Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Minute Holiday Gift Wrapping Guide

Well, it's nearly Christmas, so this one is for those of us running down to the wire on gift wrapping!

What to get:
  • Wrapping paper
  • Baker's twine
  • Ribbon
  • Gift tags or stickers
  • Bows or flowers
  • Rubber stamps and ink
  • Scissors
  • Tape, either scotch or washi
  • Any sort of unique cord or ornament that can be attached. Think outside the (gift) box!

Where to shop:
Your wrapping will only be as good as your materials, so start by looking for quality papers and ribbons. You can certainly find papers at big box stores, but I find I have to search to find a pattern I like. Big box stores can have some good deals on solid ribbons and papers.

There are plenty of places to buy high end papers, though price can add up. The best time to shop is a year early! Yes, December 26 in the morning, go to your local paper or gift store and clean up on discount holiday cards and wrap. It's way more satisfying than Black Friday for the paper lover.

Here are my favorite places to buy fine gift wrap and cards:

Austin, Texas:
  • Paper Place* -- This is a small shop carrying wrapping paper, ribbon by the yard, and cards.
  • Studio Slo Mo* -- A small letterpress that produces beautiful cards and gift tags.
  • Paper Source -- This is a chain with lots of nice wrapping paper, ribbon, and cards.
Missoula, Montana:

Christchurch, NZ:
  • Kikki.k -- This is a Swedish based paper and journal company with a store in Christchurch's Riccarton Mall. They have a very cute, feminine aesthetic. I found a lovely book of Christmas gift stickers last year while visiting the area. 
  • Rifle Paper -- They make my favorite wrapping paper. I love their painterly illustrations and collections of metallic papers. They also carry fine ribbon that blends well with their paper.
  • Waste Not Paper -- This company produces patterned and solid gift wraps. Their solid gift wraps can be a good value, especially if you want to add additional decoration with stamps.
  • Cute Tape -- I love using washi tape instead of scotch as a finishing touch on my gift wrapping. This is a fine Japanese masking tape made out of a translucent rice paper. You can find it in all sorts of colors and patterns.
  • Spoonflower -- This is a wonderful service that lets you design your own gift wrap, as well as purchase wraps and fabrics from other designers. The gift wraps run about $15 per roll, but the paper is very high quality.

* These are local businesses! Please help them out!
Gift Wrap from Waste Not Paper and Rifle Paper
Japanese Washi Tape

Oh Ramona, don't eat that!
So maybe you're trying to keep costs down or not finding papers you like. I recommend buying a solid or craft paper and decorating it with stamps. Here's a boot and a cat stamp I found from a few months back. 

Ramona always wants to be the center of attention.

I love these metallic inks!

Making an impression
Handmade boots and cats paper

The finished result
Are you feeling confident in your wrapping skills?  Here's a great video guide to help you with the basics. I make one slight modification, where I roll in the flap a bit to reach the middle of the side:

Finishing with washi tape
I love to finish with a hand-tied bow. To get this effect, lay the center of the ribbon on the top and wrap around the bottom. Cross the ribbon and rotate each end 90 degrees, then bring back to the top. Make a knot and then tie a bow, then adjust the loops so they're nice and round. For fabric ribbon, use a sharp pair of scissors to even out the ends of the ribbon. I like to either cut diagonals or V notches.

I really like my fabric scissors! Don't touch!
I love this green silk ribbon I found at Austin's Paper Place on top of the Rifle gift wrap.
If you're wrapping something small, make the bow and label proportionate.

Match the ribbon to a color found in the paper.

Or go for a contrast.

This gift is wrapped with a reused ribbon and a lovely card from Studio Slo Mo.

These cute tags are from kikki.k.

If there's not room for a bow, add ornament with stamps and washi tape.

A little gold ribbon goes a long way!
Christmas presents wrapping guide
The lot!
Final tip: reuse wrapping paper and ribbon. Try to resist the urge to tear open your gifts, and gently open them at the seams.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers.

<3 Ann

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Spotted: San Francisco Japantown

I just spent a week in San Francisco's Japantown on a business trip, and took a few days off for fun. It's my favorite city! Here's some of the inspiration I found during my travels.

In Japantown, I stumbled across a really cool clothing shop called SOU SOU which features patterned items by designer Katsuji Wakisaka. Wakisaka was the first Japanese designer to work for the Finnish design house Marimekko. I was able to purchase some small pieces of cloth for only a few dollars. The numbers print reminds me of my work with typewriter and letterpress type, so I had to have it.

I also found some lovely scraps at a store called Neat Asian Things, which sells fabric by the yard. They are located in the Kinokuniya building in Japantown, or online at

I also enjoyed the sakura blossom pattern incorporated into this wallpaper mural on the hotel room wall inside Hotel Tomo.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mona Holiday


It's been a bit harder for me to keep up with the blog these days, between work and holidays, but I will continue to make patterns.  Over Thanksgiving I had some spare time to doodle, and here is the result: a new print featuring my Mona in holiday outfits.

Mona Christmas

I ordered it as a wrapping paper. Hope it turns out :)