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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 15, 2008

The gift of green

By Mary Kaye Ritz
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Another wrap creation by Weymouth-Fujie employs Manila palm leaves and hina hina. A rule of thumb: The plainer the package or wrap, the fancier the trimmings can be, and vice versa.

Photos by NORMAN SHAPIRO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Some tricks to get that "decorator" look in your green holiday gift wrap, from Andrea Weymouth-Fujie:

  • Mix textures. If your wrapping paper is smooth, add textured ribbon or greenery.

  • You can contrast colors or go for the one-tone. Weymouth-Fujie likes her colors bold, especially when wrapping keiki gifts. Her favorite color combo: lime green and funky reds.

  • Think ikebana and asymmetry: Use natural elements and odd numbers. Or go 3-D and different heights. Try squiggly greens and curly ribbon that jut beyond the edge of the package, to add interest.

    Mary Kaye Ritz

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    Do you really need the mountain of pricey gift wrap that goes straight into the trash? Reduce, reuse and recycle:

  • Swap glossy magazine ads, extra fabric and fancy paper bags for expensive gift wrap.

  • Wrap with another present. If you bought your sister a scarf, why not use it to wrap the CD you also got her?

  • Wrap with newspaper, and match the gift to the section: i.e., a cookbook in the food section or a children's game with comics.

  • Can't bear to give up wrapping paper? Use it to cover a shoebox and place your present inside. Like a gift bag, it can be used again and again.

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    Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

    A plastic food package gets new life, with a ti leaf inside, ribbon made out of a plastic grocery bag, some rosemary, the fruit stem from a Manila palm and torn paper.

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    Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

    Old memo paper, rubber-stamp imprints, fabric cut into ribbon, Manila palm fruit branches and hina hina make up this gift wrap look.

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    Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

    Left: Andrea Weymouth-Fujie of East Honolulu Clothing Company dressed up a plain brown box with ribbon, ti leaves and dried bromeliad. Right: A jar that once held sun-dried tomatoes gets recycled as a gift package, with a magazine page inside and, on the outside, notions made from a cut-up plastic water bottle and shredded paper.

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    Andrea Weymouth-Fujie of East Honolulu Clothing Company can wield a scissors and tape like a Jedi with his light saber.

    When it comes to gift-wrapping, she is Yoda, offering sage advice for finding ways to pretty up your holiday packages.

    It's an especially welcome idea in this day and age, when one doesn't want to spend as much on the wrapping as we do on the gift. And besides saving money, it's all about being green, since she uses reclaimed items.

    "The message we're trying to get out this year is: Save money on the wrap and make that yourself, so you can spend money wisely on the gift," said Paul McRandle, deputy editor of National Geographic's Green Guide publication.

    Sometimes, however, having a prettily wrapped gift at the front of the tree adds to the anticipation of the season, said Weymouth-Fujie, who held a workshop at her Waimanalo store earlier this month.

    To get their signature gift wrap style, she and her artistic staff use recycled bubble wrap, plastic grocery bags, glass jars and even painting paper from the hardware store, which is cheaper than plain brown wrap.

    Paper bags could also be a basic wrapping material.

    A particularly clever innovation cooked up by the East Honolulu Clothing Company crew is using plastic grocery bags to make a twine-like ribbon.

    First, Weymouth-Fujie took a plastic grocery bag and cut it into one long strip, like an unbroken orange peel. Then production manager Marc Yoakum who had already decided there had to be a better way to twist the long strip got his drill.

    They attached one end of the long strip to the area where the drill bit goes, and Weymouth-Fujie held the other end. Within minutes, a ribbon was tightly twisted.

    Weymouth-Fujie tied it up to keep the twist, then reached for markers to add a touch of color.

    "That's what makes it ta-dah!" she exclaimed.

    There are principles of good decoration: The plainer the basic package, the fancier you can get with toppings, and vice versa.

    Weymouth-Fujie covered a plain brown shirt box with Japanese floral paper, added greenery from the yard, some ribbon, and voila! A box elegant enough to suit even the Martha Stewart on your Santa list.

    Not feeling particularly artistic, but want to save the planet anyway? Plenty of stores sell wrapping and holiday cards made from 100 percent recycled paper.

    Los Angeles Times writer Andrea Chang contributed national information in this report.

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