Uglier Coin Purse Remake

The first coin purse I remade at the beginning of this week wasn't really ugly to start with. It was plain and lacked personality, but as far as things go to hold your change not terrible.

Today's remake is from fairly awful beginnings in its former life as a cigarette pouch. I was unaware such a thing existed. But when I picked it up to see if I couldn't tear it apart for the hardware, I was told by an enthusiastic shopkeep that this was the best thing to hold my smokes in, there's even a side pouch for the lighter. Rockin!

 This is the original (terrible) pleather "cigarette purse"

But I'm no smoker. This thing had to be re-crafted into something beautiful to be rescued from it's dull dollar store life,  to be given a new start in it's non-toxic life for the new year. But this time with a visual tutorial, hurrah!

Remade to something a little lovelier

Re-crafting an Ugly Metal Framed Coin Purse to Become Something Beautiful

Scraps of fabric large enough to get two cuts of your purse shape. One fabric for outside and one for lining (if you're into lining your purse).
One ugly "Cigarette Purse" or any other cheap metal clasp purse you fancy deconstructing.
Basics: Needle, thread, pencil paper, fabric glue and pliers

Time estimate for 1 complete coin purse: not more than 1 hour (and I hand stitch).

Step 1). Tear our this pleather material and begin to CAREFULLY ply open the metal clasps of the purse frame. *As this is a relatively cheap frame from a Dollar Store, this is either a pretty easy step where the metal just opens up or the material of the frame is so ridiculously strong that you are wasting your time and should pony up for a new frame. This hardware cost me about $.50 and and a few minutes of fiddling with the metal.

Step 2). Sketch out a rough shape that you like. I enjoy life without actual patterns, if it makes you nervous to think of all that design freedom, Google some images you'll find tons of coin purse shapes.

Step 3). Trace this shape onto lining and outside fabric ( two from each fabric) with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Step 4). Two ways to go ahead. 

a).If you are an expert with purse liners, stitch together the lining and outside fabrics separately to be assembled inside the pouch. 

b). If you're in a hurry, you can pin all four fabric layers together right sides facing in and stitch around all piece. REMEMBER you only stitch until the point where your metal clasp will begin to touch the fabric on either side (you might want to mark this spot now).

Step 5). There is an exceptional tutorial at the Purl Bee that will teach you how to finish the clasp of your purse (and also tempt you to buy $50 worth of a coin purse kit with Liberty of London fabric). Go to the tutorial, it is concise and fairly self-explanatory.

Step 6). Voila! You have a lovely little coin purse that probably didn't cost you more than a few bucks in materials and an hour of your time. 

Last Minute Resolutions, Part II

I've successfully moved on from clouds to stars and from adding graphics on top of photos to starting from scratch. Progress is slow but steady. Here are some name prints.

 This is for my daughter's room. 
I might add some flying unicorns, why not?

This is for a 12 year old's birthday. 

Even if I knew what he actually wanted, I probably wouldn't  get it for him. Unless it was his name written in stars, cause that he can have. 

Last Minute Resolutions

I know that everyone is writing their 2011 lists of wishful thinking and hopeful goals but I spent today trying to cross an old resolution off my to do list. This particular one is so old, I can't even tell which year it's carried over from.

Learn to use some fancy photo editing software.

So today's project to learn to write in clouds was born.


 One in Hebrew and one in English just for comparison. This stuff is easier once you get the general idea, but time consuming and frazzling if you've never opened the software before. Luckily I didn't invested in expensive Photoshop but instead use the open-source GIMP for my photo manipulation.The base photo is a free stock image that I found fairly quickly but the clouds are all me.

I'm off to see if I can't use this new nifty skill to make a last minute birthday gift for a 12 year old boy. That's right, I absolutely believe 12 year old boys like their names written in puffy clouds above fields of poppies.

Does Every Penny Count ? Ugly Coin Purse gets a Makeover

I've come to notice that in the US, coins have been nearly eradicated. Here in Israel (Europe as well) our coins are worth actual money. I can easily pay for the bus, a cab, a carton of milk or even leave a tip at a restaurant all in coins.

On a recent visit to Chicago I made a purchase for $4.67. I handed the clerk a $5 bill as well as the $.67 in change to get back a single $1 bill. The man looked positively befuddled. I thought I was making his job easier. I've learned that nobody would throw and handful of coins at their barista's tip jar, I was told by people in the know that anything not a bill is rude. I doubt any cashier would have the patience to count  a handful of coins to pay for a latte.  I even saw a home clean-up show where the family found a small fortune in forgotten change behind furniture and in the couch cushions, enough money to open a checking account for their college bound teen.

