Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Tote Bag Series: Seahorse Beach Tote

Can a series only have two parts? 
Confession: I only have two Summer Totes to blog about this week.  Calling this a "series" may have been a bit of an overstatement.  But you never know, I may be inspired again, before summer comes to a close. 
Today's tote was fairly simple.  I came across a plain blank canvas tote while cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago.  I couldn't tell you where or when I bought it, but it was similar to this.  
I found this easy and straight forward tutorial for a DIY Seahorse Silhouette Beach Bag on The Graphics Fairy.
Here is my version:
a close up:
I followed The Graphic Fairy's directions more or less, but since I don't have a Silhouette machine, went the old fashioned route.  I printed out the Seahorse silhouette, applied Heat 'n Bond to the back of a rectangle of fabric, traced the shape onto the fabric, cut it out by hand, applied it to the tote, then finally, sewed the shape to the tote.  Whew. And now, you have a lovely little tote to go to the beach or to the pool or even to the farmer's market. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Tote Bag Series: Straw Pom Pom Tote

While I've taken a little break from blogging, that doesn't mean I haven't been creating! 
It's no secret that I have a little obsession with tote bags.  I love shopping for them, making them and collecting them!  I've made (ok, embellished) a few easy totes this summer that I'll be blogging about this week.
 You're familiar with the Target One Spot, right?  That little area near the front door of every Target full of impulse buys that range from $1-$3.  If you're like me (classic impulse buyer), you can't walk by without seeing if there are any new items I just can't live without.  One item that caught my eye this summer, was this simple little $3 straw tote.
All summer I kept picking up these little totes and putting them back.  Reminding myself that I didn't need another tote.  And while that is absolutely true, we sometimes do need a creative outlet.  In the spirit of this blog, I went off to find a way to turn this simple little $3 tote into something more.

 I came across this DIY Pom Pom Beach Tote tutorial from The Lovely Drawer.
And this tutorial from Life In Mod for DIY Contrast Tote.
This is what I made:
I started by removing the handles the bag came with.  They were a little chintzy and plastic.
I then gathered all the yellow acrylic paints I had on hand, two bottles of regular craft paint and one bottle of fabric paint, all about the same color and started layering on the paint.  Yellow paint is pretty transparent by nature, so it took quite a few coats (7 or 8?) over a few days.  Once properly dry, I very carefully sewed on a length of pom pom trim.  Finally, I dug through my craft supplies and found these leather tote handles that I happened to have on hand (similar to these) and hand sewed them on with contrast hot pink thread.  Not that easy to see in my picture, but added a fun little color pop. Perfect to tote to the beach or the pool!
Stay tuned for another summer tote, coming later this week!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

4 Things

Hi!  Happy Sunday.  I hope things are warm, bright and sunny wherever you are.  Here in Minneapolis, we are getting there.  Here are some amazing things I've found on the internet this week.

It's May and May always make me think of commencement.  And what is commencement without a good speech?  George Saunders gave a wonderful commencement speech last spring at Syracuse University.  Among his wise words are,  "Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness."  You can read the full speech here.

Have you started to think about your summer reading list yet?  Those books you plan to read poolside, on a plane, while you wait for a cabana boy to bring you your drink on a beach?  I just ordered "Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage," by Molly Wizenberg.  Wizenberg has also written one of my favorite memoirs, "A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table."  She blogs at Orangette.

I have about a square inch of counter space in my kitchen.  Since my kitchen isn't my favorite, it don't spend a lot of time in there.  But I really want and need to cook more, so I'm going to keep a look out for healthy, easy recipes.  Ones that don't take a lot of counter space. This One Pan Chicken seems like a good contender.

I'm co-hosting Book Club tomorrow night.  Luckily, I only have to bring bread (that will be purchased en route from a bakery) and a salad.  This one looks perfect for spring! (And will only involve roasting a little asparagus, which is well within my skill set.)

