Tag Archives: homemade gifts

Simple Tote Bag Pattern


This simple tote bag pattern is perfect for mass production or beginners.

We made one for each our Girl Scouts bridging up to Brownies.

This would be a great project for any beginning sewer and even a wonderful troop activity, there are many places that will rent out their sewing rooms for an hour or sew. Jo-ann and many other locally owned sewing shops that have machines would welcome troops. Be sure to call ahead and inquire about pricing.

CUT: (seam allowance in included in the pattern)

For one bag you will need:

One piece of fabric  for the main body: 15 inches wide x 34 inches long

Two pieces of fabric for the straps: 3 1/2 inches wide x 24 inches long*

*For child size straps, 20 inches in length works best.

The fabric I used was a medium weight canvas, lightweight would work find as well.




Iron each strap, so that a half inch of the fabric folds to the inside (wrong side) of the fabric. Do this on both lengthwise sides.

Iron the entire strap in half with the two folded edges lining up. Pin the strap so the edges stay together.



Take the large bag piece and fold it in half wrong sides together. (The blue fold arrows will help show where this initial fold is in relation to all the other folds).

Take one layer of the fabric and move it as if to unfold it. Stop 2 inches before the fabric unfolds completely and press the fabric down. This will make a 2 inch pleat.


Your side should look like this when one part of the bag is folded. Flip the bag over to fold the other side the same way.

Your bag should lay like the image on the right. Right sides of the fabric should be together. The bag folds should look like this:

Pin your bag. Once all the items are pinned they should look like this:




Sew the straps along both sides lengthwise, as the blue lines indicate.


Sew the bag, with about 3/8 an inch seam allowance. Sewn pieces should look like this:


I trimmed the seam allowance on my bag with pinking shears, but a small trim and zig zag stitch would work well too.


With your bag still inside out. Fold down and press a 1/2 inch hem around the top of the bag. THEN fold down a 1 inch hem and press. (The 1/2 inch hem will be folded inside the 1 inch hem).


Slide one strap into the folded hem of the bag. The ends of the strap should go flush with the hem fold. Fold the straps up and pin. This will make your straps extra sturdy.

Flip your bag over and repeat with the other strap on the other side of the bag. One strap per side.


Sew the hem with the straps along the top and bottom of the hem fold, as shown above.


Flip your bag inside out and enjoy! The bottom corners of your bag should look like this from the outside:


We designed some iron ons that we printed for us and our girls. Here is my bag after one year of use, with some extra pins.


If there is something I forgot or needs clarification, please comment below.

Happy Sewing!

Recycled and DIY Valentine’s Pencils.

For this weeks stash bash I am sharing some Valentine’s pencils. Not only are these a different kind of stash bash, they are a perfect class gift!

(Visit the Crunchy Catholic Momma to see other awesome stash bash ideas!)

Who has about 1 million office supplies floating around their house?


Just me??

While the snug and I were picking out valentines in, ahem, January, we found these cutie pies.

Spoonful Valentine's Ideas.

Spoonful Valentine’s Ideas.

Now the original plan was to use paper supplies we already had and to get some awesome super eco-friendly smencils. They are pencils that smell. They are awesome! They have pens to! They call them smens. Swoon!

Then we hit a slight fiscal cliff in the household, due to jobs or lack thereof  and had to change the plan.

Here comes the office supplies part. While mulling over the pencil predicament, I remembered all of the random un-sharpened pencils we had just hanging around. So I thought, why not use those and make them super valentine’s cute?

That’s what we did!


First grab a bunch of pencils, old Halloween ones, Young Americans Bank, old Garfield, etc. You will also need paintbrushes and craft paint.


Also painting tape, or masking tape, or frog tape. Frog tape is crazy strong! Actually don’t use frog tape, it might pull the eraser off the pencil.


Take a small square of tape and place it at the base of the metal/eraser portion.


Wrap it around to cover and protect.


Next, get messy!!! Have your little snug bug paint away!


We definitely had to do two coats! Tip* Sponge brushes soak up an incredible amount of paint! It might be better to use a different type of brush.


First coat….


Second coat! Light glare! I really need to start using a real camera and not my phone to take pictures.


