Monday, December 31, 2007

Holiday Postscript: The Wrap Party

Before the New Year gets under way, I just wanted to share a few pix from my very own wrap party where I used some of the tips revealed in the Holiday Survival Guide, pt.2. When I get into this mode I give my Inner Packrat time off and my Inner Krafty Kat Wrapper gets pressed into service.

First: The Stash...

As a self-confirmed packrat I've accumulated quite a bit of wrapping paraphernalia over the years, but I do make an effort to reuse it when it comes time to wrap a gift. In The Stash I have

  • wrapping paper (stored more or less neatly in a "wrapping paper carrier" as well as an old shopping cart)
  • assorted bows and ribbon
  • accumulated tissue paper
  • assorted and accumulated boxes
  • a variety of stickers obtained from numerous sources (not shown)
  • greeting cards which I re-use to make gift tags (not shown)

It took me nearly 12 hours to wrap all my gifts this year (Phew)! But, I also enjoyed expressing my artistic side. Below are examples of a few of my creations. Note, that with one exception, all of the wrapped items shown here re-use items from The Stash List.

...And The End Result!

The Santa Wrap

To wrap this gift I used the technique I described in the Holiday Survival Guide, pt.2, but which I originally got from the Wrap Art site. It allows you to use those leftover bits and pieces of paper that by themselves are not big enough to wrap something, but when combined, give you more wrapping mileage.

After wrapping this gift, I added ribbon to "dress up" the seams between the two wrapping papers. The ribbon was then topped off with a gold "Santa" seal sticker.

The Art of Wrapping the Gift Card

As I discussed in the Holiday Survival Guide, pt.1 the giving of Gift Cards may seem a bit impersonal. So, I tried to take a creative approach to wrapping this gift, a gourmet food store gift card. After finishing up one of my rolls of wrapping paper, I used part of the inner tube it was wrapped around (which now-a-days is more like paper than cardboard) to make a mini brown paper grocery bag (remember those!?). To jazz it up I also used some green tissue paper along with a gold seal sticker from The Stash.

Festive Gift Box

In this case the item came with the blue box you see in the picture. I thought the box itself was already attractive and decided to just add some simple green ribbon and a gold seal to give it that extra special something.

Poinsettia Power!

Wrap fixin's for this gift included the box, the pretty poinsettia tissue paper and ribbon. The contents were a little larger than the box itself so I couldn’t put on the top (it's actually on the bottom), however because the tissue paper is so pretty it worked out. Also, the box itself was a pretty peach color so I felt it didn't need to be wrapped.

Let it Snow!

Of the gifts shown, these two items were wrapped with newly bought paper. I had to wrap a gift for a grab bag at work, which I didn't have a chance to wrap it at home. I ended up having to run out at the last minute to get some paper, however the ribbon and seal are from The Stash.

So, another holiday season has come, gone and been survived.

After this post my Inner Packrat returns.

See you in the New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My CD/DVD Cup Runneth Over

One of my decluttering projects from August (Wow! That was awhile ago already!) involved weeding. I think of weeding as a complimentary strategy to decluttering. The way I see it, decluttering has more to do with identifying objects for eventual removal OR allowing you to reorganize what you have so that it is neater. Weeding, on the other hand, involves reviewing a category of things you have, such as books or clothing, selecting particular items to get rid of, while keeping certain other items. This is what I did with various music CDs, DVDs and audio cassettes.

There are a number of options for dealing with CDs or DVDs. You could give them away to friends or relatives, or via The Freecycle Network™ or craigslist, or donate them to a non-profit organization, which they in turn sell to raise money. Again, be aware that the criteria of accepted items can be very specific, which may or may not coincide with what you want/need to get rid of at any given time. So, you'll need so keep that in mind should you go that route. Here are a couple of organizations I came across that accept such donations, however I have not tried myself:

As with my books, I decided to go the swap route again and checked out the following three sites:
Creating an account at each of these sites is free and fairly simple to do. However, on SwapaCD you will be charged 0.49/trade plus one SwapaCD credit.

I'm sure at this point, with the growth of the Internet, there are hundreds of swap sites to choose from, so you may be aware of others that you prefer. In fact let me offer this disclaimer right now:

My upcoming reviews of these sites strictly reflect my particular experience ONLY! (as does everything else discussed on twigghugger!) You're mileage may vary, so the sites described here (and elsewhere on twigghugger) may or may not end up being your cup of tea.

Having by now accumulated a bit of swapping experience under my belt, my ideal swapping situation

  • allows me to generate a shipping label (free, or the allowing the postage to be prepaid by credit card)
  • allows me to drop the item in the mailbox, thus avoiding the lines at the post-office or dealing with cranky postal clerks
  • allows the option of sending/receiving all materials (jewel or DVD case, liner notes, artwork, etc)
  • is as simple as possible to use in terms of listing and tracking items for trade
None of the three CD swap sites that I considered had all three qualities together. So far the only swap site that I have used that meets all these criteria is Bookins (see Something for the Bibliophile), but alas at this time you can only swap books through them.

Be that as it may, for my purposes, one CD/DVD swap site did emerge as my preferred site. Here is a quick and dirty chart summing up my overall opinions.

but I will discuss them all in more detail in separate, upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I was poking around the Internet, and came across BookMooch. I was immediately intrigued! The site's look and feel is delightfully whimsical, but at the same time uncluttered and easy to use. As you know by now, All Qualities I Like!

So, I signed up and listed my available titles. Thus far I have sent out three items.

When someone requests your book, you get a detailed email with a lot of helpful information, but directly relevant to sending out the item are:

  • the requestor's name
  • the book they want
  • the address to which the book should be sent
  • the points you' ve been awarded for the immediate request at hand, as well as a tally of the total points you have earned so far
Also conveniently included in this email are links allowing you to
  • log-in to the site and accept, delay, reject or indicate that you have sent the request
  • visit the site's postage cost calculator page
However going to your BookMooch inventory page and clicking into any of the links for your listed titles will allow you to perform these tasks as well.

Another element that some may find appealing to swapping through BookMooch is a philanthropic one. BookMooch members have the option of donating the points they accrue through swapping, to charity thereby subsidizing book requests for such organizations (See

A couple of logistical considerations. I found the BookMooch point system used a little confusing, but since I'm more interested in finding new homes for the books I already have rather than requesting books, understanding it was less important to me. But, if it is important to you, you can read more about it at the site: Also, at BookMooch the sender pays for and arranges the shipping.

Happy Mooching!