Tutorial: Gift Bags using a Book

When I was younger I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide. I remember learning all kinds of great things there, but only a few have stuck in my head: how to cook pikelets with a tin can and a candle, and how to make gift bags using a book.

I haven’t made these for years. But since the vow to never buy wrapping paper again, I’ve found myself trying to come up with alternative ways to wrap gifts (even though I don’t have any gifts to wrap just yet, the mind just wanders!). This handy little piece of info was filed away in the back of my mind and decided to come floating back. Very considerate of it!

Gift bags using a book

I’ve used my some of my daughter’s drawings for these, she’s 18mths old and LOVES drawing. We have piles and piles of her drawings already, I can only imagine how many we are going to end up with over the years. But I can see that in my quest to replace wrapping paper with recycled and reusable alternatives her drawings are going to come in very handy.

Ready to learn how to turn your kid’s drawings/magazines/newspaper etc. into reusable and recyclable gift bags? You can click any of the pictures for a larger image.

Stuff you will need:

  • Paper or similar, whatever you are wanting to make your bag out of
  • Tape
  • A book (or two or more depending on your desired bag size)
  • Holepunch (optional – for adding ribbon)

Lay out your paperStep 1:

Check your paper size. Tape 2 pieces together if neccessary. I have used 2 A4 pieces to make my bags (approx 20cm tall).




Fold top of paper downStep 2:

Make a fold of about 3 – 4cm on one of the long sides. This step is optional depending on what look you want. It will provide a sturdy top to thread ribbon through like the one with the red ribbon. If you want a bag like the one with the pink ribbon, skip this step.



Wrap bookStep 3:

Wrap paper around book and tape all the way along. If you joined 2 pieces of paper together, you may like to make sure that the join is on the side.




Push book to desired positionStep 4:

Slide book up or down until there is just enough to fold the bottom of the bag nicely. Too little and you will have a hole, too much and it will be too bulky.




Fold bottom of bagStep 5:

Fold the bottom of the bag as if wrapping a present. Top first, then sides, then the bottom. Tape in place.




Slide the book outStep 6:

Slide the book out. It looks like a bag, you are nearly done!





Step 7:

Using your finger and thumbnail pinched together, crease the four sides of the bag. Don’t worry about the bottom, we will get to that.




Step 8:

Bring the two edges on one side of the bag together, forming in inverted fold in the side of the bag. Repeat for the other side.




Step 9:

Flatten bag, folding the base towards the back of the bag. Crease all edges.





Using your hole punch, punch holes in the top and embellish as desired. You could make little ribbon handles, tie a big bow, add a tag, get creative!

And you are done! One gift bag made from recycled materials, which can either be reused or recycled.

Let me know by commenting here if these steps don’t make sense. I’ll be happy to help.

No more wrapping paper!

Nicola xx

Homemade Pizza

Ok so I know that this is mainly a craft blog, but food is going to turn up here occasionally because I like it. And that pizza really was as good as it looks. If you can manage to take your eyes away for a bit I’ll let you in on my pizza making secret.


Just chuck anything on it. There. That’s it. What’s in your fridge? Throw it on. Homemade pizza is by far my favourite meal to cook because it doesn’t really involve any thinking. You just put on whatever you have and call it food. One time I didn’t even have cheese but I didn’t realise until it was too late so we cooked it and ate it anyway. It was really yum!

This particular pizza has on it, in this order (not that order is important here!):

  • Tomato Paste
  • Honey soy chicken leftover from the other night
  • A sausage leftover from last night
  • Bacon
  • Red onion leftover from… not sure
  • Roasted pumpkin leftover from ages ago (from the freezer I promise)
  • Peas and corn leftover from last night
  • Gherkin (always in my fridge, love it)
  • Masterfoods Italian Herbs seasoning (always a good idea)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Mozarella cheese (bought when it was cheaper than our usual colby or edam, frozen)
  • Edam cheese

Each time I make pizza it comes out different depending on what’s in the fridge. But that’s kinda fun, you never know what it’s going to come out like.

I should also point out that there is a range of random frozen things in my freezer to make life easier for me, we will get to that in another post, but that’s why I have tomato paste, bacon and roasted pumpkin just hanging around for pizza emergencies.

What do you put on your pizzas? Do you like a more traditional style or are you a throw-it-all-on type too?


Repurpose: Pallet to Wall Art

Something you will notice about me is that I am so very CHEAP. Meaning, I have no interest in paying for things unless I have to, or at least not full price. Repurposing things is great for this particular trait, because not only does it cost me nothing, it also reuses something I wasn’t using!

A few weeks ago, a lady came to my door selling oil paintings. The paintings were gorgeous, but I just felt like saying “but I have a pallet in my garage”. Of course she would have thought I was crazy, so I politely declined and decided to finally get on to turning said pallet into the beautiful piece of wall art floating around in my head.

