December 23, 2010

I Wish It Was Christmas Today!

(A new favourite to add to the playlist!)

Christmas is just a couple of days away and with all of the excitement in the air it is easy to forget that the holidays are a time for fun, food and family not just gifts. So while you're out finishing up your final errands don't forget to smile, open the door and help out those who need it. I hope that everyone has a wonderful, safe and magical holiday!

December 15, 2010

Holiday Cheer Gift Basket

I have been making, buying and wrapping gifts lately and as I mentioned before I love a gift bag/basket. I have been putting together a couple gift baskets and found that the perfect container is a clementine crate! Below is a basket that I put together with some stemless champagne glasses, some sparkling juice, cocktail napkins and some chocolates, perfect for a special treat.

It's important to make every gift look beautiful so to start put some tissue in the bottom of the crate, place your gifts inside and use some celo and craft paper to wrap it up.

To finish it off add some ribbons, a gift tag and something that glitters! So when you start wrapping your holiday treats look for a creative solution before you go to the store or throw it in a gift bag.

December 9, 2010

Make: Holiday Crackers

{Christmas: Idea 3}

Making your own Christmas crackers is a lot of fun and really easy. By making your own crackers it allows you to personalize the crackers to the people or the party. The crackers below do not actually crack but the piece that cracks is available for purchase at some craft stores.

Here we go:

You'll need - toilet paper rolls, scrap paper, ribbon, treats and trinkets, stuffing and items to decorate the outside of the crackers.

First, wrap the toilet roll with paper leaving a couple of inches on side of roll. Tie one end closed with ribbon and stuff the bottom with stuffing. I make my stuffing from scrap paper and ribbon run through a paper shredder.

Next, fill the cracker with candy, trinkets and a fortune and a little more stuffing. Tie the other end of the cracker closed and decorate as you see fit. If you're personalizing them make sure to add the persons name or first initial.

This year I didn't include a crown inside because I found these great metallic crowns from West Elm by David Stark but tissue crowns are always a nice touch. We use our Christmas crackers for breakfast on Christmas morning so the fancy crowns will be an added bit of glam. No matter your age a holiday cracker will add a bit of fun and whimsy to your holiday party.

December 8, 2010

An Australian Surprise!

This week has been really busy with lots of holiday prep and crafting (posts to come) but the highlight of the week was receiving a package of stationary from my friend Danielle in Australia. Danielle moved to Australia almost two years ago and is due back soon (I hope). She is my stationary partner in crime so I was so excited when I came home to find a package of notebooks, clips, pens and gift tags and cards hand picked and hand crafted by Danielle.

Danielle is a true stationary crafter (you should have seen her wedding invites), a great friend and a true inspiration and I can't wait until we're back in the same country again!

December 1, 2010

Holiday Cheer

My favorite gifts have always been bags or boxes filled with a bunch of small presents that follow some sort of theme. I have always thought it was more fun to delve into a gift where I have to open a bunch of small packages.
Below is the perfect gift bag for the holidays:

A Lanvin/H&M/Unicef tote bag, a David Stark for West Elm Flower Clip, Kate Spade Christmas Cards, Supremes Buttons from Albert and Victoria Museum, Cabled Hand Warmer's Made by me, Lime Green Pentel Correction Tape Dispenser, Mark's Notebooks and Le Pen and Kikkerland Pens.

Perfect for the Fashionista on your list.

November 29, 2010

Homemade Gift: Caramel Corn

I received a lovely email from Charissa at The Gifted Blog asking if I could share the recipe for the caramel corn I posted about last week. So here it is Caramel Corn Recipe . (just click on caramel corn recipe) It is a Martha Stewart Recipe with a couple of modifications
1. I omit the almond extract
2. I use pecans not almonds
I have used almonds before as well as a mixture of nuts but have found that I enjoy the texture and flavour of the pecans the most. I hope that this recipe puts a smile on a few more faces this holiday season!

November 26, 2010

Holiday Gifts : Past and Presents

If you haven't started thinking about Holiday shopping today is the day! In the spirit of Black Friday I thought I would share a couple of gift ideas. These gifts are thoughtful, won't break the budget and should please almost everyone.

1. Homemade Treats

No one can pass up a yummy homemade treat. My favorite is caramel corn with pecans. I make enough for my extended family - this year my Aunt Nancy will get her own jar (It was so popular last year my uncle ate the whole jar while everyone was opening their gifts). You can put it in a mason jar or other glass container, tie a bow and ta-da instant gift.

2. Coffee and Tea

The coffee sleeve how-to is great gift on it's own but if you want to jazz it up why not add a cup (paper or ceramic) and some coffee, tea or coffee giftcard. Put all of the items in the cup and use some celo or wrapping paper and some ribbon to dress it up. A great mix of homemade and thoughtful.

3. Personalized Stationary

An easy way to give the stationary fan in your life some personalized stationary of their own is to have a stamp made. Last year I drew Ann Marie for secret santa and came up with this gift. A personalized stamp, a stamp pad and some blank stationary - now the sky's the limit!

