A Recap of 2014 and Look Ahead to 2015

Isabelle Vesey - Monday, January 12, 2015

The holiday madness is over, inventory’s counted, and it’s time to look back at 2014 and look ahead for 2015.  Christmas is the busiest time of the year for selling fabric gift bags, and in 2014 our Amazon sales really took off causing us to sell out of some fabrics a little earlier than I’d have liked.  We promise to be better prepared this year!

Our most popular Christmas bag in 2014 was Frosty Fabulousity

 If you’re a fan and would like to add to your existing gift bags, now’s the time.  Frosty is marked down 20% through Jan 30th, and inventory is getting low.  I do not believe he’ll be back for Christmas 2015.  Most of our current Christmas selections will be discontinued, except possibly Christmas Critters (almost gone) and Red Damask (out of stock) which may return.

We essentially sold out of Silver Dreidels for Hanukkah, as there are only a few mini bags left. I’m already checking out some new patterns for Hanukkah bags in 2015.  Menorahs, anyone?

Oh, and speaking of our mini gift bags -- they're being discontinued, too.  We will not be making minis from any new fabrics and will not replace existing patterns as they sell out.  

I am continually searching for new fabrics for our Birthday gift bags, and I am definitely narrowing down some options.  Keep an eye on our Facebook page for some sneak peeks and a chance to cast your vote!  While our Black Birthdays gift bags will hang around for a while, Cupcakes will be discontinued when the bags sell out.

The thing I like the most about so many of our cloth gift bags is that they are truly versatile and can be used for a variety of gift giving occasions.  Gold Damask and Simply Red were very popular as Christmas gift bags, but can be used all year long to wrap any type of gift.  One style that I’m definitely shopping for is something a little more masculine for wrapping gifts for the guys.  Hopefully, I’ll find just the right fabric in plenty of time for Father’s Day!

Now is the time to stock up on our existing bags as they are marked down anywhere from 10% up to 35%! This sale will end on January 30th so think ahead to what’s happening in 2015. Anyone getting married or having a baby? What birthdays are on the horizon?  Tired of scrambling for a wine bag for hostess gifts or housewarmings?  As usual, shipping in the US is free on orders of $50 or over.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas for what you’d like to see us carry?  What's your favorite pattern or size?Please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page, send me a tweet @VZWraps, or shoot an e-mail to info@VZWraps.com.  I’d love to hear from you!  Happy New Year, and Happy Gift Giving!!

2014 Holiday Shipping Schedule

Isabelle Vesey - Thursday, December 11, 2014

We’ve lowered our Free Shipping threshold to $30 through December 20th

Here are some important dates to keep in mind to make sure your VZWraps reach you in time!

  • Wed., Dec. 17th -- Last day to place an order to ship First Class Mail for arrival by Christmas Eve.
  • Thurs., Dec. 18th -- Last day to place an order to ship Priority Mail for arrival by Christmas Eve.
  • Fri., Dec. 19th – It is very likely that your order will ship on Monday, Dec. 22nd.  If you are in the Philadelphia area, Priority Mail should get it to you on time.  If you are further away, you’ll need to choose Priority Express.

Please keep in mind that the closer you are to the Philadelphia, the sooner your package should arrive.  We work extremely hard to ship packages the day after an order is received, but with the holiday volume it sometimes is just not physically possible.

Our office will be closed from December 24th through Monday, Dec. 29th.   Happy Holidays!!

It's Christmas in July!!

Isabelle Vesey - Thursday, July 24, 2014

OK, so Christmas is still 5 months away, but we’re celebrating right now in two big ways:

  1.  A Sale!!  All our Christmas gift bags are 20% off (at least) through August 25th. So now’s the time to start your collection or add to a set you already have as some bags may be discontinued.
  2. A Giveaway!!  We’re partnering with USA Love List, a great site for “Stuff we Love: Made in the USA.”  You could win a set of 10 holiday bags PLUS a $50 VZWraps gift certificate.  The set is pictured below and includes two fabric gift bags of each size: large, medium, standard, wine, and mini.
set of 10 holiday gift bags

The giveaway starts on Friday, July 25th and runs through August 7th, so click on over for your chance to win! 

We're Having a Spring Fling!

Isabelle Vesey - Friday, April 11, 2014

 We're taking a little vacation!  We can't take one during the Christmas season so we have to squeeze them in sometime.  All orders placed on Friday, April 11th through Thursday, April 17th will ship on Friday, April 18th. To make up for the inconvenience, shipping will be FREE (US orders only)!  Orders under $50 will receive free first class shipping. US Orders $50 and over will ship Priority 1-3 day Express at no charge. Thank you for your understanding.


It's Party Time!

