A handmade gift for the tea-lovers in your life

tea pouch- perfect gift for tea-lovers! When I work out at the Y with my friends, oftentimes we like to grab a cup of complimentary hot water at the snack counter and enjoy a nice cup of tea together and chat a bit before we pick up our kids from the child watch center. (I wish I could recommend the complimentary coffee, but-- not so much.)

(Once, a couple of weeks ago, we got in trouble in our group strength training class for talking too much. I'm serious. I felt like I was in high school again, where talking in class and passing notes were favorite pastimes. Oops... that was probably a sign that we hadn't made time for a post-workout tea-and-chatting session lately.)

We try to bring our own tea bags for our little tea time because they only have plain ol' Lipton next the water-- this is our favorite.

My friend Naomi is known for keeping a plastic baggie in her backpack with a few tea bags just for moments like these (and she always shares!). So when her birthday rolled around, I knew the perfect little handmade gift to make her!

I put on a movie for the kiddos and headed up to my room to whip this baby up before heading out for a little girl's night to celebrate Naomi's birthday. Getting the creative juices going always does good things for me, and I love making little things for my friends.

tea pouch 2

I've made oodles of zipper pouches over the years, and I always use Cindy at Skip to My Lou's method (she even gave me permission to sell them when we were fundraising for our adoption!).

For this pouch, I found a zipper in my stash (7.5" long) that would fit a few tea bags and cut my fabric out-- 2 pieces in each print that measure 7.5" by 4.5" each. Then I just followed the easy directions.

I embroidered the word "tea" on a piece of felt and just sewed it to one of the front pieces (flower print) before I sewed up the pouch. So simple and cute!

sewing setup in  a small space

(Side note: this is my small-space-sewing-setup for small projects (plus my desk/sewing machine, which is in my closet). Right in my bedroom at the foot of the bed sits this trunk which holds about half of my fabric collection. I use it for all my cutting and ironing when I'm working on a project-- I do have an ironing board but I only use it for bigger projects. You can see these supplies over on my favorite sewing resources page.)

It had been quite a while since I had done some sewing, so this was the perfect little project to get me back into it... hmmm, it seems to be serving the same purpose here on my blog, too (nice to be back here again!).

Anyway, this is a super easy project, even if you don't have a lot of sewing skills (and if you're itching to learn, I have a book for that!), and it's a great one to file away as a gift idea for any tea lovers you might know.

tea pouch

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3 Little Things {6.13.14}

3 little things June 13 Happy Friday, everyone! 

I'm looking forward to a weekend filled with family, friends, and good food, among other things. For Father's Day, David wants to come home from church and watch the U.S. Open (golf) all day from the comfort of the couch, and then after that we're hitting up a new burger place with my parents. Sounds good to me!

But first... I'm popping in to share a few things making me happy this week, and linking up with Amy from MomAdvice. {Bonus happiness: swimming with Papa (my dad)!}

3 Little Things... making me happy

1. My kindle. I'm not sure I've gotten a gift that I've used so consistently, well, ever. My parents bought me mine for my birthday, and I think I've probably used it almost every day since then.

reading on the kindle

It's basically the most convenient way ever to keep up with reading. I try to keep it with me everywhere I go, so I always have it if I have a few minutes to spare. It's much slimmer than carrying around a stack of books after all. I'll share with you what I've been reading on it soon, or you can catch up with me on GoodReads. I still love real books (especially for nonfiction) but I've become something I never expected-- a total e-reader junkie. ;)

2. Embroidery. It had been a year since my last embroidery project, I realized, as some dear friends of ours celebrated their first wedding anniversary this week. How did that happen? Embroidery is such a relaxing creative endeavor, so I'm not sure why I don't do it more. This past week, I worked on a project for a dear friend (and reader!)'s birthday, and I just love how it turned out.

the impeded stream is the one that sings

Recently, I spied an excerpt of a poem up on her fridge, and I just couldn't get it out of my mind. I'm anxious to read some Wendell Berry now. Anyways, I took a line from the poem and created a piece of hoop art for her. I really love how it turned out.

3. Church beach nights. Every summer, our church meets at the beach every week for a fellowship night of food, hanging out, surfing/swimming, bonfire, etc. It's one of our family's favorite parts of the week, and one of our favorite things about our church.

katherine going surfing

For those of you who prayed for my pastor's 14-year old daughter in the past (the one who was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor last month), last week was a big milestone for her. After one of her (five!) brothers got baptized, Katherine paddled out to catch her first waves since her surgery and recovery. As she put on her rash guard and grabbed a foam board a cheer went up from the friends and family on the beach. She paddled out with her dad, a friend, and a couple of brothers while several of us watched from the beach. Dolphins were jumping in the waves (in celebration no doubt), and the sun peeked through the fog to reveal rosy sunset. It was the kind of thing to bring joyful tears to your eyes.

