Fifty Christmas Gifts For Small Fingers
From The American Girls' Home Book of Work and Play -
published in 1890


The accompanying gifts have been chosen from a list of two or three hundred, and many more could have been added, equally pretty and desirable. But every ingenious girl will be likely to think out some original present for herself, one success being always sure to suggest another.
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Spectacle-Wipers
These are easy gifts for little fingers to make, and they will please a grandmother or grandfather very much. Cut two round pieces of chamois-skin an inch and a half across. Bind each around the edge with narrow ribbon of any color you wish, and fasten the two together at one side with a pretty bow.

This little present will be useful as long as it lasts, and that will be a long time.


Baby-Shoe Penwiper
Cut out of black cloth four circles three inches wide, and pink the edges. Fold each one across; then fold it again, so that the shape is like a quarter-circle. Take a baby's shoe of red or blue morocco, and fill it with the folded circles, placing them so that the pinked edges project at the top.

A pair of shoes will make two penwipers, and they are very pretty. If liked, the shoe can be fastened to a larger circle of pinked broadcloth.
Fig. 79. - Baby-shoe Penwiper.

Leaf Penwiper
Choose a pretty maple or oak leaf for the pattern of your penwiper, and select cloth of a color that will suggest the leaf, - reddish-brown for an oak, or yellow for maple. Take a paper pattern of the leaf by laying it on stiff paper, tracing the outline with a pencil, and then cutting it out with a pair of scissors. Cut out two leaves of your brown or yellow cloth, and three inside leaves of chamois-skin or broadcloth. If you like, you can imitate the veins of a leaf by embroidering them with silk in stem-stitch on the upper leaf of the penwiper.

Shaving-Paper Case
Tissue-paper makes the best shaving-paper: so you will want to buy a half-dozen sheets of different colors. For a pattern you can take a leaf, as you did for the leaf penwiper ; but a large grape-leaf is of better size for the shaving-case.

Take a pattern of the grape-leaf, and cut out two covers of green cloth or silk, the edges of which must be neatly bound or overcast. Fold the sheets of tissue-paper four or six times, until they are about the size of the pattern ; then cut them out carefully, and fasten them between the covers of your case. At the stem of the leaf sew a loop of ribbon, by which it may be hung on a knob of papa's bureau, or from the side of the shaving-glass.


Garters
These are presents to be made only by little girls who can knit; but, if any little girl wishes to learn, a pair of garters is good to practise on, and makes a very nice present. They are prettiest knit of some bright color.

In their simplest form they are knit in one long strip, which is wound round and round the leg, and the end tucked in. But an improvement is to make a loop in the strip, through which the end of the garter may pass before it is tightened. And this is the way to do it: set up twenty stitches, and knit plain till the garter is twelve inches long. Take off ten stitches on a third needle, and keep on knitting with the remaining ten for twenty rows; then go back to the stitches left behind, and knit twenty rows on them ; take all the stitches on one needle again, and you will see that a loop has been made. Knit twenty rows, and bind off.


Turtle Cloves. "Polly, Put The Kettle On."
To make a kettle-holder, some pieces of thick material, like an old blanket or bit of broadcloth, are needed. Cut them into squares measuring eight inches, and fasten them together. Make a cover of scarlet flannel, and bind the edges with braid of the same color, leaving a loop at one corner to hang the holder up by.

Take a paper pattern of the kettle by laying thin paper over a drawing of one, and tracing its outline. Cut out a kettle of black cloth, and lay it on the holder, exactly in the middle, where it must be neatly hemmed down. If you know Low to do cross-stitch letters, you can work above and on the left hand of the kettle the words,"Polly, put,"and below and on the right hand of the kettle the word,"on ;"then, all together, it will read,"Polly, put the kettle on."

For these turtles take very large plump raisins, and six cloves to each. Push a clove far into the end of the raisin, until only the bud is seen. This makes the head. Put two cloves on each side for the feet; and, for the tail, work the bud end in first, and let only a little of the pointed end stick out. Small cakes frosted, with a raisin turtle standing on each, are an exciting Christmas-cake.
Polly Put the Kettle On
Turtle Cloves
Another Gift With Cloves
Choose a small and very firm apple, a Spitzenberg being best. At least an ounce of cloves will be needed. Begin at the blossom-end, and push the points into the apple as closely together as possible, till it is perfectly covered. Such an apple has a very mysterious look, like some curious foreign nut, and will last all winter.