So I just have to wonder, doesn't anybody know that these coins are still worth money? Maybe in these difficult economic times people have started holding on to their nickles and dimes.

Here's a good project to remind you to hold onto your change. 

This is the old (ugly) coin purse from the (sort of) Dollar Store.

All I wanted was the metal hardware from inside this pinch closure coin purse. The style reminds me of the change purses  my great-uncle used to carry around as he paid for all purchases exclusively with coins. Ever been to a drive-through with a senior citizen who refuses to speak English but demands to pay in change? Priceless.

Here's the finished and fully lined remake of the coin purse.

As you can see, your bills fit when folded in quarters so it's good for traveling light.

Here's me demonstrating the pinch-to open feature, no coins sneaking out here. 

This useful attribute is already making my thrifty purchase and remake worthwhile. Just as I turned to leave the store where I found bought the old coin purse, the handful of change I had received came pouring out of my wallet as I tossed it in my purse. It seems my toddler has been busy at work pulling the stitching from the coin pocket, adorable. 

Gee thanks kids!
Quick Instructions:
1). Measure two outside fabrics and two lining fabrics to slightly larger than the width of the hardware and as tall as you like* (to fit a credit card in this pouch I would need to make the final dimensions taller). 

2). Pin the edges of the lining and the outside fabric together with wrong sides facing inward. Stitch securely around three edges leaving the top totally open. 

3). Turn your fabric right side out (press if you're into that sort of thing) and insert your hardware inside the pouch. You can choose one of the following methods to finish. 

A). Insert the metal between your lining and outer fabric to later top-stich the top and secure the metal with a running stitch to finish (make sure to only stitch through a single side of the pouch at a time or you will close off your entire pouch). 

B). Place the hardware inside the the pouch and fold the top of your fabric inward to cover the metal. Topstitch to secure and finish. I would have chosen this method for ease if I had enough of the outside fabric but it was an up-cycled scrap that couldn't accommodate the extra inch fold. 

The project pretty much explains itself. If you're lost, drop me a line, I'll try to help

Anthropologie Jewelry, Not a Mis-spelled Textbook

One of my new favorite places to look for tutorials happens to have a love of remaking jewelry found in a fancy store called Anthropologie.

Despite my second college major*, I have had to admit that I have no idea what Anthropologie is. I've got a fancy shopping bag with the store's logo somewhere around my home, but I've certainly never been in the store. I know there was one in a neighborhood I used to pass through on my way to work in my young-er single-er life, but I wouldn't be able to tell you what they sell.

Curiosity has definitely killed this cat. I loved the tutorial found here  and am proud to report that not only have I now created my own lovely (albeit flawed) version, but I've also looked up this online retail mega-boutique.

I have to say it seems pricey, hence all the skillful remakes I keep seeing around the web. but as I've said before I'm just not that fancy... I probably won't be going on any online spending spree but will be on the lookout for jewelry which I will spend hours making only to never wear.

 Mine needs some work

The original is clearly better, but not $40 better.

Learn from my Mistakes: Flamingotoes suggests using glass beads, large wood beads and four cuts of wide ribbon. Next time I will believe the expert as I used the tiny seed beads I had lying around with 2 cuts of ribbon I folded in half and the plastic beads I found in my daughter's craft bin. Needless to say, I had to use more strands of seed beads to obtain the fullness of the original, the plastic beads had jagged edges that put runs in the ribbon and the ribbon itself was just barely wide enough to finish this project. Why oh why is there not a Michael's where I live?

*I was part of a program that combined medical anthropology and the anthropology of genocide. It wasn't as cheerful as it sounds, I assure you.

Barn Toy Box

The trouble my children have with sharing toys isn't usually their lack of desire to share, it is mostly their lack of desire for sharing to interrupt their own toy enjoyment.
Take, for example, our doll farm. This is what my four year old calls a wooden barn house where all the small doll live with their tiny pieces of furniture and accessories. Also residing in the doll farm are the many tiny animals that belong to my two year old.

For the most part, these toys live together in harmony. Unfortunately, for the two year old to get to his toys, he must rummage through his older sister's well-organized doll house.

The solution? The felt barn toy carrier.

This is inspired by one of my favorite tutorials from  UKLass. This tutorial also appeared in One Yard Wonders, but I personally like the original dollhouse from the blog the best.

I decided against the fold out design and side closures because two is a delicate age where all sorts of hidden toy elements set off tantrums on occasion. Best to steer clear with something more straight forward that I won't have to open and close a thousand times a day to appease two year old whims.
The toy barn lives inside the larger doll farm and keeps the tinier animals organized and out of the way. Simple enough for a two year old to pick up before bedtime. This way everyone is happy and can continue to play nicely together without too much trouble. 

