A simple but beautiful craft to try this week, especially with the holiday season around the corner; stitched paper parcels!

I’m changing jobs, which is exciting but inevitably means bidding farewell to my wonderful current team. We had a dinner last week to raise a glass to the past and the future, and I wanted to give them each a small gift, settling on books that reflect variously their interests and passions, novelists we both love or simply things I think they’d enjoy reading.

I used these vibrant papers from the lovely Cambridge Imprint to wrap them in, then ran the ends through my sewing machine to seal, choosing different decorative stitches and then hand-cutting the ends…

Whilst books are an obvious choice for this method, any flattish gift will do.  I used double-sided tape to seal the long side flat;


…and then gently pressed and creased the ends together before running through the sewing machine.  You can use tonal threads as here, or clashing colours for added pop.

Once done, I trimmed the threads and used a small pair of scissors to cut decorative edges to the paper; scallops and zigzags and curves…

These would make great individual gifts for book club friends, or as a beautifully wrapped set for a voracious reader this Christmas; you could label them to be opened each month perhaps.  I’m also a big fan of regifting books and buying second-hand, so I’m always scanning my bookshelves to see what you can bear to part with that friends might enjoy.

In case you’re interesting (because I’m always interested in what others are reading!), my choices included;

State of Wonder by the ever-brilliant Anne Patchett; a kaleidoscopic novel about science, human behaviour and hope

Quirky anthology The Joy of Small Things by columnist Hannah Parkinson; a siren call to be wholly present and to find both joy and solace in simple pleasures

Collected essays from the insightful, acerbic and often anarchic writer AA Gill in The Best of AA Gill, spanning topics from the politics war to the politics of restaurant service

Inspirational (aspirational!) book The Magnolia Kitchen by Bernadette Gee, for one of my team whose weekend bakes suggest a new career path awaits one day

Authentic by Stephen Joseph, on how to lead authentically and inclusively, with the conviction of your own values

The vibrant, rich and thought-provoking short story collection The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, whose writing always feels fresh and new

Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re upto!