13 Elegant Ways to Wrap Presents this Holiday

Turn your presents into holiday decor with these elegant gift wrapping ideas.

 

With these gift wraps, friends and family won’t mind waiting until Christmas to open their presents. Here are some ideas on how to transform your gifts from merely presents into holiday decor.

Decorative Wallpaper

You don’t need to cover presents in traditional gift wrapping paper. Vintage wallpaper is a creative substitute and has that classic romantic look that most gift wrapping papers today can’t replicate. You can shop online for retro wallpapers on Vintage Wallpapers.

 

giftwrap floral

Vintage Patterns

“Use vintage wallpaper, gift wrap and old fabric scraps to create beautiful and unique wrapping. Scan or copy original pieces in 11 x 17-inch sizes. You can alter the color and saturation in a photo editor, if desired. Wrap packages and trim them with ribbons, twine and millinery flowers,” says Matthew Mead of Holiday…with Matthew Mead.

giftwrap paper

Simple Paper

Are you often hesitant to top off presents with ribbons in bolder colors or daring textures in fear that it will clash with the wrapping paper? Go with plain brown paper. The simplicity will give you an excuse to get extra creative when embellishing your gifts.

giftwrap vintage

Stationary

“Old Christmas cards, scissors, glue and access to a computer and printer are all you need to fashion thoughtful and one-of-a-kind holiday accents,” says Melinda Graham of Surroundings by Melinda.

old boxes gift wrap

Old Boxes

“Old boxes make wonderful containers for small gifts. Use scraps of fabric or lace to four-way tie the boxes shut. Take the presentation (and gift) one step further by tying a vintage ornament to the lace….Gently clean old boxes first. Spray a thin layer of matte polyurethane over the inside and outside of the box. Allow to dry completely,” Melinda says.

doily gift wrap

Doily and Costume Jewelry

“Old tablecloths, linens and lace are a perfect finishing touch for a package. After wrapping the gift, find a scrap of lace or a doily larger than the box. Lay the box in the center of the linen and gather the four corners into the center. Use a piece of ribbon or twine to tie them together. Most laces have an “open weave,” which will allow you to lace them together. Finish by pinning a piece of inexpensive costume jewelry to the package…You can also make the doily and jewelry part of the gift by using pieces in pristine condition,” Melinda says.

candle jar gift wrap

Candle Jars

“A creative way to recycle old candle jars is to use them as “gift boxes.” Fill candle jars with an assortment of tiny gifts or place one spectacular ornament inside. Finish with scraps of ribbon, buttons or homemade gift tags…To remove wax residue, place the jar in the freezer for a few hours. This will make the wax easy to remove,” Melinda says.

paper towel tube gift wrap

Paper Towel Tubes

“To turn these mundane tubes into clever gift containers, first cut them in half. Tuck the gift inside the tube and wrap, leaving a three-inch length at the ends. Twist the two ends and tie closed with decorative ribbon to resemble old-fashioned candy,” Melinda says.

take out carton gift wrap

Take-out Food Containers

“Simply place the gift inside and embellish the containers by tying five-inch strips of fabric in simple knots to the handle. Hang a hand- made tag and “Your order is ready!”…Take-out food containers are available online at the Oriental Trading Company and amazon.com for as little as 50 cents each. Keep some on-hand for gifts and party favors,” Melinda says.

scrapbook cones gift wrap

Scrapbook Papers

“For this project, simply curl the scrapbooking paper into a cone. Secure the edges with double-sided tape or glue. Then, measure the diameter of the opening and cut a circle out of another piece of paper. Place the gift inside and glue the circle over the opening. Decorate the top of the cone with ribbons to create a custom tree-shaped gift box,” Melinda says.

paper lunch bag gift wrap

Paper Lunch Bags

“Transform an ordinary paper bag into the perfect gift bag. Tuck the gift inside, then fold the top over to close. Use a hole-punch to make two holes two inches apart at the top center of the fold. Lace a ribbon through the holes and tie a bow. Raid your jewelry drawer for odds and ends like single earrings to add a special touch to the bow…Create a custom vintage look by adding a piece of ephemera to the package. Visit the graphicsfairy.com for free vintage-style clip art you can print from your computer,” Melinda says.

