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Rachel's cottage industry:


Suede Bag Made from Repurposed Suede Jacket and DIY Tote Bag Tutorials

Suede purse made from a repurposed suede shirt and leather belt

Bag-making is an illness for me.  When I see someone with a bag walk by, I don’t see the person carrying the bag, I see the bag.  I see it, I dissect it, I cut out the pieces, and then I put it all back together again–all in my head and all in the span of a few seconds.  I think that’s the very definition of an illness.  I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t make money selling bags that were as complex as the one pictured above, and that’s why I turned my business into simpler products that were  less time-consuming; this allowed me to spend more time with my family while still enjoying the creative process of sewing.

In the meantime, I created a couple bag patterns over the years that I use for the purses that I make for myself.  They are not in reproducible form, so I am not able to share the patterns with you.  But, there are so many free basic tote bag tutorials out there, and I will introduce you to them here (scroll to bottom).

I discovered this suede shirt at Goodwill a few weeks ago, after I made my original suede purse from a repurposed vintage jacket.  I couldn’t resist buying it, along with a leather belt that I saw there, so that I could make yet another suede purse for myself.  (The suede shirt was to become the bag, the belt was to become the handle.)  Not sure how many suede bags I need, but as long as I have my bag-making illness, I’m sure there will be more to come. (:

The suede shirt was very wrinkled, so I threw it in the dryer for about five minutes with a damp, white cloth, to help release some of the wrinkles



Fabric Hoops Decor

I found this great post and couldn’t resist sharing. Such a simple idea, yet so beautiful. I did something similar in my daughters room with scraps left over from a quilt a friend made, but used square frames instead. I like the round hoops better.



For a great way to incorporate it into a nursery, check out this blog


Update to Homemade Laundry Detergent

Written by
Nov 11, 2011 | Pinteresting Finds, Topics | Tags: ,

Meet, The Blob

Before blending, very gloppy, but still very useable

Whipping it up with the handy dandy submersion blender

So, my sister tried my homemade laundry detergent recipe and commented that her consistency was very thick, nearly solid when it finally cooled.  It had been a while since I made my first batch, so I’d kind of forgotten all the exact details regarding the end product.  But, I whipped up another batch today and had a similar experience to Laura.  So, I thought I’d do a quick follow up, lest anyone else have this experience and think their efforts were wasted–I assure you, all’s not lost.



Homemade Hand Soap

Homemade hand soap and canning jar soap dispenser

Grated bar of soap in a stock pot

Blending it to get the right consistency

As promised, I’m back to tell you how I successfully made my own hand soap recently. I found the recipe on Pinterest, but tweaked it a little to what should be a foolproof method for everyone.  Also, at the end of this post, I will show you where to go to learn how to turn a canning jar into a soap dispenser–a double dose of fun!

I am going to read your minds and answer three questions about making hand soap before you ask them: yes, it works great, yes it’s cost-saving and yes, it was easy!  Although I’ve listed four ingredients here, it really can be made with two simple ingredients–a bar of soap and water.



Homemade Laundry Detergent

I read the Duggar’s book, 20 and Counting, a couple years ago.  In that book, they offered a recipe for a powdered laundry detergent.  But, I’ve always been partial to liquid detergents, so I never tried making it.  That book planted a seed of desire to try making my own detergent, so when I saw a recipe for a liquid version on Pinterest, I was all ready to try try it.  It took me a little time to track down all the components that I needed, but last week I finally brewed a batch, and am very pleased.  As well, I tried a couple easy recipes for fabric softener, and have been very happy with them as well.



Thift Store Shopping Tips

Rachel came to visit us in Charlotte this past weekend with her youngest and we had a great time!  My daughter had so much fun with her cousin and we had a great time just showing Rachel our life in Charlotte.  On Sunday afternoon during nap time, we went to a local thrift store.  I found this store about 9 months ago and have been dying to go back.  However, it’s not in the nicest part of town so I was reticent to go by myself.  So I dragged my sister as my body guard and we embarked on the journey.  For those of you in Charlotte, the thrift store is Value Village on Central. (more…)


Rainy Day Activities

Great rainy day activities from Pinterest

Some fun rainy day activities made with household ingredients

Okay, so I mentioned in a recent post that I recently discovered Pinterest.  I was a skeptic at first, and ignored several people’s recommendations to try it, but soon gave in and am glad I did.  I’m amazed at the wealth of ideas and resources for grabs in one convenient place, and how easy it is to “pin” ideas of your own.

Today we are being affected by Tropical Storm Lee, and the entire day here has been a deluge.  We are grateful for the rain, as we just came out of our driest month in history, and it gave me a great opportunity to try some of the ideas I’ve pinned to my Things to Try board with the kids.  I’ve tried five or six different ideas posted to this board and have had mixed, though mostly positive, results.  So, I thought I’d mention a few of the successes here.

One benefit I’ve already gained from the ideas I’ve found on Pinterest is that I’ve learned a list of essential rainy day ingredients to have on hand, listed here: