Monday, December 30, 2013

Festive New Year’s Makeup in a Snap

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I am in love with the current notion of embellishing the face with bold accessories such as the ever-fabulous Face Lace, below….

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and of course the unmatched glam of Lash Republic Lashes….

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But if you’ve waited ’til the last minute yet you’re craving something festive for your face this New Year’s, help is here. May we suggest: individual gemstones that you can buy at your local arts and crafts or sewing store. It’s chic on the cheap, and so very easy!

Makeup artist Mickey Gunn tells me how to get the look that she created, below, on model Abbey George from The Dragonfly Agency, shot by the incomparable Duke Morse of Duke Morse Photography.

(As a quick aside, Duke, a friend of mine, is an outstandingly versatile and creative photographer based in Texas. You simply must view his online portfolio. Breathtaking. He has such a keen, sensitive eye for all-around gorgeousness and is gifted at making women look incredible in his high fashion photo shoots. He’s also a skilled boudoir photographer who travels for personal assignments as well. Check out his page and bookmark it if you are contemplating a Valentine’s Day photo shoot as a gift for your paramour! And book your appointment early–as in, now–so you’ll be prepared!)

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Now, back to the makeup. “We had already completed three looks for the day for the shoot,” makeup artist Mickey told me. “Abbey is an amazing model and she wanted something edgy for her portfolio. She happened to bring along a bag of gems and, as a random last minute request, asked me to create a look for her. This was very much guerrilla makeup artistry and I just pulled products that I already had in my kit.”

Mickey cleverly used clear false eyelash adhesive to apply the stones to Abbey’s face. Simply dot a bit of glue on the back of the gem, allowing it to dry for a cool minute before placing the gem strategically on your face, shoulders and cleavage. You can use tweezers for more precision if you desire while creating your design.

“We went with a darker smoky eye and, for the stones, I always like to balance out a strong look with neutral tone lips,” Mickey added.

Personally, I would love to see a combination of elements, such as crystal-trimmed false lashes from the drug store or a feathered lash with a bit of plumage in the hair.

Mickey told me that the eye makeup above was by Make Up For Ever and lips was Pop the Question by Bodyography, topped with a bit of Mac lipglass in Nymphette. Abbey’s skin was perfected with foundation by Mehron Célèbre, a cream foundation for a flawless finish.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Presents of Greatness for the Gourmet

A longtime friend of mine from high school, Candice Corum, routinely tempts me on Facebook with fabulous pictures and descriptions of her home-cooked meals. ‘Home-cooked’ is a weak descriptive when you speak about Candice’s food fare; rather, her cooking skills and presentation style rival that of a fine restaurant, and the repertoire that she creates is equally impressive.

Given Candice’s gift for the gourmet, I asked her to compile a list of exactly that–gifts for the gourmet! This is her ultimate list for the savviest foodie. Thanks, CC! Next up? Dinner at my house!

Candice’s Gift Picks…

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Sur la Table Sphere Ice Molds, Set of 2, $10.95

Clever ice molds create giant icy orbs that won’t water down your drink. Combining art and science, the balls are ultra slow-melting…Plus, they look hella cool! I love the way you can freeze a bit of mint or a sliver of citrus inside the balls for a true gourmet touch!

Easy-to-use mold and innovative cap effectively shapes your ice into large spheres. Simply fill with water and freeze. Perfect for holiday entertaining, and they make a great gift for the foodie.

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Monogram Cheese Board & Spreader, $25

This maple cutting board and spreader set, exclusive to Williams-Sonoma, is just the right size for serving appetizers and cheese, and for small prep jobs in the kitchen. Makes an ideal personalized gift.

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Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker, $29.95

Mix cocktails with ease in this all-American Mason jar shaker. Created by Virginia boys Josh Williams and Eric Prum, of W+P Design, it’s the perfect gift for showing your down-home Southern hospitality.