Isabelle Vesey - Friday, April 04, 2014

Welcome fellow guests from the 5MinutesForMom.com Ultimate Blog Party.  If you’re stumbling across this page from somewhere else, “Welcome” to you, too, and please, join the party!  (Be sure to read to the end so you don’t miss the  gift I’m offering!)

Let me introduce myself:  I’m Isabelle Vesey, a mother of two from the Philadelphia area, who got tired of all the waste generated from traditional wrapping paper.  One year at Christmas, I just couldn’t bring myself to wrap my family’s gifts in paper that was just going to be thrown out -- even the paper that was made from recycled materials.  So I bought some festive fabric, and started sewing some bags.  Several years later, I still use many of those original bags. (That couch is gone, but the bags still remain!)

VZWraps are made from traditional or organic cotton, and most of my ribbons are made from recycled materials.  Busy moms will appreciate how easy it is to just drop your gift in and tie the bag closed.  We’ve all had to stop and pick up a gift on the way to the party.  With VZWraps you don’t need scissors or tape.  You can even wrap in the car, just not while you’re driving, please. 

Whatever the occasion, there’s an appropriate wrap. I have fabrics specifically for birthdaysChristmas andHanukkah.  But most of my fabrics would work for several occasions as I’m hoping they’re reused often.  I have elegant fabrics perfect for weddings, bridal showers, housewarmings, or Mother’s Day, and I have some fun fabrics for more relaxed occasions.  There are plenty of gift bags for kids and babies, too.

VZWraps is happy to donate a set of 6 assorted fabric gift bags to the huge prize pool for the Ultimate Blog Party.  Just fill out the entry form and include VZWraps as one of your choices! Leave a comment telling me your favorite fabric, and I'll take that into consideration when putting together the prize assortment.

I’m also happy to offer a 15% off coupon code for orders of $35 or more just for stopping by.  Just enter DCSpring in the Discount Box on the check-out page. The coupon is good through April 18th.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the party!

Eco-Friendly Birthday Gifts for Kids Under $25

Isabelle Vesey - Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It’s September, which means the kids go back to school, and the birthday party invites start coming by mail and backpacks. Here are a handful of suggestions for eco-friendly birthday gifts that are kind to the planet and your wallet. You can see all these ideas, and more, on our Pinterest board: Gifts for Kids


My daughter used to LOVE creating with beads, but I wasn’t so crazy about finding tons of plastic beads all over the floor. (My sister once had a bead stuck way up her nose, but that’s another story!) This 4M Recycled Paper Beads Kit lets you use paper to create colorful beads that can be turned into unique jewelry.  It’s under $10 at Amazon.com.

Jigsaw puzzles are still a summer tradition in our house, even though my kids are teens.  This eye-popping puzzle of colorful crayons is a challenging 500 pieces and made of 100% recycled materials (puzzle & packaging) and vegetable-based inks.  An added plus is that it’s made here in the USA. Only $12.95.

This Cubebot Puzzle is a nice alternative to plastic transformer-like robots and more durable, too.  Made from sustainably harvested cherry wood, this one could become a family heirloom. Under $20 on Amazon.

For the girly girl who loves to experiment with makeup, here’s a makeup set that uses safe and non-toxic, natural and organic mineral makeup designed just for kids. Handmade purse included. $24.99 at organicbeautynow.com

Encourage the budding artist with this portable watercolor set that includes 20 sheets of paper, 3 brushes, and 4 travel strips of watercolor paint. Available from TheNatureWalk on Etsy.com for $24.50.

And finally, this one I may have to buy for myself!  Earthopoly is a board game celebrating wondrous locations around the Earth. $24.95 from lateforthesky.com.

And for wrapping that’s kind to the planet, use one of our VZWraps gift bags for kids. We've just added two new fabric choices:  Aliens and Fairy Princesses. Each pattern is available in Standard, Medium, and Large gift bags.

For more gift ideas, follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. We’re always posting or pinning!  If you have any great gift ideas you'd like to share, please leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!

Eco-friendly Entertaining Ideas for Bridal Shower or Housewarming Gifts

Isabelle Vesey - Thursday, August 15, 2013

Looking for some earth-friendly suggestions for bridal shower or housewarming gifts? Here are some upcycled products from our Pinterest boards that can be used for entertaining. Hopefully you'll be invited to the party to see your gift in action!


I really love this Margarita set from VivaTerra.com Not only are they beautiful and festive, but they're made from recycled glass, dishwasher safe, and they have a raised texture which should help clumsy – or tipsy – friends hold on to them.

For cutting up the limes for making those Margarita’s, here's The Chop, a handcrafted cutting board made from reclaimed wood from CounterEv.   Preserve also makes great cutting boards from recycled plastic.

