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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


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


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.


DIY Personalized Serving Dishes

glass etching serving dish

glass etching serving dish

The season of backyard barbecues and potluck parties is almost upon us – and that means digging out your serving dishes, filling them with your favourite recipes and toting them along to share.

How can you ensure your dishes find their way back to you? Ashley from Make It and Love It shows how to make a basic glass dish stand out from the crowded buffet table with just stencils and glass etching cream. This is a clever way to add a personalized touch to standard glass bakeware – especially if you intend to give this kitchen must-have for a bridal shower or as a housewarming gift.

Check out the step-by-step tutorial for complete instructions and never use a Post-It note or a piece of tape to label your dish again.


Personalized Flower Wrap

diy flower wrap paper

diy flower wrap paper

Spring bouquets have started popping up in markets, a perfect pick-me-up in the middle of a very cold month. Pass on the pick-me-up to a deserving recipient with a bunch of blooms in a personalized flower wrap, as shown on the blog of letterpress studio Tokketok.

Just cut a square of kraft or decorative paper and freehand a message with acrylic craft paint. If you’re giving flowers as a hostess or birthday gift, you can also personalize the wrap with the recipient’s name. It’s an easy way to elevate a grocery store bouquet.


Missing Sock Bucket

Missing sock bucket by inklore

Missing sock bucket by inklore

What a brilliant idea from Sam, the San Jose block print artist behind Inklore! I wish I thought about it because we constantly run into the lonely sock problem at home.

You could use any container but the Missing Sock Bucket is so pretty that it will bring a smile to your face when you handle that boring task. It would make a unique and desirable housewarming gift.

canvas cafe aprons and napkins by inklore

Other nice Inklore products for your home or to bring as an hostess gift are her natural Checked or Striped Napkins ($28 for 2) and her Canvas Cafe Apron ($45).

+ Missing Sock Bucket $36 USD at Inklore’s shop


Housewarming Gift Ideas for the Cook and the Hostess

gift ideas for cooks hostess :: housewarming gift ideas

Cooking is enjoyed by both men and women. It is not that rare to see couples who enjoy cooking together. For them, it may be more appropriate to use gender neutral kitchen linen. One collection that is elegantly simple is Fog Linen Work available at DWR and other selected retailers across the States and in Canada.

Japanese designer Yumiko Sekine uses raw linen from Lithuania to create, what I feel, are timeless products. One exception is the brown leather pot holder. So if you have friends who just moved in a new house, grap a garcon apron and a cafe aprons or wrap a few place mats with napkins. Sekine says that her Pot Cover keeps her teapot warm for 30 minutes but results may vary with your own teapot.

You can also buy them nice carafes. My favorite ones are the affordable Vaso Carafe and the sleek Black Glass Pitcher with his gorgeous seamless matte finish. The shape of the Vaso carafes could come handy if you do a Mad Scientist Halloween party.

Remember that you get 15% off the regular price at Design Within Reach until October 13th, 2009. I noted below the regular price.

+ Fog Linen Napkin $14 USD
+ Fog Linen Place Mat $16
+ Fog Linen Garcon Apron $70
+ Fog Linen Cafe Apron $55
+ Fog Linen Leather Pot Holder $24
+ Fog Linen Pot Cover $46
+ Vaso Carafe med $25 large $38


Gift Ideas for Gardeners from Jason Neufeld

bombus shelters by jason neufeld

I told you before about Fairmont Hotels initiatives to bring back bees in our cities to spread pollination. We can also do our part. And to do that in style, Jason Neufeld produced an outstanding collection of ceramic shelters to to attract bumblebees called Bombus Shelter. The nest of bumblebees are in ground. They often use tunnels built by other animals. Each Bombus Shelter artificially and artistically recreates an environment for a bee hive.

Housewarming Gift Idea for Apartment/Condo Dwellers

urban gardening kit by jason neufeld

If you are looking for a cute housewarming git ideas, here is something handy to carry to a friend’s home. Plus, you can bring the desired canvas bags inside when you are cooking. On drawback visible from the pictures is that you must accept that it will not stay perfectly clean. Therefore, it is not for everyone. In fact, it may be better suited for growing your plants inside.

Like I said for his Honeycomb Toast and Tea Set, contact the designer Jason Neufeld by email to order them since they are no other information on his Web site. There no price information either.

+ Jason Neufeld


Cool Dutch Design Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

The Netherlands are a country where talented and creative designers flourish in a good number. Sadly, most of their design products do not cross the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, most of the Dutch products are exported when a dedicated retailer wishes to carry them and import the goods directly from The Netherlands. This is the case of the UK retailer Dutch by Design. And it is good to know that Dutch by Design will ship their orders internationally.

