Designs from the Shed: upcycled feed bags

My mother-in-law gifted me with one of her original, upcycled feed bags this summer and it quickly became my favorite, always-packed beach tote. Aren’t these cool? She makes them out of old animal feed bags, like this one for bird seed, or for horses, goats, bunnies, etc. They have a woven polypropylene (think: durable, easy to clean) exterior and she lines them with vintage fabrics and adds thoughtful details like the bright green rim with yellow ric-rac. Fun!

Here are a few more details…

At this time Judy only takes custom orders for the bags. She will make you a bag based on colors/style/feed bag designs that you like. Contact her through the Designs from the Shed Facebook page.



sunhat AND a bib!

Lovelies, you’ve got to check this out. I wrote about Roen Design earlier this summer in regards to their Leelanau Peninsula kids clothing and Roen Design just released their newest product: a sunhat and bib in one! Not only is it pure genius, it’s a-door-bell too, isn’t it? I told Forest of Roen Design that I am not usually a bib-using Mom, especially when we’re out-and-about, but if it were built in to something else, then I would be more likely to use one (instead of relying on my stain stick…). Would you? Have you ever seen anything like this?

You can get your hat/bib combo right here.

revisiting the pear

Thank you, dear readers, for all your great ideas and encouragement regarding my pear pillow conundrum last week. I finished it today while the little birdie took a long snooze after baby swim class this morning. I decided to skip teaching myself the slip stitch for now and do something a bit more creative. I’ve had an itch to embroider something almost as much as my desire to felt or pickle something this year. So I decided to take the stuffing out and cut a new hole in the piece and then machine sew the top. Then I stuffed the pear again and embroidered a little orange (duh!) detail on the bottom. It needed something… What do you think? I think it adds a little funk. You?

pear help needed!

I’ve been working on a gift for a special someone and I’m stuck. So close to being done and yet, so far… Can I get your help, sewing wizards?

It’s a simple stuffed pear pillow thingy and I’m happy with how it’s come out so far, but I can’t figure out how to close it up without seeing the end stitches and a “slip stitch” is frustrating me. Any suggestions? Remember, I’m new at this sewing thing so sometimes what might be obvious to you, is simply NOT to me.

Birthday countdown!

Happy Monday to you, lovelies. A bit scattered and restless (yet sleep-deprived) in our nest today. How ’bout with you? Did you have a good weekend?

’tis less than a month until our sweet little birdie turns one, woot woot! And I’ve been thinking a lot about her birthday, her party, this past year… whew. Chris and I keep mentioning how it’s so strange that the time with a baby is oh-so-ultra-vivid and amazing to us and yet she won’t remember a minute of it. Humans, you are so strange and perplexing. Oh! Here’s something silly about little humans that I wanted to share with you too. I better write it down now before I forget… It’s funny how so many little kids have said that Wren is still zero until she’s a year old. I want to get inside their heads. These are the same kids who say they are four and three quarters, thank you very much. Or five and one half. Since when did children become so exact? Love those little people and their big ideas, don’t you?

I’m thrilled to report that I was able to check one thing off my birthday party list. I finished the birthday banner! I had been pondering it for a while and finally got around to doing something about it. Actually, I owe it to my friend, Linda, because she suggested that we have a birthday banner day and work on them together. Brilliant! If it hadn’t been for that kind of deadline, I’d probably still be sewing the damn thing heirlooom a few hours before the little birdie’s party. And, you know what? I’m really happy with how it turned out. There are some things I would do differently next time around, but overall (don’t look too closely…), I think it’s lovely and I’m proud to hang it up in our nest.

Next? Invitations. Against my inner procrastinator’s wishes, I’m loosely following Martha’s party-planning timeline. And I’m already a tiny bit behind, but hey, I’m no Martha. I have a love/hate relationship with Martha, but I’ll save that drivel for a future post… I digress.

Speaking (err, writing) of invitations. I HATE e-vites. Yes, they’re eco-friendly, cheap, easy and everyone uses e-mail, blah blah. But I love getting a real invitation via snail mail, don’t you? I want to feel it and post it up and look at its loveliness every time I pass by it. And RSVP the host and the whole tradition of it all. You? So anyway, that’s next on my list. I’ll work on the design sometime this week and hope to pop them in the mail the first week of May (or so.) That’s optimistic, Pollyanna me talking. I’ll let you know how that goes… If it’s anything like my own wedding invitations, which I designed and hand-letterpress printed (a former life of mine), they didn’t make it in the mail until a couple weeks before the event. Oops!

Is it too early to worry about the weather for Wren’s party? Sigh. Would you like to be on the weather committee and take care of that for me? Let me know. Thanks.

Have a great day, dear readers. I’m off to clean up one of the many (many) disaster zones in our nest thanks to the 19 pound teething cyclone…


Birthday Banner ponderings…

Time is zooming by and Wren is getting older every day. I suppose everyone is getting older every day, but it seems more monumental in a wee one, doesn’t it? The countdown to my little birdie’s first birthday (May 24!) has begun and I’ve been pondering party themes and decorations. I really don’t want a throw-away birthday with lots of paper and plastic junk. I’ve been thinking a lot about making an heirloom-quality “Happy Birthday!” banner, which can be used for years to come. Here are some ideas I’ve stumbled upon so far…

I love the funky colors and the whimsy factor in this first birthday banner, don’t you?

But I’m thinking of something a bit cleaner and modern. Like this one. This one is a better fit for our nest. Does it say boy and girl though? No, I’m not pregnant; just trying to plan ahead, just in case.

But I like the simplicity and fun shapes in this banner. This is definitely boy or girl, no?