galvanized tin gift wrap

Galvanized Tin

Small galvanized tins serve as unexpected gift baskets. If the tin is large, fill the bottom with crumpled newsprint, then add craft crinkle-paper on top. Place the gift into the tin so it peeks over the rim. Secure by wrapping the entire package in cellophane. Tie a ribbon and finish off with a small ornament or gift tag…Galvanized tins are available at garden centers, hardware and craft supply stores. You can also use empty paint cans, available at airseacontainers.com for as little as $1.70 each,” Melinda says.

picnic baskets gift wrap

Picnic Baskets

“A fun alternative to a gift basket is a picnic basket. Tuck in a little something special or a variety of themed items for a spectacular and unexpected gift. For an added bonus, fashion a belt using a vintage buckle and burlap around the basket…If you can’t raid your own attic for baskets, visit save-on-crafts.com. You can find 10-inch baskets for only $6,” Melinda says.

 

Planning on tackling these DIY gift wrapping projects? Share pictures of your work on our Facebook and Twitter, or tag us on Instagram!

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The Ultimate Christmas Wreath

This Christmas wreath holds more than just a few of our favorite things!

This DIY Christmas wreath will have you scrounging in your craft supplies.
I spy… Tea cups, craft supplies and an assortment of vintage ornaments!

As the holidays approach, many restless crafters will have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads—along with lace, ribbon and vintage ornaments.

This DIY Christmas wreath will have you scrounging in your craft supplies.
A close-up shows the wreath’s dense detail. Birds perch on demitasse tea cups while strings of buttons weave around christmas-themed odds and ends. 

This festive dance should be done to the tune of “My Favorite Things,” as this is the time of year to be surrounded by all of our favorite things that remind us of the past and warm our hearts.

So what do you do with all those special odds and ends?

This year, deck the halls with all the things that bring you joy by creating a one-of-a-kind wreath!

Gather a few sentimental odds and ends; then incorporate other items that make you smile.

They don’t have to be Christmas-themed items, just pretty little treasures that tell the story of you and your loved ones.

Soon your pile of goodies will become the makings of a fabulous holiday wreath.

Materials:

  • Artificial pine wreath form, with a sturdy metal base
  • Misc. odds and ends
  • Vintage ornaments
  • Photocopies or downloads of vintage ephemera
  • Ribbon, buttons and spools of thread
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Vintage lace
  • Miscellaneous small holiday decorations
  • Bottlebrush trees
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Small teacups
  • Children’s mittens
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Florist wire and snips
  • Scissors

This DIY Christmas wreath will have you scrounging in your craft supplies.

Instructions:

  1. Cover your worktable or surface. Make a sturdy wire loop on the back of your wreath form strong enough to support the weight of the finished product. It is best to prop up the wreath to see the entire form as you are working.
  2. Add the heaviest items to the wreath first. Wire teacups firmly to the base and space them equally.
  3. To attach handkerchiefs, hold the handkerchief in the center, allowing the edges to hang down. Tightly wrap a wire around the center and leave the ends long. Turn the hankie right side up and wire it into the wreath. This will create the look of fabric “flowers.”
  4. To attach the ornaments: Old glass ornaments are very fragile, so handle with care. Use florist wire to attach them to the form between the teacups.
  5. Make paper cones out of the photocopies of old cards or the downloaded images. Simply form a cone with your hands, and glue or tape the edge. Tuck the cones into the wreath and secure with a dab of hot glue. Make sure to position them upright.
  6. Birds’ nests are easy to make by cutting long strips of vintage fabric. Wrap a strip in the palm of your hand to create the basic shape of a nest. Use fabric glue or hot glue to stick the ends together; then add a small artificial egg and tuck the nest into the wreath.
  7. To attach odds and ends, determine which pieces require glue and which require wire. Wooden spools, buttons and bottlebrushes can be easily attached with wire, while items like silk flowers, berries and colored pencils are best attached using hot glue.
  8. This is your story told in the nooks and crannies of a festive holiday wreath—there are no rules! Fill the wreath to maximum capacity with all your favorite things. Tuck in a few telltale Christmas items like ornaments and holly, and the results will be magical. You will be creating tomorrow’s heirloom to be appreciated and loved for years to come.

