If cake be the food of love…

If you’re wanting a truly bespoke gift for someone then how about creating a hamper for them?  A wicker basket, a bottle of port and some smelly cheese may be lovely for some but thinking outside the box lwh (or wicker basket) can mean you end up with a more personal gift which you’ll have a great deal of fun creating!

Like this pretty baking hamper (pictured below). Just perfect for someone with a passion for baking and a thing for pink! (That’ll be my friend Jenny then!). Indeed, tried and tested and the results were good…She was thrilled to pieces when I gave it to her for her birthday and I knew that the baking tin I’d used as the container would come to good use over the years! Now that’s a bonus…Time for tea and cake anyone? Jenny does make the most gorgeous cake (Do I get lots of ‘friend points’ and an extra slice of cake for pointing this out?)

So, as it’s good to share, should you fancy a go at creating one or something similar and need a helping hand, you can find our tips below. Enjoy!

hamper-and-mixer

Our tips to creating a perfectly pretty baking hamper!

  1. The first thing  you’ll need is a container for your products. Remember that it needs to be large enough to fit a variety of products in so have a think about what you’ll be putting in and ensure it’s the right size, not just in length or width but height too! We chose a baking tin but you could use an open cake tin (with the lid sitting underneath), a mixing bowl or something else that fits with your baking theme.
  2. Once you have your container, it’s time to get the products to go inside. As well as baking ingredients what about a cookery magazine/book, tea towel, wooden spoon or baking accessories? Do take time to think about the size, colour and shape of the items you’ll be adding as this can make a big difference to how the finished hamper will look. A variety of items that are tall, smaller, wider, thinner etc will all help to create interest. If you can pick products with colors that co-ordinate with one another (as we did for ours) that works best but don’t worry if not…There are ways you can tie colors together!
  3. Before you add your items its a good idea to line your container with some paper or tissue paper is it will help to prevent any damage to the base from the products you place inside.  Add your products creating height at the back and then coming lower to the front. If something isn’t tall enough or you need it to be more angled, use scrunched up paper underneath or to the side to create the desired look and when you’re happy with it all, fill in any gaps with paper to hold the products securely before adding your decorative top layer. We’ve used paper straw but you could use shredded tissue etc but do pick wisely, as the right color can really help to tie your products together and show them off at their best!
  4. Now it’s time to wrap it all up in cellophane, securing underneath with sticky tape and add a ribbon/bow/decorative touch. Again, use something that will co-ordinate and tie all the colors together. We’ve used some gorgeous  Julie Dodsworth Ribbon and to complete the look we’ve tied in a little wooden heart keepsake from our own collection at moreprettythings.co.uk which says ‘If cake be the food of love bake on’.
  5.  Voila! You’ve created a perfectly pretty baking hamper just perfect for that special someone!

Now, even with hampers I like to give the element of surprise by wrapping it up …So, the question is, how do you attractively wrap an oddly shaped hamper?  That’s easy ……

hamper-wrapped-up

Find out more about our Gift Wrapping Workshops at http://www.moreprettythings.co.uk

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A spot of Spring Wrapping

Looking for some inspiration for a spot of spring wrapping? Here’s some we did earlier that would be just perfect for those Spring Birthdays, Mothers Day or even Easter!

Pastel green paper with a white spot has a gorgeous clean and crisp feel about it and simply shouts ‘spring is here!’. To decorate, layer up a couple of cream ribbons and tie a simple bow or add a small spring flower (artificial or fresh as you prefer) for an easy to do but very stylish spring look!

For more information on our Creative Gift Wrapping Workshops visit us at http://www.moreprettythings.co.uk

Wrapped with Love!

Oooh it’s that time again…Yes love it or hate it, Valentines day is upon us and the world will be a little more loved up, which is surely not a bad thing?!

