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Call me a dinosaur….

I’ve always been one to drag my heels with social media. Call me a dinosaur but I get a buzz from interacting with real people not a screen.

When I first had a website to showcase my gift wrapping business, I really thought that was enough. I was done!

Then I added a blog so people could see little step by step tutorials and get a bit of inspiration. Job done! So I thought…..

My sons thought Twitter would suit me because my text replies are short and sweet e.g.

Son ‘ will you be in tonight?’

Me ‘yep’

So you can see they were correct, I don’t have the problem most people have of not having enough characters. I embraced Twitter instantly and it’s served me well. I have had all sorts of opportunities that have come directly from Twitter. Twitter and I were, and perhaps still are, a match made in heaven.

Then one day, at a workshop with eight lovely ladies, I was begged to showcase all my wrapping on Instagram. I resisted……obviously. Eventually though I caved in and thought I’d just give a try. Guess what? I got beyond mere flirting with IG ……it became a whole new love affair. Who’d have thought?

I know all this will make you think I’m very cool and down with the kids BUT IM NOT!

Everyone else in the world is on Facebook. I’m trying to embrace Facebook but do you know, I’ve barely got as far as a luke warm cuddle. I’m not feeling it. I’m still not quite seeing the point when I’m doing the other stuff…so if you’re on Facebook please connect to Gift Frippery I’ll be pleased to make some friends. And do bear with me…. it could take a while!

Valentines Day is on the way!

Valentines Day is on the way!

Perhaps you give flashy gifts? Perhaps you give small tokens of love! Perhaps you create your own gifts.

Either way, you can choose gorgeous wrappings….

Or you can make your own and have a relaxing time while you’re doing it!

Cut a shape into a potato and stand it on absorbent paper, cut side down, so it dries off a bit and therefore your printing will be sharper.

You can even involve the little ones in your life! Mistakes and smudges don’t really matter, it all adds to the charm. Don’t feel you have to stick with red and white. Go with what you fancy and do some Easter wrapping while you’re at it!

Happy New Year!

Daily Mail
Professional gift wrapper Amanda White. December 18 2016.

Was 2016 a marvellous year? I can’t pretend it was ALL marvellous, like many of you it had its ups and downs, some plain sailing and some bumps. Most of the bumps were health related with the extended family. All the marvellous bits were also connected with family….. A new baby on the way  for my lovely son and his girlfriend. An art show in New York for my youngest son and his partner. And a visit over Christmas from my daughter and her family ( from Australia). Having all my family under my roof is a rare treat these days as they all grow up, fly the nest and establish their own lives. Celebrating a rather big birthday, I spent three weeks in India (see earlier blog post) which was fascinating and I long to go back.

So it’s with delight that I’m accepting new challenges with Gift Frippery! One such opportunity arrived with very little notice…. Filming for the Daily Mail online , see the links on page 1 of the website. As I love presenting anyway, I don’t find it daunting, I really enjoy it!

I give many demonstrations to groups and I gave one at a lovely Welsh WI group. They applauded every wrap and invited me to join their festive supper. At the end of the evening they stood and sung me out!!! Yes really, there were some good voices in the hall that night.

I’ve also been invited to help an independent shop offer a gift wrapping service to their customers. I’ll enjoy that, I know, as I’ve done this a couple of times before.

I joined a networking group in Bristol, see earlier blog post, and I love it. I’ve found one that I feel comfortable with and realise how important that is. If you’re going to join one, make sure it’s the right one for you!

So my work starts next week attending an Expert Series workshop with @shcsocialmedia. It will help me find my unique place in the market and use my personality to grow my business.

Watch this space!


One of the best things I did in 2016!

One of the best things I did in 2016!

Browsing on Twitter a few weeks ago brought unexpected pleasure. Ben, from @caringinbristol, was tweeting and asking for gift wrapping help. GIFT WRAPPING HELP????? That’s got my name on it, I thought, let’s find out more.


So, Caring in Bristol, is a local charity that helps homeless people in Bristol all year round. We do think of people less fortunate than ourselves at Christmas but it should really be all year. Ben and I had a chat and I volunteered to help. Bristol Energy offered the use of a space on the waterfront in central Bristol. It’s a hive of activity there complete with an artisan market.

So his plan was to offer gift wrapping in return for donations to the cause. It’s a brilliant and positive and happy way to raise funds. The first day we did a lot of prep to set the following weekends wrappers up. The general public are very good and people were making small donations even if they didn’t have anything for us to wrap!


It will be interesting to see how much they raise.

Ben and I did a lot of chatting, he’s passionate about the cause, and Caring in Bristol will be my chosen charity in 2017. Ben has big ideas for next years wrapping event, he ll need volunteers again and I’m going to help him organise it. Watch this space.


Pretty bits of loveliness from your own garden.

Pretty bits of loveliness from your own garden.


I came back from a long weekend in Vienna to find ,what on a first glance , looked like a sorry, dried out vase of flowers. They were quite literally dried out though. I had picked them a week before from my garden. There’s few flowers left at this time of year but it may still be possible to rescue hydrangea heads.


Snip the individual flowers off and when completely dry, try the following.


I held the flower with old tweezers and gave it a quick spread with fast grab glue and immediately dunked it into glitter. The glitter I chose was quite fine and it was white. I spayed randomly, definitely not evenly. It gives the look of frost.

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I obviously needed to try this out on a gift wrap immediately. Chose plain brown paper or I’ve used my own hand printed paper ,which has a natural seed pod design.

Frankly I couldn’t be happier with my dead flowers!!! What’s not to love!

Chocolate Takeover!

Chocolate Takeover!

Sounds like a wonderful thing in my life and indeed it is. This whole year I have collaborated with @shcsocialmedia #cnwm and provided wrapped after lunch chocolates at their networking event. This was a lovely opportunity to share what I do in a more memorable way. I talk about my business and then give everyone a small wrapped gift of chocolate. These are discerning ladies so it’s always quality chocolate and, as you would expect …….beautifully wrapped.


