wrapping presents zero-waste style

wrapping zero waste

Well if not entirely zero-waste then certainly considerably less wasteful than the norm.  This is my wrapping station.  It contains:

  • Magazines
  • Ribbon carefully saved year after year
  • Pretty scarves
  • Empty boxes saved year after year
  • Pretty bags saved year after year
  • Paper sugar/flour bags
  • Paper wrapping from Who Gives A Crap loo and kitchen paper
  • Gift tags made from old cards
  • Endless cups of tea!

To be fair I have been wrapping along these lines since I was a child.  I was trained  young to save the wrapping paper and ribbon and it was a family tradition to cut up the Christmas cards in January and reuse them as gift tags.  The collection of boxes and bags are thanks to the Boss who can’t stand wrapping and has always packaged presents the easy way!

One year I wrapped everything in brown paper and red ribbon.  I still have the ribbon and the last of the brown paper was used to send parcels to Bea while she was in Thailand last year.  But this year I have decided to go one step further.

Using magazines can be a bit of a challenge for larger presents as you have to use several sheets together.  Garden and lifestyle magazines are good sources of pretty photos.  Although do watch out – I wrapped one present in a picture of a sumptuous Christmas dinner – only to remember the recipient is vegetarian and probably wouldn’t appreciate the turkey and all the trimmings around their gift!

2017-12-15 12.22.48

This is the first year I have used fabric.  I sent the Boss down to the charity shop in search of pretty scarves.  It took a bit of practice and I am sure the Japanese experts are not too impressed with my Furoshiki but I’m pretty pleased with myself.

2017-12-15 12.25.56

I have spotted some elderly shooting stockings and kilt socks that I think might make some rather lovely bottle carriers too!

Love Gillie x

herb oil

2017-11-15 16.08.09


Yup it’s that time of year again.  Now we all know that a cute little baby elf will die every time somebody puts up a decoration or sings a carol before the beginning of December?  What you didn’t know that?  Shame about all those poor little elves.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan, in fact you need to plan, unless of course you a bloke with a woman who does all the planning for you.  Massive generalisation I know,  but if the cap fits …

Rather smugly I can say that present wise I am pretty much sorted.  Well, I still have to finish a pair of socks and start a cardigan but the rest is pretty much sorted.  Today was hamper day.  Some exceptionally lucky people are getting a little hamper of home made goodies.  What do you mean “poor sods I hope she doesn’t give them botulism”?!

Today was herb oil.  The lovely bottles originally contained a rather lovely Rosé from Provence.  For reasons of which I am unsure we only drank four bottles.  I may have to purchase some more.  Anyway, I originally bought the wine because I loved the bottle and I loved the glass stopper.  The wine was a pleasant bonus!

Wash and dry bottles and add herbs of your choice.  I tend to use stronger woody ones that can survive in the oil without curling up and looking manky! A whizz round the garden produced:

  • Rosemary
  • Bay leaves
  • Lemon thyme

To which I added:

  • Sliced garlic
  • Red peppercorns
  • Long peppercorns (also known as Indonesian peppercorns)
  • Penja black peppercorns
  • Juniper berry

Topped up with olive oil and sealed.  I’ll tie a pourer around the neck and they are all ready for the little hampers.

Love Gillie x






Today I tackled an AAGH zone.  The present cupboard (as opposed to the future and past cupboards) is both a help and a hindrance.

Yes, it is useful to be able to pick things up for friends and family, that moment when you see something and go “Yes!”  But there is also the temptation to buy random things in sales that you can “allocate” later.  I am often guilty of this.  There are a lot of children in our family and I have been wont to buy up books and toys in the sales and then wonder who to give them to.

Most things find happy homes, but there are a few items that have hung around for several years.  But still I have kept them in the vain hope that suddenly somebody will want the rather lovely carving set that came free with our knives.  A perfect example of the free gift you don’t want.  I still buy things when I see them and know that the person I have bought them for will love them and use them.  But all the other opportunistic purchases.  No.  Not anymore.  All I was doing was fooling myself I was getting a bargain when I was still being sucked in to the consumerist “need to have/need to buy”.  I bought two beautiful and very simple slipware tumblers for a friend.  They will suit their lifestyle and will be used.  They cost me 50P each in a closing down sale.  But who cares what the cost is?  They were bought with purpose and love not just because they were a bargain.

Then there is the wrapping paper.  Many years ago my mother and I wrapped all our presents in chinese and arabic newspapers.  Those were the days when Paris Match was exotic.  Since then I have usually wrapped presents in brown paper with red ribbon.  But that is still disposable.  We have moved on to bags, but the problem there is that you need to get the bag back in order to refill it for next year.

This is the current present cupboard.  The red box has presents that are allocated to specific people.  The pink file is my Christmas file, lists of presents I have given people over the past 10 years (with a lot of people to buy for it is important not to give a similar present two years in a row), recipes and decoration ideas etc.  Some crackers bought in the sale last year.  I think this ought to be the last year of crackers.  They are so very not zero waste.  Need to find an alternative.

The yellow bag has various things collected and made for Samaritan’s Purse  Christmas shoe boxes.

Soon it will be the Singers’ birthday.  They will be 15.  It is hard to have a mother who wants to stop buying when you are a teenager.  But I am proud to say they are on board.  Singer one doesn’t know what she wants for her birthday but she would like a really good pair of boots.  So we will buy boots in the autumn because as she says “there is no point buying something just for the sake of it when there is something I would like and use and can get later.”