DIY Library Tote Bag {FREE Printables for Iron-On Transfer!}

If you have kids you know how tricky it can be to keep track of library books in your home… you bring them home, read them on the couch, and then before you know it they’re mixed in with your own books and quickly forgotten… until you get that late notice from the library (ooops). The best way to keep track of them is to have a designated place to keep them - for us we made a special library tote that has served us well. We use it to bring home books from the library, and as we read them we make sure to return them to the tote so they’re never misplaced. I’ll show you exactly how I made ours, along with two free printables so you can make your own! | This post contains affiliate links |

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

Materials:

How-To:

1. First, run your canvas tote bag through the washer and dryer - you need to make sure it’s clean and there’s no more sizing on it from manufacturing which might keep the iron-on transfer from adhering well.

2. Print out your design on the transfer paper. (Please note that the designs I have available for download are ready-to-print PDFs for printing on iron-on transfers, therefore they are already in mirror image - aka backwards.)
*You can find links to download our designs at the end of this post - there are two different designs to choose from!*

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

3. Cut out the iron-on transfer design, leaving a border around the edge of the design to help ensure the design will adhere well to the fabric and not lift at the edges.

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

4. Make sure to read the instructions for your particular brand of iron-on transfers as these next steps may vary slightly from brand to brand. For the transfers we used, the next step is to heat up the iron then pre-iron the bag to get rid of wrinkles and preheat the fabric for the transfer. Our directions recommend working on a hard surface with a piece of scrap fabric underneath.

5. Carefully place your design face down on the bag and iron it on using a LOT of pressure. I actually stand on a chair to put my full body weight down on it too. You want to iron over the whole design, paying particular attention to the edges to make sure it really adheres well.

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

6. After going over your design like a thousand times (an exaggeration, but make sure you go over it a lot to adhere it well). Let it cool completely before carefully pulling the paper backing off and you’re done. Time to go to the library!

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

Download FREE Printables for Iron-On Transfer Here:

 Explore Books Logo (prints to approximately 4”x5”)

Explore Books Logo (prints to approximately 4”x5”)

 Go on an Adventure Logo (prints to approximately 4.5”x4.75”)

Go on an Adventure Logo (prints to approximately 4.5”x4.75”)

*Please note that the downloaded PDF files will have the logos in MIRROR IMAGE (aka backwards), since it needs to be printed in reverse on the iron-on transfers.


Want to make a Custom Design?

Build Interactive on Creative Market

I made the designs for these library tote logos by using design files from my husband's Creative Market Shop. If you want to edit these designs or make your own, you can purchase the files from Creative Market and personalize them yourself!

The designs I used were from his Vintage Outdoor Travel Logos and Retro Industrial Logos, Volume 2 series.


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DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

Every Halloween we participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project to promote awareness and inclusion of all trick-or-treaters, no matter their dietary restrictions.  Unfortunately a lot of kids have food allergies, ranging from mild to potentially very dangerous.  These allergies can include dairy, chocolate, nuts, soy, gluten, artificial dyes, and more.  These kids either can't participate in trick-or-treat or have to throw out most of what they get - and when you're a kid that's really rough.  
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DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

By having a teal pumpkin out, you're letting kids and their parents know that your house is a safe place to trick-or-treat and you have non-food items available. These can be things like novelty pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles, crayons, small toys, etc.  You can still give out the usual candy, but it's a good idea to keep the non-food items separate.  This is a great project to allow all kids a chance to feel included in trick-or-treat on Halloween. 

We usually paint a real pumpkin teal each year, but this year the squirrels and chipmunks have been eating all the decorations we put out on our porch (*shakes fist*). So yesterday afternoon during nap time I whipped up a Wooden Teal Pumpkin that can be used for many years to come. And the best part? It cost me NOTHING! I made it all with scraps from our wood bin and paint we already had.

Materials:

How to:

1. Cut your wood scraps down to size if necessary. You need one larger piece for the face, one small piece for the stem, and a piece for the support at the back (the support piece does not have to be triangular, that’s what I happened to have though).

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2. Next attach the support piece of wood to the back of the large piece with a screw or nail.

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3. After that, give it at least two coats of teal paint. Paint it all over, including the sides and back.

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4. Once that’s dry, use black paint to paint a jack-o-lantern face on it and paint the stem piece black as well.

5. Once everything is dry use wood glue to attach the stem to the top of the pumpkin and give a good spray of clear sealer if you’ll be putting it out not under the cover of a porch, etc.

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to put your teal pumpkin out to welcome all kids for Halloween. Happy Halloween!

