Zero Waste Gift Wrap or The Art of Furoshiki

…Whichever way you want to call it.

My family is giving gifts wrapped in fabric this year!

I never liked the mess, the noise, the waste of ripping wrapping paper. With my kiddos still being pretty little, even when everything is “perfect”, all that noise and mess can be overwhelming for them.

So, last year, after the craziness of all that destruction, I decided we wanted to do cloth wrap this year.

See? Being eco-friendly can be cute, too.

There’s several tutorials for cloth gift-wrapping. I like the idea of using pretty pillowcases or scarves from thrift shops. This gift is wrapped in one of a set of flats that we attempted to dye red. (That’s right, I have failed projects, too.) Nice pink, i guess. For this “bow” effect, I used this method.  That link has several other ideas for some lovely furoshiki-style wrapping methods.

I think the real trick to furoshiki wrapping gifts is to use a pretty fabric. The rest is aesthetic choices.

The thing I’m most excited about these wraps is that we can use them year after year! frugal and eco-friendly, which is also a bit quieter (I hope) for a more peaceful Christmas morning.


Origami as a Gift

Time has been simply whooshing by, and Christmas is coming faster every day. I’ll admit, I’ve spent a few dollars on gifts (mostly stocking stuffers), but no more than $5. I know, I said “NO spend” but $5 hasn’t been a huge dent in our budget. “Mostly no spend” Christmas challenge doesn’t sound as impressive, but that’s where we are, I think.

I’ve been working away, and, while still maintaining a few surprises, (in case anyone receiving these gifts is reading along) it’s time to show off the fruits of my labor.

Last year, because our family is small and our finances were tight (student budget at the end of my Mister’s time at law school) so, I tapped into my life-long faith in the concept of a little hard work making all things possible.

Cue, origami BLOCKS.

After a whole year, the last paper block remaining is the blue, black, and white on on the top of that far right tower. But last Christmas…

Quite a cozy little Christmas tree setup we had.

I’d made about a dozen. Combined with a lovely set of yarn&plastic canvas blocks we’d been given, it made quite an impression.

They’re easy enough to make, and just about as sturdy as the plastic canvas ones. I wouldn’t recommend these for babies, or children young enough to regularly put their toys in their mouth (they are paper, after all), but they look nice, and, if you use construction paper, they’re even thicker, with the added benefit of more options on color.

I made cubes of sonobe modules (tutorial here) and used squares of printer paper (though next time, I’m using construction paper, for color and thickness). You need 6 “module” pieces, in order to make 1 cube.

You could also use these wonderfully versatile modules to make an interesting ball, (like this one), or present them as a building set for an older child (or child at heart).

Time-consuming? Yeah. Really cool? Definitely.


Simple Montessori Map Wall Hanging

I happen to have been given a piece of fabric with a complete world map on it. It has country names as well as capitals, latitudinal and longitudinal lines, bright colors and very legible print for Eve, who is doing really well reading.

All I had to do was a rolled hem around all the edges, and tack it up on the wall. It’s a great conversational piece for the whole family, and it leads to some fun questions from Eve. She loves learning about what places are hot or cold, where there are mountains or rivers, and so on.