25 January 2021

A Painted Pouch

Hey guys! Did you watch The Biden-Harris Inauguration? There were a lot of fashion statements (like the color purple being so popular -- a combination of red and blue, a hint at hopeful unity between the Republicans and Democrats) but this one really stood out:

Bernie Sanders, mittens, Jen Ellis, handmade, wool mittens, recycled wool mittens, Jonathan Ernst, of Reuters, The Washington Post, Biden-Harris Inauguration
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst/Reuters via The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders' warm and cozy mittens! They're handmade using wool from old sweaters. I think that's top-notch blah to TADA! right there! They were a gift from Jen Ellis, a second-grade teacher from Senator Sanders' state of Vermont. There's a sweet article about her on NPR and I love what she said:
"I think that's lovely. I mean, I'm not very star-struck by fashion. I mean, I'm just sort of a normal-looking person. And I think that it's really great that Bernie wore something that is accessible to normal people. People can't afford those lovely outfits that everybody else wore, although they were nice to look at. It was nice to have a little piece of reality, you know, and of normal people in such a prominent event."- Jen Ellis               

Truth! Hooray for teachers, hooray for handmade, and hooray for regular people! Anyway, today, we're not making mittens but we are giving new life to this fabric pouch:

This pouch was a freebie. It's made of fabric and how festive is this colorful hand-painted design?! 

It has branding in the middle that I want to cover up.

I lined the inside of the pouch with paper and also protected my work surface with even more paper.

Armed with metallic gold paint and a brush...

I painted over the branding, about three to four coats. 

Then I put it aside to dry for a few hours.

Now, it's a blank space that's ready for a label...TADA! Let me give you some ideas: add your name to personalize it, or for more utilitarian purposes, "make-up", "tech" or "stuff".

It's all about things that bring you joy.

Mine simply says, "snacks".

I used a permanent marker and plain lettering.

I added a zipper pull made from a piece of cord and wooden beads just for extra flourish.

And I filled it with my favorite nibbles like granola bars, cookies, candy and mints. It's a grown-up's lunch box...TADA!

If you need more inspiration for crafting with pouches, check out my posts here, here, here, here and here.

Thank you for stopping by!

18 January 2021

Book Club

Are you a part of a book club? It's usually a small group organized by a neighborhood library or bookstore and members meet regularly (ex. once a month).  Of course due to COVID-19 restrictions, most book clubs have turned virtual.

A book is chosen beforehand and members are given a few weeks to read it. During the meeting, the host/moderator asks some guide questions to initiate the discussion. 

There's usually some light snacks like coffee and pastries, or wine and cheese.    
I think it's a good excuse to throw a small gathering and talk about books! But I wouldn't be surprised if the conversation moved to topics not related at all to the book.

If I were to host a book club, I would give out party favors at the end of the evening. Here's what I would put inside:

What book lover wouldn't appreciate a bookmark? These are made using brush lettering on cardboard.

I found this pencil at the New York Public Library gift shop. There's inspiration on the pencil itself and it's very useful for making notes.

A set of book plates. These are letterpress cards from Etsy but you can make your own with sticker paper or card stock and double-sided tape.

Write your name at the bottom of the book plate and attach this on the first page of your favorite book.

I'll also provide snacks while reading: tea and cookies!

I'll wrap everything up in a goodie bag ready to be distributed to my friends at book club...TADA!

One day, when we can all gather again, I hope to be able to do this. If you belong to a book club, what other fun things do you like to do?

11 January 2021

Do-It-Yourself Fragrance Diffuser

Fresh flowers at home are one of life's pleasures!

But the reality is I can't have them all the time. When I saw these arrangements at a shop, I thought, "These are a good alternative."

They are made from dried buds and stems, and the flowers are made from wood...TADA!

Here is another version made with diffuser sticks. Fragrance oils can be added inside the bottle. The flowers absorb the oil and give off sweet scents to a room...TADA!  

I was so inspired by these, I've decided to make my own.

Let's start with an empty bottle. 

I found these dry stalks at the park.

I took some home and put them in my bottle.

I just love the curly ends!

diffuser reed sticks, Pier One Imports
I got these diffuser reeds from a closeout sale. You can find them at the candle section of a home store.

I included some diffuser reeds to my arrangement, too.

On another trip to the park, I found these.

Let's put some of that in the vase.

I'm really digging the monotone shade and the simplicity of the arrangement! 

Uplift Sweet Orange essential oil, essential oil
Now it's time to add some fragrance. I combined essential oil and a carrier oil using this recipe as my guide.

Here is my scent-sational arrangement...TADA!

My spending was very minimal because most of the materials were recycled, found or stuff that I already had on hand. And I think that deserves another TADA!

04 January 2021


It's a New Year and while it's exciting to jump into new adventures, there's something comforting about going back to routines and rituals especially after all the rush of the holidays.

Routines provide order and rituals promise calm. Can I share with you a few of my favorite rituals?

Number 1: Starting a Bullet Journal Every Year 
This is my calendar, To Do List, litany of reminders, and gratitude journal all rolled into one. It's an analog method that works for me. I use a blank notebook that I customize with rubber stamps and pens, and all my notes are handwritten. I refer to it often and it helps me feel I am in control even if surprises pop-up during the course of the day. If you're curious, I've written about the bullet journal here, here and here.

Number 2: Going to Church 
I was raised Catholic and I'm pretty attuned to my faith. It has helped me weather difficult times and challenges. Going to church is like a date with God, helping me strengthen my relationship with Him. I go at the start of each year, weekly, and even when I'm traveling, I make sure to stop by a church to give thanks. During the pandemic, I go to on-line masses. After, I am always filled with peace.  

Number 3: Breakfast
No matter how early my day starts, I have to eat my breakfast. It wakes me up, energizes me, and allows me to focus. I'll usually have overnight oats, toast or a pastry, and a hot beverage like English Breakfast Tea. A little planning beforehand makes prep time quick and turning on the kettle is part of my morning routine. 

Number 4: Lighting a Candle
Some people like lighting a candle during their bath or when they do their meditation practice. I like to light a candle before I write (ex. blog posts or articles). It helps set the mood and gets me into "the zone". Plus the fragrance energizes the room.

Number 5: A Pre-Dinner Snack
Often times, I am hungry after work and right before dinner. I used to haphazardly snack on whatever I could find -- chips or a sugary doughnut. They usually left me unsatisfied. I wanted to be more mindful of my eating so when I can, I turn it into a ritual. I'll set up a nice cheese plate or afternoon tea with simple grocery staples. It's a fun "party for one" or two when my husband can join me.

These are just some ways I turn blah into TADA! How about you, what are some of your favorite rituals?

01 January 2021

Happy New Year

After all that has transpired in 2020, I can only wish you and your family:

Good Health
A job and an income
Unwavering faith
Finding kindness in small places
Opportunities to pay it forward

May this re-start be better for all of us even if we have to do it in baby steps. 
Here's to a hopeful New Year!