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Artisanal Cocktail Gift Set, $119.95

This gift set is filled with artisanal ingredients for preparing the season’s most festive cocktails. It includes ginger syrup made by Brooklyn-based Morris Kitchen, Spanish olives and a bottle of Dillon’s Bitters, a complex flavor enhancer for Manhattans, martinis and Old Fashioneds. The book Winter Cocktails inspires creative drinks from mulled ciders to eggnog to holiday punch. A stainless steel, 23-ounce cocktail shaker means you can raise a toast to gleeful gift-giving!

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Double Mezzaluna, $39.95

This old-fashioned tool, whose name means “half-moon” in Italian, is still an international favorite for quick chopping. Using an easy, two-handed rocking motion, you can swiftly chop or mince onions, garlic and herbs, reducing prep time. Two curved, hand-sharpened stainless-steel blades glide easily through herbs, vegetables and nuts. Strong beechwood handles are easy to grip and keep your hands and knuckles away from the blades.

Candice Loves…

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Dubost Laguiole Olivewood Steak Knives, Set of 4, $179.95

Candice loves anything by Laguiole, but this handsome collection of knives makes a thoughtful gift for steak-lovers. The knives feature stainless-steel blades with riveted olivewood handles and come in an elegant wooden box, perfect for gifting.

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OXO Adjustable Measuring Beakers, $5.95-$11.95

This handy tool is ideal for measuring and dispensing sticky ingredients such as nut butters, honey and molasses. Features a smooth, rotating body and comfortable turning knob to easily push up and dispense your ingredients. The cup is adjustable for convenient measurement of different volumes.

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OXO V-Blade Mandoline, $39.95

No kitchen is complete without a mandoline, and this one, designed for safety, efficiency and ease of use, produces a variety of popular cuts for cooking and garnishing foods. V-shaped stainless-steel blades slice cleanly through soft and hard foods. Makes perfect crinkle and straight cuts in four thicknesses.

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Tunisian Hand-Painted Fresco Tagine, $59.95

This hand-painted earthenware dish can be used to cook and serve traditional North African tagines, as well as couscous and rice dishes. The cone-shaped cover funnels condensation directly back to the food for moist, tender results.

The traditional Tunisian pattern is painted by hand using food-safe paints and glazes. Hand-thrown clay retains heat well for serving directly at the table.

Candice’s Kitchen Essentials…

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Boos Cutting Block, $249.95

Boos butcher blocks are the best, and this 4″ thick beauty is manufactured from the finest northern-white species of hard rock maple. Maple wood is naturally anti-bacterial and won’t harbor any bacteria. On top of that, the Boos cream finish creates a protective layer that prevents food and moisture from damaging the wood.

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Williams-Sonoma Meat Thermometer, $20.95

Scientifically calibrated for accuracy, this commercial-quality thermometer ensures a perfect bird every time, and features dual pointers that indicate both the numeric temperature and the degree of doneness for different types of meat.

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Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender, $59.95

Cuisinart makes it quick, clean, and easy to blend, prep and whip a variety of ingredients. Blends or whips right in the bowl, pitcher or pot, to eliminate extra dishes, and with the chopper attached, it turns into a handy mini food-prep tool. Hand blender and chopper has a powerful 200-watt motor. Blends and chops, with push-button control for continuous or pulse action.

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Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet, $10.95-$59.95

Lodge Logic offers heirloom-quality cast iron skillets with a size for every task. The smaller skillets are ideal when cooking for one or two. Choose a larger skillet for cooking in quantity; they’re great for serving up family-style meals or braising bigger cuts of meat. Whether it’s bacon, grilled sandwiches, fish, cornbread—no matter what you like to grill, sauté or fry, you’ll love these classic American skillets.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Hair: From Christmas to New Year’s Eve to Valentine’s Day

Hi guys. I am excited to share with you these fabulous ‘dos for your tresses. You can take these pictures to a skilled stylist for them to emulate. Each one is uniquely sophisticated. I hope you enjoy playing with your own hair as much as I enjoy playing with mine!

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Christmas

I am sooo in love with this sexy, low, tousled ponytail from a Valentino campaign, a fashionable find by my fashionable friend, Challis Parks Bandy.

Challis, who works as an interior architect and designer at A Certain Patina in North Carolina, has the most exquisite taste, and this hairdo that she unearthed for us can travel effortlessly from day to night as-is, or you can add a hair gem and bold drop earrings for sparkling night life!

