…gift wrapping galore – vintage & burlap…

Some of my most favorite gift wrapping inspirations have been when clients have approached me and given me a two or three word summary about their recipient.

One time, one of my favorite clients gave me these words: dinosaurs and penguins. And this was a gift wrapping session for a grown woman (so awesome, right?!?!)…but that’s another wrapping story…!

The following gift was for a bridal shower, and the bride’s style aesthetic was vintage, burlap and lace. Oh, I could do a whole series of gifts with that theme! Instead of heading to my favorite paperie – I instead took a jaunt to the local fabric store. There I found a fantastic bleached burlap, more off-white than the typical beige. Also, this grey tweed just spoke to me from among the bolts of plushness and so I added that to my cart.

The final product was simple – the base was a thick white butcher paper, layered with the grey tweed (frayed at the edges) and then a final layer of the burlap (also frayed). I took a lace ribbon and wrapped the package, knotting it in several areas (to symbolize “tying the knot”), then I added acrylic jewels tied with twine where the knots were.

Lastly, and this has to be done the day of, in lieu of a bow I added creamy white Hydrangeas.

The final effect is simple, lovely – with surprising elements. One of my favorite gift wrapping effects to this day!




…wedding bliss – first impressions…

We all can agree that weddings are timeless events. Whereas they can continually evolve, the basic concept of love and marriage – for better or for worse – continues on. One of the most popular trends in weddings today, is the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) element – in an effort to not only save money, but add unique personalization and unexpected touches.

One principle that can help couples achieve an economic balance is to celebrate their nuptials, and the following brouhaha, on one exclusive venue instead of the traditional church ceremony and separate reception location. Doing this is not only a thrifty option (saving on florals, transportation, time), but also creates a jovial atmosphere for the wedding guests. Instead of navigating to a second location, that time can be spent among family, friends and absorbing the blissful atmosphere (plus it saves on gas – no harm in helping the planet!)!

Being on budget does not mean that you have to take away from décor or styling, it just means that you get to be creative and more resourceful! As for the wedding I planned and styled for Chelsea and Brenon, instead of printing programs to alert guests of the evening’s flow – there was a simple sign at the front entrance. And it said…

Lovely, simple and sweet! Because the ceremony and reception were on the same grounds, we were able to economically utilize this element. The chalkboard was borrowed from a family friend, the suitcases were from my own personal vintage rental inventory,  and the rest of the décor – burlap, mason jars, baby’s breath, wood rounds – were extra from the centerpieces! I bought a bucket of chalk from Michael’s – for a grand total of $4.

First impressions are important to me as a stylist – they set the tone for an event. I am a huge believer that the first impression does not have to be over-the-top either – sometimes it is the simplicity that makes the deepest impression.



P.S. Many thanks to Kilean Todd for her amazing photography!

…for the love of feathers…

Feathers…oh, wonderful fluffiness!

They add so much texture, dimension and distinction to a project. I, myself, love to use feathers when gift wrapping – in place of a bow, to add that element of height.


One of my signature gift wrapping designs, is to build a small base – I use jewels and faceted rocks – and insert feathers into the crevices. What I like about this design, is that once it is removed from the gift it can be used for other purposes! A paperweight, a fascinator – the possibilities, once you let your mind wander, are endless!

But feathers certainly are not limited to gift wrapping. A fellow wedding stylist also used my dyed curled feathers for her bouquets and boutonnières…I love the ethereal look that the curled feathers contributed to the final looks!

These lovely wedding photos are of my good friends Whitney and Travis, many kudos to Chance James Photography for capturing their beautiful nuptials.

With The Great Gatsby carving a niche for 20s Flapper Style weddings and events, feathers are definitely making a comeback in styling and design. I cannot wait to use them more and more in many designs!




…Engelmann Cellars, A Bridal Showcase…

This is rather belated post – but rather late than never!

I was honored to be one of the vendors invited to participate at The Bridal Showcase hosted by Engelmann Cellars in Fresno, CA. It was a wonderfully beautiful day – sunny skies and a cool breeze. Bret and Elainea Engelman are two of the greatest people I know – so genuine and giving – and they held such an amazing affair. The park setting of their winery is a breathtaking venue for weddings – especially at sunset when the sultry suns rays radiate off the surrounding vineyards! This happens to be one of my favorite wedding and event venues in Fresno. It also happens to be one of the few places that will allow brides and grooms to choose their own vendors – which is perfect when a couple is on a budget or wants a DIY affair!

