belt bag pouch hip

Small pouch purse

I am all about being hands-free and reducing the weight on my shoulders. I use a lumbar bag instead of a backpack for hiking. Being an asthmatic, taking the load off my shoulders makes a world of difference. Any chiropractor will tell you that carrying a heavy purse on one shoulder can cause misalignment, strain, and injury, so I wanted to find a fashionable belt bag for everyday use. But, aside from the infamously hideous fanny packs of the 80s, I had yet to find one. That’s why when I came across these fabulous hip pouches on Etsy, I was excited.

The North Face - Sport Hiker (Black) - Bags and LuggageRecycled Leather Hip Bags by Happy CowStow All Unisex Pocket Belt in GreenRecycled Black Leather unisex Hip pouchHappy Cow Urban Travel PacksBlack Gold Utility Wear Pocket and Belt

Clockwise from top left: The North Face Sport Hiker, Recycled Leather Hip Bags by Happy Cow, Stow All Unisex Pocket Belt in Green, Black Gold Utility Wear Pocket and Belt, Happy Cow Urban Travel Packs, Recycled Black Leather Unisex Hip pouch.

Then I thought there might be a way to convert a regular purse into a pocket belt. To make one as cheaply as possible, I combed thrift stores for the right purse. I bought this black fabric pouch purse for $3. Converting it to a hip pouch was a cinch. This one is great for casual T-shirt-and-jeans days, but now I’m on the hunt for a more dressy, leather version.
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Star sheet music ornaments

Homemade ornaments are so much more fun, rewarding, and cheaper than buying them. Especially when they’re made of paper—in this case, sheet music. That’s why I included so many paper ornaments in my handmade holiday gift list. For this project, I made stars, but you can use nearly any symmetrical shape to make these ornaments (tree, wreath, heart, bell, angel, ball, snowflake, etc.). I made four patterns for you to download to make your own ornaments: star, bell, angel, and ball. Click here to download the patterns.

The song printed on the star is a little-known Christmas hymn titled “With Wondering Awe.” I chose it because it mentions the star more often than any other Christmas carol I found. Bell: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Ball: “Silent Night.” Angel: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” As long as you have a sewing machine, these ornaments are super easy to make. Read more »

Dec/Jan2011 Bust magazine cover Check out the latest issue of BUST magazine. One of my tutorials is featured in the “Home Is Where the Heart Is: DIY Your Way to a Winter Wonderland” article. You’ll find my Popsicle-stick snowflakes how-to on page 61 in the December/January 2011 issue. It’s so exciting to see my ideas in print. Thanks, BUST!

I also love Sarah’s stacked fabric Christmas trees from The Small Object (page 60 of the magazine) and Alicia’s pom-pom garland from Posie Gets Cozy (page 62).
Popsicle-stick snowflakes

Stocking stuffers for kidsPhoto by rickszczechowski/

These stocking stuffers aren’t handmade, so they didn’t make the cut for my list of 137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, but no Christmas gift list would be complete without stocking stuffer ideas. Besides, I’m a sucker for classic toys and practical gifts. Parents sometimes fall back on candy and the latest cheap plastic junk (that kids discard as fast as they eat the candy). Instead, give your kids stocking stuffers that are useful and engaging. The best part? None of these require batteries!

Stocking stuffers for kids

  1. Woodstock Bluesband harmonica

    harmonica |

    Woodstock Blues Band Harmonica

  2. bag of marbles
  3. polished rocks
  4. sea shells
  5. foreign coins
  6. magnifying glass
  7. rubber bouncy ball
  8. magnets
    Rare-earth magnets
  9. stamp and stamp pad
  10. four-color pen
  11. drawing pad and pencils
  12. box of crayons or colored pencils
  13. toothbrush
  14. deck of card games (Uno, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, or Go-Fish)
  15. bubbles Read more »

Spray paint tent

Check out my new spray-painting “tent.” I don’t have a garage, and I don’t like to spray paint inside my apartment. Spray painting outside is also problematic because of the lovely ocean breezes. Then I found a plastic wardrobe discarded on the side of the road. It wasn’t sturdy enough to hold clothes, and it was covered in rips. A few pieces of white duct tape, and it was good to go. I simply turned it upside down and laid down a sheet of cardboard to create a spray-painting tent. Works like a charm. The tent blocks the wind while spraying and keeps what’s inside dust free while it dries. Plus it keeps the overspray from floating everywhere. The trick: Zip the flaps closed after each coat and wait about 30 minutes while the paint dries and the dust settles.

Frame within a frame - after

Thrift store frames

I absolutely adore this “bird cage” illustration by Emma SanCartier. And I wanted to make this small piece of art stand out. I could have mounted it in an up-sized frame with generous matting. I decided to make a frame-within-a-frame instead, mostly because I already had all the supplies on hand. The frames were thrift store finds, and the fabric was a scrap I picked up from Fabmo. To buy your own “bird cage” print or any of Emma’s other gorgeous prints, go to her Etsy shop. Read more »

What is your Scoop?

Effects by Stacey

Cañada College Multimedia Art

Sorry for my long absence! I’ve been busy building websites. First, I built the Scoop website at It’s a T-shirt business I helped start with two friends. Tell me: What is your Scoop? Comment here or go to the contact page to suggest a Scoop.

Second, I created a website for my hairdresser, Stacey, at (Be sure to roll your mouse over the scissors, picture frame, and phone!) Originally I built Stacey’s site entirely in Flash with Frank Sinatra crooning “Too Marvelous For Words” in the background. Loved it. But practicality and the iPhone necessitated the final HTML/Flash version.

And third, I’m nearly finished with Cañada College’s Multimedia Art website. (Soon to be live at It’s the biggest website I’ve tackled so far. Psst…that photo that I shot of the campus is actually three pictures put together.

Thanks for letting me share my news. Oh, and if you haven’t seen my portfolio site yet, check it out here. New craft coming later this next week!

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