This little bag was my present to my daughter even though I didn't wrap it or even call it a present. Because December was so full of presents my daughter started expecting them everyday--well before christmas--and when there weren't any she demanded More! Presents! But I still wanted to give her something. We did a lot of traveling for christmas, which if you have kids means schlepping an amazing amount of stuff around. I though it would be nice if my daughter could carry some of her own things. I followed one of the millions of tutorials on craftster (does anyone else remember when it was in it's infancy?) for a simple bag. I'm new to making bags, not being a bag person myself, but it wasn't all that hard really. I used a sew in interfacing, which made for a lot more cutting and sewing but I didn't think to put it in the flap or the strap and I should have. Two year olds get frustrated easily (and all the time, ugh) so I think it's important that the bag has some structure. I used a magnet closure thinking that it would be easy for her to use, but damn those are some strong magnets! It was filled with almost all handmade toys, which made me incredibly happy and very proud. And it meant that I didn't have to shove even more crap in the diaper bag. She carried it the whole way.
The fabric (because a couple people have asked) is Alexander Henry and I'm not much for little kids prints, but I really like this one. And the inspiration for making the bag in the first place came from Beth at writemamawrite. She has a great list of things to pack for toddlers in that post as well, but let's hope you have no more traveling to do--this year at least! We have one more plane ride home (home!) tomorrow and we'll see if the excitement of "my new purse!" can last until then. Hell, I hope I last until then.
I have a few more presents to show that have been opened and (thankfully) well received. This is a plastic bag made from many, many plastic bags. The directions came from Esty Labs and a quick search on youtube will give you a video of the whole process. You fuse three plastic bags together between sheets of parchment paper then zigzag them all together to make plastic fabric. I was originally going to make it in the shape of a plastic bag, but I kept melting holes in the plastic and the "fabric" was getting smaller and smaller. There is a picture of a patchwork plastic bag in the link above, so with that in mind I cut a bunch of squares and using a paper bag for a template (how ironic) made a plastic patchwork bag. Plastic bags are surprisingly easy to sew and this came together very quickly. It's incredibly light and though it doesn't feel sturdy it can hold a bunch of stuff. It's hard to avoid ending up with a bunch of plastic bags these days, even if you make a special effort not to. And this is a nice way to at least put those evil things to good use.
This was the very last gift I made and just barely done in time. It was for my brother in law and it's the name of his band. And a large band it is. So I drew all the instruments in the band and embroidered them, then did the name in cross stitch free hand. I got a little nervous that I wouldn't finish in time toward the end of "flatpickers" and I think it shows. I've learned that cross stitch requires actual planning (this was my first attempt) so maybe next time I won't just wing it. On the whole I like how homemade it looks. Folksy and modern--just like the band it's for. I wanted the hoop to be the frame, but a quick look around the internets didn't turn up much, so I put another piece of fabric behind the embroidered bit and just cut them both to fit. It's pretty slippy, does anyone know how to do this properly? The gift is still within my grasp and I could fix it if need be.
Hope everyone had a very merry christmas and got at least something you wanted.
Every year my mom (hi mom) would somehow manage find a bird's nest to put on our christmas tree. I grew up in Minnesota where there is several feet of snow and it's ridiculously cold come christmas, so finding a bird's nest is no small feat in December. So for the holiday traditions exchange one of the things I made was a nest. I was lucky enough to find a real nest (abandoned, of course, it's cold here!) the very morning I was boxing up my package to send. It puts my little ruffle nest to shame, but I suppose my nest has a modern aesthetic (take that, bird).
The patchwork bit in the middle is a needlebook that I made for storing my partner's popcorn stringing needles. We would string popcorn and cranberries most christmases, but I don't think the popcorn string ever got all that long because, well, we would eat all the popcorn. The gingerbread man is a little stuffed ornament (I posted a pattern here and there are more I made here). We would make gingerbread men (and ladies) every year and before they would go in the oven we would give them extra legs, or no legs, two heads, six arms, basically creating an army of mutant gingerbread men that we would then cover in sprinkles and hang on the tree.
Now that I think about it, there was a lot of food on our tree growing up. I've always wanted to decorate my tree completely with food, not just popcorn strings and gingerbread, but gumdrop garlands and pretzel angels and marshmallow snowmen. But we have always had dogs, so half the tree would be eaten once we turn our backs. And now that we have two little kids they would pick up where the dogs left off and we'd be left with a bare tree. So maybe someday I'll have a little tree way up high that I can decorate to my heart's content.
That's it. My package is somewhere between here and western australia now. I hope it (and our traditions) will be well received. I'm going to add this post to the sew mama sew Handcrafters' Holiday meme because I've enjoyed reading everyone else's posts.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Only six days until christmas and amazingly there is no furious sewing in this house. Just one more gift to make and then we're off to Grandma's house. There are always a couple people I forget and they are always the ones ready with a gift for me. So I thought I'd make a few ornaments to keep in my bag for those awful, awkward moments. I'm sure there are people like that in your life too: the weird cousin, the super smiley coworker. I thought I'd pass on a pattern for a gingerbread man ornament that can be whipped up quickly just in case you forgot someone. Click here to download the gingerbread man pattern and instructions. I included some pictures with the instructions below as well. If you make one let me know!
brown or tan wool felt
a tiny bit of white felt too
some stuffing (polyfil, etc.)
red, white, and black embroidery thread
white mini rickrack
two red buttons
1. cut out template and pin to felt. Cut out one gingerbread man out of felt.
2. for the eyes cut two small circles out of the white felt and attach them to the gingerbread man with one black french knot each. With a backstitch, sew a small circle for the mouth. Sew buttons on with white embroidery thread--to make them look like candies, sew from the button holes to the outside edge of the button. Cut pieces of mini rickrack for trim on two arms and the leg, dab all the ends with fray check, and use the glue stick to tack them down.
3. cut a rectangle as big as your gingerbread man out of felt. Pin your decorated man to this rectangle. Make a loop of rickrack and tuck it in between the layers on your gingerbread man's head (to hang him from later). Stitch by machine or by hand from A to B (the long way) 1/8inch from the edge. Be sure to catch all the rickrack as you stitch.
4. cut off the extra felt.
5. stuff the little man lightly and sew up the opening.
6. hang him up or give him away!