Archive for December, 2009

Eco-friendly gift wrap ideas

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

By MarthaStewart.com
Source: Yahoo!Green

Why buy fancy wrapping paper when it will only end up crumpled in the recycling bin? Every year, Americans spend billions on ribbons, paper, and bows, only to see them ripped up and tossed away.

These creative, eco-friendly gift wrap ideas make use of materials already lying around your home — maps, shopping bags, even kids’ artwork. Did we mention they don’t cost a cent?

(Photo: Martha Stewart)

Biodegradable stuffing

Biodegradable stuffing cushions small, fragile items just as well as plastic bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts, a recycler’s worst nightmare.

(Photo: Martha Stewart)

Potato-chip bag gift wrap

Give a new life to empty potato-chip bags by dressing up your gifts in them. Cut open a potato-chip bag along its seam to reveal the shiny white or silver inside of the bag. Flatten the bag, wash it with soap and water, and air dry. Then wrap your present and adorn it with ribbons and homemade cards.

Clockwise from top left, we used: vintage scarf, burlap rice bag, wool scarf with a knitting needle, tea towel with rickrack, scrap from a vintage kimono. (Photo: Martha Stewart)Clockwise from top left, we used: vintage scarf, burlap rice bag, wool scarf with a knitting needle, tea towel with rickrack, scrap from a vintage kimono.

Cloth gift wrap

In Japan, the art of wrapping gifts in cloth is called furoshiki, and it’s brilliantly eco-friendly. Use scarves or towels (which become second gifts) or fabric scraps leftover from other projects. Secure open ends with a button, safety pin, or knot.

(Photo: Martha Stewart)

Stamped shopping-bag gift wrap

Have shopping bags around the house? Repurpose them into festive gift wrap. Cut an open paper shopping bag along one fold and scissor out the bottom of the bag. Wrap your gift in the paper. Dip one end of a wine cork into ink or a dark fruit juice and begin stamping patterns.

Clockwise from top left we used: Vintage wallpaper, Chinese newspaper topped with colored paper, recycled map, grocery bag with Japanese beads. (Photo: Martha Stewart)Clockwise from top left we used: Vintage wallpaper, Chinese newspaper topped with colored paper, recycled map, grocery bag with Japanese beads.

Vintage and repurposed paper gift wrap

Easy to find and work with, vintage and repurposed papers add pop to presents. Layer several colors and textures, or add vintage beads for a finished look.

(Photo: Martha Stewart)

Kids’ artwork gift wrap

Children’s drawings make for inexpensive and delightful homemade gift wrap, especially for family members. Have kids doodle on Kraft paper, calendar pages, shopping bags, magazine pages, and phone book pages.

5 Minutes to Merry Holiday Decor

posted by Karen Hood
Friday, December 18, 2009

By Ayn-Monique Tetreault-Rooney Klahre
Source: Woman’s Day

When it comes to decor—or anything, really—small changes can make a big difference. By using just a little bit of color, crafts and nature to your advantage, you can easily and swiftly infuse your holiday headquarters with cheer—on the cheap! Here, get a few simple ideas:

Simple Touches
No need to buy decorations! Look for ways to freshen up what’s already in your home.

1. Hot-glue leaves and pinecones from your garden or berry sprays from a crafts store onto a plain wreath for an organic-looking update.

2. Mix ornaments in with everyday objects to dress up window ledges and mantels. Just don’t go overboard: Geometric shapes in the same color family look best.

Add Sparkle
A dash of something shiny will give your room a holiday glow.

1. Spray-paint leaves, pinecones or silk flowers in radiant silver or gold. Display them in vases of varying heights, grouped in threes or fives.

2. Create a tabletop Christmas tree by stacking stemmed cake platters and candy dishes. Fill it in with green ornaments and trimming.

Adorn the Basics
The things you use every day will feel special if you add a touch of something seasonal.

1. Take a couple of spools of ribbon for a walk around the house. Narrow ribbon can jazz up a decanter or vase, while wide ribbon can be used as a tieback for a curtain or looped around a pillow with a festive bow on the front.