Once they are all dry, it is time to personalize! We did hearts and names!


We couldn’t just leave it at that though.


These pencils needed sparkles!!!


One coat does great, though the picture doesn’t do it justice.


There that is a bit better. HA! We did a dozen or so of these pencils, one for each kiddo in the snug’s class. For privacy reasons I didn’t take a picture of all the finished pencils.

Now, if only we could get around to finishing the owls. We still have to glue the eyes on and write on them. Thank goodness we still have a week.

Oh and a couple of eco-nit-picky notes. Is spray paint faster? Yes. Is it more effective? Yes. Is it child friendly? NO! Is it earth friendly? It really depends, while there are many low-impact spray paints, they aren’t too easy to find, I have looked. So while spray paint may give those pencils a flawless sheen, don’t forget the cost of wasted experience, resources, aerosol, and joy of painting pencil after pencil by hand.

Happy Valentine Crafting!!!



I am mittened out!

I am finally done with my holiday mitten making. After a pair for an uncle, my mom, myself, my daughter and my brother, I am spent. No more mittens for me for months to come. Whoever didn’t get mittens this year, can definitely expect them next year. Well, they can definitely maybe expect them. No promises though, my suggestion is to just try to go through life without any expectations.

This is the pattern book I used for my mittens this year. I loved it and I will definitely keep this pattern/yarn company in mind.

Patons Mittens and Gloves Book!

It was easy to follow and aside from time-consuming, given they are mittens and there are two of them, (apparently you can’t just make one mitten for a person with two hands and expect them to switch off). It is a great project. I did the first two patterns, Basic two needle mittens, with medium worsted yarn and super fine yarn.

Thank goodness that is finished! No wonder grandmas used to yell at the kiddos for losing their mittens. I have a better understanding of the Jan Brett book The Mitten than ever before.

Happy knitting!

Valentine’s Day Glasses!

I wrote two paragraphs to introduce this craft. That is too many. Here is a quick summary and we will get on to the directions. It is already 9pm and I have yet to finish a pair of mittens before bed. That and sweet, sweet Harry Potter is calling my name, along with Hermione, we are practically the same person.

Summary as follows; fellow genius bloggers + pinterest = incredible amount of inspiration, cute valentine ideas floating around, two grandparents, crate & barrel, husband with iPhone, and the modern marvel of craft store paint. All these contributing factors led to this craft.

Okay here we go!

First off, for this craft you are going to need some glasses. Any undecorated glasses will do, I suggest ones from the goodwill or ones you don’t need anymore, I would have done goodwill had I not already fallen for the ones I found at Crate & Barrel.

These glasses are called ‘Miguel Double’ and are 12 oz juice glasses. The best part about them, they are made from 100% recycled glass. The even better best part about them is, as they are from Mexico, all the glass used to make them is from Mexico. That is great, if you are going to make something out of recycled things, the best way to do is to use local recycled things.

The rest of the things you will need are; scissors, a sponge, a marker, rubbing alcohol, paint that will work on glass, newspaper to cover the area, something to hold your paint for dipping purposes, soap, water and a paper towel piece or cotton ball, depending.

First wash and dry your glasses and get any stickers off.

Then depending on directions (found on the paint you use), put rubbing alcohol on your glass.

Now grab your paint.

We used Martha Stewart, Multi-surface acrylic craft paint. Or so says the bottle. There are multiple options and brands to use. I choose this one, because I liked the color best. However, the one downfall of this paint, is the curing time is 21 days. A lot of other paints had a cooking option. Make sure to read the back of the paint and know if it can be used on glass and how long it will need to set.

Take your sponge and draw some adorable hearts! (I would do more than three in varying sizes).

Snug wanted to cut, but her scissors weren’t quite up to the task of a sponge, we had to get out some bigger scissors.

TA-DA!! My mistake!!! After you cut your hearts out, you should get them wet and then let them dry. Or squeeze out as much water as possible. This will obviously expand the sponge and make it so much easier to handle them.

Squeeze a bunch of paint onto a something or other, we had a reusable Tupperware lid lying around from the holidays.

Dip the sponge into the paint.

