On little girls turning seven

Our youngest daughter turned seven last Sunday.  Yes, I know, right?  Where did the time go?
As we’ve now got the eldest at university and all the expenses that go with that (you would NOT believe the expenses!) as well as driving lessons for her (she’s failed her test a few times, the poor thing’s confidence is totally in the ground) and all of the other things, money is even more tight this year, so we didn’t have a party for her.  The word “party” being used here as in meaning a formal setup with balloons, themes, etc. etc. 

So we invited her two cousins that are close to her age and two school friends to join us at a local tea-garden.  Alexia loves it there; there are mechanical whatsits to ride on, baby animals to pet and feed, tons of different jungle gyms to climb around in and best of all, a REAL pony to ride.  

I felt bad that it wasn’t a themed, formal set-up, so I decided to make some little handbags for the 5 girls and kept it a surprise for Alexia.  There is a pile of fabric in my cupboard, I have a few zips, there are some ribbons, so, why not?

I just drew a rough pattern keeping in mind the length of the zipper, cut fabric and iron-on batting, made a ruffle for each from a “jelly-roll” (it’s not a real jelly roll, since it’s not Moda fabric, which I cannot afford, just some cut-up cotton prints I got at the local fabric store) I was planning to do something else with and pinned and sewed. 

I used the basic method of a zippered pouch, nothing spectacular, just added the ribbon handles between the zipper and outer fabric.  There are tons of tutorials on the web for basic zipper pouches, all of them basically the same.  Actually, I thought I was oh so very clever when I figured out the same method, and deeply disappointed in myself when (years later) I came across the exact same method used by, well, everybody.  I tend to go to these tutorials anyway, hoping someone has come up with an even more spectacularly easy method.  Nope, thisis as easy as it gets.

Now, I have to confess here that I’ve never been able to figure out how to use the iron-on jewels.  I was too scared I’d totally mess up my iron, and I also thought it must be quite complicated and time-consuming.  You’d have to arrange the little thingies upside down and then place your fabric v  e  r  y  carefully over so as to not disturb them and iron on the back.  Right?  Makes sense, right?  No?  Just me?  Well, a friend said she saw someone do it, and she was ironing right on top of the jewels.  Huh.  I got a packet and experimented.  Could you believe!  You just place the little suckers in whatever order you want on the fabric you want and iron!  And they stick like crazy!  I did use a pressing cloth to protect my iron.
So, I used these tiny little jewels to make the first letter of each girl’s name on the front of the bag.

I put in a little gold painted box with sweety necklaces, a toy ring and those chocolates wrapped in coloured foil – jewels, see?  

I got some cheapy feather boas, a packet of Chease Naks,
toy bracelets, foil (shiny) stickers and a few more sweets and put all of that inside the bags.  The girls loved it!

little girl handmade bags
I think they came out real cute, and Alexia loves hers, in fact it’s been going to school with her, carrying her after-school clothes in.