Tag Archives: furoshiki

Happy Birthday Leap Year Babies

Birthday balloons, with ribbonsImage via Geronimo Balloon-Troopers, these balloons all done up with ribbon are true show-stoppers, don’t you think?

For people born on February 29, leap years must be a big deal.  If you’re birthday is today, happy happy birthday!  I hope you plan on celebrating in grand style today!

I’ve always thought February 29 was so special. So I was sorely disappointed to not turn up all sorts of fun traditions and folklore associated with Leap Years when I Googled the term recently.   Except of course for this, by way of Wikipedia:  Apparently during a Leap Year, women can propose marriage to men.  And men, it turns out, have to accept these proposals or else pay the hefty fines ranging from a kiss and silk dress (in Scotland) to 12 pairs of gloves (in Denmark). This was a law first described in 1288.  ”Haha” you say, “Because laws are determined by petulant five year old girls?” Indeed yes, and this five-year old’s name Queen Margaret of Scotland.  The tradition entered the cultural zeitgeist in the late 19th/early 20th century.  Here’s a postcard celebrating 1908:

birthday post card

Image via Wikipedia

But I digress…  If you’re throwing a birthday bash, whether for yourself, as a surprise for that special someone, or for a little one in your life, do it in style with some these pretty party favours and decor, most of which have a fun DIY component:


Birthday balloonsImage via Geronimo Balloon-Troopers.  Order these spectacular balloons online (and inflate locally) to delight someone special.

Those balloons above by Geronimo Balloon-Troopers are simply stunning.  They’re also HUGE, requiring about as much helium as 30 regular balloons.  The master balloon-trooper herself just wants to delight and inspire the recipients of these magical spheres, which I’m certain she must.  Making people’s days, day in and out, that’s the life!   If you’re in the LA area you can place a local order and pick them up.  For the rest of us, Fed-Ex will have to do.

Here’s what Geronimo Balloon-Troopers did for Valentine’s Day:

Geronimo Balloons Valentine’s Day from hak lonh on Vimeo.

Party Hats

I must admit I love the festivity of the silly cone party hat.  Elevate yours by following these two tutorials.

DIY picture party had

Image via Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart takes you through a step-by-step guide to creating these fun party hats that truly fete the birthday babe.  These would be fun to use at an anniversary party too where guests could don hats depicting the happy couple over their marriage.

Image and tutorial via Oh Happy Day

Oh Happy Day is a blog that just makes you smile.  The photos and tutorials, the design and writing. Especially hearing about her family’s recent move to Paris for the year.  Swoon.  And here’s Jordan with a lovely how-to guide to making your own party hats.

DIY Birthday Candles

DIY Birthday candles

Image via Design Mom.  Be sure to check out the tutorial on Martha Stewart’s Craft Department.

Don’t forget the candles.  If you’re looking for something to tie into a particular theme, or just don’t care to do a lot of cake decorating, making your own festive candles can be great fun.

Treat Bag

Image via Graham and Olive on Etsy

An elegant take on the traditional grab bag, why not use furoshiki wrap cloths to enclose a lovely take away from your party.  Those pictured above are from Etsy Shop Graham and Olive and are oh so pretty and of course, reusable.  For our own how-to on furoshiki wrapping check out Mandy’s post.

Happy Birthday to Leaplings!

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It’s How-To Wednesday!

via supercosy

Furoshiki is the traditional art of folding fabric to wrap or carry just about anything. It dates back to the mid-Edo period (1603-1868) and was first used as a way of carrying toiletries to the public bath house.  To do traditional furoshiki you need a special square cloth, but a large scarf, tea towel or a piece of ordinary fabric will also work. There are a number of different folding techniques for different purposes, here are a few basic wraps to try.

One Scarf Three Ways

I’m using a vintage silk scarf to demonstrate three basic furoshiki techniques. A thicker fabric will give you much sturdier results, but may be trickier to knot. None of these took more than a couple of minutes to learn and do.

Wrap it up

Wrapping presents furoshiki style is a green alternative to wrapping paper. The cloth is reusable and you can even use a pretty tea towel for a kitchen-related or housewarming gift. Here’s a diagram of three different wraps. I used the Otsukai Tsutsumi to wrap my little book.

via bulb in blue

BYOBW (Bring Your Own Bottle Wrap)

If you’re giving a bottle of wine or sake as a gift, or just want to protect your own bottles when transporting them, this simple wrap is a cinch to do. Below is a video of someone demonstrating the single bottle wrap. I twisted the ends at the top of my bottle and secured them with an additional knot for a little added decoration.

Bag It

Probably my favourite use for furoshiki is to create a quick bag for whenever you need it. With a smaller cloth you can make a little carryall like I did, or with a larger square you can make a tote bag or even a backpack. To create a very basic little bag hold your cloth so it makes a square (like in the photo below). Tie the top and bottom corners together on both sides creating handles and then fold the two knots towards each other.

Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth- Uguisu

If you’re interested in tracking down Furoshiki cloths a couple of good online shops I’ve found are Uguisu, Bento & Co and Furoshiki.com. There are some beautiful patterns to be found at all these shops.

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