10 Simple Gift Wrapping Ideas: Brown Paper Charm

Let the gift wrapping begin! 

I’m all about simple when it comes to wrapping presents. I like to use items that are unique, available, and even repurposed. Brown craft paper and twine are some of my most favorite ways to wrap a present.

Those of you who know me, and perhaps received a gift from me, know that I like my brown paper and twine. I have to tell you something about the twine. Years ago I was shopping at Restorations Hardware (back when they had cool home stuff) and found this HUGE thing of twine. I got the whole deal for like $5. I don’t think I’ll ever run out.

You can get it online HERE.

So obviously, I use it for EVERYTHING. But you know, it works for so many things. You can dress it up, or be rustic and casual with your crafting.

Ya, ok I also have a thing for brown craft paper as well. I used to print and sell my clipboard calendars on brown paper, which was an icon of mine for years until I stopped printing them. 

You can get brown craft paper on rolls quite cheap at stores, or you can also just use an upcycled brown paper bag.

10 Gift Wrapping Ideas

1- Colored Rubber Bands

Seriously, how simple can it be? Just wrap a few, or a lot of colored rubber bands around a small box and top with a bow. You are good to go. I love having a bag of colored rubber bands around, they really do come in quite handy for a lot of things.

2- Reindeer Box

Kids and adults like getting a gift wrapped up like a cute little reindeer.

What you need:

This example is just for a small box, but you could use a bigger pom, pom and larger antlers if you wanted.

Instructions:

  • Wrap your gift in brown paper
  • Glue the nose, using a glue gun, to the front end.
  • Draw on the eyes and mouth.
  • Fold a pipe cleaner in half, and just start forming the antlers in random lengths. They don’t have to be exact.
  • Leave about a 1 inch folded tab on the bottom for gluing.

3-  Dried Orange Slices

Several posts ago, I showed you how to dry orange slices. The bright orange color adds such a cheery look to any craft project AND gift wrapping. 

Instructions: 

  • Dry the orange slices (video directions HERE)
  • Apply to package using a hot glue gun.
  • Wrap the package with a few loops of twine (optional).

4-  Paper bag sewn closed with sewing machine stitching

This particular brown paper bag gift wrapping is embellished with some sprigs of Elderberry bush. I love how the blue berries and greenery look against the brown bag. 

I have also added a tulle bow. Tulle is a fun fabric to work with. There are so many fun things to make with it, including a simple tied bow. 

Instructions:

Using a sewing machine is a fun unique way to seal the top of a gift bag. You can use a variety of stitches and colors of thread to give the look of your choice.

  • Place the gift inside the bag and fold the top over several times. You can cut off some of the bags if it is too tall. 
  • Take it to the sewing machine and sew across the top. Get creative and play around with different types of stitches and colors.
  • Embellish the bag with a bow, sprig of greenery, bell, or whatever you fancy.

5-  Mini Rosemary Wreath

I absolutely LOVE rosemary. Rosemary is awesome to cook with, craft with, and just enjoy the look in the garden. I am lucky enough to have a place on the South side of my house where it thrives and doesn’t freeze in the winter. We go out even during the winter to clip off some sprigs for a recipe or crafting.

Rosemary smells AMAZING! Adding a little sprig or wreath of rosemary not only adds such charm to a gift but also a clean aroma.

Items you’ll need:

  • A fresh sprig of rosemary. (Dried rosemary will crack when bending).
  • Floral wire or tape (2 strips cut to approximately 2 inches)
  • Ribbon for the bow (optional)

Instructions:

  • Cut a sprig of rosemary long enough to make the desired size of the wreath. (approximately 7-8 inches)
  • Bend the sprig to form a circle, overlapping ends about an inch.
  • Take the wires and wrap them around the ends to secure them in place. Try to wrap underneath the little leaves to hide the wires.
  • Embellish with a bow (optional)
  • Using a glue gun, apply to a gift package. 

6-  Bias Tape Trim with Button

Homemade bias tape is a fun way to add a fabric trim to any gift. Who would’ve thought? Such a fun way to add color to any gift wrapping. Just think of all the little fabric prints that you could use. You can just use a solid color of bias tape if you want. That you can buy at the store in several sizes and colors. But colors are limited, and they don’t sell printed bias tape.

I have a tutorial on how to make your own bias tape. You can locate the video HERE.

