Christmas Wrapping; Tightening the Belt

First off let me say that I do not think this is normal. And normal people do not wrap their presents like this. Nor should they. It’s absurd. Just so you’re all aware, that I am aware, that this is nuts.

I know. You were probably expecting more. Nothing this subtle. You were thinking I’d do something more along the lines of building box sized replicas of my chicken coop that gifts can be placed inside weren’t you? Well, I wasn’t going to do that because I only just thought of it. It randomly popped into my brain which is exactly where I’m tucking that idea away until next year.

So. What we have this year is a very simple plaid paper which I miraculously found at my local dollar store in amongst the wrapping papers featuring Bart Simpson, The Little Mermaid and other current animated characters from the 1990’s.

It all started out quite simply. Wrap a present in the plaid paper.


This is where things get weird. Although I didn’t think they were weird while I was doing the wrapping. I really did not think this year’s Christmas wrapping was over the top in any way.

That is until I started to edit the photos below and got to the one where I’m heating up a branding iron. Yeah. A branding iron. There’s rubber cement and leather working tools too.

Who’s with me?!

Here we go …


Listen – you know when your wrapping requires rubber cement, things are getting f*cking serious.

  • I have swaths of leather that I got from a reader who was moving out of the country. But prior to acquiring this stash and teaching myself a bit of leather working with it, I used to go to thrift stores and buy old, ugly leather jackets for cheap and cut them up for leather projects.


  • Cut tag shapes out of leather. I made a little pattern to use.

That super-cool archaic looking tool up there is a combo hole punch/ rivet setter. I just bought it and I love it.

  • Punch hole in top of tag
  • Insert grommet

Now you have a finished looking product. You are ALL pro now with that grommeted tag.

  • Time to heat up your branding iron because you are in fact made up of 10% regular human stuff and 90% lunacy.

The hotter the branding iron is, the more black the brand will be. So if you use the same branding iron for 3 pieces of leather, the brand will get progressively lighter.

I’m telling you this for your interest, not because I believe anyone is going to make custom leather tags for their gifts that they will brand themselves.

Will they? Will you? If so, then you’re more squirrelly than I thought and that of course pleases me.

  • Grab your tool stamping set and whack the first initial of the gift recipient in the spot where the tree’s star would go.

“M” is for mom. Or maniac. Or ‘member when water beds were the pinnacle of fancy?

Alright your tag is done. Now we move onto the body of the work. The belt.

  • Cut a long, thin strip of leather about 4″ longer than the circumference of the box.
  • Attach the buckle to one end by punching a hole near the end of the leather and inserting the buckle prong thing through the hole.
  • Apply a bit of rubber cement then clamp the leather together to attach the buckle. (you can also use a rivet but I ran out of rivets about 2 belts into the project so I switched to glueing)
  • After the cement has dried remove the clamp and wrap the belt around the present.
  • Make a little tab to wrap around the belt to hold the strap in place.
  • Hang the tag.

And you thought this was going to be complicated.

It couldn’t be simpler.

For reasons of a poodle nature, I couldn’t pile the presents on the floor this year.

So I decided to use them like a centrepiece on my hall table. That’s fresh garland. It’ll be crispy and awful in 3 days so don’t be envious of how nice it looks. It’ll be replaced with fake garland for the rest of the season (blogger secrets.)

What I’m really looking forward to is using this idea on other presents. Those belts with smaller tags on plain white paper for instance? Beautifullll.

I really like the wrapping this year. Plus the little leather belt and tags can be used afterwards by the recipients as well. I’d probably wrap the belt around a plain white cookie jar, or straight sided ceramic vase. And the tag can be used as an identification tag for luggage. Or a keychain.

As it turns out, I really like the presents stacked on the table.

Christmas Wrapping; Tightening the Belt


  1. Kat - the other 1 says:

    Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!

    Add little whips, & handcuffs, & blindfolds and these can be your s&m wrapping fashion! Ha!

    Now, just a few shades of gray thrown in…

    Lol! 😂

  2. Amanda says:

    I’m reading this and thinking the whole time —wait you have a new puppy who’s just a few weeks older than my new puppy!?! I love your insanity. This is amazing.

