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by Susan Watkins
December 12, 2018
What comes to mind when you think of holiday gift wrapping? Do you groan when thinking about the time it takes or do you get giddy imagining shiny paper, ribbon and bows?
Personally, I like wrapping, especially when my shopping is done early! But over the years, I've also become a minimalist. I hate to think of all the waste we add to our landfills this time of year, so I've skinnied down my wrapping by reusing boxes and bags whenever possible. This year, I've found pretty decorative boxes so that I don't even need wrapping paper. I'm keeping my tags small and attaching them with embroidery floss loops (instead of tape) so that they, too, can be reused. Not only do these tricks reduce waste, they're economical as well.
Of course, I still want my gifts to look fun and festive, so this year I challenged myself to find new and inexpensive ways to decorate my holiday gifts…and I added using yarn to the challenge. The yarn turned out to be a wonderful money-saver because it delivered so much yardage (compared to ribbon).
We no longer have anyone in the house under the age of 16, so gone are the reindeer and snowmen. Now it's a palette of primarily craft brown, red, and green, and white. Sticking with a basic color palette year after year makes reusing materials simple because they mix and match with ease.
For my yarn challenge, I purchased Bernat's Velvet in Pagoda (a drapey, super soft, teal/blue green with a velvet sheen) and Lion Brand's Homespun in Candy Apple (a deep red, soft and silky rippled yarn).
These gifts for my husband and father called for something other than a bow, so I turned to my large Clover Pom Pom Maker and love the result! To cinch the pom pom (made with Lion Brand's Homespun) while it was still in the maker, I used embroidery floss. Then, I used the same embroidery floss to attach the pom pom to the yarn that I used around the gift, creating something fun and unique for the men in my life.
When I was a kid, I remember my mom asking for free gift boxes with every holiday purchase at the department store. Few stores still do this, but I found one that does: Anthropology. And their boxes are beautiful. This year, I received several (really well constructed) bright red boxes, in addition to this lovely decorative one. All this box needed was a simple yet elegant tassel made of Bernat's Velvet. Since it's for my teenage daughter, I added the bell for a little sparkle! (See Martha Stewart's four simple steps for making a tassel.)
My "Go To" for Group Gifts
I don't know about you, but I belong to several groups in which we give gifts each year. Perhaps you belong to a moms' group, a Bible study group, or a knitting/crochet group. For those gifts, I always choose reusable gift bags. But this year, instead of purchasing fancy bags, I decided to create my own with a unique, crafty twist.
Since group gifts are most often relatively small (think ornaments, tea towels, fuzzy socks, candles), I bought a bunch of plain, medium-sized brown kraft bags and them decorated them with mistletoe and poinsettias cut out of foam, added some bling with bells of various colors, and then tied them safely shut with my novelty yarns.
My friends loved them! And several told me they plan to reuse them for their own holiday gift giving. A few also told me they'd love to make some for themselves. For them (and for you!), I've included templates and instructions below.
Mistletoe & Poinsettias — Instructions
If you'd like to make your own mistletoe or poinsettia gift bags, here are the materials you'll need:
Step 1: Download, print, and cut out your template. Note: I found it easier to cut the template first, then the foam rather than try to cut them both at the same time.Step 2: Place template on foam and cut (or trace and cut) your chosen design.Step 3: Punch holes in design where indicated on template.Step 4: Position design on bag and, using holes in foam for your template, punch holes in bag.Step 5: Thread yarn from back to front, through your design (as shown below).
Step 6: Thread bells on front, then return yarn from front to back, so both yarn ends are in back.
Step 7: Pull tight and tie in a bow.
Feel free to use any combination of colors you wish! I found bells at Michaels in gold, silver, white, red, and green!
And though Hannukah is already over this year, I bet these would look great with Stars of David in blue too! What do you think? Maybe next year!
January 09, 2019
Wow! These are all so fun and festive. I really like the pompom in place of a bow! 🎄🎁
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by Susan Watkins
May 08, 2019
by Susan Watkins
May 02, 2019
In one of the knitting classes I’ve taken, I remember the instructor saying, “We often learn more from our failures than we do from our successes." Let's just say, I learned a lot from my second attempt at creating the ultimate dog sweater!