The bride won’t want water rings on her table, so here is a one-of-a-kind coaster set where the coaster are made from the actual album art and the holder is made from the vinyl album. Recycled Album Art on Etsy has hundreds of albums to choose from so you’re sure to find something to match the couple’s taste.

Also from Etsy are these great chalk napkin rings made from scrap metal with a chalkboard decal from Sierra Metal Design.

For serving some appetizers, there are lots of choices.  From Hipcycle.com, here's a glass bowl made from found wine bottles.

From ByGordonLiving on Etsy this great lazy Susan is made from a reclaimed wine barrel:

And from UncommonGoods.com, the Plate with a Purpose. Handmade from recycled glass and hand-screened, $5 from each purchase is donated to City Harvest, a New York City charity for feeding the hungry.

These ideas should help get the party started. And when you need to wrap them up, grab some of our fabric gift bags and your wrapping will be done in no time. Some great choices for housewarmings are Twist of Lime (goes really well with Margarita's) and Happy Hour

For bridal showers, you can't go wrong with Black & White Floral or Something Blue.

July Shipping Schedule

Isabelle Vesey - Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy 4th of July! We're celebrating at the beach with lots of family and friends  (4 houses full!).  We will not be shipping orders this week or the week of July 22nd. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. To thank you for your patience, we'll upgrade any orders received while we're closed to Priority Shipping for FREE! Please check the schedule below:

Orders placed                                         Will ship

Mon., July 1st through Sun., July 7th       by Wed., July 10th

Sat., July 20th through Tues., July 20th     by Fri., August 2nd

We will be shipping as usual on orders placed from July 8th through July 19th.  We'll be unveiling some new fabrics and getting ready for Christmas when we get back! Have a safe and happy holiday.

8 Tips for Greening your Summer Parties

Isabelle Vesey - Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It’s been party-central around here with my son’s graduation party for 50 guests just last weekend and a looming 4th of July party for almost as many. Since my husband and I both come from big families, parties for 50+ and dinners for 30 are standard around here.  When making my party plans, I’m always trying to minimize the environmental impact of feeding and entertaining all those people.  Here are a few tips I regularly use:

1. Use real silverware not plastic.  Several years ago I bought a set of 24 forks on Overstock.com for around $30. I haven’t had to buy disposable, quick-to-break, plastic forks in years, more than covering that initial investment.  I don’t see any on Overstock right now, but a quick search on Ebay turned up 36 stainless-steel forks for $16.50.  You’re bound to find some in your local thrift store, too.

2. Use disposables made from recycled materials.  My everyday plates are a set of 16 (found in a consignment shop on vacation for a bargain!), so combined with my good china, I can drum up enough plates for many of our holiday dinners. But for big, outdoor parties, I look for disposables made from recycled paper (Chinet brand is one). It’s getting much easier to find recycled paper napkins, too, when cloth isn’t an option. I even found them in assorted colors at the local party store when shopping for my son’s graduation party.  


3. Invest in Reusables. I’m a big fan of Preserve Products.  Their tableware is made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic, BPA and melamine free. While it costs a little more than paper, you can throw it in the dishwasher and reuse it over and over.  When it finally gets too worn, you can recycle it or return it to Preserve and they’ll recycle it for you!  I bought some of their cups for last 4th of July, and I’ve used them several times since.  They’re easy to stack and store and make a great alternative to disposable plastic cups. You can buy on-line or at local stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

4. Just say no to the junk! Now that you have your tableware covered, let’s talk about what not to buy.  Just say no to the disposable decorations that will be tossed after the party. For graduation, I resisted the big aisles of graduation centerpieces, lawn signs, inflatables, and other junk that would just be thrown away when the party was over.  I do have some 4th of July items – cardboard stars, cotton bunting, and big outdoor bows – but we’ve been reusing the same decorations for about 8 years now. If you always host a certain holiday, invest in some sturdy, attractive pieces that you can use over and over. Skip the cheap throwaways!

5. Decorate with plants.  What to use for centerpieces? For outdoor parties I often use potted plants that can be transplanted to my garden.  Buy a flat or two of one plant, and it makes quite an impact. For graduation, it was white begonias all over the place.

6. Think local and fresh when it comes to food. I personally stopped eating beef about 4 years ago, but my family still does, so it’s local and grass-fed beef only for  the 4th of July burgers and a box of veggie burgers for me and a few other like-minded souls. I’ll also stock up on vegetables, cheese, and other goodies at the farmer’s market – there’s nothing like a farm-fresh spinach, strawberry & goat cheese salad this time of year! 

