Monday, August 30, 2010

Random thoughts...........before I leave for Paris

Thank you for all your lovely Paris travel comments and good wishes. My tummy has not been this excited since Christmas 1958 when Santa brought me that big life-sized doll I wanted. Except for my wedding day but this is a chic girly trip so the feeling is the same. I always bring my husbands best love letter tucked into my wallet. I really must quit buying so much black clothing. My open suitcase(s) looks like a nun is traveling. One really good pair of sparkly shoes are tucked into the suitcase corner.  I am looking for major gift and gift wrap inspiration to share with my lovely readers. Did you know that beautiful glow in Paris is in part caused by the sun reflecting off all the stone buildings? I figured that out last time I was there. I may post from Paris if I don't drop each busy day. No promises. But quite likely a few quick ones. Do you know if you hug someone for over 6 seconds that your body releases those feel-good endorphins? Hug someone and count to six. Lots of six-second blogger hugs ahead. I read that scientific fact in the book the Happiness Project. More about that book and my happy friend later. I am packing my cycling helmet for Paris cycling. Did you know there is a newer park in Paris for cycling and walking called Promenade Plantee? Cycling does work ladies. But I am repeating myself. Lots of new blogging material ahead. Stay with me. Welcome, welcome to all the new followers. No, those aren't my sparky shoes but I wish they were. Enjoy the beginning of September. Don't you love that month? My son just completed his long drive to New I am ready to leave. And my tummy has settled down. 

Photo of Sergi Rossi shoes via The Cherry Blossom Girl

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meeting a favorite blogger(s) Paris

Bloggers will at times ask themselves "why am I doing this?" Sometimes it seems there is no answer and it becomes even harder to answer when other people are asking the question. Why do I blog every day, every week  (I know I am a bit short on that schedule this summer), sometimes with few comments, and no pay? This is my answer. Because sometimes you will get the opportunity to do the coolest things and meet the most wonderful people. Next Tuesday I will be on an overnight flight to Paris, France and will be staying in this remarkably beautiful city for 2 whole weeks.............that is the coolest thing part of this story. And this is the best people part, I will finally meet and spend time with a wonderful blogger friend.  Actually, if all works out I may get to meet more than a few of you.

When non-bloggers hear you are heading across the ocean to meet another blogger they give you a incredulous look. As in "are you crazy?" It is hard for non-bloggers to understand you can know someone even when you haven't met them personally. What you do learn from blogging is that sometimes there are people on the other side of the world that you do want to know better. Vicki Archer of French Essence is one of those people and I think it is quite cool that I will get to meet her.  It is also quite cool that we will attend the Maison et Objet Paris show, something I have always wanted to do. Note to self: This is going to be so much fun. 

The Maison et Objet Paris show attracts buyers and exhibitors from all over the world. So we figured this might present another fun opportunity that can only come about because we meet other bloggers or readers who may be in Paris that week as well. Is that you? We will be joined by the fascinating Claudia from The Paris Apartment who is also attending the show and staying nearby so  there will be at least three of us having a sparkly drink. All three of us are posting today about our informal Paris meet-and-greet so here are the links to French Essence and Paris Apartment. Do join us................. actually I have already received a few emails so there will definately be more than three of us. If you think you may join us then send me an email at or leave a comment so we have an idea of how many to expect at this lovely Parisian cafe on a cool September evening. Note to self: How cool is that?

Date: Sunday, September 5th at 7 pm
Place: Cafe des Deux Magots
6 Place des Saint Germain des Pres
75006 Paris

Since I am all the way over there and the first week is going to be a whirlwind of activity..................I figured I might as well stay a bit longer .You know, life is short and all that. For the second half of the trip I will be joined by my sisterly sister-in-law Louise who is going to join me in exploring Paris by foot and cycle. Yes, we're going to try those Paris rental bikes and see how we do, which explains my recent walking and cycling frenzy. I am almost ready. Note to self: remind very active sister-in-law that you are 10 yrs. older than her. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Short Break............for serious Kitchen Lust

