Merry Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and a lot like my Christmas cards will be arriving late in the mail. While my cards were one of the first holiday projects I made this season they're the last to make it out the door. I'm checking my list (and addresses) twice. Soon my holiday greeting and paper tree will belatedly arrive at doorsteps.

When designing this years card I kept in mind the limitations of my small table top letterpress. I also wanted to incorporate my calligraphy to illustrate the card. I knew I wanted to send out a folding Christmas tree so the design of the card evolved from that concept. Of course it should be presents for under the tree. I'm very pleased with how it all printed.

It was not possible to keep a heavy inking consistent for the green of the packages so I knew I'd be letting the ink naturally fall off as I printed my cards.

It was not possible to keep a heavy inking consistent for the green of the packages so I knew I'd be letting the ink naturally fall off as I printed my cards.

Put the presents under the tree! To keep things less complicated I drew a pattern   that could be printed back to back without worry of registration. And I cut all these trees out by hand (with x-acto) so I needed the pattern to be forgiving for that as well.

Put the presents under the tree! To keep things less complicated I drew a pattern that could be printed back to back without worry of registration. And I cut all these trees out by hand (with x-acto) so I needed the pattern to be forgiving for that as well.

I added gold elastic to turn some of my pop-up trees into gift toppers.

I added gold elastic to turn some of my pop-up trees into gift toppers.

Have a wonderful Christmas! I'm hoping to have one more post before taking a little break to enjoy the festivities.

Toy toppers

I've been away on vacation and away from blogging for the past few weeks. Next week I'll be sharing some about my trip to Australia. In the mean time I didn't want to stay too silent on my blog so I'm showing a collection of wrappings topped with little toys.

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These wrappings are fairly kid oriented but toy toppers can work for adults as well. I love giving out finger puppets because everyone has a favorite animal that makes them smile. A former roommate of mine got me into decorating house plants with them. Just stick them on the end of a chopstick in the pot. Post holiday sales are a great time to find deals on novel little trinkets you can use to make a gift extra special.

Wrapping with Wrap magazine

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The tagline says it best. Wrap is a magazine celebrating illustration, design and creative culture. It hails from the UK and I've had a subscription for a year as well as buying a few back issues. When I tell people I've found a gift wrap magazine I think they picture a glossy version of my gift wrap blog posts. It is definitely not that. The wrapping paper is a unique bonus because this magazine is for anyone who loves art, illustration, and the stories behind it. It is truly international.

Wrap comes with 5 sheets of double sided wrap. Some wrap illustrations use repeat patterns but most feature an illustration varying it's depiction from corner to corner. I have truly had a hard time tearing out these beautiful sheets and deciding which portion of the wrap to feature on my gifts. Until this holiday season I'd only wrapped with it once.

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The above wrap features two illustrations from the Winter 2012 issue. Two sides of the same piece of paper. The illustrated scene on the spinning box is by Bjørn Rune Lie. The wrap on the right is by Petra Börner using paper cuttings. This issues theme was the deep cold of winter so they commissioned Nordic artists who know the cold well.

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One of the smartest things Wrap does is repeat the illustrations on the pull out wrap inside the magazine. So even when you've wrapped a gift you can still look back on the artistry.

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These wraps are from the latest Winter 2013 issue. Their theme was the telling of tales. Ten illustrators recreated a well known folk tale heralding from their home country. On the left Polish illustrator Pawet Milder recreates the story 'You Will Go Astray, Like a Killer'. On the right Leslie Wood recreates a winter edition of the American tale of 'Sticks and Stones'. Both wraps are from different sides of the same paper.

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If you'd like to subscribe or just buy some gift wrap you can do so right here. I highly recommend it. This magazine is made with extreme care and all of my issues have been accompanied by hand written notes.