SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part thirteen {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas…
This week one of my favourite bloggers, the beautiful Sarah from Oesch & Doots, is sharing with us a gorgeous & simple handmade gift for a girl.  I love a gift that involves a bit of upcycling too!  If you do not know Sarah I’d highly recommend a visit!  Sarah has a knack of finding enormous beauty in the everyday and with her gorgeous photography, gentleness & warmth, I know you’ll become a regular like me!

Gifts for Girls: make a dolly quilt + pillow from an old pillowcase

Hello! I’m so excited to be guest posting on Emma’s wonderful blog today.  Visiting Frog, Goose and Bear always inspires me, so I feel very lucky to have a little tutorial (my first ever!) featured right here. And the theme – handmade gifts for girls – well, making gifts for little girls is one of my very favourite things in the world to do. 

Today, I’ve got a great idea for the little girls in your life. A pretty, vintage style dolly quilt and matching pillow. I think this makes the perfect handmade gift for little girls (aged 2-6) who love their dollies. I made a bunch for our mothers group friends when they all turned 3. Even the boys got a set (you know, even dinosaurs need to sleep). 

Although sewing is involved, it’s a quick, easy and fun project, and I’m upcycling old bed linen and some fabric scraps, so it’s virtually cost-free too. 

You’ll need:

*1 old pillowcase – I found a pretty floral pillowcase at the op shop (shown in the middle, above). A pastel solid would also work well.

*Assorted strips of pretty coordinating fabric. I used a thrifted cot sheet (top) and an old cot sheet of my daughter’s that never quite fit her mattress (bottom). You could of course use new fabric. Those pretty fat quarters you’ve been wondering what to do with would be perfect.

*Something to fill the quilt. You could of course use quilt batting, and this is what I’ve done in the past, using offcuts from bigger quilts. But I don’t have any offcuts lying around at the moment so I have used an old flannelette nappy. Perfect upcycling!

*Some hobby fill or wool rovings to stuff the pillow.

Make the quilt:

1. Decide how big you want your quilt to be. This will be determined by the size of doll (if known). A good general size (and the size I’ve made here) is about 40 x 50 cms.

2. Take to your pillowcase with your scissors – cut your quilt backing piece, 1-2cm bigger in both directions than your eventual quilt size. My pillowcase had a very worn patch in the middle of one side, so I discarded that section and chose the rectangle from the other side to be my quilt back. From the other (worn) side, I was able to salvage two smaller rectangles for the pillow, and from the flap I made some strips to use on the pieced quilt top.

3. Using your backing piece as a size guide, cut strips from your coordinating fabrics and arrange them in a design you like, laying them on top of your quilt back. (see below) Make sure you overlap your strips to allow for seams. You could make your strips very precisely using a rotary cutter, but I quite like an imperfect look, so I just used scissors and eyeballed it, and didn’t worry too much about straight edges :) 

4. When you’re happy with the arrangement, pin and sew the strips together (right sides facing). Keep adding the strips until you have a pieced quilt top. (see below) Press all your seams.

5. Now, to assemble your quilt, make a sandwich with your pieces. Batting (for me, that old nappy) first, then quilt top (right side up), then quilt back (right side down). (see below) 

6. Ensure the layers are all nice and flat, and trim any overhanging edges around the quilt back. So, I was cutting the nappy and the pieced quilt top to fit the quilt back (see below). You could do this on a cutting mat with a straight edge and rotary cutter. I do it on my outdoor table which has gaps between the timber slats – perfect for guiding my scissors! 

7. Pin all around, and sew around your rectangle, leaving a 10cm gap on one edge, for turning. 

8. Clip corners and turn right side out. 

9. Press the seams and edge stitch (sewing close to the edge on top of the quilt) all around. The edge stitch will give it a lovely finished look, and also close the gap.

10. Admire! And embellish as you wish. I added a length of lace to the top, and wove ribbon through just for extra prettiness. But it would still look great without the lace. Also, you could add lace (or applique, embroidery, etc.) before you assemble the quilt.

Make pillow:

1. With right sides together, pin, and sew all around your two pillow pieces, leaving a 5cm gap for turning. 

2. Clip corners, turn right side out and press.

3. Stuff with hobby fill, wool rovings, etc. 

4. You can either hand sew the gap, or (my preference) edge stitch in the same manner as the quilt. You just need to ensure you don’t overfill the pillow – you need to be able to push it to the middle when you’re sewing. 

That’s it! Grab a dolly and tuck her in tight!

Oh, and if you make one – I’d LOVE to see it! 

x Sarah
Thanks Sarah – too cute!  Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you! 