And press it onto the glass. Watch as to not get too close to the top of the glass, this paint is not safe for consumption. While it is fine on the outside of the glass, you shouldn’t paint the inside, unless you will be going over it and glazing it with a food safe glaze. We made sure to keep our hearts away from the top drinking part…well I made sure. Snug has a new theory that, “oh it’s not a bummer, I can just do whatever I want.” She tells me this on a daily basis.

Repeat until your glasses are beautiful and just the way you like them.

P.S. This is a fun craft for kids, as long as their parents aren’t perfectionists. Or as long as you can control your urge not to clean the whole glass off and do it by yourself, make patterns, leave out smudges, etc. I had to sit on my hands at some points, but the important thing is that Snug helped and had fun and did do a great job. They look wonderful. In a four-year old sort of way.

Happy Crafting!!

Tea Towels…part one: Homemade applique decoration.

I love tea towels. I adore tea towels, I vow never to buy another dish towel and to only use tea towels for the rest of my life. I will still make some dish towels, occasionally, when the fabric presents itself. Beyond that though, all tea towels, all the time.

I have yet to make myself a tea towel, but over the holiday I made quite a few. They were for my beloved, disbanded book group. They love tea towels too. I didn’t take pictures of the creation process because I was short of time and indecisive about a post. Only written instructions this time and hopefully a re-do is in the future.

Here is a picture of the finished tea towels, with one missing that I had to send off early in a different box.

Here are the instructions;

Homemade Applique For Tea Towels

You will need; a plain tea towel (I know kick me here, I haven’t made a tea towel yet, but you can buy them for cheap, otherwise called flour sack towels),  an image, scissors, scrap fabric in your needed size, double-sided fusible interfacing, thread and a needle.

First you get your tea towel and wash it, then you will have to iron it. That is a hard task, as you can see my tea towels were still a little wrinkly.

Next find an image, online, in a magazine, in a picture. This is silhouette work here, you are going to want to cut out the image or shape, so that it is recognizable but not incredibly detailed. Shadow imagery.

Now get your scrap fabric and find a piece big enough to hold the image. Get some of the interfacing and cut it to the same size of your scrap fabric. Follow interfacing directions to fuse the interfacing to the fabric.

Now grab the section you just fused and trace the image onto it. I traced onto the interfacing, with just a normal pen. My mistake: See how one of the girls is facing the other way? The one on the bottom left. Ya oops. When tracing on the interfacing be sure to remember that it is the equivalent of tracing on the wrong side of the fabric and change the direction of your image. For example, for the bottom left towel I had the image top facing me, for the rest I had the image top facing the fabric.

Now cut the image out.

Following interfacing directions again, fuse the image to the tea towel.

Wait for it to cool.

Now grab some thread that matches you fabric and a needle and hand sew around the inside of the image.

Tie the thread off and enjoy!

You can see all the little stitches above. You can do a more decorative stitch, but I didn’t want to take away from my images and only did a running stitch. I also did a two ply of thread, which means, I pulled the thread through my needle and then kept pulling it and had it meet up with the spool, cut and tied off the ends together, so instead of just sewing with one long string. I had two piece of thread, looped through the needle and tied at the end.

In the end you won’t really even be able to see the stitching.

These were lots of fun and very easy too.

Happy Tea Toweling!

*Note on my image. It is originally a wood carving, I can not find the image or the site again and I wish I could, it is beautiful work.

Knitted Dishcloths!

So the holidays were crazy, right? Right.

They always are. I had just forgotten how much crazier they are when you are actually around family. I had also forgotten how long it takes me to make presents, I was running short on time and patience and needed something simple and new to make. I have been making/knitting presents for close family and friends for the past 3 years. The first year was scarfs, the next year was hats, the third year was more scarfs and hats. This year though I wanted to try something new, I wanted to make mittens. Which I did do, for some people. Unfortunately mittens are a little more time-consuming and since, again, I was running short on time I desperately searched the interwebs for something, anything. I found this site!

Knitting Pattern Central

That is a link to the dish cloths page, but the website is loaded with tons and tons and tons of free patterns. Lots of cute and clever things! I fell in love with these dish cloths and all the different designs.