I'm taking a break from the Surf Report (link roundup)-- because I'm finding myself of needing to consume less, so I can effectively create more. Do you ever feel like that? It's hard. I love reading blogs and articles, but I just need to scale back a bit so I can try to get a little more consistent in my creative output.

What's making you happy this week?

From old tablecloth to BBQ cover {a repurposing tutorial}

David and I both grew up camping and have been camping all throughout our marriage. Our classic red-gingham check tablecloth has been with us these last ten years and has seen scores of campgrounds. tablecloth in 2004

Here we are, so young and sun-kissed, camping at the beach with some dear friends of ours (miss you guys!), playing one of our favorite games (we love this vintage version), on our traditional tablecloth.

This year, we decided it was maybe time to give the ol' table covering a new life. It's covered many a table and despite its durability, it's starting to look a little worn. I knew it wasn't destined for the trash can though. I had other plans in mind...

old tablecloth :: new BBQ cover

David loves his grill. It's compact enough for our little patio and for taking on camping trips, but it serves us well and grills our food nicely. Our patio is partially covered but the grill has still has to endure some weathering and it was longing for a cover. So why buy when you can repurpose?

Here's how I repurposed a table cloth into a BBQ cover.

BBQ Cover-1

First, I draped the tablecloth over the BBQ inside out. Instead of using pins which would have poked big holes in the plastic, I used clothespins to roughly fit the tablecloth to the grill, being careful that the opening would be big enough to go over the biggest part. This was no exact science.

BBQ Cover-3

I flattened out out the top into a triangle to make a boxed seam (like in the bottom of a tote bag- you can see details on how to make the squared bottom of a bag here). I pinned this with clothespins, too. I'll show you that corner again later.

BBQ Cover-4

Next, I sewed the side seams, using a slightly longer stitch than normal (size 3.0 on my machine).

BBQ Cover-5

I took my roughly-pinned box corners and made them nice and flat and drew a line with ball point pen from pin to pin. I sewed from pin to pin along the marked line to make a nice square corner. You can see a close up of this seam up above in this post.

BBQ Cover-8

(Thanks to my adorable assistant.)

BBQ Cover-6

And I'm so pleased with the finished product!

BBQ Cover-7

 

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2013: Recapping my creative goals and favorite posts

This has been a big year for me in blogging. I closed the doors of Simple Homemade, began contributing for Simple Mom, which became The Art of Simple, dove back in deeper here at Gidget Goes Home and successfully completed my second 31 days series. It was also a year that brought me back to my real love of this thing called blogging, and found me experiencing the community of the blogosphere in ways I had only gotten a taste of in years past.

creative goals revisted

Here's a look back at the goals I set for myself in the realm of creativity for this past year.

1. Get organized.

I definitely made progress here. I got everything unpacked and for the most part found a place for everything. I've got sewing stuff in my bedroom and other crafty supplies downstairs in my closet office. But it's not exactly a pretty system. I could still use some work on this goal in 2014.

2. Stay consistent.

I did a little better on this one. Writing for Simple Mom/The Art of Simple helped a lot with this because I work well on deadlines. My sewing machine is currently on the fritz so I need to get that fixed soon so I can have it ready for working on projects. I never really did get into a groove with working on something simple (like embroidery) in the evenings.

3. Hone new skills.

Sadly, I never did learn how to use the serger before I had to return it, but someday I'll climb that mountain. I did learn how to use my Cricut Mini and what a fun tool that is! I want to get it out more this next year and use up some of that scrapbooking paper that I'm not using anymore for some pretty things.

Specific project goals:

IMG_8847

Leggings for Gigi-- yay, I did this! I finally got around to buying some knit fabric from Girl Charlee and made her these adorable rainbow leggings for Christmas. She loved them! The fabric is a little lighter weight than is ideal for active little girl legs but now that I know  I can do it-- sewing on stretchy fabric is intimidating!-- I'm going to make her a couple more pairs with my GoToLeggings pattern.

The infamous mending pile-- This is a tricky one. Because while yes, I did work on this, I'm also always adding to it. ;) But I do still want to get better about fixing things quickly, like, ahem, before they are outgrown for example.

Sewing School, the ebook-- It's getting closer! I'm vowing to get serious about this because I am close to finishing it.

It wasn't my most productive year, creatively speaking, but I'll give myself a bit of grace since a lot of my time goes to raising and educating kids and blogging. I am content with how I did on these goals though. My intentions weren't to simply check off a few things on a list, but to progress forward in my creative life, and I did do that.

Popular posts of 2013

These were the posts that you guys viewed the most. If you are new to Gidget Goes Home or haven't read or pinned them, they might be a good place to start!