Pretty Scent-Cases
Buy an ounce of sachet-powder, violet or what scent you please, and sprinkle it between two layers of cotton-wadding cut in strips five inches long and two inches wide.

Make a little bag of silk or satin of any color (three inches long, two inches wide), and fringe the top. Roll up the strip of wadding, and place it in the bag, which must then be tied just below the fringe with narrow ribbon of the same color.


English Walnut Scent-Cases
Make a little silk bag three inches and a half square, and fill with cotton-wool thickly sprinkled with sachet-powder. An even teaspoonful is a.good rule. Carefully halve two English walnuts by forcing the points of your scissors into the soft end. You must make a hole top and bottom of each half, which is best done with a red-hot hairpin. Varnish, and set them in a warm place to dry. When thoroughly dry, they are ready to be sewed on the bag, at equal distances apart, with their points reaching almost to the bottom of the bag. Sew a tiny bow above each walnut, and another at the bottom of the bag, which should be gathered in with a thread. Around the mouth of the bag wind a ribbon, and tie it into another tiny bow. These are very gay little bags.

Another use for English walnuts is in making Walnut Boats


Walnut Boats
Take a half-shell of the walnut, and glue a slender mast near the pointed end, to which you may fasten a sail made of gold or silver paper, doubled.




Bureau-Covers
Java canvas, in white, buff, or pale blue, may be used. Be sure to see whether the bureau to be trimmed has a flat top, or one with drawers on either side; for the shape of your mats will depend on the shape of the bureau. On a flat top a long cover looks best, with two square mats for toilet bottles, placed on either side of the pincushion. A pincushion-cover of the same material completes the set.

Leave a margin all around the mat for fringe, and work some simple border in worsted. Blue or red worsted with white canvas, brown with buff, cardinal and gold-color with blue, are good combinations of color.

The pincushion-cover may be further ornamented with a monogram or initials worked in the middle.


Drawn-Work
Bureau-covers, as well as table-covers, tea-cloths, chair-backs, towels, and tidies, are often made of linen, and decorated with what is known as drawn-work.

For a bureau-cover buy a yard and a half of fine linen crash, either white or gray.

Leave six inches for fringe at either end. Cut the selvage-thread up from one end for ten inches, thus cutting all the cross-threads in that space. Draw out the last thread cut. By pulling carefully, it will hold until you have drawn the linen all across to the other edge; and, by cutting the selvage-thread on that side up to the drawn thread, your measurement will be alike on both sides. Now draw out all the cross-threads below the one first drawn, for a space two inches deep. The threads running lengthwise in this space must be gathered in little sheaves, which is done by hemstitching top and bottom. Some one who knows will show you how to hemstitch more easily than the book can do. Ribbon of a color to match the furniture, a little narrower than the drawn space, is woven through the sheaves, over two and under two, and hemmed at the two ends.
Now fringe out the ends, and hemstitch the top, but make the threads into bigger sheaves this time, - ten or twelve in each. Examine the knotted fringe on a towel or a shawl, and you will see how to knot the fringe of your cover.

Chair-backs or tidies are made in the same way. Sometimes three spaces of different widths are drawn, with ribbons of different color run through; and the chair-backs are more ornamental when a stamped pattern is embroidered in outline-stitch in the centre. Outline-stitch or stem-stitch is extremely simple, being almost the same as the backstitch taught in the chapter on plain sewing; and an artistic design worked in silk or etching-crewels makes the simple linen tidy an object of beauty.

Linen table-covers are made either in the shape of a long scarf, to fit a narrow table, or square, like the ordinary cover. The former are made precisely like the bureau-cover: for the latter, wide butcher's linen is used, the length being equal to the width. Fringe and draw the four sides, and ornament each corner with long graceful bows of the ribbon that is run through the drawn-work.

Tea-cloths should be made of somewhat finer linen, which now comes expressly for such purposes. They are of the size of a large dinner-napkin, and are meant to be laid at the head of the tea-table, or to cover a tea-tray. The fringe is shorter and finer than that of the covers before described ; and it should not be knotted, but plain. The drawn-work should be fine and narrow ; and, instead of running ribbon through the sheaves, fine tidy-cotton is braided through in the stitch called fagotting, in which the needle lifts every other sheaf back over the one preceding, and draws the cotton through in such a manner as to keep the sheaves twisted. The prettiest tea-cloths have a delicate design traced in outline-stitch, either in each of the four corners, or in a running pattern around the sides.