What you’ll need:

Instructions:

  • Simply wrap around the gift overlap about an inch. 
  • Cut 
  • Using a glue gun, glue the end of the trim to the backside, then overlap the other end and glue in place.
  • Leave just as it is, or embellish with a shiny button or whatever you choose.

7-  Buttons, buttons, buttons

Here’s a fun way to use those buttons you’ve been saving. Am I the only one who has a jar, or two, of random colored and sized buttons? I eventually use them for something. Not only do I use them, but I also love the look of a jar filled with multi-colored gems sitting on my shelf.

What you need:

  • Handpicked buttons of your choice. Enough to cover the area you want.
  • Hot glue gun/glue
  • Twine for wrapping (optional)

Instructions:

  • Handpick and arrange the buttons in a way you like before gluing.
  • Keep them there, and one at a time add a dollop of glue to each button and adhere to the package.
  • Do the same thing with each button.
  • Wrap with a string of ribbon or jute (optional)

8-  Holiday Baubles and Twine

Go through your Christmas decorations and look for a little miniature of things. These mini plastic bulbs look so cute tied up on a package.

Instructions:

  • Tie an arrangement of bulbs together with a thin piece of ribbon or cording.
  • Wrap the gift with jute or ribbon and insert the loop with the bulbs and tie a bow.

Simple, straight forward addition to any gift.

9-  Rosemary & Bells

Little jingle bells are a great way to add a festive look to a holiday gift.

Items you’ll need:

  • jingle bells
  • ribbon or twine
  • rosemary or other greenery sprigs

Instructions:

  • String the bells onto a strip of ribbon or twine. (I love this red & white twine)!
  • Wrap the gift with twin, inserting the loop of bells.
  • Tie a bow.
  • Tuck the sprigs of rosemary under the twine.

Simple greenery  & twine

One last shout out for ROSEMARY.

Just a few sprigs of rosemary, or any other greenery, tucked under a bow of twine is a classic and natural look.

So there you have it, a few gift wrapping ideas perhaps you haven’t thought of.

Perhaps this will get your brain thinking outside the box as far as gift wrapping goes. Don’t stop at the standard way of wrapping gifts, look inside your craft box, and use what you have! 

Have fun wrapping!

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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How to Make a Dried Orange Slice Garland and Ornaments

dried orange garland

The holidays are just around the corner, so let the crafting begin! One of my favorite Christmas crafts to make are dried orange slices. Their bright cheery color and aroma really add character and charm to your holiday home décor.

This is a fun little project that both adults and children can enjoy!

By the way………..your house will smell fabulous when you make these!

What do you do with slices of dried orange?

  • One of my favorite things to do with them is to make a garland, and that is what I will be showing you how to do in this post.
  • Make single Christmas tree ornaments.
  • Use them to embellish your gift wrapping.
  • Add them to a potpourri mix.
  • Hang them in a window.
  • Add them to a Christmas wreath.
Play Video

Items and things you’ll need

Cooking the oranges

1 -Preheat oven to 250°

2 -Slice oranges ¼ inch, crosswise. Discard small ends.

 

3 -Blot with paper towel to remove excess juice.

dried orange garland

4 -Place on parchment covered cookie sheet.

5 -Place in preheated oven and cook for 3-4 hours. Flip oranges over half way through cooking time.

6 -Check periodically to make sure oranges are not overcooking and turning brown.

7 -Remove when almost dry and place on cooling rack to finish drying.

 

Making the garland

1- If using small twine, thread the yarn needle with the twine.

If not, just poke a hole into the orange with a nail or another small pointed object and insert twine.

2- Insert the needle just inside the rind from the back side.

Stick the needle back into the rind about an inch away from where threaded.  (Insert at 1:00 and exit at 11:00) Like on a clock.

Leave about a 12 inch tail for hanging.

3- Continue to thread until you achieve the desired garland length.

(Make sure to leave a little space between orange slices so they don’t overlap).

4- Make a knot with the leftover jute on both ends for hanging.

To make single Christmas tree ornaments

 

You can use these nifty pre-bent wire hangers or simply poke a hole in the orange and tie with a piece of jute or ribbon.

Doesn’t this just add some fun color to a Christmas tree!

Look how cute these single dried oranges look hanging in the window. They look like mini stained glass windows.

Here is another fun Christmas craft you can make with oranges. ORANGE POMANDERS

Let the holiday crafting begin! These also make cute Thanksgiving decorations. Perhaps some cute Thanksgiving dinner place setting decor?

