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Paper A Plenty

The snip of scissors fills the air, scraps of paper flutter like snowflakes, glitter is everywhere and your fingers are crusted with glue. If you're anything like me, this sort of crafty chaos defines your holiday season. But regardless of whether you make your own greeting cards or are willing to give your right arm if it means someone else will wrap presents for you, there is one holiday season necessity and it's not that gingerbread latte. From imported washi to mass-produced rolls of wrapping, no holiday season is complete without some form of paper.

Two words come to mind when describing Kozo Arts, the specialty paper store that's been tucked away in Cow Hollow for more than ten years: elegant and custom. The small boutique, which doubles as a studio for its resident artists, specializes in handmade paper with Japanese influenced designs. Also for sale is imported silk, a perfect compliment to the exquisite paper. Mix and match to have Kozo's artists create gorgeous handbound photo albums and journals with an exotic flair. Their custom capabilities make Kozo Arts the perfect place for finding classy, unique gifts. If choosing the material yourself simply isn't enough project control, Kozo offers a number of classes that will teach you how to create the handmade goodies yourself. Kozo also features a number of materials and greeting cards made by local artists. Keep your right arm, they'll even custom wrap the gifts you've bought- all you have to do is pay.

If the sophistication of Kozo cramps your sticky-fingered creative style, Paper Source on Fillmore is chock full of cut, glue, hole-punch, stamp and fold inspiration. Consider yourself warned, it's hard to leave without splurging on materials for at least one or two new projects. Paper source makes do-it-yourselfing nearly decision free. This is a blessing for us Libras, narrowing down the overwhelming options with pre-made holiday-themed material packs that include a variety of paper, ribbon, envelopes and gift tags. All you need to supply is the creativity and if you find yourself in the shallow end of the gene pool where inventiveness is concerned, Paper Source has your back. They offer workshops ranging from Holiday Card making to collage, from rubber-stamping to Gocco printing. Their wrapping paper offerings run the gamut from kitschy to cute, retro designs to classic patterns. Choosing an item from the wall o' rubber stamps can add spice to any project and they offer miles of funky ribbon to choose from. The back room is filled with stationary and envelopes, every color and texture your imagination can come up with, and some it can't. A section of "how-to" guides, covering a range of book arts and paper projects, proves a great resource and the hip, helpful staff are ever-ready to assist.

If you still haven't found what you're looking for, head to Flax on Upper Market, where you'll find the paper motherload. You can spend hours opening hundreds of trays stocked with sheets of paper, from stripes to solids and everything in between. The stationary section deserves a day of exploration in and of itself. You won't find specialized attention at Flax, but if you are pursuing other crafty holiday endeavors, say plastercasting Virgin Marys or sculpting your own menorah, the enormous store can provide material for whatever your imagination may call for.