Gift Wrapping Tutorial: Part Two

I hope you enjoyed the first gift wrapping tutorial where we wrapped the first two gifts and looked at the exciting world of working with tissue paper, basic gift wrapping, hiding tape and making six-loop bows.

Get excited everyone because today is all about wrapping with double-sided paper, tying four-loop bows, creating tulle bows, and selecting gift bags!  Yahoo!

Why do I love gift wrapping?  It shows someone how much you care, it’s pretty and – only taking a few minutes per box – there is some major immediate gratification involved.  So let’s delve in to the second and last gift wrapping tutorial!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Gift Three: Double-Sided Paper

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Who doesn’t love double-sided wrapping paper?  But it begs one important question – what do you do with it?  How do you capitalize on the double-sided printing except to wrap it like normal and for the person to say “oh this is double-sided paper,” while unwrapping?

I have an answer for you.  It involves just a few extra steps, but will make your gifts look extra special!

Select a box that isn’t too big or too small.  A gift too big will be difficult to manage with this wrapping style; likewise, a gift too small will be tedious to wrap and may result in you throwing the box across the room.

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Start by cutting an extra long piece of paper – add about five inches to the amount you would normally cut.  I cut my paper a bit too thin and ended up using another piece, so ignore how little the edges are in this picture.  It will be magically rectified in just a second.

Tape the first side of paper down on top of the box.  Instead of taping near the middle, the paper should cover most of the box top.

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Fold the untaped edge under at a right angle, so the paper has a nice clean edge.  Secure the fold with a piece of tape.  This tape won’t be seen, so just slap it right on.  You can see the green band of paper I’m holding – that’s the part I just folded and taped.  Now make another fold – this will be where the underside of your paper shows.  Make it as wide as you want.  Mine is about three inches wide.

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Tape both sides down with the same folded tape method we used to wrap the packages in the first post.

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Now it looks like this.  Both edges of the green band are taped down.  My edges are way too long so I trimmed them.

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You’re going to wrap the ends upside down from the normal box wrapping method.  Start by taping the green flap and adjoining paper to the box.

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Fold and tape the bottom flap.  Make sure to use the tape-folding method so no tape shows.

Tape showing is the cardinal sin of professional gift wrapping, if you haven’t noticed.  It’s like how good updos have no bobby pins showing – your hair is supposed to appear to be magically defying gravity and all other laws of physics.

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Next we can tie a bow.  Choose ribbon that contrasts with the reversed strip of paper.  This bow is similar to the six-loop bow from the first gift wrapping post.  Smaller gifts usually do best with smaller bows, lest the bow swallow up the gift.  That would be sad.

Tie a ribbon around the gift, centered on the flap of paper.  Tie it into a knot with about five inches of excess per side.

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Now it’s time for the bow.  Start by making a loop of ribbon.  My loop is about two inches long.  Pinch the sides together, turn the ribbon an entire turn, make another loop.

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Now you have two loops.  Repeat.

Cut the bow off the spool of ribbon and tie it onto the ribbon already around the package  – I go into more detail about this process in the first tutorial.

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Clip the edges and you’re done!

Excuse the ribbon’s frayed edges.  I bought new scissors after this photo shoot.  They’re bright turquoise, and I told The Professor they’re only for ribbon – not for cutting paper or green onions or breaking down chicken.  Then he reminded me that I was the one who used scissors to cut paper, green onions and chicken.  Not him.  So then I reminded myself of all the new scissor rules.

Gift Three, Part 2: Tulle

Still intimidated by ribbon?  Have no fear.  I have just the thing for you – tulle!  It’s beyond easy.  It always looks perfect.  It is a shiny, puffy miracle.

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Tie a piece of tulle around the present with a few inches of excess, just like you would do with ribbon.  Now make a bow.  Because the tulle is so thin and gauzy and beautious, you can do a lot more loops with the tulle than the ribbon.  There’s no pinching or twisting involved.  Just go back and forth making a few loops, holding the ribbon in the center.

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Tie it down to the ribbon already on the package, and cut the excess.  It fluffs up beautifully!

