inspiring ways to wrap a gift card

a lot of people think that when it comes to giving gifts, gift cards are the easy way out.  but that’s not necessarily true…a lot of times if you don’t know exactly what to get someone, it really is the ideal gift…especially if you personalize the gift card by giving it a creative touch.  here are some suggestions for fun ways to wrap a gift card that are so cute, no one can accuse you of copping out…

frame it! frames are great gifts anyway, and you can find a pretty inexpensive one and decorate it or paint it yourself for an added touch.   Tape the gift card to a piece of patterned paper like the one above.

these are some fun things you can do with felt that look very simple to make.  i especially like the mushroom, which is actually meant to be a business card holder.  but on second thought, why not make a holder for your gift card that can be re-used as a business card holder as well?

pouches

put the gift card in a cute little coin purse or pouch like one of these…they’ll think that’s the gift, and when they look inside they’ll find an added surprise! see more of our small bags and purses here.

happy holidays!

color me happy

if you’re anything like me, the winter months can be a bit depressing…but did you know that wearing bright colors can actually improve your mood?

studies show that the brightness and purity of certain colors, and personal associations with them, can have specific effects on your mood.  shades of red and purple are said to boost energy levels by causing your body to pump out more adrenaline.  green and yellow are naturally associated with sunshine and the outdoors, and studies show that they can make you feel happy and upbeat.  green also evokes feelings of hope and renewal, like the feeling you get on a sunny spring day.  blue, which brings to mind the sky or the ocean, is a soothing, calming color that can make you feel less anxious.  and if you really want to bring out your fun-loving spirit, wear attention-grabbing neon colors like hot pink and lime green, known for being flirty and fun.

check out more of our bright items in the color boutique!

natural beauty

i’ve probably mentioned this before but our graphic designers are awesome…i love this artwork!

and since we’re in the holiday spirit, i’ve made it available on our flickr page for you to download! you can use it on your desktop, as a card, or whatever else you may want to do…just click on the image!

how-to: paperwhite potting

on friday another free people girl and i attended a ‘how-to’ session on potting paperwhites…it was really easy and they’re so pretty – it will be a great addition to brighten up my desk at work. they’re also a great decoration for your home. here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it yourself.

first pick out a pot or container to plant your bulb in – you can use pretty much any type of container, just make sure to allow about two inches underneath the bulb for the roots to grow. i used a pretty little glass one.

paperwhites can be planted in soil, water, stones, gravel or decorative materials like glass beads. i filled my container most of the way with stones and then a layer of cute little pinecones.

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place the bulb on top, pointed side up. i surrounded it with some moss to add some color.

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you can plant several in one pot, and they can be placed closely together. here are some other creations being made:

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fill with water, but don’t submerge the bulbs, just have them sit on top of it. make sure to water the plant enough to maintain the water level.

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store your paperwhite in a warm room (60-65 degrees) and if possible, set it by a south-facing window for best development of the leaves, stalk and buds. once the flowers bloom, move it to a cooler place with less light to prolong its life.

next…sit back and let it grow!

william eggleston

william eggleston is a memphis-born photographer who is credited by many for establishing color photography as a legitimate artistic medium.  the majority of his photographs were taken during the 70s…i’m really drawn to the color and composition.

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“this is beginning to be my new favorite kind of light. it brings out a spectrum that appeals to me, warmer colors that i don’t always notice at other times. it’s like when a thunderstorm moves through and the light changes swiftly from cold to warm.” -william eggleston

check out more of his work here.

party time, excellent!

good morning! i have lots of fun photos for you today from last nights 1920s themed holiday party here at the navy yard…it was a blast, and building 543 looked beautiful. here are some photos i got while they were setting up, followed by some taken at the party.

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stay tuned for a 1920s office style post!

wednes-diy

who doesn’t love snow globes? there’s something very nostalgic and whimsical about them.  plus you can bring a pretty little wintry scene into your home and make it snow whenever you want.  i found some instructions on how to make them, and it seems really easy…

these handmade snow globes from martha stewart are simple and sweet.  you can use almost any kind of jar to make them…the instructions suggest painting the lids in seasonal colors.  find the plastic or ceramic figurines at flea markets or hobby and craft shops, and synthetic evergreen tips at floral-supply stores.

next, sand the inside of the lid until the surface is rough and use clear-drying epoxy to adhere the figurine to the inside of the lid. let the epoxy dry.

fill the jar almost to the top with distilled water. add a little bit of fake snow or silver or white glitter and a dash (not too much!) of glycerin (available at drugstores) to keep the glitter from falling too quickly.

screw the lid on tightly, turn it over and let it snow!

the top two images are from anthropologie.

musical ornaments

if i had a christmas tree, these are the kind of ornaments i’d put on it. i saw these on pitchfork and I think they’re so cool – they’re recycled christmas tree ornaments made by the glass casters union in oregon, and proceeds from the sale of the ornaments go towards helping homeless and low-income families in oregon. this year’s designs include modest mouse, blizen trapper and the decemberists (shown above). i also like some of the ones they’ve done in previous years:

best music of 2009

with today being “tunesday” and all, i thought it was a good time to ask everyone out there…what were your favorite songs and albums of the year? it’s been an awesome year in music, in my opinion, so there’s lots of great stuff to choose from. animal collective, black joe lewis & the honeybears, edward sharpe & the magnetic zeros and grizzly bear released four of my favorite albums this year.

send me your choices for the best songs and albums…i’ll compile a list and reveal the top ten at the end of the year!

you can leave them in the comments section or email me, jkeim@freepeople.com.

on the road: part two

“what is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by.  but we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

what did you all think of part two of on the road? this section of the book finds sal (kerouac) back on the east coast settling in to a quiet contentedness with his girl and school and family, when a surprise visit from dean takes him on another wild cross-country journey.  this trip’s scenery, traveling in dean’s car along with his girl Marylou and their friend ed dunkel, reminds me of my own road trip as they take the southern route across the country.  they stop in new orleans to visit old bull lee (in reality, william s. burroughs), a heroin addict who brings out the madness of the intimate group.  after new orleans, they continue moving on through texas, new mexico, arizona, and then into san francisco via the oakland bay bridge.  this portion of the book is more about their journey on the road than what happens when they get there…which ends up not being much, as sal finds himself broke and homeless, wandering the streets in search of something he never finds.  part two ends with him returning back east, unsure of whether or not he’ll ever see dean again.  why do you think he went on this trip? and why do you think it ends on such a melancholy note?

have any of you ever taken a road trip? where did you start and where did you end up?