Category Archives: gifts from recycled materials

Versatile Pouch Made From Recycled Pant Leg

This clever little pink pouch was designed by an eleven year old (my daughter). She independently came up with the idea to recycle the bottom part of a pair of old pants to make a pouch/ bag.
This project is simple enough to do at a children’s party. Kids will love designing their own unique pouch.


This pouch could also be used to hold your Valentine card collection. Do you have a collection of special Valentine cards already started? They would fit nicely into a home-made pouch. My daughters each have a small collection of valentine cards that grows each year.


Add a strap if you would like to make this pouch into a purse.


I think a pant leg pouch/ bag would make a wonderful eco-friendly gift wrapper too: place gift inside.
I used the design of this pouch and took it a little further: See my post for instructions on how to make a jean sketch book pouch.

Special Valentine Message Magnets Made From Salvaged Materials

Send a Valentine message to someone special in your heart. This sweet gift will be a constant reminder of your love.
How-to:
A. Cut letters from magazines. You will find a great variety of fonts in all sorts of colors. Go searching for just the right ones. You may want to find all the letters in the same color or you might want the letters to be as varied as possible. Cut out the letters and make sure they fit on the tiles.

B. I used the tiles from a salvaged My First Rummikub game which was missing some of the pieces. Paste a letter on the front of each tile.

C. The magnets I used are promotional flat flexible magnets. (Promotional flat flexible magnets are often given out by businesses for promotional reasons, are usually business card size and are easy to cut.) This is a perfect use for those unsolicited magnets. Use scissors to cut a piece large enough to cover the back of the tile and glue it there.

See my other post for additional ideas and uses for tile magnets including using them as a teaching aid.

How To Make A Doll Pillowcase: A Simple Sewing Project

After my daughter made a quilt for her doll, she needed a matching pillowcase and this is the result. See doll quilt post.
How to make a doll pillowcase:


Picture 1 shows the fabric after is has been cut out and folded in half: right sides (the good sides) together. Also two of the long sides have been sewed-up (note: Use a ½ inch seam allowance; which means that the line of stitches that you sew should be ½ inch from the edge of the fabric.) One end of the pillowcase is left open. Fabric size needed: 10 ¾ inches x 6 inches.


Picture 2 shows the edge of the opening folded over ½ inch and ironed. If you could see the other side, it would look the same.


Picture 3 shows the edge of the opening folded over again, this time 1 ¾ inches and then ironed.


Picture 4 shows it after it was sewed by machine. You could hand sew it if you prefer.


Picture 5 shows the completed pillow case after it was turned right-side out, ironed and with the pillow inside. Easy smesy!
Size of finished doll pillowcase is approximately 8 ½ inches by 5 inches. A pillowcase should always be made a little larger than the pillow itself.

This is a pillow that came with the bed we bought for my daughter’s doll. It is easy to make if you don’t already have one.

How to make A doll pillow to go with the above pillowcase

Cut two pieces of lightweight fabric 8 ¼ inches x 5 inches.
With good sides together, sew almost all the way around. Leave a few inches of one side open (not sewed). Turn the pillow outside right (through the hole). Add stuffing into the pillow then hand-sew the hole closed.
Finished pillow size is approximately 4 x 7 ¼ inches.

Adorable Doll Quilt Project For The Beginner Sewer: Or Keepsake Quilt For Sentimental Mom

Quilting is the mother of eco-friendly crafting in my option. Nothing should be wasted and people of past generations knew that instinctively. I designed this project using scrap fabric for my eight year old daughter. She wanted a blanket for her 18″ dolls. I was so proud of her; she did all the sewing herself.
How to: I’m going to explain the parts that I helped her (Helper) and the parts that she did herself (New Sewer).
1. New Sewer (NS) Choose fabric: decide on a color scheme.
The helper could give good options to choose from.
Material needed: Use scrap fabric (lightweight cotton works well here). If you don’t have any, ask around. Fabric can also be salvaged from unwanted clothing.

2. Helper (H) Using a plastic square as a guide (found at a crafting store in quilting section) and a rotary cutter, cut out 20 squares. You could cut out the squares with scissors but it is so much faster and more accurate this way.
Size of squares = 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches

3. (NS) Layout the squares in the desired arrangement. You could use a checkerboard pattern, diagonal stripes, or randomly arranged. My daughter went with a random pattern but she had to check to make sure no square was touching a matching square. She used six different fabrics.