The networking is held in a small vintage shop called @heartfeltvintage , look out for them on Instagram and Twitter. Whilst we’re sharing ideas and helping each other, we are surrounded by gorgeous vintage wedding gowns and whilst I found it a little distracting to start with I love it now. You can imagine us all sitting there making our outfit wish lists if we were to get married all over again!!


The great thing about this small group is people get to know you and tell you things about yourself you didn’t realise or they sometimes see you and your business in a different light. For example when I asked ‘ is £5 an acceptable amount for you to pay to have a very special present gift wrapped?’ I expected a quick show of hands telling me yes. I didn’t expect a whole debate, with people saying I have especially lovely creative ideas with my gift wrapping that people would be very very happy to pay for. I felt a little overwhelmed by all the compliments actually as I always excuse my business as being the light entertainment!!

Anyway this resulted in my agreeing to make prices for different levels of wrapping ….there will be a new page on this website soon. In the meantime as I’ve had a lot of practise, let me show you how to make a humble bar of chocolate look great!

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Well, not just any old chocolate, but beautifully wrapped chocolate. Fourteen bars of it!

Don’t worry I’m not that greedy, each month I wrap after dinner chocolate for a small networking group who meet in the most delicious looking vintage shop in Bristol.

When I say vintage shop, in case any of you are thinking fusty, musty, stinky shabby etc etc…….this shop is gorgeous gowns, and bags all prettily presented around small French cafe style tables and chairs. So, it’s networking with an experience.

Some times I find it hard to concentrate when a particular handbag is calling my name!!!

Anyway, I was thinking about this shop and it’s lovely dresses….even wedding dresses… That I decided to uses magazine photos of real brides as wrapping. And then I added real bows and tiny flowers to embellish. They all look so pretty!

With thanks to @hfeltvintage @shcsocialmedia @rocknrollbride @waitrose. Do give them all a follow on Twitter , you’ll find me there too @giftfrippery


Paper Making In India


Who’d have thought that when I went to India the holiday would get gate crashed by the Royals… Kate and Will?

I certainly didn’t expect it but it was rather entertaining to have them in our hotel.


India had been top of my wish list for years and it certainly did not disappoint. The colours hit you the minute you step out of the airport. The colours mostly coming from the saris. Beautiful. The sounds also hit you at the same time. The traffic is full on and so are the horns beeping! And the smells….of food, spices, garlic, onion, curry and all the sweet treats Indian people love so much. It’s a feast for the senses that’s for sure.

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I had a small wish list of things to buy. One of the things were bracelets. Not ordinary bangles that you can buy in lots of places but the glass bangles that make an exquisite tinkling sound. They were quite difficult to find but I did! They’d never be sold in the UK because of health and safety and I’m not sure I’ll wear them often either, but I feel like I found treasure that may not be around much longer. Even when I went shopping I managed to find lovely frescoes. I had a photo here because I loved the colours.

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This has to be a top moment! Not your usual tourist spot, but I asked the driver to take me to a paper factory. They hand make the paper and I was like a kid in a sweet shop! I ordered loads to ship back to the UK which I will be selling and using at workshops. Beautiful stuff. At one point on the walk around the factory, I heard lots of banging upstairs so the Manager took us up to see what was happening.

All the women were whacking damp paper with a brush (like a dustpan and brush) to texture the paper. Obviously I asked to join in. They were astonished enough to see a blonde haired, white face in the factory, let alone one that wanted to join in. By the time I’d finished doing my paper, they were laughing and pointing out the bits I’d missed! Money can’t buy experiences like that.and it was more interesting to spend one day doing this instead of seeing yet another red, sandstone fort! Jaipur….I will return.


And finally, me in a dress which a colleague of my husband had sent to the hotel for me. How kind, how lovely….just like every Indian person I met!


Gift Wrapping in fast speed on Made In Bristol TV!!

I know, it was like magic when I saw how quickly I wrapped that bottle!!

Of course, it wasn’t really really magic, but that’s the wonder of fast forward isn’t it? I quite see myself as Julie Andrews in the tidy the bedroom scene, clicking her fingers and getting the job done. Having spruced up and tidied the kitchen where the filming was taking place, I decided to put a couple of Christmassy bits around the room. At 10 am the camera man arrived and set up the lights and camera. I talked Jamie (the presenter) through the plan of action and he explained how and what would work well on camera. I wasn’t too daunted as I have done a little TV and radio work before. In fact I really enjoyed myself.

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The filming probably took about two hours. Luckily Id made mince pies the day before. Id forgotten how hungry young men can be!

Jamie brought along a jumper, a football and a bottle. None of these were actual Christmas presents which was a shame. He was a fast learner though so I have no doubt he will recreating some of the wrapping. I taught Jamie to use the glue gun. I know its not exactly rocket science but what impressed me was he was so clean with it. Half the people who use the glue guns at workshops get glue all over the place.

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Top Tips for Christmas Wrapping.


1. Try and pick a plain colour wrapping paper…. Even brown paper or white.

2. Not everything needs a bow. Make a bright red paper windmill instead or a pompom. Tie bells on or fresh ivy.

3. If you love glitter have it on the tags and ribbons, so that the bulk of the paper can be recycled.

4. You don’t have to use normal paper. Try tin foil or glossy black bin liners. For huge presents good quality paper table cloths are brilliant. Put small presents in tin cans and embellish.

5. My personal hate is cheap twirling ribbon that’s tied in a knot, with two little curls that have had scissors run down them! Aaaaagh! I prefer real ribbon ,however, if your budget only allows for the twirling ribbon have thirty two tumbling curls not just two!

6. A squishy gift needs a solid base eg. Sit a teddy bear on a silver cake board then swoosh it up in cellophane. A soft item of clothing eg. A jumper will need a rectangle of cardboard tucked inside to give it more body before you wrap it.

7.  If you have loads of leftover pieces of paper from previous years …group your gifts into families, so each family has coordinating gifts. You can even put a band of fancy paper over very basic paper.

Most people coming to my workshops need inspiration. Why not book your own workshop with me next year when the pressures off and then when next Christmas arrives you’ll be organised, able and inspired!?

I earned my Brownie knitting badge!

