Slow Family Travel to Ireland

Sometimes you meet someone whose sparkling, authentic enthusiasm and deep positive energy is a perfect match for your own bubbling overflow of ideas. Someone whose warm, thoughtful insights detangle the knots that have been puzzling you.  You shine brighter just for knowing them.  Sabrina is one of those people and it is no surprise that she has just started a spectacular blog about Worldschooling called family+footprints–where the world is a place ripe for learning and the pace of learning is kind, slow and energized.

Slow Family Travel to Ireland

Your only choice is to lay your stomach on top of the heather and stare down at the jagged rocks and soak up the immense power of the sea. The chance to do that next to my five year old, content to ponder how the water transforms from blue ocean to white foam, is unforgettable.

I’m so honored to be guest posting today.  Check out my post, Slow Family Travel to Ireland: What Our Kids Taught Us , and then be sure to take a gander at everything else on the site.  I can almost guarantee you will want to pack some hiking boots and book tickets for a new adventure.



10 Inventive Ways to use Zakka-Inspired Gift Bags {tutorial + giveaway}

Today I’m over at Skip to My Lou as part of the Bake Craft Sew & Crochet Along. I am sharing a wonderful zakka-inspired gift bag perfect for holiday gift giving. sewing giveawayIn fact, you won’t want to miss all the handmade gift ideas! I have joined over 100 bloggers to share some amazing homemade gift ideas…….and I get to be part of an amazing sewing giveaway too. More on the giveaway below.

Be sure to check it out. I was inspired to make these humble gift bags by a desire to give teachers money at the holidays. I always want to give teachers money (or gift cards) because they spend so much of their own on classroom supplies but it can feel odd and uncomfortable.  A sweet little gift bag adds just the right amount of handmade to the whole exchange.  It’s also a great way to give money to anyone in an extra special way…your broke Uncle or ramen-eating sister, anyone really! It is my favorite way to take the awkwardness out a gift of cold hard cash.

How-To Make Zakka Inspired Gift Bags

I find little gift bags so handy that I pulled together ten other inventive ways to use them:

1.  Jot down your favorite sangria recipe, tuck it into the gift bag and attach it to a bottle of wine as a gift for your spunky neighbor.

2. Tuck little surprises into each bag and build your own advent calendar or 12 Days of Christmas treats

Skip to my Lou Tutorial : Handmade Gift Bag for Teacher Gifts | a happy stitch

3. Holiday party sweets for kids: Surprise your little guests with a bag of holiday sweets after a holiday party.

4. Dinner party surprises: Give a bag of specialty chocolates or after-dinner mints to each person at a holiday dinner party.

10 Inventive Ways to use Zakka-Inspired Gift bags

5. Cookie Recipe exchange: Copy your famous snickerdoodle recipe onto an index card and store it in the gift bag, attach the bag to a tin of cookies for your host.

6. Tea Lover’s Gift: Tuck a dozen bags of speciality tea into the gift bag and warm the hands and hearts of a tea-loving friend.

10 Inventive Ways to use Zakka-Inspired Gift bags

7. Gift for a friend: Surprise a friend with a  few thoughtful gifts in her own reusable bag.

10 Inventive Ways to use Zakka-Inspired Gift bags

8.  Hang the gift bag on the Christmas tree with special sweets for a Christmas morning treat for the kids.

9. Attach a gift bag with a special note or extra gift card to another gift to make it extra special.

10 Inventive Ways to use Zakka-Inspired Gift bags

10. Slip a fabric napkin and handful of family recipes into a gift bag and attach it to specialty kitchen supplies as a gift for a foodie.

10 Inventive Ways to use Zakka-Inspired Gift bags

I hope you are inspired to make a handful of gift bags! Now, be sure to enter the giveaway for a sewing machine (can you even beleive it!!).  There are about a gazillion ways to win! Good luck.

This sewing machine is so AMAZING it even has a name! Meet Rachel.


