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bag

ORGANIZING

Tea Towel Tote Bag Tutorial

DIY tea towel tote bag

DIY tea towel tote bag
photos: tote bags made with the tea towels from The Curiosity Shoppe at Target collection

It is a fast and easy sewing project that you can do for yourself or make a provision for your hostess or housewarming gift stash. You can use a brand new tea towel or go with a vintage tea towel that you like. The Curiosity Shoppe owners Lauren Smith & Derek Fagerstrom created this craft using the tea towels from their Shops at Target collection. Their repetitive pattern works well as a tote bag.

How to Make your own Tea Towel Tote Bag

Materials:

  • 1 tea towel
  • 1.5 yards of 1” cotton webbing
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine

Instructions:

tea towel tote bag tutorial

  1. Fold tea towel in half, right sides together
  2. Using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch up the sides of the towel, back-stitching at the beginning and end of each seam. Turn bag right side out.
  3. Cut the webbing in half to make the 2 straps.
  4. Pin the ends of each strap 1” down from the top of the bag and 3” in from sides, making sure they’re not twisted.
  5. Attach the ends of each strap by stitching a square around the edges of the 1” tail of webbing, removing the pins as you go.

You are done! I fold my textile tote bag and carry it in my handbag. I bought mine on Etsy. I might start to make my own tote bag.

LIVING TRAVEL

Kim Loves: Reisenthel’s Travel Bags

reisenthel travel bags

reisenthel travel bags

I have a love affair with some brands and Reisenthel is one of these brands for me. It has been a while since I visited their Web site. I am glad to see new products. I couldn’t stop discovering their travelling bag collection. I like the fact that it is cheerful. Plus, you will not have any problems to recognize your bags from the crowd. Some fabrics are special edition like the beach edition, marigold olive (my personal favourite) and safari.

travel cosmetic

The bags are also well-thought. You will have no problems finding one that fits your needs. Many models of their comprehensive range of cosmetic bags are available in several sizes. You can find one that would be big enough for your annual vacation, another one for weekend getaways and a small one for when you go to the gym.

slimcase and toilet bag

Versatility is another key feature of the line. Slimcase S would be perfect to carry your jewelry while kids crayons, hair accessories or small office supply would fit into the Multicase.

Now, we only have to wait that for Reisenthel’s Travelling to be available in Canada or the United States.

SOURCING:
+ Allrounder L by Reisenthel from 34,90 € to 45 €
+ Toiletcosmetic by Resisenthel from 13,90 € to 24,90 €
+ Toiletbag by Reisenthel 16,90 €
+ Slimcase S  by Reisenthel 9,90 €
+ Multicase by Reisenthel 9,95 €

DESIGN and style LIVING

Best of Conversations in Design (Part 2): Michele Caniato Talked about Opportunities for Innovative Designers

Michele Caniato

Michele Caniato

After listening to Michele Caniato at Conversations in Design, I see him as some kind of agent for designers and inventors. Many designers have a hard time to sell themselves. Other do not take the time or have the connections to make deals with retail brands. He saw a niche in the market when he founded Culture & Commerce, a strategic design consultancy that develops high potential design opportunities for global brands and international designers.

Brands and retailers would gain from challenging designers to come up with new concepts for products and packaging. What he looks for are people with vision. Then, he looks for the right fit. As he said at his Conversations in Design talk, vision, not spreadsheets, leads company forward.

Behind the Scene of the PUMA’S Clever Little Bag

puma clever little bag

To prove his points, Caniato chronicled the development of the Clever Little Bag by PUMA. The collaboration between a designer and PUMA led to important savings both in production and distribution costs. The solution enabled PUMA to run a more sustainable business while delivering form and function.

When Yves Béhar, of San Francisco based fuseproject, got the job to create a game changing packaging system that will reduce the shoe box footprint, insiders told him that they couldn’t change the shoe box. For 21 months, Yves Béhar with his team studied and deconstructed the shoe box. The solution came when they got rid of the box all together. Instead, the Clever Little Bag acts as a minimalist shoe box until the cashier grabs the handle to turn it into your shopping bag. All that was done with a reusable shopping bag that carries a strong brand identity.

Watch this video to know more about the birth of the Clever Little Bag by PUMA and Yves Béhar.

Mushroom Packaging

Caniato’s quest towards innovation carries to materials and techniques. He founded Material ConneXion which operates materials libraries across the globe. His materials libraries is the leading resource for innovative and sustainable materials and processes. He presented a cool material called EcoCradle made by Evocative Design.

ecocradle

This revolutionary material is the brain child of by two Rensselaer Graduates, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre who became fascinated by how mushrooms grow on wood chips. A few years later, the launch a mushroom packaging material aimed to replace plastic foam packaging. They now have a partnership with 3M.

