Holidays, Sewing, Tutorials

Printed & Stitched Handmade Gift Bags

I love kraft paper bags! I bought some last week with plans to decorate them, though I didn’t have anything specific in mind. I like white stamped designs on brown kraft paper, but I wanted to add some details that would make my design unique. There’s no point in taking the time to write a tutorial for something that has been done over and over.

But, did you know you can sew on paper? Or paper bags, in this case? When I’m teaching my kids to sew, paper is the first thing I have them sew on. It’s cheap and doesn’t slide around like fabric. Anyway, I mixed a simple white stamp with some free motion stitching on paper to make these pretty handmade gift bags…

Printed & Stitched Handmade Gift Bag | Radiant Home Studio

Let me show you how to make your own stamped and stitched bags. You can use my berries and branches idea or make your own design.

First, you’ll need to carve out pine branch from a soft block of rubber. (This is a Speedball Speedy Carve block – available at most craft stores. You can also use a soft eraser.) I won’t go into tons of detail about how to carve stamps. Basically, you use the smallest carving tool to outline your design and then go back with the larger ones to carve out the bigger spaces. If you don’t want to carve your own stamp, pre-made rubber stamps with holiday designs will work well too.

Printed & Stitched Handmade Gift Bag | Radiant Home Studio

Printed & Stitched Handmade Gift Bag | Radiant Home Studio

I used the screen printing ink that I already had, but simple acrylic craft paint or a stamp pad will work as well.

Printed & Stitched Handmade Gift Bag | Radiant Home Studio

To stitch on the bag, you’ll need your free motion quilting foot. Lower your feed dogs so you can move your paper around freely, and lower your presser foot to the quilting setting. (On my machine the lever goes down and toward the back.)

Place your bag under the needle and move it around in a circular motion until you have a nice spot of color. You may want to practice on a paper scrap before you try in on the bag. The great thing about this kind of stitching is that there really aren’t any rules. It’s like scribbling with the needle, which is a lot of fun.

Printed & Stitched Handmade Gift Bag | Radiant Home Studio

I had a hard time stitching near the bottom of the bag without wrinkling it, so I carefully opened up the bottom of the bag and glued it back together when I was done.

And then I used my practice paper to make pretty gift tags.

Printed & Stitched Handmade Gift Bag | Radiant Home Studio

This is a really fun open-ended project. I hope this inspires you to experiment with stamping and stitching on paper to make unique wrapping paper, cards, gift tags, or bags to make unique items for your friends and family!

Also, joining these handmade holiday link-ups: Get You DIY On & the Makers

Crafts, Embroidery, Holidays, Tutorials

Embroidered Autumn Leaves Garland

The temperatures are finally dropping here, and we’re enjoying the beginning of fall. Normally, it’s November before I dig out the autumn crafts. This year, I’m a whole month ahead!

Felt Embroidered Autumn Leaves Tutorial and Free Pattern Template | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks!)

My mother-in-law encouraged me to do some seasonal crafts with the kids on Thanksgiving day a few years ago. While the adults are busy catching up with family (or watching football, if that’s your tradition…), the kids have something to occupy them. We started these embroidered autumn leaves 3 years ago. I intended to make them into a garland. Last year, we finally had enough…just in time to put up the Christmas decorations.

My children have been able to make these leaves as early as age 5. Just make sure you teach them to use the needle correctly and stay nearby until you are confident that they can use it safely.

Felt Embroidered Autumn Leaves Tutorial and Free Pattern Template | Radiant Home Studio

I’ve created an autumn leaves template that you can download and use to make your own leaves! There are 5 different leaf shapes, each with 2 sizes. You can use them for this embroidered autumn leaves project, paper crafts, or anything else you can think of! You are welcome to share the link and sell items you make using the pattern, but please direct people back to my site for the download.

