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Personalized Tea Towels

I love picking out presents for people. Taking the time to find just the right thing that will bring a smile to someone’s face, or a tear to their eye. So, when a friend and her fiance bought a house, I knew I wanted to find just the right housewarming gift, to help them make this new house their home. The problem? I hadn’t been to their apartment, so I had no idea what their style/aesthetic is!!!

Thankfully, they’re planning a wedding and I LOVE weddings. The promise to choose a single person every day for the rest of their lives? It gets me every time. Plus, add in fun decor, gorgeous clothes, and hopefully fun music, hell yes. I’m all in. So, my excitement for weddings, and crafts in general, means I always hope friends share wedding plans as they happen! Seeing choices for flowers and centerpieces, cakes and favors, makes me so happy!! This was also a great way to get an idea for their style. That’s what I call a win/win!

A little more back story, this lovely friend loves shopping at TJ Maxx/Home Goods and completely adores the Rae Dunn line. Super cute and fun! (If we didn’t already collect Fiesta, I’d fall down this rabbit hole so fast!) She found this mug while out shopping and picked it up for me!! I love it! It is a fantastic addition to the craft room!! (Plus, we’ve picked up a few other Rae Dunn pieces since!) And this gives me another clue for what she/they like in their home. Off to Home Goods we go!!!

We found a super cute Rae Dunn dish and a lovely vase, but something stuck with me when she gave me that gorgeous mug. She “had to get it for me because [she’ll] never find one with her name on it”. Not cool. Everyone should be able to find kick ass personalized pieces!! So, I have to make something personalized for her (and her fiance, obvs). What better for a housewarming than a lovely set of tea towels?! Virginia and I picked up some beautiful, subtly striped fabric (which is impossible to photograph without getting a headache!) Gave it a thorough wash, so it doesn’t shrink with the vinyl attached, and got to work!! Virginia tried a bunch of pretty fonts while I cut towels out!

This is a wonderfully simple sewing project. I cut rectangles at 19 inches wide and 29 inches tall. Since my fabric didn’t really shrink, I was able to cut three towels across the width of the fabric!! Then I ironed each side edge in a scant 1/2 inch twice. Then ironed the short ends 5/8 inch twice. This gives a slightly deeper folded edge to the ends, which I think looks really nice. A quick topstitch close to the inside folded edge of the towels, and they are ready for vinyl!

If all my friends could settle down with someone who’s name is a similar length, this would be way easier. Hah! We played with font size, direction of text, angles and just decided to go for the same width, and let her name be larger than his. Then we went for a simple combo of initials for the third towel. Weeding went really quick, a solid press to the towels and they’re done. I think I spent more time doing a pre-press to make sure the towels folded in thirds beautifully before adding the vinyl, than the time I spent actually ironing it on. It was wonderful!

I think these are super cute! I can definitely see some fun snarky ones for my kitchen, and more names for friends and couples. Plus, I can break out the embroidery machine to go even fancier if I want!!

With how fun and quick this project was, I might have to prep some towels and set them aside in case I need a last minute holiday gift. (But, for my friends, I totally planned yours super far in advance.)

Stephanie xx

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Etched Mirrors

Sewing isn’t my only craft. I’ve always loved dabbling in various crafty type things. I took all the art classes in high school, a few in college. I’m not overly good at most of them, but I do thoroughly enjoy the time spent creating something. One of those art classes in high school taught us how to etch mirrors and glass. It is ridiculously easy, so something in our house gets fancied up with some contact paper and etching fluid every few years. (They can also make fun and unique gifts!)

This is the mirror I etched in high school. We got to design our own thing, etch it on the mirror, then solder on some beautiful stained glass. I’ve always loved geometric shapes (probably why I have a Frank Lloyd Wright tattoo!). I find them soothing and beautiful. It is so fascinating to watch basic shapes come together into something that is so much more. This has survived all my moves and hangs in my bedroom now. A great reminder to always enjoy the crafts, because they brighten up my life.

Anyway, we saw these hexagonal mirrors in the bullseye section of Target and I knew we needed to etch them!! Hexagons are my favorite shape (what, you don’t have a favorite shape?!) and the white framing is perfect for our style. When I picked them up off the shelf, I KNEW they had to be fancy swears. So ridiculous, yet so fun.

They sat FOREVER. Collecting dust, mocking me with their boring mirror faces. Until we had to break out the Silhouette for another project (for a present, so I can’t share yet! Keep an eye out.) If we’re going to pull it out and sit down with it, we might as well do the mirrors!!! Perfect!!

Now, mostly I ask Virginia to run the software while I prep or do other projects. I don’t know why, I’m not very good at describing what I’m visualizing, so we both usually end up frustrated (sorry, Sister). This was one of those projects. I said fancy, scroll-y font with flowers around it. How vague can I get?! Well, she left for work and I dove in to see if I could create what I was picturing. Sent her a snap of it for approval, since they’re planned to hang in shared space. Got the go and started to cut.

It turns out I do not have the patience to weed contact paper. Hell no. Never again. So, I tossed the first cut and used some permanent vinyl instead. WAY EASIER!!! I highly recommend the more sturdy, easy to transfer vinyl over contact paper. Got them both weeded and placed on the mirrors. Throw some etching fluid on there (safety is recommended here. Use a popsicle stick to spread, in a well ventilated place. Gloves are suggested. Blah, blah.) Let it sit. Wipe it off. Peel the vinyl. Then wash it off. Seriously the easiest process, once you’ve got your design stuck to the glass.

Of course, after I finished, I realized the mirror comes out of the frame and this could have been a way easier project. Oh well, it isn’t perfect, but, I LOVE how it turned out!! Subtle swears are my aesthetic. These now hang fantastically in the living room and I can’t wait to see reactions as visitors notice (for those that don’t know about them already, because I’ve told everyone!! Hah!!)

Next etching project, glassware. For sure.

Stephanie xx

(Y’all, its really hard to take photos of mirrors.)