Like this project? Check out our other Christmas DIY wreaths, here and here.



Create a Holiday Haven This Christmas

Take a break this busy season in space decorated just for you.

A beautiful attic room is decked out for the holidays in white, aqua and pastels.
As the days grow shorter and colder, having a comfy chair next to a sunny window can provide a lovely place to warm your toes and your heart. As evening approaches, the glow of the tree twinkling along with the stars marks the end of each full day.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is blowing in like a cold winter’s breeze. There is so much to do in a short window of time.

Christmas presents wrapped in silver and gold paper with pastel bows and ornament gift toppers
Contrary to popular believe, wrapping presents can be fun and inexpensive. Use mix-and-match papers and add ribbons in cheerful colors; then add a special touch like a small ornament to the package.

For many people the holidays pass so quickly and with so much chaos that the enjoyment is all but lost. Why not try a new approach this year?

Take time to find joy in each and every day. Planning is a big part of making the process more enjoyable and less stressful.

Slowing down does not mean accomplishing less. It allows time for reflection and peace during a season that never seems to stop.

One homeowner has carved out a peaceful spot in her home, a holiday haven where she can plan for the upcoming holiday events as well as take in all the season has to offer.

A white artificial tree with pink and aqua ornaments sits near a white writing desk.
A diminutive antique writing desk is hiding in the corner behind the tree. It is a quaint spot to sit and write holiday greetings to friends and family.

There must be a place in your home where you find peaceful solitude. This cottage-style home has a small sitting room tucked into the top floor of the house beneath the sloping roof. This space may be small in size, but it has an abundance of character.

A few select furnishings were needed to fill the space. Mix-and-match thrift shop finds were brought together to make the suite complete: a down-filled wingback chair, a small antique desk, a loveseat and a coffee table. This sitting room doubles as a makeshift library, with gardening books stacked all about as part of the delightful décor.

Check Your Lists Twice in this Holiday Haven

It is common practice in this home to decorate the sitting room first, long before the holiday festivities ever begin.

A collection of vintage ornaments in pastel colors.
Collecting vintage ornaments is a year long affair. Scour thrift shops, garage sales and auctions for wonderful old beauties. The variety is simply mind- boggling. 

Transitioning into the holiday season can feel like a burden when life is already hectic. But decorating this small and personal room first helps the family get into the holiday spirit.

This cozy sitting room provides a great place to plan out the hectic months ahead, and it also is the perfect spot to sit and reflect at the end of each day.

One easy way to make a plan is to create a schedule.

First, mark the calendar with important dates and events. Then fill the days with things that bring joy: making wreaths, baking cookies and reading Christmas stories.

As each day passes, retreat to your cozy corner to reflect on the day and look ahead to what tomorrow’s schedule holds.

Decorating with a Purpose

Decorate your home with enthusiasm and purpose this holiday season.

First look for inspiration. Get motivated and find a cozy corner you can dress in festive fashion.

Vintage holiday verse books
Holiday ephemera are not only fun to collect for their inherent beauty, but old pieces like books filled with holiday adventures are delightful to read throughout the season. Reading a story or two can be a tremendous source of holiday inspiration.

Next, make a schedule by filling a calendar with everything you hope to accomplish in the months to come.

Lastly, find a few moments at the end of each day to sit and reflect in the glow of the holiday’s twinkling lights.

Fill your home to the rafters with holiday décor that makes you smile. Enjoy the season to the fullest and make it your own by surrounding yourself with delight. The joy will be contagious, so don’t hesitate to share.

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Collecting Staffordshire Figurines 101

Learn how to collect these charming figures with these 5 expert tips.

Dogs are the most readily available of the Staffordshire animal figurines collected. Regional breeds like greyhounds and pugs are often depicted; however, the King Charles Spaniels became most popular, because of Queen Victoria’s famous pet spaniel, Dash.