While digging in some photo files today I ran across this magnificent, breathtaking, gorgeous, fabulous kitchen that has me seriously thinking it is time to build a new home. And that it was time to take a short break from my Summer Camp Gift Wrap challenge. My husband and I talk about houses while we do our little power walk at night (yes, cycle in morning, walk at night........I will tell you why I am getting so oddly determined in a week's time) as we take peeks at the neighborhood homes. We still wonder if we should have built our downsized version of the Charlotte Moss home seen in her book Winter House, indulged in that one-room living we find so cosy. But we didn't, our Jack Arnold home was only 5 years old and when it comes right down to it, we love our home. We recently had this discussion again while looking at the Ralph Lauren home display on the 3rd floor of the Chicago store a month ago. This cosy idea keeps rearing it's head. One spectacular room for living, dining, cooking and a bedroom off to the rear or side. But when I see this kitchen............. seriously, wouldn't this Susan Arnold (designer wife of Jack Arnold) kitchen make you want to build a whole new house?

Photo from Jack Arnold 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gift Wrap Challenge........No. 3 with sparkle

I am only on No. 3 of my Gift Wrap Challenge here at Summer Camp but is becoming a good exercise in restraint for me. It took me a bit of time to know where I was heading and did have some second thoughts about restricting myself to 2 ribbon colours. It seemed like a good idea when I started this challenge last week. With that thought I dispensed with the ribbon entirely and put myself to the task of wrapping a gift presentation with no ribbon. Absolutely none...............hard to believe I know but occasionally it happens around here. 

But it worked...............and I absolutely love this understated gift presentation. I did have one of those duh moments in working the crystal embellishment off the backing. I have made it quite clear in past posts that I am not the most crafty person and have no working knowledge of scrapbook materials so I was trying to remove the whole embellishment off first which required way too much handling and the loss of several crystals. Yes have to roll this embellishment off the backing from the top (placing top in position on the paper) and then it is quite easy to handle. I will admit that it took me more than a few minutes to figure this out, but I am getting there with this whole scrapbook frame of mind. 

This flourish embellishment is from a company called Recollections and is available at Michaels along with all the other supplies I have been using in this challenge. The package of 3 stickers is 6.99 ( which means quite a bit less in the US) and the rubber backing is clear and almost invisible when all is said and done. This could be a beautiful and tasteful alternative for a shower or wedding gift and has become my summer camp favorite so far. 

Since the paper is ivory I did think this monochromatic gift presentation needed a bit of definition so I used the leftover paper strip and folded it into pleats and used double-sided tape for the rear. Since the flourishes are on a clear backing I could easily see the position before removing and placing in the final position. These rhinestone flourishes are a decent size and certainly have the ability to bring sparkle and elegance to a gift with no ribbon. Feel free to leave comments for your summer camp counselor (me)........she wants to make sure you aren't bored. 

Photographs by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gift Wrap Challenge ~ No. 2

I am on Day 2 of my self-imposed Summer Camp Gift Wrap challenge, the challenge I introduced yesterday using limited materials found in one spot. One of my favorite details when I was an active interior designer was to detail furniture or drapery valances with studs. I particularly fancied pewter studs on natural linen so when I was at Michaels I was looking for something that would let me experiment with this idea on ribbon.

I found these pearl embellishments from the Brides line of bridal embellishments (at Michaels) that I thought would do the trick, especially with a neutral gift wrap colour scheme of black and ivory. I think these are intended to embellish bridal invitations but were reasonably priced at $6.69 for a package of 40. And no, I am not working for Michaels, it just happens to be our only craft store and one that is seen on both sides of the border. 

Ribbon generally doesn't like to be poked, it pulls the threads lengthwise and can obviously detract from a gift tied with beautiful ribbon. I would suggest cutting a small length of ribbon and practise your poke technique before you do your final ribbon. I am not sure but it appears the more expensive the ribbon, the more apparent the flaws. As I mentioned yesterday this is a 4" wide polyester ribbon and it seemed to handle this poking much better than when I have tried it on silk satin ribbon. Yes, I actually poked through a whole package of these pearls and though it isn't hard, it does require a somewhat careful hand to line them up and minimize the thread pulls. The threads did pull but with this many it almost became a pattern into itself. Black is a good choice of ribbon colour for this technique to minimize this. Any other colour is going to show too much.

