little gifts to make and sweet wrapping ideas

making marks on paper

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lets start with simple package ideas

One of the byproducts of making a little painting everyday is the little section at the top of the paper where I off load paint and test my brush and colors.  They are entirely unintentional and I usually end up liking them. For me anyway, they often have that magic that the universe delivers up when we get out of the way. I like them enough to save them. And lately put them to use – they make sweet and cheerful gift tags.

I like them even better cropped using a die punch. You can get one here. I have a few of these punches and love them. The stamp doesn’t have a hole for the string so I used this mini size hole punch and added bakers twine. I just got this baker’s twine.

do it yourself painted gift tags

sew a tree and mouse from scraps

What if you don’t make a painting everyday? You can still make the tags. The key is to make some marks on card stock or watercolor paper before cutting the tags.  Cropping is magic. Experiment with making marks without thinking about the tags. That freestyle experimenting is fun and good exercise and the tags are a bonus.

diy painted gift wrap

The tags go perfectly with my signature paint splattered brown paper wrapping. To keep things interesting I also painted some stripes and dots this year. 

and little gift ideas

Little gifts and sweet touches that don’t take very long to make or cost  much. Very much in the spirit of Christmas. Sweet things you can make from scraps mostly.


stuffed pine tree sewing pattern

Woebegone pines – make a bunch. As an alternative to the wooden base you can use a cinnamon stick and add a hanging string at the top.

fabric christmas tree diy

Stitch a little mouse from scraps. The pattern is designed for felt but is works with other fabrics too – this guy is made from linen.

sewing needle book pages from scraps

Needle books make great gifts. And you can do a mini version, just a page or two, if you’re short on time.  I have a bunch of pages in progress that I’m going to assemble into a couple little books.

needle book ideas - colors

From the paper department – make paper sail boats or wax paper stars and snowflakes or swan treat boxes.

make a paper sail boat

wax paper star diy         make a paper swan treat box

Check out the free pattern page for lots more little gift ideas.

Happy Christmas to you! I hope your holidays are lovely,


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how to sew fabric trees


  1. Ann,

    Your talent and beauty is amazing! I am so in awe of what you create and how beautifully it all goes together.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Susan Hebert

    Where did you get your thread snips? They look so festive, but I bet they also stay true and sharp for a very long time. The plastic handled ones keep getting off-center and don’t clip right for me.

    Thank you,

  3. Vonnie Mullen

    Oh! how I wish I could join you for the workshop, but as I am in Australia this a little difficult. I love your ideas and creativity, the little mice are well under way my daughter loved them and a gift is coming her way.

  4. I love all your ideas! Your idea of using your painting scraps as present tags is really clever ….. waste not, want not, as they say!
    I have made two of your little trees in the past and if I have time I’d love to make more, they are sooo cute!
    One day I will make a little mouse too, they are just gorgeous!
    Thank you for all the food tips ….. I look forward to seeing them on your newsletters!
    I’m sorry I can’t join your workshops as I live in England, and I don’t travel well.

  5. amaranda de jong

    Thanks for more great ideas Ann,i really love your tags .When i use my big punches i love the card that’s left with the holes,like little windows. Have made your mushrooms (rave reviews !) and your little doll (into a Frieda doll for my daughter who loves her)HAPPY HOLLIDAYS to you and thank you for your fantastic patterns.X

  6. I must tell you the little mouse I made this year is my all time favorite craft. It was a little above my skill level (patience is not my strong suit) so I had to have a go at him twice, but my little guy sits on my desk and reminds that it’s always worth it to slow down and read the instructions.

    Also, I’m also a hoarder of those pieces of paper where I test out colors or blot out my brush, and I never thought of using them for tags. Thanks for the idea!

  7. I have a favorite holiday story about my daughter and how much she hated my lively brown craft paper wrapping when she was four years old. Now that she’s 20 I’m going to have to bring it back. I especially like your splattered paper. And what a perfect use for those little offloading papers I’m also hoarding. Thanks for this and the cute owl pattern.

  8. Maureen Willetts

    Thank you so much for your blog. I’ve followed you for years and have never been disappointed.
    I have your swans on my ‘real’ Christmas tree and I’m painting brown paper too. So much more individual . Love it. Have a very happy Christmas in your new home and God Bless.

  9. Ana Cecilia

    Qué bellos trabajos!…tan creativos y encantadores. Me encanta haber encontrado tu página, es un placer recorrerla. Cuántas cosas lindas y animadoras para disfrutar haciéndolas, aprovechando cualquier resto de tela! Muchas gracias por todo!

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