November 2009 archive

Wrapped!

There are so many brilliant ideas in gift wrap, I couldn’t just give it one day on the blog.

I found this awesome article in Real Simple on 21 easy holiday gift wrap ideas so incredibly inspiring! There are so many fun and random tsotchke’s that you can use to dress up your presents. I am partial to Home Goods and the dollar bins at target, but this article has totally made me realize that fabric stores aren’t just for creating clothing.



Buttons, feathers, O rings and even an applique flower are all elegant, simple and inexpensive ways to dress up a gift. These are all from M&J; trimming which has a fabulous website (I should know I’ve been exploring it for the last week!). I even like the idea of wrapping in lace instead of ribbon.

Seashells are so appropriate (and free) here on the beaches of Florida. And bow tie pasta? Genius!
Martha Martha—I an dying to copy this idea of using real peanuts instead of styrofoam as stuffing.
This little invention is pretty terrific! Gift wrapping with cellophone and tissue all tied together with an embellished pony tail holder.
I’ve been really into glitter and sparkles lately. I would just love to give a gift in these shiny stacked Paper-source boxes.
xoxo,
Niki

Wrap It Up!

Let’s start out this week with a giant CONGRATULATIONS to my best friend Lizzie on her engagement last week to Michael! It seems like love is most definitely in the air. All of the best wishes to them for a future of happiness!

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is gifts. No, not really receiving them, I actually love to give them. I also love to package them beautifully. There are so many great and inexpensive ways to dress up your gifts this season. Here are a few of my favorites.



Decorative tape is such an easy and painless way to add pizazz and style to gift wrap. Both TapeSwell and Happy Tape offer an array of patterns and solids in masking and packing tapes. They’re wonderful for taping up a white or kraft cardboard box (hello UPS!) or even just a gift wrapped in a solid color.

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly way to wrap gifts, opt for fabric gift wrap. Chewing the Cud offers multiple prints of cotton fabric and will show you how to wrap it up to resemble paper. Or wrap your gift in a beautiful scarf or fabric swatch. Reduce, reuse & recycle.
You all know my slight obsession with kraft & paper bags, so check out this idea via Martha. She says to sew the buttons on but I think hot glue would work just as well.
I always like to add some extra “umph” to my gifts by finishing them with a mini gift on the outside. Last year I found these awesome butterfly “ornaments” at Pottery Barn, and used them to embellish each and every gift. These feather butterflies can be found at most craft stores. I wound them around the outside of the wrapped gift and often intertwined them with the ribbon.

This year I am planning to use cookie cutters in a creative shapes (like this adorable dog bone) or this awesome peace sign & cupcake!
Happy wrapping!
xoxo,
Niki

Cakery Friday: Vegan Chocolate Fig Bars

For the day after Thanksgiving it is only fitting to give you a “healthy” dessert. The recipe for these vegan chocolate fig bars was passed on to me from a friend who works at Google. She insisted that although they are egg and dairy-free they are not lacking in taste, and she is absolutely correct!
Gathers all of the ingredients.

In a bowl mix together one banana, 2/3 cup grapeseed oil (can be found at Whole Foods), 1 cup maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the seeds from one vanilla bean.


The best way to scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean is to cut in half and use a knife to scrape all of the seeds out.



In another bowl mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 3/4 cup cane sugar, 4 cups oats, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Combine wet and dry ingredients together.
Chop 1 cup of dried mission figs.
Mix figs and 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips into bowl with wet and dry ingredients. Place in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish and bake at 325 degrees F for one hour. Cool completely and then cut into bars.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe click here: Vegan Chocolate Fig Bars.htm

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving.
xoxo,
Ali



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