7. Host a kegger! For the adult beverages, stick to local brews in recyclable bottles and cans, or if the crowd’s big enough, get a keg!  You’ll have to deal with cups, but there are plenty of reusable and/or recyclable options out there. For the wine drinkers, I have a large stash of real glasses accumulated over the years, so all that’s left behind is the empty, recyclable, wine bottles. For the kids, think water,  organic fruit juice, and big batches of lemonade. Skip the soda and the high-fructose corn syrup.  

8. Put out the recycling bins and relax.  Make sure to have a few recycling containers available and clearly marked with what’s acceptable. Our township collects everything, but some places still only accept #1 & #2 plastics, clear glass, etc.  Put a note on your bins so you don't have to do a messy sort later. 

Then get out there with your guests and have a good time. Just do what you can to reduce your impact, don't worry about being perfect, and enjoy a wonderful day with friends and family. Hopefully your guests will be so impressed by your party, that they'll try to green their next party, too.

6 Easy Ways to Green Your Easter + My Secret to a Tear-Free Easter Egg Hunt

Isabelle Vesey - Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Here are six simple steps to making your Easter celebration a little bit greener, since every little bit helps.  As for Easter Egg hunts, I’m amazed at how many people have traumatic memories of disastrous childhood egg hunts. So when I decided to have one for my nieces and nephews, I was determined to make it tear-free.  Read-on to learn my secret!
  1.  Just Say No to Easter Grass.  Don’t spend money on petroleum-based plastic that’s going to be thrown out in a few days. Crumple up some newspaper or tissue paper in the bottom of your basket and cover it with a cloth napkin, instead.  
  2. Buy Fair-Trade Chocolate. The best thing that I could find in my basket would be chocolate. But it’s hard to eat chocolate guilt-free anymore. Aside from the calories, I’m concerned with how the chocolate was farmed.  According to the US State Department, many West African growers engage in child trafficking, forced child labor, and unsafe labor practices and this chocolate is bought by many of the largest chocolate companies.  The Daily Green, from Good Housekeeping, has a great list of organic and fair trade chocolate providers.  Many can be found in your local health food stores, like Whole Foods, or on-line.   I’ve already ordered my organic bunnies from Lake Champlain Chocolates in Vermont for delivery this week.
  3. Give coupons for non-candy items.  If you want to cut back on how much candy goes in those baskets, how about some coupons for fun spring treats – a trip to the ice cream parlor or water ice stand, an after school picnic, or trip to nearby trails or a zoo. Your kids will remember time spent with you much longer than they will some candy.
  4. Use Corn-based plastic eggs for your Easter Egg hunt. I've thrown Easter Egg Hunts for about 10 years, and I’ve been using the same plastic eggs over and over. (Don't worry. I wash them.)  When I finally need new ones, I’ll be checking out these BPA free, corn-based plastic eggs made in the USA from ecoeggs.com.  
  5. Shop seasonal and locally for your dinner. With Easter falling on March 31st this year, and a few inches of snow falling on March 25th!, I’m not sure how much produce will be available at the farmer’s market on Saturday.  But I’ll be swinging by to find out before heading to Whole Foods to get the rest.  If I can buy it locally I will, and if the only asparagus I can find is from South America, we’ll have carrots instead!
  6. Use real plates and silverware. I know it’s easier to use paper, but it’s so much nicer and earth-friendly to use real plates and cutlery. If you’re having a lot of little kids and you’re concerned about using real glassware or don’t have enough to go around, get some Preserve On-the-Go cups.  Made from recycled plastics, recyclable (#5 plastic), BPA free, Made in USA, and dishwasher safe, I’ve bought these cups for parties, throw them in the dishwasher afterwards, then stack them up and put them away until the next time.  They hold up wonderfully.

 And, finally, my secret to a tear-free Easter Egg hunt?  Assign each child a specific color of egg to find.  And if you have more kids than basic colors, get a marker and make some eggs polka dots or stripes for a few more options. You might want to assign those to an older child who won’t get confused over finding plain blue eggs vs blue eggs with green stripes. I fill the same number of eggs for each child which eliminates the crazy competition to find more eggs than anyone else. The kids can help each other by giving hints to where they saw someone else’s egg.  You can put eggs for toddlers in plain view but have fun finding hard hiding spots for the pre-teens.  You can also tailor the treats inside to accommodate allergies or picky eaters.  I have a niece who doesn’t like candy, so all of her eggs are filled with stickers, coins, or other small toys instead of jelly beans and chocolate. It’s been a success for almost 10 years now, even when a pesky squirrel ran off with one of our eggs!

I'd love to hear your tips for greening your celebration. And be sure to check out our boards on Pinterest and our Facebook page  for even more ideas.