State Dishcloth Patterns

This link is to dishcloth patterns for every state!!! Most of them contain the shape of the state as well as the state abbreviation. I love state stuff! States, states, states!!!!

All of these patterns are so easy, fast and are perfect for beginning knitters who need to practice the simple stitches. Here are pictures of some of the ones I made. They go very fast too, without interruptions I say it would take 1-2 hours max. Timing is hard to gauge with a preschooler and eighty billion other distractions, it would take me 3 max, with the interruptions.

This was the first dishcloth I made for Halloween! Adorable spider!!As you can see, for most of the patterns the contrasting stitches make the design.

This one is called Irish Moss. I love it. I made a couple of these.



I love these dish cloths! They can be used for cleaning, dusting, scrubbing, dishes, mopping, sopping, anything!! Possibilities limitless once again!!!

However, you will want to use 100% cotton yarn to make these. They work the best for cleaning. They hold up well in the wash too. No hand-washing needed. Which is why the yarn is so nice. Sugar n’ Cream is the main brand, pretty cheap, especially if you can find it on sale. One skein of Sugar n’ Cream (2 oz) will make 2 dish cloths, with a little left over.

I can not wait to make a million of these for my house! I am never buying wash cloths again! Hooray!!!


Homemade Bug Kit!

Earlier this year, in August, Snug, my mom and I ventured to Iowa, for the first time in years, to see my moms family. We had a blast and Snug has not stopped talking about it! She wants to move to Iowa. She keeps telling Bug there are jobs in Iowa he can do, there are schools for her there, Iowa has everything!

While we were there we got to hang out with my cousins kiddos, so my second cousins. We liked them so much we thought we would send them Christmas gifts this year. The little girl was easy, she loves princesses, like Snug, so we made her a princess blanket, from a panel we had lying around. The boy was a little harder though, he is about 6 and that age is uncharted territory for me. I have no idea what 6/7 year olds like, I have no idea what boys like.

So we reflected and thought and looked and reflected more and remembered that Snug, the kids and I all had gone on a couple bug hunts while we were in Iowa. The boy loved the bug hunts the most! So after thinking some more we decided to make him a bug kit! It turned out very cool!!

Here is what you will need for your very own bug kit:

Cleaned jar (any size is great, we used a small pasta jar), acrylic craft paints, brushes, hammer and nail, Book about bugs and a magnifying glass or other accessories of your choice.

This is a cool magnifier, it has a stand so you can prop it up, it also comes with plastic tweezers for easy and safe bug handling, for you and the bug…hopefully. This one is priced around $10, but there are cheaper just plain magnifying glasses too, if you are buying in bulk. Lots of bug kits!!!

Now the book, for bug books and science books, I would try a used bookstore before you buy new. The used book stores usually have a better selection of really cool kids books, that are cheap and perfect. We found this book at a book sale (DK Eyewonder Bugs) and it was great, very age appropriate, not for him to read, but the little chunks of information are great for someone to read to him.

Take the jar and lid and choose some paint.

Now grab your sweet child from whatever activity they were doing and put them to work painting! Cover the entire lid, it will take some thick painting skills.

For the jar we painted letters on the top part “(second cousin’s name)’S BUG JAR”.

Looks pretty cool, one of my better ideas, I will admit.

Now carefully, that lid is covered and wet, place the jar and lid out-of-the-way to dry in a safe place. Next, get busy with life and forget about your project for a couple of days, the lid will definitely be dry by then. (Sorry I don’t have an approximate drying time, what I did is in the instructions).

Hammer, Nail, Lid.

Take the nail, you want one that isn’t huge, but isn’t too small either. You want plenty of air to get in the jar, but not let anything out. It depends on what you have and how big your lid is. Mainly though, we just go with what we have.

Anyway, take the nail and tap holes into the lid, lots and lots and lots of holes!

Maybe not too many. You can definitely do more than this.

Also, if you have some good gloves you can go ahead and let your preschooler try to hammer, we tried, without gloves, and I chickened out. Sorry sweet heart. You could also use pliers and hold the nail while the kiddo hammers. We couldn’t find any.

TA-DA! You have a very fun bug kit!

Happy hunting!!!