The kids just remembered these trees Calvin began making a few years ago, and has made every holiday since. They're a favorite this time of year for all manner of kid decorating and pretend play. A simple little bit of rolled self-hardening clay, with cut greens stuck into the base. Voila. A wintry forest! Want a snowy forest or a fabulously vintagey blue retro forest? A little bit of glue and glitter and you're good to go. Happy Forests.
A few years ago, we made the switch to all-fabric gift bags. I will confess that I had a little bit of hesitation about it - we've always loved making, decorating, and giving wrapping paper from recycled paper, kid art, or stamped and painted paper bags. I worried for a moment that we would miss that. But the gift giving goes so nicely with these bags, I really fell in love with them. I love all the pretty bundles sitting under the tree, they're fun to wrap, and lovely to give. And the best parts of all, of course, are that not only did I have no post-holiday paper clean up (besides folding and packing them away), but this year...the wrapping is all set and ready to go!
We've made some additions to the gift-bag stash this year - to replace those that we gave away, to make more of the sizes I used most of all, and to make one small improvement. Last year, I 'tied' the fabric bundles closed with scrap yarn, which was fine. But this year, I've begun making them with ribbon ties already attached. No waste at all! No scissors or tape needed! Very exciting.
The bags are as simple to make as can be - I don't bother with gussets or drawstrings or anything like that, and there are no measurements necessary, really. Which means that it's a perfectly fun and successful child-friendly and beginner sewing project too. Essentially, this is what we do:
Fabric Gift Bags
Cut a long rectangle of fabric, double the 'end' size you would like it to be, plus two inches or so. Fold fabric right sides together (the short way), and stitch a seam 1/2" from the edge of each side. (If I'm doing this alone and feeling extra detail-y, or know they'll be gifted outside of our house, I make french seams.) Press seams open. Fold open end fabric over towards the inside 1/2" or so and press. Fold again another 1" and press. Edgestitch this fold all the way around the top opening. Turn bag right side out. Cut two long lengths of ribbon (twill tape, grossgrain, anything will work) and place in the center of one side of the opening. Place each ribbon on either side of the center, (fold over if you're worried about fraying or want a more finished look), each with the 'tail' of the ribbon headed in an opposite direction (see second photo above). Stitch securely in place through the two ribbons and one side of the bag's fabric (a straight zig zag would work here, or make a 'square' with your stitches around the edges of the ribbon). Trim threads, pack gift, wrap and tie and gift!
While our stash is well-supplemented now, I'm currently working on a pile to give as a gift for a ecologically-minded family (with no sewers...yet!) for their own holiday gift-giving stash.
And the birch bark gift tags? Those are new this year, with just a paper punch at the top. This bark all came from our firewood stash and fire-starting pile, which is right where it will go when we're done with them. (Remember if you're using birch bark to only peel it off trees that are already down. It's an important protective layer of 'skin' for the living trees.)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Join us all week long here as I share some of the simple, handmade family gifts we're making in this wonderfully full time of Elving (& Giving)!