I always love to receive a gift within a gift which is essentially a gift for now and another gift for later. Gift baskets or boxes are the obvious classic example of a gift for now and another for later. They provide a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds and when the “consumables”  are gone, there is  a nice container to use in the future. The consumables may be edible or they could be toiletries or stationery items that get used up fairly quickly. There are many possibilities to find or create these “two-for-one” gifts during  this holiday season and I thought I would give you a few ideas I came up with as I moved around my gallery after creating some very fun fabric bags recently.

I love to sew and my most recent addiction is making bags from the By Annie bags website. Annie is a prolific creator of a large number of bag patterns for different purposes–small bags, backpacks, duffle bags, project bags, and many, many more. My recent favorites are called “Clam Ups” and they come in 5 sizes, from extra small to extra large. I’ve tried all 5 sizes and, believe it or not, the smallest one is the most problematic to make, but the cutest, of course. I have made some bags to gift and some others to sell at “Mixed Messages” ART this holiday season and I’m going to show you some ways to select a gift for NOW for someone special, encased or enclosed in a gift for LATER . . . or for ALWAYS!

The five bags range in price from $15 to $35, unfilled. So you can add whatever you want from the gallery or from elsewhere, keeping the total price within your budget. I will show photos of ideas from the gallery, just to get you started thinking about this idea in the event you want to  purchase a filled or unfilled Clam Up bag as a gift or for yourself in the future.

This is the extra small bag, showing the front and the back and then a shot of it filled with chocolate kisses in Christmas colors. This “double gift” is tasty and cute, and the attached clip can be conveniently attached to your keys or inside your bigger bag.

Outside front

Outside back
























The cheerful size “small” bag ($20) has large polka dots outside and small ones inside. It would be nice for small make up items or tiny electronic accessories.












The medium bags are $25 each and both are very colorful. I love using multiple fabrics in each bag because, as you know, I’m definitely not a minimalist. LOL This one is pieced on the front and has a solid back. The inside is orange. It is a nice size for holding fat quarters of fabric and sewing notions and tools.
















Fat quarters, matching threads, sewing notions to go inside













Filled bag

This second medium one is also bright and colorful and, again, both sides are different which made it good for using up fairly small scraps.  It could contain any of the previous suggestions or many other combinations, depending upon the interests of the recipients. I think an artist would love receiving this particular bag, because of the black and white binding with the bright colors. And being an artist, they would have many ideas of what to put in it whether you filled it or not.
















This one is the large size and it is priced at $30. It holds a lot and this particular one is embellished with uplifting words and phrases from the printed information on the selvedge edge of the fabric.

Front which says “Up, Up, and Away!”

Back  says “The Spirit to Create”















Inside bottom says “Flourish”!

The other large bag is really fun! Rainbows on the outside and turquoise inside.Filled this one with goat milk products from Basilwood Farm in Prather, California. Two bars of soap, a small lotion, a facial scrub, and a woven plastic soap “landing pad”. Who wouldn’t love THIS gift, or should I say, this DOUBLE GIFT?


The last bag is extra large and I filled it with an assortment of greeting cards in colors that looked nice with the bag.


Outside of the bag

Inside with a coordinating fabric

Bag filled with greeting cards–could add a fancy pen and a small snack to this one!

















Now it’s YOUR turn to think of ways to make a “Double Gift” or a “Gift Within a Gift”. These are some alternative containers I found in my “walk about” at “Mixed Messages” that could be used instead of the bags. The SKY’S the Limit! Happy Hunting! Come into the gallery if you need help putting something together–we will work on it and come up with something very special!