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Instead of giving gift certificates to the relatives I'm not all that close to, I made little gifty boxes. Here's the gift boxes prior to tyeing some ribbon on them. Included in the box is a scratch-off lotto ticket, a piece of gelt, a tea candle (scent of "clean linen". It was the least obnoxious scent I could find) and a mini candy cane. Oh, and Michael's had a "6 foot roll of chanukkah stickers" that I decorated the tops with.
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Martha Baskets, a journey

People have been asking me lately what my Martha-Baskets are. They started for a Christmas/Yule party in Albany in 2003. The party was so big we decided to do a Secret Santa gift circle. But I still wanted to give little things to everyone there.

The party was after Christmas. I hit a super sale at the Christmas Tree Shops and put some candy in a goblet, put the goblet in a bag and tied it with a snowflake ornament.

Since then I make up about 20 of these. Over the years they became known as Martha Baskets because I was being more anal retentive than Martha Stewart!

This past year I really outdid myself. I had a mix cd I made up, a glass candle stick, a little bit of candy, candles and an elf doll. The elf doll made the baskets a little more Christmas than I like. I usually try to keep to a winter theme, rather than a religious one as people I give them to come from a variety of religions.

But the elves were such a find! 2 years before I had found a Khols like department store going out of business on a trip to Massachusetts. I managed to get the Christmas elves for under a dollar each. They originally went for 12 dollars! Now that's what these baskets are all about!

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I have a lot of fun putting these together. I try to shop smart, and I haunt dollar stores. Basically in order to keep the costs down, I shop all year and nothing is over a dollar an item. Even the baskets!

I can't wait to put this year's together!

Some more wrapping ideas

From familyfun.go.com

Gift card envelopes. A good recycling idea there. Using old holiday cards to turn into little boxes for sock presents and the like. It's a simple enough thing to do. Their template is very clear.

I am always at a loss for what to do with cards. I don't scrap book all that much, though it will be the next great hobby I take up. In order not to have a huge accumulation of paper products, I usually just throw them out. Paper recycling if I am having a good and organized year.

Then there is Old bags, new look. They re-use shopping bags and holiday cards. Using the card images to block out logos of stores. I like the idea of using old holiday cards to spruce up old gift bags.

I re-use gift bags a lot. After a while they look too old to use. A card would give them new life. My other issue with re-using bags is when someone puts a bow or a sticky tag on the front of the bag. I can take it off, but 9 times out of 10 it will leave a scar. Using cards or card stock with my own image would be a good solution to this and increase my bag-gifting a lot!


My heart sings with joy

Check this out. Furoshiki, Japanese carry wraps.

Also a great thing to do with all those random napkins one has lying about the house. And it is certainly more environmentally friendly!


Need to start taking pictures

I like to try to make the wrapping jobs that I have the time to do look neat/appropriate.

I think so far the best one I've done as a theme was for a Secret Santa a few years ago- and marnen got credit for it!

The gift was a set of D&D books, and I had made the box to look like a treasure chest with a scroll (Marnen's calligraphy because his is much better than mine) for the gift tag.

IIRC, the guy who got the gift (Steve) even said "I search for traps" before opening it!

My Unholy eight legged army

Yesterday I finished a project for the kid's school. I am having all three of them bring in spider pops! To that end I made 80 spider pops.

Each one took one tootsie pop, 4black pipe cleaners, and 2 googly eyes. Then to make them really martha-esque, I wrapped them each individually in a cellophane bag with spiders on it. Closed the pag with an orange twisty tie and added a little Happy Halloween card that I had made with black card stock and a silver pen.

I think the results were worth it! I will put up more pictures than the ones I linked to as soon as I fix the connection in my computer.


Cousin Jen's Wedding

Although her reception was a "city" wedding, I decided to bring a gift anyway. It was more of a gift to hold the card, really. Jen loves Disney and held the ceremony there. So for the gift I headed over to the Disney Store.

I got 2 watches, a Mickey and a Minnie and 2 sets of tea towels. The towels has Medieval Mickey and Minnie on them from The Brave Little Tailor.

I used one tea towel for each of the watches, matching Mickies and Minnies, of course! Then I used 2 more towels as lining for the little basket I put them all in, with the card behind.

I used pins for the packages, but I am ashamed to say I cut the tea towels that were used in the wrapping.

A Wedding Shower Present and a Hack Job

Here is the wedding shower present I just wrapped up for my cousin. It's a departure for me in that the colors aren't my usual ones for a wedding. But the paper I had was a creamy color and I didn't have any cream or any other ribbon that matched it in tone. The green fabric ribbon, while technically a Christmas ribbon (like that's ever stopped me) had a hint of gold in it that matched the cream tone.

So I used the ribbon and then tied the fake pearls into the bow. The fake pearls mirrors the pearls on the paper. I had to pin the bow into place since the pearls weighed it down. I then tacked the pearls down the center of the ribbon ends. I forked the ends of the ribbon and voila, present.

This one has tape on the paper and the ribbon is tied with pins and thread. Yes, I still have a tape addiction.

Close up of the bow

Onto the Hack Job.
Gwen and Jack's birthday party is this Friday. I put their main presents in bags, the bubble soap wrapped in what I call a "candy wrap style" and the final book shaped ones together.

I put gothic-esque letters on the bubbles. And wrapped them in the kids colors (Celia is purple, Gwen pink and Jack blue). The interesting thing about the book shaped ones was that there is no ribbon tieing it around. I put on the many curled ribbon and took surround ribbons directly from the bow. I did the same thing on both presents.

Even if it's a hack job, I will admit that it looks nice. The dollar store is my friend. I remember as a kid loving getting package after package on my birthday. I certainly didn't care if the present was expensive or not. And of course, I included a small gift or 2 for the other sibling.

Wrapping Fu Inagural Post

This is the place to put up pics of your fabulous wrapping jobs! I was going to make this a journal for my stuff, but I figured there were others out there who felt the same as me.

So if you have more boxes of wrapping paper than Christmas ornaments, this is the place for you!

Not much now, more later!