Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Make a Little Gift Bag!.....250 Days To GO!!!!

Well 250 is a nice neat little number, isn't it? Half of 500...115 days down. Goes pretty fast! I'm taking a break mid-finals to do a little tutorial, inspired my my Christmas preparation.  I've whipped up these little bags since I was in middle school. This year, some ladies in my life are getting these little bags stuffed with some nice goodies! (but I won't tell what they are in case any of those ladies read this:)).

First, the particulars....I picked out 2 fabrics (on my challenge it's ok to get fabric stuff if not for clothes, because I can't spend any money on clothes blah blah blah!). I just got 1/8 yard of each of the 2 fabrics I picked. So, the fabric totaled $0.87! Then, I got a spool of black, narrow ribbon....$0.47.  I used a couple beads I have on hand, since I occasionally do beading.

Of course, you can use any remnants to do this project, and you can use bits of ribbon you already have. I didn't have any suitable fabric remnants or ribbon for this project, so I had to buy it. But it is still very affordable. 

So, I started with strips of the fabric that were the same width all the way down.  Although I made these "nice" I wasn't super picky about the details. It's just not that big of a deal when making little bags!

*Oh, and I serged the non-selvage edges of all the fabric, but I didn't include that step because it's not essential, and most people don't have a serger.  And, I had a problem with my serger (my serger and I have a very tenuous relationship!), so the serging looks awful. But, it's there to keep the edges from fraying, and not to be that pretty! 


1)  First, fold the piece of fabric in half lengthwise...

2)  Next, iron at the halfway point, as shown...

3)  Cut at the crease to cut the fabric in half exactly....

So it ends up like this...of course...

4)  Pin the pretty sides of the fabric together, as shown...

5)  On one side, measure down double the width you want the tie-pocket to be, put a red pin or marking in that spot. 

6)  Start at the red pin, and sew all the way around, pivoting at the corners, and backtacking thoroughly at the beginning and end....

 It should look like this when you are done...

7)  Trim the bottom corners like so, so that they will turn easier when the time comes....

8)  Next, take the open edges above the red pin, pin them inwards, and....

9)  ...Sew those edges down so that the edge of the tie-pocket looks clean and finished

10)  Next, Fold the top towards the inside so that there will be enough room to get the tie in, but so that the tie-pocket will be adequately battened down....measure at the seams to make sure it is continuous, and pin it....

11) And then sew it down (can be a challenge on a tiny bag like this one!) 

12) Turn the bag pretty-side out! Time to thread the ribbon tie into the tie pocket!

13) I put one end of the tiny ribbon in a tiny safety pin (the kind they pin tags into garments with), and I left the other end on the spool, which anchors it just fine.

14) I threaded it through the tie-pocket, using the safety pin to grab it and pull it through, through the outer fabric. 

15)  When I finished with that, I took one end, and I tied a knot about 1.5" down, and then I used a needle to thread a bead onto the ribbon...

16) Then I tied a knot on the other side of the bead, very close to the bead, and trimmed!!

YOU ARE DONE! It is that easy. 

You get the hang of it really quickly, as it is a pretty simple project:).  Here's all the finished baggies I am making...(as of now)....

So are you including handmade gifts in your Christmas gifts? (Knowing this crowd, I bet you are:)) What are you including that you made? Any exciting holiday plans? Fill me in below:) Thanks for stopping by!!! Hope your Holiday prep is going great!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dress Challenge......258 days to go!

Oh hi there! How are you guys doing? Well, classes ended for the semester (yesterday), and now it is FINALS! At my school we have 2 weeks of finals, and a partial reading week. So, it kind of goes on forever. And ever. And ever. It has also been extremely frigid in the area of the world where I live. Tons of snow, below freezing at times, etc.

One thing that happens to me, very commonly, is that when the semester is starting to wrap up, and temperatures are dropping, I tend to become very schlep-y. I get in a clothing rut, dress in only my comfiest, warmest clothes, and generally look very blah. So this year I decided to wear a skirt or dress for the last 10 days of class (not finals. I even allow myself to wear sweats during finals). It went pretty well. Here are my findings...

1)  I felt more confident and business-like

2)  I got a lot of compliments...which is never a bad thing

3)  I re-discovered many dresses and outfits I'd never even thought of, further broadening my wardrobe! (which is a very good thing when on a no-buy!)

4)  Sometimes tights and a dress are even warmer than regular pants would be!

5)  Dresses and tights take up less room in the washer than jeans and sweaters. Which is pretty awesome when I'm already busy and don't have time to do 8,000 loads of laundry every week.

6)  It is much easier to update an existing outfit with a new pair of tights than to get a new outfit.  (If you'll remember, I am allowed to replace undies on this challenge, and to replace worn out hosiery...and all of my tights were in rough shape!)

7)  It was kind of fun to play dress up! When I was in gradeschool, I wouldn't wear pants. I wore skirts and dresses every day. I even did this for awhile in highschool. Once I got to college, that kind of ended. So it was fun to revisit all of that and play dress up.

8)  I liked it so much that I may even continue to dress up with more frequency!

All-in-all, avoiding the pre-finals schlep was a very good move.  Having so many more outfit combos at my disposal now really has opened up some clothing doors and helped quell any new-clothes cravings (easy to get this time of year with all the awesome sales around). 

So tell me, how much do you dress up during the winter? What are your go-to stay-warm styles? Any other thoughts on avoiding the schlep and staying warm at the same time?

Well, as I enter finals I suspect I will be a lazy poster for a little while longer. However, I will be back with a vengeance when the semester is over!:) Hope your pre-holiday times are going swimmingly!