I don’t know about you, but I use tote bags for everything. They can replace any other bag – for grocery shopping, for work, for the gym, ok, maybe not for evening wear, I’ll give you that. They’re lightweight, they can be folded very small, they’re comfortable to wear. So you can’t blame me if I’ve been collecting them over the years… Although a plain tote bag has its charm, a customized tote bag has even more.
Don’t take this as a tutorial, though – I know you know how to write or draw on a piece of cloth! Take this as a reminder that making your own stuff is fun and pleasant, take it as a first project for a creative 2016, or just take it as a way not to forget your reusable bag when you go shopping. Ready? Here we go:
DIY customized tote bag
Start by placing a big piece of cardboard inside your tote bag. This will prevent the colour from leaking on the other side and will make your work surface nice and straight.
If you’re very sure of your textile drawing/writing skills, go ahead and make your tote bag pretty. Otherwise, start by tracing your design with tailor’s chalk or an invisible marker (I used a white watercolor pencil and it worked just fine on the black background). I decided on a passive aggressive design with a pretty branch and the words “don’t”.
Let the paint dry. My textile paint required ironing to set, so I did that as a final step.
The inspiration for this project came from an Anthropologie headband (which has since sold out). It seemed fairly easy to make and it is fairly easy to make! It’s a really nice accessory you can make yourself for the holidays (how festive would it be in red?) using pretty much any fabric you have lying around, and a piece of sparkly gold trim. And sure, you can use your sewing machine to make it super quickly, but since the size of the project isn’t as big, you can just as well sew it by hand. It’s what I did, and it didn’t take more than an hour total.
What you need:
- fabric in your choice of color
- gold trim
- tape measure
- sewing needle/sewing machine
- matching thread
For the full tutorial, head over to DaWanda!
If easy Christmas crafts are your jam, then welcome to your jam! Since festive drinks aren’t really traditional in my area (no eggnog here!), I’ve been thinking of ways to make regular drinks more festive. That’s how I came up with these drink stirrers, super easy to put together with just some small branches that you can probably find close to where you live, and very basic crafting supplies. You can even go a little crazy and spray paint the branches gold (with matching baker’s twine), but I preferred to keep a natural, more traditional look. Here we go:
What you need:
Start by cutting the skewers to size. This can depend on the glasses you use most often, as well as your personal preference. Then cut the branches into smaller pieces.
Use the x-acto knife/cutter to split open one end of the skewer.
Insert the branch into the opening you just cut.
Cover the entire area with baker’s twine (or whatever yarn/thread you have on hand) and knot the ends together. Cut off excess thread and you have a drink stirrer.
Repeat the steps to get as many drink stirrers as you like! You can also use these as cake or cupcake toppers and even to decorate gifts.
One month left until Christmas! That makes it the perfect moment to start baking your advent calendar. Wait, what? Baking it? Yes. Get the butter and sugar working on the sweetest countdown to Christmas. I think it makes sense, it looks simple and pretty, and it’s a real treat. Here is what you need to make your own:
How to make an edible advent calendar
You will need:
- biscuit recipe (see below)
- numbers cookie cutters
- thread and needle
- tree branch
Number shaped biscuits recipe
- 80 g unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence
- 1 1/2 cup flour
Begin by mixing the butter and sugar together. If you don’t have a mixer, you can do it by hand. When you get a creamy composition, add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix. Slowly add in the flour, mixing continuously. Add a pinch of salt and refrigerate the dough for a few minutes.
Preheat the oven at 180°C. Roll the dough to about 5 mm thick and cut out the number shapes. For the advent calendar, you need the numbers from 1 to 24. Pierce each number with a toothpick at the top for hanging. Bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden. They’re done faster than you might think!
Note: Make some spare ones and twos, just in case anything breaks. Depending on the size of your cookie cutters and the thickness of the dough, you might get leftover dough.
Start by making the number-shaped biscuits. You can use whatever recipe you like, as long as it doesn’t involve the dough growing (that would ruin the letter shapes). Don’t make the dough too thin. Cut out the numbers from 1 to 24. Pierce each number with a toothpick at the top, so you can hang them later.
When the biscuits are done and cooled off, use a needle to thread each one. For the double digits, use a single thread for both numbers.
Find a pretty tree branch and hang it to the wall with string. Tie each number to the branch, in the proper order. Adorn with lights or fir branches and you’re done!
Preparing for Halloween can easily turn into a very kitsch event, especially with all the mass-produced decorations available. Since I want what’s best for you, I’ve gathered some lovely handmade ideas (some of which you can buy and others you can craft yourself) for a stylish celebration. Click through the slideshow to see them all!
DIY | cement pumpkin candle holders
Oleander and Palm made some beautiful pumpkin candle holders from cement. They look so good with the copper and the black candles! Learn More
Buy | werewolves card
Spook your favorite people in the world with a werewolf card by Teagan White. Learn More
DIY | table centerpiece
This centerpiece by Passion Shake is minimalist and good-looking, especially on a white table setting. Learn More
Buy | cat dish
Because black cats are awesome, I can tell you that first hand. Ring dish by Lauren Sumner. Learn More
DIY | pun-kins
If you love puns and pop culture... these are the pun-kins for you. From Studio DIY, of course. Learn More
Buy | skull rolling pin
Imagine all the creepy cookies you could bake! Embossed rolling pins are awesome. Learn More
DIY | Chinoiserie pumpkins
These unusually colored pumpkins remind me of the beautiful tiles of Portugal. They are designed by Ling Yeung B. Learn More
Buy | Halloween t-shirt
Not in the mood? Just eat, sleep and creep with this t-shirt from Red Dressed Co. Learn More
DIY | pumpkin dip
The Merrythought takes dipping to the next level with pumpkin and salted caramel. Learn More
Buy | skull planter
Creepy, without being over the top, this Mudpuppy skull planter has cacti growing out of it. Learn More
Hello, International Egg Day! You may not have known it’s today (who can keep up with all these crazy celebrations?), but you can make it all better by taking tomorrow morning to cook a complex egg breakfast. And by complex, I don’t mean complicated – just something that you don’t do every day. Do we have a deal?
