It all adds up to a lot of gifts and parties and preparations of the nicest kind...and usually ends up being a pretty creative season for me because I have the job of finding nice, unique things to gift without breaking the bank or adding to the monumental stash of toys that most of our "parent friends" don't really want more of for their offspring.
On top of this, I've got to find a way to really get my kids involved because gift-giving is something we want to always feel personal and thoughtful.
Now, I have no problem with picking out something quality from a good toy store (in fact picking out playmobile for my nephew at the "Kites and Other Delights" was probably the funnest errand I've had in a long time), but I still wanted the kids to add their personal touch to their cousin's gift and wanted to add some little homemade touch from Auntie so I had the kids decorate the parchment paper we wrapped his gifts in and I sewed for him a little felt birthday crown for the big day.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and we had another birthday party to attend for another little friend and this time we decided to make it all from scratch.
For Ava's little friend Jenna we put together a baking kit with a sweet little apron, a mason jar of cookie mix ingredients and some cookie cutters.
I used a 1/2 yard of fabric I had left in my stash to stitch up this simple apron and filled the mason jar with layers of oatmeal, raisins, and dry ingredients for making oatmeal cookies with a tag tied on to explain what needed to be added to prepare the batch.
Here's a quick look at how I made the pleated apron:
First I cut two pieces of fabric. One that was 4 " X 40 " and one that was 18" by 40".
I turned under all the edges on both pieces by a 1/4" and then again by a 1/2 " ironed it down and hemmed it.
with the larger piece of fabric I pinned pleats along the top of the fabric about an inch apart...
Here's the apron with all the pleats pinned an ready to be sewn down...
I placed the waist tie ( 4" X40" strip) right sides together on the top of the pleats and ran it through the machine with a straight stitch of about 2.5 mm. Don't forget to take out the pins as you go!
Note: To make sure the wais tie is placed evenly on the apron, find the center of the apron and the center of the waist tie and put one extra pin there to hold it all in place.
This is what it looked like when I was done sewing the pleats and waist tie together...
Then we had to package up all that sweet goodness and we decided to make a gift bag ourselves from a paper grocery bag, some buttons, tissue paper and a few scraps of ribbon..
I set Ava Grace to decorating the tissue paper, while I got to work on the bag...
To strengthen the paper bag, I reinforced both the bottom and all seams with masking tape.
I also folded down the top of the bag and taped it all down with masking tape. This lip is where I punched the holes for the ribbon handles.
Here's our assembled bag and the lovely tissue paper...
For a finishing touch we picked out some buttons from the random button box and I hot glued them on in a letter "J" for Jenna, and Ava Grace made a card for her little friend, dictating to me what it should say.
So, without trying to brag too much :) I will tell you, that the apron and cookies were a big hit and the bag held up nicely and also recieved many compliments from parents and kids alike and my little girl was proud as anything to hand this personal gift to her friend at the party.
and as for breaking the bank...well it's rude to include prices on a gift, but let's just say we scored on that point too, cause gifts from the heart and hand aren't pricey,... they're priceless.