Sewing a Beach Towel Tote Tutorial

Sewing your own Beach Towel Tote with Handle 

If I take the kids to the beach (which is quite often in the summer since we live minutes away), I have four towels, not to mention sand buckets, digging supplies, snacks, sunscreen...the list could go on! Some days it seems impossible to get everything shoved into a bag that is small enough that it doesn't make me feel like I am planning on spending a week at the beach, not just a few hours. I found this beach towel in the one spot (for $2.50...explain that to me later!), and with a coupon from, I was able to score a brand new beach towel for 50cents! This is what I came up with.

I started with my 50 cent Target beach towel. (Have I mentioned that I love Target? In fact, our family is currently on display there in the camping aisle find out more here )
I went to Wal-Mart and picked up some coordinating pink fabric (half a yard at $1.50 a yard) and some coordinating ribbon for around 50 cents.
After following Anna Maria's tutorial, I realized that I messed up and put the long strap on the wrong side of the towel making it so that when I folded the towel up, you had the ugly side of the towel on the outside.
I'm no perfectionist so it didn't bother me, but when I was trying to explain my new project (and the things I would do differently next time) to my husband he ended up convincing me to take out the stitches, shift the long handle to the other side and while I was at it, I could then stuff the upper envelope portion (one of my "things I would do differently" ideas).
So I did...and above you will see the before finished product (it is nice that it folds together so small) and below the after (with the stuffing you can't fold the top like I could before, so it's like a yoga mat).

I love the idea of having a pillow attached to the blanket. How comfy is that?!
Hopefully, this summer will bring lots of lazy beach days, just like this!
I stitched the ribbon on as a decorative accent. LOVE IT!
And there you have it! My new and improved beach towel tote. All together it cost me about $2!


sports blanket

It's March and my oldest son is well into his little league baseball season. Which means LONG games many of which are in the cold and rain. I was trying to come up with a good solution to help keep me warm and think I may have stumbled upon something. This is what I made.

I took an old vinyl tablecloth that I used for picnics and lined it with about 2 yards of lime green fleece. I serged around the edges (no need to flip and turn) and then sewed a seam around to secure it.
I'm thinking the vinyl will help roll the water away when it rains and the fleece will help hold in some warmth.

That, or it will be great for laying around in the sun on!


numbered balls

I saw these marbles a few months ago at Pier 1 and loved them...but not the price. They aren't big and you need a fair amount to make a statement with them. I then saw some knockoff's here and was inspired to make my own for a fraction of the price.

I started with three bags of wooden balls from JoAnn's (of course I used my 40% off coupons). Then I painted them all white (three coats).
I picked these letter stamps up at Joann's while I was there. They were on sale for $6.99.

While I was busy painting things white, I bought this $1 birdhouse...keep your eyes peeled to see what I end up doing with it.

After the balls were dry, I took the stamps and stamped each letter twice on the ball with black ink. I put them inside these Ikea jars for now. Not sure that I love them there yet.

What do you think ?


car seat blanket

One of my favorite things to make as baby gifts are car seat blankets. They are super easy to make and are a very functional thoughtful gift for that new little one. These are called car seat blankets because they are just the right size to tuck that peanut in. Don't be surprised if these little blankets become loveys, they are just the right size!

I start with two fabrics that compliment each other. I love using this minky fleece (or the not so soft knock off brand that JoAnn's carries for WAY cheaper).
Then I cut my fabric in a 19x19 square. Place your right sides together, stitch around the edge leaving a small opening for turning. Turn your blanket (make sure to poke out your corners), press it, paying special attention to where you left your opening for turning, and then top stitch all around making sure you catch the little spot you left open. Wrap it up, and put a tag and a bow on it. That's it!

domestic diva

We don't eat out much. Maybe once a month, sometimes, not even that. That means I am cooking all the time. I love the idea of a fun apron so I whipped some up making up my own pattern as I went. I promise I will share it when I make my next apron. Right now, I still have some in stock.

I love how it looks like a fun party dress, not an apron. It's perfect for entertaining!

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden


DIY Coffee Cozy tutorial with Button

Coffee in Seattle is like snow in Denver, or tea parties in Boston...the two definitely go hand in hand, which is why, when I saw these cute little coffee cup cozies I knew I had to make some. They are simple enough that my 11 year old son made half a dozen this year to give as Christmas gifts (every boy should know how to use a sewing machine and sew on a's manly!). I've kept the pattern found here and used it to make a birthday gift for one of my friends yesterday. When I picked up the gift card, I asked for an empty cup to put it inside, and then slipped the cozy right on. Instant cuteness!

Turkey noodle soup and homemade bread YUM!

I make homemade soup at least once a week. Lately, I have been trying to clean out my freezer and my "stockpile" so I literally cooked two twenty pound turkeys within seven days of each other! Our family of five doesn't eat THAT much so I took the leftover turkey and packaged it up in ziploc bags that I put in the freezer. I used one of those bags full of leftover turkey in my homemade turkey noodle soup. I wish I could post a recipe, but since I have been making soup for so long, usually I just add a little of this and a little of that. Here is what doesn't change in my chicken broth based soups though: I always add garlic, cilantro, bay leaves, carrots, lemon, celery and onion. I makes for a nice hearty meal that everyone will eat.

Especially when you pair it with homemade whole wheat bread. Most cook books have a basic recipe for yeast bread. I buy my yeast in bulk at Win-Co. One tip I learned is that the water to dissolve the yeast in does NOT have to be too hot! I was making major mistakes by heating it to boiling and it killed the yeast and didn't rise. Live and learn!


Simple Easter

I like simplicity...that and cheap, and this project was definitly both. What says spring more than grass growing? So I bought a small juice glass for 50cents at a garage sale, put some potting soil and grass seed (both things we had at home) and grew some grass to decorate for spring.

It took about a week to grow and look like this.

Several of these on your easter table would look be adorable. My kids love trimming the grass and giving it a haircut.


Paula's pillowcase project

I spent my day helping my friend Paula Yost at her second annual pillowcase project. I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it today. You can get more information about the project here

My two littlest kiddos got in on the action and helped make cards to send with the pillowcases.
The amazing Paula (on the right)!
Around 60 volunteers made the day run smoothly with cutting stations, pinning stations, ironing stations and sewing stations. Guess which one I manned?
A few of the completed cases before they got packaged up!
My amazing ironing accomplice during the day. She made the whole day run smoothly and of course, helped keep me in line!
Some of the women that helped with the packaging. Everyone knows, it's all about presentation!
The completed project! Nearly 150 pillowcases were made to donate to Seattle Children's Hospital.


Hooter hiders

I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I'm thankful that it came so easily to me and that each of my kids and I were able to have a very nurturing breastfeeding relationship during those first long months (o.k. in our case, years!) of life! Unfortunately, I never discovered the genius idea that is hooter hiders until it was too late. I am not sure my kids would have loved them (the blanket over their head was definitely not their favorite thing!), but for some women, I can see how these are godsends. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I took the idea and made my own.
I love that there is boning in the neckline so that the parties involved that need to see in, can see in!
Often times I will make a matching burp cloth to go with the hooter hiders. Who doesn't love something matching?!

I even make sure I add the little terrycloth pocket in the corner. I remember the days of breast pads and this is a great place to store them during feeding time. That or, use it for the pacifier, nipple shield, you name it! Plus if your little one spits up or has a little drool you can use the corner to wipe up any small messes! Below you will find a few of my in-stock prints. If you are interested in buying, just let me know. I sell them for $25

Brown flowers

Alexander Henry, pink or mocha

Hawaiian child

Dwell dots

Heidi Grace black and red

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