I love little changes that make a big difference! No, this is not a new bed – just an easy-to-sew slipcover for our headboard. I have been creating a light and neutral look in our bedroom, but something wasn’t quite … Continue reading
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:
- Canvas tote bags. These ones are great, because they are a cotton blend. They still look and feel just like cotton canvas, but they don’t wrinkle (I’m allergic to ironing)
- Stencils: I chose a tile design, arrows, gingko leaves, feathers, and birds (even though I just bought mine a couple of months ago, some are no longer available, so I’m linking to some similar ones. I got mine from Cutting Edge Stencils and Amazon)
- Craft paint
- Textile medium
- Sponge painters
- blue painter’s tape and old magazines
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:
- Dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils
- Stamped tea towels
- Magnetic desktop picture frames
- Washi tape gift jars
- Pancake and hot chocolate mixes in jars
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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
Since I’ve become a crazy plant lady, I’m always looking for planters to hold my collection. Big plants like my fiddle leaf figs (see how to propagate them here) can get heavy, so I try to put them in plastic … Continue reading
Does bleach scare you? It scares me! Now that to you were brave enough to get past the title of this post, I’m excited to tell you about my adventures dyeing fabric with bleach. The effect is similar to the Japanese … Continue reading
Everything old is new again! I’m visiting my dad and fantasizing about magically unearthing some old macrame projects from the 70s. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hand at making some plant hangers. This macrame obsession pairs perfectly with my newfound love of plants!
Tying knots in string shouldn’t be that complicated, but I was nervous getting started, so I chose the simplest project I could. Using some heavy cotton rope leftover from hanging a birthday piñata, I based my plant hanger off of these instructions.
Because the rope was so thick, I chose to use a gathering knot in blue cotton yarn rather than tie a heavy knot with the rope at the top and bottom.
Being a busy mom, the first chance I had to work on this project was on a plane! Luckily, the tab that holds up the tray table works perfectly for attaching the loop at the top;)
And here’s how it looks planted with Golden Pothos.
Stay groovy and green!
It’s graduation season! Somehow (well, I guess we know how), I ended up with boys graduating from middle school, elementary school, and Kindergarten all in one year. This calls for some crafting. I decided to make graduation leis for the boys and their friends using ribbon.
I researched a ton of ideas, which you can browse on my Pinterest page. Some of those ideas are definitely for the expert level lei-maker, and I am a humble beginner. However, I did find inspiration for something that is both easy and pretty over at Sakacon.com. These spiral ribbon leis don’t require advanced skills, but they do take some time. I modified the method a little, and I love how you can mix and match so many ribbons for infinite ideas!
- wide ribbon 7/8″ to 1.5″ (8-10 yards). This is the ruffle-edge ribbon I used.
- narrower accent ribbon(s) 3/16″ to 1/2″ (same yardage). This is the picot ribbon I used.
- embroidery floss to match the accent ribbon
- clear nail polish to finish the ends of the ribbon
- needle, scissors
First, go to your local craft store and go crazy! I actually feel like I have accomplished a project just by getting supplies (…but I realize this isn’t quite true). Since the design of the leis is simple, you can add a lot of detail by picking interesting ribbons. You can see i found some ribbons with ruffled edges and picot ribbon (apparently this is what you call the ribbon with the little loops in the side) that really make your “flowers” look more realistic. For fun, I bought some rainbow stripe ribbon, and the possibilities are really endless.
To make the lei, thread three strands of embroidery floss onto your needle. I used about 18″ of floss at a time. Tie a secure knot at the end of your floss.
The Sakacon version has a long tail you can use to tie the lei on with a bow. I decided to make a continuous round lei, because I thought it would be more comfortable for the boys. I still staggered the length of the wide and narrow ribbons – ie left a long tail of the wide ribbon before starting my lei – so there would not be an obvious join in the lei.
I lined up the narrow ribbon to one side of the wide ribbon, folding under the edge to avoid fraying, and sewed a few stitches in place to secure it. I then started doing a long running stitch, with stitches every centimeter (3/8″) or so.
Once you have sewn a few stitches, pull the thread to make the ruffles and guide them into a spiral shape to look like a chain of flowers. This really feels like magic!
You basically continue this for a long, long time. To make the lei a continuous loop, I cut off the wide ribbon first, and picked up the section of wide ribbon I had left as a “tail” at the beginning, continuing I until I reached the start of the narrow ribbon.
I bought spools of craft ribbon, which comes in 3-6 yard sections, so there are several joins in the lei. These aren’t visible, because the ribbons are staggered, and there are so many ruffles. At the ends of the ribbon, I used clear nail polish on the wide ribbon and just folded under the ends of the narrow ribbon. I also changed embroidery floss a few times, being sure to tie secure knots and hide the ends.
Behold! Here are the finished leis. I’m still making more and will add the pictures when they are done, to give you more ideas for ribbon combinations. I can’t wait to share them with my boys and their friends in a few more weeks!
You’ve probably seen these adorable kids’ reading tents on Pinterest or your favorite blogs. I’ve had this project in the back of my mind for a while now and, with a little help with the boys, finally made it happen!
- 4 poles with dip-painted tips
- Rope at top and bottom to create the structure
- Contrasting fabric for the door
There are lots of methods out there for making a play teepee. I decided to sew ours. Don’t get me wrong, I love my glue gun and staple gun, but since I can handle the sewing, I wanted to go with something more durable and removable for washing (not that my kids ever get anything dirty, but…).
I started with four poles made from 1″ x 2″x 8′ wood molding. These were only $0.91 each! Since we had all the other supplies already, this whole project cost us less than $4!!
Here are the steps to your new favorite hideout!
1. Lightly sand the wood
2. Paint the tips of the poles
3. Drill holes 8″ from the top and 1.5″ from the bottom of each pole. I did the pilot holes and the kids finished up. It was fun seeing them use the tools.
4. I threaded rope through the top holes and wound the rope around to create our structure. Next, I threaded rope through the bottom of the poles and knotted it to keep the poles evenly spaced. I didn’t put rope across the opening, to prevent tripping!
5. When the poles were arranged the way we wanted, I measured for the panels. I measured the openings and added 2″ to all the measurements for hems and seams and finished everything with French seams, since you can see them from the inside.
When your tent is done, you can accessorize with pillows, blankets, bunting, lights, or anything else your heart desires!
Thanksgiving at our house has been pretty small the last few years. Most of our family is not in town, so we enjoy a quiet long weekend with just me, Steve, and the kids. Sometimes, however, I crave the hustle bustle madness of a big Thanksgiving celebration. I’m excited this year because we get to host one of my new coworkers!
To help make our Thanksgiving dinner this year extra festive, I have some new decorations planned. One of them is this simple linen table runner.
I sewed the runner and used gold craft paint to add this feather design inspired by a rubber stamp Creatiate on Etsy.
Up next, a “stenciled” runner for our dining table. Red wine included 🙂
Happy Turkey Day! May your hearts be full of thanks!