upcycled gifts

If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!
Are you ready for a peek at how my new stands turned out? I’m more than a little thrilled with them. It’s great fun transforming a set of thrifted candlesticks into bright summery treat stands for the next shindig. (See the first set I made right here).

Being able to take these apart to switch out plates is a big deal for me. Even though my kitchen now is roomier, much much roomier, than the apartment and condo kitchens I’ve somehow squeezed into through the years, space is still at a premium. Plus I like picking a melamine plate whenever I find one I like and being able to put it to use with the stands I already have.

Best of all, I figured out a new trick that will let you use any candlestick you fall in love with at the thrift store. Not just candlesticks that have a hole through the center.

The shopping is really the best part. (You can get glimpse here of the first set of these I put together.) But for this time around, here’s the list of what I picked up.

Supplies & equipment:
1. Set of thrifted candlesticks. I often find candlesticks at the thrift store that can be disassembled and have a hole all the way through the middle. To find out if a candlestick can do this, just pick one up at the thrift store and try to unscrew. But hole or no hole, any candlestick will work. On my last thrifting trip I fell in love with some sticks that did not have a hole through the middle, I discovered I could still make my stand interchangeable. Here’s my big trick. Are you ready for it? All you need to do is find a…
2. Cork that fits snugly into your candlestick. (You need this only if your candlestick does not have a hole all the way through the middle).
3. Drawer pull that lets you take out the screw. I picked up mine at Lowe’s this time around. Don’t you love the crystal knobs?
4. Allthread that fits your drawer pull. This just looks like a really long screw with no head or point. To make sure it fits my drawer pull, I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s.
5. Nuts and washers.
6. A few fun melamine plates. I picked up mine at Target.
7. Primer and paint, if you choose. I love Krylon.
6. A hack saw and drill. A wood bit works perfectly for drilling into melamine.

Here is a candlestick I took apart and found I could dissasemble and have two pieces with a hole all the way through the middle of each.

Yea for Krylon. So many possibilities with this stuff.

Now comes the easy part… Here is the how-to for putting it all together, whether your candlestick has a hole through the core or not.
1. Paint. If you’re planning to paint the candlestick, disassemble it, prime, and paint.
2. Drill. Tape the plate in the center and drill through your taped spot. Take it slow and easy, I’ve cracked a couple plates by being in too big of a rush.

3. Cut your allthread. If your candlestick has a hole through the center, use a hack saw to cut your all thread to the length you’ll need to go from the bottom of the candlestick to the top to screw into your drawer pull. Cut carefully so you don’t ruin the thread and are still able to screw a bolt or your drawer pull onto the end. If you are using a cork, cut a tiny piece of the allthread so it is just long enough to screw through the cork and into the allthread.
4. If your candlestick does not have a hole through the center, add a cork. Wedge in a cork where the candle would go. Make sure it is a super snug fit. Cut off any overhang. You want to make sure the plate will rest evenly against the top of the candlestick. Drill a small hole in the center of the cork where the drawer pull will screw in. Make the hole just smaller than the allthread, so it screws in snugly.

Here is a set I assembled by screwing an all thread through the center.

Here is a set I made by using a cork.
3. Assemble.
 Now you get to thread your whole creation together. If your candlestick has a hole down the middle, put the washer and screw at the bottom, then thread the allthread through your candlestick piece, then add the plate, and finally, screw on the drawer pull at the top. If you are using a cork, simply screw one end of the allthread into the drawer pull, then put the other end through the hole in the plate and screw it into the cork in the candlestick. That’s it. Now your stands are ready to party, or to fit neatly in your cupboard.Good luck! If you make a set, I’d love to hear how it goes.


If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!

A few months after discovering how to make this tiered cupcake stand, I walked into Pottery Barn and saw their awesome, summery, tiered stand and—being the incurable DIYer that I am—thought, I wonder if I could make that.

It is a serious condition sometimes. My husband claims he can’t take me anywhere without me wanting to try to build some part of something I saw when I get home.
I picked up the supplies a few months ago, when I was in Micheal’s with my half-off coupon, and have been waiting for an open Saturday to give it a shot. I ran across Lizard & Ladybug who had been thinking the same thing as me, and am glad I did. She made her stand with a length of conduit, and made it look so good that I returned the curtain rod I’d been planning to use.