Enjoy your holiday crafting.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Sweater Mittens – Easy Sewing Project for Your Favorite Valentine!

sweater mittens

Valentine’s day is upon us and these sweater mittens are a great sewing project for your favorite Valentine!

Keep your hands warm with style!

For those of you who follow me, you know how much I love making things with upcycled wool sweaters. Mittens are one of my most favorite things to make.

I have two different mitten patterns. One is for adults and a large child. The other pattern is for children and infants. The patterns are in PDF format and you can downloaded them INSTANTLY.

Not sure which size you will need? Check out this post which will help you measure the hand you are sewing to get the correct size.

sweater mittens size chart

Adult Size sweater mitten pattern

The pattern includes adult sizes XS,S,M,L,XL,XXL and XX small (child size large).

Infant & Child sweater mitten pattern

We can’t forget the little hands!

Same cozy design as the adult sizes, but this pattern has been modified for small hands, including a basic infant mitten without the thumbs. Made for hands smaller than 5 inches.

Where can you get the sweater mitten patterns?

The easy to follow, printable sweater mittens pattern can be purchased here in my craftsy shop, or in my Etsy shop.
 

Is it easier for you to learn by watching a video tutorial?

I’ve got you covered with this video tutorial! I have three platforms where this video is available.
  •  Skillshare. Read more about it here. (Skillshare membership required).
  • Teachable (no membership required)
  • YouTube  
 
For information on how to measure your hand correctly, you can check out the post here.
 
If you are interested in making some other upcycled sweater projects, you can check these out.
 
 

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Upcycled Sweater Hearts

I love Valentine’s Day!

Here is another idea for you to use up some of your old sweaters, and better yet, the scraps from your other upcycled projects.
Here is a tutorial showing you how easy it is to make these upcycled sweater hearts and  patchwork hearts.  You will have a bunch made up in no time.

Upcycled Sweater Hearts

Cut out fabric pieces using sweaters of your choice.

Upcycled Sweater Hearts

With Right Sides Together (RST) sew piece 1 to piece 2.  Open that up and place pattern piece 3 (RST) and sew together.

If you want to hang your heart, baste a ribbon, jute or thick string on the right side of the heart back piece.

Gather the string or ribbon up and pin in the center of the heart, so it won’t get caught in the seam.

Place the pieced heart top to the bottom piece (RST) and pin in place.  Sew all the way around leaving about a 2″ opening to stuff the heart.

Turn inside out and stuff firmly.

With a needle and thread, slip stitch opening closed.

Ta Dah!

Sew a bunch up for all your Valentine’s, or just fill a basket full of hearts for a fun holiday decoration!

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Upcycled Sweater Christmas Stocking Tutorial

My felted wool scrap box is getting a little out of control so I thought I would make up some new Christmas stocking and use up some of the scraps. They turned out pretty cute.  I am going to walk you through this fun Upcycled Sweater Christmas stocking tutorial and let you download my Christmas stockings pattern for free!

If you don’t want to use felted wool sweaters, you can make the stockings out of regular woven fabrics.

Let’s get started

To make a striped Christmas stocking, you will need to cut out some strips of sweaters. You will be sewing the strips together and then cutting out the stocking, just like you would with a solid piece of fabric. I recommend cutting strips that are 2 1/2 inches- 5 inches in depth and 8 inches wide for the upper stocking and 11 inches for the foot part of the stocking. There are no rules here. The color schemes and color patterns are endless.

 

You can also make solid color Christmas stockings from this pattern. Check out some ideas here.

Get the Christmas stocking PATTERN HERE

1) Download, print and cut out the pattern.

(Due to the size of the pattern, you will need to assemble the pattern first) Easy peasy!

Upcycled Sweater Christmas Stocking

2) Cut out strips

Cut out various sizes of strips, or you can cut them all the same size. Just depends on the look you want. Arrange the strips in the order you want them. *HINT (Take a picture with your phone, so you can remember) Then stack them in order.

Upcycled Sweater Christmas Stocking

3) Sew strips together

You can use a single needle sewing machine or a serger. (If the fabric you are using will fray, you will need to use a serger or finish the edges using a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.

4) Cutting Out front piece

Open up the strips you just sewed together, and press all the seams so they are all going in the same direction. (Decide if you want the seams exposed on the outside or not, and cut out accordingly).  Lay the pattern on top to see if you have enough strips and that they are wide enough.

Pull the fabric taught and pin in place. Cut out.

