Tutorial: Repurpose Jeans to Clutch

These days, my handbag is full of 95% Squish stuff, 5% my stuff. So when I get the chance to go out without her I either have to take all of her stuff out and carry a sad, empty looking bag, or just carry my wallet and phone. Until last week, when I finally got around to making myself a new clutch, the day before going out for dinner with friends!

It’s made from an old pair of my husband’s jeans, and the piece I used is also leftover from another project that I needed the jeans for. Perfect repurpose!

Just the right size for the essentials: phone, keys and cards.

Wanna make one yourself?

Go find some jeans! (or use something else for the outer fabric)


  • Outer fabric
  • Inner fabric
  • Double fold bias tape/binding (or single fold, and iron it in half lengthwise like I did!)
  • Scrap fabric and button for embellishing (optional)

Cut your fabrics to the desired size. Make the width the same size that you want your finished clutch to be, and the length 3 x longer than the finished length. I cut my jeans so that the pocket was straight which meant that the top edge was angled (original waistband). The inner and outer fabrics should be the same size. If your binding is single fold, iron it in half now.

Unpick the top of any belt loops that are in the way. We will sew them back down over the binding soon.

With fabrics wrong sides together, sew binding on to top edge (the edge with the belt loops). I just sandwiched it on, but if you have the time and patience, you may like to sew the binding on properly. Repeat for the bottom edge. Sew the belt loops back down if you have any.

If you are new to binding, check out Dana from Made’s tutorial:

Fold the bottom up as far as you want it to go. Mine was just over a third, because I didn't want the top flap to fold all the way down.

Now it's time to bind the edges. To encase the ends nicely, you will need to open up the bias tape, fold the top down and the side over. You may need to tuck the folded piece in a bit so that it is nice and neat. You may notice my binding skills aren't that good in these pictures. I was rushing, I should have done it the proper way.

Now you should have something looking like this. Woohoo! Nearly there. Time to embellish if that's your kinda thing. Whoops, looks like I missed the second line of stitching on the lefthand side.

Cut out your shape. I just freehand cut a flower out of the same fabric as the lining, but you can use whatever scrap fabric you like and cut any shape.

Sew carefully around the edge of your shape, about 3mm from the edge. You could pin or use fusible web to keep it in place, but I was in too much of a hurry for that. You could also have done this step right at the beginning on just the outer fabric so that the stitching doesn't show through on the inside. It doesn't really matter too much though.

Sew a pretty button on or finish embellishing however you like and you are DONE!

A quick and easy clutch, just the perfect size for everything you need when going out for dinner with some lovely friends. Or to the movies. Or to someone’s house for coffee. Without all that kid stuff. Wooooo!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, thanks for stopping by. It takes me so long to put a tutorial together, I really hope some of you have a go and make some awesome clutches for yourself or maybe as gifts for your friend/mum/sister etc.

Let me know if you need any help with any of the steps. I’m just an email or a comment away :)

Nicola xx

Repurpose: A bag for the crafting

Each week on a Tuesday, I go along to a local craft group. We take turns at each other’s houses and just sit around doing whatever craft project we are working on at the time and chatting. It’s great! A chance to get out of the house by myself and hang out with some lovely ladies.

I realised after the first couple of weeks that I needed something to carry all of my STUFF in. I was going to sew a bag, but then realised I had this really good, sturdy bag hanging around in the cupboard:

Sturdy hessian bagIt’s a hessian bag with a plasticy coating on the inside that my Nana got when she bought some Barker’s products. Nice and strong, and quite big too. Perfect for carrying crafting bits and pieces.

But a bag with a big ugly logo on the side? Not my style. So of course I had to add fabric. Yep, fabric is the answer to yet another of life’s questions. Love it.

I wish I was one of those people that have all different kinds of mod podge lined up ready for their individual uses. But I’m not, so I used paper Mod Podge instead, cos that’s all I’ve got. Yep, I did it. Paper glue on fabric. Hey, it worked!

Oh and this just happened to use up a few of my lovely scraps again! I’d even go so far as to say it’s another Scrap-Buster project!

So this is what I did:

After cutting out my petals and deciding on the layout, I glued them down with LOTS of Mod Podge underneath and over top.

Here's all of the petals glued down. I know you can see through the pale pink one on the left, but it became less noticable as it dried so I'm ok with that.


With the help of a little hot glue, I added buttons and a little lace to pretty it up just a bit more.

And then of course I had to do something about the other side because of the giant ugly logo there too. A little blue and white floweryness.

And that’s it! A crafty bag for crafty evenings with crafty ladies. Awesome.

