Surprise Packs - Fifth Edition!!

This July marks Omiyage's birthday... our fifth birthday! Which is pretty amazing... and a bit astounding. Time really does fly when you're having fun!

Of course, July also means birthday treats... and the best treat of the year is always our Surprise Packs!

While I'm sheepish to admit that the first edition of these back in 2011 were the result of a careless ordering mistake, they were so popular that I've been mindfully making them every year since. Carefully curating an assortment of cute and colourful things, placing special orders, adding handcrafted details and wrapping it all up with lots of handcrafted love.

No promises or grand proclamations, but a quiet warning that this might be the last year I do them... Five x Joy seems like a good stopping point and while they are well worth the happiness they bring, they take a whole lot of time and energy to assemble. So, this year, to avoid disappointments, I made twice as many as usual. Grab yours while they last.

This year's edition features a trio of tags and a twine tassel. Pretty cute, right?! The Omiyage version of a classic brown paper package, if you will.

Choose your favourite colour for a customized surprise - and don't worry, not everything inside the yellow pack is yellow, colour coding just helps to keep things organized during the packing process and to avoid duplicate items when ordering more than one pack!

Want a peek at a few of the goodies inside? Here we go...

The best tag & twine sets I've ever put together... a great mix of shapes, sizes and materials plus a pair of handcrafted tags in each pack - a little useful inspiration, if you will! And don't forget - the tassel tag on the outside of the package can be reused too.

My new favourite pens direct from Japan - twin tipped and perfect for addressing envelopes and writing colourful letters. The memo pads are pretty sweet too!

I sorted through over 1000 vintage stamps to find the prettiest and most interesting ones to include, then packaged them up with love.

There are also three rolls of washi tape in each pack, cute illustrated stationery items and more... each pack includes 14 (yes, fourteen!) items and is valued at up to $50.

You'll even find clever Snail Mail Forever postcards from Q&A Letterbox... don't forget to look on the back for a special message. One lucky person will win a letterbox from Q&A featuring a curated selection of cards.

I've been offering lots of sneak peeks over on Instagram throughout the process. Pop over there if you'd like to see more.

So far, blue has been by far the most popular colour - which colour would you choose?

Make: Torn Tape Portraits

Some mornings I like to ease into the day with a little creative exploration - an "I wonder whether ____ would work?" activity.  Successful creative brainstorms are then refined for blog or book projects (while the not-so-successful ones get binned). This morning, I challenged myself to draw a portrait using only torn bits of tape.

While I don't LOVE the final product (there's something about patchwork skin that's a bit nightmarish), I did love the process and the overall idea, so I'm sharing! Be gentle, it was my first try!

Since summer is here, I thought it would be fun to try a series of creative challenges. Projects that are all about trying something new.

To start, why not try making your own torn tape portrait? One rule - no scissors (or craft knives) - simply tear and stick! I think this would be a great activity to do with any kids wandering around your house doing the "I'm bored" routine this summer - though younger kids might get frustrated with little pieces of tape.

If you do make one (or a whole gallery wall's worth), I'd love to see! Share on Instagram with the tag #tapeportrait or post to Omiyage's Facebook page. Can't wait!

Tassel Tags!

I've been crafting up a storm over the last little while - most things I can't share here - but I can share this fun pile of tassels and tags.

I love the look of layered washi tape pieces - and they're even more fun with wooden message tags.

It's a great way to use your favourite tapes and to try out new combos.

But do you know what's even better? Adding a colourful twine tassel!

So. Much. Fun!

This is my new favourite way (ahem - lazy way!) to make twine tassels. A strip of washi tape works just as well at keeping your tassel together as wrapping twine around - and it's quicker too!

Every combination makes me happy - here's a less in-your-face colour combo.

But what's with all the tassel tags?

I'm prepping for Omiyage's next round of Surprise Packs - my favourite thing I do all year - and I always love to include a few handcrafted details inside and outside. This might be the last time we do these packs, so I want to make sure that they're extra-extra-special this time.

Hope you're inspired to mix and match some new colours, techniques and materials into your gift wrapping!