One lucky winner will receive this Baby Lock Sewing Machine ($799 Value)
This computerized sewing machine is equipped with 50 stitches and push-button features to make every project easier. The value is $799. Click here for more details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pattern Sale and Free Tutorials

This is your holiday season!  You are going to rock the handmade this year, I’m sure of it.  It is time to bust out the thread and pre-wash that fabric, it is your hour!  I love the way that handmade gifts make the holiday season so much more amazing; about gratitude and the giving of time above all else.  To jumpstart things and spread the sweet hand-making mojo I’m offering my first ever pattern sale and linking up with some of my favorite gift-giving free tutorials. A Happy Stitch Pattern SaleFirst, the pattern sale.  A whopping 30% off every pattern in my Etsy shop.  All my patterns make items that are great gifts or stocking stuffers and they are filled with pictures and clear instructions.Use the pattern code MAKEME in the coupon code box from now until December 24th.  I’m here for you!  Plus, at 30% off that means some will come to just a bit over $2!

A Happy Stitch Free Patterns

Now, let’s make some stuff for free! Clockwise from the left-hand side: A sturdy, industrial-style apron,  pint-sized bow tie for awesome holiday photos; stitch up some fun pillows or mini-quilts with this half-square triangle tute; exchange duck cloth or canvas for the oilcloth in my perfect pool bag; and tuck treasures into an awesome zipper pouch.

I hope this helps to motive the beginning of a handmade holiday frenzy! Be sure and share what you make with me!

Twisted Tank Tops

I know that the weather is way over tank tops, Halloween has passed and our heads are in full Thanksgiving meal mode.  But I realized I forgot to share these adorable twisted tank tops and the photos are too fun to pass up.  I don’t know what gets into these monkey boys sometimes but it sure is fun!

Awesome tank top for boys! The Twisted Tank from Titchy Threads made by a happy stitch. There are no side seams, the design is spectacular!

Also, can we talk about arm muscles!  When did these two get those guns? It was hard enough when they lost their baby fat, I can’t handle actual muscles.

The tank pattern is from Titchy Threads, it’s called the Twisted Tank.  I was lucky enough to be asked to be a pattern tester, which means I received the pattern for free before it was in final version and I provided feedback. I really didn’t have much to say, however.  I always find (like these jeans)  that Titchy Threads patterns are really thoughtfully created with clever little details that teach me something new. Awesome tank top for boys! The Twisted Tank from Titchy Threads made by a happy stitch. There are no side seams, the design is spectacular!

The Twisted Tank pattern is no exception.  The interesting thing about these tank tops is they have no side seams.  The pattern is constructed such that the pieces twist around the side and the seams are formed with the diagonals in the front and back.  Genius, right?  I swear Laura’s brain must operate in 5D.  This might sound weird but I really envy her spatial ability.  It must be like The Matrix in her head…she can see the world in a way we cannot. Awesome tank top for boys! The Twisted Tank from Titchy Threads made by a happy stitch. There are no side seams, the design is spectacular!

The little diagonal pocket is also fantastic.  So flipping cute and surprisingly easy to get it in the right place and constructed properly, again because of the great pattern instructions.  My only critique of the pattern is that the sizing is on the small side.  Both tanks are pretty tight on the boys and they don’t really like a tight fit.  Before long, J grabbed C’s tank and wore that one instead.  Easy solution.  But, when summer rolls around and I make more of these I will definitely size up. Awesome tank top for boys! The Twisted Tank from Titchy Threads made by a happy stitch. There are no side seams, the design is spectacular! For the fabric, I was able to use stuff in my stash.  The light blue is actually an old jersey knit bed sheet that I upcycled but the rest is stuff I had around and was able to squeak out just enough to make these tops.  Just another great thing about making clothes for kids in summer.  Looking at these tops makes me nostalgic for summer wear, so easy, so little fabric!

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