1. DIY diaper sprayer {an oldie but always my most popular of the year}

2. My favorite handmade gifts to date

3.  Announcing the Motherhood & Jane Austen Book Club

4. Welcome to 31 Days of Intentional Community

5. My homeschool planner (with printables)

6. Handmade memory game

7. Homemade springtime strawberry fro-yo

8. My adoption page

What's in store for 2014?

I'm getting excited to take some time in next week to set some goals and refine my blog categories and then hopefully publish more posts in the next year.

I will occasionally post an update on the book club, along with more book reviews, recipes, crafty goodness, photos and general thoughts on life. I'm SO thankful for each of you who reads along with what's going on in my life and in my heart, and also for the passion God has given me for connecting with fellow women by way of the blogosphere.

What I'd really like to know is what you'd like to read more of here on Gidget Goes Home. Whether you are a veteran reader as I go into my 5th year of blogging (!!) or brand new around to my blog, I'd love it if you left a comment telling me what you look forward to reading here in the new year.

And don't forget! Pinterest to Real Life, my monthly feature where we share what we we've made and done from the pins that have inspired us is coming back in 2014 here at Gidget Goes Home. So if you're a blogger, get those posts ready for the first week of January to link up, showcasing what you've done. If you're not a blogger, you can totally tell us in the comments what you've been up to, too.

Did you set creative goals for the year? How did you progress on your skills and what you wanted to accomplish? What do you want to read about more on GGH in 2014?

Affiliate links included.

Make a lovely watercolor bunting

watercolor bunting | gidgetgoeshome.com Yesterday Gigi decided she was going to make a Christmas bunting. She started haphazardly cutting out triangles from scrap paper but then after a few, discarded it in favor of some other activity. Eventually the scraps were forgotten and she recycled them.

watercolor bunting-1

Well, I loved her idea. I'm almost as big of a fan of buntings and garlands as my friend Melissa.

After a particularly rough homeschool day, I thought the afternoon would be a good time for some directed art. I set up watercolor supplies on the kids' table outside and when quiet play time was over, I asked her if she wanted to make a bunting together.

watercolor bunting-3

watercolor bunting-4

Gigi painted a red and a green page, which I then cut into triangles and punched (she didn't have the patience or interest in that step, and let's be honest, the perfectionist in me was glad because then I got to make nicely shaped pennants!).

watercolor bunting-5

watercolor bunting-6

Hallee was my personal assistant.

watercolor bunting-7

watercolor bunting-8

Then Gigi got to use my sharpies (such a thrill for her!) to write out the letters to spell Merry Christmas. She did this part all by herself, and then I strung the triangles on baking twine. It's the perfect decoration for our staircase, hung with a bit of washi tape.

watercolor bunting-9

I'm not always the most excited about kids' crafts, so this was a perfect compromise. We each got to use our respective skills, we worked together, and we created a little masterpiece. And, no tantrums involved... double success!

watercolor bunting-10

My favorite handmade gifts to date

This week I got to take part in the Simplify Your Christmas Facebook party on the Art of Simple's page-- it was so fun! I was there to chime in about handmade gifts and I wanted to recap all the links I shared along with some of my favorite homemade gifts I've made. DSC_0015

Ice Cream-- yep! One year I created a creamy frozen treat in a flavor that was sure to please for several of my family members. It was so fun, and I think they enjoyed the fruits of my labor. I usually gift my ice cream in these simple cardboard containers.

memory game

Handmade Memory Game

Christmas Gifts

Tree Pillow

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Hoop art

I shared these and more at Simple Homemade last year, where I also gave some cute ideas for buying handmade when making isn't possible (we only have so many hours in the day after all!).

And here's a sampling of what I made one given year (for kids, dudes, families, couples, and ladies), my 2009 handmade gifts, which includes the awesome play kitchen David made, and the beautiful tree pillow tutorial.

15+ handmade gift ideas

More ideas!

For kids:

For ladies:

For kids to make:

Giving gift cards? How about a handmade touch along with it in the form of a cute case. They can double later as a business card holder!

And for more ideas, here are a couple of my Pinterest boards: 

Homemade Gift Ideas

Christmas

What's your favorite gift you've ever made? Who was it for?

Autumn leaf twig tree tutorial at The Art of Simple

fabric leaves-6 Have you heard the news? Simple Mom is now The Art of Simple. I love the new vision for Tsh's site and I'm happy that I'll be continuing to write over there. Here's the video she published to promote the re-branding. See anyone you recognize? (Hint: Tsh doesn't live by the beach, but I do!)

Today I have a post up with a fall-ish tutorial for even the most inexperienced sewista.

Head over to The Art of Simple for the autumn leaf twig tree tutorial