Printable bottle gift tags

After a day of traveling yesterday, I'm popping in for a minute to wish you guys a merry Christmas! I'm taking a blogging break until the new year, but wanted to share something I whipped up. If you plan to give any bottles of wine, champagne, or other festive drinks as gifts, maybe you could use some gift tags.

Download the PDF here, print it at 100%, cut out the tags, and slip them onto your bottles for instant fanciness. (I've also posted an alternate 2012 new year's design on my portfolio site.)

Have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year, everyone!
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DIY paper snowflake decorations

Somehow my gift wrapping session turned into a snowflake cutting session. I wanted to try making some snowflakes that look a little more 3D than the usual version. These are made with computer paper, a stapler, double-sided tape, and a scissors.

If you've got standard staples that are 1/2" wide, accordian-fold a sheet of computer paper so that the pleats are 8 1/2" wide by about 3/4". If you get to the end of the sheet and have a little extra paper left over, trim it off.

Staple the folded paper as close to the center of the stack as your stapler will reach. Fold the stack in half at the staple and cut off any excess paper from the long side. The staple should now be in the center.

Unless you're using extra thin paper or you have super-human strength, you won't be able to cut through all the layers of paper when the stack is folded in half. So unfold the stack and cut a snowflake pattern out of one half, then repeat for the other half, duplicating your design.

Pull open the accordian folds and join two adjacent ends with double-sided tape, forming a semicircle.

Repeat the process to make the other half of the snowflake decoration, cutting the same design from a second piece of folded paper. Join the two halves together with more tape.

Try making smaller snowflakes from a single piece of paper—put the staple closer to one end of the folded stack and cut more off the other end.
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And still more Christmas printables

The printables just keep on coming! I love Christmas because the internet is bursting at the seams with freebies from generous designers. If there's any ink left in your printer cartridge, help yourself to these holiday cards and gift tags. Get the goodies above in two colorways here at Hey Look.

Download Camilla Engman's woodland-themed set here.

And get French and English versions of this card here from Mon Carnet. (Plus a coordinating desktop here!)
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Simple Christmas tree desktop wallpapers

I like my desktops pared down and minimal. If you do too, grab one of these geometric tree wallpapers. Fetch the first design from Simple Desktops. The second wallpaper is from Mufn Inc., part of a 24-day series of Christmas downloads—find them all at Lemon Squeezy.
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Make a garland from woven paper balls

I love paper Christmas decorations, so when I bumped into The Cheese Thief's woven paper ball tutorial, I had to give it a try. They're curiously addicting. Maybe I should carry some supplies with me to pass the time in long check-out lines, boring holiday parties, or during that weird Choreography number in White Christmas.

These are made out of paper and one piece of tape. You can cut your own strips (mine are 1/2" wide and 11" long, which yields a ball that's about 1 1/4" in diameter) or use shiny paper ribbon.

Hang them individually or glue them onto a wreath form. I'm stringing mine on baker's twine to add to the tree. Taping the end of the twine to a toothpick "needle" makes stringing them easier. I plan to space them out along the string, using a dot of hot glue to hold each ball in place where the twine passes through. Get the weaving instructions here!
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Wallpaper your desktop with Hermès

It's about time to take a little break and waste some time, isn't it? I think so. Head to the Hermès website and click the tiny picture of wallpaper rolls in a bin (the images will take a moment to load). Choose a pattern category at the bottom of the page. Then drag your favorite color from the bin to the top of the "wall" and pull it down to unroll the paper. Add more strips until the wall is complete. Download the pattern to use on your computer. My desktop is sporting a dark blue herringbone at the moment and looking quite dapper.
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Print and build a nativity set

Marloes de Vries, a designer and illustrator from the Netherlands, has created a nativity set you can make from paper. Print out either the colored version or a line drawing that kids can color themselves. Then assemble the figures with a bit of glue. Get the PDFs here!
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Make your own Christmas decorations

Here are tutorials for a handful of unique holiday decorations. There's plenty of time left to make them... along with shopping and wrapping and mailing and cooking and hosting and visiting. No problem. Right? Try your hand at these projects:

Felt Christmas ornaments at The Purl Bee
Paper bag wreath at Bloesem Kids
Helvetica stockings from Teal & Lime
Amigurumi bear ornaments (make pandas, koalas, and teddies) using this pattern by All About Ami
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New fonts from the Lost Type Co-op

I see that the Lost Type Co-op has added some new fonts since the last time I was browsing over there. Check out Arvil and Lavanderia in particular. To download them, you can make a donation to the designer in any amount or enter "0" for a freebie.
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Printable holiday gift tags galore—all free!

Get Helen Dardik's cheerful 2011 labels here.

Use feather labels from Love Vs. Design to make your gift stand out.

If you live in a mountain cabin, these rustic wood type tags are mandatory. Get an entire Christmas printable kit from Ellinée.