5) Back piece and lining 

Choose a fabric to use as the back piece. I used a pair of recycled denim jeans. You can use corduroy, sweater fabric or any woven fabric. You only need one backing piece.

Decide which fabric to use for the lining.

Line the pattern up with the grain of the fabric and cut out two

6) Sewing outer stocking

Place the outer lining strips on top of the back piece (Right Sides Together). Pin in place.

Sew all the way around, leaving the top open.

Turn the right side out.

*Make sure the strip seams are all facing the same way as you sew. (You may have to stop sewing and push the seam down as you sew over it).

7)  Inner lining

Place the lining pieces (RST). Pin in place and sew around, just like you did with the outer pieces.

Do not turn inside out.

8) Cutting out & sewing stocking cuff

You can make the stocking cuff out of an existing sweater cuff, or you can use woven fabric as well.

Fold the cuff in half and place pattern on fold where indicated and cut out. (I wanted this cuff to be a little shorter, so that is why is looks a little funny in the photo above).

9) The cuff

With (RST) sew the cuff seam. Turn the right side out and fold in half so the seam is in the center. Mark the outer folds with pins.

10) Stocking loop

Cut out loop on the fold where indicated on pattern. Only cut out one.

Sew the seam, and turn inside out. * HINT use a safety pin as shown to help turn inside out.

Fold the loop seam to center and press in place.

Now fold the loop in half with the seam on the inside.

11) Sewing on the cuff & loop

Take your hand and stick it in the stocking lining. Stuff the lining into the outer stocking.

Line up seams and upper edges of the outer stocking and lining.

Place the loop on the stocking lining, just behind the side seam toward the back. Pin in place.

With the WRONG side of the cuff facing out, place it inside the stocking, lining up pins with the side seams. Pin in place.

Sew all the way around. Take your time to line up the edges of all three layers as you sew. Back stitch.

12) Finishing

Flip the cuff to the outside. Ta-dah!

Stick you hand inside the stocking to push the edges out. Press upper cuff seam and all around the stocking edges.

There you have it!

If you have any questions while sewing, you’re welcome to send me note.

Enjoy!

jan1

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Sweater Heart Hand Warmer Tutorial

heart hand warmer

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, YEA!  I love this holiday!  I always like to make some kind of valentine gift each year and I think this year I am going to give these fun heart shaped hand warmers.  They are WAY easy to make and will be easy to mail to my family and friends.

I am terrible at sending out Christmas cards, but I do enjoy making and sending out valentine cards with a personalized note (of course).  That is one of my pet peeves, getting a generic card or letter in the mail.  Very rarely do you get something in the mail besides bills and advertisements.  Don’t you think it is fun to get a card in the mail with your name HANDWRITTEN and maybe even a cute sticker on the back of the envelope?  My mother-in-law and I still send notes back and forth every once in a while in the mail, and I just love it.  We do converse with email, but there is just something about a written note that really lifts your spirits.  Even with her arthritic hands, she still sends beautiful handwritten letters.

This little rice bags really do work quite well.  Just pop them in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and place them in your coat pockets.  They are a great thing to send your kids off to school with, or take in the car on the way to work.

So……go to your felted sweater, fleece or flannel stash and pick out some cute, bright colors and get to work, and with your handwritten valentine note, send a set of cozy heart shaped hand warmers.

heart hand warmer

cut out 4 hearts

heart hand warmer

Sew around the edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Leave about a 2 inch opening

heart hand warmer

Using a funnel, fill with 1/2 – 3/4 cup flax seeds or rice.

Flax seeds don’t put off as much aroma as the rice and tend to stay warmer a little longer, but rice still works quite well.
Go back to the sewing machine and sew the opening closed.

Ta-dah!  There you have it.
Finish them off with a ribbon and a note attached explaining how to heat and use the rice bags.

Click HERE to download heart pattern.

Check out my therapeutic rice bag pattern set in my craftsy and etsy shops.  Includes the heart and rectangle hand warmers, neck bag, eye pillow, back soother and foot warmer patterns.

heart hand warmer

My husband and I have become wimps.  We heat up the foot warmer every night and throw it in the bottom of our bed.  It works like a charm, keeps our feet nice and toasty!  This puppy stays warm for a good 3 hours or more.  All of these bags are really easy and fun to sew up.

Here is a link for the foot warmer tutorial.

heart hand warmer

If you have any questions, send me a note.
Have fun sewing!

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side jar label

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