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part twelve {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas…

If you haven’t met Jane from Life on Planet Baby, then you really, really must!  She is one of the loveliest ladies in blogland.  She is kind, creative, passionate and brave and I love reading her blog for her genuine honesty and warmth.  She is sharing with us such a simple and fun idea.  Goose and I have already made one using a piece of her art.  

Hello you gorgeous readers of Emma’s fabulous blog! Isn’t it just full of bubbly life, inspiration, fun and love? That’s why her little haven in Blogland is always one of my ‘must-reads’ and especially because we’re both the busy mums of three littlies who keep us on our toes – we have a lot in common! I was really flattered when she invited me to contribute to her brilliant series, Simple handmade gifts for girls. Only in the past year or so since I started blogging have I discovered my creative side and now I never have enough time to make all the brilliant ideas I find in Blogland and on Pinterest. Anyway, today I thought I’d share an easy-peasy, inexpensive gift that any little girl would love. 
So, are you ready? Great – let’s get cracking!

This is what we’re going to make –

an erasable whiteboard.

The supplies

Here’s what you need to make it:

-  A picture frame with glass (this was from Typo costing $15 – you can buy them online here);
 Some complementary coloured scrapbook paper;
-   A pencil; and
-  A paper trimmer.

The instructions

1.              Remove the backing from the frame, together with the paper inserts.

2.              Place the glass onto the scrapbooking paper, lining it up to fit in at the corner and trace around the glass with a pencil (it’s tricky to photograph whilst in action, hence the reflection of me!).

3.              Place the glass aside and cut out the rectangle you have traced, using your paper trimmer.

4.              After making sure your glass is clean, place it into the frame, then the paper (the side you’re using should be face down) and finish with the backing.

5.              Flip it over and your masterpiece is complete (yes, that’s my reflection again ☺)!

6.              Gift it with an erasable marker (I’m fond of Sharpies) and your little friend will be ready to get writing. Here’s an example of how to use it.

7.              When you need to erase the message, the glass can simply be wiped clean with a tissue, a damp cloth or a spray of Windex.

8.              This gift can be changed so easily as tastes change – all you need to do is replace the paper and/or paint the frame.

Here’s one I use in our kitchen. 
Our pixies take great delight in crossing off tasks or adding their own, now they’re learning to write.

Thanks, Emma, for letting me share this idea with your readers. I’d love to know if any of you make one – you can contact me at my blog, Life on Planet Baby. I’d really enjoy seeing what you come up with!

Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you! 

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS…part seven {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas… 

Last week the clever Lioness Lady showed us how to make a very simple skirt and this week the gorgeous Cat from Raspberry Rainbow is sharing another simple handmade gift for girls.  I came across Cat’s blog very early on in my blogging days.  I was drawn to her bright & colourful photos, her fun & colourful sewing creations and her honesty and relatability.  She has recently embarked on a new adventure when she moved to Hong Kong with her husband & two daughters.  I’d highly recommend heading over to Raspberry Rainbow for a visit!  You might like to check out this other simple handmade gift for a girl while you’re there!

Simple Beaded Bracelets

Our bracelets.

When Emma asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I was so excited.  I love her blog.  Emma always has fabulous ideas on kids craft, easy peasy recipes and amazing kids birthday party ideas.  Recently, she started the Simple Handmade Gift for Girls series. I love this series – having two little girls of my own, I am always on the look out for simple, quick and easy things to make my girls or for other little girls we know.

We moved from my home town of Melbourne to Hong Kong in July of this year.  Since being here, I have been exploring the wonders of the Hong Kong fabric and crafting district, in Sham Shiu Po.  Mainly in three streets, you can find a plethora of shops selling fabric, lace, leather, buttons, ribbons and beads.

I only stumbled upon the bead shops last month when walking to the main fabric section a different way than I normally go.  I could not believe what I found.  There are 4 or 5 shops, all in a row, with millions of beads to choose from. This photo below shows a small section of only one of these shops.  You use Chinese soup spoons to scoop up the beads you want into little bags and then pay by weight.

Millions of beads!

Last weekend I took Abbey (our 5 year old daughter) to Sham Shui Po to choose some beads.

So many to choose from.

She was very excited and had a great time choosing a selection of beads.  

Our chosen ones.

I was very impressed (and nicely surprised) that our pink obsessed girl chose a great selection of different beads, in many different colours.

To thread our beads onto, I bought a roll of this clear, stretchy stuff, called crystal string.   It is easy to tie knots into and can stretch quite a lot before it breaks.  Since it is stretchy, it makes it easy for little girls to put on and off their wrists as bracelets, there are no fiddly clasps involved. Your beading supply shop will most likely have other stretchy materials you can use or you could use hat elastic*.

