Archive | February, 2013

The {Family Sized} Travel Organizer

26 Feb


Last fall I spied this absolutely charming mustache fabric on Etsy.  It was from a shop called New Mom Designs, which I immediately added to my favorites.  I knew that I hadpic1 to have the fabric, and although I wasn’t quite sure what to make with it, I was certain that it was destined for greatness.  The fabric {100% organic cotton} is called “Moustache All Over”.  I ordered some.  I have a fabric weakness (probably more like a fetish or addiction), I couldn’t help it.  The fabric came wrapped in such a cute bundle with a gorgeous little business card (I think the card was created on, another thing on my list of wants!) and it didn’t disappoint – gorgeous fabric!  And I just love the feel of organic cotton, so smooth.  Okay enough with the fabric.  Now I actually need to make something with it.

Since the fabric is somewhat man-ish I felt that I should try and make something for my husband.  He travels for work {a lot!} so I wanted to make him a travel organizer.  And when I say “make him a travel organizer” I have to admit that I had an ulterior motive.  Our family was planning a big vacation that was coming up very quickly, so while I made this for him, I wanted to make something that would be functional for our entire family.  I introduce you to:


I would say that I have travelled a pretty good number of times throughout my life so far. I had a pretty good idea of the features that I wanted to build into my travel organizer in order to make it super convenient.  Let me explain them to you.

  • We have five people in our family, so obviously we needed enough space to hold all of our passports – there are two pockets on the left hand side which hold exactly this amount, you could probably even fit one more in to make it six.

Also on the left hand side I have included a pen holder.  You never know when you will need a pen (like on an airplane when there is a sleeping child on your lap and you need to fill out a customs declaration card)

  • There are three spacious pockets (one on the left, two on the right) to hold all of your reservation details and e-tickets.  Big families need lots of room!  On this trip we had: car rental confirmation, two flight e-tickets, two separate hotel reservations, plus our Disney cruise documents.  When we received our boarding passes at the airport, we also put them in these pockets.

There is a closed velcro pouch on the right hand side, why?  I wanted to have everything that we would need at the airport within easy access.  For this pouch I thought of putting in: parking ticket for easy access upon our return, coins or some money for snacks or treats at the airport, custom declaration cards, and any receipts for shopping that you may need to declare at customs.

  • Last but not least I wanted to include a key ring holder for my car keys.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have returned home, dead tired after a very long flight, just to waste time trying to remember where I have put my keys.

So if you would like to make one for yourself, here is the tutorial!



  • 1/2 yard each of two different coordinating fabrics (one yard total) herein referred to as “fabric a” and “fabric b”
  • scraps of medium to heavy weight fusible interfacing
  • velcro (I use round stick on velcro tabs)
  • coordinating thread
  • basic sewing supplies and sewing machine
  • metal keyring (optional)

Now let’s get all of your pieces cut out.  Fabric A is going to be the fabric that you will see on the outside of the travel organizer, for me this was the grey mustache fabric.  Here is the list of all of the fabric pieces that you will need to cut out for this project.  For accuracy I always use my Olfa rotary cutter and quilting square ruler, but if you don’t have these supplies no worries!  Good old fashioned scissors will work too.


There are lots of fabric pieces, it may make it easier for you to follow my tutorial if you label each piece of fabric.  A piece of masking tape with the measurements written down workspic2 well.  First we are going to make the velcro closure piece.  Take your 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ piece that you cut from fabric b and your piece of interfacing of the same size.  Iron the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.   Measure down  approximately 1″ from one of the short ends and attach your velcro in the middle.  Mine had a sticky back so I stuck it on and then stitched it in place with my sewing machine.

Next take the 4 1/2″x 2 1/2″ piece from fabric a.  Pin it right sides together and sew with 1/4″ seam around three of the sides; leave the short end open that DOES NOT have the velcro.  So you are going to sew along both long ends and the short side with the velcro.  Turn your closure right side out and press with your iron.  Topstitch around the three sewn sides.  Put your closure aside for now, we are going to work on the passport pockets.