Thinking Outside the Box

The lesson I took home from Michele Caniato’s talk was that if you are willing to look at things differently there are a world of opportunities that could open to you. He mentioned that  But whatever you do, you must always be true and be fair to ourselves.

By the way, you do not have to be a renowned designer to be represented by his firm. What you need are remarkable design ideas that solve real problems, to have a story and to be passionate about it.

SOURCING:
Culture & Commerce
PUMA’s Clever Little Bag by Yves Béhar of fuseproject
EcoCradle by Evocative Design
+ Conversations in Design – IDS Toronto 2012

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING

Healthier Eating in the Bag

produce bags by Credobags

produce bags by Credobags

Do your new year’s resolutions included eating healthier? If you’re stocking up on fruit and veggies, you’ll also want to stock up on Credobags produce bags.

Made of organic cotton mesh, Credobags are a practical alternative to often unnecessary plastic produce bags. Plus they help to prolong the life of produce in the drawer of the fridge – which helps reduce food waste and save money. Plus, they’re compact enough to tote along to the farmer’s market and the grocery store.

In addition to mesh produce bags, the Credobags line includes stylish options for storing bulk food items, shopping and catch-all tote bags in reusable, environmentally-responsible fabrics like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. So you can cross “be more eco-conscious” off your list of resolutions.

Check out the complete Credobags line at www.credobags.com. They also have gift sets.

SOURCING:
+ Store locator for Credobags

GIFT IDEAS HOSTESS gifts

Cute Shoe Bags by Jak’s

jak's shoe bags

jak's shoe bags

During the winter months, every woman needs a cute bag to carry her shoes when she visits a friend or goes to a party. The adorable shoe bags are the creation of Jak’s, a handbag brand founded by two sisters from Quebec City.  They come in several colors and three images to fit your style.

A shoe bag would make a thoughtful gift  if you look for something different to bring to the hostess. She could use it when you reciprocate her invitation.

SOURCING:
+ Jak’s Shoe Bags $20-$25 CAD (I think)
+ Where to buy the Jak’s collection

LIVING TRAVEL

New Amy Butler’s Solstice Travel Bag Collection

solstice traveler bag collection by amy butler

solstice traveler bag collection by amy butler

Amy Butler launched Solstice, her third collection of fashion handbags and luggage from Kalencom. The Solstice collection is available in a softer palette. Amy took her inspirations from the graceful silver engravings on decorative doors and archways, elaborate stone carvings, fanciful scrollwork and drops of rain on lotus ponds that she saw while visiting India and Bali.

solstice collection :: honeysuckle tote by amy butler

I featured the Take Flight traveler bag (top left) and the Honeysuckle tote (bottom left). They could be just what you need to travel in style this Holiday season.

SOURCING:
+  Solstice Travel Bags and Handbags by Amy Butler for Kalencom.

DESIGN and style LIVING

Amy Butler’s Style Stitches

amy butler's style stitches :: sewing book for handbags, purses and bags

amy butler's style stitches :: sewing book for handbags, purses and bags

Fans of Amy Butler will be happy to know that she published a new sewing book. Style Stitches proposes 12 easy ways to make 26 wonderful bags. The book explains to you how to customize and tweak each bag to let your own style shine. There’s a wide range of great projects, from chic clutches, coin purses and wristlets to modern hobo bags and cool reversible totes.

amy butler's style stitches details

As you can see the projects covered on her book are diversified. If you are a sewer or have a girl friend who enjoy sewing, this would be a great addition to your book collection. As a bonus when you buy the book on Amy Butler’s web site, you get a signed copy by Amy. Otherwise, the book is available at a book store near you and on Amazon.

SOURCING:
+ Amy Butler’s Style Stitches $29.95 USD with a signed copy
+ Amy Butler’s Style Stitches $19.95 at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING

Avril Loreti’s Mixer Totes and Cocktail Napkins | Etsy Finds

i heart mixers tote by avril loreti

i heart mixers tote by avril loreti

I featured today Avril Loreti, who is living in  Toronto, for my Etsy Finds column. She designed modern home decor and accessories with a playful “wink”. Avril makes cute kitchen theme shopping totes. It probably cut my eyes because it depicts the Empire red Kitchenaid mixer that is on my wish list. She printed her I heart Mixers illustration on a Bull Denim Woven Cotton Tote from American Apparel. If you do not like the red, you can specify which of the 7 other colors you want for the mixer.

cocktail napkins by avril loreti

Avril also makes white fabric napkins. It could be fun to play name the designer or the chair at cocktail parties. Or you can go with her Many Mixers Cocktail napkins.