Nicola xx

The problem with t-shirt scarves

See it? No? Here’s a better look:

FLUFF! Maybe it was the t-shirt I used, but it left little fluffy bits EVERYWHERE. I’m a little put off making these now, which is annoying because there are a million cute versions all over Pinterest. I think maybe I will try again, with a bigger tshirt too so that it makes a more full-looking scarf.

I’ve been super productive today. Not only have I attempted the t-shirt scarf, but I’ve also finished off some wool-wrapped bottles that I started the other day and a braided bracelet that I started about 4 or 5 months ago! Loving this lovely tidy craft room, makes me feel happy.

My version of wool-wrapped bottles

5 strand braided bracelet with zip flower

As well as all that, I’ve also been working on a few things that will be posted with tutorials when I’m done.

Hooray for productiveness!


Me and the lady at the shoe store

The lady at my local shoe store is my new best friend. And not because she supplies me with large amounts of gorgeous shoes (I wish!) but because she saves shoeboxes for me.

You see, I like to organise. Probably too much, but when one hoards craft things or even non-craft things that may be incorporated into craft things, one needs a sensible way to sort these things.

I’ve been spending the day sorting out my craft room. At Christmas time we took my cutting table out and have been using it as a makeshift outdoor table which messed with the order of my room. Well, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t tidy before but at least I knew where everything was! While it has been gone I’ve hoarded a whole bunch of new stuff and it all just got shoved in there. It’s time, it needed a good sort out.

Here’s where the shoeboxes come into it. They are good for storing all kinds of craft things. This is what I’ve got so far:

box for storing things I haven't finished yet

The work-in-progress pile. I'm hoping that the limitations of the shoebox will help to keep this pile under control.

Shelf storage

Storage on my shelf: Painting stuff, drawing stuff, wrapping stuff, cards/tags, anything really.

Smaller fabric scraps sorted into types.

More storage in the wardrobe. Plus a whole pile of shoebox lids to be dealt to at a later date.

And then there are the other places that shoeboxes have snuck into:

My wardrobe shelves: socks etc


and my scarf collection.

And lastly, cleaning products. We have a big laundry cupboard where I keep all kinds of stuff hidden away from little toddler hands. But the shelves are really deep and dark so having everything sorted into shoeboxes makes it really easy to just pull out what I need.

Sorted into types and easily accessible.

I picked up a whole pile of shoeboxes yesterday and they are all being used already. I think I’m going to have to visit my friend at the shoe store again soon. And decide what to do with all of those stray lids!

I love shoeboxes. And I love everything having a proper place to go. One day I’ll get around to covering the fronts of them in pretty fabrics with clear labels. The vivid isn’t quite cutting it.

N xx

A little something

The first no wrapping paper gift to head out the door is this:

Gift bag

First one out the door.

Featuring a brown paper bag which was given to us at Christmas time with some lovely handmade goodies inside, pink tissue paper from a present someone gave me, pink ribbons that were tied around an easter egg last year, a little blue with pink polka dots card which was cut from a larger card I received for my birthday, and an embellished blue felt flower I was given in a little kit a while ago. FREE. All stuff I had stashed away thinking it would be useful some day. I feel better already.

Sorry I can’t tell you what’s inside. I’m not sure whether the person receiving this reads my blog or not. But it’s pretty cute so I can see another version being made sometime in the near future :)

Apologies for the shocking lighting. It was 9:30pm when I took that.


Tutorial: Gift Bags using a Book

When I was younger I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide. I remember learning all kinds of great things there, but only a few have stuck in my head: how to cook pikelets with a tin can and a candle, and how to make gift bags using a book.

I haven’t made these for years. But since the vow to never buy wrapping paper again, I’ve found myself trying to come up with alternative ways to wrap gifts (even though I don’t have any gifts to wrap just yet, the mind just wanders!). This handy little piece of info was filed away in the back of my mind and decided to come floating back. Very considerate of it!

Gift bags using a book

I’ve used my some of my daughter’s drawings for these, she’s 18mths old and LOVES drawing. We have piles and piles of her drawings already, I can only imagine how many we are going to end up with over the years. But I can see that in my quest to replace wrapping paper with recycled and reusable alternatives her drawings are going to come in very handy.

Ready to learn how to turn your kid’s drawings/magazines/newspaper etc. into reusable and recyclable gift bags? You can click any of the pictures for a larger image.

