Upcycled Gift Tags

Is this an original idea? No. Is it something we maybe need reminding to do? Maybe. Christmas is a wonderful time of year but it is also a time when we all generate a lot of waste unfortunately. Instead of just tossing all those lovely cards and gift bags we receive why not cut them up into pretty tags to use for next year!

Make use of any prints on the front of the gift bag or card such as Merry Christmas or cut out around pictures such presents or snowmen. For gift bags the first thing you need to do is remove the ribbon handles (keep them to use next year too)

Once I cut open my gift bag I ruled up lines on the back. I roughly did them about 2″ x 2.5″ and cut them out. If you have a cutting tool such as guillotine this would be super easy to slice them up but I did mine by hand. Some are a little wonky but that’s ok no one is going to complain! You could cut them into any shape or even use craft cutting machine such as Sizzix Big Shot but it would generate a little more waste around each shape.

Don’t just use the fronts/backs of gift bags. Make use of the folds in the sides of gift bags. Once the bag is cut open you can easily fold the card the other way to make tiny Christmas cards. I again cut them roughly 2″ tall. These would be super cute to add to any gift

This idea isn’t just for Christmas you can use this idea any time you get a card or gift bag. I will confess this isn’t a zero waste project as some parts needed to go in the recycling bin as I cut them out. Some had marks on the reverse side of the cardboard and others were jagged edges from when I cut the bag open along the folds. Compared to just tossing the bag in the bin the waste was minimal. I was just thinking this year I was running low on tags for my presents but now I don’t have to go out and buy more which saves money and I have reduced waste. I’m keeping my cards in an old ice cream container which I will label so I know exactly where they are for next year.

Merry Christmas


Lego Man

I’m pretty proud of Lego Man.

Lego Man

Lego Man was something I intended to make at some point but after the Bouncy Balls failed I had to make him as my replacement gift. The reason I’m so proud of him is that I had no pattern for him. I created him from a printable colouring in image I found online. I printed out the page then enlarged it on the photocopier to a size I was happy with so I could trace out a pattern from that. Once I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric I added the seam allowance before cutting. I traced the facial features on with Frixion Pens (which I had developed a love of using) then backed stitched over the lines before ironing them away.

Toot Toot

Toot Toot

Toot Toot

This is a little softie that I will give as a Christmas present this year. As it will be the child’s first Christmas I can get away with showing this early. I used my embroidery machine to do the lettering then placed the train pattern around the letters to ensure if it fitted before cutting it out and stitching it up. This is a really simple gift that I have also made previously but in that instance I hand embroidered the letters. What I really like about doing this toy is that it can be given to a young child without risk of them hurting themselves as it has not parts or choking hazards yet the child can hold onto it for years to come as a keepsake as it doesn’t look like a baby toy. I hope as a teenager this is still in their room.

Embroidery Machine First Attempt

On a personal note I think this is a great first project if your just starting machine embroidery. It started as a rectangle square that I backed with stabilizer, hooped up, attached to the machine, set simple lettering on the machine, hit start and 5 minutes later I had a piece of fabric I could then cut into a toy. I was very intimidated by machine embroidery but this was a simple project that I could do where I was testing out how to use the machine yet making a practical item at the same time. I find it very hard to do an exercise or project without a purpose.


These are items I made a couple of years ago as quick Christmas gifts.

Bookmark 1

I raided my scrap stash for suitable rectangles and squares. On one side I back stitched the person name onto a plain fabric and stitched a printed fabric on either end. The other side is made up of a number of squares which I stitched to make the same length as the front piece. Both sides were then stitched together and turned right side out before being slipped stitched closed. I even made my own starch to stiffen them. I don’t remember the exact recipe but thisone seems to be very similar.

Bookmark 2

Ring Ring

I’ve started making my Christmas gifts.


These are simple little rings that I made to go with other presents for 4 girls. These would be one of the quickest gifts on my gift list to make taking me about 10 minutes in total.

Other gift progress I’ve finished the Snug As A Bug Stitchery and have decided to make it as part of a blanket for one gift.

Never To Early To Start Thinking Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I sat down and wrote out my gift ideas list for Christmas 2013. I counted that I will be making gifts for around 14 individuals so my present list itself is around 27 items. Some items are small and only take a few minutes others are not so small and may take a weekend or two. On top of that I still have a couple of birthday gifts to finish off for this year.

I’ve set myself the goal of trying to complete one gift per week so that come December if I’m a little behind I won’t be stressing out. Last year I had all my gifts finished on December 16 which was great cause it gave me time to start planning my 2013 birthday gifts.

So at the moment I’m pretty confident for xmas. I do need to finialize some of the gifts. I have the word Softie written against a lot of names so within the coming weeks I’ll pick which Softies to make. Any excuse to flip through craft mags and books.