Thursday, October 30, 2008


I feel like I have been working at getting my new gift bags photographed and online forever, although it's actually been just (just?) a month. Even now, I'll be able to show only the little ones. The large size still aren't in the camera. I'm holding out fond hopes for Saturday on that, since tomorrow looks too solidly booked for anything in the Art area.

As usual, I can't just put the photos up. I have to give a little background.

In my family, gift wrapping has always been something of an art form. Mama was so creative, there are still gifts I remember for their inventive packaging, years now since I've forgotten what was inside.

We were also very frugal. I have very fond memories of my Grandpa Parker, setting a gift aside to pull a small pocket knife out, choosing the smallest blade, and gently slicing through the strips of scotch tape that held the paper. All of us were careful not to tear the gift wrap, even if Grandpa was the only one with a knife. We would smooth the paper and fold it, trying not to make new creases, and put it away for the next gift-giving occasion.

Eventually, we had good stores of what came to be known as our "Heirloom Wrapping Paper", the increasingly fragile, but now familiar bits that had survived years of being passed back and forth. Every year, the boxes the old paper would wrap would get smaller, as little tears ate away at the edges.

So you can understand my mindset when I got married, at nineteen. My new husband and I had very little money, but I went to Meier & Frank and bought rolls of elegant and lovely paper, and the ribbon to go with it. It was an investment. I knew I'd be using it for years.

Christmas with the new hubby's family came. The gifts we brought were beautiful. I handed one to my brother-in-law, and then watched in stunned horror as he ripped the paper off, wadded it into a ball, and threw it to the dog to play with. Even now, nearly forty years later, my jaw has dropped, just thinking about it. Holy cow.

You might say I have issues with that kind of wastefulness. And as a society, we are so heedless! I have watched my daughters-in-law throw perfectly good store-bought gift bags in the trash. Why? How difficult is it to fold them flat and put them in the storage container for gift wrap? I do not understand it.

But that doesn't mean I can't come up with a very small way to fight our wasteful tendencies. Last month, I created gift bags from designer fabric samples. Their seams are sewn, rather than glued, so they won't tear when bumpy things are put in them. Their ribbons are sewed on, so you don't have to buy a bow, and can't lose this one. They look pretty. And they don't, somehow, look like something you're supposed to throw away, especially the larger ones.

That's what I think, anyway. Can I get an opinion from someone else on it? Here are the little bags:

A rather funky five

Closer up

A classic trio

With some little gifts tucked into the top, to show size

I can hardly wait to show off the big ones! I took both sizes to a show this past weekend, and they did well, so that's a good sign.

In other news, this has been a rather long, and tiring day. How is it that days like that often seem to start off really well?

We went out to breakfast. When we got back, DH went to get a load of gravel while I cleaned out a little display case left over from when we had stores. I hadn't gotten very far with that when DH called to say the wheel had come off his trailer full of gravel, but he had a spare.

I said okay, and to be careful, and we hung up. The phone rang again, just moments later. I'd taken the lug wrenches and jack out of the van, DH told me. No, I had not, but I said I'd bring them to him. He was tense and yelling about everything, and gave me really pukey directions for finding him. (Honestly, why couldn't he just have said, "I'm on Columbia, west of 60th"?)

But, long story short, he ended up having to call a tow company. He got home, and we struggled and sweated through getting the display case out of the basement, up a flight of stairs that had been moved and acquired an extra twist since we'd taken the case down there. By the time it was upstairs, I was drenched and panting, but hey, he'd insisted I couldn't lift one end of the thing, and I'd insisted I could, and I was right! Na nana na na!

We took the case over to Trillium, forgetting the shelf, but remembering the furniture polish and glass cleaner, so I could spiffy it up.

At home, the rest of the day was less physical. I put a meatloaf in the oven, and edited the photos above and a bunch of others while we watched TV, and then we had dinner. More TV and photo editing afterwards.

I topped it off with a new experience: laptop on my desk alongside my desktop keyboard, working on both computers at once. Confusing, but it was nice to do something while a computer did its "thinking" bit.

Oh, and Etsy Forums. They are addictive, aren't they?


Lilly's Life said...

Gosh those bags are amazing. What a wonderful idea. I love gorgeous packaging too and I keep everything for future use. I think you might find that people will start doing that moreso given the harsher economic times. I enjoyed reading that post very much and you sure had a very full day! congratulations on your designer bags - they will be a big hit!!

Anonymous said...

Those are so cute! I love them. I am sure they will be kept and re-used by any who receive a gift in them.

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