Thursday, December 18, 2014

simple + festive gift packaging

I've become a bit obsessed about tag-making and gift-wrapping as of late, so now that holiday-time is here, I feel as though I am in my element!  One thing I love about Christmas anymore is that anything goes!  You don't have to be traditionally red and green; you don't have to shroud things in Santa Claus and bells; you don't even have to actually wrap your gifts in paper.  There are so many other (paperless) ways of presenting a gift, and that's what I'm focusing on today.

I've got some really simple go-tos for you, plus a quick fabric tape bow tutorial, too.  First up, the kraft papier mache box.  I like this for a few reasons:  They are sturdy and come ready to dress up in their lovely, rustic kraft color; they come in multiple sizes and are easily available at most large craft stores; they can be kept by the recipient and used for storage.

My first one could not be simpler!  With some jute twine, a miniature bottle brush tree, and 2 gorgeous labels from Open Book, the entire look came together in about 2 minutes. Thanks to the vibrant green vellum and the gold foil, it's festive and eye-catching.  

  The first thing I thought of when I saw this gold foil vellum border was a wreath.  And when I paired it with the deer frame, it became instantly Christmassy!  I made the bow from the gold dot fabric tape that came in the OB Embellishment Jar; I'll show you how to make them, too, in just a bit.

 Although Open Book isn't a Christmas collection by any means, it was easy to work the embellishments into my holiday crafting.  There was plenty of gold, and of course the green, and who can resist DEER during holiday time?  With a few basics from my stash (jute twine, sisal trees, red glitter ribbon), the festive possibilities became endless.

All the way back when I first received the Open Book collection, I knew I was saving this guy right here for Christmas!  It's also one of the things I would normally hang onto so tightly that it eventually goes out of style.  I don't know about you, but I'm sometimes afraid to use my most favorite pieces because I don't want to waste them!  That's why I put this on a muslin bag all by itself.  It's the focal point, it's a gift, and it's on packaging that can be used again and given to someone else to enjoy...

...if I decide to part with it.  It's one of those things you keep at your workspace so you can admire it--I'm sure you've made things like that, too.  I love the simplicity of this...the fabric tape tree made with triangle scraps from the aforementioned bows and the gold type sticker--wonder.  Isn't that one of the best words to describe the enchantment of the holiday season?

Another bow on a tiny kraft box, and it only took a minute to put together.  So let's make some more of these bows! 

All you need to make them yourself are fabric tape, scissors, and glue.
**Leave the paper backing on!**
Step 1:  Cut 3 lengths of tape
For my bows, my lengths were:  1 1/2", 3", 6"

Step 2:  Fold the ends of the longest tape piece to the middle.  Dab a bit of glue to each end to bind them and create 2 loops.

Step 3:  Snip the ends of your 3" piece to create V's and glue your looped length to it.

Step 4:  Wrap your shortest length around the center of your bow and glue each end to the bottom.  All done!  Super easy, right?!  (And now you can make some tiny triangle tree tags, too!)

Use them to embellish packages or even special holiday cards.

{If you swap out the "Merry Christmas" sentiment here with something romantic, this card would make a lovely Valentine!}

It's not too late to put Open Book to work and add some rustic glam to your holiday gifts!  I wish you the merriest of holidays, Crate Paper fans!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

gossamer blue :: december memories inspiration blog hop

Hello!  Are you December Memorie'd out yet???  This kit is so amazing and versatile that I doubt that's possible, especially taking into account the range of different styles of my talented teammates.  I don't imagine you've seen 2 of the same anything...and I actually am not doing a December Memories album; I used my kit to make an Advent Calendar instead.

In the tradition of the idea behind life pages--which is to maintain your memory keeping with ease and simplicity--my calendar is not flashy nor overdone.  I've kept most of the designs minimal and streamlined, number one, so I wouldn't make myself crazy, and number two, to stay on-point with quickly-made December Memories/Life Pages spreads.  There are already so many things happening at this time of year that I didn't need to add to them with heaps of embellishments or time-consuming techniques.

Are you ready to dive in?

I did a preview post last week where I photographed different elements of the kit, talked a bit about both the kit and my approach to the calendar, and gave a few sneak peeks of my treats.  You can read about that here.  I chose to use a different "container" for each day so that I could mix things up a bit, have a little more freedom, and stay with the eclectic vibe of the DM kit.  You've noticed, I'm sure, that the kit is both modern and traditional, which is one of my most favorite things about it.  That's how I styled my calendar, also.