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FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has some wonderful resources on their website - including crowdsourcing maps to identify participating houses, printables you can use to proudly show your support and educate others, and fundraising opportunities to help fund food allergy research and awareness.

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DIY Slate Garden Markers

I've been eyeing slate garden markers for our herb garden for awhile now, but buying pre-made ones are soooo expensive and they never have all the varieties I want.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own.  Because I have the world's worst handwriting (it's true, ask anyone) I used a Cricut to cut the text for me, but if you have half-decent handwriting you could easily do this project with a paint marker too.  | This post contains affiliate links |

DIY Slate Garden Markers

Materials:  

How To:  

1.  If using your Cricut to make the text, measure your garden markers and make each "label" in Design Space the appropriate size.  I chose a font with a handwritten feel, but you can use whatever font you prefer.  You may need to play around with the scale of the lettering to get it to fit.  Use 651 Permanent Vinyl to cut your text.  

Making the labels in Design Space for Cricut

2.  "Weed out" your text, removing any pieces of vinyl you don't want to be in your final design.  I find a dental explorer to be super useful here to get rid of the pieces inside of letters, but it's not necessary.  The finer-point text was definitely a lot harder to weed (which is why you'll notice the dot on the "i" in garlic chives isn't in the right place).  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress

3.  Next use contact paper or transfer tape to put over your final vinyl design and rub well to make sure it's on there good.  This will "carry" the vinyl once the backing is removed.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress

4.  Carefully peel the backing off your design.. this can be tricky.  My advice is to go slowly and have your dental explorer handy if you have one!  It can help hold letters down as you peel off the back.  

5.  Once the backing is removed, carefully place on a clean and dry slate marker.  Rub the design on well (I use an old gift card like a squeegee).  Once it's on there good, carefully peel off the contact paper.  
Alternatively:  If you don't have a Cricut or want to do this project by hand, you can skip steps 1-5 and just write your text freehand with a white paint marker and allow to dry.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress

6.  To make sure the vinyl doesn't peel or come loose, I use a spray acrylic sealer to seal them.  Just put the markers on a scrap piece of cardboard, give a light coating of the spray sealer, and allow to dry (make sure you're in a well-ventilated area). 
If you used a paint marker instead I would also suggest sealing them.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers in progress
DIY Slate Garden Markers

7.  Hang your new garden markers!  You can buy special hangers for them if you like, or use sticks and some twine or wire.  In my case I wanted them on the barrels in our herb garden so I simply used some thin copper wire and "flossed" it through the slots in the barrel, tying it off with a large washer at the back so they don't pull through.  

It has been SOOO abnormally hot in New England these past few weeks that my herb garden isn't looking too wonderful at the moment (hence the limited "after" pictures).  We have six wine barrel planters on a small patio; four of the planters have perennial herbs (chives, garlic chives, sage, and peppermint) that come back each year and the other two planters I switch up each summer.  Currently my poor plants are a bit sun-stressed and I'm far behind on weeding, but I hope you'll get the idea of the final install below.  I think it really helps finish the space and I love that things are finally labeled.  

DIY Slate Garden Markers
DIY Slate Garden Markers
DIY Slate Garden Markers

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An Unconventional Wedding Gift

I recently made this custom herb planter as part of our wedding gift for some close friends and I just love how it came out!  I'd love to add something similar to the Etsy shop but not sure how to ship it... hmmmm.    

A custom herb planter for a wedding gift

PS - Congratulations again to the happy couple!!  We're so happy for you both!  

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Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To {As seen in Food Network Magazine!}

A few months ago, Food Network Magazine emailed me and asked if I'd be interested in designing a New Hampshire-themed egg for their Easter issue!  I was completely blown away and honored for the opportunity.  My New Hampshire egg design was a gold-dipped, faux birch bark egg - gold-dipped to represent our State House with it's golden dome, and the birch bark paint finish to represent our our state tree, the white birch. 
Fun Fact:  My great-grandfather was a steeplejack and did the gold leaf on the New Hampshire capitol dome back in the 1920's!  
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Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To | As seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg

Creating one of these gold-dipped birch eggs for yourself is pretty simple!  Here's the full how-to:  

Materials:  

Eggnot ready to be painted
  • faux egg (for the Food Network Magazine example and most of the photos in this how-to, I used an Eggnot, a fake ceramic egg - but you could also use a wooden egg. If you use real hardboiled eggs I would not recommend eating them after painting)
  • gold acrylic paint
  • black acrylic paint
  • white acrylic paint (if your fake egg isn't already white to begin with)
  • paper cup
  • thin paintbrush
  • tinfoil to make a stand for the egg to dry on

How-to:  

Adding the gold-dip to the egg.

