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Book Review: Furoshiki Fabric Wraps: Simple * Reusable * Beautiful by Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki

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I love everything about the holidays, from buying and making gifts to wrapping gifts and celebrating with friends. I have a vivid memory, from our last Christmas, that really made me stop and think.

My parents come over to our house to celebrate and all six of us unwrap our presents together. When we were all done, there was a mountain of wrapping paper to deal with. Yes, I can re-use some of it. Yes, we recycled the remaining paper, but that still takes its toll on the environment. I know that there are some craft people out there who have sewn their own gift bags, but the thought of sewing 20 or 30 gift bags for Christmas really just overwhelms me a bit.

Furoshiki is the Japanese word for wrapping cloth. Fabric has been used to wrap many things in many cultures, from cloth bags slung over immigrants’ shoulders to baby slings or rebozos in Mexico. Furoshiki in Japan dates back centuries; it was originally used to wrap the clothes of the nobility. With today’s concerns about the impact of throwaway packaging, Furoshiki has made an appearance here in the United States as well.

Furoshiki Fabric Wraps: Simple * Reusable * Beautiful is an introduction to the history of Furoshiki with instructions to learn the craft yourself. The book walks you through the entire process, starting with the type of fabric you use. You can purchase new fabric at the store or raid your stash for something you already own. You can use vintage scarves, bandanas, or plain muslin that you’ve decorated with stamps or even embroidery. Get the kids in on the fun and let them decorate the fabric with eco-friendly markers.

You will learn to make 18 different wraps for five primary shapes: bag, box, flat, bottle, and basket. Each section features a primary shape. You learn the basic fold for that primary shape and then several variations. As an example, in the Box Shape section, you first learn the Basic Carry Wrap which would work great for a book, box of chocolates, DVD, etc. Then you learn a few variations. The same Basic Carry Wrap can also be used to create a pillow sham, a four tie wrap, or a platter carrier. Each section shows a photograph of the finished project and then provides diagrams and step-by-step descriptions of each step needed to create that project.

There are so many different types of Furoshiki included in this book that you could use it for just about any gift. Whether you have a small house plant you want to wrap, or a bottle of wine, you’ll be able to find instructions that will work for you. The back of the book contains 20 removable cards so if you want to give someone a gift and wrap it using Furoshiki, you can tuck the project card into the present so they can re-use the Furoshiki themselves at a later time. This book will definitely help you wrap and present your gifts with style.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.