Over the years (single or attached) I’ve learned to embrace some of the traditions of Valentines day  and do try (really I do) to enter into the spirit of things in my own way (with the exception of small fluffy teddies holding love hearts or paying double to eat out in overcrowded restaurants …that’s simply a step too far).

Ok, yes it can be a bit too ‘commercial’ and being a bit of a romantic (and being married to one too) in our house love and thoughtfulness is thankfully spread out over the course of the year but for me Valentines has its place (a rather sentimental gushy one that warms and brightens up this cold month of February) and gives me the perfect excuse to get creative and a little loved up in the wrapping room!!

For those, looking for some Valentines wrapping inspiration or if you just love wrapping fullstop, these are for you…

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Keeping it simple….Plain white printer paper, string and a scrabble letter.

better-when-were-together

Want something more traditional? …Add two honeycomb love hearts (we found some at Paperchase) and use a hand written playing card as a matching gift tag.

brown-paper-and-blue-ribbon

Brown paper is perfect at any time of year, it’s just about what you put with it…Add a postcard next to it to say all you need to say this Valentines day!

map-side

With a little imagination this gorgeous map wrapping paper could say so much!   Just add a clever caption to the tag to suit. Here’s some of our favourites:  ‘You’re my world’, ‘You mean the world to me’ or ‘You’re out of this world’!

bee-paper-scrabble-table

On trend …Bee’s are all the rage this Spring/Summer. (I LOVE bee’s!)  How gorgeous is this wrapping paper by designer Linda Wood. Just add a pretty ribbon and a caption to suit!

 

We hope you’ve been totally inspired and are feeling the love this Valentines Day….Even if it’s just for the wrapping!   Have a wonderful February whatever you get up to.

Jo x

Bespoke Mothers Day Wrapping!

Need some last minute wrapping inspiration for Mothers Day? We’ve got a few ideas to share with you and don’t worry if you’ve not got time to dash out for materials…This is all about using what you have around the house to create something pretty and bespoke.

And, if the time you’ve saved by not traipsing to the shops means some extra time spent with your lovely mum then I suspect that will be the most precious gift you can give her anyway.

Creating something bespoke… So, first off, what type of mum do you have…Is she glitzy and glam, modern, crafty (I mean that in the best possible way you understand ie sewing, knitting), a gardener, fashionista, cook or musician perhaps…Whatever her hobbies, loves or likes, the first place to look in is the magazine rack!

From recipes to articles on gardening, magazines provide lots of pages you can use as gift wrap which can tie into most hobbies (pardon the pun) or link to the gift inside.

AlternativelyIMG_3473, there’s lots of other materials you might have handy which would be perfect to wrap with …Everything from scraps of leftover wallpaper, music sheets, baking paper (great for bottle or plant wrapping as its quite pliable) and a real favourite of mine for all occasions…Maps!

Yes with many of us using sat navs there’s plenty of old maps discarded and hiding somewhere in the house or a travel guide with a map in the back. So whether she has a passion for Italy or has some happy memories of her childhood spent at the seaside, find the page it’s on and use that to wrap with! Perhaps you can find a photo of her there, take a copy and make it into a gift tag.  It’s such a lovely way to show her you have thought of her and a great way to inspire her to tell you more stories about her past travels (whilst partaking in copious amounts of tea and cake of course!). And for those with mums who have dementia/alzheimer’s, it’s a clever way to help recall some precious memories and promote conversation too.

Also don’t forget the humble knitting or sewing pattern…Like this fabulous vintage one by Vogue. It’s way too wonderful to sit in the bottom of a drawer, never seeing the light of day. Instead, give it the airing it deserves and turn it into some stylish wrap. Retro is very ‘in’ and so will suit most mums tastes but also perfect for a mum who is a bit of a fashionista or who loves sewing…Unless of course it’s too precious to cut up…You may lose Daugher/Son points if you have ruined a rather good pattern or a rare antique!