Mushroom & bacon breakfast skillet by Joy The Baker
Come on, it's the weekend, you have 15 minutes to make yourself a delicious breakfast! Learn More
Avocado stuffed French toast by My Modern Cookery
This is not avocado toast. It's avocado IN toast. French toast. You may applaud. Learn More
Cheesy spinach, ham & egg cups by The Foodie & The Fix
These are so easy, I promise! And you can always improvise with the things you find in the pantry. Learn More
Tomato poached egg by The Pulp & Rind
The perfect outdoor breakfast is made in a skillet over a campfire, and it entails eggs and bacon, what else. Learn More
Whole egg, bacon & avocado quesadilla by Recipe Tin Eats
Yes, you can: quesadilla for breakfast, with all the goodness of eggs, bacon and avocado. Learn More
Sometimes you don’t realize you have a slight obsession with something until you look at it from a different perspective. You might one day have a look at your closet and realize blue and polka dots are absolute dominants. You might have a look at your Instagram feed and realize you’ve been photographing every stray cat you ever met. Or you might search your blog history for recipes and realize you have a chocolate obsession… But a chocolate obsession is not a bad thing, especially on Chocolate Day. Here are 7 ways to indulge in chocolate – try not to make them all at once!
Chocolate coconut biscuits
Grandma's recipe is a real success on every occasion. The chocolate covered biscuits work equally well with coconut or walnut topping. Learn More
Dried fruit dark chocolates
These good looking chocolates are made with Pina Colada tea mix, but you can replace that with virtually any dried fruit. Learn More
Black beer brownies
Moist, chocolatey, packed with flavor, these brownies are absolute comfort food. Learn More
Peanut & chocolate mousse
This mousse is not only delicious, but healthy too! The light consistency makes it lovely on its own or as cake frosting. Learn More
Chocolate & whiskey cheesecake
This is one of my favorite past experiments, and the whiskey cream makes it absolutely delicious. Learn More
Lemon & walnut dark chocolate
A refreshing and flavorful chocolate that you can make with just four ingredients. Learn More
Marzipan body scrub
If you're off chocolate for the time being, you can still enjoy it in the form of a body scrub. A marzipan one no less! Learn More
Yes, I know, everyone makes salad in a jars and everyone makes anything in a jar lately. It’s trendy. But there’s a reason for that: it works. It’s practical, easy to transport and boy, does it look cute! Also, it’s Fresh Veggie Day, which makes a great excuse for a backyard picnic.
I lhonestly don’t have recipes for salads – I always use what I have at hand and hope that everything fits together. Sometimes I may throw in nuts or fruits, other times I do a kefir dressing. But most of the times I just chop vegetables and maybe cheese, add olive oil and vinegar, and call it a salad. So nothing fancy here. Jar salads work regardless of the recipe, but here are a few things that you should always keep in mind:
- Start with a clean jar. Obviously. But also make sure it’s dry, to prevent the veggies from spoiling. And make sure you have the right lid!
- The lower layer is the dressing. I put in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and vinegar on the bottom of my jars.
- The next layer is made of wet ingredients. These are your tomatoes and your cucumbers, and whatever else is juicier than the rest.
- Cover with harder veggies that will block moisture, such as bell peppers and carrots.
- The next layer is the protein in your salad: cheese, egg, nuts, chickpeas, chicken, you name it.
- For the top layer, use dry ingredients such as pasta, croutons or leafy greens.
- Store in the fridge tightly closed until ready to eat. Shake a bit and enjoy, preferably outdoors!
Careful! Your delicious salad might attract wild beasts, as it happened to me:
Banana milk is the easiest meal/snack/dessert you can make. My sister introduced it to me a few years back, and I’ve been making it on every occasion since. Some time along the way, I made another discovery: strawberry milk. Tasty, and so pretty! So why not mix everything together and see what comes out? The result: delicious strawberry banana milk, a recipe will all the ingredients stated in the name. Have it for breakfast, have it for dinner, pour it over your cereal, sip it ungarnished – there’s no wrong version.
But it can’t be a legit drink without a straw, right? I always feel very wasteful throwing them out when I’m done. And I’m done in a couple of minutes. I mean, you could reuse plastic straws once or twice, but they get icky so quickly. I was very excited to find out that there’s an alternative: beautiful, reusable straws from Glass Dharma! In case you’re not convinced of the need for such straws, just read some of the scary information here, and you might change your mind.
And how good do they look? The graceful bended design is timeless and versatile, it really adds to the overall look of the drink. If you’re worried about cleaning glass straws, don’t be: you can get a cleaning brush that fits perfectly and does all of the work for you. And they’re guaranteed to last a lifetime. Now that summer is here, these bad boys are getting a lot of use around the house and I’m so happy with them.
Strawberry banana milk
A refreshing breakfast, dinner or snack made with just three ingredients.
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 1/2 cup cold milk (can be non-dairy)
- 1 cup ripe strawberries
- Wash the strawberries and remove the greens.
- In a bowl, break the banana in small pieces. Add the milk and strawberries on top. Blend for 2-3 minutes or until homogeneous.
- Garnish with strawberries optionally.
- You can take these measurements loosely. Feel free to add more milk or fruit to taste.
- Add some strawberry ice cream to the blender to make the drink more like a milkshake.