Gift wrap lives on as favorite toy

What cake?

Back in March my youngest grand-child celebrated her first birthday.  With her other grandma out-of-state she ended up having two days of birthday fun.  The seond a few weeks later when her other grandma could fly up.

Since I always like to give a child a bank for their first year, I gave her the bank on her actual birthday.  But when it came time for the big party with all family and friends all I had left to give her was a book I had ordered (which had been her father’s favorite book for years on end).  Since the party was not being held at home, I wanted to come up with something unique for wrapping the book, yet not paper as I have sworn off wrapping paper.  Little would I know this would become one of her favorite presents.

So what do  you do when you only  have gift bags you made from cast off fabrics but don’t want to ask for the bag back for future use?

Dig through that pile of fabrics and past craft projects.

I settled on  left-over pink fabric from a quilt I made for her baby shower, some polyfill, some white and yellow smaller pieces of fabric, and finally a cross stitch of the Winnie the Pooh characters.  But how to use this so she could keep her wrapper and have it be something she could use?

I finally decided I would make a pillow with a pocket and a carrying handle.

Carrying her pillow

The inspiration for this came from her mom telling me she loved pillows.  So a pillow was the easy part.  Then I thought about the amount of traveling and outings they take her on.  If I could somehow make something that would be useful it would be better.  So the idea became this would be something she could use in the car or on a plane.  While mom and dad would have their luggage she could have her own bag to carry with a favorite toy and maybe a small snack and drink in. When sleepy it would be a comfortable spot to put her head.

four months later, its holding up well and carrying plenty

Once I finished the  pillow, I slid her book (Pierre by Maurice Sendak) into the back pocket and I had a way to give her the book.

Each time I go to visit she has this pillow out and carrying it around.  This past week she learned to stuff all her favorite books into the back pocket.

I would never have believed this much would fit inside.

I didn’t have enough pink fabric left, so I added the white to the back of the pillow, then the outer pocket was made with the pink to make it cohesive and not look so much like a gift from scraps.  The little bit of yellow fabric was just enough to make the carrying handle/strap.  when assembling this I pinned all the layers together and sewed a double seam then turned the whole thing around to stuff it and sew it shut.

setting up for tea party time…pillow is close at hand

And yes, the pillow is used for both long and short trips as well.  I have gotten a lot of feedback on the pillow idea and may actually have to see about making more.

photo by Heather Casey

What was your most original no waste wrapping idea?





    • Thank you, it became a case of desperation to keep to my goal of zero waste when it comes to gift giving. It also cleaned out a few things stashed in my left-over pile so it also fell under free ideas in gifting. I’m just thrilled she loves it.


  1. That is a super cute idea. I might have to “borrow” it – we travel a fair bit, and my girlies are always wanting pillows.


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