Advent Bread Bags

There are several dimensions to this giving thing.

  1. First you have to be inspired.
  2. Then you have to carve out some time.
  3. Next you have to actually do the work–you mix, and mold, and patiently wait, then bake.
  4. And then you consider the recipient.
  5. Next to last you wrap up your goodies.
  6. And finally you walk, or drive or hop over to do the giving.

Phew. It’s a wonder what the human being can do in a single day! By far, I struggle most with the whole “wrap up your goodies” part. My beautiful bread usually ends up in a paper bag, sometimes an already used one that I saved from before.

Well, this season I am spending some extra effort on phase five! I do love fabric, and though I’m a horrible seamstress, I’m also a gutsy happenmaker, so mistakes don’t really deter me. Here’s my Advent bread giving bag, folks. What do you think? (I know, it looks like there’s a lump of coal in there, but really, in person it’s kind of cute!)

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I first thought of this idea after studying a fabric knapsack-style lunch sack I bought in Japantown a few years ago. Japanese are known for their amazing wrappings, and this simple fabric lunch sack was something that one could use again and again. And wash! Here’s a webpage that gives lots of information on different styles and ideas of furoshiki

I sort of thought about trying to take photos and help you sew one yourself. But!!! I am certain I would forget a step, or steer you wrong in some way. I once sewed the sweetest skirt for my daughter and the fabric on the back was upside down. And I left it that way. That explains a lot, I think.

In words, this is what I did. I cut a piece of rectangular fabric–about 11×33 inches. Hemmed all the edges with the machine. Did a bit of fancy folding, and just the right-side sewing, and then there are there these triangles to sew in the corners. Flip things around a bit and do it again, then it’s done! See, I’d be a bad pattern maker. Here is a pattern site that has a bag just like mine…

Anyway, what I love most about these Advent giving bags are the little cards I had made at Tiny Prints. I used one of my bread photos, and included a Celtic blessing on the back.

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So let the giving begin! I’ve sent out three wrapped loaves already–two molasses (one to a mama with a sad heart, one as a thank you, and one to someone under the weather). Here are my supplies:

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And here is the end result, in the hands of a little one, ready to go out the door.

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Bread in Brown Paper

Two loaves of no-knead sourdough

Mixed: 9:15 pm

Molded: 10:30 am next day

Baked: 12:30 pm

Gave away to staff at my son’s school

I’m enjoying being a bread elf. Several years ago I actually gave out dishwashing soap for Christmas presents, so bread is definitely a step up. (Long story!!!) Several weeks ago I posed a question, trying to find the best way to wrap bread… . I don’t want it terribly fancied up, but I also don’t want folks to think that it’s been handled and jostled and isn’t sanitary.

So, I fiddled with two options today since between now and Christmas I’ll be baking and giving daily. First, I thought it’d be great to use some of the fabric I have stored away, and tie it up with a lovely ribbon. Once I dove into it, and began cutting, I realized I’d run through my stash of fabric quickly–plus, it looked… not as elegant as I’d anticipated–although the photo really makes it look quite passable… (Must be that excellent camera of mine again playing tricks on me)

Then, I got the brilliant idea of using paper shopping bags. I have several of them stored for various projects, so I got to work folding and ribboning, and actually like the brown-bag look.

Then I saw a post on another blog using antique tea towels sewn in half, becoming a really lovely bread bag to use throughout the year. Anyone know where to find antique tea towels?

Tomorrow maybe I’ll be in the mood for something different. Lots of bread still to bake and give. If you have any ideas–I’d love to hear them!