Hello birdie!

In my line of work I have the pleasure of meeting lots of wonderful people, many of them very creative!  This week was no exception and I was thrilled to stumble upon the very talented Artist and Illustrator, Iona Buchanan.

Iona has designed a fabulous collection of homewares ranging from a rather gorgeous artichoke apron to a really delightful wren tea towel…Ooh and a lovely lobster cushion that caught my eye… I have just the place for that!

Lots of lovely things there were but you can imagine my delight can’t you when Iona introduced me to her gorgeous gift wrap! It didn’t take me long before the scissors were out and I was wrapping with it…

iona buchanan guillemot

Not just for twitchers this fabulous Sea Birds Paper is an instant reminder of the seaside and perfect for anyone with a love of nature. It’s sold in a pack of 2 sheets with matching tags and is currently available to purchase along with another lovely gift wrap pack (called ‘garden birds’) as well as Iona’s full range of products on her website www.ionabuchanan.com

Our wrapping tips: From a practical point of view (for storage/posting out etc) wrapping papers can often be sold flat packed and invariably this will mean you have some creases to contend with. Before starting to wrap have a look at the paper and try to line up the creases with the edges of the object you’re wrapping. This will help to disguise them as a natural folding line and give a neater look.  Also, when choosing a lovely paper like this which is full of fabulous detail that would be a shame to hide, tie your ribbon in an off centre position that will show it off at its best (as we’ve done) and pick a ribbon colour that will bring out the colour in the wrap. We’ve chosen this lovely sunny yellow, inspired by the Eider Ducks beak!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this months blog and if so … Please do pass on the gift wrapping love by sharing with your friends!

For more information on our gift wrapping workshops or demonstrations find us at www.moreprettythings.co.uk  or contact us on 01226 492770 for more details.

 

Advertisements

Just add a Gift Tag…

Over the years I’ve found myself with a variety of unintentional collections of this, that and the other. Things that I’m sure I’ll need in the future so can’t bear to throw away…You know the kind of thing….Odd buttons, old keys, mini toiletries from hotels and…..Gift tags!

Yes, it’s a thin line between ‘collector’ and ‘hoarder’ at this point and my profession as a gift wrapper won’t save me on this one as after rummaging through a very large box of gift tags, it’s clear my love of them started way before my business began! (Many moons ago judging by some of the styles.. Apparently tastes do change!)

So, if like me you have some (??!!) very pretty gift tags you’re hoarding (I mean saving for a rainy day) that you don’t have matching paper for, then fear not….You can use them up and plain paper is your friend!  Couple the tag with a bit of ribbon and some imagination (in other words hole punch a second hole in the tag, thread a length of ribbon through, secure on the back with double sided) and this is the result….A unique and pretty decorative touch to embellish a gift!

kraft and tag final

Like being creative?  Don’t forget to sign up for our e-newsletter on our home page at www.moreprettythings.co.uk to receive month updates and gift wrapping tips etc

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!

IMG_3455

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.

IMG_3471

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

 

 

 

 

 

Baking days

 

I often dream of having time to bake, to try new recipes and potter in the kitchen on a Saturday morning……baking polenta cake 2

Just  me, no make up, my comfy slippers, baggy jumper and Graham Norton on radio two. Recently instead of dreaming, I actually got the chance…… Not that it all went totally to plan of course!

With a group of very lovely ladies due to arrive the next day (Sunday) for a gift wrapping class, it was a great excuse to live the dream and bake lots of goodies I could serve them on our break at the class. Like many, I have a signature cake that always turns out well and I know that whenever I bake it there’ll only be crumbs left of it the next day. For me that’s my mothers traditional chocolate cake recipe with real cadbury’s chocolate on top and buttercream icing in between. However, whilst I don’t bake often I do like to try my hand at something different every now and again. It’s that thrill you get when you do something new and it actually turns out really well. In this case it was Lemon, honey and polenta cake (served with creme fraiche mixed with lemon rind) and almond and honey biscuits.  I found it (like you do) while  just flicking through a magazine with no baking agenda and there it was…shouting ‘try me, try me’.  So, decision made, the day before ‘baking day’ I checked my cupboards for ingredients I’d need and set off shopping for those I didn’t have.

So Saturday morning it was like Christmas…Up early and all excited. I turned on the radio, donned a rather fab ‘Mrs Madden Makes’ Pinny, made a pot of tea and went to line the cake tins. So, baking paper…. Ah…Now…where could it be? I scrabbled through the drawer. Nope, not there.  Had it gone to its hiding place down the back and into the cupboard perhaps? Nope. It seems the greaseproof paper fairy had been and borrowed it. So, only one thing to do….off I jumped in my car (well after taking off the slippers) and down to the nearest shop.  Let me see….Baking paper, baking paper…..I scoured the shelves up and down but could you believe it, no paper!! So back in the car to the next shop a few miles away and voila…loads of it. So after purchasing two packs of it (for good measure), I headed back for home.

Right pinny back on, hands washed ,..Off we go! Tins lined, time to weigh the plain flour for the biscuits…Plain Flour, yes I have plain flour I saw two packs of it yesterday …mmn but what’s this? One is near on empty and the other….well, the sell by date fairy has also visited and it appears I’m out by a year….What were the chances of that? (note to self… better stock rotation required!)   Oh hey,  back in the car I went…. Not even bothering to go to  the most local shop this time in case it didn’t have any, I headed back to the shop furthest away again where once again, they came through for me and had mountains of it. On leaving with a large bag of flour the Shop assistant did one of those knowing nods …I smiled one of those knowing smiles and off I went. Once again, all sorted, back home, pinny on, hands washed ready to proceed and….

Phone rang. Door bell chimed. Dog needed walking (actually I don’t have a dog but if I had, it would have surely have needed a walk) It was bedlam . You have to smile don’t you. So, a little longer than expected, with more interruptions, delays, unstocked shops and bad fairies than I’d ever imagined, I did, in the end make it. (with the help of Graham Norton and a good shop).

Graphic1

And it all turned out swimmingly too ….There’s nothing like the feeling of when you bake something new and its a hit with your guests. Thank you ladies…Lemon, honey and Polenta cake recipe on its way to you as promised!

baking final picbaking polenta cake 4