This weekend I got to work and love the result. Though I have to admit, about half way through the process was wondering if I should have just shelled out for the Pottery Barn original. But hopefully I have a few tips that will make it simpler if you’re like me and love a good DIY.
tiered cake pans ($18 with my coupon)
drawer pull that lets you take out the screw (I found mine at Lowe’s, $3)
all thread that is compatible with your drawer pull (I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s, $2)
conduit ($3)
bolts and washers
melamine plate

hack saw, clamp, file (UPDATE: see below, you may not need these at all)
hammer and nail
Don’t forget to use your coupon when you go to pick up your tiered pans. I used my JoAnne’s coupon at Michaels (you knew you could do that, right?)
I opted for a thicker length of conduit to keep things sturdier. I cut three lengths that were just over six inches long. If I did it again I think I’d cut them right at six inches.

The most challenging part was cutting the conduit. Cuts need to be perfectly straight in order to avoid a leaning stand.

UPDATE: Thanks to Layne and Nicole, I now know you can skip this part, entirely. You can pick up a pipe cutter for just a few bucks (thanks, Layne!), or you can have your conduit cut right in the plumbing section (thanks for letting me in on that little secret, Nicole! )

I started by using my hack saw to score a dotted line all the way around the conduit, to make sure it was even and matched up all the way around. Clamp the conduit, saw a couple times just to score the surface, open the clamp and rotate the conduit just a little. Repeat.

Then I used the same technique to slowly saw around the conduit, sawing little by little, opening the clamp and rotating as I went, until I had a nice even cut.

I then used my file to finish evening off the end. Hold the conduit close to the file to make the work quicker. Just don’t file away your fingers.
Now all the hard work is over. If you can get through this part you’re practically finished.

I marked the center of the top pan and used a hammer and nail to pierce a hole. I then lined it up with the other pans to find the spot to pierce the last two holes.
For the base, I used a melamine plate I had left over from my DIY cupcake stand. Lizard and Ladybug uses the smallest pan from the nesting set for the base, which turned out great. I just wanted to save that pan for actual baking. I think it will turn out the perfect sized personal birthday cake.

Drilling a hole in the center is not too tough. Just use a wood bit in your drill and take your time so you don’t crack the plate.

Finally, the only thing left to do is assemble everything.
That’s it. Now all it needs is some cupcakes or cups full of strawberries.
I think one of my favorite parts is the storage. Mine is now stored away inconspicuously in the cupboard above my fridge, waiting for our first summer shindig.



This spring I have been a little in denial. I know the time is coming soon when I have to decide if I’m going to start a garden. But I just don’t know if I’m ready to commit! I dropped by a farmer’s market yesterday and was told, here in Cali, I have two weeks left to decide. I’ve been totally inspired by this hydroponic herb garden, and this DIY green house trick, but I just need something to push me over the edge, or pull me back.

(btw, if you’re thinking of starting an herb garden, don’t miss my 13 tips for starting an herb garden I picked up last year)

While I’m putting off the garden commitment, we did manage to pick out a few strands of seeds to plant a small caterpillar and butterfly garden. We stopped by our nursery and asked what plants might be good to attract local critters. We decided to make seed tape (see my seed tape tutorial here), because it is my kids’ favorite.
Seed tape is great for my kids, they love putting globs of paste on the strips of newspaper. And seed tape is also a great way to store seeds so they’re ready to plant in seconds.

Of course we had to make an extra to give away and add a few embellishments. Butterfly garden seeds on top, caterpillar seeds on bottom. All that’s left to do is lay the strips on soil, sprinkle with a little extra soil, water, and watch!


Eggs in the Mail


It worked.
If you missed it, you can get postage details right here.

I am now sending more little eggs on their way.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details



There is something I love about bright plastic Easter eggs. I picked up a row of jumbos at the grocery store last weekend.

I got thinking about the fun of discovering eggs during an egg hunt, and thought it might be fun to discover one or two in a mail box.
So I packed a few up with goodies,
stuck on a label and a few stamps,
and am dropping them in a big blue mailbox today. For all the happy mail I’ve sent up to now, I’ve had postage added at the counter. Mostly because I like to walk up and nonchalantly drop a shovel or something else on the counter, like mailing plastic shovels is just something I do. Also because I love the workers at my post office and because I always meet the nicest people in line. But today I’m trying stamps. We’ll see if they go.