Even though the age of these tiny treasures make them precious collectibles (as far as pre-Victorian through Victorian collectibles go) Staffordshire figurines are readily available and often times very affordable.

These delightful figurines were made inexpensively and sold at reasonable prices. They were present in many homes across England and eventually collected in America through the 20th century.

The subject matter was quite varied from domestic animals to exotic animals, hunters to royalty to politicians as well as structures and buildings.
This accessibility and wide-spread availability makes collecting Staffordshire a very appealing pastime.

The range of subject matter and colors also allows for effortless integration into many of today’s homes. Decorating with Staffordshire figures is a wonderful way to connect the past with the present by paying homage to a simple art form and appreciating a beautiful and elegant period in history.

1. Of the figurines, famous people and exotic animals tend to be the most valuable.
Hunting figures and dogs were the most commonly produced so their value tends to be a bit lower. As for famous figures and politicians, the exception to the value rules of thumb are the famous figures that were produced in large volumes such as Queen Victoria. The value is not as great, merely because of the quantity produced.

3. Unlike many antiques, the condition of Staffordshire figures is not as important.
Due to manufacturing flaws and paint imperfections from unskilled artisans, conditions can vary greatly from piece to piece. It adds to the character and the folk art appeal. Even minor cracks and chips due to age tend to affect the value very little, if at all.

4. Beware of reproductions.
Reproductions of Staffordshire have been produced through the 20th century and some are still being created today. Look to items made prior to World War 11 for the greatest value and quality.

One way to check the age is to look for worn gilding. Newer pieces have bright brassy or yellow gilded details while the antique counterparts tend to have a dull, worn look to the trim. Be sure to check the bottom as well. Most old Staffordshire lacks backstamps or manufacturing marks. Newer reproductions are usually marked. Check that marks have not been scraped or sanded off.

5. Avoid forgeries. Detecting fakes can pose a challenge. 

Some manufactures go so far as to rub dirt into the finish or glaze. They are trying to create the illusion of age. Check the colors and details, as they were originally painted by unskilled laborers. If a figurine looks too perfect or the details appear to be transferred on instead of hand painted, it’s probably a fake. Another way to check is the weight. The older figures are typically heavier than the newer ones.

For more on Melinda Graham, visit surroundingsbymelinda.com. 

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Porch Decorating: Make an Impression

The front porch has endless decorating potential for creating a great first impression. Learn how to welcome your guests in style.

melinda graham painted shutters

Since the porch is the gateway to your home, why not set the stage for the beauty that is to unfold when crossing the threshold of your front door? Create a great first impression when welcoming guests to your home by decking out your space with your own signature style and following these five porch decorating ideas.

Remember that even small changes can make a big impact. If an entire overhaul of the front porch is out of reach, consider a spring cleaning and just one or two of the following…

1. Paint the front door or shutters a new color

The porch is the transitional space between outdoors and indoors, so mix the colors of your garden and outdoor paint colors with the style and colors of the entry. Using this approach the lines between outdoor and indoor will blend seamlessly

melinda graham flower cushions

2. Make it pop

From spring flowers to fall harvest pumpkins, adding color can be an ever changing event. Then punch up the volume with outdoor fabrics on pillows and cushions.

melinda graham wreath

3. Hang a pretty wreath

The design of this home is farmhouse inspired. The porch décor echoes this theme with a soft romantic tone and hints of cottage garden style. Although this is a new home, it was clear that great thought was given to even the smallest details to add tremendous character to the entry. For example, this wreath effortlessly adds beautiful organic undertones to the front door.

melinda graham wooden stool

4. Refresh and refurbish

Peeling paint, sun-faded finishes and rusty railings will take away from any updates you wish to make. Buy or paint furnishings in neutral colors that complement the exterior of your home in finishes that will withstand the elements. Repurpose simple furniture items, such as this wooden stool, to display novelty garden items.

melinda graham area rug

5. Place a new rug at the front door

Adding an area rug can define seating areas, eating areas and entry areas. They can also introduce color and pattern while helping to remove foot traffic and debris at the door.

