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Whisker Graphics December DIY...a little late

Happy Thursday friends! I am back blogging today. Yesterday I took the day off to go on strike to protest the internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA. Apparently it was a huge success and thousands of people got involved. What an awesome community! If you want to learn more and educate yourself on all the buzz check out the Stop American Censorship website.

This post is going up a bit late today. I have been glued to my computer watching the Twitter feed for Alt Summit. Alt is a design bloggers conference that they hold in Salt Lake City every year. I was glued to my computer last year too, trying to live vicariously through everyone's tweets. Sadly I've missed it this year and once again I'm at home, watching Twitter...hopefully 2013 will be different. If you're any kind of blogger looking for business and blogging advice, follow the stream. All kinds of great tidbits are popping up there.

Today I want to highlight my Whisker Graphics December DIY. I was a bad blogger in December and I just couldn't get the project done in time with all the work I had to do. But to make up for it, I've done two projects for January. I'll share the second project tomorrow but for today, let me show you how to make an easy paper pompom flower.

Yes, I know you can go out and buy gift toppers but what's the fun in that? This one is homemade and it's super easy. I made the flowers out of Whisker Graphics Bitty Bags which are a waxy, glassine material. I used one bag, some scissors, a pencil, and double stick tape to make the flower. That's all you need!

Cut four circles out of the Bitty Bags. My circles were about 3.5" in diameter but different sizes would work too. Mark a smaller circle in the middle, like what is shown above. Then fringe the edges. Cut little strips from the outer circle to the inner circle, leaving the center as is. 

Then just put double stick tape in the centers and press all four circles together. And finally, fluff up the fringe to give it volume and make it flower-like. Stick it to a present, add some twine, and then gift to a friend. Easiest ever gift wrapping...and it was all made by you!

I used a few of the Bitty Bag colors to demonstrate different looks for the pompom. I think I'll need to try this technique with tissue paper next and see how that looks. Maybe even wrapping paper? I like the look of patterned paper to give the pompom some variety and not just a single, solid color.

This might become a go-to wrapping technique for me simply because it is so easy. All you really need are a few adornments and you're good to go. Packaging doesn't need to be hard to be cute and special. What are your favorite packaging techniques? Are they quick and easy like this idea? What are your favorite materials? 

I'll post the link to the Whisker Graphics post when it goes live.


Happy New Year + Happy Packaging

Hi blog friends! Happy New Year! Can you believe it's 2012 already? I had to write 1/1 yesterday and it felt so weird. But I am so excited for the new year and am happy to get back into the swing of things today with a blog post. I was oh, so neglectful in December (embarrassing) but we'll forget about that and move forward with a plethora of posts in January. Today I'm going to share with you some of my Christmas packaging and later in the week we'll be recapping my Twelve by 2012 goals (I did ok but definitely didn't accomplish all twelve). I want to set up a new mini goals list and share it with you here (you keep me motivated) so I'll be announcing that soon.

But first I have some sad news. My faithful and reliable old friend, my Nikon d40x camera, is currently experiencing some technical difficulties. I was taking some shots with it a few days ago and suddenly an error message popped up on the screen and the shutter will no longer fire. The message reads: 'Error. Press shutter release button again.' Based on some research I did, I don't think the camera is totally dead or anything but I'll need to send it into Nikon for fixing and have to pay some fee which I won't be happy about. Poor  camera! It is five years old and has taken a ton of pictures but still, I'm frustrated that I will be digital camera-less for awhile. I rely on it so much, especially with the blog. But I'll find a way to share pictures here...that's why Steve Jobs invented the iPhone I guess. Has anyone else experienced this problem with their Nikon cameras?

And now for the pretty packaging part of the post. This year wrapping mostly consisted of white paper and washi tape. Simple components yes, but I came up with a handful of different configurations to make each package feel unique and fun.

I think my favorite was this one to my brother. David has gotten into photography this year so I gave him a few different photo/camera goodies. I incorporated this old photograph into his packaging, using my label maker to write out our names. A pop of color with some washi and some bakers twine and this easy package was completed in no time.