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And Yes, I did earn my Brownie sewing badge. It was quite an achievement for me. My mother and sister are both excellent at sewing. At this time we were living in Singapore and they used to go to pattern making classes and sewing classes etc. me? Well I was was still earning Brownie badges. Last year my Mum gave me the above rainbow coloured binka sewing and the brightly two toned pot holder which I’d made. I was shocked that she’d kept it all that time. Maybe she had a hunch that sewing wouldn’t be my favourite thing in life.

Actually, I don’t mind a bit of hand sewing as long as I can freestyle. I cannot bear to follow patterns EVER!!

So when #craftblogclub came up with this idea to share our first crafts I knew these examples were definitely among the first. With the knitting I liked to make my Sindy doll things but always did it secretly. Reason? My mum would try and guide me to do it correctly and because she was so exacting and clever…… it actually put me off.

I can’t wait to read everyone else’s blog post about their early crafts!


Collecting Pine Cones

I’ve been collecting pine/ fir cones pretty much all my life! What do you do with them all, I hear you ask.

Initially I collected them for doing crafts or creating nature tables with my primary school class. Then I used them as decoration in my own home. I always use them to make natural firefighters (there’s a post on this blog somewhere). And I’ve used them endlessly to create decoration on gifts.

Now, I fancied ringing the changes. I still want to use them on gifts but look different somehow. So I tried bleaching them! It was a complete experiment that seems to have worked. Whilst they didn’t turn a bright frosty white (which to be honest is what I was expecting) they’ve turned a creamy white. They’re lighter, softer more subtle than I expected. I like it. Ive obviously rethought the wrapping idea too. Here’s how I did it….

1. You’ll see from the picture I threw in a mixture of fir cones, a couple of gum nuts (collected in Australia) and a few of those little acorn cups.


2. I put this assortment into an old bowl and carefully poured over the bleach. I used cheap thin bleach and only watered it down very slightly.


3. The bleach went almost instantly brown and yucky. I put a bowl over the top to try and control the fir cones and keep them submerged! I left them for 48 hours.


4. In my conservatory I laid them out to dry on kitchen towel. The conservatory is warm and bright and seemed like the best place to allow the for cones to dry thoroughly and gradually open back up ( this took a few days). If you’re loving the circular kitchen paper it was sent to me courtesy of Ora products.


5. As you can see, the smaller fir cones and the acorn cups were the most successful. I will definitely be decorating some gifts soon with these. Just out of interest, surprisingly, they don’t smell of bleach!

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Summer Wrap

Summer Gift Wrapping

It may surprise you when I say Alexander McQueen inspired me!


I was at the Hay on Wye literary festival when I spotted this book by him. I didn’t buy it but I couldn’t resist taking this photo which I needed as a prompt. See the way the bodice is ruched with flowers tucked in it ……….


Pleat some plain paper, I had blank newsprint to hand so used that to experiment with. I didn’t get this wrap right first time, so you may be advised to have your first attempt with old paper.

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Fold paper around your box but have the edge on the top. Slightly and gently ease the pleats a little open.

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Tuck some artificial flowers in the gap and choose some ribbon to coordinate. My ribbon was actually bias binding.


Here are two identical birthday presents I’ve wrapped for friends but as you can see, depending on how you trim it they can look quite different.

Are You Crafty?

Are you crafty?

In a small way, or a big way, if you are crafting you’re contributing to the UKs craft boom.

Figures by the Craft Council have shown that in, 2014, there were 11620 craft businesses in the UK with…….43000 employees! Wow!

How incredible.. With sites like Etsy and Folksy showcasing edgier crafts and no lavender bags in site, it would seem this is the way forward.

Previous generations may have been stopped in their tracks because for many it’s simply not viable to have a real shop. But nowadays, with a virtual shop, like Etsy or Folksy, the worlds your oyster. Quite literally!

Our world in general is increasingly virtual and perhaps people’s love of creating with their hands is a reaction to that. Maybe it’s natural to want to know the provenance of bought things. The Antiques Road Show have been banging on about provenance for donkeys years but now people have generally become concerned. Was this T shirt made in a sweat shop? Is my food locally sourced?

And now, with crafts, who made this, who created it, can we know something about the maker.

Just as this is all happening, the importance of making things could be threatened. Art is no longer being taught in many schools. The number of art/ craft related GCSEs being taken has fallen by 25 per cent in the last five years. The number of art related subjects in higher education fell by 46 per cent. Many of us are guilty of pressuring our children towards academic success, could this be why in later life they decide to turn to creative hobbies or part time opportunities?

Handmade is a joy and any of us are lucky enough to be able to embrace it. What better thn choosing to buy a lovely friend a gift that was hand made with love and thought.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all twee and nostalgic either, today’s crafts are edgy and boundary pushing. The more high streets are becoming identical the bigger the opportunity is for craftspeople and their individuality.

Here are some such people!

Icyhandmade (on Etsy)

I interviewed the lovely Victoria from


1. Victoria, what was your first career? Why did you leave?

My first career was as a primary school teacher. I always thought it’d be my only career! I’d wanted to be a teacher since I was 5.

I left once my maternity leave ended after the birth of my first daughter. I was told I was infertile, so that coupled with a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth meant that I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could. I didn’t want someone else to raise her.

2. Tell me about your second career and why you made the switch and chose this business?

I never really made a conscious decision to start a new career, it just evolved over time. I taught myself to sew so that I could make my daughter some dresses. I had lots of lovely feedback and after a year or so (once my second daughter arrived) I decided to take the plunge and start off with a Facebook page. 

Since then I’ve written sewing tutorials for Love Sewing, taken on a couple of wholesalers and started screen-printing onto clothes too!

3. Were you art at school?

I would never have considered myself arty at school. I still don’t. I was always good at English, and was never encouraged by anyone to pursue creative things. My teachers always pushed me to get good results in more academic subjects and I never enjoyed art because I wasn’t “good” at it.

4. A lot of your clothing line is handmade, do you think that’s important to your customers? Do you employ any other people?

I think handmade is becoming increasingly important to a lot of people. People are beginning to think more about where their clothes come from and the ethics behind their production. I also think people increasingly want to buy things that have had some heart and soul put into them, things they can hand down through their families.

