Thursday, November 15, 2012

Handmade Christmas gifts and frugal wrapping paper

This package contains a travel journal I made for a friend. It's like the mini books I did for our Ballito and Sabie holidays.

I love the simplicity of the wrapping - brown bag, bakers twin, a piece of yellow washi tape and a stamped initial. I could have gone fancier but neither she nor I are into very fussy :)

This is my favourite, favourite wrapping paper of all time.

Brown craft paper and some ribbon.

Normally I would use ribbon on everything but for this Christmas I'll use red Christmassy bakers twine (I bought a tiny roll last year and I still have most of it left) for the smaller gifts and red satin ribbon for the larger ones.

I love ribbon!

I couldn't resist getting some brown paper - I've already bought two rolls to get me started. They're only R2,99 each at Clicks (I like the shiny paper one - it feels stronger to me)

For the last couple of years, for Christmas, I went a bit mad in the kitchen, baking up a storm for everyone I could think of - all the people in my team, all the friends and even some spare so if other people unexpectedly popped in I had something ready.

That was a good idea because there were two of those last year and all I did was quickly go into the study, write a gift tag and attach it to the spare gifts which were ready.

I made biscuits for two years (everyone loves my oats and raisin biscuits - you could easily have 4 at a time, they're that good) and last year I made the sweet and savoury snack mixes, and some peppermint bark.

Peppermint bark doesn't like me though so I'm done with it (last year was the second year trying). It's that slow melting that nearly does my head in....

I haven't given up on the fudge yet (if you look at my baking board on Pinterest, you'll see what I mean).

So I've got a few other ideas for some handmade gifts which should work.

Louisa and I were talking at lunch this week (notice how ever-so-casually I just threw it in? I'm actually super chuffed we made it happen) about how certain of both our families really didn't appreciate all the photo effort in 2011 and how they will not be getting that kind of effort again this year.

One more thing -

We bought Nanny V's baby a Christmas present. I phoned her a few days after that to arrange a time to visit us because I've got a bag of toys and books for him.

K and C get to talk to her if they're around so I handed the phone to the nearest child, Kendra.

Do you know what she said?

Hello V.

V, we bought two t-shirts for your baby's present.
(it was actually a t-shirt and shorts set but still!)
Clearly, she hasn't got the surprise thing yet... so I'll be wrapping everything by myself from here on out.
How do you like to wrap gifts?
Are you doing any fun handmade gifts this year... can you share your ideas with me?

PS in other news, I had my Bra.zil.ian yesterday and I'm in hair heaven! I wanted to book the next one there and then I was so happy :)


  1. I love the brown paper and baker's twine. Would you believe I don't have any baker's twine??? It's on my list...this week, actually! I just love when the wrapping is as thought-out as the gift...even if that means simple and classic. Yummy!!!

    Our girls can't keep a secret, either. We bought J a calendar a couple of days ago. That was the first thing they told him when he got home...even ahead of our shoebox shopping (which was the entire purpose and focus of our shopping!). ;)

  2. I like the brown wrapping but not at Christmas! I need snowmen and father christmas and red and green!!

    I LOVE the stamp idea though - looks stunning!!!!

    I am baking cookies for the teachers this year and putting them in glass bottles - the ones with the chalkboard bit painted on.

    Grannies are getting calendars - there was a groupon special for A3 calendars!! So those are kinda handmade.

    My big kids don't do handmade *sigh*

  3. Yeah for great hair!

    I adore brown paper wrapping ( but totally stupid I like the old fashioned non shiny ones which I sometimes struggle to,get). However The Princess informed me two years ago as I was wrappping grown up presents, that she doesnt think it is very festive. Last year I managed to get red dots and red stripes paper which I loved. I oredered some Christmas washi tape from Pam this year and will be using that with brown paper ( I have bought a wad of brown paper bags which I intend to use) for grown ups. For the kids, we shall stay wit wrapping paper - still need to find some that does not offend my aesthetic stupidity ( I hate those standard Christmasfather tyoe ones).

    At the bookclub we wrap,our Christmas pressies in Newspaper - has been the rule for years. You must see how creative the girls get with newspaper! And of course we are doing hand made gifts this year for bookclub too.