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Another very versatile wrapping material…Wallpaper! Here’s an example of what you can achieve with just a small scrap of left over wallpaper from a DIY project. We’ve used this lovely Laura Ashley wallpaper to make a pretty gift bag and just tied a simple bow. Voila! An elegant and bespoke gift bag for a piece of jewellery or pretty scarf!

mothers day

And finally, gift vouchers…in an envelope…They really don’t have to be so, well, plain!  Even just a bit of ribbon criss crossed on it or tied simply in a ‘shoe lace’ bow would make the world of difference. Or you could go a bit further and add some flowers, a tag etc..There’s always something you can add to pretty it up.

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Finally…. I couldn’t end this blog without sharing with you the inspiration behind it.

Last year I received a gift which was wrapped in a rather unusual material. Not one I see or use on a regular basis in the wrapping room…Tin foil! My eldest Son (who is a chef!), said he couldn’t find the gift wrap and his wife was at work so he’d improvised.  That’s my boy!  I couldn’t have been happier had he have wrapped it in gold leaf as I do just love that he took a minute to think about it and rather than dashing off to the shop, he found a way around it (Although if he resorts to wrapping in foil every year I reserve the right to put him on the naughty step!).  It makes me smile every time I think about it…A real memory maker that inspired me to write this blog today after remembering it and at story to recall in years to come (to future grandchildren who may want to wrap for him on fathers day and need some inspiration themselves!)

Happy mothers day wrapping everyone …And for those of you who are sadly without your mums this year, you’re very much in my thoughts, I hope tomorrow you are able to enjoy happy memories of the times you spent together. x

 

 

 

 

 

New Year…A time to reorganise?

Don’t you just LOVE the New Year…I can’t tell you how excited I get by it.

January is officially a time to let go of the old and bring in the new ….Which for me translates into a huge urge to reorganise every nook and cranny in the house. Not necessarily throwing away anything and replacing it with new but revamping and sorting out the things I have already into some kind of order so they feel new and refreshed! With the turn of the new year I am filled full of creative thoughts and so full of inspiration I could burst!

It’s an ambitious project to do everything I want to do as we’re not simply talking a bit of ‘spring cleaning’ here but completely organising EVERYTHING in the house top to bottom! In honesty…I can remember feeling exactly the same way every January for as long as I can remember.posh-stylish-cabinet-storage-for-shoes

Is it just me or is there anyone else out there who dreams of achieving the impossible and creating a totally organised home?

Yes, I get excited at the thought I could actually succeed in being so organised that I’d have a list on hand of all the appliances and guarantee expiry dates, numbers to call if they go wrong (just incase) so I can at a glance sort it out rather than spending two days trying to find a receipt of purchase from x amount of years ago when the dishwasher finally decides to stop working…Yes, in an ideal world (my ideal organised world) the loft contents would be itemised and labeled, the cutlery drawer would have nothing in it the wrong way round, my shoes wouldn’t be all mixed up in the bottom of the wardrobe (why can you only find one when you’re in a hurry?!) but displayed in pairs in rows , there’d be no out of date herbs and spices in the cupboard (especially nutmeg!) and I’d know exactly where I’d put my 1st or even 2nd pair of reading glasses cos I’d be that organised!

Alas, I feel it may take longer than a whole year to achieve everything that’s on the list in my head …I have made a start on the laundry room and was about to keep going on the ironing mountain today (honest I was) but then the phone rang, the doorbell chimed, the dog wanted walking….Yes life has a habit of altering your best intentions and in making you think about what’s really important…

An organised joey2home is a nice thought and some of it I’m sure I’ll get to do in the coming weeks but it’ll never be as important as spending time with one of my lovely sons who’s out of the blue just dropped in as he’s some free time today to do something together, taking a call from my husband who’s taken time out of his busy day to see how my busy day is, tell me he loves me and ask me if I need anything fetching in for tea….Replying to a text or email from friends to organise a catch up or seeing the excited waggy tail of a dog who’s realised he’s getting an extra walk at the expense of a neat cutlery drawer.