1.  First, make a tinfoil ring to hold your egg while it dries between steps.  Then if your egg isn't already white, paint white and allow to dry between coats.  It may need several coats of paint.  

2.  Next shake the gold acrylic paint well and pour about half an inch of it into a small paper cup.  Dip the top of the egg carefully into the cup.  (I found it best to to do the gold-dip first, then paint the bark pattern after since sometimes the black lines were visible under the gold-dip.) 
Gold paint tends to be thick and you may have some swirling or thick drips after dipping.  You can try to smooth these out a bit with a paintbrush but it usually looks cleaner if you just leave it as-is, even if you end up with a thick spot within the dip.  After the gold dip, carefully place the egg in the tinfoil ring to dry.  

3.  Once the gold-dip is dry, use a thin paint brush to paint horizontal black lines on the egg, all the way around.  Vary the placement and thickness of the lines a bit to mimic the look of birch bark.  
You may have to carefully hold the egg for a few minutes to let it air dry a bit before carefully setting it, gold top down, into the tinfoil ring to finish drying.  

Hand-painting a birch bark design to the egg.
Gold Dipped Birch Egg drying in a tinfoil holder.

And that's it!  While making them can be tedious with the drying time between steps, it's really quite easy.  And in the event you don't feel like tackling this project yourself,  I have a limited supply of painted Wooden Gold-Dipped Birch Eggs in my Etsy Shop!  

Gold-Dipped Birch Egg How-To | As seen in Food Network Magazine!
  As seen in the April, 2018 issue of  Food Network Magazine !  

As seen in the April, 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine!  

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Honored to Say: “As Seen in Food Network Magazine!”

Incredibly honored and excited to say that I designed and painted the New Hampshire egg for the latest issue of Food Network Magazine!  I was completely blown away when they sent me an email last November, asking if I wanted to be a contributor for this piece (um, YES!) and it’s so exciting to finally see it in print!  Thank you, Food Network Magazine! 

If you want to make your own NH-inspired egg, please check out my full tutorial HERE.  

Birch Landing Home - as seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg
Birch Landing Home - as seen in Food Network Magazine!  New Hampshire-Inspired Easter Egg

PS - Make sure to pick up a copy, so many creative eggs from every state - not to mention all the yummy recipes!

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Cataloging Past Family Christmas Cards

Creating our family's Christmas card each year is a tradition I greatly look forward to.  I especially love looking back at past years to see how much everyone has grown.  I used to tuck these old cards away in a drawer but I've found it much more accessible and enjoyable to put them within reach, displayed in a special photo album.  | This post contains affiliate links |

Cataloging Past Family Christmas Cards

Luckily, we've always done 5x7 inch photo cards which fit perfectly inside a festive perfectly-sized photo album I found on Amazon. If you've done different sized or odd-sized cards through the years, it might make the most sense to use a big scrapbook to chronicle them. Just make sure to order an extra card to add to the album each year and cherish the memories!

Cataloging Past Family Christmas Cards
TIP:  Create a photo album with your family's yearly Christmas Cards

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DIY Teacup or Dish Bird Feeder

You might remember a previous post where I reused a repaired coffee mug as an herb planter in the kitchen.  Well this year I decided to transform that mug one more time into a little bird feeder for a focal point in the flower garden.  

DIY Teacup or Dish Bird Feeder
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Supplies & How-to:   

The supply list really couldn't be more simple - all you need is a mug, bowl, or plate, a wooden dowel, a rubber cap, and some super glue!  That's it!  

I had my husband paint the wooden dowel with a couple coats of white outdoor paint first (normally I would have painted it, but the outdoor paint isn't recommended to be used by pregnant women).  I wanted it painted to give a bit more of a finished look and to help make sure the dowel lasts longer outdoors.  

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Then with a little bit of Super Glue, I attached the rubber cap to the bottom of the ceramic mug.

By having the mug be removable from the dowel, you can easily pound the dowel sturdily into the ground with a small mallet or hammer then add the feeder once the dowel is in place.  It also makes it easy to clean out the feeder regularly.  

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Since we've had bears frequent our neighborhood lately, I will just be filling the mug with water for now for birds and butterflies to drink from.  Once the bears go into hibernation again I will be able to safely fill it with bird seed for our feathered friends.  

Overall I'm happy with how this simple project came out - it adds the perfect touch to our flower bed!  

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