When the wind blows on a cold winter's night, and the window rattles, and lets in the cold air, a sand-bag will help to keep it out, and be a very useful present. It is made by filling with sand a long, narrow bag, four inches wide, and just as long as the window-sash is wide. Cover the cotton case with one of bright-scarlet flannel. Lay the sand-bag over the crack between the upper and lower sash.
These are meant to hold shoes in travelling, and to take the place of wrapping-paper. As each case holds but one pair of shoes, it is well to make two of them, or more, as a present. Cut out of brown linen a case or bag which will easily hold a pair of shoes. Bind the edges with braid, and fasten strings about the mouth to tie it with; or make the end long enough to fold over, shaping it like an envelope, and fastening it with a button and buttonhole.
One of the jolliest of games for a rainy day is the bean-bag game; and a set of bean-bags is, therefore, a beautiful present to make for friends or brothers. Make four square bags out of bed-ticking (they should be about six inches square); sew them very stoutly, and fill them, not too full, with common beans. The cases are then covered with bright flannel, and an initial may be worked in each.
Whoever loves the spicy odor of hemlock-woods will take delight in this pillow, which brings the fragrance wherever it comes. Gather a quantity of fine hemlock-needles from the young shoots of the tree, and, when dry, fill with them a large, square ticking, which must be covered with soft wool or silken stuff, which may be left plain, or embroidered, to suit the taste of the giver.
A large, sweet-smelling scent-bag is a delightful thing to lay among the fresh linen. It may be made with sachet-powder, like the scent-case for trunks; but our grandmothers used the old-fashioned lavender-blossom. And another delicious scent is that of the sweet-clover, which grows wild in many parts of the country. Dried sweet-grass, such as the Indians weave into baskets, may be attainable for some.
To make something especially pretty out of an ordinary crib-blanket, select one with blue stripes and a blue silk binding. Between stripes and binding baste a strip of canvas, and with blue saddler's silk doubled work in cross-stitch a motto, so arranged as to be read when the blanket is folded back. Here is a pretty English motto:"Shut little eyes, and shut in the blue : Sleep, little baby, God loves you."
And here are two very short ones in German, Schlafe wohl (Sleep well), and Gut Nacht (Good-night). Another pretty German verse is this,"Nun gute ruh, die Augen zu"(Now go to sleep, and shut your eyes).
A pair of light summer blankets may be made very pretty by buttonholing them loosely across the top and bottom, and working three large initials in the middle of the top end.
These are used to fasten the napkin around a child's neck, and consist simply of a canvas strip, an inch wide and twelve inches long, worked in cross-stitch, and attached at each end to the metal clasps which are used for children's stockings.
A set of tea-napkins with an initial letter finely worked makes a beautiful gift. The letter should be stamped in one corner of the doyly; and, before embroidering, the pattern is run and"stuffed"with heavy working-cotton, which makes the work far richer. Handsome towels are embellished with the initials of the person to whom they are to be given worked at one end in the space made by folding the towel twice. The letters should be very large. Towels are now sold with a canvas strip woven across each end, on which any pretty pattern may be embroidered ; the Holbein-stitch, which is alike on both sides, being the best to use.
Probably most of the girls who read this book know what shawl-bags are like, and also know their usefulness. They are not only capital things to protect shawls from dust and cinders in travelling, but may be used as another hand-bag, to carry small articles in case of need. Stout brown Holland is the best material. Cut two round end-pieces eight inches across, and a piece half a yard wide by twenty-four inches long. Sew the sides of the piece around the two end-pieces, making a cylinder with a long slit, which is to be the mouth of the bag. Face the edges of the slit, and bind them and the seams at the ends with worsted braid. Close the opening with five buttons and buttonholes, and sew on a stout strip of doubled linen by way of handle, like that of a shawl-strap. The bag may be ornamented on one side with the initials of its owner.
Cut out six or eight leaves (for which a beech-leaf makes a good pattern) of black cloth or velvet. Cut the edges in points, like the natural leaf, and sew them around a circle of black cloth. Knit and ravel out again a quantity of yellow worsted or silk floss, and imitate with it the form of a bird's nest in the middle of the black leaves. For the bird sitting on its nest, a white canton-flannel shape may be devised, with black bead eyes, and feathers imitated in water-color paint; but one of the little Japanese birds sold in the shops for fifteen or twenty-five cents will answer the purpose. Fasten plain circles of cloth below, for wiping the pens.