luggage tag tutorial.

as you might remember, back in december i was trying to figure out how to label my luggage when i had a breakthrough...fabric luggage tags. the mister and i are in need of more luggage tags, so today i got busy sewing. i decided to document the process and create a tutorial for those of you who like to sew. if you are not into sewing, fear not...i also sell these luggage tags in my etsy shop lerato designs.

materials: scraps of colorful fabric, light-colored fabric (i use unbleached cotton), interfacing, thread, and string (i use cotton twine).

sew together lots of bits or keep it simple with just one or two fabrics.

step 1. cut out a 3.5"x4.5" piece from your light-colored fabric (we'll call this the white piece from now on). cut out a 3"x4" piece of interfacing. sew together a collection of scraps and cut a 3.5"x4.5" piece from the assembled pieces (for an easier luggage tag, you can skip the assemblage and cut a 3.5"x4.5" piece from a single colorful fabric).

step 2. iron your interfacing onto the back of the assembled piece.
step 3. place the colorful piece with the white piece, right sides together.
step 4. sew around the edges with a 1/4" seam, leaving a 2" gap on one side.
step 5. trim the corners, to make it easier to the turn the tag right-side out.
step 6. turn the tag right-side out through the gap. use a bone creaser, chopstick, or some other pointy tool to push the corners all the way out. tuck the open edges in, pin, and press flat.
step 7. top-stitch around the edge of the tag (no more than 1/8" from the edge).
step 8. sew a tiny buttonhole on one end of the tag. open the buttonhole with your seam ripper or scissors.
step 9. cut a 13" piece of string. thread the string through the buttonhole and tie it off.
step 10. use a fine point permanent marker to write your contact information on the light side of your tag. enjoy traveling in style!!!


world cup fever.

i grew up in a house where soccer reigned supreme. my brother plays, at one time my mom coached, and my dad is a referee. somehow or another i was never bitten by the soccer bug. i was content with gymnastics and volleyball. to be fair, my mums only coached for one year when my brother was a wee little guy mesmerized by the bugs climbing up the side of the goal post that he was supposed to be defending. after her brief stint as a coach my mums returned to her first love...tennis. but to this day, soccer has maintained its grip on the males of my family. little did i know that i would one day marry a man who lives and breathes soccer.

needless to say, i was prepared for this world cup to be a big event in my life. this the first world cup the mister and i are experiencing together. this is also the first world cup to take place in africa, so my african husband's enthusiasm can certainly be described as fanatical. you are probably wondering why this affects me. well, we live in a small house and we only have one television. to make matters worse, the mister works 8am-4pm and the soccer matches all take place between those hours.

since i love the mister lots and lots, i went to goodwill and purchased a vcr. yup. everyone is getting rid of their vcrs and we are purchasing. go figure. sadly, while our remote is happy to control the basic functions of our "new" vcr, it is unwilling to delve into the wonderful world of timed recording. great. but who needs to set a timed recording when you have a wife at home to press "record." that's right kids. every morning i wake up at 9:55am to go to the vcr and press record. i go about my business and then at 2:25pm i change tapes and press record again.

oh and did i mention that i spend all day avoiding all mention of scores and soccer? you see, when he gets home, i love to discuss anything and everything with my husband. if i know the scores of the games he is about to watch, it is torturous to keep mum, so i do everything in my power to avoid knowing the scores. i was watching tennis today and they did a quick "sports rundown," which included discussion of the day's world cup matches...i turned into psycho lady standing in my living room yelling "nananananananananaannaana" so that i would avoid hearing the scores. that was the moment that i realized i was bitten by the soccer bug. i might not actually like soccer, but apparently i am stuck with it.


receipts running wild.

as a child growing up i quickly learned that credit card receipts must be saved, put in order, and matched up with the monthly statement. my parents use this system to check for mistakes on the statement and to keep things organized in case they need to return a purchase. there was a special box for my pops to put his receipts (a yellow cardboard box that is still in use) and every month i watched my mums painstakingly take care of putting everything in order. once all was checked and the bill was paid, the receipts were wrapped up inside the statement and filed away. this probably sounds a bit neurotic, but in my parent's house it just seemed like fabulous organization.

is it any wonder that i feel the need to save every receipt that comes into my life? it took a little bit of training (and begging), but i managed to convince the mister that he too should partake in this persnickety ritual. sure thing. if i am gonna be a crazy loon, i might as well ensure that those nearest and dearest also lose their mind. 
the mister likes to haul around his receipts until the ink rubs off. i unwaveringly file these "blank" pieces of paper.