And then there’s this possibility for a classic pennant-style banner.

What say YOU, dear readers? Any other birthday banner ideas you want to send my way? I could do a “boy” banner on one side and a “girl” banner on the other. I’m not really into “boy” and “girl” colors, but it might be a fun way to have two banners in one.

In other party ponderings…

I’d love to have an outdoor garden party for Wren, but Memorial Day weekend in northern Michigan is hit or miss. It could be 75 and sunny or it could easily be 40 and rainy…. arrghhhh.

Speaking (err, writing) of weather, it’s above 50 (!!!) and sunny in these parts. Yee-haw! Trying to suck up the Vitamin D while I can. Is it possible to make up for the last four months in one week? I’m going to try. Can’t hurt.


Snuggle bags.

Who doesn’t need something soft and cozy to snuggle up in? My three nieces and their matching American Girl dolls do! So I made them these fleece snuggle bags (three big, three little), which were *sew* easy and fun to make.

These are great for traveling or just lounging around the house. For simple directions on how to make these snuggle bags, click here. I also added a ribbon detail to the bottom of each so they could easily tidy them up a bit. Simply roll and tie!


My sweet Wren has her 9-month well visit this morning. We will find out just how big she’s gotten in the last few months. Gambling types, want to place a bet?


Target Treasures.

I hope to post an occasional item I will–now!–coin a Target Treasure. These items will be made from something I find for dirt cheap at le (la???) Target Boutique (aka, Target) and then either repurpose or individualize. Fun, right?!

Target Treasure 1 :: Christmas Tree Skirt

I know this is trite, but having a child sure made Christmas a helluva lot of fun again. But all during Advent I looked at our tree and pondered how it looked awfully naked; the poor tree didn’t have any clothes! But I didn’t want to buy it a skirt. There really were some cute ones in the stores, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. It helped that I didn’t really have the money to spend either. Funny how that (sometimes) works.

So after Christmas, there was a big sale at Joann Fabrics (I can’t bring myself to just call it ‘Joann’ like they want me to) and I bought a couple yards of this cute birdie flannel fabric–super duper discounted! And–lucky me!–I had a coupon on top of that so it only ended up costing me about $6. Highway Robbery! And then the fabric sat around and waited for me for a week or so, but it needed something. I found myself perusing the 90% off Christmas section at Target around that time and found a $.99 basic red flannel tree skirt with the cutesy white ball edging thingy. What do you call that anyway, dear readers? Ooh la la, I found the magically missing piece.

So I cut out the birdie fabric to go on top of the red flannel and sewed it all together, letting some of the red show around the edges. Isn’t it cute and kitschy and a steal of a deal? I’m pretty happy with it and next year our tree won’t be streakin’ around anymore. So there you have it, folks, Target Treasure #1.


  • I’ve gotten our nest in a food rut with too many legume-oriented soups so for the next week I’m going to make things I’ve never made before. Tonight, yum.
  • Orange is my favorite color today. Yessirreee.
  • I’ve been trying to detox from too much sugar, fat and white stuff over the holidays and it’s made my feel cruddy and crabby. Funny how it does that… Funny too how after another day or two of resisting the crap, I’ll feel like a million bucks. Maybe.
  • Are you excited about the new Apple tablet that’s supposedly coming out soon? At first, I had no interest and couldn’t comprehend how it might ‘revolutionize’ anything. After watching these videos, I’m beginning to see just how cool they could be. You?


drafty ole bugger.

The night before our little birdie was born, we moved into our first house. We call this old wooden boat (err, house) a “bungalonial,”  for lack of a better term. While we don’t love the house quite yet, we love the location and you know what they say…

It was built in 1928 and has some issues, namely the entire house. But we’re making our house a home, bit by bit.

Before next winter we’ve got to figure out something different with the roof and the upstairs insulation (as you can see in the photo above). There really isn’t much insulation, at least in the walls. Smart idea in northern Michigan, eh? When a Florida couple was desperate for help, an insulation contractor company Orlando based Insulate it Solutions, stepped up to the plate and delivered a miracle to the Orlando natives. Insulate It Solutions provided insulation that helped cut their energy costs in half with spray foam insulation sprayed in the attic. In the meantime, we’ve been bundling up and using a small space heater in Wren’s room. But there is a huge gap between the bottom of the door and the floor so all the toasty air slips out into the unheated creaky hallway. Sigh. What’s a gal to do?

Get Wren a snake, of course! Not a real snake, silly.

I decided to make a draft snake for her room for two reasons. All the draft snakes in the stores are ugly and too expensive (always a winning combination, right?). This is a great beginner project, which uses fabric scraps. Again, dear readers, if I can make this, anyone can!

Isn’t it cute?

I pretty much followed the directions from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing with a few of my own tweaks. As you can see, it’s basically just a tube that you fill with dried beans. It’s difficult to use a draft snake when you aren’t in the room to snuggle it up next to the door. So I added these cute orange ribbons that serve as little handles to pull the snake snug as I close her door at night. I’m not sure that it makes a huge difference, but it makes me sleep a bit more soundly and that’s worth the work right there. This didn’t take me more than an hour to do, yahoo!

Happy crafting!

felt finds.

Just had to share a few felted things with you this afternoon that I think are really cool (err, warm). Felted items are so cozy – and inspiring! Perfect for today, gloomy gloom gloom.

Scarf by Super Maggie. LOVE their stuff. Isn’t this funky?

… and then there’s Edgar the Squirrel – an Etsy find. Awwww. Click on him for more pics – I just really loved his tail. Don’t you just want to snuggle up with him?