And yes, the velociraptor lives on the farm as well.

Partying Like a Fish in Water

00:00 by SarainAkko 4 comments
Two year old's hardly remember their second birthdays after the cake has been cut and the streamers pulled down from every doorway. Yet, as a mother, I feel compelled to bake and craft until the pure bliss of hard-work's exhaustion sets in and I am left in a haze for the party itself.

This year's party had a fish theme, not for any particular reason other than I had fish cookie cutters, a great goldfish stamp and tiny goldfish to work with lying around. I thought I'd give it a swim (sorry).

First the decorations:

a goldfish pinata

 goldfish stamped birthday banner

it says "Happy Birthday" trust me

Streamers under the sea 
(these were everywhere and looked pretty nifty)

Blue sea salt with goldfish for the buffet table

Chips in the goldfish bowl seemed like a good idea

 Goldfish cookies (well gold clown angel fish cookies)

Also seahorses, dolphins, whales etc...

 Veggie fish platter

And of course the cake.
You might remember the whale scrubbers turuorial:

These little guys made it into each gift bag. 

Along with goldfish soaps... the murky green is due to the relative impossibility of finding clear glycerine soap base anywhere in the North. I searched all over.

Where are the pictures from the party itself you ask? Don't ask me, I was passed out between the kitchen and the buffet shortly after the cake (loaded with lit sparklers) was presented to a happily confused birthday boy.

Flower Blossom Giveaway Winner Announcement

First, I want to say how much fun I've had this week reading everyone's comments and thank you all for stopping by to participate in the giveaway. You would never know that giving away something for free could be so fun. I have to say I'm surprised that so many of you seemed to like the white lotus, which I love, I just didn't know it would be so popular. I'm off to make more!

Next, I wanted to let you all know that even if you haven't won this giveaway, I'm offering 3 very special coupon codes to use for the next month.

Visit ModaMama  to receive 20% off the purchase of any jewelry items by entering BLOG20. You can get any of the rings, pendants or sets for a great price until the end of January. I usually list these items individually so if you don't see the colors you want please convo me and I will set up a private listing for you to purchase with your coupon. I am happy to give you the discount on larger orders as well, just let me know. 


Visit and enter coupon code BLOG20 for 20% off any purchase of Dead Sea cosmetics, spa products, olive oil or other fantastic and unique products from the Middle East. 


Visit Old Akko Shuk on Etsy and enter BLOG to receive a free gift with purchase until the end of January. 

And now for something  you'll really enjoy. (Sorry the Random Number Generator Widget is acting wonky but I assure you it's what I used). 

OUR WINNER IS COMMENT #10 Katie who said:
I LOVE the White Lotus Blossom, Large Pendant, choker but the Gothic Fairytale is really pretty too! Thanks for the great giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who entered, make sure to use the coupon codes and visit me again soon.

Giveaway Day is HERE!!!

If you are a reader of SewMamaSew's blog, you know that today is their official giveaway day, encouraging bloggers who are also crafters and sewists and general supply hoarders to spread the joy of Giveaway Day. 

So without further ado... the Giveaway!!!

One lucky winner will get one of these

 Enchanted Bordeaux rings....
Or one of these White Lotus Pendants
 Or a Lavender Fields ring

 Or a Burgundy Cream pendant
 Or a Peaches and Cream ring.

Any one pendant or ring from ModaMama!
How to Enter:
Hop on over to the and leave me a comment on this post letting me know whether you'd like a ring or a pendant and what color you'd like if your the winner chosen at random. They come in  a dozen colors and I'll try to get you the one you really super want if you win or "Follow Me" for a chance to win. One entry of each type per person please.

I'll be closing comments at 12AM PST December 17, 2010 and posting the winner shortly after. 

Choose from: (see numbered photo)
1. Violet
2. Lavender Fields
3. Burgundy Cream
4. Lilac Parade
5. Wisteria Cream
6. Gothic Fairytale
7. Poison Plum Passion
8. White Lotus
9. Black Widow
10. Enchanted Bordeaux
11. Peaches and Cream

*BONUS* Keep checking back for our winner this week and I'll be giving out a coupon code for 20% any one jewelry item from ModaMama good through the end of this month.

Mr Potato Head's Bucket is No More

It seems that 2 is about the age where Mr. Potato head becomes wildly appealing in our house. Unfortunately 2 is not an age where you can successfully cram all of Mr. Potato Head's gazillions of parts into his backside storage or his silly trunk (that never can stay closed).

Tired of the pieces on the floor, we've made Mr. Potato Head a new sack for storage. Now to see if a 2 year old can keep this tidy. Right.