The present on the left was for my Mom. I cut wahi tape into triangles and made garlands on her package. This is so easy to do but it has major wow factor. It would be perfect for birthday wrapping. The present on the right was for my brother. I bought the cute glasses tag at Renegade this year. It was designed by Invita Paper Studio. Find the tags here. I actually saw Adriana (the talented designer behind Invita) at two local shows and was so happy to chat with a local creative. She is super sweet and her designs are just so colorful and fun. I definitely recommend checking out her shop. 

This simple criss-cross washi was for my stepdad. 

I dug out these cute bike stamps and made a fun little package for my brother (side note: I can't believe I bought these stamps a year ago!). I'm digging the collage effect with the washi. I'll need to try that more often. 

And finally, another one for my Mom. I had to wrap it in kraft paper because of the size. I love that the design on the washi is actually illustrated buttons and then I added a few actual vintage buttons to keep up the theme. And a skeleton key with some lace is always the perfect feminine touch. 

How did your wrapping go this year? In the past I have saved wrapping until the end and then I just stick everything into bags, very uncreatively. So I was proud to actually wrap everything up this time around. And I even did it a few days ahead so the presents got to enjoy some time under the tree just looking pretty before getting ripped into. Christmas success!

Again, happy 2012 dear readers! I am so looking forward to this next year together. Cheers to pretty pictures, fun blog posts, and lovely inspiration and projects to come. 


My Lovely Christmas

Hi friends! I am afraid it has been quite awhile since my last post. Far too long in fact but this month has been a busy one for me as I'm sure it has been for all of you. The holidays are sure a bustling time. For me it has mostly consisted of my part time job at Anthropologie which, at times, has felt like a full time job. In my spare time I got in some Christmas shopping and found some great presents for my family and friends. My brother has been home on winter break from college and so we have spent a lot of time together which I love and cherish. I have also been relaxing when I can, reading a lot of good books and watching a bunch of old movies. Although I haven't officially declared a vacation for myself, I guess I have built it into my schedule a bit, hence the silence here in blogland. Forgive me. But I am so excited about 2012 and have a lot of exciting things planned so I guess I'm gearing up for the new year by allowing myself a break.

Today I wanted to share some of my pictures of our home leading up to the holiday and some shots on Christmas Day. Christmas is a simple affair for our family but I wouldn't have it any other way. It is about surrounding yourself with loved ones and enjoying your time in their company. And we managed just that quite successfully I think. 

A favorite Santa since I was little.

You may remember some of my mantle decorations from last year. We spruced it up a bit differently this year including this awesome silver owl that my Mom found. Now the Santa on the right is truly my favorite. He has adorned the top of our Christmas trees since I was a baby. He might be a bit unconventional, usually you see stars or angels up there, but I find him quite perfect. He is showing his age though and we actually have to rubber band him to the tree.

This festive garland is a recent addition to our holiday decor thanks to my Mom. She put it together using vintage Christmas postcards she found while antiquing. Sadly I haven't had much time to be crafty lately but I was super excited to see her creation. 

Christmas booties!

My stocking on the right and my brother's bear stocking. I want my brother and I to be in our 70s and still using these two guys. 

This is one of Scout's stockings. Yes, her toys actually overflowed into a second stocking this year. She is quite spoiled. Again, I think she got the most presents out of everyone. 

Our mantle. I have actually never had a mantle before. The houses that we lived in previously did not have fireplaces so seeing all the stockings actually hung up is still quite a novelty for me.

Here is Scout with one of her new toys. She was so excited that she tuckered herself out and eventually had to nap away the afternoon. And David experimenting with one of the new cameras I got him. It's called the Lomokino and it actually shots little videos with 35mm film. David has been talking about shooting some videos so I cannot wait to see what he creates with this.

And finally David and I wearing our new Christmas scarves and holding the two cameras that I bought him. I'm holding a vintage one, an old Kodak Brownie, that I got for $10. We think it is in working order though and hopefully we can get a chance to test it out. But for $10, you can't really go wrong, even if it is just a decor piece. 

So that was a peek into my holiday. How was your Christmas?! I wish all of my readers a merry holiday time and the happiest of new years. I am so thankful to have my blog, a place where I can come and be creative and open. And I cannot thank you all enough for visiting and sharing and commenting. It all means so much to me, words cannot really describe. So continue to enjoy your holidays and time with loved ones. I know I will which probably means that my posting will be sporadic this week but I'll get back on track in the new year. Take care dear readers!


