Manda Crafts: Monogrammed Straw Tote

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Last summer when I signed up for my CSA, I was determined to find a cute but functional market tote to carry my vegetable haul in each week. I saw this monogrammed tote on a blog I read and fell in love, but wasn’t into the $160 price tag. I’m not an expert level crafter, but creating my own monogrammed bag was surprisingly simple and cost less than $50. I love the bag so much that I use it for far more than just vegetable hauling; and the project was so quick and straightforward that it’s easy to replicate and makes a great gift. I painted one for my mom for Mother’s Day this year — pictures below, along with links on where to buy supplies!

You’ll need:

A straw market basket – I use this one
Two paint colors – I use these
Letter stencils – I use these
Plus paint tape and two paint brushes – one thick and one thin

Use the paint tape to set up a basic grid for your outer stripes. Because the surface isn’t completely flat, be careful as you paint on the edges so that too much paint doesn’t bleed under the tape. Remove the tape when you’re finished. Use the stencils to paint on the monogram, starting with the middle letter to make sure it’s centered. Fill in the center stripe using your second paint color — I do this free hand and find it pretty easy to stay in the lines. Finally, use your second paint color to add some dimensions to your letters. Let the bag dry completely and then strut all over town with it.

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DIY Memory Game

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In March I celebrated the second birthdays of two of my favorite humans – Wyatt and Elizabeth. My sister had sent me a similar hand-painted Memory Game a few months ago, and I carried the idea around in my back pocket until March was upon us. I ordered cork coasters from Amazon and picked up paint from an art store on our block, and Brett and I got to work! Even though they are just two, Wyatt and Elizabeth have become two perfect little people, each with distinct personalities and interests. Brett and I had so much fun thinking of what we would paint for each of them. For Wyatt: a dinosaur (his current obsession), a firetruck (for obvious reasons), our cat Pico (who he asks for every Facetime call), mountains and sunshine (because, Colorado) and an airplane (for visits!). For Elizabeth: a cupcake (her sweet-tooth is something else), a taxi (for our city girl), a Tuna (one of her nicknames), balloons (her favorite thing at the moment), a flower (she likes to pick them on walks), and hearts and stars (because, girl stuff). They are a little young for a true Memory Game now, but it can be a Matching Game for now, or a stacking game… or a cute coaster for a drink : )

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Manda Crafts: Kissy Kissy

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A cheetah weekend isn’t really complete without a craft, so I always pay close attention to cute DIYs that I see on Pinterest. I pinned this kiss kiss craft a long time ago, and finally got around to doing it with Charlotte and Rachel a few weekends ago. I have quite the lipstick collection from my days in cosmetics but I rarely venture outside of my two go-tos, so it was nice to put the rest of the colors to use! To ensure our lips were in tip-top shape, we also made a quite lip exfoliator out of brown sugar, coconut oil and honey (equal parts of each). The finished products were so cute and the perfect additions to our bathrooms. Mwah!

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