and then i realized that the process of organizing this mass of paper fell to me and i hate to admit it, but in my house it has never happened smoothly the way that it does in my parent's house. the sheer volume of receipts is daunting and the statements arrive at awkward times, so i fall behind and the next thing i know, the mister and i have a receipt drawer that is stuffed so full that it will not shut properly.

clearly the mister and i need a new method. first thing i had to give up the notion of putting the receipts in chronological order and matching them to the credit card statement. seems easy, right? except that in my book this is akin to total chaos and my brain is not so easily convinced that this is a good idea. but then i looked at the receipt drawer. seven months of receipts. eek. okay fine. no more chronology. once i made it past that hurdle, we quickly slid down the slippery slope towards anarchy. the mister and i now have a shoebox and sandwich baggy sorting system. snazzy? nope. effective? maybe. 

organizing the madness.

we are hopeful that using an all-stars shoebox means we are on a path to greatness.

clearly there are still signs of my hyperactive organizational tendencies, but maybe the mister and i will manage to retain both our receipts and our sanity. if you hear of a couple drowning in receipts, please throw us a rope.


ikea mi amor.

i went to ikea today. i needed cheapo bleapo blankets, which as it happens are readily available in ikea, but secretly i wanted to visit with their minuscule, yet delectable, stash of fabric. i wandered around the place for at least an hour. what is it about this place? i often leave there with a whole lot of nothing and yet the prospect of a visit is enough to leave me giddy with excitement. in homage to this swedish treasure, i have made a list of the top ten reasons why i adore ikea...

10. they make simplicity cool and take the blah out of the ordinary.
 9. there are lots of bright colors, stripes, and polka dots.
 8. the prices are pleasant.
 7. they encourage excessive amounts of organization.
 6. everything has a swedish name, which makes it all seem more interesting, despite the fact that the names are incomprehensible (to me).
 5. there is a restaurant inside the store, just in case you are famished in the middle of your visit.
 4. there is a little nook where i can buy stupendous fabrics at spectacular prices.
 3. they banished disposable plastic shopping bags in favor of gargantuan and indestructible blue totes.
 2. environmentally friendly is not just a punchline.

and the number one reason that i love ikea...

1. i am certain that they give good hugs.


movin' on down to the west side.

oopsy poopsy, i seem to have once again wandered off on an unannounced hiatus. sorry about that. i am back and with an updated dandelion design. i have been hibernating...alternating my time between the couch and the sewing machine. ain't life grand?

today the mister and i went on a "quick" shopping trip, which turned into a seven hour adventure. only us. we leave the house and something inside our brains (okay fine, my brain) snaps and we enter some sort of time warp reserved for shopping. now i am still semi-banned from shopping, but we were on a mission to find gifts to give to our friends and family when we visit lesotho. the mister has already taken care of buying the "big" gifts, but today was the day to find all the filler stuff. my territory. to stay on budget we decided to visit dollar stores, but my favorite one closed last year. my attempts to find a replacement store have been greatly hindered by my instinct for self-preservation which has prevented me from entering the seedier neighborhoods which are home to the best discount shopping experiences. so i dragged along the hubby and we found not one, but two fabulous stores.

the first one was almost too much for me. i was not sure if it was a good idea to get out of the car, but i did. once we got inside i was thrilled, because the place was a gold mine. i even found a hot pink house dress. yay! and then the announcements started. some sort of live video and audio surveillance. the voice on the loudspeaker kept saying that we were being watched live and police would respond to any suspicious behavior. and then she asked the clerk a question to which the clerk was required to respond. all of this over the loudspeakers! the mister and i were kind of dumbfounded and wondering what we had stumbled into. we took it in stride and then the announcements started again. and again. and again. we got a little paranoid that maybe we were the suspicious characters, but we persevered. and we emerged unscathed.
the next store was a doozy. a GIGANTIC store with the world's most random collection of stuff. which i suppose explains the name of the store...."stuff." no joke. once we got over the name of the store we entered and discovered that two large and noisy fans are responsible for the climate control. result...sweltering. we wandered the aisles with sweat dripping off our brows. by the end the mister was ready to melt. but we found.......MSG! whaaat? don't get me wrong, i have seen this stuff on ingredient labels my whole life..my mums is allergic to it, so naturally the name is seared in my memory...but i have never actually realized that i could purchase a bottle of monosodium glutamate. never a dull moment in a dollar store.
seven hours, three dollar stores, two kmarts, and costco = nail polish, lip gloss, perfume, pencils, socks, radios, and shoes. might not seem like much, but finding the perfect bargains is a lot of work. today's trip was glorious. total success.