Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Last Minute Holiday Gift Parade -- Part 2sday!

I'm not that great at last minute handmade gifts, BUT what I can come up with is handmade, often personalized WRAPPING. Here are some very simple ideas.

1. The photograph trick. These days it's easy to print out a full page photo from our computers. Print out of a photo of Aunt Molly's grandkids and wrap that box of candy or BOOK in it for her. Use the idea for a gift for anyone on your list whom you've ever photographed! For larger gifts, just print out more copies or a collage and tape together. Here's a photo of my niece and her fiance at their first open house. I'll use it to wrap stocking stuffers for their parents.

2. The bag trick. Take an ordinary lunch bag, brown or colored, and decorate with stickers appropriate to the person. I always have letter stickers on hand and can "write" the name on the bag. It's best if the letters are all different styles and colors, upper and lower cases mixed. You'd be amazed at how noncrafty people love this!

3. The bowl trick. Buy simple mixing bowls or large mugs and use to "wrap" homemade food gifts. A good theme present is a large bowl for popcorn, a package of popcorn, a DVD or a gift certificate to a DVD store, on or off line. Wrap in a large flour sack/cloth and tie with a piece of film or ribbon that looks like film or strips of negatives (remember them?) taped together. I happen to have a large supply of reel-to-reel tape that I've unwound and use as ribbon, or packing material.

4. The Internet trick. Print out "wrapping paper" from the 'net: for a scientist, I print out a periodic table; for a writer, tape together an article from Writers Digest (maybe even one she wrote). For kids use pages from the comics or coloring book.

5. The label trick. Instead of a gift tag, use a regular luggage tag with name and addy filled out. One year we gave everyone in the family sheets of return address labels with clip art that suited them. Another year we gave package labels.

6. The pocket trick. When I MUST give a gift card, cash, or check, I try to wrap in something handmade. Here's how: cut three strips of colored/designed paper of different widths, but all the length of a check. Layer the papers, leaving a pocket for the check or cash. Or, make the dimensions suit a gift card. The holders then can be decorated with glitter or stickers or beads or buttons ... whatever is rattling around in your odds and ends drawer.

Most of these ideas can be implemented with material you have on hand, in your scraps drawer (if you have one as cluttered as mine!), truly at the last minute.
What are your creative wrapping tips?

In other news ...
One of my goals for 2009 was to learn e-publishing and post a story this year. I just made it! I tried a couple of classes and they didn't work for me, so I put in the time on my own, read a 35-page how-to manual, enlisted my husband as a double-checker and a cover designer, and went for it.

The short story I uploaded is "The Fluorine Murder" – the ninth installment in my first series, based on the periodic table, written as Camille Minichino. The others in the series are full-length novels, many out of print, and I wanted to revive the series in a 21st century kind of way!

You can now go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/6876 and see a sample of the story free, or buy it for $1.

Now let's see what else was on that 2009 list ....


Betty Hechtman said...

I like to use little shopping bags with tissue inside. Presentation is everything.

Congrats on your epublishing. I will have a look at the website tomorrow when I am less bleary eyed. I just sent off my manuscript for Better Knot Dye. Yay for being able to email it. Until I sent it, I kept tweaking. I'm sure you know what I mean.

Camille Minichino said...

I do know what you mean, and congratulations on another book!

Those gift bags (the ones that come with matching tissue -- couldn't make it through the year without them!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Great ideas, Camille. I like wrapping things in the funny pages, the comics. Or rubber-stamping on newsprint.

Betty, I totally get tweaking. Sometimes I think they'll have to rip the manuscript from my hands!

Anonymous said...


Ann Parker said...

I like using images from wall calendars from the past. I hate throwing away all those great photos, etc., so now use them to wrap gifts.

Camille Minichino said...

Ah, calendars! Terrific idea, Ann.