Easy as pie.  Pie’s actually hard to make.  Easy as snow cones.

Tulle ribbons also flatten easily in shipping and look great again after just a few seconds of fluffing.  If you happen to be mailing packages to grandkids, this is a wonderful material to use in wrapping!

Gift Four: Gift Bags

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Fact – I hate gift bags.  I think they’re over priced and not fun to wrap and not fun to open.  But whether you’re in a hurry, you’re wrapping a kid’s toy that’s oddly shaped, or if you happen to love gift bags, sometimes they’re the way to go.

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Rather than buying a $2 disposable gift bag, I like to buy a reusable tote.  So many stores have them these days.  They’re great for grocery shopping, taking lunch to work and beach bags.  I paid just between $2 and $3 for this Pier 1 Imports tote.  It was the perfect size to wrap the stuffed animal, and now it’s the perfect size for lunches.  Plus, it allows your guests to think of you as they use their reusable tote.

www.accidentalokie.com | gift wrappingJust a little tissue paper, and this gift wrap is beautiful, reusable and green!

Thanks to Brandi from Life by Brandi, a natural-light photographer in Oklahoma City, for these photos.  I couldn’t possibly take pictures of a step-by-step wrapping tutorial, and I was thrilled when Brandi said she’d help me!  If you live in Oklahoma, you should check out her awesome photography!!!

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I hope you enjoyed the gift wrapping series!  Good luck with all your wrapping.

Let us know – how much of your gift wrapping have you finished?

Gluten Free Crepe Recipe

Crepes are one of my new food loves.  Sadly, I didn’t attempt making them until this year.  Crepes seemed intimidating with all that pan twirling.  And didn’t I need a special crepe pan?  And gluten-free crepes, those can’t be good or easy, right?  Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong.

Unlike pancakes which are very bready, crepes are more milk and eggs than flour.  This means they don’t give me that overly sweet headache I get after eating pancakes.   I’ve become very sensitive to overly-sweet things in my old age.  A crepe is basically solidified, not-too-sweet, pan-fried custard.  Serve with a little powdered sugar and a big glass of milk, and you’ve got yourself a great breakfast…or dinner.  I love them.  And I hope you will love them too.

Crepes are also very easy to modify to be gluten-free.  I found a recipe I like here, and have made a few modifications of my own.

Start with some good gluten-free flour.  I used King Arthur Multi-Purpose Flour.  If you make your own flour mix, use that.  If you buy a mix, make sure it doesn’t contain any xantham or guar gum.  No thickeners are needed in this recipe.

Full disclosure: King Arthur Flour sent me this flour to review, but don’t worry, you can’t buy my love.  My reviews are unbiased because my goal is to be helpful, especially if you’re new to the gluten-free diet.  Also, all that stuff about ethics.

I like King Arthur Multi-Purpose Flour mix for several reasons:

  1. Their flour mix is very close to the mix I make.  It’s a good mix with great texture, no funky smells and no graininess.
  2. The mix contains no salt, xanthum or guar gum.  It is a blank palette.
  3. It is “multi-purpose mix.”  I like that they call it that.  There is no such thing as all-purpose gluten-free flour.  The quicker you get the idea of all-purpose gluten-free flour out of your head, the quicker you’ll stop having a broken heart and ruined recipes.  Like the name implies, multi-purpose flour doesn’t work for everything.  I wouldn’t make a roux with it.  I wouldn’t use it to make pâte à choux.  I would use it for crepes and pancakes and cookies and cakes and banana bread though.  (Anything except crepes and pancakes need to have xantham or guar gum added).

Mixes are always more expensive, so make your own flour mix if you’re a pro.  If you’re a gluten-free beginner, mixes are a great way to get your sea legs.

Back to the crepes: get a cup of gluten-free flour.

Mix together the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients: baking powder and sugar and a bit of salt.  Stir the dry ingredients together so they’re nice and mixed together.

Remember one of the cardinal rules of gluten-free baking: if you modify a regular recipe to a gluten-free recipe, always half the salt and use unsalted butter.