The other thing you should know is that this calendar is full of treats for me, not my kids!  We actually have 3 other "traditional" Advent calendars this year so I'm not being completely selfish.  And let's face it, the only person in my family who's truly going to appreciate these pretty packages is me!  (FYI: I have a 4 year old son, a 21 month old daughter, and a tech-gadget-loving husband, so...)   

What are my rewards?  Crafty bits like glitter stickers, bottle brush trees, and rolls of washi tape to use throughout the month and beyond; notebooks--because I'm a little obsessed with making lists; gift cards for coffee, movie, and retail therapy breaks; and a few other goodies you'll see throughout the post.

The very first gift is a snowman ornament that I bought because it reminded me of my mother.  She passed away last year but it's the kind of thing she would have picked up for me as a season opener. 

Gift cards!  Small $5-$10 increments for a bit of frivolity mid-month when things get pretty busy.  And for the 5th I put nothing inside the little "happy pocket" because I'm giving myself the day off from working to spend time with my family.

*A tip:  I wanted to hang the wood bulb ornament from the wreath so my husband found his smallest drill bit (1/16") and drilled a tiny hole through the loop of the bulb.  It's the perfect size for a piece of thread.

Because making this calendar didn't even come close to using up all the contents of the kit, I thought of some other ways to use it, one being sending some happy mail to a few folks.  I know I won't get around to doing a Christmas card this year, but a few quick notes on the backs of the 4x6 journaling cards will do just fine.  I tucked them into December 12th's glassine bag which will remind me to write them.

With very few exceptions, I made my calendar using only the GB December Memories kit.  Aside from the bags and boxes which house my treats, the only things I added were thread, twine, and a smidge of glitter glue.  And because this kit is meant to coordinate with GB's Get Happy collection by Allison Pennington, I borrowed the "happy pocket" and a few wood numbers from that.  (I also borrowed a few wood numbers from one of the October kits.)

I won't lie--this mix and match style of gifts was a lot of work!  I had to create a new concept for each day--25 in all, obviously--and once I reached 15, my brain was a bit fried!  But the nice thing about this style is the freedom.  I didn't have 25 of the same-sized container so wasn't restricted by that.  I didn't have to use the same exact embellishments (or even close) for each package so I had fun using anything at all that I wanted from the kit contents.  I didn't even have to stick to a color theme, aside from what was in the DM kit, but if you've seen it, you know that just about every color in the rainbow is represented here.  The freedom was grand!

Each day is different and so is each treat!

The 24th is, perhaps, my favorite package.  The minty card and the gold sequins make me swoon.  It's been on display at my work table ever since I made it and I probably won't want to open it when the time comes!

   And this could be my 2nd favorite...I stitched the vellum circles paper to a pink and orange striped card, filling the middle with some sequin stars.  I love how it turned out so bright and fun!  Aside from the Noel acrylic piece and sisal tree, it's not Christmassy at all.  That makes me think I'll certainly be using remnants of this kit long after the holidays have passed.  (There just may be a future post about that and all of the other things I've done with this kit...just maybe.)  

If you're on Instagram, you can see more photos of my packages daily, as well as those other projects I made using the kit throughout the month of December.  (@thurston_post)  There's so much to be done with this that one blog post just doesn't cover it all!  

That's all for me today but you're moving on to the lovely and always-inspiring Tara Anderson next.  No doubt she's got something amazing to show you.  I've got the entire list of designers with links here but if you get lost, you can always head back to the GB blog for all the blog hop information.  Cheers!

           ---> Rebecca Luminarias <--- That's me!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

gossamer blue december memories preview

Oh, boy.  As December inches closer and closer, I'm happily popping in tonight to share a sneak peek at a project I'm making with the Gossamer Blue December Memories kit.  This kit is seriously FULL of Christmasy goodness--in both traditional and non-traditional styles.  I also want to let you know about another GB DT blog hop happening on November 30.  The team members will be showing you their December Memories albums and, given the talent on the GB team, I'm certain this hop is going to be nothing but inspiring!

As for me, I'm actually NOT going to be doing a December Daily album.  I'm making an Advent calendar with my DM kit instead.  While I'd love to capture the entirety of our December activities in a book, I just don't think I could keep up with it all and, quite frankly, it's just not that interesting around here!

But I think you know how much I love dressing up tiny packages and this kit is absolutely perfect for 25 days of little surprises.  (And then some!)