If they do, I will be filling a few eggs for grown ups too. Because when else do you get to be surprised by a plastic egg after the age of 12? I’m just needing a few good things to tuck inside? Sudoku? Hmmm. Any ideas?

It worked!! I ended up having to change postage, here’s what I used:
I mailed 1-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a postcard stamp
I mailed 2-ounce eggs using a 98-cent teton stamp + a forever stamp
You can see US postage rates for first-class mail right here (scroll down to “packages”).

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details



It has been a while since I’ve done a post about happy mail. I am brimming with all kinds of new ideas, so I think you’ll be seeing more happy mail around here. (If you’re new here, you can see more happy mail ideas at the end of this post.)

Did you ever do this with silly putty as a kid? It was my favorite. I also liked to make bubbles in the putty and pop em.
This week I put together a package to mail that was nice and simple. I used an empty plastic spice canister, tucked in a roll of newspaper and couple eggs of silly putty, and mailed it off.

One little canister, hours of fun.

I’m including the label, incase you’d like to use it. I originally made this to send out with my Christmas cards this year, but now I use it for everything. Do you like it?
(I like to print on this full-sheet label paper,which is a complete steal, 100 sheets for ten bucks.)

Either Download from DropBox by clicking here: Mailing Label
or download here: Printable Fold-over Labels (5043)

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or see it all right here):

A Great Big Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details


If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. And if you have a moment, stop by my chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. In the meantime, happy thrifting!

UPDATE: Find a simple trick I discovered to make a single-layer cake stand out of any candlestick right here.

At long last, here is the much-requested thrifted cake stand tutorial. This was a gift I made for my S-I-L for Christmas, and I’ve been wanting to make one for myself ever since. Of course, in my world, finishing a craft without a deadline is impossible. So I used last week’s tea party as the day by which it had to happen.

Because my S-I-L is quite the party hostess, I thought I’d like to come up with a version where the plates could be switched out.  You know, like the wristwatch you had in middle school with the interchangeable wrist bands (there are a few of those I’d still like to own). So keep your eyes open for more pretty plates, because you can switch out plates as your parties demand. Any plate with a hole drilled in the middle will do. Or add a tier by using a longer allthread and a few more candlestick segments. It’s all occasion!

So then, if you’re up for a little shopping and assembling, let’s get started.

Shop. First, let’s go shopping, the very fun kind of shopping. This is a good excuse to stop by your favorite thrift stores, flea markets, and houseware shops. Go in search of pieces that will make your heart go pitter pat. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A drawer pull you think is pretty. For me, this was a good excuse to stop by Anthropologie.
  • An allthread to match, so it will screw into the drawer pull. Pick these up at any hardware store.
  • A bolt and washer that fits, for screwing on at the bottom.
  • Paint, if you so choose.
  • A drill and bit for drilling a hole in the plates (more on this below).
  • A candlestick (or pieces of multiple candlesticks) with a hole through the center. Some have a visible hole, others need to be unscrewed and have the center dowel removed. When in doubt, try unscrewing.
  • A set of plates, melamine or ceramic will do.

I believe the drawer pull cost me $8. Everything else combined totaled a whopping $4.88.
Make sure your allthread and drawer pull are the same width. If your drawer pull has a rod like mine, you should be able to unscrew so the allthread can screw directly into the pull. It took a little torque but we got ours out. Pick up two allthreads if you’re going to want to change between two and three tiers with your cake stand. You’ll need an allthread for each different height.

Remember the hollow candlesticks I picked up for this tutorial? I’ve had no problem finding several every time I thrift. And especially if you’re planning to paint, you can use as many pieces from as many candlesticks as you like.
Paint. Time to get busy. If you’re planning to paint the candlestick, disasemble it and paint.

Drill. Next you’ll need to drill a hole right through the center of the plate. Both times I’ve sent Brent out to the workshop to take care of this for me. Though I do like the chance to use a power tool every now and then. His advice is to use a wood bit for drilling through melamine and a ceramic bit for ceramic. He also suggests picking up an extra plate. That way if one plate cracks a bit, you have a second chance. You can drill a few extra holes in your broken plate and get a little practice. He taped the plate right in the center, then drilled through there.

