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Monday, July 29, 2013

Why we Should Always Elevate the Presentation of a Gift!

Because we don't want to live an ordinary life for sure! We want to make ordinary extraordinary, make each day count.
Because it's such a simple pleasure! Makes both you and the recipient feel so, so good! By wrapping nicely and creatively, you put love and care and your creative energy and good vibes into your gift. These can be felt with the heart.
Because if the people in your life don't matter about presentation (following a discussion on IG about this subject), it's our duty to teach them that it's not about materiality (the exteriority, the "look", the actual content of the box) but about the true essence of the gift (the reason why we are giving it to them).
Because the content of that package doesn't really matter, after all! (Because of the above point). It should be like saying that the most precious gift at Christmas is a sofa or a cell phone or a new camera gear or a bracelet etc. Are you sure THAT is what really matters?
Because taking the time to wrap nicely, doing it with calm, surely makes the world a better place instead of rushing and throwing the gift into the first gift bag you have on hand. Remember that what we make with love and totally being in the present moment, has a truly powerful energy that radiates into the world.
Because a gift is a way to communicate lots of things, in a non- verbal language. It is one of the "5 Love Languages".

Because your gift will be remembered (and the sentiments behind it) and just the idea that you took the time to elevate the presentation, will give lasting joy to the recipient.

And if you don't give gifts, 
you should!!
A bunch of wildflowers, herbs from your orchard, a jar of your delicious marmelade, a portion of your award-winning lasagna, handmade wreaths, seeds for our wildlife friends, flower seeds, cards, Marsiglia soap bars, a bunch of newly sharpened pencils. Give them to your loved ones, to your friends, to your neighbors, to that adorable shopkeeper that always welcomes you with a smile in her shop, to the elderly people you know! And always gift wrap them to perfection even if they are simple things. They don't cost a fortune and they can make a real difference in someone else's life.

Below you'll find a few ideas to wrap nicely and creatively. You could consider arranging a little wrapping station in your home, to have always on hand a nice array of materials when you have to wrap a gift. 
It may be in a secretaire, in a cupboard, in a box under the bed, in a vintage trunk or suitcase, in a wicker basket. Put in there scissors, glue, tags, a stapler, ready handmade flowers, bags and embellishments, twine and ribbons, scraps of fabric and lace (those little pieces you don't want to throw away!), newspapers, old book pages, wrapping paper and bags of your choice, and everything you may like- so they will be ready when you need them.

To make these flowers, follow my free tutorial here. Then wrap your gift in old book paper, tie with ribbons and scraps of lace, and top off with the flower.

I made a batch of these jute bags, to have them ready. In this case, I embellished it with one of my beach inspired clay tags (free tutorial here).

Same bag, different embellishment. Totally different look!

You can make these bags in minutes!

Handmade headbands and socks I made for two little girls. I then sewed a bag using kraft and clear paper, then closed with staples and handstamped. They don't require anything else because the gift inside is visible and already catches interest.

I wrapped my gifts in vintage pattern paper, as the recipient and my dear friend loves to sew, and wrapped everything again in a kitchen towel (same of the ones she has in her kitchen). Then tied in twine.

Handmade jam wrapped with a simple checkered fabric, is exquisite for the eyes and heart and treats the palate.
I usually put the adhesive tag with BB date on the lid, covered by the fabric or on the bottom of the jar.

A bunch of roses (or any flowers) bought at the supermarket can make a wonderful gift if wrapped creatively!
Just tie in twine, and then cover in scraps of lace, and secure with a vintage brooch.

Wildflowers wrapped in a vintage doily, and secured with ribbon.

Dried lavender presented over a bed of burlap and tied in raffia and a vintage buckle.
Monica x

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Power of Words.

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble- makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status- quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may seem as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do".
Steve Jobs.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Happiness is...

... when the current landlady gives you permission to pick her own flowers whenever you want, and your new, artist neighbor and friend gives you her whole sewing basket while you had asked just for a couple of buttons to use as props!

Now guess what happened?
I stopped styling what I was up to, and photographed her basket instead! :)

I totally love it, and it makes me want to create an unusual sewing basket as hers...

... filled with the most common thread spools (lots of vintage ones!) and buttons, but also beads, real stones, vintage buckets, pearls and seaglass...

Oh, she also borrowed me her basket of scraps to use as props as well (I was drooling at all of the vintage and antique beauty in there! But I tried to contain myself! LOL)...

My heart was singing... can you tell by these shots?

I totally lost the sense of time and space. This is what usually happens when I work. I am totally absorbed, and don't even notice what's going on around me. My friend was taking pictures of me, and I even didn't realize!

What truly matters is the creative energy flowing... and after that, I am completely exhausted, and need to rest for a while.

And I have a new fur friend, too! She's my artist friend's kitty, I always found her in front of my door (if not inside my cottage, exploring!:)). I miss her now that I am in a different, more of a village location. And I miss the wood, the pheasant, the fox, the squirrels. But will go and say hello soon.

Hope your weekend is sunny and beautiful!
Monica x

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Inspiration for You.

Sharing some of my old posts, for you to discover them if you're new to my blog, or to enjoy again for my long- time followers and friends!

I will do this regularly now, many interesting posts seem to "disappear" in the archives, and several of you haven't even had the opportunity to see them!

My Vintage Portable Inspiration Station
The vintage blue train case I use to carry my journals and paper projects.

Food for Thought
The power of a quote...

Tidying Up and Organizing
My pastels and crayons.

Inspiration behind a Photograph
The bike of my Nonno and childhood memories inspired me an entire photo shoot.

Creative Christmas: Glittery Yarn Ornaments
Just in time for Christmas in July.

My Book of Grace
One of my favorite creations ever.

My very First Quilt!
Step- by- step tutorial on how to make a simple quilt (for beginners).

Inside my Handmade Organizer
I turned a simple ring binder into a fabulous organizer.

A Note to the Universe
My old garden in Italy... from a bare land to garden.

Do What is Calling you
A meaningful gift with an inspiring message.

My last Craft Article
Turn discarded CD covers into eco- chic photo frames.

On my Worktable
The simple pleasure of having fresh flowers where you work.
Monica x

Monday, July 22, 2013

From my English Country Diary: Burford.

I particularly love this small village of the Cotswolds...
I live close by, and always love to pop in for a stroll or a coffee, or just to capture the passing of the seasons with my camera.

It's just an ordinary village of the Cotswolds (they're all beautiful!), so I have no idea what fascinates me (and sparks my artistic interest) in the first instance. It may be the sign of The Lamb, with its chalkboard appeal, and the blue windows contrasting against the honey- colored local stone...

... the little gardens bursting at the seams with color and fragrance...

... the rambling roses adorning doors and windows, that always make me want to make a watercolor right away...

... the weathered wooden benches you find at every corner...

... the unexpected details...

... the hidden shops that make you scream with delight...

... the inspiration you can grab along the way...

... the perspectives...

... the creative displays...

... the hanging gardens with incredibly big and abundant flowers...

... the pops of color...

... the almost invisible signs so integrated with the landscape...

... the countless blue doors...

... the house names and signs...

... the surprises you can find on the windowsills...

... the cascades of petals...

... the exciting idea of secret hidden gardens...

... the lace curtains...

... the evidence of Beauty where you don't expect it...

... and the time spent here, sitting quitely with my journal on a garden bench, recording all of these feelings and images that I will eventually share with the world through my work.

Monica x