Gluten-free flours have a neutral taste compared to strong-tasting (and evil) wheat flour, and therefore can’t take the full amount of salt.  But there is a silver lining: that same neutral tasting gluten-free flour puts the spotlight on other flavors – cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg – they are all more vibrant in gluten-free baked goodies.

You haven’t lived, I tell ya, until you’ve had a gluten-free spice cake.  And that’s a fact, Jack.

Put two tablespoons of butter in the microwave to melt.

Measure out one and a quarter cups of milk.

Using only your palest and most unmanicured hand, crack two eggs into the milk and stir them up real good.  See, I told you crepes were more about the milk and eggs and less about the flour.

Stir in the butter.  This is why you want the eggs to be mixed in really well.  You wouldn’t want splotches of scrambled eggs in your crepes.  That would be gross.

Don’t toss the butter bowl into the sink just yet.  You’ll use it again in a second.

I owe a lifetime of gratitude to Ree Drummond for introducing me to vanilla bean paste.  It’s basically the scraped out bits of the vanilla bean in a convenient jar.  Oh so good.  It’s much cheaper than vanilla beans, and costs about the same as high-quality vanilla extract.  One bottle usually lasts me a year.

Can you see all the vanilla beans (technical name: vanilla caviar) in the thick, gooey paste.  Yum.

If you want to make savory crepes, skip the sugar and vanilla.

But that leads me to an important question.  Why would you want to make savory crepes?  The powdered sugar is the best part?  I guess you could fill it with chicken and spinach and all those other crepe-y things.  If you must.

Dump the wet and the dry mixes together and whisk until the batter is nice and smooth.

Side note: I love my flat whisk.  It’s a whisk.  It’s a spatula.  It senses my needs.

Remember that butter bowl (or ramekin in this case) I told you not to toss in the sink?  It’s time for its second act.

Melt a tablespoon or so of butter in it.  Once it’s melted, add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Don’t stress out about the measurements – just get it about half and half.  You’ll use this to butter the pan each time.  The butter gives the crepes great flavor, keeps them from sticking to the pan, and creates the signature bubbly marks on the crepes’ surface.  The added oil keeps the butter from burning on the pan.

Now heat up your pan over medium-high heat and assemble your tools: a spatula, a cooking brush, a quarter-cup measure and a whisk.  Get ready to do the crepe dance.

The crepe dance goes something like this (to the tune of Gangnam Style).

  1. Butter – Butter pan with cooking brush.  I just use my regular old 10-inch non-stick frying pan.  It works great.
  2. Whisk – Give the batter a quick whisk.  The batter is so light that the flour sinks down to the bottom.  Do this step every time.
  3. Pour – Scoop a quarter cup of batter on to the hot pan.  The batter will immediately start to sizzle.  Grab the skillet’s handle and swirl the skillet around gently until the batter is evenly distributed.  (Adjust the amount of your scoop based on the size of your pan).
  4. Flip – Allow to cook until the bottom is golden brown (you can slide your spatula under to take a peek).  It’s about 45 seconds to a minute.  Flip with your spatula and let it cook for another 30 seconds to a minute.
  5. Repeat – Until all your beautiful crepes are cooked.

Fold them in fours and put them on a plate.  Top with a little butter and powdered sugar.

Aren’t they beautiful, and you can make them too!

Gluten Free Crepes
Yields 8
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup gluten-free flour mix without xanthan gum
  2. 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. 1 1/4 cups milk
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  8. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  10. 1 tablespoon canola oil
Instructions
  1. Mix the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the milk and eggs and then drizzle in the butter, constantly stirring the milk. Whisk in the vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth.
  3. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. After it's melted, add the tablespoon of oil. Stir to combine.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the butter/oil mixture on the skillet, rewhisk the batter and scoop a quarter of a cup of batter on the skillet. Quickly grab the handle of the skillet and twirl the pan around until the crepe is spread thinly around the pan. After about a minute, flip the crepe and let it cook for 30 seconds to a minute on the other side. Complete this step for every crepe.
  5. Serve with any of the following: butter and powdered sugar, fruit compote, Nutella, or maple syrup.
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