Sticks in Bag Diptic for Web

Nature inspires us in our daily lives from the foods we eat to the art we surround ourselves with, and everything in between. This holiday season use that inspiration to decorate another important part of your life, your holiday packages! Not only will your gifts look amazing under the tree but they’ll save you some money too and that’s always a good thing this time of year.

Start with a roll of contractor’s paper which can be found at your local hardware or paint store and will run you about $10 for a roll 35″ wide by 140 feet long. Compare that to a roll of craft paper from the art supply store and you’ll save about half the cost. Next, collect things from holidays past like bits of ribbon, bows, tags, and twine and then grab your coat for the fun part. Wait for a nice sunny day between autumn rain storms or early winter snow falls and get collecting!

Pile of Gifts

Take a walk and look for plants that have naturally dried on the stems like the eye of a Black Eyed Susan, or dried leaves. Collect twigs from the ground, pine cones, a strip of birch bark, or rose hips . Looking for something a little more colorful? Then look for greens like pine branches or clippings from a boxwood.

Simply wrap the gifts in the contractor’s paper, tie some ribbon on, and begin experimenting. The simple route can be the most beautiful so tuck in a piece of holly, a dried leaf, or a bundle of birch twigs. A branch of Magnolia blossoms or a sprig of dried Rose of Sharon seed pods spray painted silver take on a minimalist sculptural look. Or grab a roll of decorative tape and your finds take on the air of a naturalists specimen collection.

Holly for Web

Magnolia Blossoms from Side for WebRose of Sharon for Web

Winterberry for Web

Or get a little more hands on by using a strip of birch bark as a name tag and gluing it over a simple silver ribbon and a piece of myrtle. All you need is some acrylic craft paint, a small paint brush, and a glue gun to hold the bark in place.

Birch Bark for Web

Everyday items we may look past like a branch of cedar become magical tokens from a winter wonderland with simple silver spray paint, silky ribbon, and a yummy candy cane.

Candy Cane for Web

Things can of course take a much more intricate turn and become works of art in and of themselves. For this special gift I cut a Styrofoam ball in half, spray painted it silver, and then stuck the tips of Black Eyed Susans into the ball to create this rosette. Finish it off with some cedar clippings and it becomes the perfect winter flower.

Black Eyed Susan Rosette for Web

The possibilities are endless so get outside, explore, collect, and get creative!

smaller black and white head shot

Lucy Blaire has written for countless craft magazines including Sew News, Stitch, Simply Handmade, and ReadyMade; she has appeared on PBS’s Sew It All TV; writes for her blog, East Camp Home; and runs her Etsy shop, Lucy Blaire Handmade. With what little time is left Lucy can be found living quietly in Catskill, NY with her husband Ben and baby Marian in their little house with the red tin roof.

by Lucy Blaire

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Understated elegance. Beautiful. I save all my previous year’s Christmas cards and glue them to the top. Thanks for the great ideas!


Beautiful! I buy 40 pound rolls of brown paper for wrapping. It lasts for years and can go in the recycle bin when done. In the summer I love to tie things from the garden on gifts…flowers, herbs.


Brown paper can be very elegant. I’ve used paper bags from the grocery store in a pinch. I’ve also used the comics from the newspaper and old maps.


Wow, who would have thought that brown craft paper could look so beautiful and distinctive. I’ll have to try this next year.