Thursday, December 19, 2013


It was a close call. He did use store bought wrapping paper but the ribbon and name tags were genius and the last minute wrapping rescue scored him enough style points to beat Martha at her own game.
Here's what he did. First it was a smart early purchase of wrapping paper done well before the rush at his new favorite store, Marshalls. Who knew? Who knew Marshalls would have tasteful discounted merchandise. Then who knew Rick would like what he saw. Now he can't go in there without ending up at the checkout counter with a shopping cart spilling over with plush velour dog beds, several dozen cotton waffle drying towels we would use as napkins, olive oil from Italy, coffee from the Mud Truck in New York, a pair of fleece lined slippers, Ina Garten's "Fool Proof" cookbook and ten rolls of Christmas paper that caught his eye and inspired this year's decorating theme.
When we had our store we'd use twill tape to attach price tags to our merchandise and as wrapping ribbon for customer gift packages but there was no way this year's twill tape was going to be used without a little modification. It was dying time for the tape.
One bunch was dipped in a mixture of coffee grounds and steaming water. The tape was allowed to wallow in the grounds until it turned a nutty brown.
Another spool of tape was dyed with scarlet Rit Dye in a big pot on the stove. The tape was allowed to dry for several days ,not out of necessity, he wasn't in a hurry we had plenty of time.  But if you are a little last minute you can drop them into a bra bag and throw them in the dryer. In either case they tend to crinkle up as they dry.
I'd say fine but both Rick and Martha would have to get out the iron and press out yards and yards of tape to get rid of those nasty crinkles. When ironing watch out for the red dyed tape it tends to come off on the ironing board cover. I, unfortunately, was the next person to use the iron. I ended up with a set of napkins with a distinct rosy cast ironed in to their pristine previously white finish.
Next it was the gift tags that were tea dyed in Earl Grey.
Red and white baker's twine was also run through the tea solution giving it that same vintage look and feel. I'm sensing you're getting the trend.
My services were enlisted to help with the paper wrapping and, of course, my first attempt ended in a paper cut too short to cover the entire package.
Rick to the rescue and the production of the extra credit points that pushed him ahead of Martha.
He wrapped the wonky end with contrasting paper and used his dyed twill tape to cover up the seam. Genious.
At our house it's all about presentation and the love that goes into that extra effort. It's not about money. What he did cost very little - thank you Marshalls. What he did was give us his time and the knowledge that we mattered. That was the gift that was priceless. Take that Martha.

Flowers are always a big part of any holiday celebration both emotionally and financially, and well they smell nice too.  The only issue is the fleeting nature of nature. Once the blooms have been separated from their roots there's no life support system that will keep the flowers from a steady wilting decline. Eventually the stems give out and the blooms begin to bow their heavy heads. It's usually a trashcan burial or cremation in the fireplace but Rick has come up with a more Marie Antoinette inspired solution. It's "Off with their heads". He fills a glass compote with all their beautiful petals and mists them with fragrant oils for weeks of extended pleasure. I'll bet anything that next year's Martha Stewart Living's Holiday edition will include this same handy tip.
It won't be the first time that Martha has copied our ideas. Just think jadite.

The Tree at 714 Merryturn Rd
Lee Melahn, Photographer
Happy Holidays to all

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