Grab the two 5″ x 7″ pieces from fabric a.  Decide which is going to be the bottom pocket.  Fold the top long edge of this pocket over 1/4″ to the wrong side and press with your iron.  Fold it over another 1/4″ and press again.  Stitch into place.  Take your second 5″x7″ piece; this will be the top passport pocket.  You will repeat what you did with the first pocket, but you will also fold the bottom of the pocket over 1/4″ to the wrong side (just once!) and press it into place.  Just to confirm what we have now done: – you should have one pocket in fabric a with the top long edge folded over and stitched into place, – you should have a second pocket in fabric a with the top long edge folded over and stitched into place, PLUS the bottom edge folded over once to the wrong side and pressed with your iron, but not stitched into place.


Now put the two pockets aside, we are going to make the little fabric pieces for the pen holder and the key ring.  Grab your two small pieces measuring 3″x 1 1/2″ from fabric b.  Take them to your ironing board and fold them in half lengthwise and press.  Open up the fabric and fold each long side to the middle and press into place.  Lastly, fold each one in half again and press.  Take each strip to your sewing maching and sew the long open edge shut.


Now we are going to assemble the left side of the travel organizer. Take one of your 7″x12″ pieces from fabric b.  Grab your passport pocket that DOES NOT have the bottom edge folded over.  Place it on top of your 5″x7″ piece, right sides facing up.  Line up the bottom edge of your pocket with the bottom edge of your 5″x7″ piece.  Baste the two pieces of fabric together at the bottom.  Take the second pocket that has the bottom edge ironed over.  Place it 2″ above the top of the other pocket.  Grab one of the fabric strips that you just sewed for the pen holder.  Fold it in half and place the two edges underneath the bottom of your top pocket, about 1 1/2″ in from the left side.  Stitch the pocket to the 5″x7″ piece along the bottom.  Make sure you catch both ends of the pen holder piece in your stitches.


Take your other 7″x12″ piece of fabric b.  Place it on top of your first 5″x7″ piece with the passport pockets, right sides together.  You are going to down the right side with 1/4″ seam.  Make sure you are catching the right edges of the passport pockets in your stitching.  Open up the fabric and fold the top piece around to the back, press with your iron.  Top stitch down the right side of your fabric.lpocketCollage

The left side is done, now we will work on the right side of the travel organizer.  First we are going to make the little velcro pouch for the top right side.  Take your one piece of 4″x5″ from fabric a.  Fold it in half, right sides together.  Stitch down both of the short sides to the folded edge, leaving the one long edge open.  Turn it right side out and press it with your iron.  This is the flap for your pocket, so you will need to decide which is the top-side and which is the under-side.  Attach a piece of velcro to the under-side, down towards the centre of the folded edge.  The open side will be at the top of the organizer.  Edge stitch around the three sewn edges of the flap.

Next take your piece of fabric a that measures 4 1/2″x5″.  Fold over each edge 1/4″ to the wrong side and press with your iron.  One of the longer edges will be the top of the pocket.  Choose which side and sew down that folded edge.  Next line up the flap so that it is overlapping the pocket by about an inch so that you can figure out where you would like to place the other side of the velcro closure.  It should be near the middle top of your pocket.


Next take your 6″x12″ piece of fabric b.  Fold over the left long edge 1/4″ to the wrong side; press with your iron.  Fold over one more time 1/4″ and press.  Stitch down the folded side to secure it into place.  Take your pocket flap and place it at the top left-hand corner of this fabric, right sides facing up.  Baste it into place along the top.  Take your pocket piece and place it, face up, with the top part just underneath the flap.  Make sure that the velcro will line up.  Sew the pocket onto the rectangular piece of fabric by sewing down the left short side, across the bottom BUT stop along the bottom around the middle of the pocket.  Take your second fabric strip that you sewed previously (this is for they key ring).  Fold it in half and tuck the two edges under the bottom of the pocket, just like you did for the passport pocket.  Continue sewing, securing the fabric strip into place, and then continue to sew up the right side of the pocket.  The pocket should now be secured with the top edge left open.

rightpocket Collage

Grab your 12″x7″ piece of fabric a.  Once again, fold the left long edge over 1/4″ towards the wrong side and press, do this again and then stitch it into place.  The last piece of fabric that we have to prepare before assembling the travel organizer is the large piece of fabric b that measures 12″long x14″ wide.  Take this piece of fabric and the interfacing that is the same size.  Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of this fabric piece.  Now let’s put it all together!