5. Are most of your sales made online or by face to face sales? Which platforms do you use to sell your work?

No, although my lovely husband does help me out sometimes where he can (he can’t sew!). It’s amazing when I stop to think about it: I source materials; come up with designs; produce garments; deal with advertising; take and edit my photos; keep my website updated; write blog posts; manage multiple social media accounts; sort out shipping and deal with customer service… It’s no wonder I’m so tired!

All of my sales have been online, I’ve never attended any craft markets as I’d never find the time to fit in the preparation around my family! I sell primarily through my own website, but also through Etsy and All By Mama. I recently had two online retailers place wholesale orders too, which was fantastic!


Do you own a lot of shoes?

Do You Own Lots of Shoes?

In my case, the answer would have to be YES!

So when a conversation between myself (@GiftFrippery)  and @fizzijayne developed on Twitter about a new #craftblogclub challenge, shoes sprung to mind!

Goodness only knows why I get these crazy ideas but that night all the #craftblogclub members started tweeting about how to upcycle old shoes. In fact, because we have so many skills between us @fizzijayne decided to extend the summer challenge to upcycling something from your wardrobe.

I felt I must upcycle a shoe! Obviously!!!! So, I hunted under the bed and along the wardrobe floor but decided I like all my shoes too much, and therefore ended up at my local charity shop to buy some! The assistants in the shop were really helpful but quite bewildered when I told them that the shoe didn’t have to fit and the colour didn’t matter. In the end I had to explain my plan to them ! Eventually, we decided that this large sized, leather clog type of shoe might work.


I made a pattern of the top of the shoe using paper before cutting this pretty summery fabric to fit.  I glue gunned it into position.

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Next I glue gunned some colourful buttons (from the Gift Frippery stash) down the front of the shoe.

The final part of this project was to line the shoe with a sandwich bag, filled with earth and plant it with succulents. I had an aloe Vera so used that. Obscure an plastic and earth with pebbles. These also help support the plant and VOILA!!!!!


A very special thank you to the ladies at St Peters Hospice charity shop on North View, Bristol.

They are so cheerful and helpful and they decorate the shop beautifully.


Make your own gift wrapping paper

This is as cheap as it comes as far as gift wrapping paper goes!

Cover your area with old newspaper or something as you lol be using water. The cheapest paper is usually blank newsprint paper or the sort you’re fishmonger or butcher might use!

Laying a sheet of this out, I gave it a ‘wash’ of water using a thick brush. Be quite gentle doing this or the water might tear.

Then using a medium size child’s paintbrush and poster paint (oh yes! I’m not to proud to steal from the children!) softly place the brush along the wet paper. As you can see I did mine in stripes which then run into each other. You may find the clean paper starts to dry out. If this happened put another wash of water on before adding more paint colours.

Because the paper is so cheap, you can afford to play around with colour combinations.


Here are some dear little leaf shaped tags I made. (Read the tutorial here)


At the same time I also made some hearts. I wrapped the gift and found some ombré ribbon from my stash which went perfectly. I made two loops around the gift and glue gunned it on the underside. I then embellished with an artificial orchid and the white heart shaped tag.

I was asked to wrap this gift ( chocolates) as a thank you to the staff of a care home. Hope they enjoyed them!


Cut Stitch and blog my way to £1000??


Hillarys crafts competition.

Hilary’s invited me to do just that. They are a large fabric company so offered me a selection of fabric and I chose Safi Turquoise. It’s obviously a turquoise colour with a huge leafy pattern on it.
I was definitely inspired by my surroundings…. I took my fabric away for the weekend to the Pembrokeshire coast.

1st idea
I took a large empty tin, sat it on the fabric, and carefully pleated it up in position and glued in on the inside. Take care to get your pleats straight and also evenly spaced.then style it. I put summery bits and bobs in. Shells, a wooden seagull, pebbles etc.

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2nd idea


Take a square of cardboard, a large one in my case. Fold it diagonally, both ways and cut two thirds of the way down each diagonal towards the centre.

Glue your fabric to one side.

Then make the fold over to the centre with each fin of the windmill. You can glue this or use a paper pin. The next step is optional, but I covered a piece of card with the fabric to finish off the centre. I made a few of these and they’re great decoration for a summer party.

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Find out more here …

The Outlaw Craft Fair

I wore a microphone, like Madonna!

Yes, it’s true! We had a huge craft fair in Bristol last week. The Outlaw Craft Fair took over the Passenger Shed at Temple Meads. I was delighted to have been asked to give a gift wrapping demonstration and a couple of workshops.

The design and layout (all natural wood chairs and buckets of flowers) delighted me. The stands had lots of room, not crammed in, and the quality of the crafts was superb. There were workshops, a make and take theatre and the demo area which was complete with large screens so you could see the detail. A large cafe area had the best selection of cake in the world.

Even though I was working there, I felt like I’d had a lovely day out, learned some new things ( how to make a terrarium?) and eaten new things (Homity pie?).

The Outlaw Craft Fair will be back next year so why not join in?

I met with Twitter friends





So nice to put a face to a name


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Bring Your Children’s Picture to Life!

Wouldn’t it be great I’d this actually could really come true? 

Of course it can’t but I’ve experimented with the next best thing.

1. I asked my friend to get her children drawing characters /people. So, Marnie (aged 4) and Fraser (aged 2) came up with these drawings. I instantly thought Marnies was very cute and Fraser’s was a challenge!


2 I drew the basic shape onto a double layer of felt to give it some body and then planned the details. Because felt clings, it’s easy to position and reposition the individual eyes etc. it would have been easy to cut the buttons, on Marnie’s character perfectly but I didn’t, I really had to remind myself to keep as near as possible to what the had drawn.

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3. After the planning and positioning stage, you could either glue the pieces or sew the pieces on. I was experimenting when I did this ,so I glued. Plus, I had a deadline!!!! This was a #craftblogclub challenge to learn or try a new skill.

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When I posted the characters to the children I included their original drawings, so they could be reminded of them. This is what their Mum said about their reaction:

” They were so excited to receive their packages in the post. They couldn’t quite believe that their drawings had come to life. They both struggled to understand how it had happened!”



