Let It Snow


I have long had a fantasy about being a professional gift wrapper. If that is not a real job, it darn well should be! Ever since I was quite little, I have LOVED wrapping presents. As a teenager, I used to shut myself in my room with all the bows and paper and ribbons, sing along to Christmas tunes and wrap prezzies for hours and hours. It was one of my favourite days of the year and I looked forward to it for months.

As an adult, I still look forward to a day spent doing nothing but wrapping gifts. In my 30s, I started to pick a theme each year and wrap all my gifts the same way. One year it was blue paper, wide satin ribbon in chocolate brown and a single chandelier crystal on each gift. I often use kraft paper– one year I added a single magnolia leaf with the recipient’s name written on it in gold ink to each package; another year, it was organza ribbon with glass ornaments embellished with the recipient’s initial or a loving phrase; still another year, it was packing-stamp inspired stickers, red or gold jingle bells and red twine wrapped around and around and all over each package. I am also a huge fan of black paper and one of my favourite schemes involved it with oversized rick-rack in red or white and miniature glass Christmas balls.

Those are Liberty covered buttons on the right!

Source. Source.

I start thinking about my festive gift wrap months in advance, so now I am getting down to the wire and am narrowing down my choices for this year. You will have to wait and see what I end up doing, but in the meantime, I hope these inspirational images get you in the gift-wrapping spirit!



Please & Thank You

Today I spent a few happy hours in my sewing room, whipping up a few little projects.
One of the things I did was to put together little “thank you” packets for some young ladies who helped me out last week.  Each packet contains a set of button magnets.

I just love the little wooden bird tags and have been saving them for a couple of years. I finally decided to use a couple of them to make little name tags that can also become Christmas ornaments or just hang on a doorknob, over a bed post or on the corner of a mirror or picture frame.

I added some glitter because, let’s face it, pretty much everything is better with glitter!


The final installment in my little retrospective of my crafty wares stall of last weekend is a look at both the most and least successful of my products.

So, the memo boards? HUGE, ENORMOUS success. First of all, I priced them (low) to make them affordable to students. And they went nuts for them. It started with the boarding school girls, all of whom hang white boards on their bedroom doors (remember doing that in residence at university?). They LOVED the memo boards. They spread the word. Which then took hold like wildfire. Of 40 memo boards, I have 3 left. Will definitely do them again.

Not a hit? The MAGNETS! What? Hello? I have no idea why not– little bits of sweetness, I thought they’d sell out. I suspect that a weird psychological thing (yes, that is the medical term…) happened: I priced them too low and, thus, instead of thinking, “Hey! What a deal! Those’d be great stocking stuffers/look awesome on my fridge/locker, etc.”, people thought, “Those are so cheap they must not be any good.” Either that or they thought, “Ew. Those are hideous.” But they were rhapsodizing over how cute they were, so I just don’t get why they didn’t really buy them…. Guess what everyone I know is getting for Christmas?! 🙂

A few people bought my sweet little gift tags, but not many. I love these– I loved the ones I made with 1920s slang sayings on them, in particular (after they failed to sell last year, I have been using them on gifts I’ve given over the past year).

What the market wants– it’s a mystery. Go figure. 🙂

Have a great weekend; Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks!

Go Figure

Every year (for the past 5 or so, anyway), I make aprons to sell at my little stall. They have, historically, been a HUGE hit. They are made from tea towels and pretty grosgrain ribbon and look very sweet on, while simultaneously being very hard-wearing. I think the latter is an important factor in an apron; I have a growing collection of darling vintage aprons, but I am always a bit afraid to wear them, as they are far too precious to ruin by getting cooking mess on them! The tea towel aprons solve that problem as, if they get dirty, they wash and dry like a dream.

People buy them by the bunch, stocking up on them to use as hostess gifts and stocking stuffers, birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts. In preparing my wares this year, I found I had only a very few aprons left from last year, so I made sure to make about 40 more aprons.

And hardly any of them sold. Not very many people wanted aprons, not even my regulars. Not even people who told me they couldn’t wait for my stall so they could lay in their yearly supply of aprons…. Weird, no?

Oh, well; I won’t make any new ones for next year– I already have a good stash on-hand!

I also sold some of the bias-tape bracelets and vintage button hairbands and barrettes I made during my sabbatical year (when I had time for hours upon hours of hand-sewing!).

The bias tape is made by Liberty of London (insert swoon-fest here) and I bought it in France at La Droguerie, a store that delighted and gutted me at the same time; the former because it was so gorgeous and full of beauty and inspiring ideas and buttons and buttons and buttons and every kind of perfectly divine notion, the latter because it would never fly here in North America because we are so unwilling to pay what beautiful things are worth…

(Please excuse the blurry photos: bad lighting + cell phone camera = not the clearest pix.)

First Fig

Here are a few pictures of my attempts to make a little corner of a very ugly and unwelcoming space look cozy and inviting, a fitting home for my little wares this past Saturday.  Setting up the display is half the fun for me, and although I find the hideousness of the space frustrating, I try to see it as a fun challenge, rather than a liability.

Or so I tell myself. 😉

The sodium arc lights are ghastly and make everything look horrid, so I thought I’d bring a bit of my own mood lighting this year. It didn’t really work, but it made me feel a lot better; at least I knew I’d tried!

Button Up!

Ever since I was about 12 years old, I have had a thing for fabric-covered buttons. I still love them. When I was doing my desk space make-over, I wanted some way to carry the fabric into the accessories. I had some magnets (from the dollar store!) hanging around and some coverable buttons left over from an earlier project, and since I knew the buttons would be crazy-pretty covered in the Lily Ashbury fabric, I just fiddled around until I had something I liked.

Here is a wee how-to, in case you want to make your own.

I had so much fun that I made 40 sets of 3 to sell next weekend at my annual little booth at our school fundraiser!