December details

present wrapping bottle branchHappy December, my friends. Are you rushing around trying to get a million things done?! I’ve done my fair share of rushing, but now that its the middle of the month, I’m really trying to breathe deeply and enjoy the season and all its festive details, like luxe ribbons, and fresh evergreens. So, I thought I’d share a few of the seasonal touches I’ve been adding and/or planning at my house.

holiday kitchen scene by elizabeth pyleThe first decoration I put up was a square boxwood wreath pictured above, in my kitchen. The square shape was new for me, but once I found the right spot in my kitchen, framed by a window and backsplash edge, it felt just right. And, yes, I did spend a little time arranging the oranges, bowl and tea pot for this photo – I couldn’t help myself!

little floral arrangements bottle branchLast week, I potted up some plants to give as presents. Its probably no surprise that little potted plants and/or vases of greens and flowers are among my favorite things to give this time of year.

gift wrapping ideasI’ve also been wrapping presents like these. It brings me joy to combinte patterns, tie ribbons and put together color combinations, like aqua with red. And it was a bonus when I discovered that my Bottle Branch gift tag matched the David’s Tea ‘Winter Favorites’ packaging in this photo.

rose hips flourish card in hand bottle branchNext up, I’ll be sending out Christmas cards. It is undoubtedly a bit of work to put them together, but its also so much fun. For me, December is the only time of year where I look forward to the mail. I love hearing from friends near and far and seeing all the creative and pretty cards they create, not to mention family photos.

second close up of sticker gift wrapping bottle branch blogBefore I go, I’ll put in a quick plug for my Bottle Branch etsy shop and say that if you want some festive holiday cards, gift tags, sticky notes, and more, shop now. I have plenty in stock but I’ll be shutting it down for the season this Thursday, December 14.

 

windowsill decorations bottle branch blogBecause, obviously, I’ll need more time to create little seasonal touches, like this arrangment of pine cones, which I put together this morning when I was supposed to be finishing up this blog post.

Happy December, everyone! Hope you find some time to slow down and enjoy the season!

pinecones in window bottle branch blog

How to wrap presents like you know what you’re doing.

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Theoretically, I like the idea of wrapping presents perfectly, with crisp corners, perky bows, and well appointed tags and ribbons. I have an entire pinterest board devoted to pretty packages. But in practice, I haven’t always taken the time to wrap things beautifully, and I’ve been more likely to slap it all together in the final hour, with odd angles and prolific tape. But not any more.

Now that I am in the business of making pretty accoutrements of present wrapping, I have a fresh interest in the subject. And I am lucky enough to have something of a gift wrapping  expert in my family. My mother-in-law organized a charity gift wrap station through out the 1970’s and 1980’s, spending hours there cheerfully wrapping presents for others and all for a good cause. And she didn’t just wrap presents, she taught countless volunteers to wrap “the proper way.” Oh, and I can’t neglect to mention, she wraps presents for friends and family without using tape.

Here’s what it looks like to open a package wrapped without tape. So easy! So effortless! No tearing or ripping; the paper falls away like petals from a late summer rose.

Lucky for me,my mother-in-law is a generous person, who not only has graciously tolerated my slap dash wrapping efforts over the years but also recently agreed to come over and share a few of her tips for making your own pretty packages. And now I am happy to share them with you. (With her permission, of course!)

I realize all of you can probably basically wrap a present, so I’ll share with you here the two most important tips I took away from my personalized instruction:

First of all, take the time to measure both the box and the paper, and then the present practically wraps itself.

Second, never, ever twist ribbon on the bottom side of the box – its just sloppy, and makes the box wobbly. 

I’ve put each step in the form of a picture below, so you can quickly scroll and look for specific details.  If you don’t know how to twist your ribbon at the top, take a look and you’ll be glad you did! Its so easy and does make a difference.

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w4measure-bottom-edge-to-bottom-edge-textw5measurepaper-textw6cut text.jpegw8-wrap-to-center-bottom-textw9-fold-textw11-tuck-corners-textw12-smooth-folds-textw13-fold-in-textw14-extr-fold-text

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So there you are! The “proper” way to wrap a present, via my mother in law. She also taught me some advanced bow making techniques, but those will have to wait until another post.

Happy wrapping!