Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Swedish tote for all your toting needs.

If you don't already know, I'm a pretty big Sweden fan. I say something Swedish-related at least once a day (fika, anyone?). That being said, I love all things blue and yellow. So when I saw these adorable blue and yellow polka-dot prints I immediately threw them in my shopping cart without asking any questions.

I soon decided to use the fabric to make my sister's Christmas present: a convertible tote bag. What my chair is supposed to be demonstrating (albeit poorly) is how this tote bag can snap onto the handles of a stroller or grocery cart and keep it high enough that it won't smack you in the knees when you walk. Also having toys/food/wipes/blah/blah/blah readily available for the kiddo.

Then...when you want to take the tote with you make it into a messenger-bag-tote-thing by snapping the longer strap in place. Ta da!

I followed this pattern over here but opted for the quick velcro closure instead of the messenger bag flap.

It would also work well as a reusable grocery bag. The pattern was fairly simple to follow. It took me a couple days to finish it, but I only worked in short spurts. You could most definitely finish it in one day if you wanted.

One Christmas present down. A lot more to go!

This has been linked to: It's Fun to Craft!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful Thursdays # 4 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Because this is the final week of Thankful Thursdays, I've decided to make a top three list. So here it is.

1. I'm thankful for little-kid drawings. It's so much fun to see how a kid sees things. My niece is one heck of an artist and at the age of 5 has drawn me some down-right cute pictures.

And being a teacher here has its perks. I get to see kids draw almost everyday. Sure, sometimes I have no idea what they're drawing but that's the best part. They are intently drawing something and they know exactly what it is. Here are a few current pieces of wall art I have hanging in my apartment at the moment:

2. I'm thankful for food. Yes, food. I've been able to try so many different kinds of food while I've been in Japan and love most of them. I'm still trying to acquire a taste for octopus, but other than that I am on board with almost every food I try. I've even begun to like natto- smelly, sticky, fermented soybeans.

3. I'm thankful for creativity. I realize this is a pretty broad thing to be thankful for, but, oh well. I love seeing other people's blogs and looking at how everyone is unique in their creativity. I love browsing Etsy and looking at the fabulous ideas. I love going to art museums and getting inspired by the massive amounts of creativity in one place. I think every person is creative in a different way and it's so much fun to see!

How great are those prints?! I am loving Matte Stephens' work on Etsy, totally inspiring! And the buttons are pretty cute, too.

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful Thursdays # 3

What am I thankful for today? Living in Japan.

Sure, I miss America, but mostly just things that are just in America, like my family. And Mexican food. But living in Japan has been an adventure that I am extremely thankful for. I mean, where else can you buy a new flavored KitKat every month?

Wasabi flavor. Verdict: Good, then gross, then good again with a gross aftertaste.

Cheese Flavor. Verdict: "I want to put it on a cracker and eat it" - Ryan

I've also tried sweet potato, cola, strawberry, and soy sauce flavors. Sweet potato was probably my favorite so far. Anyway...back to what I'm thankful for.

Even though I sometimes am anxious to be back in America with my family and friends, I need to embrace being here. I need to really be here when I'm here. Not keep thinking about being home but really enjoy living here and take advantage of all the wonderful things here. The fabric for example-amazing. The food, culture, people, nature, history and the time I have to enjoy it all. Thank you, Japan!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ho-Ho-Ho Gift Bag

Christmas is quickly approaching and we're all trying to figure out cheap, yet cute, ideas for gift wrapping. This gift bag is super quick and easy (for all-level sewers). It seriously took me 15 minutes to put together. It would be perfect to stow a bottle of bubbly that you bring to your next holiday party. And after it serves its purpose as a gift bag, you could throw a bunch of candy canes in it and have it out for a cute little table decoration.

So, gather your materials and let's get started!

1. Turn on your favorite Christmas music.

2. Cut out all your felt pieces and heat up your glue gun. Adjust the size as needed for your gifts.

3. Fold your piece of red felt in half. I find I don't need to pin felt when I sew because it automatically kinda sticks together. But if it makes you feel better, go ahead and pin the sides together.

4. Sew along the 2 outer edges, leaving the opening across from your folded edge open.

5. Open the bag up (but keep the bag wrong-side out) and measure 1.5" from the corner. Sew across the corner. This is to help the bag stand up on its own when finished.

6. Turn the bag right-side out. Your corner should look like this:

7. Hot glue your handles to the inside of the bag. Or you could sew them, if you prefer.

8. Hot glue the white band of felt around the top of the bag. Work in 3-4 inch increments to ensure a straight edge.

9. Hot glue the white, felt circles onto the center of the bag. Center and glue evenly-spaced.

10. Turn up your Christmas music. Dance.

11. Stuff your bag with holiday goodies and deliver to someone you love!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Yes, this post may get a little mushy, be warned.

This Thankful Thursday I'm thankful for Ryan.
My wonderfully hilarious, soon-to-be husband.

He's such a dapper fellow. Plus he is supportive of my crafting. Here he's sporting the bow tie I made him for his birthday (yes, he actually wore it in public!).

He's pretty silly.

He's clever.

He can say pretty cheesy things that are actually kinda cute.

He's handy getting you around town.
Especially if you're a girl who doesn't read maps all that well (

He's pretty much always a happy camper.

And I'm so thankful I get to marry him!!!!!

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 8, 2010

New winner is...

Sorry Molly, I haven't heard from you so I had to choose a new winner. And the new winner is...

#7 Dragonfly Kisses Jewelry said...Id love to win!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Winners were chosen by, the number generator.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Drum-roll please...

The day is here! It's time to select the 2 winners for the washi tape! Thank you to everyone who entered, I was shocked at the turnout! I used to choose the 2 numbers. And the winners are...

#38: L said...What lovely items! Thanks!

#15: Molly said...These are so cool! Can't wait to deck out all my as-yet-un-snazzy objects in tape if I win!

Molly, please contact me, your blogger profile isn't public and I can't reach you. Please respond to me by Nov. 9 (Japan time, Nov. 8 US/Canada) or I will have to pick a new winner. :(

Congratulations you two, I'll be contacting you soon to send off your prizes. I can't wait to see how you decide to use the washi tape!

Thanks to all who participated and you can still buy your own here and here!

Another garland

After reading Astrid's post about hearts (also check out her super-cute ideas for chalkboard paint!), I got out my felting needle and went to town. I had a bunch of leftover twine from the chili pepper garland project and thought it would work perfectly to make a garland with the felted hearst. It did.

I needle felted 6 hearts in 6 colors then hot glued them (thanks Mr. G) right onto the twine. I should have made 2 hearts of each color because now you can see the big glob of glue on the back of the hearts. I guess as long as I have them hanging against a wall of some kind it should be fine.

I hung them up on my full-length mirror and love how it brightens it up!

Sticking with the garland theme, I made this card last week. I used Japanese washi tape and cut triangles then sewed across the card stock to make the bunting look. I like the overall look of it, but wish I hadn't done it on the blue card stock. I think cream or black would have been better. Oh well, next time!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

In true Thanksgiving spirit I decided to start Thankful Thursdays. It's so easy to fall into daily routines, forgetting to be thankful for all the little things.

So starting today, I will post every Thursday about what I'm thankful for. Want to join? I'd love for you to share what you're thankful for too, join in the Thanksgiving fun!

I'm so, so, so thankful for nature. It's one of my favorite things in the world. And I'm so blessed to live in an area that I can step outside and see wonderful reminders of God's creativity everywhere I look.

What are you thankful for today?

Grab a button if you want and join Thankful Thursdays!
I'm working on making the text box for the button, sorry for the delay! Check back soon!