inspired by a collection of Shiny Brite glass ornaments that I bought at a church charity shop last year. I liked the fact that the entire package was actually recyclable - the ornaments are glass and each one is wrapped in protective tissue paper and contained within cardboard dividers in the box. Not that I intend to toss these into my recycling bin any time soon! But an idea was born. 

To make the 'ornaments', I photocopied images from vintage colouring books for the ornaments and glued these images to cardboard.

To recreate the look of vintage boxed Christmas ornaments like the ones in my Shiny Brite ornament box, I made cardboard dividers to fit inside each box and placed an ornament or two in each partition. There are loads of instructions online how to make these partition dividers but - you know me - if there are more than 3 steps to the instructions, I lose interest. So I just made mine using spare cardboard by measuring the sides and height of the boxes and cut these out. They fit perfectly.

Before sending these off, I will add some washable felt pens or crayons. I'll leave it to the kids to figure out how to use these ornaments once they are coloured.

Christmas Recycling - Tie One On

Posted on November 21, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Right now my studio looks like one of Santa's elves went mad and, no, I won't show you - I'm too embarrassed. There are dozens of holiday Christmas projects on every surface waiting for completion. Paper, paper, and more paper is all over the place. That's what happens when you have a brain like mine - ideas keep popping up as I try, very, very hard, to stick to one task at a time.

This year, I'm sending out is paper bowtie kits to some of my little friends. The bowties are already made up, although I do include a template and instruction sheet to make more. The kiddies can use the bowties in any way they want - as gift toppers, gifts, garlands, or even wear them (I glue on an elastic string so they can slip the bowtie on). 


After adding small spools of baker's twine and also a few handmade ribbons, everything will be sent out in boxes that I bought at charity shops or begged from gift stores. Everything is made from recycled materials like magazines, sheet music, or gift wrapping paper. The elastic strings I added to some of the bowties were repurposed from old paper birthday hats and the postal wrapping paper started out as brown paper bags. Cost is minimal. All it takes is a little time.

St. Patrick's Day Project - Recycle Cardboard Rolls into Hats

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I almost forgot that St. Patrick's Day falls on March 17 just one day after the beginning of March Break (in Ottawa). I don't know how parents manage to keep all these holidays and breaks straight - must be difficult at times. Any road, here's an idea that was inspired by some St. Patrick Day hats I spotted for sale at our local dollar store. Why buy, when you can make, no? It's easy because I'm too discombobulated to do anything difficult. Last time I tried, I cut my finger with an Xacto knife!

How to Make a St. Patrick's Party Hat

What you will need

  • Cardboard roll (Toilet paper. gift wrap, or paper towel cardboard rolls - should be 4" tall)
  • Plate (4-1/2" inch diameter)
  • White craft glue
  • Cardboard (recycled from a food package, etc.)
  • Pencil and scissors
  • Green craft paint and brush
  • Bit of ribbon and shamrock (or make a ribbon and shamrock from paper) 
  • Elastic thread (recycled from a party hat)

What you need to do

  1. Take the plate and the cardboard roll and trace circles from both on the cardboard (see photo).
  2. Cut out the circles.
  3. Dribble some glue onto the plate and dip one end of the cardboard roll in the glue. 
  4. Press this end of the roll into the centre the larger circle and let dry.
  5. When dry, dip the other end of the roll in the glue and attach to the top of the toilet roll.
  6. Let dry. 
  7. Insert the elastic thread (I used an embroidery thread needle) on both sides of the hat where it is glued to the circle. Glue the ends to the hat so the elastic doesn't pop off.
  8. Paint the hat and when dry add the ribbon and shamrock.

NOTE: If you don't have green paint, use green construction paper, and glue on before joining the different bits of cardboard.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!


Searching for that Pot of Gold - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Seems everyone has gone green today - ecologically (I hope) and because it's St. Patrick's Day. Even if you're not Irish, you can enjoy all the festivitites associated with this day. Too bad about the curfuffle in New York City but don't let that stop you from enjoying the day. Have a Guinness on me, too! And keep looking for that pot of gold.