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November 2009
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January 2010

Handmade Christmas: Fabric Gift Bags

Last year I experimented with wrapping Christmas presents in fabric, and while it wasn't a total failure, it wasn't a complete success.  I basically hemmed large squares of fabric with iron-on hemming tape, and tried to create closures with adhesive velcro dots, but they didn't stick so hot.  So I tried stitching the dots on, but hand sewing doesn't work so great with adhesive velcro.  The needle gets all gummy, and the seamstress gets grumpy.

So this year I have a couple of sewing classes under my belt, and am able to take advantage of the loan of my mother's sewing machine.  I "whipped up" some super cute fabric gift bags with which I am greatly pleased.  I say "whipped up" in air quotes because, while the actual bags do come together in about 30 minutes, the research and development phase took significantly longer. 

I scanned webpage after webpage, looking for simple and easy, but many seemed to be much more elaborate than I was looking for (or capable of).  Many were lined, and that was intimidating to me.  So I finally settled for sort of a half-lining, just enough to peek out the top when the bag is tied shut.  I also managed to square off the bottom so it sits slightly flatter.  The end result - 7 seams, some iron-pressing, and done.  I'm in love.

I just finished five small bags for my Knitting Group, none too soon as we are meeting at my house for the Christmas get-together the day after tomorrow!  :)

I hope to get together some sort of tutorial, because if they're easy enough for me to mass-produce, surely the tutorial would be worth sharing for other sewing newbies!

(Below) This is the complete set of bags for my knitting group, each bag different (though not necessarily by recipient personality, but rather fabric available in my stash!)


(Below) Closer view of a blue calico bag, with sort of a blue bandana lining, and white polka dot ribbon.


(below) closer view of another bag, red with small white polka dots, and a sweet holly lining.


(Below) This bag isn't for Knitting Group, but is a variation of the style.  I made it taller/longer, so it's the perfect size for a rolled-up tshirt!  I LOVE this fabric because it reminds of the chairs on UW-Madison's Union Terrace.  I hope to keep this bag "in the family".  ;)


(below) another tall/long tshirt-shaped bag.


Please feel free to share links to pictures of your own fabric gift bags, ideas for reusable gift wrapping, or links to tutorials on making your own bags, in the comments below.

Massive Madison Snowball Melee

Sounds like it was an eventful day yesterday at my alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I was a student there the last time they canceled classes:

"According to [UW Spokesperson] Lucas, the last time a large portion of the day’s classes were canceled due to snow was Dec. 3, 1990, when then-chancellor Donna Shalala made the decision to halt classes at 10:30 a.m. Lucas said on that day 17 inches of snow fell over a period of 12 to 13 hours. He added that is the closest the UW had ever come to a full day closure in several decades, until now, adding that full closures are “extremely, extremely rare.” 

Read the full story here: Snow forces UW to cancel 1st ever full day of classes

But a day without classes wasn't enough.  No, a snowball fight on Bascom Hill "was initiated by three UW freshmen who created a Facebook event page late Monday night looking to blow off steam before finals.

To their surprise, memories of battle royales from last year and the snowballing power of Facebook quickly pushed the number of confirmed attendees into the thousands."

Read that full story here: Snow fight set for today.

Battle For Bascom Preview from The Badger Herald on Vimeo.

Snowball fight on Bascom Hill from The Badger Herald on Vimeo.

Check out other videos on YouTube and GoogleVideo.

If we were there, my husband would have been in the thick of it, no doubt.  In shorts.

Repost: Cookie Sheet Advent Calendar

It seems like a good time to post a link to one of my more popular posts: Cookie Sheet Advent Calendar.


A shot of the Advent Calendar with all the numbers magneted on.  Click the image for a closer view.


A shot of the Advent Calendar with the magneted numbers removed - behind each number is a small printed photo from past Christmas celebrations.  Just like above, click the image for a closer view.

Feel free to share links to your advent calendar examples in the comments below!

Holiday Card How-To Ebook Giveaway

In the spirit of upcoming holidays, here's another giveaway!

Artella's Step-by-Step Vintage Holiday Cards Download a FREE copy of the Artella eBook, Artella's Step-by-Step Vintage Holiday Cards, an eBook featuring 10 beautiful handmade cards, complete with photos and descriptive "how-to" instructions, showcasing a variety of techniques such as rubber stamping, collage, and innovative paper and mixed media arts. Download your copy here!

FCC disclaimer: I have an affiliate relationship with Artella, wherein I earn a commission on every sale for Artella eProducts that I refer.

Real Women Gift Card Giveaway

Win a $25 Gift Card from Real Women Scrap - QUICKIE GIVEAWAY ENDS TOMORROW!

My friend, Tasra Dawson from Real Women Scrap, has opened up shop at a site called OpenSky. OpenSky is a new site that connects experts and the products they love, with others who have the same passions. From scrapbooking to sewing, beauty to books, gardening to grills, there is a little something for everyone. Tasra has put together a great holiday gift guide to get you started browsing the site.

Tasra is also offering a $25 Gift Card to one of my blog readers.  It could be YOU!  To enter to win, just browse the OpenSky shoppe, then hop back here to leave a comment below with which OpenSky product you'd most like to get this Christmas. I'll choose one winner Saturday evening and you'll have all day Saturday to shop!

Happy Holidays!

FCC disclaimer: Tasra is a friend of mine, and has also offered me my own gift card for posting this giveaway on my blog.