***Another blog post from the B of the BFF, Mary Jo Johnson***


There are many, many things about the holiday season that stress me out – shopping (hate it), spending money (I’m a Scrooge), holiday gatherings (I’ll just be over here in the corner introverting, thanks), but the thing that has the greatest potential to stress me out is if someone unexpected buys me a gift and I have nothing to give that person in return.   A few years ago, totally out of the blue, someone I thought of as an acquaintance ran up to me a week before Christmas, beaming and brandishing a gift bag with my name on it.

“Oh, you shouldn’t have. I mean, you really shouldn’t have,” I stammered, heart beating, face flushing, palms sweating, voice quivering. “I, uhm, I just left your gift at… at… at Target! I’ll be right back with it!” and I took off, deleted my social media accounts, changed my name and moved to Alaska. It’s really hard out there for the socially awkward.

Anyway, I decided that day that I would never be caught in that situation again so I went out and picked up a nice but generic gift that I could give to whomever if the situation arose. I got a nice box of chocolates that I wrapped and carried around in my car for approximately 3 days before I got hungry and ate them.

They really WERE a nice gift, which I enjoyed, thankyouverymuch.

The next thing I tried was a bottle of gin. I mean, who doesn’t love a good gin and tonic? It seemed like the perfect gift for an exchange or whatever, but it’s apparently frowned upon in the PTO circles to throw down to get your own gift back in the White Elephant gift exchange.   Whatever, Madam PTO president. You’ve always seemed a little uptight. Now we all know the truth.

Now I like to make little gifts for people. Things that are handmade just seem more special, and whether you use it for a stocking stuffer for a family member or a gift for your newest neighbor, it feels tailor-made for that exact person. Today I’m going to walk you through a couple small gifts that are super quick to make and require just a little bit of basic sewing skill to complete so you will always have the perfect gift to fit all the possible occasions.


Keyring Lipbalm Holder


2- coordinating strips of fabric, approximately 2 inches by 5 inches
1- 1 inch ribbon end crimp (also called a ribbon clamp) WITH loop.  You can get these at any craft store, or on Amazon, which is where I prefer to shop due to lack of necessary personal interaction
1 – 1 inch split key ring.  Ditto above about where to get them, or you can steal one off some freebie key chain a bank gave you in 1994.
scissors, thread, sewing machine, pliers

-Using 1/4 inch seam allowance, place your two pieces of fabric right sides together and sew a straight seam down both long sides and across one short side.  Now turn it right side out.  I keep a chopstick handy to poke the corners out.

-Now fold the seamed end of the fabric up approximately 2 1/2 inches, so that the lining (interior) fabric is on the outside and stitch a straight seam up to the edge of your fold.  This forms a pocket.  Trim any excess fabric from this seam and turn it so the right side is now out.
-Crimp the ribbon end on the unfinished (open) top end of your holder. Add your key ring to the top of the ribbon crimp and there you have it – the perfect place to stash a Young Living lip balm and tuck into a stocking for a fun homemade surprise.



Tissue Pack Cover


Two pieces of coordinating fabric, roughly 9 inches by 6 inches.

scissors, thread, sewing machine, iron, pins

a purse/pocket sized pack of tissues



-Place your two pieces of fabric together, right sides out.

-Fold the ends of the shorter side over approximately one inch (the fabric you want on the outside should be folded over the interior fabric) and press with the iron.  Sew a straight seam at the edge of each fold.

-Next, turn it over and wrap it around your tissue pack, inside out.  You want the edges to overlap approximately 1/2 to 1 inch. Pin in place. Now sew a straight seam at one end of the tube you created.

-Now put  your tissue pack in the tube and shove it down to the end you seamed.  Pinch the other end closed at he length you want your cover to be and mark it with a pin.  Remove the tissue pack and sew another seam at the marked spot.

-Then turn it right side out and TA-DA!  Cute little tissue pack cover.

I’m planning to gift this with a bottle of RC, because pretty much everyone can use a little respiratory support this time of year.