Assemble. Now you get to thread your whole creation together. Likely the allthread will be too long, so you’ll need to cut it off. If you want to alternate between two and three tiers, make sure you get an allthread that will be the right length for each. Finally, thread the washer on and screw the bolt on the bottom.
And there you have it. A pretty tiered cupcake stand, and an excuse to have everyone over for a party. Once the party’s over, just disassemble and store it flat until the next shindig.


Today marks day one of extended birthday bash mania here in our house. I love that my kids share a birthday week. It’s kind of like our combed-down version of carnival or mardi gras. Parties for days! The kids and I go craft crazy while Brent shakes his head at our ambitious plans, disappears with a book for a while, then comes back to try to help me rein in the mess.

Just last night we finished mario hats, a mario pinata, toad cakes, and tea party invites. We were focused! We may have gotten further but my girl came down with a little earache. And before all falling into bed exhausted, we also managed to make these, which my son is taking to preschool to hand out to all his friends on his big day.

We thought we’d do a twist on melted heart crayons by adding initials. Didn’t they turn out sweet? They’re so bright and pretty they left me wanting to make more, maybe with a message on them next time. And they were pretty simple. Here’s what we did:

1. Ravaged the crayon drawer for all the ugly crayons. Anything that was still pointy was safe. But all the dull, broken crayons came out for us to peel the label off and break into smaller pieces. Next time I will keep the same brands of crayons together. The crayolas melted much slower than our stash of crayons collected from restaurants.
2. Preheated the oven to 190 and arranged the crayons in a candy mold. I wanted to keep the temp low because the mold I used was meant for chocolate and isn’t too heat resistant.
3. Melted the whole batch for a good ten minutes, until they’d all melted.
4. Pulled them out of the oven and put them into the fridge for ten minutes.
5. Next we worked on the initials. We scratched the letters into the surface with a pencil. The wax was still a tad soft and it was super easy to get the letters just how we liked. Then we melted a black crayon in the microwave and painted over the letters with a small brush. We had to throw the wax back in once or twice, but it wasn’t too trickey.
6. We wanted the black to meld with the rest of the crayon, so we put each crayon back in the mold, letter side down, and popped them back in the oven for another four minutes, as long as it took for the letters to just begin to show signs of melting.

After they cooled, we were quite pleased with the result.

Scratching out the initials.

et viola!


It seems such a shame for something as pretty as ribbon to be shut up in a closet, wouldn’t you agree? I have this fantasy of storing all my wrapping in plain sight, as a sort of functional art, and this super simple project has me one step closer.

look at this pretty ribbon, all it asks is to be set out and appreciated

I’d call this a tutorial, but really, it seems too simple to be a tutorial. It’s just a trip to a couple of stores I’m guessing you already visit. A few minutes later, you’ll be set with a place to store every spool of ribbon or twine in your closet. Should we get going then?

Start with a trip to the thrift store.

Have you ever noticed many candlesticks have a hole that goes all the way through? Do a little searching and I’m sure you’ll find several. On my last trip I picked up five. They are ripe for the picking, my friends. If you don’t like your color options, pick up a spray can of Krylon at the hardware store and do a quick paint job when you get home.

Often you’ll need to unscrew something. It wouldn’t hurt to have a Philips and flathead with you when you go.

The next stop is the craft store. Pick out a wooden dowel that makes a snug fit. Mine was pretty snug. The wood was soft enough that I just screwed it right into the base. If your dowel is a little thin, you have options. Pick up a wooden disk while you’re at the craft store. Drill a hole so you can use the wooden disk as your base, then plant the dowel in the hole (again, make sure it’s a snug fit) and slide the candlestick right over. You also have the choice of picking up one of these from the hardware store, they’re called allthreads and work great for this project if you prefer them to a dowel.

That’s it. Once you find a dowel or rod that fits, there’s nothing left to do but stack the candlestick back together, and display in your studio, office, or right on your mantle.


-homemade piggie banksI mentioned in this morning’s post that we have homemade piggie banks around here. This is as of last year, when we discovered that old spice jars make perfect piggie banks. This discovery came after a broken ceramic piggie and an afternoon of tears.

Of course, spice jars are plastic or thick glass, and therefore more shatterproof and tearproof than your traditional ceramic pig, but also, they have a double lid. You can take off one lid to put money in, or take off both to take money out. And spice jars are portable, which makes them very easy to grab on the way out the door to the grocery store, where my kids occasionally convince me that they should be allowed to spend a quarter on a sticky hand or plastic alien from one of those little vending machines that are conveniently at their height.

So here was our solution. We washed out a few old spice jars and took off the labels. I used a craft knife to cut a coin slit in the shaker lid of the jars. Then I printed off some labels (on to labels like these,which look like quite the bargain) and stuck them on. Nice and easy. We made a few jars for divvying up different kids of savings.

I’ll include a couple printables incase you’d like to leave a piggie bank in a preschooler’s stocking this Christmas. Or mail one with a couple dollars inside for a birthday surprise.

Paper Piggie Bank, pink and orange (1610)
Paper Piggie Bank, blue and green (1436)

-homemade piggie banks free labels2

-homemade piggie banks free labelsprinting and cutting the labels

-craft knifegetting handy with my craft knife

-homemade piggie banks2the finished product




homemade DIY seed tape gardener gift

We managed to find a little time this weekend to make our own seed tape. My four-year-old walked into the office to find me with flour paste, a paint brush, and dozens of strips of newspaper. He was instantly intrigued. He ran to get his own brush and we got started.

The intent of seed tape as I’ve seen it is to make planting easier when you have teeny tiny seeds that need to be planted just inches apart (like carrots and radishes). But it’s also fun for gifting flower seeds or giving away seeds you’ve collected from your own garden. And it’s a pretty simple and very kid-friendly project.

DIY seed tape flour pasteHere’s what you’ll need:
-1/4 cup flour + enough water to make a paste
-strips of paper to make the tape: black and white newspaper (no colored ink), single-ply toilet paper, and a thin paper bag all work
-something for dabbing on drops of the paste, like the back of a paint brush
-and seeds!

homemade gift for gardeners seed tape

Making the paste is simple. Start with the flour and mix in water until you have the consistency of a paste. A quarter cup of flour will go a really, really long way.

Check the planting recommendations for your type of seed. Dab the paste onto your strips of paper as far apart as you would plant the seeds. Drop the seeds onto the paste. Drop the same number you would if you were planting. That’s it. Just wait for the paste to dry completely (a couple hours will do) and you’re ready to roll up your tape. Store it in an air-tight plastic bag and it is ready to go for next season. Most types of seeds are planted shallow enough that all you’ll need to do is lay the tape down and sprinkle a bit of dirt over it. Then it’s ready to be watered and to grow.

Homemade seed tape garden

strips of newspaper homemade seed tape
I also had to pretty mine up a bit. I found this tutorial for a newspaper flower, and since I was already slicing up newspaper anyway, it was perfect.

homemade seed tapeDuring this part my 6-year-old joined me and we made flowers side by side. She even made me a newspaper heart. Do you like it?homemade valentine

This particular package of seed tape is going for a special purpose, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll share it with you very soon.


Here’s the Father’s Day DIY I think I’m most excited about, an upcycled handlebar bag. I’ve been in love with bike accessories lately, they make me want to pedal everywhere I go. Plus they are great gifts for kids, grads, retirees, and just about everyone in between. So I thought I’d try making a couple of my own.
handmade-diy-fathers-day-gift-bicycle-bagReflective straps…to show Dad you care.
handmade-diy-fathers-gift-reflective-bicycle-bagThe bag is made from a water bottle and a used sock (wash it well!)
1-upcycled-crafts-bicycle-handlebar-bagYou’ll need
a waterbottle and an old sock that fits it,
iron-on reflective tape (I found mine at JoAnne’s on the notions wall, surprisingly bike shops didn’t carry it)
ribbon that can be ironed
the closure of your choice (I ended up using parachute buckles along with velcro)
3-upcycled-recycled-craft-from-water-bottleStart by trimming off the water bottle at the length you want. You’ll want to soften the opening by holding a lighter near it, just enough to melt the very edge of the plastic.
4-upcycled-recycled-diy-craft-water-bottle-socksSlip the sock over the bottle and position it the way you’d like it to end up. The sock hugged the bottom end of the water bottle  well enough that I didn’t need to do anything more to finish that edge. At the opening of the water bottle, allow a few inches to finish off the bag, and trim off the heel.

upcycled-bag-craft-from-a-sockI decided to close the bag with a draw string. Take the sock off the bottle and turn it inside out. I reinforced the edge on my sewing machine, then folded it in to make a channel for the ribbon. TIP: I shaped a pipe cleaner into a circle the size of the water bottle opening, then folded the fabric over the pipe cleaner. I left the pipe cleaner in while I sewed the channel, leaving an opening for the draw string ribbon to come out. Once it was done, I pulled out the pipe cleaner and threaded the ribbon through the channel with a safety pin attached to the end.

