The Gift Wrapping Book by Caroline Birkett

This is a book review which first appeared a couple of weeks ago when I was asked to be a guest reviewer over on reviewsrevues


We all give presents but how many of us fail miserably when it comes to the wrapping?  All too often we resort to popping the gift into a shop bought gift bag or box.  Present wrapping is something we are just expected to be able to do.  There have been countless times I’ve ended up having to throw away ruined wrapping paper and there have been too many fights with sticky tape, just finding the end of the roll can be a nightmare.  However, a beautifully wrapped present can be a real joy to receive, even before you’ve seen what’s under the paper or in the box.

Understanding the various wrapping techniques, the range of materials available and the tools needed for the jobs can turn a necessary chore into something enjoyable, creative, and we can produce something special and personal for the recipient.

“The Gift Wrapping Book” is ideal both for those who haven’t a clue how to wrap a present and for those who are keen to try something a little different.

The book is well laid out and with clear photos and step by step instructions.  Caroline starts by showing the correct way of wrapping a box with standard wrapping paper and then goes on to suggest how this could be done with other types of paper.  We find out how to produce our own decorative paper using methods such as wax resist, gilding, stamping etc and then more elaborate bows and embellishments with gift tags and other items.  Patterns and templates are included together with information on the materials and tools required.  Importantly, she explains how to wrap those awkward shape parcels we all have problems with.

Caroline makes it clear that wrapping doesn’t need to be elaborate, doesn’t need to take a long time to prepare so long as it is neat and thoughtfully put together.  However, with an understanding of some basic techniques and a little imagination there are no limits as to how fantastic your presents can look.  Just make sure that the actual present under all that wrapping is worth receiving!

The best publications from Dover Books have a good combination of style and practicality.  This book may not be as lavishly laid out and photographed as books by some publishing houses and magazines but here the results are attainable.  This book, which seems to have been previously published by another company in 2002, will not date as it gives good clear instructions on how to develop gift wrapping skills.  There may be more fashionable coffee-table style books of this type around but this may very well be the one to consider purchasing.


Crafternoon party

Last year I started a craft group in Shanklin. We meet once a month on a Saturday afternoon to ‘do’ crafts. There are usually about fifteen of us and a wide range of crafts on the go. From knitting and crochet to needlepoint and cross stitch, rug making, glass painting, paper cutting and jewellery making.

We’re called The Shanklin Crafternooners (you see what we’ve done there……..crafting in the afternoon- crafternoon….genius!)

We meet at the community centre but in August we decided to do something a little different and have a summer garden party here at The Hazelwood. People would still be able to craft but the afternoon would be more of a social affair and we’d all bring food along to share (though in fact the Crafternoon is usually just a excuses to eat copious amounts of home baked cake anyway)

As it got closer to the day of the party we began to get worried that we might have rotten weather so of course if you can’t have a garden party actually  in the garden the only alternative is to bring the garden inside……so that’s what we did. We moved a lot of the furniture out of our breakfast room and brought our big plant pots in. Infact the weather wasn’t too bad and it was quite a sight to see a group of crafters sat in a big circle in the middle of our lawn with glasses of wine, plates of food, all talking and joking whilst happily knitting and crocheting away!

To make the breakfast room a little more ‘gardeny’ and ‘crafty’ I made a hanging of big dramatic white paper flowers to hang over the fireplace………IMG_20160211_080415_kindlephoto-46072533