Rubbish at wrapping? WHSmith and Gift Frippery to the rescue!

Once upon a time, I’d still be wrapping on Christmas Eve, feeling stressed, with three children buzzing about . No matter how old my children became the still insisted they believed in Santa. My daughter is now 30 years old and still ‘believes’! This came about because many years ago I happened to say you only got Christmas stockings if you believed in Father Christmas!

So things had to change. One year I deliberately invited all our neighbours for drinks on Christmas Eve, 6-8pm.
This was such a good plan because I made sure everything was wrapped and ready, the house was clean and tidy and the mulled wine was in the slow cooker (oh YES! Slow cooker is perfect for mulling wine). When the neighbours went home I still had a considerable part of the evening to actually relax, watch a film etc. It worked so well we’ve done it ever since.

So, I can’t tell you how happy I was when WHSmith contacted me at the end of October. They’re really chuffed with their Christmas range and asked me to review it. The range is extensive and has coordinating ribbon and tags with which you can mix and match. I’ve picked out some of my favourites to work with and may well be tweeting other examples too. Follow me on Twitter @GiftFrippery so you don’t miss out!

I only ever review products occasionally, and I’m make sure they’re relevant to my business and therefore probably of interest to my readers. And here’s the thing……I only tell the truth! My pet hate is paper which isn’t strong, which you end up putting your fingers through as you wrap. (This did not happen…Yay!) Also, stick on shiny bows that aren’t sticky enough! (These are…Yay!)

So hopefully, between WHSmith and myself we’ll inspire you before the main event!

Noodle Box

1. I love the shape of noodle boxes so bought some new ones (on line) and decided to treat it splendidly! Carefully remove the handles and you’ll find the whole box unfolds.

2. Select some paper. I chose the mistletoe paper from the range. It needs to be large enough to fit the flattened box on to.


3. Using a glue stick I stuck the outer side of the box to the wrong side of the paper and then carefully trimmed all the way around the box.


4. Gently remake the box, encouraging the folds in all the original places. Replace the handles with care. I had to use a skewer to redo the holes. I also added some gold ribbons which match the paper. The beauty of the noodle box wrap is that you can make them in advance and then just stick down the lid at the time you put your gift inside.



Tetrapacks (for want of a better word!)

1. The underside of all the WHSmith wrapping paper is helpfully marked with a grid. I don’t usually measure anything but this paper is perfect for the tetrapacks because you need a square.


2. Fold two opposite sides of your square into the middle, overlapping them slightly. Glue stick them down. You should have created a flattened tube.


3. Fold the end up. Snip off each side of the end so it’s angled inwards. Trim the inner layer and glue the outer end layer down. It should lay nice and flat on the main body of the tube.

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4. Now for the other end. Open your tube/bag the other way to create an interesting shape. I have no idea what this is mathematically speaking so I call it a tetrapack. Please leave a comment if you know. Remember to slip your gift inside at this point and then repeat step 3 with this end of the package.

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5. Once you have the hang of this…….it’s addictive! You can vary the size but should know that the very big ones don’t hold their shape quite as well, and this is more suitable for light weight gifts (such as money or vouchers) I picked out all the retro looking paper from the WHSmiths selection for these.




 1. I called this wrap Milly because this is an actual gift for an actual little girl called Milly! The toy packaging  has a indentation on the front so to make it easier to wrap I simply laid a piece of card over the front which gives it some body and firmness.


2.I went BRIGHT with my choice of paper and OVER THE TOP with the embellishments. I’m not keen on twirling ribbon in general but there is a time and a place. Children love it and it can look exciting. Trust me when I say it will never look exciting with two sad wisps that you’ve run your kitchen scissors down!!!!! Don’t do two… twenty-two! You need it to look abundant not sad.

 milly2 milly2a




Jess’ Presents.


1.  This is called Jess’ presents  because they really are for a young lady called Jess! She apparently loves macaroons or at least she loves the colour of them! I couldn’t keep my hands off WHSmiths lovely natural range any longer. I wrapped the two boxes then chose the saddle-stitch ribbon because it’s perfect. Real ribbon whilst lovely can be a bit pricey so a good tip is to take it only one way around the parcel. I used the shiny Christmas tree paper to create a little fan. Just pleat the paper and the punch a hole through one end and securing it.


2.  The other present for Jess is tied with the rather gorgeous paper raffia. I used natural and red raffia together. The bow was a revelation. Those who know me well, know I hate shop bought shiny bows. These were lovely and papery and matt. I really loved them and what’s more, they stuck well too.




1.  I usually make my own crackers at Christmas. You could use the same technique to create a gift package though. Put three identical cardboard tubes end to end across the paper. (I know! I know! Yes they are loo rolls!) Only glue down the centre one as you will eventually remove the other two. I used some matt red plain paper I already had. (This is great for using up small pieces of paper.) Cut your paper to size and stick all along the length. Pop your gift into the centre cardboard tube. Edge the outer tubes out slightly, not all the way. Twist gently in the gap you’ve just created between the tubes.


2.  I used the lovely cream ribbon (honestly, even the spools are lovely!)WHSmiths had sneaked a few embellishments into my selection pack and I loved these holly leaves. They are self adhesive (no seriously….VERY self adhesive) so using them is as easy as pie.

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3.  The result? Gorgeous! Don’t just think of crackers as crackers. They are great for small presents too.


Awkward shape.


1.   If you have a really awkward shape a whoosh of cellophane is easy and looks splendid! I dressed this up in stunning spotty ribbon .


2.   Take a moment to drool over the rest of the selection too.




       1. A lovely crate (from was the base for my hamper. I put straw in the bottom of it to keep the gifts stable. This is actually a present for my Mum , who always says she doesn’t want anything! So I’ve got her lots of little treats but want to wrap them up individually so she has plenty to open.


       2. She will adore this paper……such a gorgeous colour. So, wrap your presents but position them weight-wise (to keep a balance) and make sure if you’re using different papers they are mixed up.