4. Author Signed Books

Not everyone will have the opportunity to get their book signed in person but most bookstores ask authors at book signings to sign extra copies to sell in the store. So if you missed the book signing take a look for signed copies at the store or online. Make the gift a little more special with a signed copy.

I hope these ideas have inspired you today. Remember you don't have to spend a lot to find a thoughtful and meaningful gift!

November 18, 2010

Christmas Came Early Today!

Today I met Jamie Oliver! I have been a fan of Mr. Oliver's for 10+ years now and have always wanted to meet him but I didn't commit to going to this book signing until this morning. I had known for about a week that Jamie was coming to Toronto and that he was doing a book signing but last time he was in Toronto people started lining up at 6am to get their books signed and I didn't want to show up but miss out.

This morning though, I was sitting here thinking to myself you have to at least go down there and see how long the line is, if it's too long you can leave. When I arrived at 10:30 I was shocked, I was only about 40 people back. As time passed we all got more and more excited and it was great! He was so sweet and just the way you expect him to be. The people at Chapters/Indigo were sweet enough to take some pictures and if you could see my face you would see a huge smile.

Thanks Jamie for making my day, signing my books, shaking my hand and for all of meals you have helped make delicious!

November 9, 2010

Give: French Wrapping

{Christmas: idea 2}

I discovered this wrapping technique a couple of years ago after receiving a beautifully wrapped gift from my mom. She had gone on vacation to France and brought me back one of my favorite gifts - stationary. Since that trip I have been using this techniques for all sorts of gifts.
You'll need wrapping paper, tissue, twine or yarn, a gift tag and an embellishment (optional). First, cut the paper and tissue to fit the gift. In this case I used craft paper and grey crepe paper.

Next, place the tissue paper on the table and craft paper directly on top. Fold both layers back an inch and then over itself another inch, just like you're creating a hem.

Now wrap your present like you would traditionally except you want the seam on the front not the back of the package. Also don't tape the flap down on top. Fold the ends in and affix to the back of the gift.

Lastly, secure with twine or yarn, attach your tag and embellishments and you're done. This is a great way to wrap almost anything but works really well on fabric, notebooks and other floppy items. This is a great way to wrap gifts for any occasion. It's not difficult and doesn't take long but will make the person receiving the gift feel special to receive it.

November 5, 2010

Collection: Cocktail Rings

I love jewellery! I wear the same earrings and watch everyday but can't get enough cocktail rings. Some are old some are new all of them are big!
Above some of my collection is a Laudree truffle box.

Above is a selection of the glitzy and the simple. One of my favorites is bottom left - it's blister pearl.

You can't have too many rings.

November 3, 2010

Make: Gift Tags

{Christmas: idea 1}

After choosing my color scheme for Christmas wrap this week I decided that the place to start would be with the gift tags. I use these manila tags for gift tags for most occasions. They are easy to decorate and can add some flair to any present.
First, gather your supplies. You'll need manila gift tags, some items to embellish with (stamps, stickers, tape, office supplies, etc) and finally you'll need something to attach the tag (yarn, twine, or ribbon).

Start from the background forward. Above I used a stamp for the first tag and the tapes and stickers for the second. One is more traditional and the other modern both are great options.

Lastly, add the finishing touches. For the stamped tag I created two options. First a monogrammed tag, I added a stripe with tape and a silver M from some letters that I found on sale in the scrapbooking area of the craft store. Second a nature inspired tag, I added a felt bird sticker. For the more modern tag I attached a glittered peace sign with the twine I used to attach the tag to the present. I added the same twine to all of the tags but yarn or ribbon would do the trick as well. Make sure to make your tags in advance because when you're wrapping gifts at the last minute you won't take the time to make the tags. This is an easy and fun way to get started.

After Monday's post I thought about other non-traditional color schemes for the holidays and the one that I would go for if I had the supplies is Silver, Black and Eggplant. It would be so beautiful - think crowns, velvet ribbons and glossy black paper. If anyone goes for it let me know I would love to see the results. What color scheme is inspiring you?

November 1, 2010

and it begins... {the holidays}

As I was taking down my halloween decorations and putting them away I took a look at my holiday supplies and began to think about my favorite part of the holidays - gift wrapping. I decided that today was the day to plan out my gift wrap color scheme and figure out what I needed to buy this year.

Above is the scheme I came up with - red, white, silver and blue, mixed with craft paper items. I have red and white twine, some glittered peace signs and wrapping paper that is red, white and silver. Craft paper items are a staple of mine so I always have them on hand. A little nature with some glitter and snow.

Above will be my base - wrapping paper that includes my colour scheme, craft paper items, manila luggage tags, white tissue paper and grey crepe paper.

Some of the little touches are above - I pulled out anything that looked like it match my scheme. I have some of these cute dog cards (Martha Stewart) from last year so I'll use them again this year.

The present toppers. I like adding something extra to the top of gifts and bows will not do. Earlier this year I picked up the small glass ornaments and some crepe paper bells. I have some peace signs, tape and twine for the smaller packages.

Finally, let's talk about what I'm going to saving from the recycling bin for the next month or so. Toilet paper rolls - I make my own Christmas crackers. Brown paper bags - a lot of stores have switched to unbranded paper bags and they work great with my scheme. Glass jars and bottles - for home made goodies.

