Mother Earth Living

It’s a Wrap

Herbs and other botanicals open an exciting realm of expressive, unusual gift-trimming possiblities.
By Judith Gagel
December/January 1999
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Soon after I learned to tie my shoelaces, I learned how to wrap gifts, and soon after that, I started experimenting with materials not usually considered for gift wrapping: spices, herbs, fabrics, paper cupcake holders, coffee filters, bottle labels, recycled greeting cards, yarns, laces—you name it. I even colored my own wrapping paper with food coloring.

Recipients seemed to enjoy my wrapping nearly as much as the gift inside, and my childhood pastime grew with me into adult life. Many of the wraps I have developed are easy to execute, and all of them allow you to wrap extra love into every gift.

Leafy Trimmings:

Use medium-size leaves as patterns to cut shapes from thin white paper wrappers that hold cookies and candy within an outer package. Wire the leaves to lace ribbon and tie the ribbon onto a package wrapped in festive wrapping. Fill a red plaid bag with whole mulling spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice) and tie it shut with lace ribbon. Tie it onto the package along with a cinnamon stick.

Just Follow the Directions:

Make a copy of your favorite herbal recipe on clear copier film and place the required herbs in a muslin bag with strings. Wrap a flat package in light-­colored plain paper. Adhere the recipe to the top of the package with double-sided tape or spray adhesive. Wrap the package with a coordinating ribbon, finishing with a bow. Tie the seasoning bag to the base of the bow with the bag’s strings and finish in a shoestring bow.

Oregano Cupcake Flowers:

Holding two paper cupcake tin liners together as one, punch a small hole in the center, insert two sprigs of dried oregano in the hole, and pinch the back of the liners to form a flower. Tightly wrap floral wire around the pinched area. Make more flowers (we used three in all). Twist the wires of all the flowers together and attach them to the ribbon, finishing with a bow made from 11/2-inch-wide ribbon.

Bay Leaves and Pinecones:

Trim red craft paper with a fan of dried bay leaves and attach two small pinecones to the bay leaves with all-purpose craft glue. The finishing touch is a solid green band of ribbon topped with a bow of checked fabric.

Fresh-Squeezed Berry Juice:

Crush several dozen inkberries inside a plastic bag. Sponge the juice in crisscross patterns on a flat section of a brown paper bag. Allow the paper to dry before wrapping your gift in it. Trim with one band of ribbon and tie in several ribbon streamers cut from the berry-stained paper. Finish with a shoestring bow. Attach a cluster of berries to the banding ribbon with floral wire.

Fresh Herbs:

Place a few sprigs of your favorite fresh herb in a water-filled florist’s vial that you’ve covered with gold ribbon (glue it on). Tie the vial to the package with red ribbon. Tie dried herbs to the banding ribbon behind the fresh herb arrangement.

Silver Dollar Jackpot:

Wrap a package in craft paper (available by the roll in many colors at art supply stores) and tie it with open-weave straw ribbon (available at garden centers). Wire a few sprigs of honesty ­“silver dollars” together and tie them to the knot; finish with a bow.

Potpourri Bouquet:

Fill a small open-weave doily with potpourri and tuck in the ends. Weave blue seam binding ribbon through the edges pull the ribbon through, and tie the doily closed. Allow enough ribbon to attach the doily to the package and finish with a bow. Band package with blue seam binding ribbon. Tie another strip of seam binding to the ribbons. Attach the potpourri bouquet to the banding ribbons and finish with a bow.


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