Since I've been working on my calendar, I've had a good chance to really explore all the contents of the kit and because there are so many embellishments and journaling cards, I don't think I could use them all on the calendar, even if I tried!  So I'd really love to make some extra tags, a few Christmas cards, and maybe even a piece or two of home decor---but we'll see how that goes time-wise!

I love these black/natural/wood embellishments here, for example, and may set them aside for another project.

If you're not into a neutral holiday palette, just look at all of these gorgeous, saturated colors!  This has got to be the coolest kit out there!  The other awesome thing about this kit is that it coordinates with GB's Get Happy Christmas collection so it's easy enough to pull in elements from that to mix with the DM kit.  (And vice versa, if you have items leftover from your DM stash--and I guarantee that you will! :)  

As for my calendar, I gathered together tiny silver tins, little kraft boxes, and small muslin bags from my own stash (they don't come in the kit) and mixed them with the gold-patterned glassine bags (from my favorite--Whisker Graphics!) that are included in the kit.  I've been seeing some really cool mis-matched calendar ideas this year and decided to go that direction, too, instead of using 25 of the same container.  There's a bit more freedom this way and I think it pairs well with the eclectic aesthetic of the kit, too.

The other thing I should tell you is that, selfishly, this is not an Advent calendar for my family.  This is all for me!  I'm filling it with crafty goodness--like bottle brush trees and wood veneer (my favorite go-to items this season)--and keeping it for myself!  Is that horrible of me?!

So be sure to stop back on Sunday, November 30, for the full reveal of my Advent calendar and to make the rounds to see the December Memories albums from the other gals on the team.  Also, I'll be posting photos all week on Instagram so you can see more on my feed there: @thurston_post
See you soon!

Monday, November 17, 2014

leaves + feathers gift toppers

For those of you that missed this on the Gossamer Blue blog over the weekend, I'm sharing it here now...It's also this week's edition my gift wrap idea... 

Falling leaves, Thanksgiving, family...that can only mean thing: it's November!  I think of gift-giving and (especially) gift-wrapping all year long, but once November hits, it's time to kick it up a notch to ramp up for December.  What better way to start than with some pretty (and easy) package toppers?

November's kits were full of gorgeous pieces and as I made my projects this month, I kept finding myself "stacking" the leaves from the LP Main Add-on together.  I had first thought of trying to make some kind of garland with them, until I put them together with the LP Themed Add-On feather pieces...then they became beautiful clusters that I thought would look really lovely on top of packages.

Packaging is perhaps my most favorite craft to create...the possibilities are endless and just like with other paper mediums--scrapbooking, card making, etc--it's fine to keep it simple or to go all out and cover your entire platform.  For these, I wanted to have a couple of layers and textures while keeping the main focus on the cluster of die cuts itself.

With autumn in mind, I gathered feathers and leaves from the same color families.  Warm colors always work well for fall but I even brought in one bouquet of cooler teals and purples.  When paired with gold, they suit this season just fine--and look quite lovely doing so!

I added a long, skinny sentiment to each topper.  I went with mostly fall-ish phrasing--November, "grateful for you," "my heart is full"--but you can switch out the sentiments with your recipient's name or to suit your occasion.  The November kits offer all kinds of possibilities, and don't forget about the Gossamer Blue collections, either--I pulled two of mine from them!

I wound metallic gold thread around the stems of each cluster and tied it off into a delicate little bow.  The bows are dainty, but large enough to be seen behind the fabric brad which tops each one, except for the teal and purple set.  For that one, I looped the thread through the cut-out N of the November wood accent and skipped the brad.  **Using a wire cutter, I snipped off the prongs of the brads to make them flush and easy to adhere to each bouquet.**

The package base is a kraft box mailer in 2 sizes (4" x 6" and 5" x 7").  I like using kraft boxes and paper because they go well with EVERYTHING!  They can be rustic, modern or anywhere in between.  The boxes are a good size to hold some personal stationary or even a set of nice cloth napkins...simple but personal gifts for a friend's birthday or your hostess at Thanksgiving dinner.

Because I wanted some texture, I chose to layer some stitched white fabric over 4x6 journaling cards from the Life Pages Kit.  I chose the cards that best matched my cluster.  I then wrapped gold trim around each box and attached my stack of feathers and leaves with a dab of glue.

These came together pretty quickly and the best part is that I still have plenty of leaves and feathers to make more!  Happy crafting!