Tea Bag Tote Tutorial

The idea for this project resulted from a girls’ weekend that I took with three of my good friends.   We went to Winnipeg, Manitoba which is a five or six hour drive.  Had a blast!  We spent a day shopping in the historical area known as The Forks.

I found this sweet little tea bag tote in one of the shops.     The “Crafty Lady” in me thought this would be a perfect gift for my tea drinking friends and family.   I picked one up to use as a pattern.  I think it was five or six dollars.  Canadian.

Sneaky?  Yes, indeedy.  Smart idea?  Yep!

So I’m sharing this tutorial with anyone who thinks a Tea Bag Tote is a nifty craft.

Here’s what it looks like open.  You tuck a tea bag in each of the four little pockets.  Or sugar or creamer packets (I do not like powdered creamer but if you like it, there’s a spot for it here).

Please excuse the lighting on these shots…I was pinched for time and had to go with the flow…taking pictures while I was sewing.

But I digress…here’s how to make these little totes:

First, choose a pretty fabric.  Small patterns are the best and you can find dozens of small pattern fabrics if you check out the quilting fabrics.

I found the exact buttons that were used on the tote that I bought!  But you can use any sort of button you’d like, of course.

You’ll also need fabric for the lining.  It goes without saying that a light lining fabric will be what you want to use. 🙂

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them if you need a closer look.

Cut one 6-3/4 inch x 13-1/4 inch rectangle from each of  the fabrics.

With right sides together, stitch a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the edge, leaving a 2-inch opening in about 1-1/4 inch from one end.

Turn right-side-out and press.

Cut a 6-inch piece of 1/4″ ribbon.  Fold in half and insert 1/2 inch into opening so it’s 1-1/4 inch from the edge.

Pin it in place.
Fold each side in about 3-inches.  There will be a small gap in the center.

Fold in half like so:

And fold in half, again.   Using the ribbon and a straight pin, mark the spot for the button.

It helps a little to place some tea bags inside before folding.  That way, there’s a little bulk because when it’s finished, the ribbon will be a little more snug when you hook it around the button.

Using a fabric marking pen, place an ‘x’ where the button should go.

Unfold the tote and note where the button will go.  It’s hard to see in the picture, below, but there IS a pin with a blue head  to the right of the arrows.  (I should have used red, dang it.)

Now, you can sew the button on at this point.  If it’s a ball shaped button, though, it’ll be a little trickier finishing the next stitching steps.

With the sides folded in (see below), stitch around the entire piece as close to the edge as you can, catching the ribbon in as you go.

This is the point at which I find where the button should go and sew it on.  You need to be sure you just sew it to the outside and you can do that by reaching inside the fold and stitching it through to the outside.  Make several stitches to secure the button.

(If this makes no sense to you, please let me know.  I neglected to take a picture of that step.  Come to think of it, getting a shot with one hand holding the button and one hand taking stitches would have been impossible interesting.)

Next, find the center of the folded tote.  Set your machine to a zigzag stitch.  Experiment on a spare piece of folded fabric to find the stitch you like best.

Stitch across from one side to the other making sure to secure the stitches at each end.

Then stitch down the center between the two sides (again, secure the stitches at each end).

And now all you have to do is tuck in some tea bags, fold it up and button it!

You’ve got a clever way to tote your tea bags.  And it’s a nice gift for a tea loving friend, too.

I’d love to know if you decide to try this project.

ABC Sticker Gift Wrap


We’ve been invited to a baby’s baptism, this morning.  Yesterday I purchased a gift and when the clerk offered to gift wrap it, I said, “that would be great!”

It was pretty ugly.  She put it in a gift bag that was much too small and stuffed four small yellow and green tissues on the top then tied it with some pretty nondescript ribbon.

This morning I searched for wrapping paper but couldn’t find anything appropriate.   I did find a slightly wrinkled white paper bag.  And I spied two books of alphabet stickers in the box of crafty stuff that I keep on hand for the grandkids.

I pressed the bag with my iron to remove most of the wrinkles and decided to decorate it with the baby’s name…Hudson.

It turned out quite nice, if I do say so myself.

These were my supplies…a plain white bag, a couple of sticker books and a roll of red ribbon.

I used the blue and white ribbon from the original gift wrap plus some red curling ribbon to tie the handles of the finished gift bag.

Then I stuck the letters H – U – D – S – O – N at random spots on the white tissue paper.

Pretty nifty.

Creating Mirror Matted Pictures

I made this framed mirror picture for my mom many years ago.  This is me when I was five years old.   You can see the ceiling molding reflected in the mirror if you look closely.  Actually, I made three of them…one each of my two sisters and this of me.

About a year ago one of Jack’s cousins called to see if I had any ideas for a craft that she could teach to some friends.   Every year two or three couples (who live a great distance from each other) meet somewhere in the middle for a few days of shopping, visiting and while the guys go golfing or fishing or whatever they do (I haven’t a clue) the ladies work on a craft.

I remembered these little “mirror” pictures and mentioned them to her.  She asked me for the instructions.  Well….it had been many years and I had no instructions but I called my sister in Washington because I thought she still had these at her house after my parents passed away.

Sure enough…they were there!  She packed them up and sent them off to me, bless her.   Then I took them apart to see how I put them together!  Wasn’t very difficult.  Here’s the scoop:

Supplies needed:

  • Small mirrors
  • Fine steel wool (#0 and/or #00)
  • Photographs (naturally)
  • Picture frames

NOTE:  The mirrors I used were 3″ x 3″.  I found the frames somewhere…probably a craft store or maybe a flea market.  It’s possible that I found the frames and then the mirrors that fit perfectly at the same place.  It was a long time ago, remember.  But, I digress…

 What you do:

Place your photograph face down on the back of the mirror.  Draw a pencil line around the photo.  Remember that you just want to clear enough of the silver finish so the portion of the photograph that you want to frame is visible.

Starting in the center, gently rub the steel wool in a circular motion inside the line to remove the silvering.  I used #0 steel wool on this demonstration.   When your clear spot is almost the size you want it to be, you might want to switch to the #00 steel wool for the “feathering” process.

At first you’ll think you’re not making any progress at all.  Then, all of a sudden, you’ll notice that you’ve got a small clear spot on your mirror.  Keep checking to see how much of the photograph is showing through the mirror until it’s just the way you want it.

Gently rub in a circular motion to remove the silvering
Feathered Edge

Important: Feather the edges so they’re irregular but don’t remove the silvering all the way to the edge of the line you drew.  Otherwise, you’ll be able to see through the glass around the edge of the photograph.

Back of Mirror

Place the photograph face down on the mirror back and tape it in place with a small piece of clear tape.  Replace the frame backing and secure it.

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Turn it around and…Voila!…admire your handiwork!

This is an especially pretty application for old family photos.  However, the frame that you choose will definitely determine the style of the piece.

If you choose colorful, whimsical frames you’ll have something perfect for the kid’s school photos or birthday party pictures.

Use your imagination and you’ll come up with some unique ideas.  Wouldn’t these make terrific gifts?