I was looking for cool and unique design products for Father’s Day when I thought of revisiting Dutch by Design online store. I like what I see. They have affordable stuff that will impress and please your dad. My favorite gift ideas are:

+ Back in Time Radio/Alarm Clock $40 USD
+ Cheese Board $16.50 USD
+ Sandwich Bread Board $16.50 USD

More Gift Ideas for Everyone and All occasions

fun tree watercan :: love birds salt and pepper set at dutch by design

+ Tree Watercan $20 USD
+ Love Birds Salt & Pepper Set $21 USD


3 Iterations for an Housewarming Party Theme

housewarming party theme #1The migration of the birds inspires me to create an autumnal housewarming party theme. As I assembled my montages, I could not decide which one I like the best.

I composed three mood boards for the tabletop. They all reuse the same main components. I want to know which one you prefer? Before you post your vote, let me tell you about the components.

Main Components

My starting point were the two PopMat Paper Placemats by Publique Living. The Natural Kraft seems a better choice for a 100% recycled paper. It feels warmer than white. My idea is to alternate the Mailbox pattern and the Birdcage pattern as you set up your dining table.

The pop up graphics designed by Lian Ng double as a name card but I prefer it without any writing. I read on Hostess with the Mostess that Publique Living launched three new patterns in time for the Holidays: Reindeer, Fireplace and Banquet.

housewarming party theme #2

Serving tab water is more eco-friendly. Now you can get the look at the plastic water bottle in glass. Italian design house Seletti brings you these glass water bottles in 4 different designs.

Housewarming Gift Ideas

The Lovebirds Pillow by Ferm Living, the Nest Lumen by Adam Frank and the Areaware Bird Box designed by Fredrikson Stallard would make two luxurious gifts. Lumen is an oil lamp that can project a large shadow on the wall. The symbolic act of giving a bird house to someone who move into a new nest is cute.

If you are looking for a gift under $30, go for Rae Dunn’s Ceramic Birdhouses. It comes in 3 shapes, each with their own words. The models are names Home, Chirp, or Nest.


housewarming party theme #3

I selected Mud Australia for in #1 and #3. Simply used a different pictures. I like the modern shape of the Mud Australia collection. And I adore the fact that they come in a dozen colors. I could color coordinate it with the and Jason Miller’s Seconds Dinner Plate Set.

I wished a splash of color so I used the adorable Royal Copenhagen Mega Pattern. The Blue Fluted MEGA‘s hand painted drawings are enlargements of a timeless design originally created in 1775. The royal blue nicely opposes the kraft paper placemat.

Finally, the Gold Tree Branch Place Card Holders finish the tablescape. If the color of your table do not match well with the theme, place a table cloth beneath the pop up placemats.

Cast your vote? Which board do you prefer between the three?

+ Publique Living PopMat Paper Placemat at Velocity – price: $24 USD
+ Glass Bottle Collection at Lekker– price: $24 USD
+ Lovebirds Pillow by Ferm Living at Lekker – price: $110 USD
+ Areaware Bird Box at Velocity – price: $145 USD
+ Nest Lumen by Adam Frank – price: $48 USD
+ Mud Australia collection at Unica – price: $14-$161 USD
+ Jason Miller Seconds Dinner Plate Set – price: $132 USD, set of 4
+ Ceramic Birdhouses by Rae Dunn at Pure Modern – price: $29 USD/each
+ Gold Tree Branch Place Card Holders at Weddings Things – price: $30 USD for 6


Hang your artworks right the first time with Hang & Level

hang & level

The booming of the renovation sector brought us many innovations at the hardware store. New tools have emerged to simplify our life. Here is one of these innovations for hanging stuff on your wall.

If ever try to group a set of pictures you know how it feels cumbersome to get all the holes at the right place. Sharing your frustrations, a Calgary-based decorating expert Liette Tousignant developed a tool that removes the fuss from this task. I just saw the TV ad and it seems pretty handy.

Hang & Level is a tool that precisely marks the hole. No more computations or guess work, you get it right the first time. They produce a few decorating articles with useful hanging tips.

Great stocking stuffer, this tool will be most appropriated by a friend who just moved to a new home. It is available across Canada at Canadian Tire, The Home Depot, Home Hardware and more stores. Americans can find Hang & Level at Linens N Things.

Videos: TV ads of Hang & Level
Buy: Store locator of retailers selling Hang & Level – price: $19.99