I know that it's early to start thinking about the holidays but if you start planning now you will save time, money, and you won't miss out on the really good stuff by waiting to the last minute. Remember - everyone loves a hand written note and beautifully wrapped gift. Over the next little while I will be sharing with you some of my unconventional gift wrapping tips and tricks!

October 28, 2010

Halloween {Tricks and Treats}

I love Halloween - both the tricks and the treats. It is so much fun to add some fun to a child or adults halloween with a bag of halloween surprises.
Above are some of the items that would make a great treat bag. Candy, vintage tricks and treats, notebooks, pencils and stickers.
All of these tricks and treats can be placed in a paper bag decorated with stamps and stickers.

Finally, add some green tissue, skeleton confetti and seal with a spooky sticker! Happy Halloween!

October 22, 2010

Words to live by

I really enjoy pieces of design that have a hand made or crafted feel. That is why I love cut paper or hand drawn type posters from the 1960's. I was inspired by those posters to create a series of five posters that incorporate famous quotes that I really love. Below are two of the five posters.

All of the posters are somehow inspired by New York, not all as literally as these two. New York and it's classic architecture, rich history and constant buzz is a constant source of inspiration. Hope you like them.

October 13, 2010

Make: Coffee Sleeve

Today I want to share with you the instructions to make a rockin' coffee sleeve. With the cold weather here why not dress up your favorite warm beverage with this simple project.

You will need:
- a cardboard coffee sleeve (to use as a template)
- a scrap piece of medium density felt
- freezer paper
- fabric paint and brush
- a punch or exacto knife to cut out your design
- sewing machine (or a needle and thread)
- iron

First, fold your felt in half and using your chalk trace the coffee sleeve and cut it out.

Next, cut or punch the design out of a piece of freezer paper that will fit on your sleeve. Iron the waxy down to adhere the freezer paper to your felt. Using your fabric paint and brush stencil in your design.

Finally, using either a sewing machine or your needle and thread, sew the two short edges together and viola a great gift for yourself or the coffee lover in your life. This is only one way to decorate your coffee sleeve - you could also embroider, stud or glitter your design so let your imagination run wild.

October 12, 2010

(Canadian) Thanksgiving : Thanks Mom

This past weekend was Thanksgiving and as usual my mom made it beautiful in an non-traditional way. I think that when people think of Thanksgiving they think of deep, dark colours, corn and turkeys but it doesn't have to be. The thoughts behind her Thanksgiving decor were fall colours, nature and natural fabrics.
The dishes are vintage Vera sunflower plates which are great for the summer when mixed with white but equally beautiful for fall when mixed with a natural linen table cloth.
The flowers are from the back yard and the leaves were picked up on a walk in the park. The flowers keep with the colour palette by using varying shades of yellow. You don't have to match colours exactly - if you keep it monochromatic it will work.
Lastly, my mom's untraditional dessert - carrot cake. But doesn't it just make sense? Carrots are a great fall vegetable in a beautiful fall colour. So next time you're planning a dinner or family gathering look to what you have in your cabinet and how you can use it in a different way. I hope that these photos inspire you to look at things in a different way.

September 8, 2010

Make: Letter Carrier

As this week is back to school and I love stationary I thought I would share with you the instructions to make an easy stationary carrier to keep for yourself or give to a friend.

You'll need:
- A piece of card stock 8.5" x 11" and another 5.5" x 5.5"
- miscellaneous stationary (cards, envelopes, papers, post cards, stickers, etc)
- a small notebook (optional)
- paper clips, binder clips
- embellishments and a label
- a sewing machine (or double sided tape)
- a utility knife and ruler

First, score the piece of 8.5" x 11" card 5.5" from the edge to aid in folding in half accurately. Use your ruler to find a pleasing angle, use your utility knife to cut the corner off of your 5.5" square to create a shape similar to one above.

Use your sewing machine to attach the pocket you created to your other piece of card. I use the longest stitch and move quickly. If you do not have a sewing machine use double sided tape, craft glue or a glue gun to affix. Next stuff the pocket with all of your bits and pieces and use the paper clips to hold stickers or notes. You can even paste an envelope to the other side to create a second pocket.

And finally, decorate the front with a label and any other embellishments you have on hand. Use a binder clip to keep your folder closed. This is a great way to keep stationary on hand in your tote bag or on vacation. I've even given these to friends and family going on vacation and loaded them with postcards, stamps and luggage tags. Have fun and write often.

September 2, 2010

Design Moment : The 60's

Inspiration can come from anywhere and lately it seems that I have been attracted to item's that are from the 60's or at least reminiscent of them - the colours, the patterns, the modern simplicity and of course the abundance of glamour.

Above are some recently collected examples:
(1) A vintage fur coat, (2) Hector and the Search for Happiness, (3) Kate Spade datebook, (4) Pete Molinari, (5) White Stripes Holga camera, (6) Sephora by OPI Only Gold for Me Top Coat, and (7) Last weeks New York Times Style Section Bee Hive tutorial.