2. Any clear glass vessel can display holiday garnishes. Fill pillar holders with greenery (try holly, pine needles or pinecones). Or use seasonal fruit, such as cranberries or kumquats, to add bright color to a decorative bowl.

3. Simple brown bags are perfect for gifts from the kitchen; a little trimming and a sweet note make them extra-special. Use decorative scissors to finish the opening, then tie them closed with a gingham pattern for a casual country feel.

More Ideas

1. Do a quick sweep of your living and dining rooms and pull out anything colorful that’s not red or green. Your holiday decor will pop against a neutral background.

2. Bring the outdoors in by trading a painting for a wreath or garland. Or make swags of smaller boughs and needles with ribbon; hang them from the top of a mirror or the back of a chair.

3. Look in your crafts drawer for instant updates. Wrap colorful paper around votive holders, use glitter glue on dull ornaments or string big beads around the base of a vase.

Modern Holiday Projects

posted by Karen Hood
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

story by Jess Chamberlain
photos by Thomas J. Story
Source: Sunset Magazine

This is not a story about a poorly decorated home in need of a makeover and a splash of holiday cheer. Owners Nadia Bizzotto and David Youngson are themselves in the design business (she founded the handbag company Two Loops; he’s a sales agent for the likes of Kikkerland), and their two-year-old house in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is cleanly modern—even their four whippets and two cats hew to the prevailing earth-tones palette.

But when their friend Paige Russell, a ceramist, asked to help deck their place for the season, they were thrilled. “We love Paige’s homemade sensibility,” Nadia says. “She shows us how warmth can still be modern,” adds David. Just call Paige their holiday fairy.

DIY holiday cards

How to: With a 1/16-inch hole punch, notch the top center of the front of a blank folded card, then make seven notches along the bottom. Behind the top notch, attach the start of some embroidery floss to the card with a small piece of double-sided tape.

Wrap the floss around the front of the card seven times, so that it lies in a different bottom notch with each loop. Cut the floss and attach the end to the piece of double-sided tape. Print a holiday greeting using a date/number stamp and ink pad.

Get it: Large teapot ($145) and cup ($20) from the Spout collection by Paige Russell.

Wintry tablescape

Create a merry scene along your dinner table runner.

How to: Punch stars out of card stock using a star craft punch. Sprinkle them along the runner, and intersperse miniature trees among candles. Porcelain and wood beasts, inspired by Old World ceramic collectibles, double as placecards—Paige writes the names on them with a colored pencil. A small bowl of nuts sits forkside at each place setting, accompanied by a nutcracker (and a metal jack, just for kicks).

Get it: Coupe plates ($32 each) and bowls ($27 each) by Heath Ceramics. Spout dishes ($48/set of 4), Müzo Collectibles animals ($24 each), and the Woods trees ($15 each) by Paige Russell.

Advent tree

The calendar meets the holiday tree—and it’s not just for kids. Get full instructions and templates for making your own–including tutorial videos from Paige–here.

Simple snowflakes

Try a newfangled take on the traditional grade-school project.

How to: Plan your design on paper (figuring out how many snowflakes you want, and where), then mark it on a wall. Punch circles out of card stock with a circle craft punch. For a wooden or textured wall, place thumbtacks where you want the dots to be, put a piece of removable double-sided tape on each tack, and place your dots. For smooth surfaces, put a piece of tape on the back of each dot, and place.

Get it: Supplies for all these projects (craft punches, card stock, tape) from craft stores like Michaels.

Record display

Album covers and song lyrics— a tribute to the couple’s love of music—adorn the entry wall.

How to: Print a lyric from each album on white paper, then mount it on foam board with double-sided tape. Trim sides. Attach a strip of foam board high on the back of each album cover with double-sided tape. Hang each on a wall with a single small nail (under the center of foam strip). Place lyric cards next to the albums with double-sided tape.

Get it: Find old albums at flea markets, antiques stores, or on eBay.