You see, I had seen this on Pinterest:

Pallet Artwork - youngancrafty.blogspot.com

Again with the Pinterest obsession. Gotta love it.

Cute right? And I had this mini pallet sitting in my garage, which came with something we had had delivered. As soon as I saw it I was in love as the wood was all weathered and awesome looking. It deserved to be more than just a pallet, it was too pretty.

So when I saw that picture on Pinterest, I had an Aha! moment (as I hope will happen for all of my hoarded posessions). I got to work and this is what came out of it:

To make the wooden base, I simply deconstructed my pallet, used two of the thinner pieces for the back and nailed the larger pieces on in strips (using the original nails too by the way, yeah I know I’m cheap).

For the actual painting, I freehanded some random tree-looking shapes (don’t plan, just jump right in there) and added some burgundy coloured circles. The burgundy colour was chosen because it was origanlly supposed to go in our master bedroom, but we have since decided we’d rather not risk having it fall on our heads during the night. I then drybrushed some white over top of the burgundy for interest, just so the colour wasn’t completely flat.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The only problem I have now is if it isn’t going to be hung in our bedroom, where should we put it?


Do you love pallets as much as I do? Or do you fall in love with things because you can see their beautiful potential?


Nicola xx

Tutorial: Scrap Buster Blocks

There are many great tutorials out there for using up fabric scraps. MANY. But they all seem to involve what I consider rather large scraps. Am I the only one that keeps all the tiny pieces? Probably. But I just can’t throw out those gorgeous little bits and figure they will be good for something one day, so into the scrap box they go.

Of course because of my hoarding, I’m always on the lookout for projects to use them up. So when I came up with this idea I was very pleased with myself! Behold, the first in what I like to call “The Ultimate Scrap Buster Projects”:

This project is an Ultimate Scrap Buster because it uses those tiny little strips that you thought were no good for anything but were too pretty to throw away. The smallest piece I used was approx. 1.5cm x 6cm (the skinny blocks in the picture above).

I made these a few months ago, so for the tutorial photos I’ve used a random piece of wood from my husband’s scrap pile. It’s a piece of treated timber (see how it’s pink?) that I definitely wouldn’t give to my child to play with. The wood I used for the actual blocks is some untreated knotty pine from Bunnings (of course you’d need to be in NZ to shop there!) that I got for a few dollars each. Also, because you are smothering these things in glue, you probably don’t want to give them to children who are likely to put them in their mouths.

Let’s get on with it!

Stuff you will need:

  • Bits of wood – any suitable offcuts you have around, or a few lengths from your local hardware store
  • Sandpaper
  • Fabric scraps!
  • Watered down PVA glue (Elmer’s glue for my American friends) – 1 part water to 1 part glue. Or Mod Podge if you have it. I didn’t, glue works great.
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors

Step 1:

Cut your bits of wood into block-sized pieces. This could really be whatever size you want. If you are like me, you pester your husband until he goes and cuts them for you. Sand the rough edges.





Step 2:

Brush a little glue on one of the faces that you want the fabric (you will do the other side later, unless you wanna be tricky and do both sides at once). Just a thin layer. Lay the fabric on top and press down. Let dry. If you are making a whole bunch, by the time you have done this step on all of the blocks, the first ones should be dry enough.




Step 3:

Trim the fabric as close to the edge as possible.






Step 4:

Brush some more glue over top,  paying special attention to the edges. Let dry.






Repeat for all of the faces that you want fabric on, and all of the many blocks that you want to make. After all of that hard work, you will end up with a beautiful, unique, handmade set of blocks for your child or someone elses. Or for your husband to build things while your daughter just bangs two together to make loud noises.


Nicola :)

I’m a Pinterest Addict – Hair Comb DIY

And proud of it. Who’s with me?!

But rather than just wandering through pinterest and feeling creative, I need to actually attempt some of the awesome things that others have made and pinned. Cue BLOG – because that was one of my reasons for starting it!

A few weeks ago, I saw this floating around and just had to pin it:

Embroidery Floss Decorated Hair Comb Tutorial

Embroidery Floss Decorated Hair Comb

I absolutely LOVE these things. My hair is a little crazy at the moment because I haven’t had it cut since July and one of these babies just spices things up and makes me happy about my hair again! Brilliant.

Katie from Lemon Jitters has provided a great tutorial but once you get started it’s kind of addictive and you can’t help but play around and come up with new patterns! Here’s a pic of my attempts:

Embroidery Thread Decorated Hair Combs

My attempt at decorating hair combs with embroidery thread.

I’m pretty happy with them. The hair combs came in a pack of 6 so I’ll definitely be whipping up a few more of these. Or maybe I should have a play and see what other pretty things I can do to them? Hmm.

Starting out is hard. If you have the time could you please give me a quick hello so that I know I’m actually writing for someone? And please introduce yourselves and point me in the direction of your blog if you have one. I’d love to have a read.

Nicola xx