Stuff you will need:

  • Paper or similar, whatever you are wanting to make your bag out of
  • Tape
  • A book (or two or more depending on your desired bag size)
  • Holepunch (optional – for adding ribbon)

Lay out your paperStep 1:

Check your paper size. Tape 2 pieces together if neccessary. I have used 2 A4 pieces to make my bags (approx 20cm tall).




Fold top of paper downStep 2:

Make a fold of about 3 – 4cm on one of the long sides. This step is optional depending on what look you want. It will provide a sturdy top to thread ribbon through like the one with the red ribbon. If you want a bag like the one with the pink ribbon, skip this step.



Wrap bookStep 3:

Wrap paper around book and tape all the way along. If you joined 2 pieces of paper together, you may like to make sure that the join is on the side.




Push book to desired positionStep 4:

Slide book up or down until there is just enough to fold the bottom of the bag nicely. Too little and you will have a hole, too much and it will be too bulky.




Fold bottom of bagStep 5:

Fold the bottom of the bag as if wrapping a present. Top first, then sides, then the bottom. Tape in place.




Slide the book outStep 6:

Slide the book out. It looks like a bag, you are nearly done!





Step 7:

Using your finger and thumbnail pinched together, crease the four sides of the bag. Don’t worry about the bottom, we will get to that.




Step 8:

Bring the two edges on one side of the bag together, forming in inverted fold in the side of the bag. Repeat for the other side.




Step 9:

Flatten bag, folding the base towards the back of the bag. Crease all edges.





Using your hole punch, punch holes in the top and embellish as desired. You could make little ribbon handles, tie a big bow, add a tag, get creative!

And you are done! One gift bag made from recycled materials, which can either be reused or recycled.

Let me know by commenting here if these steps don’t make sense. I’ll be happy to help.

No more wrapping paper!

Nicola xx

I vow to never buy wrapping paper again

Christmas has been and gone, and we had a wonderful time. But what I hate to see is the huge pile of wrapping paper and other non-reusable (well not after little fingers have ripped through it all) gift wrapping things that are left over.

I’ve decided that I will no longer purchase wrapping paper, cards, tags or labels to wrap gifts. I will blog my efforts and I encourage you to join me. Help me cut down on all the crap heading into our landfills.

Luckily for me, I’m not the only one who thinks this way and there is loads of inspiration around the place. Cue Pinterest:

DIY Fabric ribbon

DIY Fabric ribbon

Woven paper gift topper and newspaper

Woven Paper gift topper with newspaper

Salt Dough gift tags

Salt Dough gift tags

Alternative gift wrapping ideas

Ideas using things from the hardware store

I  can’t wait to give some of these a go. I have a few birthdays coming up so I’ll get a chance pretty soon.

Has anyone got any alternative gift wrapping ideas? I think I’m good for embellishments but there is probably only so many gifts I can wrap in newspaper so I could do with some more ideas there.

Nicola xx

Repurpose: Pallet to Wall Art

Something you will notice about me is that I am so very CHEAP. Meaning, I have no interest in paying for things unless I have to, or at least not full price. Repurposing things is great for this particular trait, because not only does it cost me nothing, it also reuses something I wasn’t using!

A few weeks ago, a lady came to my door selling oil paintings. The paintings were gorgeous, but I just felt like saying “but I have a pallet in my garage”. Of course she would have thought I was crazy, so I politely declined and decided to finally get on to turning said pallet into the beautiful piece of wall art floating around in my head.

You see, I had seen this on Pinterest:

Pallet Artwork - youngancrafty.blogspot.com

Again with the Pinterest obsession. Gotta love it.

Cute right? And I had this mini pallet sitting in my garage, which came with something we had had delivered. As soon as I saw it I was in love as the wood was all weathered and awesome looking. It deserved to be more than just a pallet, it was too pretty.

So when I saw that picture on Pinterest, I had an Aha! moment (as I hope will happen for all of my hoarded posessions). I got to work and this is what came out of it:

To make the wooden base, I simply deconstructed my pallet, used two of the thinner pieces for the back and nailed the larger pieces on in strips (using the original nails too by the way, yeah I know I’m cheap).

For the actual painting, I freehanded some random tree-looking shapes (don’t plan, just jump right in there) and added some burgundy coloured circles. The burgundy colour was chosen because it was origanlly supposed to go in our master bedroom, but we have since decided we’d rather not risk having it fall on our heads during the night. I then drybrushed some white over top of the burgundy for interest, just so the colour wasn’t completely flat.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The only problem I have now is if it isn’t going to be hung in our bedroom, where should we put it?


Do you love pallets as much as I do? Or do you fall in love with things because you can see their beautiful potential?


Nicola xx