Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do


Natural gift wrap - autumn leaves

natural gift wrapping ideasx

This week I have been putting ideas together for the e-course on Natural Gift Wrapping which members of Snapdragon Studio will get next month.

Gift wrapping is one of those things that I feel becomes more important as the actual gifts we give become more considered - and possibly smaller. It is one of the things that can show how much thought and care has gone into a gift.

My own preference is for gift wrapping which has as light a step on the planet as possibly. Recycled, recyclable, preferably reusable. I tend to up the quality of the box or gift wrap - so that it can be re-used - and rethink other elements to make them cheaper, preferably free.

We all know that plastic padding in gift boxes is a problem and that new bubble wrap is really a no-no in environmentally aware wrapping - but the alternatives aren't all that much better. Paper and shredded wood still take a lot of energy to produce and that production is often polluting. For single use items we should really be looking for better alternatives.

I was collecting fallen leaves for another project when I realised that a nest of crunchy autumnal leaves would actually make a perfect filler for a gift box, a great alternative to shredded paper or wool curls - beautiful, snuggly, free, recyclable.

Now is the time to collect your leaves - simply gather the brightest leaves you can find, spread them out and let them dry overnight then gather them into a box or pillowcase to use in your gift wrap. Get as many as you can as you will probably need more than you think.

Store them somewhere where they won't get crushed or you will end up with autumn confetti and dust.

I found that putting a thick layer of leaves, then nestling my gifts in and adding another layer to the top worked really well.

I would love to be able to do this for our workshop orders - but its sadly just not viable - so we are sticking to some carefully folded tissue paper and recycled sheet paper instead and really hoping that they will be reused.

For my personal wrapping though this is the way I'm going.

ideas for natural gift wrap autumn

Tags: tutorial

Comments: 1 (Add)

Helen Outen on October 18 2019 at 08:30

What a lovely idea Jane. I always re-use wrapping and packing bits and pieces.
I'd never thought of using leaves though.......and I never need excises to walk through crunchy leaves...........the autumn colours in woods os so pretty at the moment, though today everywhere just looks very grey and wet.

Snapdragon social

Small runs.⁠⠀
The single thing that has made the most difference in Snapdragon Life's eco-footprint over the past 9 months has been choosing only to make small runs of products.⁠⠀
I know that can be frustrating sometimes - people get upset when something sells out.  @amandabanhamceramics wrote about this recently - how she received frustrated, sometimes even nasty, emails after every online sale of her houses.⁠⠀
Once upon a time I would make 100s, sometimes even 1000s, of a single design. ⁠Now I make 10 or 20 or 30 of something. ⁠⠀
And that is it. ⁠Once they are gone they are gone.⁠⠀
⁠The photo is of some allium embroidered lavender cushions, embroidered onto C19th handwoven linen - part of the Just Breathe gift set - a limited edition of 20. ⁠⠀
Half have sold.⁠⠀
A big sky and a bright pond for the end of the working week.⁠⠀
This week I've been setting aside time to make things.⁠ It has felt grounding in the way that gardening is when we aren’t ankle deep in mud. Carefully chosen materials, working with my hands, concentrating. ⠀
These patches of antique linen, embroidered with the dark lines of allium seed heads, are for a new batch of the 'Just Breathe' gift sets which should be up on the website tomorrow.⁠⠀
I taught myself to draw with a sewing machine⁠⠀
years before I learned to draw with a pen. ⁠⠀
In many ways I still find it easier - as though there were something backwards in my head that is happier thinking in reverse.⁠⠀
At the weekend I read Anne Lamott's 'Almost Everything: Notes on Hope' - a book written in 2018, ⁠⠀
I copied out this quote ⁠⠀
Oh this linen from @scottishlinen is wonderful to embroider on.  It has inspired me to try something I have been meaning to do for ages.⁠⠀
All Summer I have been decorating order boxes with mugs and flowers.  I must have done a few hundred by now, the initial of the customer on the mug, fine liner on card.⁠⠀
It is a design device I love - the wonderful works of @debbiegeorgeartist and @angielewin are my inspiration - and I wanted to see if I could get fluid enough to have it work as a freehand machine embroidery.⁠⠀
I don't work from a sketch, there are no lines on the fabric, I just put my sewing machine pedal down and go.  It helps a lot if there is some level of muscle memory.⁠⠀
This large lavender cushion is the result - this particular one is going as a gift to a Club Member who has agreed to write for my January edition of Some Seasonal Notes. ⁠⠀
The link to have me make one is going first to Studio Club Members their e-mail this morning, but then will go up on the website later today. The last order date will be 30th November as I can't stockpile them and will need time to make them.⁠⠀
My Dad would hate this photo.⁠⠀
Growing up candles were banned from the house except from on Christmas Day - and even then he spent his time blowing them out as he passed.⁠⠀
This is a rosemary covered jam-jar.  I first saw these in 1990s when they were a speciality of the florist Paula Pryke and the tie was a silk taffeta bow.⁠⠀
This rustic version - with a tie make from linen offcuts - is the 15 minute activity going out in tomorrow's Studio Club email.
Dixie is slowly getting used to being a Studio dog.  All last year - as  I changed the way Snapdragon Life worked - she spent her time with me working at the kitchen table, bossing the cats around, barking at the postman.⁠⠀
Earlier this year, I moved back into the Studio full time and she came with me. To begin with it was fine, she was mainly outside and the doors were open.  She spent her days lying across the Studio threshold and watching out for trespassing pheasants.⁠⠀
But now it is too cold to have open doors and I can't be bothered with constantly letting her in and out, so she is a full time studio dog, curled up on the chair by the stove.⁠⠀
She very clearly finds it “boring, boring, boring” and thoroughly disapproves of both my music and the lack of biscuits. ⁠⠀
Now that we are in the season of mud I am spending most of my time looking up.⁠⠀
Birds stripped the orange rowan berries within a couple of days, but these yellow ones were still hanging bright against the grey.

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At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.


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