Embroidered Autumn Leaves | Free Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Embroidered Autumn Leaves Garland Tutorial:


Wool felt in several autumn colors (usually found on a bolt, not in the kids’ craft section of the store)

Embroidery floss in 3 or more colors

Embroidery needles

1/8″ ribbon (or string)

Printable leaf template


1) First, print the leaf template pages and cut them out. You can print 2 copies of each page, or cut the larger sizes first and then trim down the pattern pieces to the smaller size.

2) Lay out your leaves with contrasting colors of felt and thread. They look best if you mix up the colors and highlight the stitching with high contrast thread colors.

Felt Embroidered Autumn Leaves Tutorial and Free Pattern Template | Radiant Home Studio

3) Starting with the knot at the back, stitch the layers of felt together using a simple running stitch. Stitch around the edge, with a line up the middle. Or be creative and stitch the veins from the center to the points. You can stitch quickly, or take the time to focus on the details.

Felt Embroidered Autumn Leaves Tutorial and Free Pattern Template | Radiant Home Studio

We have a wide variety of stitching styles among our leaves, but the colors tie them all together in the end.

Felt Embroidered Autumn Leaves Tutorial and Free Pattern Template | Radiant Home Studio

You can use loose leaves to decorate the mantle or table.

Felt Embroidered Autumn Leaves Tutorial and Free Pattern Template | Radiant Home Studio

4) When you have collected enough leaves, make the garland. I used a 1/8″ satin ribbon, threaded through the embroidery needle. I made one stitch through each stem allowing them to slide back and forth. You can adjust the spacing after you hang the ends.

Felt Embroidered Autumn Leaves Tutorial and Free Pattern Template | Radiant Home Studio

You can find more fall inspired projects at The Hankful House link -up.





Handmade Stocking Stuffers

I love the idea of homemade Christmas gifts, and I am always looking for ideas that will be unique and useful (because—let’s face it—a lot of homemade gifts are not). These are a few of my most successful handmade stocking stuffers from previous years to inspire some creative handmade gifts this year!

Many of the ideas are small and perfect for stocking stuffers or priority mailers (for those that don’t want to spend more money on shipping gifts than the actual cost of the gifts). With some repurposing and craft store sale shopping, many of these gifts can be made inexpensively. Most of them can be assembled in large batches as to save time if you have many people on your Christmas gift list.

10 Handmade Stocking Stuffer Ideas | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks!)

Ribbon Belts

Last year I made several belts in different colors and patterns for my younger siblings and my children. For a simple belt, choose a patterned ribbon and coordinating color of belt webbing. (Here’s a good deal on Amazon belt webbing with tons of color choices!)

You can either stitch along each edge of the ribbon or use an iron-on hem tape to attach the ribbon to the webbing. Loop one end of the belt through a pair of D-rings (or another type of buckle) and finish the edges.

Each of these belts cost less than $5 to make. Try variations of this projects with two layers of ribbon, braided leather cords, rope, or lace.

If you’d like to buy some ready-made, this Etsy shop has a really nice selection of kids belts.

Homemade Belts | Radiant Home Studio

Coffee Cup Sleeve

These were fun to make—coffee cup holders to match personalities! I free-hand embroidered the name lettering to give them a custom-made look. The pattern is available from House on Hill Road (there’s a text link to a PDF about halfway down the page).

Handmade Coffee Cup Sleeve | Radiant Home Studio

Embroidered Coffee Cup Sleeve | Radiant Home Studio

Zippered Pouches

I have made dozens of these zippered pouches using the tutorial from Anna at Noodlehead. They are perfect for storing little items that get lost in a big purse or for holding cosmetics. You could also make it in fun kid-friendly fabrics to contain art supplies or small toys.

Many of the people I have made them for have expressed how useful the little bag has been. It’s also great fun to watch people light up when they see that you have chosen a fabric that matches their personality—something they would have picked themselves.

