We were hoping that we could relax a little as summer winds down, but now on top of lots of work, we've actually had more social stuff happening than expected. Casual celebrations of birthdays, jobs, births, marriages...you name it. We think gift giving can get a little overwhelming and unnecessarily stressful. And we like to keep gifts relatively simple. What we love about furoshiki, the Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in fabric, is that it seems somewhat casual, can be extremely personal (or not), and makes a simple gift (like a book or bottle of wine) that much more special. Instead of throwing away crumpled up wrapping paper, the fabric wrapping is re-used, returned to the original gift-giver with something small inside. We found this inspiration and basic how-to steps from Design Boner back in June, and have been thinking about it ever since. With more gifts to give in the next couple months, you can bet we'll be trying this tradition. Instructions below: Instructions on wrapping a bottle of wine or sake: * -Place the bottle in the center of your furoshiki. The cloth must be fairly small and square. I experimented with longer, scarf-like materials and there was simply too much cloth floating around. -Bring two diagonal corners together and knot them on top of the bottle. -Pull the other two corners toward you, around the bottle, and knot them on the face of the bottle. -Tighten and fluff to make it look perfect. -Kanpai! Your first furoshiki! (Thanks, Cardboard at Design Boner!) * Sandy Kanemura (Ed.). Kokoro: Cherished Japanese Traditions in Hawai'i, 2004.