Nov 26

Holiday Gift Guide: A Gift to Suit Every Personality

By |Entertaining, Gifts, Holiday|2 Comments|

Gift ideas for the hostess

The most thoughtful gifts are the ones that compliment your receiver’s lifestyle and impeccable tastes. Of course, trying to find that perfect gift can sometimes feel like an impossible challenge, especially with a holiday to-do list a mile long. To make your shopping a little easier this year, we’ve gathered some of our favorite gifts for that special someone in your life. With a little pre-planning, you can get your shopping done early, and enjoy the rest of the holidays.

Nov 19

A Holiday Time-Saver: The Gift Drawer

By |Entertaining, Gifts, Holiday|0 Comments|

Last-Minute Gift Drawer

It’s happened to the best of us: A last-minute party invitation, a forgotten birthday or an overnight guest—and no gift. Whether it’s simply poor planning on our part or truly an unexpected affair that’s popped up, feeling unprepared and rushed to get a gift (any gift at this point) can add stress to our already busy days—and take the joy out of it all.

Fortunately, Vicki, our Creative Production Manager, shared her incredibly sensible solution to this common problem, and it’s sure to save us all from any future embarrassment. She calls it the Gift Drawer. Here’s how it works: dedicate a drawer (a basket or shelf in a closet work just as well, too) to stash a variety of cute, giftable items to match any occasion that may sneak up on you. Brilliant, right? And with the holidays fast approaching, there couldn’t be a better time to start your own gift drawer. Here are Vicki’s top three tips:

Feb 5

Valentine Gift Ideas with Dennis Dean

By |Gifts, Recipes and Entertaining|2 Comments|

Homemade treats make the sweetest Valentine gift ideas. They’re perfect for friends, coworkers, clients and your kids’ teachers. Of course, the presentation can bring just as much delight as the treat itself when packaged in a beautifully embellished container or bag.

Nov 30

Creative Gift Wrapping with Jill Sharp Brinson

By |Entertaining, Gifts, How-to's and Tips|10 Comments|

by Jill Sharp Brinson
Creative Director & Stylist
Ballard Designs


As the Creative Director for Ballard Designs, I am always looking for inspirations when it comes to wrapping gifts. Looking all year long for personal and cool ideas to make gift giving special is a trick I learned years as ago as a stylist. I save and collect odd boxes, inexpensive scarves, pieces of fabric, yarn and strings to adorn my special gifts. Each year, by late fall, I come up with a color scheme that feels really relevant to me and carry it out as my color story for the gift-giving season.

This year, I’m feeling bright pink and orange in a BIG way. I’ve saved ribbons, cards, fabric bits and bobs to make all of my gifts feel uniformly crazy and fun!

Sometimes, I just wrap a beautiful container as the gift – I think what we all crave this time of year is not more stuff, but an acknowledgement that you think someone is special. It’s in that spirit that I choose to give a gift.

Have other creative gift wrapping ideas? Share them in the comments below.

Nov 16

How to Make a Bow

By |Gifts, Household Basics, How-to's and Tips|6 Comments|


Whether embellishing a wreath or topping a gift, a beautiful bow adds the wow factor in any presentation. Making your own bows is easier than you might think. Watch our quick video or read below for step-by-step instructions on how to make a bow.

Dec 7

Gift Giving Made Personal… and from the Heart by Christine Eisner

By |Design Experts, Entertaining, Gifts, How-to's and Tips|0 Comments|

People talk about the art of gift giving, but the good news is that you don’t need to be a Picasso (or a Trump) to show someone that you care. Gifts from the heart have less to do with money than with the thought that goes into selecting them. Even better, “heart gifts” are the ones that will stay off the re-gifting merry-go-round!

Oct 24

How To Make a Simple Bow

By |Gifts, How-to's and Tips, Tips & Ideas|1 Comment|

Ballard RibbonEmbellish your greenery and holiday decor with your favorite ribbon. Follow these 6 easy steps to create a simple bow.

We recommend you use wired ribbon to make shaping and fluffing your bow a breeze.

Hint: The right side of the ribbon should always face towards you as you make the bow.

You’ll need the following materials:

  • 3 1/2 yards of ribbon for each bow
  • Florist wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Pliers

You’ll be making bows for every occassion before you know it!


Step 1 – Make the First Tail

Measure the length of ribbon you want for the first tail. Make a full twist of the ribbon so the right side faces you. Hold the ribbon at the twist with one hand.

Make a Simple Bow

Step 2 – Make the First Loop

With your other hand, create the first loop of your bow with the next 8 inches of ribbon. End this loop at the twist and make another full twist of the ribbon so the right side faces you. Now you should have a 4 inch loop.

Make a Simple Bow

Step 3 – Make the Center Loop

Create the center loop of your bow with the next 4 inches of ribbon. End this loop at the twist and make another full twist of the the right side faces you. Now you should have a 4 inch loop followed by a 2 inch loop.

Make a Simple Bow

Step 4 – Make the Third Loop

Create the third loop of your bow with the next 8 inches of ribbon. End this loop at the twist and make another full twist of the ribbon so the right side faces you. Now you should have the basic shape of a bow with 2 large loops, a smaller center loop, and 2 tails.

Make a Simple Bow

Step 5 – Secure the Loops

Place a piece of florist wire through the smaller center loop. Use the pliers to twist it tightly at the back of the bow. The wire should be tight enough so you can move and adjust the loops to make a full, fluffy bow.

Make a Simple Bow


How to Make a BowStep 6 – Fluff and Trim the Bow

Arrange and fluff the bow loops. Trim the tails by making diagonal cuts across the ribbon ends.

You’re sure to find lots of great uses for your hand-made bows once you get the hang of these 6 simple steps. Try out your own techniques for a unique look – add more loops, vary the loop sizes, or combine ribbon colors and textures. Remember – Practice makes perfect and have fun!

Posted 10/13/09