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch Linen | Radiant Home Studio

Felt Flowers (hair accessories or pins)

I love this felt flower tutorial from Jess at Craftiness is Not Optional. I have made these on ponytail holders and attached them to alligator clips and pins. With good quality felt in stylish colors, they look nice as accessories for women, as well as little girls. Felt flowers are also the perfect craft project for pre-teen and teen girls (we made some at a Christmas tea party once). No sewing skills necessary—just fabric, scissors, and a glue gun!

Felt Flower Ideas | Radiant Home Studio

Leather Business Card or iPod Case

My husband looked at several stores for a business card holder and wasn’t able to find what he was looking for. After browsing through some handmade options, I decided that I could sew one myself using some of the ideas and designs I had seen.

I bought a piece of scrap leather for about $6 and had enough to make 3-4 small gifts. If you decide to sew on leather, choose a thinner, pliable type of leather with a sharp needle. I also used my triple stitch so that the stitches would show up more boldly.

Leather iPod Case | Radiant Home Studio

Leather Business Card Holder | Radiant Home Studio

Leather Business Card Holder | Radiant Home Studio

Calendula Salve

This is a wonderful and easy recipe for homemade calendula salve, which can be used to treat minor skin irritations, small cuts and burns, and rashes. You can repurpose old jars or buy some small containers to package it in. I think this would be best made in large batches and packaged in small quantities for many people. Try adding a personal touch with handmade labels.

If you don’t want to make your own, try this cute jar of salve from Amazon.

Calendula Salve | Radiant Home Studio

Handmade Notecards

A pack of blank cards, some pretty scrapbook paper, and some simple stitching can make very nice notecards. Use a stencil to cut out some shapes and stitch then right on the card! If you don’t have a sewing machine or sewing skills, try a needle and thread to dress up the card with a few hand embroidered stitches.

Here’s a good deal on some blank note cards. They come in a few different colors.

Embroidered Note Cards | Radiant Home Studio

Cloth Napkins

Cloth napkins can be made for as little as $.50 each with discount store fabric and you can make them to match anyone’s style. Or choose a really nice quality linen for a beautiful and expensive looking cloth napkins.

Decide how large you want them and cut squares that are 2 inches more than your desired size. Fold over 1/2 in. on each edge and press. Then fold over each edge one more time and press. Stitch with a 3/8 seam all the way around. Choose fabric that is mostly cotton or linen for the best absorbency. Poly/cotton blends tend to smear spills rather than absorb them.

Over time I have added enough napkins to our home stash to use these every day, eliminating the waste and cost of paper napkins. So, cloth napkins make a thoughtful and eco-friendly gift for naturally-minded friends.

Sew Handmade Cloth Napkins | Radiant Home Studio

Fabric Baby Book

I have made a few of these soft color-block baby books for friends with fabric scraps that normally would have gone to waste. I randomly stitch pieces together until I have a large enough area to cut out my square for the page. These pages are 8 in. finished, but I think a smaller book would be easier for little hands. This doesn’t require advanced sewing skills, but figuring out the page order during construction can be a little tricky. (This sounds like a good idea for an upcoming tutorial!)

If you aren’t feeling crafty enough to make one, or you’re short on time, here’s a similar baby book on Etsy already made for you!

Fabric Baby Book Colors | Radiant Home Studio

Little Felt Dolls

These little dolls are about 4 in. tall and fit perfectly inside little girls’ pockets and purses. We also made a felt cat and felt chicken to go with the doll family. (I posted a pattern and tutorial for these here!) Be creative with the details!

There are other more complicated felt doll tutorials out there, but this is meant to be quick and easy. One doll, start to finish, can be made in less than an hour. My 5-year-old was able to do the stitching around the body of the cat, so I expect this would be a great craft for a pre-teen girl to try for a friend or younger sister.

This high-quality wool felt will make beautiful little dolls that will last for years!

Fabric Doll House | Radiant Home Studio

Felt Dolls with Cat | Radiant Home Studio

What other handmade gifts are you making?