Home made birthday party loot bags

Yesterday we held Helen’s sleepover birthday party at Dad and Gail’s house.  We had been planning it for some time and five girls came with four of them sleeping over with Helen (and me).

I did not want to buy any more plastic loot bags (despite the fact that they were only a dollar for 10 at the dollar store).  So Helen and I looked up a sewing pattern on the internet for easy-peasy patterned jewelry pouches  Go to this link to see where we got our pattern. 

We started with the protractor-type rotary cutter that I bought after Christmas with my 50% coupon at Michael’s.  I have circles I will be cutting regularly for a different pattern in the near future and I had been eyeing this tool for some time.

We used some fabric ends that Santa stuffed in Helen’s stocking (I happen to know that Mrs. Clause picked these ends up for $1 at the Royal Inland Hospital Auxiliary Thrift store in Kamloops. :)

We cut two circles of contrasting fabric for a total of 16 circles (8 bags).  We had LOTS of fabric left over.

Then I put them right side together and sewed a 1/4″ seam around the circumference, leaving a few inches so that I could turn it right side out and sew up the opening.  I used my quilter’s foot for this as it is exactly 1/4″ and has a guide. It made turning the circle very easy.

I nipped the circle a few times so that it would lay flat when I turned it right side out.
I ironed it flat…
And hand stitched it closed…
I made eight…

Once it was stitched closed I made another run of stitiching 1/4″ from the edge (used the quilter’s foot again).  Then another on the inside of that one about 1/4″ away.  I had to use my regular sewing foot so I guessed for this.

Then I cut two small openings opposite each other through a single layer of fabric and put two strands of cord through.  I had to read the online directions closely to figure this out.

This is what we ended up with.  We filled them with a few high quality chocolates and that was that.  Only pennies per bag and they are re-useable!

Candles for Christmas

I alluded to our ideas for Christmas gifts last year.  We decided to give handmade and homemade gifts that could either be eaten or enjoyed and re-used.

We had great fun buying candle making supplies (Chris’ project) and buying up cute little cups and containers from the thrift store to put them in. In addition, we made several “Cookies in a Jar” gifts as well as home-made bread and preserves. 

We made a list of family and friends to whom we wished to present these gifts and eagerly went shopping for baskets. It was my desire to buy baskets for no more than $1.99 each and I was fairly successful in this as I shopped the thrift stores (full price at Michaels started at $10.00 each!)

I bought fabric ends from the Royal Inland Hospital Thrift store in Kamloops where I discovered one metre ends were selling for as little as $0.50! 

The girls and I made candy cane bark (see previous post).

I wish I could say that we were more successful in our attempt.  We seemed to be pouring candle wax into teacups the night BEFORE we were seeing family to hand off our gifts.  We did enjoy it very much and still have 10 or so baskets that will probably become Groundhog Day Gift baskets and Easter Baskets and Canada Day baskets. Perhaps next Christmas we will start just a bit earlier!  I’m not sure exactly what the price of each basket came to (or will come to) but my gut feeling was about $12.  For those we gave out this year we attached a neat little card that asked for the basket and jars to be returned so that we could continue to give gifts throughout the year.  As long as our dear family and friends help out out here, the “recycled” baskets filled with different goodies, would cost $8-9 each.  If you count our time and effort…priceless, especially because we spent a whole lot of time together!

Here are a few photos of our attempts at baskets…in no particular order.


Helen’s Quilt

Here are some photos of Helen’s quilt project.  I would like to thank our friend Judy Davis who swiftly offered to sell her sewing machine to me to give to Helen for Christmas when I came to her for advice about buying one.  Judy is my December Frugal Friend!  The story behind the little Jenome Jem is one to be proud of!

Judy found it is the Kamloops Value Village.  It was still in its packaging and was listed for $30.  She snapped it up but because she has lots of sewing machines (including a long arm sewing machine that comprises her business activity, “Rather Be Quilting”) she had only used the little Jem a few times.  She turned around and offered it to me at the same price; as if I had been the bargain finder!!!

We put a big bow around it and put it under the tree, which confused Helen to no end!  Since then we’ve bought her a few extra bobbins and a quilting presser foot.  Helen’s been madly stitching squares together and plans on making little drawstring bags from scraps for her birthday give-aways on the 16th (she turns 9 tomorrow!)

Here’s a few pictures of her project and one of mine, using up scraps from my fabric bag…

Here’s the quilting bag that Judy hand sewed and GAVE to Helen. It stores the cutting board and fabric and the rulers.  Really handy for our space as Helen can slide it under her bunkbed.
My project below.  My challenge was that I did not have pieces more than 2-1/2″ wide (this is why they are quilters’ scraps).  I’ve moved onto other colours and patterns since this was taken.