Below were my designs for the showcase…


The above design was inspired by the 20s Flapper Era. Vintage black sewing desk, dotted lace, Royal vintage typewriter – topped off with fur throw, pink feathers and roses, a heart shaped birdcage and whimsy lamp! The lovely lady was my neighboring vendor, Whitney Vasquez, who is a fantastic hair stylist!


This second look pulled together bright colors of teal and pink, with subtle accents of black and gold. The typewriter is more retro, and such a great way to get guests involved by typing love notes or sayings during your wedding!

I loved creating these looks and sharing them with Fresno’s future Mrs.’s was a joy!!

See the complete looks at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.392620140835922.85197.230223937075544&type=3


Raina Toy

…wedding bliss – bouquets and boutonnieres…

Just a sneak peek of the lovely wedding nuptial between Chelsea and Brenon! I am so blessed that they had me style and plan their entire wedding – they were a complete joy to work with and the wedding was filled with so much love and laughter! My hat comes off for the delightful Kilean, of Kilean Todd Photography – for her expert eye captured all these amazing details!

For their bouquets and boutonnieres, they had a distinct look that they wanted – simple and rustic with elements of burlap, lace and hues of yellow. It was not intended, but aqua sneaked itself into the design and became an accent color that deliciously complimented the vintage yellows!

The boutonnieres were three little Billy Buttons (such a gorgeous pop of yellow!) with small sprays of baby’s breath and wrapped with a heavy twine. I decided to use previously dried Billy Buttons, which have a slightly more rustic look – this is completely just my personal observation (I think fresh B&B’s appear more modern and retro – but the difference is so minimal it really doesn’t matter!).


The bouquets were all baby’s breath! Such lightness and texture! The bridesmaids all had small, fluffy bouquets wrapped simply with burlap. The bride’s was larger, and was wrapped with burlap and a lace handkerchief given to her from her grandmother – also, an antique brooch tied with twine and lace trail completed her bouquet. The lace trail was knotted twice – to symbolize “tying the knot!”

I loved creating these darling bouquets and boutonnieres – they fit the personalities of the bride and groom wonderfully!



…i’m a wrap star…!


What an amazing couple of weeks! Leading the way towards Christmas was one of the most wonderful happenings for me and my business – being interviewed by Ron Orozco of The Fresno Bee. Of course I was a bundle of nerves, but it was such a thrill to be a part of my city’s local paper.

Here is the link for the article:


My picture in the paper (!!!):

Courtesy of The Fresno Bee / Craig Kohlruss

Courtesy of The Fresno Bee / Craig Kohlruss

Additionally, I am honored to be included among an established business like Not Just Paper! I wander around their beautiful shop regularly, dazed by all the fabulous paper, ribbons and gifts that are arranged.

Reflecting back onto 2012, I have loved every minute. I cannot wait for the New Year, but feel blessed that this past year has been so wonderful. I have already begun a list of resolutions for myself and the badly guarded girl – understandably, perhaps not all of them will be fulfilled, but where one door closes another one always opens!



…let’s talk paper…

Oh, I could wax poetic on paper.

dizzying amount of paper!

I love to touch paper – hold it in between my fingers and feel the softness of the flocking, or the threads of woven paper, or the texture of pattern. This is same routine I do whenever I go into a fabric store (but that is another day and blog post!).

There is one element to gift wrapping that I cannot emphasize enough – use quality paper! The thickness and pliability are essential to a gift’s final look. Thin, flimsy paper will wrinkle and tear easily – that wastes not only time and money, but is also not aesthetically pleasing.

Understandably, not everyone wants to purchase expensive paper, but there are some great alternatives:

Butcher paper is one great way to wrap a gift simply, then add fun embellishments like ribbon, feathers or jewels. Additionally, you can paint or draw on this paper – set up an easel and have your child go paint-crazy! Grandparents, aunts and uncles will love to not only receive a gift, but to keep memento of their loved one.

Newspaper is another wonderful alternative (and you will be recycling!). You can highlight words to create a fun saying, or wrap using the crossword puzzle (maybe filled in partially!).

Washi Tape is a way to wrap and tape together a gift (not paper, per se, but wonderful all the same). There are so many bright colors and fun patterns – get creative and make zig-zags, or spell out your recipients name!

Now, for those who want to splurge on paper, my favorites is handmade Lokta Paper. It has texture, is durable and the designs are amazing. Sometimes I hold a piece of Lokta paper with the intention to wrap a gift, and it pains me to cut a swath through it (but ultimately the end result of the wrapped gift is reward for the paper’s demise!).

variety of lokta papers

Happy wrapping!!


Raina D. Toy