Something else I started work on is handmade wrapping paper. I don't know what possessed me to try this. I became obsessed with the idea of brown paper packages under the tree. I think the seed was planted when a coworker told me last year that he and his wife had decided to purchase a "signature" wrapping paper. While the idea sounded neat, it was surely very expensive and his plain white packages while lovely lacked a certain element of fun that I pretty much demand of my Christmas (let us all remember the year I wrapped everyone's presents in Hannuka paper). So this year I created my own twist.
It is very simple, really. I started by collecting paper bags from Trader Joe's. I have way more than I need. I've wrapped three gifts so far and only used two bags. The key was figuring out how to disassemble the bags. They have a seam down the back that I cut to the center of the base. Once there I was able to gently pry apart the bottom, which gave me the most paper possible.
I then used a stamp and some fun paints. I purchased these acryllics from the kid's crafting section of Target. They are less traditional colors in shimmery shades, but you could really use any paints you want. I don't recommend watercolors, but you could surely use an ink pad instead of paint. Then it was a matter of stamping and laying the paper out to dry. I made my paper Sunday night and then started wrapping the next morning so that it would have time to dry completely.
Of course I wrapped these using a white yarn (Lion Brand I believe) that I had kicking around in the stash. I wrapped them each twice in yarn to create a secure tie. The tags were created using the bag handles. I used a hole-punch on one end and threaded it onto the yarn on my second pass.
This may seem terribly homemade to some, but I had so much fun making this paper. When I was a girl we had good friends who we spent time with every holiday season. We did not see family often at this time of year, so Bill and Mary were like surrogate grandparents to us. Mary always brought us something fun and creative to do together -- One year we made embossed Christmas cards, another we made snowman pins. I have so many delightful crafting memories tied to this time of year that I don't feel right unless I am crafting or baking every day. And I'm just so glad to be getting my making mojo back. It is truly the season.