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       3. Once full (actually, I couldn’t fit the honey in, don’t tell my Mum but I’m keeping it!)Tug at the straw to pull it up a bit between the gifts. This will protect them but look nice too.


       4.Nothing like a swoosh of cellophane to catch the light and make someone feel special!


Find out more using the links below!×00132


Hillarys Blinds Country Craft Competition.

Yes, Hillarys Blinds are all about fabric and usually I may not have been tempted as there are a million and one people out there all better than me at sewing! However, the small print said craft. I saw this as my calling!
I was immediately intrigued that you are only given 100 x100 cm of fabric. So the limited quantity made the challenge better in a way. I had no idea what I might do but I had to get my fabric sent . I chose from one of four designs from the Country Retreat range of fabric, eventually settling on Calluna. Calluna features abstract brushstrokes which capture the abstract texture of moorland heather.
I now had some words drifting about in my subconscious….nature, flowers, country, informal, retreat, craft, and fabric. It’s only now I come to blogging my story with Calluna that I realise all these initial words and thoughts came together in what I created….interesting!

100 x 100cm is not much fabric. Certainly not enough to transform a room with curtains or cover a chair etc. I decided to create some smaller touches which could liven up a room or give it a breath of fresh air. This is what most of us need , most of the time. I squeezed FOUR little projects from my piece of fabric and they are all in keeping with the words that came to me in the beginning.

Leaves on Twigs.
I’m lucky enough to have a big twisted hazel shrub in my garden. I decided to take a pretty big piece of it and position in my room. The next step was to use fresh leaves as templates and cut them out of my Calluna fabric. I sprayed them (in a plastic tray) with fabric stiffener. Mine was called ‘Stiffen Stuff’. Such is the quality of the fabric it took a fair bit to soak them. Make sure with thick fabric you do both sides. I then draped them over a wooden spoon handle to suggest the natural shaping of leaves. I did this in the evening, a few leaves at a time and in the morning they’d be dry.


When I’d prepared enough leaves I glue gunned a piece of wire to the back of the leaf leaving a stem. I used normal green paper covered garden wire.


The final step was to wire the Calluna leaves to the twisted hazel…


My next thought was originally a large photo frame but when I was searching in the attic I cam across this rather lovely old oval mirror. I painted it with whatever I had to hand….in this instance it was Inka Gold purple metal paint. The mirror isn’t metal but the paint still worked. I chose purple because I didn’t particularly want the frame to show, I wanted it to blend in with the fabric.


I cut four 100cm long strips of my fabric making sure they were just slightly wider than the mirror’s frame.. I sewed the fabric together so I had one very long strip and then I frayed the edges. This softens the look and keeps it natural.
I gathered the fabric by doing running stitch all down one side. I gathered it enough to fir the mirror and started glue gunning it into position. I finished off with some tiny vintage style flowers. These came on a stem and I deconstructed it (pulled it apart!!!)

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My first thought was to make a cushion but I thought a three legged stool would fit in better with my relaxed country theme. There’s only one stool in the house…so I found it! Now, what ever made me think of it I’ll never know but I thought a shower cap might fit it (it did!) and therefore I could use the shower cap as a pattern. It was practically perfect but I extended the circle of fabric to allow for a deeper frill.
My sewing machine chose to jam at this point so I managed by hand. I pinned and sewed a circle of tape into which I would thread the elastic.

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I left the edge of the frill raw and slightly frayed to match the mirror. I then got inspired by an unexpected surge of warmth and afternoon sunshine and took my final photograph outdoors.


Oh yes! Not one to be beaten, I had an annoyingly small and awkwardly shaped piece of fabric left. It stared at me from my kitchen table for two full days. In the end, I felt a bit sorry for it so tried a little experiment. As far as you’re concerned it’s going to be a bit like Marmite….love it or hate it!
I found three small objects, a small glass, a Chinese bowl, and a cylindrical plastic container for herbs. I used the last of my fabric stiffener to soak the fabric, secured the pleating with elastic bands and left them to dry. I put them upside down on empty wine bottles because I didn’t want the points of fabric to droop.

pots1 pots2

The following day I was able to embellish them with three different shades of vintage velvet ribbon and tiny leaves and flowers. When I see them in a little group of three I really rather love them!


So, in conclusion, did I have a plan, did I have a clue what I was doing ???? No, not really until I got going. I let the ideas evolve slowly. I’d like to think I might have inspired the true crafters among you to play with fabric more, rather than be stifled with set patterns to follow. I think the fact you’re not an expert in something can make you more creative.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone at Hillarys Blinds. It felt quite daring to go in for a competition and then blog about it because now you’ll all know how well I do /don’t do!!! But, I’ll tell you something, I’ve REALLY enjoyed the experience.
Fingers crossed!

Find Out More about the competition here!!

UK Industrial Tapes Ltd /Stix 2 Anything

A goody bag and a half arrived for me to review today!
As well as some dinky cellophane bags and gorgeous satin ribbon which I’ll obviously be using soon, Stix2 Anything sent me some really interesting products.
The mini craft dots are great for embellishments on cards and tags. I was surprised at the strength of them. I experimented sticking some googly eyes on to paper. I reckon they’d be okay for small pompoms too.

All Occasion Gift Dots are clear sticky discs. I felt they could be useful for securing tags, closing bags but probably not as good for embellishments.

Next was the new product! The Stix2 Pick up Pencil. This is SUCH a clever idea for card makers. It’s like a normal pencil but instead of having lead running through it there’s rubbery stuff. It’s not sticky and yet, all manner of things stick to it! Things like sequins, gems etc. Really, really clever….one of those tools that will probably become an essential!

Finally, I played with the Stix2 Anything Tape Runner. I left this til last, if I’m honest, because it didn’t look tempting. Not visually, I just didn’t think it would be useful in my work. Yet having used it, I can say IT IS AMAZING!!!
It will be great for demonstrations when I need an instant neat glue line. It’s high tack, impressively so, it will be great for cards, tags, scrapbooking, mounting photographs and embellishing your gift wrapping! The list goes on!



