Gruyere-Broccolini Puff Pastry Christmas Trees

My motto about cooking is that I don’t do it much, but when I do, it’s something I saw on Pinterest. We throw a big holiday party every year. Last year, I introduced these puff pastry Christmas trees, and they’ve … Continue reading

DIY Felt Wreath in Winter Whites

I’m here to share my latest project and also ask for your help! Here’s a felt wreath I made for Christmas decorating, and I really, really love it – but I don’t know where to display it, especially since it … Continue reading

DIY Knitted Sweater Ornaments

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be calling them ornaments, because I am pretending that I am being seasonally appropriate and not decorating for Christmas yet, but I think we all know the truth… So, you may have seen that I … Continue reading

Cozy Sweater Pillow Covers

I’ve channeling all the cozy winter feels for this holiday season (even if the California weather has other ideas!) To create a comfy atmosphere, my first project of the season was sewing these pillow covers from old sweaters. (More on … Continue reading

Shibori-Dyed Zipper Pouches

Every year, I make a handmade holiday gift for my coworkers and our kids’ teachers. I love bringing them into school and the office and spreading joy! I’ll list all the past ones at the bottom, so you have more … Continue reading

DIY Hand-Painted Chinoiserie Christmas Ornaments

For this year’s Chinoiserie Christmas, I mostly used decorations I already had from our “white and woodsy Christmas,” with the addition of these hand-drawn ornaments! This post is coming late, because it took me all month to finish these ornaments, … Continue reading

I’m dreaming of a (Blue and) White Chinoiserie Chic Christmas

It has been a busy few months here, but I’m sitting by the fire and finally have a minute to share our Christmas decorations – just under the wire this Christmas Eve. If there were a graph showing how many … Continue reading

It’s in the Bag – Stenciled Totes

Most years, I try to make something creative as holiday gifts for our teachers and coworkers. There’s so much joy in giving, but we’re also living in a time and place where it feels like everything is at your fingertips, so something handmade feels like a good way to express how much we appreciate those around us. When I can manage it, I make a few extra to last through the year as hostess and grown-up birthday gifts. I’ve linked to previous years’ handmade gifts at the bottom of the post, if you’re looking for more ideas.

This year, I decided to make stenciled canvas tote bags as our holiday treat. They’re so pretty and unique, yet also practical, as we’re trying to minimize our use of disposable shopping bags. I had so much fun trying different combinations of colors and patterns.

What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  • Prewash the bags
  • Choose a stencil and use blue painters tape to hold it in place
  • Put an eye md magazine inside the bag, so the paint won’t go through to the other side
  • Mix paint with textile medium according to the instructions
  • Use the spouncer to apply light coats of paint
  • Once thoroughly dry, iron the pattern using a press cloth to set the paint
  • That’s all! Unless you’re me and repeat it many, many times!

Here are just some of the combinations I made!

Tile stencil in navy and in ombré blues:

Arrows, with a contrasting accent color and (bottom left) ombré blues:

Feathers,with a contrasting accent color or (bottom) ombré blues and greys.

I really liked the feathers!

I loved the tile in this mix of copper and gold paint. The metallic paints were very thick and made very crisp designs.

A close up of the feathers:

The birds were fun to arrange in different patterns and colors.

My mother-in-law likes gingko leaves, so I made this one for her:

And I got to keep this one for myself!

No matter how I plan, the holidays are hectic. I definitely all felt worthwhile when I went to give out the bags. Our teachers and friends were so excited – it definitely put me in the spirit of the season!

it made me happy to make the people I care about happy. My friend Liane took this great photo of her bag:

Looking for more handmade gift ideas? Here are some from past years:

“Jewels”

Festive Boho-ho-ho Christmas Stockings

Yup, I have become one of those people who does a themed Christmas each year. I am still not sure if this is a sign of greatness of madness! While I admit to having accumulated many boxes of decorations, I … Continue reading