Beach Towel with Pocket

Pocketed Beach Towel @ponderthepath

Summer has arrived in full force here in South Texas and going to the pool is #1 on the kids’ summer bucket list. In order to keep all their swimming necessities in one place, I created a beach towel with a pocket. Each child can store their goggles, sunshades, snacks, or money in the handy pocket sewn to the back side of the towel.

Check out my Beach Towel Pocket tutorial at The Happy Housewife to learn how to make your own!

Learn to Make Hand-Dipped Beeswax Candles

Learn to Make Hand-Dipped Beeswax Candles @ponderthepath

We have had so much fun making our own beeswax candles. Even though they are somewhat short and squatty, it makes our home feel so warm and welcoming every time I light one. And the smell. I just adore the smell.

Want to make your own? Join me at The Happy Housewife and I will show you how!

Crayon Roll-Up Bag

Crayon Roll-up Bag @ponderthepath

I don’t know about you, but crayon boxes don’t last very long at my house.  Usually within a few days, we are putting crayons into zip lock bags or zippered pencil bags.  The problem with this is that it is difficult to find the color you need without either dumping the entire bag, or digging through it.

I decided to make a Crayon Roll-Up Bag for my girls.  The only thing sweeter than a new box of crayons is a new box of crayons in a bright new roll-up bag.  You should have seen their eyes light up when I told them the bag I made was for them!

These bags are great for keeping crayons secure and in place, while allowing you to see which color you want to use.  They also make super gifts–just fill with crayons, add in a coloring book, and you have a simply delightful handmade gift.

Let’s get started…

Here is what I used, but I did have a bit of the fabric left over.  Use what you have on hand and don’t be afraid to mix and match for a scrappy look.

Items needed:

1/3 yard printed fabric
1/3 yard solid fabric
10 x 14 inch piece of batting
24 inches ribbon



1 – 10 x 14 inch printed fabric
2 – 6  1/2 x 14 inch printed fabric
1 – 10 x 14 inch solid fabric
binding –  60 x 2 1/2 inch solid fabric

Note: Seam allowances are 1/4 inch.

Sew Edges Together

Sew Edges Together

Turn Fabric Inside Out

Turn Fabric Inside Out

Pin to Fabric

Pin to Fabric


Take one of the 6 1/2 x 14 inch printed fabric pieces and fold in half lengthwise, right sides facing together.  Sew together along the length of the fabric.  Turn inside out and press flat.  Repeat with the other piece of 6 1/2 x 14 inch printed fabric.

Sandwich together the 10 x 14 inch pieces of fabric with the batting in between.  Both fabric pieces should be right side facing out.


Pin the 2 – 3 x 14 in panels (the ones you just sewed together and pressed) to the solid side of the sandwiched fabrics.  Start by measuring from the bottom 1/2 inch.  Pin one panel down, then measure 1 1/2 inches further up.  Pin the next panel down.  You should have 2 inches left at the top of this panel.

Sew Along Bottom

Sew Along Bottom

Mark Lines and Sew

Mark Lines and Sew

Trim Edges

Trim Edges


Sew along the bottom edge of each panel.  (Make sure you are sewing the bottom edge.  I somehow turned mine around and sewed the top edge.  Not good.)


With dressmaker’s chalk or a water soluble pen, mark the rectangle in 1 inch intervals from top to bottom.


Sew along each line you marked.

Tip: Sew from bottom to top to prevent pucker at the bottom of each panel.


Trim the edges slightly.  Add binding around the edges.  If you need help with your binding, please take a look at my quilt binding tutorial.  You will bind the crayon bag the same as a quilt, only smaller.  Last, tack ribbon onto the printed side of the fabric.

If you are a bit creative, you can create these bags for many different purposes.  I made one for my older daughter to keep her knitting needles in.  They would also work for drawing pencils or sewing accessories.

Crayon Rollup Bag @ponderthepath

Enjoy your new Crayon Roll-Up Bag!

Online Sewing Class

Craftsy Class Giveaway

Crayon Roll-up Bag @ponderthepath

My first memory of sewing was when I was probably 6 or 7 and my mom let me make a pot holder on the sewing machine. I don’t know how well the pot holder turned out, but I do know that I have always loved to sew.

In high school I took home economics and learned to read patterns and sew garments. I didn’t particularly enjoy sewing with patterns because I always felt they were quite tedious and tended to do things the hard way. Really, it was most likely that I was impatient and wanted to be done with the project.

Last year I was able to take a couple of classes from Craftsy. Craftsy offers all sorts of classes (sewing, quilting, baking, knitting, crocheting, cake decorating), but the 2 classes I have taken both had to do with sewing garments.

Tiered Skirts @ponderthepath

The A-line skirt class teaches you how to create skirts from scratch, meaning you make the pattern as well. Once I took this class, I felt like I really understood the process of making skirts so much better. I thought this might stifle my creativity, but it actually allowed me to become more creative. Now that I understand the basic structure of creating a skirt from scratch, I am able to modify the process and create the skirts I want.