Time is precious…Loved ones even more precious…My disorganised home will still be here when I have the time for it!

Enjoy and appreciate the important things in your life this January everyone! x

Autumn wrapping inspiration

Oh my, I have no idea why but this year I’m seeing Autumn in a whole new light!Autumnal round tin

Despite being an autumn baby my close friends and family know that I simply don’t do orange. Over the years they have (thank you all) continued to ignore the seasons colours and instead indulge my love of vintage or traditional girly colours when lavishing me with wrapped gifts and flowers.

So to my surprise (and I very much suspect theirs) this week I’ve got a spring in my step and actually find myself uplifted by the beauty of the landscape in a way I’ve never seen it before. I’ve been finding myself distracted from singing in the car and actually just thinking ‘wow, this is spectacular’!

Then this afternoon on my return from a rather lovely but cheeky couple of hours off work getting together with a good friend I’ve not seen for ages, I felt so uplifted by it, I donned a scarf, my walking boots …And prising a very surprised sleeping pooch out of his warm bed, off I went to immerse myself (and him) in it up close.

What a refreshing change…Ok yes I should have been in the office and getting on with my ‘to do’ list but that’s the beauty of working for yourself, todays time off is the weekends catch up! And I have to say, giving up a lie in this weekend for a refreshing walk through piles of leaves rustling underfoot was really worth it.  Even a very bemused dog quite liked it and found a new game of chase the leaves that he hadn’t discovered before (well not with us his new owners at any rate).

bottle and foliage2As always, my mind was fit to bursting full of ideas of how to incorporate the feel of it all into my wrapping and of course in picking up anything along the way that I could take home and use…. Which of course there was, in abundance! Oooh I do love a mental mood board that I can then put into practise instantly.

So there you go, it’s official, I love autumn (well the colours…Jury’s still out on the bitter cold, loud fireworks and dark nights) and to prove I love it, here’s my ode to Autumn…Gift wrapping stylee!!

Hope you feel inspired everyone and Happy Autumnal Wrapping! autumn mood board2leaves adn feathers

 

 

How to…Pretty up a plant

IMG_1931I just love old sayings, my grandma said them lots and so I’m often reminded of her when hearing them. Recently, one saying popped up in my head when prettying up a plant…”You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear” . It made me smile and I wondered if my gran was around today she’d say that indeed you can! This one’s for you Grandma….

Don’t dismiss a supermarket or plain potted plant as a gift….Look beyond its simple packaging, use a little creative flair and some basic materials and you’ll have created a really pretty floral gift before you can say ‘Silk Purse or sows ear’! And…unlike flowers, you can buy it in advance and keep it a day or two before getting it to its new owner so that means if you know you won’t have time to purchase something on a particular dayIMG_1933 it’s perfect to buy and prepare in advance (provided you water it and keep it out of direct sunlight!). So it’s pretty and a time saver too….Can it get much better?!

Here’s what you need:  A potted plant ~ A gift bag (we’ve recycled one someone gave to us previously) ~ one sheet of co-ordinating tissue ~ a piece of plain cellophane ~ Two lengths of co-ordinating ribbon (each approx 60 cm in length ).

Step one:  First, prepare your bag by removing the existing ribbons/handle from the gift bag and replace them with the longer ribbons  (this will allow you to carry the plant without squashing the flowers)

Step two:  Take your plant and remove the cellophane cover and any price tickets on it if there are any.  Then take a piece of cellophane (we’ve used a plain piece this time) and lay it flat, place the sheet of tissue on it and cut the cellophane so that it is just a little bit larger than the tissue.IMG_1934

Step three:  Place the plant on the tissue and cellophane and pleat them both around the plant before placing the plant in the gift bag.

And there you have it..A perfectly pretty gift for someone special, made special by you! IMG_1937