I sent her a regular present, of course, but I also included a letter to her with advice for navigating the teen years as a Christian. I also made what I'm calling an Owl of Wisdom to be a visual reminder to make wise choices in her life.
Owls are everywhere these days, including all my craft magazines. But I opted to create my own pattern. I just drew it out on a piece of paper, then pinned it to some felt, and cut it out.
Next, I cut out a piece of coordinating fabric and wrote a bible verse about wisdom on it. I used Daniel 12:3, as I think it gives a nice positive spin to making wise choices. I ran the fabric through my Xyron to add adhesive to the back, then I stuck it on the back of the owl cutout.
I made eyes and a mask of sorts for the owl and used fabric glue to attach those. (The felt was too fat to go through the Xyron. If I'd had more time, I might have sewn them on.) I turned the right sides facing each other, with a ribbon at the top for hanging, then sewed it up. I left a space at the bottom for turning it right-side out and for stuffing it full of batting.
I sewed up the bottom by hand to close it off. Done!
It's a little lopsided, but hopefully she won't mind that. In retrospect, I think I'd just sew it up with right sides facing out, as I think it would have retained a nicer shape. It wound up being a little small and lumpy by doing it right sides together, then turning it out. But I still think it turned out cute. At the very least, it's a reminder to my precious niece that her aunt loves her and wants the best for her.