Gift Envelopes

Gift Envelopes


Sometimes we have such a small gift it’s too small to wrap. Rather than hunt around for a box try making some gorgeous and stylish envelopes. You could put a ‘promise’ in their of a massage, a babysit, a meal out or a meal cooked etc.

Here are the easy steps to create….


1.       I bought this lovely pack of paper from Hobbycraft, very recently.  It  is  current stock, so if you also love it you’ll still be able to purchase some.


2.       I selected my favourite sheets from the selection and then looked in my craft room to see what lining paper I had which would match , blend or even clash! I went with this turquoise shade.


3.       To keep things very simple, I used an old envelope, which I carefully opened up, as my template. Next, I drew around it to make the shape on my special paper.

photo[33] photo[28]

4.       Having cut around it carefully I folded it just as the original was folded. Then I made another shape (but slightly smaller ) from my lining paper.

photo[34] photo[37]

5.         I  held   it in position with a glue stick. I also glued the envelope into shape. This envelope could be posted to someone with an address sticker on the front. Or alternatively, you could pop your small gift /voucher inside and tie it with a coordinating ribbon. You could even make a set of these envelopes and give them as a gift!



Product Review for Scotch Tape.

I live and die by double sided tape!
The Scotch D.S. tape is especially good for gift wrapping demonstrations when I need to cut tape quickly to secure paper and I don’t want to fiddle around taking backing tape off. Ideally, I’d like this to be on a monster roll that I can put on a weighted stand.

Scotch Gift Wrap Tape is used like normal tape but the clever thing is it’s made with a satin finish that shows less than normal tape. I hadn’t used this before so was interested to see that the finish is far less glossy. It’s a dream to use if you can’t get along with D.S. tape.

Now for the Scotch Pop Up Tape dispenser. I had never used one of these before. it’s ingenious in it’s design but wearing it takes a bit of getting used to. It’s normal tape and so convenient.

Scotch Magic Tape looks white but is practically invisible when stuck down. It doesn’t turn yellow either! The best thing is you can write on it. So, if you want to label things or add messages, I can see this would work well. I think the crafters among you will come up with all sorts of applications for it.

My only suggestion to @Scotch is that once the selection of reels are on the dispensers and off the cardboard it would be helpful to know, at a glance, which is which!
I know what I’ll do……..I’ll label each dispenser with my Magic Tape!!!!



Corporate Gift Wrapping


Corporate Gift Wrapping.


A small company in Bristol that make the most incredible and beautiful cakes, approached me to do some gift wrapping for them ( ) Do take the time to visit Halima’s website but prepare to be amazed.


I jumped at the chance to get involved. She had taken orders for 12 small basket-style hampers of freshly baked goodies. Being freshly baked translated into last minute wrapping for me. I used Halima’s colours of red and white.


When you wrap hampers of any sort ,not only must it look visually right the basket must be weighted. You can’t have all the heavy goods on one side. So ,the positioning took a while, then I had to wedge the goods in place with shredded paper. I used a cherry red rather than the duller more traditional Christmas red. Each basket was pleated up with cellophane and adorned with the red checked  bow. The finishing touch was a white, snowflake shaped cookie cutter which was tied below each bow.


The final thing each time, was Halima’s business card (gorgeous pictures of cakes on) which had the name of the recipients written on the back. The disappointing thing was Halima had punched a hole already and every single card (and therefore picture of cake) was upside down! I don’t expect anyone else noticed but next year ………


Wrapping Flowers

Wrapping flowers.


Whenever I buy flowers for a friend I like to rewrap them if they come in cellophane. Sometimes ,I use brown paper (as well you know!) but I wanted something rather different this time. I bought a bunch of bright red tulips and they ,in themselves, were enough to make your heart sing! I cut a square of paper from an old map and added a layer of red tissue paper. I chose red because of all the red lines on the map itself. There were also green areas of land on the map so I chose some soft green paper raffia to make my bow.

Now stretch this idea further, what could you use instead of the vintage map? You could use a piste map for ski loving friends. The other day , I saw a free map of all the Burlesque places and activities in London , which just proves really you are only limited by your imagination!! The list could go on and on!


Craft Blog Secret Santa Club

#Craft Blog Club Secret Santa


I join in with #craftblogclub on Twitter every Tuesday evening. There’s a really nice mix of people doing a really interesting mix of crafts. Before it started a few months ago Emma from @livepeachy and I exchanged a few tweets about whether it could work and if others would be interested. It seemed like a great idea and the purpose ,we decided, was not to be selling our goods. It was to discuss things.

Emma has taken it from strength to strength , we have topics we discuss, have projects,  show works-in-progress, ask advice and, inevitably, go off on a million tangents! Last week #craftblogclub was even trending!!! There’s success!


For December  (a very busy time for crafters) our project was to make a secret Santa gift and Emma told us to whom we were to send it. I struggled to decide what to do. Many of these people do knitting, sewing, painting etc. In the end I decided to print sheets of wrapping paper. I have these lovely replica rollers from Bavaria. A lady found the original ones in a market and decided to have them remade. I have bought most of her designs and it’s taught in my latest  and greatest workshop. It’s completely addictive and so much fun!


I received my secret Santa at just the right time. I was putting the finishing touches to my decorations for Christmas when my parcel arrived. In it was a garland which I could add to my existing one, on the stairs, and beef it up a bit. Look at the picture and you’ll see it came ready embellished with cinnamon, red and white glass candy canes and the sweetest red and white toadstools imaginable.



I’ve been contacted via Twitter about Greeniversity. It’s an exciting new project which is countrywide. They’ve asked me to run some workshops / demonstrations in the Bristol area. The emphasis on being green!
This rather suits me, as people who have attended my workshops will know. I often use brown paper or plain white so it can be recycled. I only put twinkly bits on the embellishments which can be lifted off and put on someone else’s gift. We’re exploring possibilities at the moment….watch this space!

Make your own wrapping paper.

This is a lovely craft to be doing pre Christmas. I bought my rollers about a year ago having read an article about a lady called Clare Bosanquet. She visited Romania and happened upon the paint rollers in a market. The rollers had been used for over a hundred years in Romania to print on wall as well as fabric. She bought ALL of them and had them recreated. I’ve bought quite a few different designs and find printing wrapping paper almost addictive! I an now offering a print your own wrapping paper workshop alongside the others.