Although he is a beloved member of this family, there is a finesse involved in making sure a felt rendition of Mr Potato Head doesn't seem like some sort of racial epitaph. Turns out I'm not the only person who has had some trouble with this spud in the past.  Read the Washington Post here.

Nail Polish, the Root of all Evil?

I am an unfancy mother, I mean that as plainly as you can take it. But, I am the mother of a fancy child.

My daughter seems to have inherited the same phantom fancy genes that my sister has. Part of this rare genetic condition must be in it's random selection of sufferers. Despite the fact that they see one another rarely, my four year old has found that her kindred aunt spirit is the one to go to for the glitz and glam her mother so obviously lacks. She is drawn to the glamor of an aunt who travels with a make-up bag and full wardrobe, an aunt who knows about the importance of being fancy.

When preparing for a wedding some months back, my daughter was a ball of giddy excitement. Auntie Leah was coming to paint her nails. I spent days listening to how she would hold her hands very still to allow the polish to dry, how she would hold her fingers to show everyone her nails, and hours upon hours deciding what color each tiny nail would be.

One wedding? Sure, I could handle ten little non-toxic painted nails for a few days while outside of our normal daily routine.

But somehow while on this particular vacation, there where so many reason to need nail polish. At least by my four year old's reasoning:

-Dinner out was pretty special, we don't do that at home.
-Off to visit a new friend, super special.
-On our way to bug-camp, a camp entirely about bugs, crazy special
-"Look mommy, I ate all my dinner!" Will the special-ness never cease?

I put my foot down swiftly, I wouldn't be humoring this particular flight of fancy the entire vacation.

"Painted nails are for very special occasions only like weddings. When you are much bigger you can paint them as often as you'd like. For now, no!"

My four year old is the rational sort, she knew the rules and I really didn't hear another word about it for the rest of the summer.

But just half a year later, our family was preparing for another wedding... the kid knew her rights. Weddings mean fancy, fancy means nail polish and she wanted what was coming to her.

I bit my tongue knowing that I myself had come up with this rule.

We painted nails with her special polish (oh why did it have to be neon pink?) and had fun showing everyone her very lovely manicure. She was happy, I was happy she was happy and the whole event was probably more pleasant because of this compromise.

So why am I still raking this over in my mind?

It seems to me that mothers once said "Nail polish on children? That looks cheap." But somewhere along the road to a nail boutiques in every city and hamlet it became acceptable and even popular to let girls have their nails done right along with mom and friends. And why not, if there is a safe way for kids to have fun and play grown up, what's the harm?

Personally, my soul gnaws at me over this one. Playing grown-up is the harm. Little girls who are tiny grown ups with a tiny person's adult sized demands are a problem. Vanity and fickleness, these are concerns I have about raising a fancy daughter.

We don't have a television at home, we don't have licensed character apparel, toys are homemade and books take up more space than any other single item in our household.

Does one tiny pink bottle undermine all of these well-honed values?

Searching the web I really thought I'd find some people who found it distasteful to let little girls wear nail polish but instead I found this blogger who asks at what age is nail polish appropriate but seems to come up with only supportive answers, little kids love nail polish let them paint away.

I've also turned up a posting board for step parents deals with this from the opposite direction, why does this make our children slutty? The consensus is that it doesn't. Even trend spotters have taken note of little Suri Cruise's painted piggies and her favorite brand of nail polish.

To be honest, the tiny painted nails didn't bother me as much as my gut told me they should but I feel like I'm failing a mom test if I don't say that this is inappropriate.

Maybe I can bare polish for those once in a while occasions, but I'm not ready for 4 to look and act like 12. I'm even not ready for 4 to think it should look and act like 12.

What do you think, is nail polish OK on little kids or does it make you uneasy?

Tervetuloa suomalaisia ystäviä!

13:49 by SarainAkko 0 comments
I've notice that recently I've been receiving a bit of traffic off of one neat blog that I wish I could understand. There seems to be a lot of fancy quilting, intricate knitting and more.

BUT it's entirely in Finnish. They featured my Owl Pouch Tutorial 2 weeks ago and ever since, I keep seeing more and more Finnish visitors to this blog.

Welcome to all my new Finnish friends. Glad to see you stopping by.

P.S. I used Google Translate to translate this post's title. If my Finnish is very off, my apologies.

Vegan Sherling Sherpa Baby Boot Set

I've finally figured out the secret to working with the vegan sherling fabric, you just have to cut into it. I had a yard or so I just couldn't resist buying and I knew it was made to be tiny Baby Uggs. It looks like all babies this year will be getting matching bootie/mit/hat sets.

The sets are also on sale Here and Here at ModaMama


This is my Uggs (style) bucket hat that my husband hates.
I made it,  I love it, I'll wear it.