Place the large piece of fabric b with the interfaced side down; right side up.  Take your left side with the passport pockets and place it, right side up, on the left side of the large fabric piece.  Then take the last pocket that you just sewed (12×7 fabric a).  Place it right side up; line up the unsewn edge with the right long edge of the large piece of fabric.  Next layer your pocket on top that has the velcro pouch attached to it.  Again the un-sewn edge should line up with the right long edge of the large 12×14 piece of fabric.  Now  get your velcro closure, the first piece that we sewed.  Place it halfway down on the right side.  The raw edges should be lined up with the right edge of the fabric, in fact I like to have it sticking out just slightly just to make sure that it gets secured into place.  Make sure that you are placing the closure so that FABRIC A is facing up, and FABRIC B with the velcro is facing down.  Have a look at the pictures below:


Now we are going to sew it all together.  Take your last piece of fabric, which should be the 12″x14″ fabric a piece.  Sandwich it on top of the organizer, wrong side facing up, right sides together.  Pin it together all the way around.  Sew all the way around the edge with 1/4″ seam allowance, but leave a space open along the bottom on the left hand side, about 2 inches wide.  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to make sure that you catch all of the pocket edges when you are sewing your travel organizer together.  Turn your travel organizer right side out, make sure you poke all of the little corner so they are square.  Use your iron to press it and make it look nice! Before you sew up that hole, there is a reason that we left it open on the bottom left hand side.  Fold your travel organizer in half (in the closed position).  Figure out where your velcro lines up, and put the coordinating piece of velcro on that spot.  You will have to reach up inside your travel organizer to hand-stitch it into place.  Lastly, edge stitch all the way around the outside of your travel organizer.  When you get to the open spot, fold it under (it’s a good idea to press it under with your iron) and edge stitch the hole close.


The last little touch I added was a metal keyring to the keyring holder.  I got a bunch of these in a grab bag from Pick Your Plum, maybe pypnot the intended purpose but it worked for me!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.  There are so many great sewing projects that are travel related – I can’t wait to create some more in the future!

Thanks for stopping by,


Sweet Treats and Swanky Stuff Link Party #1

23 Feb


My first ever link party is live, thank you for joining me today!
I would like to thank Ashton from Something Swanky for letting  me recycle her wonderful link party that she discontinued last December.  I loved her link party concept and I think you will too.  Here is how it works:
Each Saturday I will pick three links from each of the parties to be the “sweetest treats” and the “swankiest stuff” and I will feature them on my blog.  I am also going to pin each one and display links to each project on my Facebook page.   If you like, feel free to grab a button too!!
Sweet Benanna & Sam
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sweet Benanna & Sam"><img src="" alt="Sweet Benanna & Sam" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
So without further ado, let’s get to the partying!


Thank you for stopping by! Please join me again next week to see if you have been featured, and to link up more of your “sweet treats” and “swanky stuff”


Announcing The First Ever ~Sweet Benanna & Sam ~ Link Party

20 Feb



I am very excited to announce that this Saturday will be the first edition of my new link party.  It will be called “Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff”.  Does this title sound familiar?  You may have seen it before.  A blog that I adore ~ Something Swanky ~ used to host a link party with the very same name.  Ashton from Something Swanky decided to discontinue her link party last December, and (with Ashton’s permission) I have decided to renew and restore this great party for Sweet Benanna & Sam.

The reason I wanted to bring back the Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff link party was because I loved Ashton’s concept, and I think you will too.  Each week she had two different categories to link up to, one for “Sweet Treats” (think awesome food recipes) and the other for “Swanky Stuff” (think impressive DIY crafts and projects).  She would also feature the “Sweetest Treats” and “The Swankiest Stuff” from the week previous.  If you were featured on her blog, she also would pin your projects.  One week Ashton featured my Easy-Sew Double Sided Headbands and they are still my most popular project to date (secret: I am even re-doing them for Riley Blake’s cutting corners college in May!) Plus the name of the link party meshes perfectly with my own blog (SWEET Treats…SWEET Benanna & Sam) why change something that works?

