Furoshiki Wrapping for the Holidays

Every holiday season, as everyone is opening their gifts, I can’t help but think about all that wrapping paper that was made just to be ripped up and thrown away (or recycled in the best case scenario!)  My mom used to carefully untape the paper and neatly fold it to put away for another time but I don’t really remember it coming back out for anything!  Where did they all go, Mom??

A great way to wrap gifts – the way many different cultures have been doing forever – is to wrap them in reusable fabric.  In Japan, they use a square piece of cloth called a furoshiki.  Originally used to bundle up clothes/bath supplies going to and from the public bath, these furoshiki were also used by merchants to carry their wares, and then for wrapping gifts.  It’s not as commonly used today as they were back in the day but there is a bit of a resurgence due to desires to live more sustainably.

Furoshiki come in all sizes and the beauty of them is that you don’t even need a box for the item you are giving.  Since they conform to the shape of the item you are wrapping, you can wrap a bowl, a mug, or a wine bottle without much difficulty!  No need for tape either.

We have some examples of furoshiki wrapped items in the shop.  We also have a book that includes great instructions along with pictures to wrap common items to gift or to carry.  It’s a great way to give a gift within a gift this holiday season!

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Our furoshiki is currently only available in our Princeton store but if you are looking for something local to you and you can’t find actual furoshiki, make your way to the craft store and get some fabric you love!  If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you just need to sew the edges so they don’t fray.  Or find a large bandana to do the trick.  Shop local and/or shop small if you can!

More furoshiki experiments to come…

Miya’s Gingerbread House!

Let me preface this by saying I have never actually made a gingerbread house before so I looked everywhere for some inspiration/tips online.  I found a great blog post from La Fuji Mama that basically had everything I wanted so I shamelessly stole her design for this project.  Thanks La Fuji Mama for your creativity and post!  I literally could not have done this without you.

I found a recipe on a different site and procrastinated until the day before I had to bring it to the shop.  Next time,  I will be sure to prep ahead of time since I realize there were so many things I wished I could have added or done with more patience if I had given myself a couple more days!

But I went ahead and made some templates with poster paper and then transferred them to parchment paper so that they wouldn’t stick to the dough once I started cutting.  I made the dough (2 batches just in case!), chilled for a couple of hours (the dough chilled in the fridge and I chilled out on the couch…), rolled out the dough, placed the parchment paper templates on top and cut out 2 of each pieces of the house – front/back, sides, roof.  Baked, cooled and started decorating.  This process took a few hours so plan ahead!

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As with La Fuji Mama’s project, I also added the Mt. Fuji background since it looked easy enough to do and I had a lot of dough left.  No template here, just cut the very iconic shape of Mt. Fuji.   Here it is with the frosting snow top:

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Again, I had a lot of dough left over so I also made all our initials and our company’s name!  It’s not that pretty I know but I didn’t have any cookie cutters!  wow, my oven range is very dirty.

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And since Mom is the one taking pictures of everyone all the time, I had to ask Bob and my daughters to take some shots so that I have some pics for this content! (on a side note, why do moms always take all the pictures?)

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I even made Royal Icing to put it all together!  If you check the recipe, it doesn’t require too much but it was a first for me.  Also, I realized I had 2 unopened jars of cream of tartar – one expired in 2014 and the other in 2016….  but this house is not really for anyone to eat.  Also, would anyone even know the difference?  What is cream of tartar anyway?

I decorated and let that dry before assembling,  stuck it all together with my royal icing “glue,” put cans to hold the walls up like the internet told me, waited for that to dry and then roof, more icing, Giant Pocky for the roof top (did you know Pocky made in Japan tastes more buttery than the ones made in Thailand?), more decorating, worried about whether it would fall apart or if it looked “japanese” enough, stole some ornaments from our tree to add some color, stressed about all the bugs it will attract in the shop, and VOILA!

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ok – it definitely could be better but it also could have been a lot worse!  Next year, I’m going to make the shoji doors slide open…  Wish me luck

Stop by the shop to check it out in person!  While you’re there, check out the other gingerbread creations around the square!  Happy Holidays!