Crystal string

I roughly measured the crystal string around Abbey’s wrist to get an idea of the length required, then added an extra 8-10cm of “tying off” length.  Don’t make it too short or it is very difficult to tie knots into (I learnt this the hard way!)  I tied one of the smaller beads onto one end of the crystal string to keep all the beads on.

Concentration face.

This is the fun bit – add your beads, leaving some of the crystal string empty (4-5cm) so you can tie the two ends together creating your bracelet.

Our bracelets.

These are our finished bracelets – I had to have a go too, it looked like so much fun!  I made the one on the left (in adult size, for me) and Abbey made the one on the right.

Making beaded bracelets (or necklaces) like this is an easy and fun gift idea for girls.  Abbey loved making them and she has plans to make more for some of her friends**.

My mum has since told me that if you tie a knot between every bead, it strengthens the bracelet/necklace.

Happy beading!


* Please note I am not an experienced beader, I am self taught using materials I have found in these bead shops here in Hong Kong.
** Please be careful with children under 3 as most beads are little and can pose a choking hazard. 

Thanks so much Cat!  My girls would love these and I love a gift that the kids can participate in making also!  You could always include a little ‘beading kit’ for the recipient to make some of their own also.  They’d also make a great party favour!

Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you!

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part six {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas….

The first cab off the rank is the fabulous Lioness Lady!  Sonia and I have much in common and I always feel right at home when visiting.  I was lucky enough to win some of her gorgeous crochet bunting and it hangs in my kitchen with honor.  I have a feeling that if her little girl Matilda, got together with my little Frog – they’d have a ball!  If you don’t know her, I’d highly recommend a visit!  She is going to share with us a simple handmade gift for a girl.  I’m off to go and make one right now – they’re gorgeous – thanks Sonia!


When I bought my bargain sewing machine at the Spotty Boxing Day sales last year, all I wanted to know how to do was make a skirt for my wee girl. Luckily I had my trusty MIL by my side to show me her way which, even though it resulted in a fabulous skirt, it involved yards of material, pleats, oodles of pins, lots of measuring and most of the day!

There must be any easier way I thought, a simplier way – and lo and behold there is.
Let me be really clear right up front and say that this is not my pattern. I am only including my pictures and directions here to show you how simple these skirts really are to make and how quick they can be. I can do one in less than an hour.  This tutorial comes from Dana at Made.   Go there and read her instructions – they are much better than mine! And she has LOADS of other tutorials as well that you need to look at.
Basically though, imagine you have a rectangle of fabric. Join the short ends and sew. Fold down the top and insert elastic for a waistband and roll up the bottom and sew for a hem and you’re done!!!!  Simple right?
So, pick some pretty fabric first. I tend to guesstimate the finished length I want my skirt and then add an inch or so for the waistband and the hem. In terms of width I think the best thing you can do if you dont have the small person in front of you to measure is to look in a pattern book or google waist measurements. 
This skirt was heading to a 2 year old so I cut a length of about 30cm and made the width around 110cm. In this case I just ended up using the width of the fabric but apparently if you want a nice full skirty skirt, take the waist measurement and double it. 

Join the two short side of your rectangle of fabric, right sides together and sew. 

Press your seams nice and flat with the iron. 

Now, while there are pins in this pic below, generally when I am being quick and my rectangle of fabric is nice and straight, I do A LOT of guessing and she’ll be righting! Below I have folded up the fabric about a centimetre or so and then press with the iron. 

Now roll that over another centrimetre or sew and press again. This hides away all your nasty cut edges and means no overlocking or zigzag stitching either. 

(Hello short fat sausage fingers and bad nails!)

Sew all around. 

And if you felt like being really fancy, sew all around twice.
Hem done! 

To create the waistband, roll the top down a centimetre or so and press. 

Then take your elastic and roll down the fabric again so it is slightly wider than your elastic. Look at that very careful measuring I am doing below. 

Sew your waistband at the bottom leaving a gap to thread your elastic through. You will notice I am sewing at the top too in the picture below just because I once heard that it makes your waistband sit nicer and means your elastic is less likely to get all twisty. 

Once you have threaded your elastic through, sew your two ends together and then sew your hole closed. Move your fabric around so it all looks nice and even and you should end up with something like this….. 
And here is another one I made earlier.
Team your skirt with a plain t-shirt from Target (I love the puffy sleeves on these ones and that when they are on special they only cost about $4 and that they come in bunches of colours). You can see I have prettied this one up with some yo-yo’s I made from one of Emma’s earlier tutes on simple handmade gifts for girls.
This little set is also heading to a sweet two year old small person. Matilda obviously found it highly amusing! 

So, what do you think, simple and easy and straightforward, yes?

Below are some linkyloos to other simple skirts you might like.

Thanks Emma for letting me guest post in your Simple Handmade Gifts for Girls series.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...