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New Year’s Eve

The antithesis of the low tousled pony is the sleek chignon above. So very elegant! The chandelier drop earrings are spectacular, and I love the dichotomy of the licorice-black nail polish worn with such an ethereal ensemble. It adds a modern complexity.

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Valentine’s Day

Last but definitely not least is this romantic nod to Amy Winehouse–a swirling hairstyle that’s ideal for Valentine’s Day. I had my hair styled exactly like this last year on VD…so very cool! My hairstylist wove in three extra-long hairpieces and merged the faux ponys with my own hair. I wore it with my fuzzy, bubble-gum pink vintage coat by Lilli Ann, made in Paris. Now, if only I could find those glasses!!! They’re fab!

Time to call Antonio Venegas, my favorite hairstylist…who, I might add, is a highly-talented stylist and skilled photographer. Antonio really knows his stuff, and if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area you owe it to yourself to look him up. If proximity is a problem, call him at 415.828.8883 anyway…He just might make a house call. Tell him Beauty Shall Save the World sent you.

See you around.

xxx

Monday, November 4, 2013

Falling in Love with Interiors, The Romance of Design

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As I stare at the images in interior designer Suzanne Tucker’s new book, Interiors, The Romance of Design, I am reminded of a quote by the great acting coach Konstantin Stanislavsky. He said, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Likewise, in the world of art and design, “There are no small rooms, only small designers.”

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Suzanne Tucker illustrates this expertly when she transforms intimate spaces into memorable masterpieces. No detail is left unturned, as seen in the tiny terracotta powder room, above. It’s nothing short of inspiring. I love the way Suzanne echoes the carved marble shell of the sink basin with the scalloped arch of the ceiling, and how the reclaimed floor tiles resound of the stenciling on the vanity.

This is the kind of attention to detail that separates good design from great design, and substantiates the fact that Suzanne, herself a visual poet, is one of the country’s leading interior designers. Her projects have been published in magazines worldwide, and Architectural Digest has named her repeatedly on their AD100 list of top designers.

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Of course Suzanne’s lavish opulence is not limited to only intimate interiors, evidenced in photo after glorious photo of her design triumphs…each page a masterpiece on nearly 300 glossy oversized pages.

Posing above a swirling oval entry hall, above, is an arresting sculpture by Manuel Neri.

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My favorite part of the book is the chapter titled “A Sentimental Journey,” in which Suzanne generously allows readers a peek into her spacious home–“a decorating laboratory,” as she calls it, “where pieces are studied and come and go,” she said.

Above in her own sanctuary, just a touch of leopard in a hall, bright with light, flanks a French eighteenth-century console.

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“As we evolve,” she said, “our homes should, too. When a house is overlaid with one’s personal collections–art, furnishings, accessories–it can become an expression of individuality and a vessel for memories, tangible and intangible,” she added.

Such is the case in her dining room, for example, where the antique carved rock crystal chandelier is part of the legacy of her mentor, the late Michael Taylor.

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“The eclectic mix of the living room,” above and below, “includes an eighteenth-century French mantel and Régence chairs found in Paris,” she stated, “and a late Qing period low table.”

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Suzanne’s interior world is a cornucopia of sumptuous fabrics and rich colors drenched in the gorgeous natural light of Marin County, with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay Area. The photographs are so ultimately tactile that one can almost feel them.

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“Our tiger, part of my husband’s family lore, was rescued from the circus in the sixties,” she explained, “and lived out his life as the Michigan Air National Guard mascot.” A bold and socially-responsible tribute to nature, its exotic pelt leads the eye to the fabulous fireplace, which is punctuated by the orange abstract painting by Tom Holland, a piece which also belonged to Michael Taylor.

Suzanne stated, “A house can be a lifelong romance, and we should find ourselves falling in love with our homes over and over again.”