My Christmas Wrapping

Are all of you experiencing the extreme-laziness-limbo-between-Christmas-and-New-Year's syndrome?  Is it just me?  I have yet to get myself back on a normal schedule.  I have been sleeping in, relaxing, reading, wearing my pajamas for half the day, and watching movies (I think I watched four today: Death at a Funeral, Julie & Julia, About a Boy, and Be Kind Rewind).  A small part of me feels guilty for all the idleness but an even bigger part says that it is totally natural to act this way before starting the new year.  And I'm so excited for the new year too, hopefully filled with lots of awesome projects, collaborations, and fun new undertakings for me!  But before I jump into all that, I am basking in my moment of nothingness.  How about you guys?

Today I want to share a few snapshots of my Christmas wrapping.  Our Christmas was very low-key and we didn't have thousands of presents (more my style actually - I'm fortunate enough to be given so much throughout the year), which was a good thing because I put off all of my wrapping until the day of.  I was really busy with work up until Saturday so wrapping was squeezed in at the last minute.  I worked for a couple of hours, decorated my plain kraft paper with a few fun details, and then called it a day.  Everything was simple but personalized and because I could do it quickly, it allowed me to spend more quality time with my family on Christmas.  

Kraft paper, bakers twine, washi tape, velvet ribbon, paper doilies, and manila tags...these are my go-to items!

Considering it was a last minute job, I was pretty happy with the results.  Hopefully next year I will have a little more time to devote to wrapping.  I rarely run ahead of schedule at Christmastime though.

What are your favorite items to use for Christmas wrapping?  And is anyone else as bad as me, wrapping their presents on Christmas Day?  Come on, 'fess up!


Favorite Birthday Gifts

Yesterday I announced my first little GIVEAWAY!  All you have to do is comment on that post to enter and tell me about one of your favorite birthday gifts.  I already got a few great responses and I really enjoyed reading them.  As promised, I would talk about a few of my favorite birthday presents and explain why they are special to me.  It is only fair that we get to share together!

One birthday gift that I cherish is something my Aunt gave me a few years ago.  Before I went to Europe, she gave me this painting of the Eiffel Tower that she found in an antique store here in Southern California.  It even came with the beautiful, matching frame.  While in Paris, I saw many Eiffel Tower paintings and obviously I could have had my pick of authentic Parisian artwork.  But in my mind, none of those paintings compared to this one.  I have no idea what the story is behind this painting but I like to imagine that it is very romantic and that it was actually painted in Paris along the Seine.  Maybe someone painted it while studying abroad just like me!  I want to be transplanted into that painting and become one of those fisherman.  I miss Paris so!

Now this gift is definitely an oldie.  I don't even remember actually being given this stuffed cat but I know that he was gifted to me by my Grandfather.  Why do I still own this raggedy thing?  Well, my Grandfather passed away when I was pretty little (I think I was about six) so sadly, I do not remember him much.  I have kept this cat all these years because he gave it to me and so I see it as a little piece of him.  I fondly named it 'Grandpa Cat.'  You cannot tell from this picture but I pierced this stuffed animals ears.  Ok, let me explain.  I didn't get my ears pierced until I was about 12.  I was jealous of friends who had gotten their ears pierced and dreamed of wearing my Mom's dangly earrings.  Since I couldn't pierce my own ears, I pierced holes through my cat's ears and put the dangly earrings on him.  You can still see the holes today.  Also to clarify, I don't sleep with this cat or anything.  He is in his proper place, stuffed under my bed.  

Photo: Nikon USA

Another great gift is something I just got this year.  My Mom bought me the Nikkon 35mm, f1.8 lens, a few weeks early in fact!  I have been drooling over this lens for awhile now and have rented it a few times.  I am so excited that I finally own it and can take as many glorious pictures as I want (not just for two and three week rental periods anymore).  I have already used it in a few photoshoots but I am looking forward to snapping hundreds and hundreds of more pictures in the future.  This is for sure my new go-to lens (not that I have hundreds of options, I only own four lenses total).  

So those are a few of my favorite birthday gifts!  Keep telling me your favorites and you'll be entered into my little giveaway.  To refresh your memory, you'll be getting a little goodie from the Renegade Craft Fair (I'm going tomorrow), a little handmade craft from me, and a personal thank you note.  I promise everything will be adorable!

Take care friends and have a good weekend!