Saturday, June 29, 2013

No gift wrap challenge #2: Note paper set

stationery set This set of floral sticky note paper already had such a pretty pattern, it almost didn't require gift wrapping at all. Almost, because the center of the cardboard container was printed with a label. But if we go back to the guiding principle that wrapping simply hides the gift from the recipient, then all that was needed was to hide the label.

I chose a piece of washi (Japanese paper) in a pattern and color that echoed that of the note paper, and cut it with deckle-edged scissors to a size that would just hide the label. I didn't want to glue it directly onto the box, so I cut a piece of translucent paper the same height as the small box and glued the washi onto it. I could just slip the sheet—which, happily, could also serve as the gift tag—inside the resealable plastic bag. It looked empty and off-balance after I wrote the greeting and our names, so I added the natural fiber paper seashell and string embellishment to balance everything off.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

No gift wrap challenge #1: Tees

Last December, I received a gift that included tips on how to live greener in the new year. One of the tips was about doing with less packaging. Since I've been using cloth shopping bags for years already, I thought of it in terms of gift packaging. I already re-purpose shopping bags, old calendars, and outdated office print-outs into gift wrappers. The next challenge for me is, can I do away with gift wrapping?

If you think about it, wrapping simply hides the gift from the recipient and adds the simple pleasure of anticipation. I don't think I can do away with wrapping completely, but I realize that there are some objects that don't need to be wrapped to maintain the element of surprise. I'll document the results here, of course, and this is the first.
  t-shirt 'wrapped' without gift wrapper A tee is a tee is a tee. I figure that it's really the design on the T-shirt that's important to hide, so I just folded and tightly rolled the tee, completely hiding the print in front, and tied it with three kinds of ribbons—all reused—in different widths. Since the shirt tag was blank at the back, I used it as the gift tag, just putting a sticker on it before writing the greeting. I tied the tag onto the shirt with the narrowest ribbon.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Roll 'em

I love gift packaging, but I also find it very wasteful when they're just thrown away after the gift is opened. So I always try to reuse gift bags and ribbons. To store used ribbons—and stretch them out at the same time, without having to iron them—I roll them around the cardboard cores of toilet paper.  Depending on the width of the ribbon, each core can accommodate one to five ribbons.
 used ribbons rolled around cardboard toilet paper cores I anchor one end with a small piece of adhesive tape onto the cardboard then start stretching and rolling. The other end needs another piece of adhesive tape, of course. A word of warning: resist the temptation to roll the ribbon perfectly parallel to itself and to its neighbors. The point here is to store the ribbons neatly for reuse—and quickly enough so it doesn't feel like too much of a chore that you end up just throwing them away because keeping them is a bother.

I also keep cords, string, and yarn, but they don't require stretching, so I just loop them then tie them into very loose knots.
  lightly knotted used cords, string and yarn The ribbon rolls are carefully stacked when I store them, but the loops of cord get carelessly tossed into one box.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Patchwork gift bags

If you're like me, you have a gazillion paper shopping bags at home. I now carry my own reusable shopping bags and always turn down store bags, but I think I've accumulated enough through the years to open my own store. Taking a cue from one of my treasured finds, a bayong covered in scrap fabric by What If Handmade, I decided to reuse the shopping bags as gift bags by covering them in scrap gift wrapping paper.

shopping bag wrapped in scrap gift paper
Between the smaller wall calendar bags and these bigger shopping bags, I won't have to buy gift bags for a long, long time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Say NO! to SM

I've been an SM girl for as long as I can remember. I love the convenience of shopping for almost everything in one place, and the fact that I can choose from a wide range of prices and quality. I love that BDO branches in the malls have weekend banking and long weekday hours. I love that both my BDO account and my SM purchases give me reward points, and that I can buy anything from their stores with them.

But you know what they say about former lovers being the worst enemies.

SM does not care that it razes trees and farm land for its malls. It doesn't care that people around them lose their livelihoods. It doesn't care that it puts its employees and residents at risk when they build on unstable and dangerous land.

I've decided that I do not want to continue financing the unconscionable and irresponsible activities of SM. Shopping in their stores stops right now, and I will be closing my BDO accounts and changing my credit card within the next few weeks.

The thing is, I'm just one person and what I'm going to do won't even be an ant bite for this behemoth. Will you boycott all SM companies with me?

This lists all the SM companies and affiliates I know. If I've missed any, please write the name of the company in the comments and I'll add it to the list.
  • SM Malls
  • SM Department Store
  • SM Supermarket
  • SM Hypermart
  • SaveMore
  • Makro
  • Science Discovery Center
  • SM Residences
  • M Place
  • Hamilo Coast – Pico de Loro
  • Tagaytay Highlands
  • Taal Vista Hotel
  • SMX Convention Center
  • Banco de Oro
  • China Bank
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu
  • Toy Kingdom
  • Watsons Personal Care
  • Baby Company
  • Our Home
  • Sports Central
  • Ace Hardware
  • Homeworld
  • Kultura Pilipino
  • Forever 21
  • Uniqlo
  • Prime Spots Inc.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sturdy little things

Back in 2010, I wrote that I use old wall calendars as drawer liners. Though not quite card stock, the paper of these calendars is thick and, therefore, very strong; except for a good wiping every now and then, I haven't had to change them since. Which means that I now have two years' worth of calendar paper.

I was at a loss on what to do with them, then I realized that, because their photos and artwork are really pretty, I can make them into small gift bags.

gift bag made out of calendar paper
[Just for the record, the ribbon is also reused from old gifts and the gift tag is an old business card of mine with outdated information. The foam sticker is new but is part of the gift of a friend who knows what I like doing in my spare time.]

If you don't know how to make your own gift bags yet, I found instructions on mairuru's blog (text and still photos) and a video on YouTube.

Of course, the other side looks kind of funny.

gift bag made out of calendar paper
At least my friends will know that I'm trying to help Mother Earth even in small ways, and that they're a part of it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Magic green powder

I started getting gray and white hair when I was only in my twenties, and I started coloring my hair when I was thirty. Everything was fine until six years ago when I decided to get a temporary tattoo during a beach trip. The "henna" applied by the artist turned out to be black henna, which has synthetic dyes containing PPD (para-Phenylenediamine). This direct application of PPD on my skin caused a severe allergy; my upper arm swelled, the tattoo design blistered and it was hellishly itchy! PPD sensitivity is lifelong, which means that I am now forever allergic to anything that contains PPD (and other similar chemicals besides). Unfortunately for me, most commercial hair dyes, whether home- or salon-applied, contain PPD.

Stubborn girl that I am, the experience didn't stop me from continuing to color my hair with commercial hair dyes for several years. The coloring is supposed to stay on the hair for only ten minutes, there was little direct contact with my skin, and I only had to color my hair three to four times a year. But through the years, the allergy progressively worsened until I finally decided to stop coloring last year.

Then last month, a poorly-trained waitress handed me a friend's senior citizen card just because I was the only one at our table with white hair.

I don't think I'm particularly vain, but even that was a little too much for me.

So I decided to color my hair again, but this time with 100% pure henna. I figured, it's been used as a dye since antiquity and we should know by now if it causes adverse reactions, right? And I've never heard of anyone having an allergy to henna.

That was two weeks ago and, so far, everything seems to be good. My scalp didn't itch and the henna didn't cause an inflammation of the skin on my nape. The coverage isn't quite what I prefer and it seems to wash out faster than commercial hair coloring, but hey, my skin seems to be happy and I'm sure Mother Earth is too. So, as long as no one hands me another senior citizen card until it's really mine, I will be satisfied.