Sass & Peril offers a downloadable set of freebies with crisp graphics right here.

For an unconventional color palette, print out these sheets of Christmas labels offered at The Sweetest Occasion, designed by Jen of Blush Printables.
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Pattern review: Two Zip Hipster bag

My mum just tried out Erin Erickson's Two Zip Hipster sewing pattern and sent over the result. And now we have a problem on our hands, because I love it so much I want a dozen of them in different fabrics. Is that greedy? It's my new favorite bag design.

It's got a zipper closure so no worries about your wallet falling out.

There's a pocket on the inside, plus two more on the outside.

The 9" x 11" size is exactly what I like in a bag. Just big enough to fit a book and an iPad, yet trim and not bulky. And the strap length is adjustable so you can carry it over the shoulder or wear it across your body, messenger bag style.

Here are Mum's thoughts on the process of sewing it:

"This pattern looks intimidating at first glance because it contains 32 pages, 17 of which are pattern pieces. But not to fear! Those 17 pattern pieces, when cut out and taped together as instructed, amount to only 9 actual pieces. The remaining 15 pages contain a LOT of photos, which are labeled and have notes to point out what the written instructions mean. Every detail is explained very clearly, so even if you're a beginner sewer, you'll be able to make this bag.

The bag has two zippers. If you're afraid of zippers, your fear will be gone after sewing this bag. They're so easy with these instructions, and they look professionally done.

One of the things I liked best about making this bag was cutting it out (which I normally hate). Every single piece is a rectangle, so with a cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter, cutting was a breeze. The VERY best thing I liked, though, was the bag itself... I love it! I will definitely be making more of these. Thanks, Erin, for an excellent pattern!"

So yeah. If you sew, you probably ought to buy this pattern. It's a PDF you can purchase and download right here from Erin's pattern shop, Dog Under My Desk. Have fun sewing!

Update: Erin has now added tips for making an optional iPad pocket.
Another update: Mom made another one!

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How to make an origami Christmas tree

Fans of paper folding will admire Francesco Guarnieri's work, including this fantastic fir tree. Sara Adams of Happy Folding demonstrates how to make it right here. So lovely!
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Easy paper ice cream ornaments

I added some more DIY ornaments to our Christmas tree. I'm having trouble adjusting to the thought of winter; can you tell? These ice cream cones are made from tissue paper and a grocery bag.

To make the cones, cut circles from a brown paper bag. Mine were about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut each circle in half. Shape the semicircles into cones, cutting off any extra paper you don't need (the section that's sticking out in the photo.) Secure the cone with hot glue.

Wad a couple pieces of tissue paper into balls. I used chunks that were roughly 6" x 12", folded them in half, and crumpled them up.

If you plan to hang the ice cream cones, thread a needle with a doubled piece of thread. Poke the needle down through the top of the ball that will be the top scoop, so that a loop of thread sticks out of the top. Secure the loose ends on the underside with a dab of hot glue and trim off the excess.

Line the inside rim of the cone with hot glue and push the bottom scoop into the cone. Spread glue on the underside of the top scoop and add it to the cone. Let the glue dry for a minute and hang it on the tree.
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Printable Christmas postcard freebie

Planning to send some quick Christmas greetings? Download printable postcards by Alison Owen right here, featuring the font Skunkling.
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Meet my new portfolio website

I'm pleased to announce that my new-and-improved portfolio website is up and running! Blogging here at How About Orange is a fun side project, but the majority of my work is graphic design for businesses: logos, brochures, various sorts of marketing materials. My old site was tricky for me to update since I don't know much about coding, and it needed to be more informative for prospective clients.

The new site is built by Wordpress guru Jenn de la Fuente of Rosebud Designs. I shopped around a bit for someone to build this, and Jenn really impressed me with her skills and responsiveness. She transformed my Photoshop layouts into a website that's super easy to update. I can change any of the content whenever I want— add new case studies, more work samples, switch out text, insert pictures of kittens, anything I feel like. Jenn gives clients a demo over the phone plus a manual for how to use their new site. All I have to do is follow the clear directions, and I'm not even worried I'm going to break anything or make it explode. She's fantastic to work with, so if you're looking for someone to build a website for you, hire Jenn. (But not too many of you, or she'll get too busy and I won't be able to book her for future projects.)
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Retro printable Christmas boxes and tags

If you like nostalgic Christmas graphics, you'll get a kick out of these tiny Christmas boxes from artist Jason Snyder. One set is designed to look like vintage boxes of lights from dime stores, while other sets feature old-fashioned gift wrap. Get them here.

Print out Jason's templates at a size you like and assemble these little guys. (A thank you goes to Alex for cooperating when I thrust a box into his hand and commanded him to stand by the window so I could take a picture.)

And you likely need some retro gift tags for your presents. If so, grab some of these freebies from My Girl Thursday.
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