Freebie: Printable gift tags

In the past two evenings, I’ve wrapped most of my presents. Man, how do people with tons of kiddos handle it? For my small family plus several friends to whom I ship presents and a few local friends we exchange with, I felt like it took hours. I know my mother in law wraps things across several nights, which is probably the right approach. Wrap until juuuuust before you start smooshing the ends closed out of boredom and frustration. Then break for the evening and enjoy a cocoa with peppermint schnapps. (I have no idea if this is part of my mother-in-law’s strategy, but I’m imagining it will be part of mine in the future, heh.)

I have a cousin who is a master wrapper. I used to love to come babysit her kid during the holidays, because her wrapping station would be in full swing, with baskets of gorgeous ribbon and thick luxury paper strewn about. The most I can handle is some accidentally-coordinated paper from Target (I tend to gravitate towards the same kinds of colors and simple graphics every time I need to pick up something new), which tears on the corners if you pull too hard. I also have a few spools of bakers’ twine which I’ve been using to excess (though I do have a plastic bin corralling all of my ribbon and bow options, of which I decent selection, generally left over from craft projects). I theoretically like the idea of package tie-ons, and I read enough blogs that try to convince me that’s what my elegant wrapping is missing. I know that I do not have the patience to gather little bits and bobs for sheer festivity, or the energy to make 30 air-dry-clay ornaments with people’s initials stamped in them. Thank you, blogging world, but I’ll pass on the tie-on.

I do, however, indulge in gift tags. Sure, we have the peel-off kinds, 25 to a sheet, artwork comprised of a haphazard assortment of clip-art-looking Christmas icons. I also have an impulse-control problem when I go shopping for cut-price holiday accoutrements just after Christmas (it’s why I don’t let myself do it every year, but I also have gotten some drop dead gorgeous cards this way), so I’ve picked up some nicer adhesive tags along the way as well. However, my favorite gift tags are the ones that I’ve designed myself.

Presents all lined up to be packaged for mailing!

Presents all lined up to be packaged for mailing!

For the past 6 years, I’ve put together a mix CD for some of my friends and family containing holiday songs that includes old school standards (Bing on “White Christmas”), oddities (“Mele Kalikimaka” always puts a smile on my face), familiar songs done in fun ways (“O Little Town of Bethlehem” as performed by Belle and Sebastian), lovely instrumentals (the stunning version of “O Holy Night” that was featured on an episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip played by displaced New Orleans musicians), and originals (Guster did an amazing song called “Tiny Tree Christmas” that is probably one of my top ten Christmas songs now). If you know me at all, you probably can guess that I design artwork to go in the cover of these mix CDs, with a track listing and everything. If I’m feeling super amibitious, I adapt that artwork into some gift tags to use for that year’s presents. I know the Internet is just riddled with adorable free gift tags for you to snag, but I thought I’d share mine with you now, in case you’re staring down a mountain of unwrapped gifts, with gift receipts to be attached and price tags to be picked off, and boxes to be located and tissue paper to be smoothed down. Lovely tags always motivate me just a tiny bit more to see it all finished off, here’s hoping you get some use out of them! Click inside to get the goodies!

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A bunting bridal shower – decorations

As I mentioned last time, I went a little overboard on invites and decorations for my dear friend Erin’s surprise bridal shower. One of the reasons that I was pleased the maid of honor was leaning towards the bunting invites was because I wanted to try my hand at sewing some fabric buntings to use as decorations. Again, when all of the planning was happening, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make the trek from Ohio to New Jersey for the shower, so I figured I would put all of my efforts towards prep work and decorations that I could mail if I couldn’t make it to help throw the party.

I went to Joanns Fabrics to find some purple and yellow fabrics in varying patterns to cut the bunting pieces from. I spent probably an hour wandering back and forth through the aisles, grabbing anything that fell into the general color scheme before weeding things out as being “too orange” or “not quite pink enough.” I ended up with a wide variety of patterns, which made me happy, including some fantastic pale yellow seersucker from the remnants section of the store and a purple argyle-esque pattern that seemed especially cheerful. I intentionally over-bought on yardage, knowing I’d want some room to make mistakes without having to go back and find the matching fabrics all over again. I came home with a great big bag of lovely fabric, plus a few spools of ribbon thrown in just for safety.

Just how much purple fabric IS there at Joanns? Oh, a whole lot, look inside.

Online design classes

I know I was going to follow up with the second half of the bridal shower decorations and it’s coming tomorrow, but this afternoon brought a pleasant surprise. I had taken a Nicoles Classes course in Typography earlier in the month, and while I knew some of my assignments would get featured, I didn’t realize when they’d come up. But while clicking through posts in my reader during my lunch break, bam, there were two of my wedding invite designs, along with some other student work.

More about the class structure and benefits inside!

A bunting bridal shower – paper goods

Last year I had the privilege to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my best high school friends, Erin. I was just finishing up another dear college friend’s wedding (sometimes I think I’d like to be a professional friend for people throwing weddings, as opposed to a wedding planner, because I love helping people noodle through ideas and weighing in on various options), in which I was also a bridesmaid, so I was not only honored to be asked to be a big part of Erin’s special day, I was eager to help out where I could with her Labor Day weekend wedding.

In February, the maid of honor started contacting the rest of the bridal party asking about potential shower dates. Knowing they wanted to hold the shower at the bride’s mom’s house in NJ, and the fact that my vacation days were pretty limited, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to commit to making the trip out, so I asked to do what I could from a distance just in case. I volunteered to design invites for the surprise shower, along with any other coordinating paper pieces, and help out with decorations where I was able, figuring I could just stick those in a box and mail them out if I needed to. The maid of honor and I batted a few ideas around and after presenting her with a few design options, she was most enthusiastic about the bunting theme. I loved it, knowing we could take the theme from the paper to real life in the decorations. (I am reluctant to call things “trendy” but at this point in time, buntings were everywhere on wedding blogs.)

Tiny yellow and purple patterned triangles FILL the pictures inside this post!