Have a great week!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day/4 Things

Happy Mother's Day!
I am not yet a mother but imagine that it isn't an easy journey.  Most things worth doing aren't.  I've been thinking a lot about my mom today.  And for all the gifts she's given me.  There are more than I could mention, but a few that came to mind...
-Faith.  Faith in God and in myself.
-A love of reading.  We were always visiting the library and bookstores.
-A love of color.  Red is our favorite!
-A love of beauty.  She'd make my dad pull over and pull wildflowers to plant in our front yard.
-Sewing.  And crafting.  And making stuff.  Which has shaped my life in ways I didn't think were possible.
So on this Mother's Day, I am so thankful. 

And now on to this week's 4 things:
-Here in MN, they say the state bird is the mosquito!  Lots and lots of bugs in the summer.  Instead of drenching myself in DEET, I might give this all natural bug spray a shot.
-I feel like I've fallen into a rut with handmade gifts.  Here's a new idea: snappy manicure wallet.  Would also be a great scrap buster!
-With spring finally reaching the upper Midwest, I can't help but think about picnics
-And on that picnic, how about serving the Best Snickerdoodles Ever!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4 Things


Hello, dear readers!  I took a LONG, unintended break and hope not to do that again!  I hope springtime is well on it's way in your neck of the woods.  It's been a chilly spring here in Minneapolis.  In fact, it has been snowing a little this week. No accumulation, but not something you want to see when it's nearly May.  I keep buying cut flowers and little plants.  Seeing something green helps.  But hopefully this rainy, snowy month will lead to plenty of may flowers!
And now, a few fun finds from the internet:
Two of my very favorite things, paired together:  Mango Salsa.
Lavender Sachets.  Great idea for mother's day gifts.
I've been having some interesting and creative thoughts lately and can't wait to read: "The Power of Starting Something Stupid" by Richie Norton.
I've been wearing lots of scarves during this chilly spring and can't wait to try this tutorial for a "Stenciled T-shirt Infinity Scarf".  So cute!

Friday, March 21, 2014

4 Things

Thank the good Lord, the great thaw has begun!  This has been a long and horrible winter.  One that I felt at times would never end.  But things are looking up.  I can now go outside and not worry about dying from exposure.  To be clear, it's not warm, by any measure, but it is above zero, and is reaching above freezing during the day (36 today!) so the snow is melting a little each day.  I saw a few patches of grass today!!  It has been months and months since I've seen anything other than snow, so it's making me feel especially hopeful. 

-Spring will come again.
-I love taking pictures, even more so, since we carry one with us ALWAYS with the advent of the iphone.  Here are tips for editing iphone pictures.
-This is SO Minnesota.
-Finally, because we can pack away our turtlenecks, a DIY Statement Necklace.  For when we can get really crazy and...expose our necks!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

4 Things

Hi.  I took an unintended break from blogging.  To be honest, I feel like there isn't much to write about.  It's been miserable and cold. By all reports, the coldest winter in MN in 30 years. I keep thinking it will get better, but it hasn't.  I was pretty patient about it, until recently when I decided that I had enough and was ready for it to be over.  I realize that it will end eventually.  But sometimes when you're in the middle of something, it seems like it's been going on forever.  There is a bright spot in this week's forecast.  It's supposed to get into the 20s by Wednesday and hopefully the 30s by the weekend!!  Praying that those weather people are right!

Due to the extreme cold weather, I've been decluttering quite a bit.  This is a great article on the subject.  I also suggest keeping a shopping bag in your closet.  You'll have a handy place to put things that you come across that you no longer need/want.

A great article on a topic that has been near and dear to my heart lately.  From Design Sponge: Practicing Mindfulness at Home.

I've had some very chapped lips and keep meaning to try this DIY lip scrub.  All common ingredients that we all have at home.

The next thing on my list of things to make is my own Balaclava or ski mask.  (Kidding!!  But tempted.)