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

Seraphina's eleven babies have grown so fast.⁠⠀
Now when she tries to gather them under her - usually if she hears the buzzard overhead - they all head under her feathers but their heads and tails stick out the side.⁠⠀
She seems unperturbed and a little like an overstuffed tea cosy.
I think that the last time I had this wooden clothes horse out was when we needed to dry cloth nappies c. 2001.⁠⠀
The plant dyed alpaca house socks have all cured now, the dye is well sunk into the fibres, so over the past couple of days I've been washing and pressing and packaging them.⁠⠀
The link to the shop page for them will go out in Friday's newsletter first - the actual newsletter is all about the dye deck and if you want to get it straight into your inbox you can sign up on the website or through my profile.⁠⠀
These were all dyed with tansy - the very yellow ones from the plant at the top of the Studio meadow, the slightly more orange ones from the plant down by the Studio door.
Last year, in the spring,  I got a tiny amount of seed of a grey Shirley poppy. ⁠⠀
I sowed half and gave half to @gracealexanderflowers .⁠⠀
None came up, in my garden at least.⁠⠀
This year two plants have appeared - a little fey and wan as Shirley poppies go, but with definitely grey flowers. ⁠⠀
Well kind of a purply grey . . . and if I'm honest I prefer the rich plums of Pandora . . . but It is eminently instagrammable.
Yesterday Seth Godin wrote that instead of getting our ideas spread like wildfire (uncontrolled, destructive, leaving nothing) we should get them to spread like wildflowers instead.⁠⠀
I loved this idea.  Ideas that self seed and spread in groups, ideas that place themselves where they are happiest, where they can thrive.⁠⠀
Ideas that take root in unpromising places and bring joy.

These daisies moved into the top of the Studio Meadow last year- spreading from the garden rather than the fields- but wilding themselves none the less.
A bright new morning starting a bright new week. ⁠⠀
A row of dog daisies and love in a mist, fresh and light and optimistic.⁠⠀
I feel like I'm hovering on the edge of planning things outside my studio this week. It is tentative.⁠⠀
Today I have a meeting about something that will involve me leaving the premises. I'm part excited, part terrified - I think they are probably the same things in many ways.⁠⠀
I'm building up to going on holiday in a few weeks. It feels vertiginous.  I definitely need to build my social muscles back up.⁠⠀
The globe thistles shouldn't be there. ⁠⠀
It was meant to be a temporary nursery bed.⁠⠀
They were a root cutting from my parents' garden - memories of pulling off the heads as missiles.⁠⠀
It is the perfect place for them.⁠⠀
Low sun barrels along the path as the gloaming comes. ⁠⠀
They glow in the golden hour.⁠⠀
I leave the heads alone.
Of all the half hardy annuals that are beginning to flower here, I think that cosmos purity is my favourite. ⁠⠀
Happy and light and generous with its flowers.⁠⠀
As you pick it, the foliage smells that dense herby/incense way that is perfect for the late summer/early autumn time.
Yesterday I was chatting to Eileen, who volunteers in the garden on Wednesday mornings, about how the Studio meadow changes in the light.  In particular how the warmer light in August - especially the soft evening light - makes everything glow.⁠⠀
Walking back from checking things at work I snapped these big daisies with a speckle of purple loosestrife behind them.  Softly glowing.⁠⠀

About Snapdragon Life

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.

Through my communities, both free and paid for, through my writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted activity kits, and through my online and in-person workshops I aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

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