5-diy-handmade-fathers-day-giftCut the ribbon and reflective tape long enough to wrap around the bottle, plus allow several inches to wrap around the handle bars and attach to the closure.

6-handmade-reflective-bicycle-handlebar-bagI needed to trim my reflective tape before ironing it on, which I did with my paper cutter. Iron on the tape according to the manufacturer’s directions.
8-handmade-bicycle-handlebar-bag-fathers-day-giftI took my bag outside and tried out the length of the ribbon on the handlebars. I sewed half the parachute buckle on one side, but wanted my other side to be adjustable. I decided to attach the other parachute buckle by sewing velcro to the ribbon. A more elegant solution would have been using a parachute buckle with an adjustment feature, but this worked!
7-upcycled-recycled-diy-craft-socksThe final step is to attach the ribbon to the sock. I did this in just one spot for each ribbon. With the sock on the bottle still, I slid a piece of ribbon under the sock to reinforce the back where I would sew the ribon to the sock. I tacked the ribbon in place on the outside. Then I slid the sock off the bottle, turned it inside out, and finished attaching the ribbon.

handmade-fathers-day-gift-bicycle-bagSlide the sock back on the bottle and you’re set. Dad now has a handy spot carrying keys, maps, a granola bar, or if he’s really lucky, a pocket GPS unit.diy-bicycle-handlebar-bag-reflective

more, banner

I’ve thrown together a new gift guides page, incase you’re like me and like to see as many ideas as possible in one glance.


A little something so your little ones can spend the summer drawing en plein air.0-drawing-outdoorsSome of my best memories growing up involve drawing or painting outdoors. Sitting in the field by our middle school sketching an old barn, painting a mural with high school friends in the home depot parking lot. It’s something I think every kids should get to try. So this morning we put together a portable portfolio from a thrift store book and fabric .


The basic idea is to cut off the front and back book cover, then make a sleeve for them with the fabric.

We started with some hard back books we picked up at Good Will and scrap fabric. Anything works, old sheets, pillowcases, place mats, shirts.

1-fabric-covered-portfolio1I cut just the covers off the books and traced them on the wrong side of the fabric as shown. I left a half-inch space in the middle and a half-inch seam around the edges. Plus I added a 3-inch flap at both ends at the bottom.



First I cleaned up the edges. I made a few extra snips to make the seams work as shown. Then, with the fabric wrong side up, I sewed a seam along both the right and left sides, as shown. Plus the three inches at the bottom of the side flaps.how-to-make-a-fabric-portfolio-2


3-craft-from-thrift-store-sheetsThen I created a sleeve for the book covers. I folded the fabric down, wrong side out, and stiched along the edge.


4-thrift-store-craftsI turned it right side out and stiched down the middle.

how-to-make-a-fabric-portfolio-5I chose where I wanted the handle and ties to come through the book. These will add a little bump which isn’t good for drawing over, so keep them just an inch or two from the edge of the book. I punctured the book with a knife and threaded ribbon through, tying it on the wrong end. Two holes on the side for the handle, one hole in the middle for a loose ribbon to make a tie.

5-handmade-classroom-portfolio6-classroom-fabric-covered-portfolio7-handmade-fabric-student-portfolio8-fabric-portfolio-for-kidsFinally, I put the book covers in the sleeve so the ribbon handles were poking out. Then I tucked in the flaps. You can hand stitch the openings if you like to keep the covers inside.

9-handmade-fabric-portfolio-for-kidsFor a little extra fun, I added a pencil holder from a scrap of felt.

95-handmade-fabric-folder-pencil-holder-for-kids1My daughter was thrilled to try it out. She picked out a nice little spot and got to work on her first piece of art.11-handmade-gifts-to-sew-for-kids