I am really thankful to Ashton, in addition to letting me host this link party, her blog has GREATLY helped me with my own blog, she has wonderful posts about blog design as well as some delicious looking treats! (Check out some of my favorite Something Swanky posts: Blog design – How to Make Headers and NavBars, How to Create a Custom Background, Yummy Treats – Monster Cookie Dough Dip, 25 Bodacious Blondies, and this one that I just pinned the other day and can’t wait to try some out! 50+ Rice Krispie Treat Recipes)

So please make sure you come back this Saturday for the FIRST EVER (on Sweet Benanna & Sam of course!) Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff, I can’t wait to see what you link up!


Personalized Valentine Cookies

19 Feb


Here is a fun alternative to the traditional paper valentine- cookie valentines!

Every Valentine’s day my mom would make the most delicious sugar cookies.  They were soft moist cookies with fluffy pink peppermint icing and a little cinnamon heart on top.  Her secret?  She bakes the cookies at least one to two days ahead of time.  When she rolls the dough she leaves it a little thicker than the recipe says.  After the cookies are baked and iced she seals them in an airtight container for one to two days before eating.  No more hard puck sugar cookies!

I have continued on my mom’s tradition of baking cookies on Valentine’s day, I wanted to share these ones that I made for my son’s class last year.  I am not a great cookie decorator by any means, you can see that some of mine were very sloppy ( The red spots were an after thought when I accidentally spilled some red icing on a few of them!) but I still think they turned out very pretty.

I used my mom’s standard sugar cookie recipe from Company’s Coming you can find that recipe here: Sugar Cookie Recipe, just remember to roll the dough a little thicker (about 5mm), this also means that the recipe will not yield 7 dozen cookies, more like 3 1/2 dozen cookies.  You will also need to bake them a little longer, just watch your first batch.  Pull them out when the edges are slightly golden brown.

My favorite blog to look at for cookie ideas is The Adventures of Sweet Sugarbelle, this lady is amazing!!  I use her recipe for royal icing,  I highly recommend it.  Here is her recipe: Royal Icing.  Before you make it, you should read all of her tips, plus this great little article about coloring and preparing the icing so that you have the right consistency for piping: Coloring and Preparing Royal Icing

Now that you have read all of that information, I can tell you how I made these cookies.  You will need:

  • Baked round cookies
  • White royal icing, flood consistency
  • White royal icing, piping consistency
  • Red royal icing, flood consistency
  • Black (or red) royal icing, piping consistency
  • Black edible food marker

First you will use your white royal icing, piping consistency to pipe a circle border around the edge of your cookie.  Let it dry, do some house cleaning or play with your children.  Once it is dry (about 30 minutes) use your white royal icing, flood consistency, to fill your cookie inside of your circle border.  Again you will need to let the icing dry and harden before you do any more cookie decorating.  When it is dry you can use the food marker to write each person’s name on their own personalized Valentine cookie.  Next take your black or red royal icing that is piping consistency and pipe a heart onto the cookie.  To make it a little easier, you can also draw a heart onto your cookie with the edible marker so that you have a guideline to work with, and then pipe the icing over top.  Again you will need to let the piped icing dry before working on the last step.  The last step is to fill the heart in with red flood icing.  After the icing dries your cookies are finished! I thought these cookies were a great (and yummy!) alternative to a traditional paper Valentine, I hope you enjoy them! Thanks for stopping by,


January was not my favorite month.

4 Feb

I am not sad that January is done with.  Several things happened that consumed my every thought, making it impossible to create and write!  The month started off happy enough.  My husband got a promotion at work, it meant that we would have to move to another city three hours away (Calgary), but I wasn’t feeling any pressure.  We would take our time and move when it suited us.  Then the craziness started.  We listed our home and it sold in less than 48 hours.  The possession date wasn’t until April 30th, but since we are going away on vacation in February we wanted to have all of our new living arrangements sorted out before we left town.  We started a massive marathon house hunt.  Armed with many listings that we wanted to view, we trekked south early one morning.  Three kids and our real estate agent in tow we embarked on a 16 hour home viewing  journey.  To say it was not a fun day is putting it mildly.  There was tears (not just the children), there was barf, what more can I say?  The economy is booming here, which is a blessing and a curse.  We live in oil country, there are more jobs than people.  Houses are built at an astonishing rate, but it still isn’t fast enough to satisfy the hoards of job hunters who flock here.  The problem?  The majority of houses that we wanted to look at were sold before we even arrived to see them.  The ones that weren’t were either garbage or they had RAISED their prices because Christmas had slowed the market down a tiny bit, but now things had picked up again.  At the end of the day we settled on a smaller community just North of Calgary.  We were exhausted and beat down.  The very last home that we saw was a brand new home and it worked well for our family. We immediately signed an offer.  The only hiccup was that they wanted us to take possession of the house much earlier- March 4th.

