Category Archives: Tutorials & Recipes

punch gift tags from recycled paper

punched gift tags

A recent party faux pas made me examine my gift-wrapping habits. Me: “Did you open the hurricane candles yet?” Birthday girl: “No. Is that what you gave me?” Me: “What? Ummm, no. Forget about that. Shoot! Sorry, I didn’t put a tag on it.”

My MO for years has been throwing a gift into a handled paper bag, making the ’80s tissue meringue on top, and flying out the door without putting a card or tag on the prezzie. I take pride in picking thoughtful gifts, so the outside should reflect that, dang it! I’ve begun my reformation by turning last year’s calendar, designed by Jessica Swift, into gift tags. I made a batch using a tag-shaped punch (with three sizes), a small hole punch, and hemp cord.

I went with the archetypal tag silhouette, but the craft store has tons of punch patterns, like lace, scallops, and hearts. Check out these creative hangers on Etsy for more inspiration, then craft some with your own stash of maps, fashion mags, cardboard, and other pretty papers.

6 Etsy gift tags

Product info clockwise from top left: Red Elephant Creative // Morrell Decor // Real Dreams // The Beetle’s Knees // El y Ella Paper Designs // Erinbit.

make an air plant landscape

My mom spends about two hours watering her vast container garden, but I didn’t inherit those maintenance genes. My indoor favorites are succulents and air plants, tough creatures accustomed to a cruel world with little moisture.

Air plants can be expensive, yet they don’t live long, so I like to buy the small ones and set them in a “landscape.” Here’s how to make this one.

1. Choose any bowl you like–no drainage hole necessary. I used a crackle bowl from my mother-in-law that marks our wedding date.
2. Fill the bowl with PermaTill, a slate soil mix-in intended for discouraging voles.
3. Set a large rock into the PermaTill to serve as a mountain or mesa in the foreground. I unearthed my granite chunk in the backyard–a bonus of Georgia living.
4. Set a piece of dried grapevine or driftwood (look for this at terrarium suppliers, nurseries, and hardware stores) behind the rock, and wedge a small air plant between the “woods” and “mountain.”
5. Set a circular piece of citrine (available from crystal shops) in the background as a mock sun.

To water the air plant, about once a month I soak it in a separate bowl of water for several hours. Every two months, I dissolve granulated plant food in the water. I know, that’s absurdly low maintenance! This is my ideal plant–lovely and sculptural, but closely related to plastic.