Every year for my kids’ birthdays, I sneak a bit more reusable or cloth wrapping into their gift pile. I wouldn’t move away completely from having them tear and toss any paper, that’s part of the fun, but I do aim to keep it at least 50% reused wraps or fabric wraps. So besides the assortment of twice used, thrice used and who knows how many times used gift bags we wrapped in I also made a few special wraps this time. It was especially handy since the items I needed a cloth wrap for were sleeping bags. Thus a pillowcase to match was ideal as a wrapping.
For my son I purchased a somewhat holey Thomas and Friends fitted twin sheet at Goodwill for $2. It was a bit tricky planning the case to avoid the holes in my material but still include every printed character. His sleeping bag of course was blue.
For my daughter, to keep with her Pokemon/Nintendo theme, a red sleeping bag was the obvious choice. I only needed to decide whether to emblazon the case with a giant M for Mario or piece together a Pokeball scheme. I decided to go with a Pokeball scheme since I had extra time that day and not too much in the way of red fabric.
The idea behind the Pokeballs was that with a vinyl circle where the button should be would act as a window to insert Pokemon cards or print-outs to have an ever-changing sham. The circles are sewn onto the pillow in a U shape, leaving the top open for card insertion. As of right now, my daughter has Hippotatas, Lucario and Pink Shellos in her case. I figured this would be a way to keep up with her desire to acquire more Pokemon without actually having the expense of buying them, the time of making them or the burden of owning and organizing them. Having more Pokemon is as cheap and simple as printing a picture from the internet and slipping it in the case.
I probably mentioned this before but two of my kids and myself have birthdays three days in a row in December. Even with extensive planning, trying to make the most of the kids’ days while still enjoying mine is a bit overwhelming. Every year I keep trying to make it easier and less stressful for me. So when my son again requested a Thomas birthday cake I immediately knew I was not going to spend hours decorating something. My foray last year into the more “simplified” decorating plan of using a character cake pan(Lightening McQueen) wasn’t the easier choice I thought it was going to be and not something I wanted to repeat. I have a finite amount of hours and I’d rather spend them enjoying him as he enjoys his day rather than dealing with frosting.
So I had the idea to make a vinyl-encased cake topper. Basically I bought a patterned sheet at Goodwill(for $2 and made two items out of it)and close cut a Thomas character from the fabric. If I had had some fray stop it would have been nice to use it but I’m rather cheap about buying supplies so none of that stuff here. 😉 I then cut two squares of vinyl. I had purchased a roll of high quality clear vinyl at Walmart years ago with the intention of making removable covers for our sunroom screens to keep the room more comfortable in the winter but I never got around to it before we moved. Anyway, I washed my squares of vinyl and then sandwiched the fabric between and sewed around it and cut outside the seam line. I was trying for an oval but since I was in a hurry I failed at making it very oval-ish. It didn’t really matter though since I layed the fabric decoration on my iced and raked cake and then piped a wide shell border around it over the stitched edge so that it was a true oval and around the borders of the cake. I then sprinkled the piped areas with blue colored sugar and surprised myself with how impressive it really looked. It was easy enough(with a circle cake)to slip the knife under the decoration to cut slices so that we could enjoy the look of it longer than simply removing it altogether to cut.
And I thought I had a picture of the cake decorated but alas I do not see it on my data card. Oh well, you will have to use your imagination. 😉
These have the added fun of being reusable. Simply wipe off with a soapy towel and dry. Paper and print-outs from the computer could also be used instead of the fabric to get exactly what you want.