SOURCING:
+ I heart Mixers Tote – Red by Avril Loreti $29 USD on etsy
+ Designer Chairs Cocktail Napkins by Avril Loreti $52 for a set of 8
+ Many Mixers Cocktail Napkins $26 for 4, $52 for 8 at goodEGG Industries
+ Avril Loreti

FAMILY KIDS products

The Motherchildbag by Reisenthel

motherchilbag in 4 colors by reisenthel

motherchilbag by reisenthel

This reusable shopping bag is designed for a parent. It also aim at improving the safety and the bound between kids and parents. You see the little handle on the front. The idea is that your small kid will hold onto the bag. You tell your kid that you need their help to hold the bag to encourage them to hold the handle.

motherchilbag in 4 colors by reisenthel

Even when you are alone, you will appreciate the fact that it comes with a pair of short handles and two long handles for your comfort. The tear -proof polyester bag has an interior zipped pocket to safely store your odds and ends. There is also a mobile pocket. The bag is available in 4 colors.

For a limited time (57 days remaining), Reisenthel will donate 1 Euro on every purchase of his Motherchildbag for the Promotion of Selected Children’s Day Care Facilities in Germany.

SOURCING:
+ Motherchildbag by Reisenthel 19,90 €
+ photos: Reisenthel – see dealer locator to find a local shops

LIVING TRAVEL

Why Osprey Meridian 22 is the Ideal Travel Pack?

osprey meridian 22 inch / 60L convertible pack on wheels

osprey meridian 22 inch / 60L convertible pack on wheels

For our trip to Japan, my husband and I decided that the best option would be to each have our own a convertible, wheeled carry-on luggage. We always travel with a small suitcase on wheels. Many people suggested that a backpack may be useful for some part of our trip. Obviously, I am not the backpack type. Since comfort is essential for us, we gave in to their suggestion and started looking for the ultimate luggage solution. We found the best of both worlds with the Osprey Meridian 22.

Background about traveling in Japan

Trains are the most effective way to travel within Japan. Since we plan to visit many destinations, we carefully looked at the train capacity. We learned that the overhead on the Japanese train system, even on their Green cars (the first-class), are smaller than the overhead bins on US airplanes. Plus, if your hotel is not on a JR line (ours were), you have to know that the subway stations in Tokyo and other cities are way deeper on the ground than the train (JR line). And many subway stations only have regular stairs; which means no elevator, no escalator to go up to 5 floors of stairs.

In general, the hotel rooms over Japan are much smaller than what we are used to in North America. It compares to small hotel rooms that are frequent in France. Therefore, the smaller your luggage, the better you will feel during your trip.

Why we Selected the Osprey Meridian

The luggage is lightweight (8 pounds, 11 oz.). The handle are comfy and the big rugged wheels ride well on lots of surface. The pack is in fact two bags: the main suitcase on wheels and a removable day pack.

I found that it is easy to pack your stuff into the different sections. You can fit a good amount of clothes. I was able to fit enough clothes for my 3-week vacation; I only had to hand wash a few items during my trip. The construction is robust. We packed it to the fullest in the middle of our trip and we did not feel that it would break. Plus, Osprey provides a no-hassle, lifetime guarantee.

The removable day pack has a padded section where you can secure a 15″ laptop, that I plan to use on shorter trip. For Japan, I filled my day pack with my shoes, beauty products, makeup and a space saver bag dedicated to my laundry. My husband used his day pack during the day to carry our camera equipment, sweaters or light coats.

If you remove the day pack, the main luggage may comply with some US airlines carry-on luggage size limits. As far as I know, it slightly exceeds the maximum specifications of Air Canada or Porter Airlines. While shopping for new luggage, I found out that most small suitcases do not comply with carry-on luggage size limits. We bought one that comply to bring back souvenirs and I can tell you that most people bring a bigger one. So maybe we can get away with bringing it on the plane.

How did it work in Japan

Because of our wise choice of hotels, we never had to use the backpack feature. The complete bag fits inside the overhead rail on a few local trains but not on all trains. We usually left the day pack on and put our suitcase behind the last seat rows on most of the trains, as it was simpler for us. Since green cars are not full and we often went to cities not typical for foreigner tourists, we always get a place to put our luggage.

A nice feature of the Osprey travel wheels collection is the accessory pocket where you put the liquid bag you need to pass through the airport security. This way, you have an easy access to it. Make sure to insert the liquid bag inside the accessory pocket before you fill up the inside of your pack to the maximum capacity.

I like the Osprey Meridian so much that it has become my number one luggage. I plan to use it instead of my green Delsey Carry-On Expandable Trolley.

SOURCING:
Osprey Meridian 22 Inch/60L Pack $298.95 USD at Amazon.com
+ Product details on Osprey Web site