Category Archives: crafting

Dr. Suess canvas tote


Dr. Suess library tote

I made this cute library book tote for my future step-nephew, Ethan. I was inspired by this version on Ucreate (one of my favorite crafting blogs) but I decided to make mine more topsy turvy-it seemed more Suessian like that. I also accented the crazy topsy turvy by stitching the felt with a zig zag pattern. The entire project cost about $3! I used a Hobby Lobby coupon to purchase the canvas tote.

Dr. Suess bag closeup

Do you ever watch Cake Boss? Making the basic design for this bag I felt sort of like I imagine those bakers must feel when they make one of those crazy ass cakes. Except for the fact that there was no possible way 10 layers of baked goods could flop over on me. Winning. Especially considering the Pirate Cake Disaster of 2012-ship wrecked pirate cake anyone? (My sister doesn’t want to talk about it.) Though I will proudly tell you that the blue “wave” to the forward of the watercraft is none other than a roll, added purely for structural reasons. This was a split level pirate cake, if you will. But I digress.

pirate ship cake


  • Canvas tote
  • One sheet each red and white felt
  • Sewing machine and white thread (or thread and needle if hand stitching)
  • Fabric marker
  • luggage tag (to act as library card holder, optional)


Print out the Dr. Suess hat template.

Cut out the topsy turvy felt pieces from felt and pin in place on your tote. Leave space for your quote if desired. Sew felt in place by hand or using a sewing machine. If you’re using a machine, a zig zag stitch lends a whimsical feel.

Pencil your Suess quote on the tote. The Ucreate tutorial I linked to above has a link to a neat Suessian font, but my handwriting sucks, so I decided to go basic on this. Go over your quote with a fabric marker and done!

I chose to make a library card holder out of scrap fabric, but it was really a pain, so if you want to add a card holder, I’d recommend using a spare luggage tag of some sort. (I did successfully sew a button/buttonhole in the process which seemed like a big deal for a beginning sewer like me-woo!)

library card holder 

So that’s it! I hope you enjoy crafting a tote of your own.




Upcycle Christmas cards into next year’s gift tags


upcycle Christmas cards into gift tags

Wait! Don’t recycle those Christmas cards just yet! You can upcycle them into gift tags to use next year.

All you need to do is cut out cute sections of the cards, back with scrapbook paper or card stock, punch a hole and you’re done!

I made some of mine shaped like old school packaging tags by cutting the scrapbook paper backing a little longer and snipping off the corners.


Easy peasy and a mini head start on next year’s gift wrapping!

I got the bakers’ twine from – they have a new deal on something crafty every day-check ’em out!



You might also like:

Apple Cider Caramels



Have you picked up the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook? Ok, go order it right now. You’ll even have it in time for Christmas! Or maybe even early enough to make a couple of batches of these lovely apple cider caramels for gifting. That is, if you can manage not to eat them all yourself. One batch of caramels, individually wrapped in wax paper, perfectly filled three small gift boxes which I tied with bakers’ twine in festive colors.


You can find the full recipe here. It needs no improvement, though I will note that I accidentally used 1/3 cup less white sugar than the recipe called for, but it seemed to work out just fine. I guess my supervisor wasn’t paying very close attention, was he?


Happy caramel making!



Perfectly Packaged: hostess gift


I was visiting my BFF Kathleen at her new apartment in Baltimore for dinner and an overnight stay and I wanted to bring her a little something. I stopped in at Lark in Downtown Gettysburg and found the most adorable mini box of cupcake recipes. (p.s. love this store-I want to decorate my entire house with the accessories they carry-I might need to do a little window shopping post there sometime like Sherry does on Young House Love).

Each cupcake recipe card is beautifully illustrated and unfolds to reveal the ingredients and instructions.

I just wrapped this bad boy up simply in mint green scrapbook paper and tied with a pink baker’s twine bow. I bought the baker’s twine on Pick Your Plum-they seem to bring it back in their daily sale every now again, so sign up for their email if you’re interested in deals on craft stuff.

Done and done. Nothing better than a pretty gift, prettily wrapped for a lovely hostess.



Elephant Baby Shower Card


Saturday I attended a lovely jungle-themed baby shower for my friend Jackie. Being practical, I bought the diaper pail off the registry. Since this isn’t exactly the kind of thing people ooh and ahh over, I wanted to make something cute to go along with it. I intended to mod podge the elephant mod onto a little 8″ x 8″ canvas, but ran out of time to run to AC Moore to pick up the canvas. So I settled on using this basic Martha Stewart template to make a card.

If you follow the template exactly, you can make the little elephant or owl pictured above. I modified the template to add an extra water droplet, the bakers’ twine tail, the google eye, and some flowers growing in the empty spot under his trunk. To make the tail, wrap a length of twine around your thumb about 4 times and pinch this bundle in the middle. Cut the twine, then tie a short length of twine around the middle of the bundle. Once secure, cut the loops and give it a fluff. The flowers are scrapbooking embellishments that I just added paper stems and leaves to.

I wanted to add a little somethin somethin to the blank and boring inside of the card, so I decided to make a length of bunting in baby boy colors to add some color and texture. (Real motive may have been to use more of the bakers’ twine, which I have a slight obsession with.)

The bunting was so easy to do. You just need a piece of twine, kraft paper, glue stick, and a hot glue gun or tacky glue. For each flag, cut out a rectangle of paper twice as long as you want the flag to be from top to point. Fold the rectangle in half longways, and cut off the edges at a angle to form two triangles joined together at the top. Sandwich the flag over the twine and secure with a glue stick or tacky glue. I used a glue gun to adhere the bunting to the inside of the card. Use two (tiny tiny) dabs on either end and a couple underneath some of the flags, as needed.

Can we talk about cake pops for a second? I thought I was immune to adorable cake pops, but apparently I was wrong. Wish I had my camera at the party–there were giraffe and lion ones in additon to the little chocolate flavored monkey above that I took home as a favor. Too cute to eat? I don’t think so.



Typeset Drawer Shadow Box


Lil’ sis and I were at the biannual Gettysburg antiques flea market on the square a couple of weeks ago, and I picked up two of these vintage typeset drawers. They were only $5 apiece, and I could envision them as future wall art in my living room. Then, I saw this papered shadowbox on Pinterest and I got to thinking…this could be like a scrapbook for teeny keepsakes, YES! I wasn’t in a painting-stuff mood, so I pulled a bunch of my scrapbooking stuff I haven’t touched in a while out of the craft closet and went to town. Note: Wes contends that just because the closet is currently full of craft stuff, doesn’t make it the craft closet. He does have a guitar in there. And there is a set of gigantic carved wooden tiki style utencils. (Don’t ask.) But I digress.

Here’s the the drawers looked like before. I’ve only gotten to the one on top so far. The most fun part of making the shadow box was “curating” all the miniature collections, including selecting some shells I brought back from Australia when I studied abroad in 2007.


I used rubber cement to affix trimmed paper of all sorts to the back of each section. I used scrapbook paper, bits of greeting cards, and even a liquor bottle label. I’ll show you how I organize this stuff another time. I did leave some sections unlined. It adds a little texture to have some plain wood, and I can always add something to those later. I decided to go with rubber cement in case I ever decide to return the drawer to it’s natural wood state or to paint it.  Any items I needed to attach to the papered inside for display purposes, I used hot glue. You can look for your own typeset drawer at flea markets, antique stores or online.

Some of the  more memorable spots I filled with wine corks from the stash I’ve been saving-(I may need a pintervention due to my obsession with wine cork craft ideas. I’ve considering devoting an entire pin board to the cause.)

I lined one rectangle with white cardstock with a wax letter seal on it. Wes and I got the sealing wax and stamp when we honeymooned in Williamsburg, VA.

Miniature collections of shells, rocks, and scraps of patterned greeting cards made up some of the other spaces.

I think my favorite one-if I have to pick (from the 38!) was the neat row of pennies, from shiny to not

so shiny.

I also picked up some of the jumbo headline sized typeset letters. I want to do a gallery wall and put these guys up above some of our wedding pics.

There are some mega-cute repurposed typeset drawers on Etsy, like this jewelry organizer. Smart! I do still have one more drawer…

(Jewelry organizer by Etsy shop Aurea.)



link lovin’


Here’s some great links I found this week-enjoy!

inspired ~ from Creature Comforts, DIY oven glazed bowls – a lovely gift idea for mom?

create ~ from Paper Crave, DIY embroidered notebooks

celebrate~ Puppies and I plan to check out this dog-friendly event at the Hauser Estate Winery this Sunday.

And I might swing by the Apple Blossom Festival Saturday.

(Photo source: National Apple Harvest Festival photo contest)

devour ~ From Studio DIY, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, how about five ways to enjoy a margarita?

Or, perhaps some Kahlua Hot Fudge from Camille Styles



(All photos from their respective links or sources indicated)