For more on Melinda Graham, visit surroundingsbymelinda.blogspot.com.



A Picnic for All Seasons

Rain or shine, host the perfect picnic in the comfort of your own home.

When the weather tries to cancel your garden party plans, don’t take a raincheck! Instead of hiding under your quilts, spread them out and host a whimsical indoor picnic that always has good weather. From light finger foods and brightly colored quilts, the party inside will have you and your guests forgetting the inclement weather outside.

Indoor Picnic
When you don’t have to trek out to the middle of a park, enhancing your picnic’s décor becomes a breeze! Collect your favorite vases, foot stools, chairs and other delicate items from around your home and use them to spruce up the dining area.
Picnic Teacup Berries
When deciding what to serve, keep things easy on yourself. Fresh berries and biscuits are great finger foods and nobody will know that all you did was place a fresh berry on a store-bought cupcake! And don’t forget a nice glass of sparkling water to keep everyone happy and the conversation flowing.
Rainy Day Indoor Picnic
Even though you won’t need a picnic basket to carry your food from your kitchen to your living room, this picnic essential still makes a great vessel for presenting the afternoon’s offering.
Picnic Parasol
If the weather outside has the inside looking dark and gloomy, set up a few lamps on the floor behind some parasols. The light will brighten up the scene while the parasols will diffuse it beautifully.

5 Tips for the Perfect Indoor Picnic

  1. Pick the right spot. A proper picnic is all about the location. If your living room has a nice view of the picturesque world outside, lay down your quilts overlooking some nature. If that doesn’t seem feasible, pick the room with the most real estate for spreading out and being comfortable. Wherever you pick, make sure it’s nice and bright to simulate a beautiful summer’s day!
  2. Keep things light. With a kitchen nearby, you may be tempted to serve your guests larger meals from your oven, but we recommend sticking to finger foods. Small tea sandwiches, cookies and fresh vegetables assist in creating that picnic vibe while avoiding the extra dishes (and potential messes) casseroles or soups may create.
  3. Take it to the next level. Literally! Cover a nearby couch, table or stacks of cushions with your quilts to add height and shape to your picnic area. Create a “hill” for your guests to recline against or cover a “boulder” to display your delicious spread. In this terrain, you have all the control!
  4. Mix and match. Don’t be afraid to pull out all of your throws, pillows, quilts and cushions, even if they don’t all match. A patchwork of different colors, textures and patterns will only heighten that picnic blanket appeal. You don’t even need to worry about mud ruining your more delicate pieces!
  5. Play Mother Nature. The one thing that nature has that your living room doesn’t is the wonderful vista of trees, grasses and blooms that make a picnic so fresh. Fill a creamer or vintage pitcher with some fresh cuts from your garden to add a bright, floral touch to the scene.


Beach Picnic


A beach picnic can be more than sunblock and surfboards with some inspiration from the past.

Beach Picnic

An old-fashioned beach picnic is once again in vogue. Take a page from history and create a day you will remember forever. When life coasted at a slower pace, such outings were more commonplace. Make a beach picnic as romantic as you would when entertaining at home.

Beach Picnic Table

Here’s to flowing sundresses, large-brimmed straw hats, wet sandy toes, fresh flowers, seashells and sweets at your beach picnic.

Beach Picnic Table Decor

Be Inspired

Start with something vintage as an inspiration piece; we used beach-themed postcards that have an old-fashioned sensibility and set our color theme for our beach picnic.

Fresh flowers

Make a Checklist for Your Beach Picnic

  • Baskets for collecting shells
  • Books
  • Fresh flowers
  • Lanterns and candles
  • Mason jars
  • Painting, coloring or writing supplies and journal
  • Quilts
  • Treats, fruit and lemonade
  • Umbrella
  • Vintage plates, cups and flatware
  • Wagon for toting items

Beach Picnic

Vintage pails and a camera are thoughtful touches for a beach picnic. A flower frog moonlights as a pencil holder, encouraging guests to draw and write. Hunting for seashells is also encouraged with a tin basket and paper umbrellas.