  3. Grammy says:

    My boy Frank’s father is a red poodle and his mother is a yellow lab. Everyone thinks he’s beautiful but my mother always said “Pretty is as pretty does”. Frank is now 6 years old, and he has informed me that he sees no profit in “growing up”. He’s quite serious about that. Good luck with Philip — he looks like you might be able to reason with him.

    P.S. Your packages are so beautiful it makes me ashamed of myself because I know I’m never going to have time to do that.

    • Karen says:

      Listen Grammy, I’m a bit ashamed for taking the time to do this wrapping, lol. So don’t feel bad. And Lip is very, very, very, very, very, VERY, very, very, v e r y, irrational. Although in the past few days he has shown signs of growing up. For instance today he waited until he got OUT of the car to throw up. ~ karen!

  4. Andrea Falconer says:

    You are deliciously insane ❣️

  5. Janice Croze says:

    Oh my gosh that is so fabulous!!! And I am a lunatic too and I definitely want to do this! But, I am a zillion projects behind, so I will stop myself from buying branding tools and just admire your awesome work!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Well, there’s always next year. And if you’re anything like me you just KNOW you won’t be as busy next year and you’ll have time. ;) ~ karen!

  6. Elaine says:

    So stylish, smart and imaginative and very Ralph Lauren looking, in my opinion! Fabulous job, Karen!

    Merry Christmas to you, Philip and your gorgeous cat.

  7. Mary says:

    You are out of your effing mind, but you know that 🤣

  8. Elaine says:

    Need to up my wrapping game. Makes a great table centerpiece especially with the tree and pup accoutrements.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Elaine! I love it as a table topper too. Although I work at that table a lot and it doesn’t leave a lot of room for my laptop, lol. Next year – less presents! ~ karen!

  9. Helen Whaley says:

    Brilliant, unique and stylish! It doesn’t get better than this.
    I really love the overlong belt tucked into itself and am impressed that you resisted pointing out that extra special touch and let us find it for ourselves.

  10. Karen says:

    That is fabulous! Looks amazing!

  11. Lisa Eubanks says:

    OMG I love all of it!!

  12. Kirstin Jacques says:

    Fucking awesome gift wrapping, Karen!

    That is all.

    And I love lunacy, so that wasn’t all at all.

    And you,


  13. Juliana says:

    I am so glad you got a dog!!!

  14. Joyce says:

    Goes with your tree- in- a- suitcase theme….stranger and stranger at your house, but I like it!

  15. Meris Robison says:

    Just a thought. Buy belts at $1 Store and trim end to fit package ?

  16. Monica Berens says:

    He had a haircut. Looks awesome. You’re a good mom, Karen. Enjoy your boy. He’ll be around for at least 15 years, and probably won’t “grow up” until he’s 3 or 4. Merry Christmas!

    • Karen says:

      “probably won’t “grow up” until he’s 3 or 4.” omg 😳 ~ karen!

      • Jackie says:

        Well – it’s sooner than a human kid grows up so count yourself lucky – HAHA. And by the way – I love your packaging. You come up with such great stuff all the time. I don’t do it myself, but I do enjoy seeing what you do. Always something original.

      • Karen says:

        Thanks Jackie! ~ karen

      • Jack says:

        Maybe he won’t fully grow up until then – but not growing up is different than staying in full on insane puppy mode. He’ll get easier far before 3 or 4 years!

        When we got our maniacal golden retriever puppy, people told me that 3 or 4 years thing and I thought that meant we would be in full destructive hyperactive puppy mode for that long. I seriously reconsidered all life choices. And at 5 he’s still not “grown up” and he still needs lots of exercise – but a bit before 1 we were able to resume normal life without fear of the whole house being destroyed, including cooking dinner without tying to dog to us and going to the bathroom without taking the dog. All those little things I had taken for granted before getting a dog!

      • Karen says:

        Phew, thanks, lol. The truth is even in the past week he’s become less unbridled. And really he’s a very, VERY good puppy. I leave him in the kitchen when I go out and he doesn’t chew or destroy a thing. In fact, I shouldn’t even say this out loud, but he hasn’t destroyed at all! ~ karen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Art of Doing Stuff