I began by temporarily taping down one edge of ribbon to the box underside (leaving extra to cut off the flawed scissor cut I talked about yesterday once I was done with the stud placement). I was strictly working by eye in placing the studs, I might recommend marking the ribbon with a pencil dot to line up more precisely. In order to do this stud poking you are handling the ribbon quite a bit so use a light hand to avoid excess wrinkling. I might be scaring you off this technique, but it is rather easy once you get going. Don't be too concerned about absolute perfection and you can see that they move about anyways. Bring the pearl studs in enough on the ribbon so that the brass stays on the back won't peek out under the ribbon edge. You could stop right here with the pearls in two lines but while I was at it.............

.........and since I had enough remaining studs I just kept going to make a rectangular pattern though this became more tricky to line the studs up on all four sides. I am not sure how often I would do this technique but I did think it was a creative way to present a gift without a bow and yet still have some elegance and show effort. And a good way to use up those studs, even the generic brass ones from the office supply. I will be re-visiting this idea again in future posts. See you tomorrow.

All photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Summer Camp Gift Wrap Challenge

Since I have been somewhat of a  delinquent blogger this summer I thought I would make it up to readers with a  Summer Camp Gift Wrap Challenge. Here are my self-imposed challenge rules; one neutral base paper, two ribbons, and any of the scrapbook supplies I bought last month at Michaels. I will post one example each day for the next 7 days. Wait a minute........give me 10 days as I am also on a self-imposed cycling challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to prove a point, you can gift wrap in a creative fashion with limited resources all purchased at one spot. This first one shown above is probably my most extravagant example, but it uses one length of black ribbon and a shorter length for the turquoise, both pulled easily through a rhinestone belt clasp. 

In presenting this challenge I am making a quality concession. This 100% polyester single face satin is not of the quality that I use on a daily basis but it is 4" wide and affordable at $14.99 for a 10 yard roll. I used approximately 1 yard of ribbon on this box. A wider ribbon obviously makes more of a statement but in this case I want to point out why I normally use a better quality ribbon. If you look closely you will see threads and a somewhat jagged cut along the ribbon edges, there is no way to prevent this that I could determine as it is simply the ribbon quality. The more expensive the ribbon the smoother the scissor cut when it comes to satin ribbon. The satin ribbons I normally use on this blog are double-faced silk satin and come from Germany. This is not likely an issue for general gift giving, but when you want ribbon perfection (as I need for orders) for a special gift you will need to upgrade the cost. 

The gift paper is a simple ivory paper referred to on the label as Craft Paper. A 30" x 20' roll was $6.69 Canadian which I think is good value. It is available at Michaels in white, ivory, and natural and has a subtle tone-on-tone stripe and a great folding weight. As a generic go-to gift wrap choice to keep handy for a variety of occasions, I think the ivory is elegant and subdued. As you will see in the next week, its subtle palette can shift in many directions. 

A reader recently asked my what type of scissors I use for my ribbon. I purchase dressmaker quality scissors (the type my drapery workroom used) and have them routinely sharpened. That is not the issue on this ribbon, my sharpest scissors couldn't cut a perfect edge. I recognize I am probably the only person in the world who would notice or care about this imperfect cut but I am funny about my smooth ribbon edges.

This heart-shaped rhinestone buckle was $9.99 at Michaels and can be reserved for a special gift where you need a bit of sparkle. This idea can be used with any ribbon or buckle material and it will simply change the nature of the gift wrap presentation. In other words, hold on to those belt buckles or look for sale or vintage finds. In this case I have used the 4" ribbon which is wider than the buckle but you can also do a flat buckle ribbon application which I will show you later this month. In the meantime.........see you tomorrow. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails