Craft Project: Handmade Envelope Clutch

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

I’m so glad to be flexing my crafty muscles again.  Between my thesis, job, and making scrapbook layouts, I haven’t had the time for other projects.

Late last year, I was planning my outfit for a holiday party and my dress needed a new purse.  Serious.  Right before we headed to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving, ABM published this envelope clutch tutorial.  A new craft project plus my mom can help me?  Score!!

I followed the tutorial but made a few changes which I’ll outline below.


Instead of using two separate colors, I decided to go all black.  The faux leather at the fabric store was very flimsy.  I had much better luck in the upholstery section and found this woven black vinyl.

Even still, I didn’t think the vinyl would be stiff enough to hold its shape as a purse, so I purchased enough to double-layer it.

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

I also picked up some thick black thread.  ABM calls for waxed thread but I found it unnecessary.

I couldn’t find a cute closure.  Instead I got a regular purse magnetic closure, plus a cute button to glue on top (hence the tube of glue).

Sewing Away

I followed the tutorial pretty closely.  It was difficult to get the two layers of my purse to line up as I was sewing it, but I decided to keep sewing and I’d trim it later.

After it was all done, I trimmed away all the excess showing, then went over the seams with a Sharpie so the grey underside wouldn’t show (I know, classy!).

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

My mom and I attached the purse closure under the flap.  Then I glued the pretty button to the outside.

Taking it for a Spin

I’m glad I double-layered it.  It would have flopped all over the place if I hadn’t.  I might have been able to get stiffer material at a different store, but I’m happy with the result.

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

The bag held a small wallet, lipstick, and my phone with room to spare!

Here it was on the big night — it matched perfectly!!  I loved it so much I took it out to lunch the next day.

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

Envelope Clutch DIY: click here for the full tutorial from A Beautiful Mess


A Christmas Travel Journal

Christmas Travel Journal by Natalie Parker

What’s this?  What’s this?  A new travel journal?  I know, I’ve never made two in a year before.  But here she is.

Travel over Christmas = festive required (it’s a rule).  I went for festive rather than something that screamed holiday.  In the past, I’ve shopped for paper with the trip in mind.  For our big trip back in September, I used some paper from my stash.

I used my stash again here.  I had a bunch of great stuff with metallic accents that I hadn’t used yet due to my creativity problem.  I went with Shimmer by My Mind’s Eye.  Actually I had two finalist choices and let Mr. P choose.  He has to earn his keep around here somehow.

What do you think?  I love that it totally fits with a holiday theme but not stereotypically so.

A little secret: by the time this post goes live, I’ll already be well into my trip.  Want to know where I am and see some live shots?  Follow along on Instagram!  If you’d like to stay surprised, I’ll have some photos ready to share in January.

To learn how to make your own travel journal, check out my travel journal tutorial here.  To understand why I keep a travel journal, check out this post.

Map Coasters Update

Map Coasters by Natalie Parker

It’s been over three years since I posted my map coaster tutorial.  It is one of my most popular craft projects of all time here on the blog!  How are they holding up?

Yep, we are still using them.  Every day.  They get a lot of use and get tossed around every which way!  I wasn’t sure how long they would last but they are still going strong and I have no plans to replace them.

Click here to visit my map coaster tutorial

I heard they now make dishwasher safe Mod Podge?  What is this madness? I haven’t tried it yet but it may negate the spray enamel step in the tutorial.  Let me know if you’ve tried it!

Map Coasters by Natalie Parker

Square Business Cards + Book Pages

Grad Student Square Business Cards by Natalie Parker

Being a grad student, you have to market yourself.  Or so they tell me.  Most grad students in my field have business cards for networking purposes.  I designed these for a conference I went to earlier this year.

Being me, I had to make them stand out!  They’re definitely crafter + archives student +  designer + I heart fonts.

I created them in Picasa, saved them as jpeg’s, then print on white stock and cut them using Silhouette Studio.  My name is written in Century Gothic and the bottom font is Klinic Slab.

And as if squares weren’t unique enough, I glued pages from A Tale of Two Cities to the back.  The book pages were leftover from my book wall art.

What do you think?  It was a pretty quick project!  It only took me one evening to finish.

Grad Student Square Business Cards by Natalie Parker

my new notebook

Covered Notebook by Natalie ParkerCovered Notebook by Natalie Parker

Inspired by Elise’s action book, I purchased a new notebook to keep track of my creative ideas and tasks.  I used to keep ideas for this blog scattered in a bunch of documents and notepads.  My scrapbook sketches were usually done on scratch paper and post-it notes.  Then I would lose things.

I bought a Blueline Business Notebook, which has dividers so I can keep sections on my blog, scrapbook, and other items.  The book has grid paper inside, which is great for making lists and drawings.  As you know, I can’t draw a straight line so I passed on blank page books. I’ve been using it off and on for a few weeks.

Realizing that I’m more likely to use it if it’s pretty-looking, I covered it with some fuzzy paper from Paper Source (no longer in stock) that I had in my stash. I used the same notebook covering method described in this post.

Sort of.  I took a detour.

Since I had been talking about how great Avery glue sticks are, I thought shouldn’t I be able to save time and just use a glue stick for this project?  Wrong.  Just for you, dear readers, I took one for the team and tested it using a glue stick.  It just didn’t do a great job of holding the paper firmly around the sides.  No matter, I was able to fix it by adding Mod Podge (like I was supposed to!) and all is well.

Results so far?  The book is holding up very well and I love having all of my notes in one place!

Covered Notebook by Natalie Parker


Cross-Stitching by Natalie Parker

I’ve taken up cross-stitching again.

I learned when I was 11 or 12 from my mom.  She was a fierce cross-stitcher before she moved onto quilting.  It’s been a couple decades (thereabouts) since I’ve cross-stitched.

I’ve been hankering to try it again but a few things held me back.  I could never find a pattern I liked.  I’m too practical — I won’t make something I wouldn’t consider hanging in my home.  I didn’t need animals, kids, houses, mansions, landscapes, unicorns, Edward Cullen, etc.  My crafting time is also limited and it is almost all devoted to scrapbooking.

Then I had a creative drought with my scrapbook.  I had to leave it alone and work on something else.  Suddenly there was room for something else creative!  I flipped through patterns on Etsy tirelessly but nothing was quite right (in the event I have a child, I know where to get tons of cute Star Wars patterns).  I discovered Pic 2 Pat and made my own pattern.  It took a while and I almost didn’t finish it.  But the scrapbook doldrums persisted so I pressed on.

I picked up my DMC threads the other day and got started.  I’m totally thrilled!  It’s fun to have a project I can work on when I’m curled up on the couch.

The finished product should be in the 16×20-inch range (theoretically, we’ll see if I used Pic 2 Pat correctly).  I’m not going to hurry through it and estimate it will take me at least several months if not a year to finish.  But working on it is starting to soothe my creative issues.  YES.

Fixing the Collage Frame

Collage Frame by Natalie Parker

I made these collage frames a few years ago for the home office.  They have not stood the test of time.

I used wire and hot glue.  Slowly, some of the wire broke away from the hot glue and I was left with this:

Collage Frame by Natalie Parker

Being the lazy person I am, I left it like this for at least a year.  Maybe two.  I finally got a bee in my bonnet a couple of weeks ago and took them all apart and put them back together again.

I swapped the wire for twine.  I modeled the new frames after a Christmas card holder my talented sister-in-law made for me.  Starting at the top, I wound the twine around the outside of the frame.  This method leaves some unused rows of twine in the back of the frame.  I thought it was neat and added some visual interest.

Collage Frame by Natalie Parker

This redo wasn’t without disaster.  I was halfway through the first one and realized I wasn’t winding tight enough.  If I added the pictures, they’d just drag down the twine.  Do over.  Naturally, the second time I wound it as tight as I could.  I forgot I was using cheapo Ikea frames.  Putting that much pressure on the frame almost broke it.  Do over.  The third time, I kept it at medium tightness and it worked!

Collage Frame by Natalie Parker

Some of the photos have faded a bit.  I picked out some new ones to bump up the color and display more recent stuff.

Collage Frame by Natalie Parker

All done!  After this tuneup, I hope it holds up for another couple years!

Collage Frame by Natalie Parker

Collage Frame by Natalie Parker

Recycling Pre-Printed Envelopes

Turning Leftover Wedding Supplies into New StationeryTurning Leftover Wedding Supplies into New StationeryTurning Leftover Wedding Supplies into New StationeryTurning Leftover Wedding Supplies into New StationeryI’m in love with how this very simple project turned out!

Remember my recycled wedding response card notecards?  These are the envelopes that go with them.

I had a stack of return envelopes pre-printed with our address leftover from our wedding.  What to do with them?  It seemed like a waste to throw them out.

I used a frame design that came pre-loaded with my Silhouette software and cut labels that fit over the pre-printed address.

I used these for the first time the other day.  I wrote the address and glued it to the front of the envelope.  Simple!

If you’re keeping score, I’ve been married for almost seven years.  I held onto these supplies for that long waiting for the perfect idea.

New Spring Color Palettes

Spring color palette based on bouquet of greens, pinks and purples.Spring color pallette based on pinks, oranges and yellows.Happy Spring!  Yes, I’m going to say that spring has sprung even though some of the country is still sitting under snow.  Positive thinking, people!

Besides the calendar telling me it’s spring, I know for sure it is because the asparagus has started showing up at my local farmer’s market.  For us, it means the end of winter cooking and moving on to springier dishes.

I dug through my files looking for some spring inspiration.  I put together two new color palettes for you!

The first one is from a bouquet of flowers we saw on our trip to Seattle.  The second is from my trip to Sydney – those flowers drop on my coworker’s car in the morning!

I hope these inspire you!

Minibook: Everything We Ate in China

China Food Travel MinibookI’ve never made a mini-book before.  Funny, right?

I wanted to do some sort of fun project about all the food we ate on our trip to China.  I started by taking a picture of everything we ate, beginning on the plane ride.  Mr. P and our friends were gracious in not touching anything on the table until I got a shot of it – they even reminded me to take photos!

Shopping in Beijing, I found this awesome little book.

China Food Travel MinibookI printed the food pictures as 2-inch squares when I got home, and then left a 1/8-inch white border when I cut them out.

China Food Travel MinibookI was a little concerned that the thickness of all the photos was going to mess with the binding of the book, but the finished product is actually pretty cool!

China Food Travel MinibookI sat in front of the TV with these supplies and went to work.

China Food Travel MinibookI used a date stamp to stamp each page with the date the meal corresponded to.

China Food Travel MinibookThen I taped in each picture and wrote a few words.

I also wrote divider pages for each city we were in.

China Food Travel MinibookNot bad for a first attempt?  I like how minibooks have an effortless look, so I hope I succeeded.

I’ve included a bunch of pages below so you can look at them.  I used over 80 photos, so this is just a sample!

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