Friday, July 31, 2009

See you Monday......maybe

Photo by Sandra Lane

Heading out to see some friends for a few days who live in a beautiful lakeside house in Port Lambton with a relaxing cottage vibe. Looking forward to bringing my great-nephew (my honourary grandson so to speak), morning coffee on their dock, a leisurely boat stroll, and seeing their fabulous garden. We have a Monday holiday here in Canada so everyone is already packing up and taking off somewhere, our last summer chance. Hope you all have a relaxing summer weekend and don't forget to post a comment for the Thank You Giveaway from the previous's a good one and three of you will a new Wrap Room ensemble. You really could win you know.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

100 Posts and A Thank You Giveaway

A Gift Wrapped Life ~ Wrap Room Ensemble

As I told someone the other day........I love blogging. When I hit Publish Post on my first post in February, I knew it was going to open up a new world. I looked at it as a way to share some information and inspiration (I had hoped) about a subject I have become passionate about........beautiful and special gifting for women. What I failed to know on that first day was that I would be the one receiving the gifts. For the past 99 posts you have given me the gift of immense support, you have read, listened, commented, called and emailed. You have become followers, friends, cheerleaders, customers, and the most incredible support system I have ever seen. I need to thank you for all your wonderful support over the past 99 posts and the most heartwarming comments to me and my family in my last post. It's the perfect time for a Gorgeous Giveaway.

A Gift Wrapped Life ~ Wrap Room Ensemble

A Thank You Giveaway! Three of you are going to receive a gorgeous Wrap Room gift from my new website A Gift Wrapped Life. A special preview just for my blog readers. I tried to time it so the website was live by the time I posted my 100th post, but we are still a week away from it's official launch and I don't want to wait any longer to thank you in the best way I know wrapping up and sending a box of gorgeous. I was actually guilty of stalling a bit, the reason you haven't seen a post the past 10 days. To enter all you have to do is comment on this Giveaway post. If you are a follower or subscriber tell me, you will get 2 entries (this includes new followers so sign up). Mention This Giveaway on your blog and I will give you 2 extra entries (just let me know). Now let me tell you what's in this box of Wrap Room gorgeous.

The Wrap room section of our new gift website will have 18 different styles of Gift Wrap ensembles, with new styles being added as we go. This one pictured is Paris Bird. They are shipped in the presentation boxes as seen in the top 2 photos. Each Wrap Room box is lined with pleated tissue and holds an array of gift wrap paper, ribbon, tissue paper, enough supplies to wrap 4-6 large gifts or up to 16 smaller gifts and range in price from $39.00 to $79.00. The little takeaway boxes are where we put the generous ribbon lengths that match your gift wrap paper. I've done all the ribbon and paper matching for each of the 18 styles so you can mix and match and always be prepared to stylishly wrap a lovely gift. Depending on the price, some of the ensembles include embellishments (the wired paper flowers, the Paris labels) or they can be added as an extra to the basic ensemble. If you love gift wrapping, this will be your own personal version of gift wrap heaven. I have designed this section so that anyone who can tie a bow (or even a knot) or use a piece of tape can wrap beautifully. Our embellished presentation box is lovely to open and perfect for storing your wrapping supplies. My intention was to give you the same feeling as opening a dozen roses.........something beautiful and special just for you. My hope is that you will enjoy the pleasure of wrapping beautifully and pass along the special feeling that comes with giving a beautifully wrapped gift.

Along with sending the Wrap Room Boxed Ensemble I will be adding in a few of our Small Gifts, some extra petite pleasures to the Giveaway winners. I will do the giveaway the same day the new website goes live and then you can go on the site and pick the Wrap Room style your prefer. That gives you about 7-10 days to do your comment or add yourself to the blog followers (remember to tell me in your comment if you are already a follower or a new one). In the week ahead I will tell you what you can expect on this blog in the upcoming months.............. lots of new ideas to share. In the meantime ~ Thank you again, you have truly made my life gift wrapped in the most beautiful way.

All photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Goodbye to "little bro"

Thirteen years ago we brought a little Shih Tzu into our home to give our son (who was also fairly young at that point) some lively household company. He was soon called "little bro" by his smitten other brother who named him after Nick Faldo the golfer . We were all equally smitten and Faldo was a huge part of our small family. He loved Austin's friends and the pizza that came with them, his favorite treat. In his younger years, he would stay up into the wee hours with all the boys and then slink down and jump into our sleeping bed as if he hadn't just been partying and eating pizza all night long.

Though I was Alpha mom, Faldo had a real soft spot for his bigger "bro". "Give me a kiss" would result in Faldo giving Austin a nose lick, this honour was reserved for Austin and Austin only. We could ask all day and nothing, like he didn't even know what we meant. He may have given kisses to his brother but he was never more than a foot from me at any given time (unless I was working and even then he would wait at the stair landing where he could see or hear me working). When he left peacefully today surrounded by our presence and our immense love, it was with such mixed feelings. We were honouring our pet by ending his suffering but at a loss on how to fill that space in our heart and home. It can't be done......he was simply the most loving and personable dog ever. I wanted you to meet him especially today. We miss him like crazy.

Photos by Sande Chase

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Girly Week of Wrapping

There must have been some girly-girl vibe in the air this week. I swear I am not influencing anybody when they call to place an order, but this has been an overwhelming week of orders where the request is "make it pretty" and "she loves pink". Girls love to gift their friends and when they do they don't want just a gift, they want a "gift". I love that about women, they understand that for the gentle gender the presentation is a good part of the gift, the admiring, the wait, the slow unwrapping, the multiple treasures just for her, and the re-wrapping so they can do it all again. The specialness of it all.

This portfolio presentation made it's beribboned way out the door in many variations this week. I love using these portfolio boxes. When they open the lid, all their gift items are sitting there in a layered fashion and the box becomes such practical and lovely storage. I try to vary the gift wrapping on each item so that there is a visual treat of patterns, ribbons, and colours. This engagement ensemble included some special glamour keepsakes, a collection of the Lady Primrose Bath Decanters, Crystal Tray, and Crystal Powder Puff Dish. The sparkly crystal band on the decanters gives these gorgeous products their keepsake status. One of the new Boxed ensembles on the website set to launch next week. And you are wondering what's taking so long? Me too......but I'm trying to be really sweet to my webmaster who is busy entering all this descriptive data. I am sure he is wishing this girly girl would stop sending more photos.

The same portfolio box but with white flowers. This ensemble included Paris Pink File Folders, Paris notebook, a good fiction read, a Paris bookmark, a luscious scented soap, some yummy Lip Silk, and more ribbon yardage than I care to know. Often my regular customers just tell me to wrap in any style I think best and I try to get feeling for the recipient. If they are more modern, I adjust with less ribbon and more layered ribbon applications.

This Lady Primrose pedestal candle with it's beautiful crystal band is one of my favorite gifts. It's a new petite boxed gift on the upcoming website shown with our Crystal key chain. Probably one of the most special candles and I like that it makes for a glamorous pencil holder when the candle is finished. I know because that's what I've been using it for and it looks fabulous. The crystal key chain is another affordable favorite around here and it will also be in our Small Gift section. It makes finding your purse keys easy and at $10.00 a little sparkly glitz is always a good thing. I send it with a length of gorgeous satin ribbon tied around it loop.

Our Bonjour in Celadon and Pink Paris Rubber Stamp Kit also had a popular week. In between doing orders I'm working with both sets to show a solid pastel-colored gift wrap done with these stamps. One of our new gift wrap ensembles that has plenty of creative possibilities. I always send a handful of matching solid card stock along with the stamp sets so they have something to fancy stamp right away. They make for lovely gift tags.

All photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gone Fishing.......with the Guys

If you really did think I have gone fishing, you don't know me very well by now. I went fishing, but purely in a gift wrap manner. The clean, fun kind of creative fishing, I went looking for "guy" type of gift wrapping. It occurred to me and other people as well that I really ignore the men when it comes to gifting and gift wrap too. My gift website is 99.9% designed for women's gifting and between you and I...... I don't think that will change. I simply am not very good at men's gifts, for good reason, I don't have to do it very often.

But it only seemed fair if I was going to offer gift wrap ensembles on my new website, I better offer you some selections for the men in your life. Gifting for men is not something I do too often on a personal level. The guys around here are quite good at self-gifting with a steady flow of new golf equipment and other guy things. They are both low-maintenance in this regard but maybe it's a way to get off the hook? Personally, I think buying a return gift for me scares the living daylights out of both of them so they have opted out of the gifting and claim we can all buy our own gifts. Fine by me, I am really, really good at doing my own self-gifting. You should see all the "gifts" those two buy me when I go shopping. But if I did have to wrap them something, I would use this Gone Fishing gift wrap, I think it is a pattern that men would enjoy.

I love, love this Tan solid gift wrap and all the masculine possibilities. There's a tendency (on my part) to not give guy gift wrapping as much thought and detail. I must think they don't care or notice, or even worse be embarrassed by anything too fussy. If you are gift wrapping a special guy gift, I would think you are also looking to impress, this flat wrap and label technique would do the trick.

I do get called upon to send men gifts so I keep a limited supply of masculine products in their own special spot. Usually it is a job related occasion, a promotion, sometimes a condolence. It is a challenge for me to put together a male-gender gift, but I am going to try harder to search out products at the upcoming trade shows. You usually have to look ten time harder for 1/10 the selection. I often wonder if men even like gifts or do they just smile and indulge the female love of gifting? Though I must say, I think this is a great looking pen.

I do notice men like things they can attach a memory to, something they can look at and say "my son gave me that" or "I got that when I got my promotion". This cigar paperweight would look handsome on a cigar-lovers desk. So tell me...........what gifts do the men in your life like?

All photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pour Vous

I know I can be over the top with gift wrapping. So here is a lovely petite gift wrapped quite simply just Pour Vous. Just to prove I can do it. Isn't this solid coral gift wrap just divine? And that narrow Papaya ribbon? Pretty gift tags can make the gift and these are pretty, pretty with a bit of glitter.

My friend was here the other day using the Wrap Room to wrap some personal gifts and used these Sweet Treats tags on orange. I hadn't gotten around to playing with these new gift tags yet, but her clever instincts were right, the pastel confections show well on a stronger colour. See that tan gift wrap in the background? Remember last weeks post on the Burberry re-gift? I found the perfect Burberry-toned gift wrap and will spend the weekend getting my version ready for the website. I can tell it's going to be a favorite.

Another handy little gift in the Small Gifts collection. This Gift Organizer is actually a practical gift. I wish I had kept track over the years, I do tend to forget my gifting these days so I'm going to grab one for myself.
~ Have a lovely weekend ~

Photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gorgeous Red Coral

Anything with a sea coral pattern catches my eye. I love this natural image and quite possibly it is because it is red and I always find coral illustrations to be so bold and delicate at the same time. It's quite sophisticated as a gift wrap pattern and one of the coordinating patterns in this collection had a wonderful surprise.

In planning my Wrap Room ensembles I assumed that most people would be wrapping multiple gifts of different sizes as they made their way through the gift wrap supplies. If you have the supplies on hand, you can also have a bit of creative fun in varying the papers and ribbons. In other words, no two gifts have to look alike and why should they? I think this method works it's best when you are giving one person a few gifts (a book and bookmark) , each one is wrapped differently, still coordinated but much more interesting. With this Natural wonder ensemble I added in two solids, a metallic red and matte black so you can extend the use of these papers with all sorts of coordinating embellishments available within this Natural Wonder Collection.

Though the top gift wrap paper features a larger sea coral pattern it works well with larger or smaller gifts. This isn't true with every large scale pattern but there is enough background calligraphy detail that it's works on either size of gift. The bottom paper with it's grid-based pattern is where you can have that fun I was talking about above. Those lovely images can be cut and then glued to the solid red or black paper. The images are so visual, it's can be all that is needed on smaller gifts. Another use for those leftover gift wrap strips.

My friends and I love this Natural Wonder Rubber Stamp Set. Great for scrap booking, making last minute gift cards, or adding to blank note cards and envelopes. It's all in the details. It can also work for making a gift wrap but that's another post (one I just figured out as I was writing this). The set includes 11 wood-block rubber stamps and a black ink pad. I think a red or chocolate brown ink pad would be perfect too. $29.00

I don't scrapbook, but I know these decorative self-adhesive labels would be fabulous for it. I have a couple friends who can't mail a letter unless it's sealed with one of these gorgeous stickers. I think they truly shine when used for gift wrapping as you can tell. As seen above, they can be used to great effect on solid papers with small lengths of ribbon. I like putting them right over a flat ribbon. Over 100 labels $17.00.

Another of our new website products that are themed to match the Wrap Room ensembles. These gorgeous linen Guest Towels are embroidered with exquisite detail and the 100% linen quality is incredible. I love giving these very special towels are a hostess gift, something they may not buy for themselves but will enjoy forever.
Powder rooms always look fabulous with a touch of red. Set of 2 towels for $60.00.
I'm almost there.......the website is finally starting to come together. While I do my Annie Liebovitz thing with all the photos, my webmaster is doing his design thing and plugging in all the copy. It's a tandem process that requires extreme multi-tasking as you all know so we are close......very close to launching A Gift Wrapped Life. And when I am done, I am going for the biggest grape ice cream cone they make. For sure.

All photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Bit of Monday Glam

~ Photo by Polly Wreford ~

I feel refreshed today, took some time out from this intense website project and did my favorites things. Took the hose to my house, veranda, and driveway to bring some semblance of order to all this construction mess (almost over), read the Toronto Saturday papers on my clean veranda, cycled away about 4 lbs I think and had a speed breakthrough, enjoyed a luscious grape ice-cream cone on a cycle break, and then made Sunday dinner for my Dad and in-laws and told them we were on our way to their lakeside location. I can be quite intense when I have a task at hand, but even I know when I need a break. You can also tell I am a woman of simple pleasures. To make it even more perfect is to have a little dose of blog glam (which I miss) and pass it along with a big hug to all the readers and new followers who commented in the past few weeks. You are simply the best.
My four friends and I always do the movie-and-dinner night for our birthdays. The dates are nicely spaced throughout the year and the birthday girl gets to pick the movie. Off we went to see The Proposal and it was one of those chic movies that require no effort to watch and a peek at some great clothes. Sandra Bullock wears this severe, but stylish mix of clothes quite well (and carries some great bags) and that had me going in a black fashion direction for days. I like chic movies for what they make me do.......inspire me to get back on track with a bit of fashion style and pay a bit more attention to my choices

~ Photo by Sandra Lane ~

I'm a blond so thankfully I wear black fairly well. I say thankfully because I have a great deal of it handing in my closet. There is a bit more colour hanging these days, like everyone else I've been influenced by the fashion lust for colour the past few seasons. And I love colour ( like no one else I know) but black still gives a more polished look to the styles I wear daily in my home studio. My style of clothing has changed dramatically in the past few years and limited clothing funds mean I need to be more practical so I'm heading back to black. It just seems to work for me.

This is a look I would wear all winter long. Comfy but stylish, this Yves Saint Laurent Cap Sleeve Cardigan and sleek pants would look really good with............

............the Circus Cutout Bootie by Christian Louboutin that captured my eye for fall fashion. They would go with any of the outfits I've picked today. Like I could wear these......sigh. Maybe if I keep cycling.

I am more than intrigued by any creation by jewellery designer Ranjana Khan. This draped Crystal Bib has me hunting down the black outfit (just for fun) that would highlight this work of art. There's nothing better than accessorizing black outfits.

Remember me mentioning the black Wedding dress by Vera Wang? This is it and I still don't get this idea, I don't care how many times someone is being married.......sorry Vera.

I sure do get this Vera Wang Rosette Necklace. Oh my! How fabulous!

I love a white blouse or shirt and especially this wraparound one by Donna Karan. I'm going to need another speed breakthrough to wear this great belt.

I know I am due for a hair makeover. Something a bit less maintenance as well. I had this older Carrie Bradshaw photo in my haircut file and I like the easy look, something simple to go with all this black and white I see in my future wardrobe. Mind you, if I had her hair it would never be this short.

~ Fashion Illustration by David Downton ~

Though I can't quite believe it, I am coming up to my 100th post really quick. So just in case you think I'm not as much fun these days, I'm going to add some fun with a lovely giveaway. Something beautiful to enhance your Gift Wrapped Life. Stay tuned.
1st and 3rd photo from Sarah Kaye/Clothing photos from Neiman Marcus

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Burberry Goes Glam

A girl has to do what she has to do and in this case it was re-gift a Burberry box to fit an array of gift items that wouldn't fit into my normal size boxes. My friend Stephanie brought this larger Burberry box over for me to blog re-gift, little did she know I would use it for that and then to wrap up the birthday gift she ordered for a 19 yr.old girl. She kind of enjoys this whole re-gifting phase I am in and won't mind this re-gift solution. She has been thinking through an upcoming guest post on re-gifting store bags. When she does join us you are in for a treat, this friend has taught me more than a thing or two about gift wrapping.

I was lucky (again) that the Burberry logo wasn't too big, out came the Paris stickers and the melon colour put me into a whole colourway that I thought would be fun, but sophisticated for a 19 yr.old girl.

My very stylish friend told me I was a bit of a snob about gift bags and she is right. I love a boxed gift, I think it is the most gracious way to present a gift. There I said it. If I use a bag for your gift, it means one of two things, actually it means all of the following. I am in a hurry or/and I am not crazy about the person I am gifting, the recipient is under 10 yrs. old, or the recipient won't appreciate the difference. I just happen to think a boxed gift is so much more elegant and civilized. But.........I know gift bags are a choice for many who don't gift wrap for a living so I told my friend she is more than welcome to tell you how to re-gift a store bag in all kinds of clever ways and she is very, very clever. She may even convert me! I do have to admit that I love folding and pleating tissue and the effect of opening a gift under folded layers of tissue. So maybe it isn't that I am a bag snob, I just love tissue really neat and crisp as shown above. And in all fairness, I do give you lots of ways to re-gift store boxes so it isn't as if I am not helping you be economical in your gift wrap endeavors. Perhaps I just need to figure out a new way to use bags with pleated tissue.......another little challenge.

I did a flat wrap on the larger box so it would fit into the limited box depth. The only way this was going to work was if I kept the bows to a minimum. I used another larger Paris label to jazz up the flat wrap on the Anna Griffin Social Stationery Set and I used grosgrain ribbon on the matching Mousepad, pencil case, and tube pencils as it is the least likely to crush and crease, good to know when shipping a tightly-packed gift by the way.

Everything neat and tidy and layered just perfectly.

The new A Gift Wrapped Life gift labels that go over my folded and pleated tissue. Now tell me that doesn't look better than crumpled tissue.

I have a new wired black & white striped ribbon that I just love using. I have never been much for wired ribbon but I sure seem to be changing my tune with this one (that happens alot around here). The gift could go out the door this simple, in fact I love the understatement........but this is me who's wrapping so let's keep going.

I added in a gorgeous melon coloured silk double face satin to go with the coral tissue and orange ribbon and then topped it off with another layer of the dramatic black & white stripe. I love this combination with the soft Burberry tan box. I had no idea where I was going with this when I started, but really wish I had a good supply of Burberry boxes, they are gorgeous and a wonderfully neutral tone. I do have some of their bags so maybe there's another bag re-gift challenge for my friend.

I could have used my white paper flowers but I kind of liked the twist that came from adding the unexpected celadon green. In fact, I liked this effect so much, I'm going to order a tan giftwrap right now.

Happy July 4th Holiday to all my American readers ~ Hope you are having a lovely day with family and friends and lots of fireworks......hundreds of them.

All photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life


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