A few days later I took my son, Sam, to a routine check up for his eye.  Sam has had three surgeries in the past 8 months on his eye.  He has several problems with his eye but to really simplify it his eyes are not aligned properly.  After his last surgery in late October I really thought that his eyes were looking great.  I was very surprised to learn that this was not the case.  At Sam’s appointment they told me that he will need to have surgery again.

The following week we learned that there may be a problem with the purchasing process of our home.  Did I forget to mention that our personal banker is…well she is a nice lady, and I hate to say anything bad about anyone.  Maybe I will just say that dealing with her has wanted to make me tear out my hair.  She did something that jeopardized the purchase of our new home.  We were now set to move on March 4th (less than 6 weeks away), we had changed the dates officially with the person buying our home, and now we most likely had no place to live.  Knowing how rapidly the housing market moves, we jumped online to see what other homes might now be available.  We found one that might have even been better than the first home, but we would not be able to drive down and view it for a couple of days.  I was sure that this home was going to be sold by then, it was great!  After a call to our real estate agent we put an offer in on the home, subject to our satisfactory viewing of the property (totally insane, right?).  Two days later I trekked down to view the home with my real estate agent, my husband stayed at home with the children!  On our way there, we got word that everything was fine with the first house deal. Ugh.  Oh well, we already had this pending offer on the other home, might as well look at both and choose the best, right?  This was a great idea, except that after I saw both houses I could not decide which one was best.  They were both great for entirely different reasons.  One was brand new, beautifully finished, but a tiny yard.  The other home was already eight years old,  the flooring and other finishings were not as high end – but it had a gorgeous big back yard!  I was completely on the fence and could not decide, my husband gave me his blessing to choose which ever one I liked.  We drove back home and I still had no idea which one to choose.  My husband and I agonized over the decision all night, he was totally undecided as well.  In the end, we decided that we could upgrade the home on the beautiful lot, but we could not upgrade the lot on the beautiful home!  We went with the older home, for the kids!  The house deal is now completely done and all though I still have so many things to think about (packing, getting ready for vacation, Sam’s surgery)  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders! Here is part of my new back yard, back yardcan’t wait to sit around the fire pit this summer!

I still have to remind myself that life, although stressful, is not horrible!  I am thankful for so many things, here are three wonderful blessings in my life: photo (3)

So, in light of all of these things, my blogging time was a bit lacking this month!  I did manage to pull out a couple of great projects though.  If you missed them, there was a great buffalo chicken dip recipe (yes I made it for Superbowl yesterday!) Highly Addicting Buffalo Chicken Dip.  I also posted a cute Valentine’s hair accessory that I made for Anna: Cross My Heart {Hair Clippie} Tutorial and I did a round up of some of the other wonderful love-inspired hair accessories from around the blog world: 14 LOVE-ly Hair Accessories

And for February, I do have some exciting things in store!  I am not going to tell you what posts I have planned, but I will mention that starting on Saturday February 23rd will be the launch of my new link party!  One of my favorite blogs: Something Swanky retired their wonderful link party at Christmas time.  After talking with Ashton from Something Swanky, I have decided to pick up where she left off, and essentially revive her link party on Sweet Benanna & Sam.  The link party is called SWEET Treats and Something Swanky.  The idea is to link up food related posts in the Sweet Treats area, and craft or something else you have made in the Something Swanky area.  I think it will be a lot of fun!

The second thing that I am really excited about is that for the last week of February, I am going to be a guest judge on The CSI Project (Create Something Inspiring).  So much fun!  So please join me this month, I am very thankful for all of my readers!

~ Lisa K

%d bloggers like this: