Saturday, December 19, 2009

Handcrafted Holiday ~ Calendar gift bags

Over the years I have used many different types of wrapping. We have made cloth bags, used nothing but the funny papers, used the wrong side of paper grocery sacks, etc. But this year I wanted the gifts I give to be really beautiful as well as be recycled, so I decided to try my hand at making gift bags.

I love calendars. Like sheets, they are a staple in my recycling/upcycling materials. I ask for them at years end from everyone. I will take anything, but ones with children, mamas, babies, watercolor paintings... well, they make my heart sing. I don't have a problem cutting up most pictures for my art... but some of them... it just doesn't feel right to cut them to pieces when the whole is so beautiful. This is a project for those pictures.

You need:

Old Calendars
sewing machine with thread
eyelets and punch

1. First select two pictures that compliment each other. I usually find that these are from the same calendar.

2. Sew the sides and bottom with your sewing machine. (No speical settings are needed to sew on paper.)

3. Trim all four edges of your pictures. If you can do it without taking away from the picture, cut the top just below the hole where you hang the calendar as well.

4. Mark 1 1/2 inch square with a ruler at each bottom corner of your picture. (Measure from the sewing seam, NOT from the edge of the picture.) Cut out this square.

5. Open the bag. At the bottom corner, fold in until the seams touch each other.

Sew this edge on both corners, making a square bottom bag. (This will seem like it is creasing the bag, but I haven't had it ruin one yet.)

6. If you would like, you can add another fancy touch to your wrapping by adding eyelets for the ribbon handles to go through. Measure 1/3 of the way in on each side, and punch the eyelet through on that spot.

7. Add ribbon for handles, some tissue, and of course, the gift!

Here is this one under the tree with a couple of cereal box boxes.




sarah in the woods said...

Wow! Those are so lovely. You did a great job.

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Lovely and I L-O-V-E that you used Sulamith Wolfing's painting in the first bag -- she's one of my FAVORITE artists!!

xoxo pink and green mama MaryLea
snowed in here in VA today
(16 inches and still going!)

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Sarah: Thank you. :)

MaryLea: MINE TOO! I love her. Get her calendar every single year. The other side of that bag is my favorite picture of hers:

It has always reminded me of this picture of my daughter:

SNOW. We have only gotten a dusting so far this year, but by this time last year, we had been snowed in for days. So I am not minding the rain this season. ;)

Love Val

Mars said...

You know what this means don't you? Now that you've posted this, I won't be sending you my old calendars, I'll be making my own bags! LOL Thanks Val. They're fabulous.


Val in the Rose Garden said...

Awwww... Marcey! Thats just not right. ;)

Love Val

Committed Recycler said...


I have used old calendar pages (and other things) to make bags that I have glued rather than sewn, but it looks more polished and elegant sewn, I think....

I very rarely solicit items from other people (outside my immediate family), having always felt kind of self conscious about it, but an old calendar is something most people toss without a second thought, so a good thing to ask for. Perhaps I will inspired to ask for more things when I am working on my next projects....

We are also using lots of paperboard packaging for crafts lately. It also makes for good templates for short term projects for my little ones. If they lose or tear it, I am not the least bit bothered.

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Good morning! :) I agree, calendars are a good thing to ask for. I have gotten some great ones... and also some really strange ones... from people. I do use them often, so it has been really nice to have the variety.

Honestly, I don't feel self conscience about asking others for recycled items they would throw away. Partially because they know I do these things (if you hand someone a package that is made from a mac and cheese box, they get the idea that you are using this stuff anyhow. ;) ) but on the other hand, I have found that it pays itself forward. I can say "Oh yeah, I use these for all sorts of things." and it starts a conversation about recycling, reducing waste, how to make your own, how short of an amount of time it really takes, etc. I have found that it often really inspires other for me to be so upbeat and open about my recycling obsession. And for the 5% who REALLY think I am weird... well whatever. They can think that. I don't mind. :D

Arianne said...

Hi Val,
You did a great job with that bag! This one will have to wait until next year for me :)

Chell said...

Great idea! My sewing machine and I are not on friendly terms but I can think of some other uses for the old calendar pages

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