Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Homemade Birthday Gifts

Next week, my niece Alexandria (Alex for short) turns 3. She's our Easter baby, and was born on Good Friday. For her birthday this year, my sister Brooke asked me to make her a wall hanging for her bedroom. I did- then I kept going, matching other items to it.

So far, I've posted all of them except the last two- which I only just did today.

First up today, I made her a banner for her bedroom. Alex has learned to spell ALEX, and loves anything with her name on it, or her first letter. I've focused on that with several of her gifts.

Name Banner

You'll Need:
Foam Shapes- Dollar Tree has many right now! 1 pack has 24 of 1 shape in 6 assorted colors for $1
Foam Sheets- Dollar Tree, again- 32 small sheets for $1
Hot Glue

  1. Start by picking your colors. I chose to go with an assortment of bright colors, and mixed them all up together. 
  2. Next, I used the shaped foam to make a template on the square foam, so I knew what size to make the letters. I just traced the top and bottom outline, since all the shapes were wider than the plain foam. Once I did that, I used a ruler to help make letter shapes- remember to do the letters backwards!
  3. Cut the letters, and hot glue them onto the foam shapes.
  4. To attach them, you could sew them together, or sew them to ribbon. I chose to cut small lengths of ribbon, and hot glue them each together. For the two ends, I made the ribbon much longer, and added ribbon tails to it with 3 other ribbons.

Tada- all done! I would say it took me about 30 minutes to do, but it really didn't feel time consuming. I had planned to sew her a banner with felt- this was MUCH faster, and so fun! Alex can use it at her birthday party, and then hang it in her room.

Foam Shapes- 24/$1 x 2, 10 used for a total of $.42 worth of foam shapes.
Foam Sheets- 32/$1 x 1, 11 used (1 OOPS) for a total of $.34 worth of foam
Ribbon- $3.99/5 yards, 1 yard used- $1.25 worth of main ribbon
Ribbon 2- $1/3 yards, 1/2 yard used- $.17 worth of ribbon
Ribbon 3- $1/3 yards, 1/2 yard used- $.17 worth of ribbon
Ribbon 4- $.40/3 yards, 1/2 yard used- $0.07 worth of ribbon

Total Costs- $2.42 (yes, I was being nit-picky... I hate saying "on hand", when it was still bought whether I owned it before or FOR the project)

Next up... A Beach Bag!

I loved the beach bag I made over the weekend out of placemats, and thought Alex would love one as well. This one I made a little different. I had a hard time finding bright colored placemats that were fabric. The Dollar Tree had them in plastic, and those round wicker-y type things, but not fabric. So...

Beach Bag

You'll Need:
2 Dish Towels
2 Belts
Scrap Fabric & Ribbon
Sewing Machine

I loved those towels when I saw them!

  1. The dish towel is going to be larger than you need, but it works out great- because they are also much thinner than you need, material wise. Fold it in half, and stitch up the open ends, to make 1, double the thickness pad of material. For me, it did not come out evenly shaped, so I sewed straight lines, and trimmed excess fabric.
  2. Once both towels are sewn into the right size 'pads', I attached my appliques. MUCH easier when it's not already a bag, for the record. In this instance, I chose to do 2 appliques, one is the letter A, and the other is a pair of flip flops. I  used the paper pattern I created yesterday to make the flip flops again today. This time, I sewed it with a wide, close together zig zag stitch. I chose a purple fabric to match the purple straps. For the letter A, I stitched ribbon right onto the fabric. It worked beautifully, and brought in the colors yellow, orange, pink and green. I stitched it with a decorative flower stitch.
  3. Once your appliques are done, sew the handles onto the fabric. I started on the free end each time, so that it would leave as much extra for the handle as possible. I used a zig zag stitch, though if you want a neat clean look, twin rows of single straight stitches would look nicer, in the same or contrasting color. For my belts, I chose to sew them on with the pattern against the fabric. It's still visible on the handles, and matches the colors on the towels, but it felt like too much running all the way down the straps.
  4. When both handles are attached, pin the two sides together from the middle of the bottom, attempting to match the handle straps up as much as possible. Stitch the sides and bottom all closed, trim the excess fabric, and turn it right side out.
You're done!

It also worked as a wonderful "gift" bag for the items I've made for her! All of them are inside it, nice and neat!

This project took about 30 minutes, start to finish, but might be able to be done faster without the appliques. It is super cute, though, and I love how this one turned out. I'm tempted to start making these to sell. Tempted. Not sure I will, though.

Towels: $1/each at Dollar Tree
Belts: $1/each at Dollar Tree

Total: $4

On top of these two projects, I made Alex
She's going to just love these, and it's not another box to cut apart, and another toy to be forgotten in 2 days.


Alyssa said...

Great ideas! Thanks for the post.


Lynn said...

I love the banner. And the flip flops on the bag are just adorable! Great job. Great frugal gifts :)

emsmommy said...

I am in LOVE with the bag!! My daughter would REALLY like to have one of those. Now if I could only get my sewing machine working properly again.... :o(

Thanks for the post!

The Beck Bunch said...

I think she'll love it!

For the bag, when you say 2 belts, what kind of belts are those? I'm thinking of the kind that hold your pants up???

Expressions by Heather said...

Yes, Beck- the type that hold your pants up. I found kids printed nylon woven belts at Dollar Tree. 1 made the perfect length handle, so 2 per bag (actually, you could get away with just 1 if you just make handles, and don't run the belt the full length of the bag).

Becky@Beyond The Picket Fence said...

Love these--the colors on the bag are so fun and bright! I featured your copycat art this week--really loved it!

Jenn said...

cute ideas!! I have a sewing machine but don't know how to sew. :(


Jenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mad in Crafts said...

Super cute! I really have to get my sewing machine out of storage! :P

Thanks for linking up to my Mad Skills party!

Ponytails said...

I featured this!