1.I am using normal matt emulsion paint (in primrose in this case) and loading the sponge which in turn will coat the roller with the design on.

2. Roll carefully all the way along your paper.I am using brown Kraft paper.

3Here is a close up of the pattern…fir trees and reindeer. I think it would look even lovelier in white paint on brown.

4. This is another pattern which features birds. It was just drying on the back of a chair!



I’ve never really ‘done’ Hallowe’en always considering it a very American thing. Since joining #craftblogclub on Twitter on Tuesday evenings, I’ve had to embrace it!
Each month we are given a challenge ,by Emma, our lovely host. This month we had to learn a new craft and have a Hallowe’en theme.
I dreaded it because to me, everything you see along Hallwe’en lines (in shops etc) tends to be really cheap and tacky. There’s a good reason for it, of course, it only needs to last one night.
So, without much thought I used a florist ring and created a cobweb using jewellery wire . It’s straightforward and took less than an hour and yet it almost looks like jewellery/sculpture. I’m really happy with it actually. In fact, I don’t even have it now it’s already gone to a huge admirer (not of me obviously…of the cobweb!!!)




Would you give your Mother cabbage for Christmas?


Is their such a thing as a budget friendly Christmas?

Possibly! If you are a  slightly creative sort and you are prepared early enough.

Largely, people are time-short these days and in that mad run up to Christmas they are dashing about, working even harder than usual, playing catch up in order to have some family time and a proper break over Christmas. Those people do not have time to do and make all the things that you may be good at. What you create may not be that clever, it can be simple but beautifully presented.


Do you cook, bake, make relishes or pickles?

Do you sew? Are there small gifts you could start to make now? Spectacle cases, book marks, needle cases, pin cushions?

Do you create? Can you make a door wreath, a door handle decoration, a table centre, Christmas crackers or winter pot pourri?

This week I made pickled cabbage. You know…chop red cabbage, salt it, rinse it, put it in a jar and cover it with vinegar and pickling spices. I only made one jar. Later that day, my Mum arrived. This is what she said  ‘Oh my goodness! You’ve made pickled cabbage. I LOVE pickled cabbage!’

There’s one person who might enjoy a little hamper of home made goodies this year. At first I thought it was really funny I was even considering giving my Mother cabbage for Christmas….but now I seriously am (maybe with a few extras!)

So, onto the presentation. If you’ve handmade something, I feel that should be reflected in the wrapping. If it’s food related, I like to keep the wrapping natural. Think brown paper, raffia, matt ribbons and brown luggage tags.




#Frippery Friday

Are you on Twitter? There’s something new happening every Friday, in the run up to Christmas. Anyone can tweet me a picture of a gift wrap they’ve done. It doesn’t have to be astonishing so don’t worry….it might be the colours you’ve put together that take my fancy . My favourite one will receive a little frippery prize in the post. Every week you can have another go even if you’ve already won before.

Go on, give it a whirl, it’s a bit of fun for my Twitter friends!

Where do you get your inspiration?

I decided to write this post, because I get asked this question all the time.

An immediate response would be ‘I don’t really  know.’

I’ve given it some thought though and obviously a lot of ideas are not completely original because something you’ve seen in a magazine, Pinterest etc has triggered the thought process. This is not necessarily a conscious thing either. I’ve worked out I am completely drawn in by colour. That is the main thing for me.

Whilst I am naturally a ‘cool’ colour person (pink, lilac, blue, etc) sometimes I gift wrap in earthy shades if I know the recipient will love ‘warm’ tones( mustard, nutmeg, stone, orange.) It’s a challenge. If in doubt or if I want a fresh idea, I look to nature.

As I write this ,my garden is just leaving summer’s last blooms behind, about to shrug off those leaves and brighten up with berries and frost, cobwebs and earth. That last sentence is full of colours! If nature put to shades or colours together then I know it will work in my gift wrapping or embellishments and fripperies.

Italian themed present

Today, I’m off to mooch around a barn which a friend has just bought.

I don’t know about you, but I always love to see the ‘ before’ as well as the ‘after’. I know my friend will decorate it beautifully. She is a party girl and very sociable but also loves making a home a home, and she loves cooking. So wanting to take a little gift with me I decided to take something for her kitchen.

I bought some rather posh pasta and some truffle oil. I wrapped both in brown paper for a rustic look and tied  them up with raffia. That was enough embellishment for the bottle (not pictured), but I wanted to stick these ridiculous felt pastas I’d made the other evening ,on the gift. I’d seen the felt pasta a few times in the past but this was the first time I tried it. I think it looks crazy…….but then so is my friend!!



Baby present

Such lovely news ! My niece had a baby girl. She came for lunch with me and the new little one, Kitty! You, of course, will be wishing I was blogging about Kitty but I’m not. I want to tell you about the gift wrap (obviously!)

I’d bought Kitty a funky little coat. Of course, clothing always makes for a squishy present to wrap. I had this wonderful Tiffany coloured paper. Admittedly there were rather big folds underneath which I covered with a swathe of  pink tulle. I tied a knot on the top rather than a bow so that I could use the peg idea for the tag.



Sample post #2

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Nulla at nulla justo, eget luctus tortor. Nulla facilisi. Duis aliquet egestas purus in blandit. Curabitur vulputate, ligula lacinia scelerisque tempor, lacus lacus ornare ante, ac egestas est urna sit amet arcu. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Sed molestie augue sit amet leo consequat posuere. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin vel ante a orci tempus eleifend ut et magna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus luctus urna sed urna ultricies ac tempor dui sagittis. In condimentum facilisis porta. Sed nec diam eu diam mattis viverra. Nulla fringilla, orci ac euismod semper, magna diam porttitor mauris, quis sollicitudin sapien justo in libero. Vestibulum mollis mauris enim. Morbi euismod magna ac lorem rutrum elementum. Donec viverra auctor lobortis. Pellentesque eu est a nulla placerat dignissim. Morbi a.

A Sample Acoustic Post

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