Interiors, The Romance of Design, follows Suzanne’s first book, Rooms to Remember, currently in its third printing. Her textiles and tabletop line for Suzanne Tucker Home are in luxury showrooms and stores nationwide.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Beautiful Yet Functional Art for the Table: Annieglass

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Genius in Glass

I will never forget the moment I discovered Annieglass. It was love at first sight when I stumbled across these unique dishes, coveted and collected by too many celebrities to name, and used in some of the finest restaurants in the world.

Designed and created by glass artist Annie Morhauser, they’re utterly breathtaking and very difficult to photograph. Even the pictures in this article do not do justice to their incomparable beauty.

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I was beyond thrilled to tour the Watsonville factory with Annie. It’s positively stacked with her gorgeous tableware, which is painstakingly crafted with exacting standards. Below, an employee assembles a cake plate in Annie’s warehouse.

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I don’t remember where I first found my Annieglass–maybe it was Neiman Marcus, maybe Gump’s San Francisco, or possibly the Annieglass store in downtown Santa Cruz, all vendors of the product–but what I do remember is the sensation. It was utter awe. Magic. I really have never seen or felt anything like Annieglass before or since. Over the years several styles have been imitated, but never duplicated.

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The pattern that won my heart was the B.C. Dinnerware, above, with the bubbly warped glass and pebbled texture that is a trademark of many of Annie’s dishes.

B.C. Dinnerware stands for Before Christ Dinnerware–“because it looks like it predates Christ,” Annie tells me. The dinner plates are like relics from another place and time, all with a cunning asymmetry that is distinctly Annie’s own. They’re at once antiqued, yet infinitely modern. Glossy aquamarine wonders of rippling glass that look organically beautiful, they also feel beautiful. The underbelly has the texture of velvet.

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Above, Annie stands beside the two-ton sheets of durable architectural glass from which her pieces are fashioned. Commonly used in skyscrapers, the glass has the aqua tint from the iron in the glass, and the velvety feel is due to the uncommon process of sandblasting the bottoms of each piece. This contributes to the milky paleness that is undefinable, simultaneously translucent but also opaque.

But first the glass is “slumped” over plaster molds, below, revealing each one’s unique beauty through its imperfections–imperfections that make every piece an original, a treasure.

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I mix my B.C. Dinnerware with other pieces, especially the Shell Series, below, which has a prehistoric elegance–vessels shaped with the gentle silhouettes of fossilized seashells. They’re where art and artifact collide. Highly respected in the art world, two of the designs from the Shell Series reside in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

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Tipped with your choice of 24 karat gold or platinum, or simply non-trimmed, every piece bears the studio signature, and Annie herself signs limited editions. Her name is etched on the bottoms of the pieces.

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There are many patterns of Annieglass, such as the classic Roman Antique Gold and Platinum, above and below, which I also collect. This is the first collection that Annie launched, 30 years ago. I love the look of an Annieglass table, where mixing and matching collections is not only common, but de rigeur.

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner and Christmas on its heels, I encourage you to discover your own inner awe as you look at these iconic creations, like the elegant Handkerchief Votives below.

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A significant advantage to these ethereal pieces is, oddly, their practicality. For something that looks so delicate and fragile, Annieglass can stand up to the most challenging circumstances; they’re dishwasher safe; and they look equally at home with any mixture of their Annieglass siblings, as well as fine China, limoges, or pottery.

You can add just one stunning piece for a real wow factor, or mix and match til your heart’s content. Either way, no two Annieglass tables will ever look the same. Your choice of linens, placemats, and of course flatware and accessories will define the table’s vignette. I love an Annieglass table set with twigs, bamboo placemats, stones, and other natural elements.

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Annieglass is perfectly appropriate for any circumstance–be it a Thanksgiving feast, a baby shower buffet, a New Year’s dinner, or Valentine’s day. Here, Annie holds a lovely heart-shaped dish that’s ideal for hors d’oeuvres or dessert.

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The pieces are multifunctional. Use one of Annie’s pedestal Slabs, above, to present fruit…or cheese…or a whole poached salmon.

Annieglass looks equally appropriate in the bathroom, due to its aquatic esthetics, holding decorative soaps or guest towels…cosmetics, sea sponges, and the list goes on and on.