    The grandparents all love photo gifts but I fear our pictures may be too late this year - will have to see. I am also intending on baking condensed milk cookies for gifts. A friend of ours last year gave us a glass consol bottle with brownie mix - you added milk and eggs. Was such a great gift

  4. Oh and for teachers gifts - I am making L and C's teacher one of my famous advent calenders for her kids with cookies and cookies for A's ( we have all contributed for a photobook for her so its enough). Other coaches etc are getting gift tags and cards and of course the ballet teachers a photo book with one of the other little girls. They really go so far to install the best values for our girls - I need to write about it some day but you would love them

  5. I love the brown paper wrapping as well. So simple yet creative and out of the ordinary.
    I'm making home made gifts as well this year especially for friends.

  6. Love how much love you put into wrapping, even with somthing like boring brown paper, you jazz it up to wowza elegance... I on the other hand totally suck at wrapping presents, don't know if its the big toy or awkward boxes, but wrapping time in our house is always a grumbling of "stupid wrapping" and some other undesired inappropriate words for Christmas ;)

  7. I decluttered my craft stash last week and found loads of gift bags which I AM going to use up - well, at least for kid gifts. For everything else I am going to use brown paper - how can I not if it's retailing for R2.99? I do have some ribbon and some twine. I am making 2 felt pencil cases and an embroidered banner thingy - have been practicing my stitching.
    Pls post your oats and raising biscuit recipe? I do have an oven that burns everything so I'll have to ask my Mommy to make it for me....

  8. Do you know I cannot comment from my phone anymore? I'm very upset over this!

    I use brown craft paper for everything! Gift wrap, patterns, crafts with the ladies, scrap paper. It's amazing stuff and here I can usually find it at the dollar store. I'm trying to love baker's twine, but it just seems so small to me. I usually stick to raffia or twine for gift wrap. Suddenly the idea of assigning everyone a twine color seems genius to me!

    I just made a wonderful birthday gift for the neighbor girl, I can't wait to share it Thursday for craft day. I was super proud of myself that I sat down and did it. Especially since this is something I'd wanted to make for my ladies for two years now and just haven't gotten around to!

    Much like your photo efforts, I feel my baking efforts aren't appreciated. So this year I'll make a few pies for the events but for individuals, no. I'm over it. I'm embracing simplicity and enjoying family time!

  9. I love brown paper wrapping too, but I like the thick kind which I cannot find... I need to phone my canvas printer and ask where they get theirs, it's very thick!

  10. I have made peace with the fact that my gifts are never as beautifully wrapped as some of my friends do it. The gift of time has always been so much more important to me than a beautifully wrapped I hope that the warmth that goes with the gift makes up for it's plain wrappings.

  11. OMW, Kendra is so cute. Got to love the innocence of children. Guess if you want to keep something a surprise best not let kids know.

    You saw my post on gift wrapping. I'm not creative enough to get away with brown paper and baker's twine etc. So I resort to getting wrapping paper but I'm very pedantic (read snubby) about the kind and type of wrapping paper and ribbons (if I use any) that I use for gifts. However when people give me gifts I really don't care how they present it as I believe it's the thoughts that counts.

    If I can find the time I actually plan to do some hand-made gifts. Unfortunately I can't share with you for now (wink, wink)

  12. For not Christmas events I like to use giftbags - but for Christmas I prefer gift wrap. I like the tearing into it around the tree, feels a bit like tradition. I usually add a ornament to the wrapping with the card. Before I would just buy a pack of pretty cards and do that but this year we'll be washi-ing up our own brand of cards to go along with it.

    Ps! Hahaha, I remember us talking about that photo business...and then I came across a link for personalised calendars which seemed to be the one size fits all kind of thing I could do for close family this year. So I started looking at photos and planning and plotting. Thank goodness I decided that this was not a surprise kind of thing and mentioned it to my mom, because she had the same idea and now I've dibsed it. AND THEN I spoke to my brother and on a whim decided to tell him too - they had the exact same idea. We would all have ended up with three personalised calendars mwahahaha...and they all would have pinched MY photos to make it since none of them ever take any bloody photos of their own!

    What are the odds?


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