4. (NS) Place right sides facing (that means the prettier side of each piece should touch) and using a sewing machine; sew strips leaving a ¼ inch seam allowance. Sew in groups of four squares end to end. When done you should have 5 rows (strips) with four squares in each row.

5. (NS) Iron the seams of the strips you just sewed. (Parental guidance!)You can iron the seams allowances open (B in photo) or you can iron the seam allowances all to one side (A in photo). If you iron them all to one side it will be easier to sew with the sewing machine. If you iron the seams open you need to be very careful to not let them get bunched up as you sew over them. It will be obvious what I mean when you begin sewing.

6. (NS and H) Pin two strips together right sides facing. Line up edges the best you can. Then draw on a sewing line with a washable marker. This is very helpful to someone new using a sewing machine. Because the strips were not sewed by professionals to begin with, the squares will not be exactly lined up.

7. (NS) Machine sew the strips together. Then pin the next strip onto the end and sew, then pin another…

When sewing, try to have the seam allowances open towards you. When you run the machine over them, they will not bunch up.
Note: when the strips are all sewed together you may find that the corners of the squares don’t all meet up. No worries, it will still be super cute. We’ll leave that ambitious outcome to experienced sewers.

8. (H) Cut a strip of fabric for the top and bottom boarder. The size of these boarder pieces will be the size of one of your strips x 3.5 inches.

9. (NS) sew on the top and bottom boarder just as you sewed the other strips together.

10. (H) Now you need to cut a strip of the border fabric the length of the unfinished quilt x 3.5 inches.
11. (NS) Sew on the side borders. Now you have the top of your quilt complete. Iron the quilt top.

12. (NS and H) Cut a piece of batting and a piece of fabric (for quilt back) each the same size as your quilt front.
Material needed: use a piece of scrap batting. I had a scrap piece of 100% cotton batting left over from another project. If you don’t have any, ask a quilter or two. This small quilt will use up pieces that would otherwise be wasted.

14. (NS) Stack the layers like this: back then top of quilt right sides facing, then have the batting on the very top. Line up edges the best you can. Pin.

15. (NS) Machine sew around the edge of the quilt but leave about 3 ½ inches un-sewed. This hole is where you turn the quilt right side out. This part is a lot like making a basic pillow.

16. (NS) Hand-sew the hole closed. (H) Helper might need to demonstrate how to make stitches. (whip stitch)

17. (NS) Quilt the blanket by hand-sewing along the border starting at a corner (see A in photo). Use a running stitch. (The top side of the quilt should be facing up when you are making your stitches so you can see where to sew. Also, quilt means to sew through all layers of the quilt). Then sew along the lines between strips (see B in photo). Normally quilters quilt between the squares in the other direction too but that is left out here for two reasons: one because the new sewer will probably be tired of hand-sewing by now and two because the squares may not be lined up perfectly.

This quilt fits the American Girl Doll beds, as well as, similar sized doll beds.

Finished quilt size: approximately 18 ½ inches X 15 ½ inches.

Alternative project: A sentimental Mom might want to make a keepsake quilt made out of baby clothing when her little-one outgrows them. Just use more squares to increase the size of the quilt. This will give an added sentimental value to the quilt. I’ve saved some clothing from when my girls were babies/ toddlers. I’d like to make a small quilt out of their little dresses someday.

Make Your Own Stick Star Ornaments

How to:
Use a good pair of garden shears to cut some straight branches. From these branches, cut 5 stick pieces the same length and approximately the same diameter. Cut the first stick (whatever looks right) and use that stick to mark the length of the remaining sticks. I used sticks that were about 6 ¼ inches long and ¼ to nearly ½ inch wide. The exact size doesn’t matter as long as it appeals to your sense of proportion and all the sticks are the same length. Keep in mind; thinner sticks are easier to bend into place.

Tie two sticks together than tie another two sticks together near the end (see X and Y in photo).
Spread out the non-tied ends and overlay as in photo and tie top of star (see Z in photo).

Tie on the last stick. Play with the sticks a little; some go over, some under. Do whatever works for that star.

Party Craft
I prepared enough for my daughter’s whole class. I made bundles and tied them together with nice red yarn that was used to hang the star ornament after the star was constructed. The ball of wool yarn was used to tie all the sticks together.