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“Every piece of Annieglass can be, and should be, used for a variety of objects,” Annie says. “Ruffle cake stands make just as exquisite a resting place for dark chocolate velvet cakes as they do brie cheeses…and a salad plate makes a charming display for a bottle of wine or a candle,” she adds.

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Surprise a coworker with a sectional dish for olives or foil-wrapped chocolates, perhaps, like the one below from the Ruffle Series.

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A fabulous wedding gift is Annie’s stunning deviled egg platter. The perfect housewarming gift, a piece of Annieglass is a gift one would consider a ‘lifetime gift’ because Annieglass pieces are heirloom-quality creations that will stand the test of time via both form and function.

You need not save this art glass for special occasion only; Annieglass elevates even take-out to an art form. As I mentioned, the glass is incredibly strong, chip-resistant and dishwasher-safe. Annie tells me an interesting story. After Hurricane Katrina, she got reports from customers that their Annieglass survived the disaster. More than one person had their china cabinet washed away in the floodwaters and it was found down the street or a block away with all the Annieglass still intact, unbroken. “They just needed to be hosed off,” Annie said.

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Pieces from the Dew Drops Collection, above and below, are seductively punctuated with Swarovski crystals. Mere photos can’t even capture the detail…

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…and I love the hand-chipped pedestal on the new cone-shaped Edgey bowl, below, which merges seamlessly with Annieglass classics.

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You can see how Annieglass is created and discover the craftsmanship that goes into every piece at their lively and informative walking tours of the Watsonville factory. Call for reservations 831.761.2041 ext. 21.

In addition, wine tastings are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., pouring Santa Cruz and Monterey County wines.

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Above, the sunny Watsonville gift shop that’s adjacent to the warehouse is brimming with countless exquisite creations–the autobiography of a genius in glass, Annie Morhauser.

Click here to find an Annieglass retailer near you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ray Villafane’s Pumpkin Carvings for Halloween 2013

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Our Halloween favorite, Ray Villafane is back, and he and his gourd-geous jack-o’-lanterns will appear at the New York Botanical Gardens October 19 and 20.

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We learned about Ray from a savvy friend back in 2010, and since that time his pumpkin-carving business has, literally, exploded!

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Using traditional clay ribbon loops to painstakingly shave features into these ordinary gourds yields extraordinary results in the hands of Ray Villafane. Other tools, such as paring knives and x-acto knives are used for deep gouges and detail work, respectively.

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Ray first began carving pumpkins as a lark for his art students in a small rural school district in Michigan. What started as a whim turned into a career as Ray’s videos went viral, unleashing his inner passion for pumpkins! Read what Beauty Shall Save the World has to say about Ray in these articles from our archives!

Halloween Pumpkin Carvings as Art

Ray’s website illustrates, step by step on a real pumpkin, how he concocts the eerie faces.

Halloween Weekend Project 101: Carving Your Pumpkin

Magnificently menacing, ghoulishly grand, or absolutely absurd, Ray’s creations are infinitely imaginative and make a great weekend project!

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Have a hauntingly hilarious Halloween this year with the help of Ray and his team of elite carvers!

Friday, December 21, 2012

More Furoshiki Madness!

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Back in 2010 I did a great article about Furoshiki, the art of gift wrapping with textiles.

Still obsessed with this unique and eco-conscious trend, I thought I would share with you my furoshiki gifts this Christmas.

Here they are, pictured above, some of the gifts that are under my tree this year…and now I’m going to give you a few wrapping tips that I have picked up since I’ve been practicing furoshiki.

First, choose a thinner fabric for a less bulky, more precise wrap.

Second, work with the texture and weight of the fabric, and embrace the notion of drapery.

You may have to use a glue gun to hold some of the edges, unless you are really talented at furoshiki. A true furoshiki artist uses the fabric only to wrap the gift. Don’t even ask me how they do it!

And lastly, pick up some inexpensive accessories at the craft store to embellish your gift. I chose a little sprig of pine cone for the small gift, and the brilliant peacock for the larger one…but don’t be afraid to play with proportions and try something completely unusual for a most handsome gift.

Now get to wrapping, furoshiki style!