Saturday, December 24, 2011

DIY Christmas Gift Bags

My family has always given our Christmas gifts in homemade fabric bags. I didn't realize how special this was until I started buying and wrapping my own gifts as an adult....what a pain! Not only does all that wrapping cost money and time, but when all the festivities are over, the wrapping paper, gift bags, and tissue paper all end up in a landfill!

Luckily, there is a more eco-friendly way to give presents! These fabric gift bags are easy to make and will last for years and years. With Christmas fabric on mega-clearance after the holidays, you can pick up yards of fun designs for almost nothing! This idea can easily translate to gift bags for other holidays, birthdays, or whatever. This year I plan to make several wine-sized bags to give as hostess gifts. I might even end up selling some of these on my Etsy shop.

Ribbon or yarn for ties
Sewing shears


With like sides together, cut out rectangles of various sizes (save yourself some cutting by using a folded edge as one side). Using the size of your bags as a guide, also cut ribbon or yarn for the ties. Even with small bags, you'll need at least 2 feet of ribbon for a decent bow. If in doubt, longer is better.

Fold the ribbon in half and pin the folded edge between your fabric, about a fourth of the way down from the top of the bag. Make sure the long edges of your ribbon are "inside" the bag as you are sewing. Sew all edges together, except the "top."

Finish the bag by hemming the top. Make your top hem larger than usual, since this will show when the bag is used.

Flip the bag right side out and press. Use stickers or tags to mark the giver and receiver of your gift.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Kifli - a Warner family favorite. The recipe is originally Hungarian...we are not quite sure how it entered into the German side of the family. Nevertheless, it's a Christmas cookie recipe worth sharing!

For the dough, mix:
8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 sticks butter, softened

Then add 3 C flour.

Mix and refrigerate overnight (at least 4 hours).

While the dough is resting, prepare the nut filling:

1 lb ground walnuts (about 3 and 1/2 cups)

1 C sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ C milk

When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350. Roll into 1 inch balls (the full recipe should make about 48 balls all together).
Roll out into flat rounds. Fill with nut filling.

Seal into cresent moon shape. Put sealed edge on bottom of tray.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Dust with powered sugar when cooled.