I am also in the process of taking the Couture Dress class that teaches you how to create a dress muslin and then modify it for the perfect fitting. It is much more of a challenge, but I have really learned so much from this class. The lady that teaches the class, Susan Khalje, is one of the most talented seamstresses in the country. Not only that, she has a great gift for teaching so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. In other words, she makes it look easy!

Firecracker Quilt @ponderthepath

I love sharing projects that I have made here on my blog, but I realize that many of you would love to make similar projects but don’t know how to sew. I would love to sit with each of you and teach you the things I have learned over the years, but it just isn’t possible. I figured the next best thing would be a class from Craftsy!

In order to enter, visit Craftsy, take a look at the classes they offer and tell me which one you would like to take. Leave a comment letting me know which one.

You can also share this giveaway {pretty please} with everyone you know or follow me for additional entries.


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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls

Felted Dryer Balls @ponderthepath

Many years ago I learned to make my own laundry detergent and was thrilled to be able to avoid harsh chemicals and save a pretty penny. However, until recently, I continued to purchase dryer sheets because my husband cannot stand his clothes to have static electricity.

I was thrilled to find this very simple alternative to dryer sheets that is not only cost effective, it is also reusable and non-toxic. Throw a few felted dryer balls into the dryer to reduce static electricity, decrease wrinkles in clothing, and speed up drying time.

Join me at The Happy Housewife where I am sharing a tutorial on making your own wool dryer balls!

Lap Desk Tutorial

I almost threw the lid away and then I thought, I could make something with that lid! I had seen cute lap desks at the crafting store, but decided I didn’t want to pay that much for one. Surely I could turn this orphaned lid into a comfy lap desk.

Join me at The Happy Housewife where I am sharing a tutorial on how to make your own lap desk.

Herbal Medicine Making: Calendula Lotion

Calendula Lotion @christianherbal

Herbal Medicine Making: Calendula Lotion has been moved to my new herbal site The Christian Herbal.

Richard Scarry’s Busytown Quilt

I had taken my 3 year old little boy into the quilt store with me last fall. I was worried about trying to keep him settled down long enough for me to take a quick look around. We passed the kids fabrics when he set his eyes on a blue patterned fabric with Richard Scarry’s Busytown characters on it. Immediately he said he wanted that quilt. “Can you make me a quilt? I want this on my quilt.”

It was a cute pattern so I caved and bought a couple of yards not quite sure what I was going to do with it. Isaac carried the fabric around for days, calling it his quilt. It has only taken me about 6 months to turn it into “his quilt”.

This isn’t a full tutorial, but rather a quick “how I did it”.

1. I took the dark blue fabric and cut it into 4 1/2 inch strips.

2. I took the striped fabric and cut it into 2 1/2 inch strips.

3. I sewed a striped strip (tongue twister there) to the top and bottom of the dark blue strips.

4. I pressed my seams inward. Then cut blocks 8 1/2 inches wide.

5. I cut out 8 1/2 blocks from the Richard Scarry fabric book panel.

6. I alternated the direction of the blocks and threw in the panel blocks.

7. I added 4 1/2 inch wide striped borders down the length of the quilt.

8. Quilt and bind.

9. Made a cute pillowcase from the leftover fabric. (That’s another post.)

My Personal Spa

When we were back home in Texas a couple of months ago, my 10 year old asked for a pedicure for her birthday. She and her sisters had never had a pedicure, so I took all three of them to celebrate. Since that time, Maddie and Hannah have opened up a family salon. I couldn’t be happier!

Having a large family often comes with sacrifices and one of those sacrifices is unnecessary trips to the beauty parlor. I just can’t justify spending the money on myself or finding the time. And truthfully, if I want to spend money on myself, I want it to really count–not get washed down the drain!

So recently, the girls asked if they could give me a pedicure. Why had I not thought of this before? I looked through my cabinets and drawers and found lots of unused goodies to supply their salon. They found a large toy tub and they were in business.

Hannah even found an old “label maker” that she scans appointment slips with. Yes, you have to make an appointment in advance. No walk-ins allowed. My grandmother came down for Thanksgiving and was treated to daily pedicures and massages. I think she will be back.

It didn’t take long before their small stash of soap and lotion had dwindled. They wanted to buy some more supplies when I remembered that last year about this time my sweet friend Stacy had given me an e-book that she put together called Simple Scrubs to Make and Give. I had looked through it at the time, but just didn’t find the time to actually make any of the scrubs. I thought this would be a great time to have the girls read through it and play with some of her recipes.

I downloaded the book onto Maddie’s Nexus 7 and she spent the next day reading through all of the recipes. She kept coming to me, excited to announce another great recipe she wanted to try! I started out by letting her make a simple scrub that I use as an alternative baby bath. It is just a mixture of dead sea salt, almond oil, and lavender essential oil. This one is also great to put into the bath water to because it is both calming (because of the lavender eo) and detoxifying (the dead sea salt).

It wasn’t long before the girls had three different scrubs made. I had to slow down their scrub making work just so we didn’t run out of supplies, but promised they could resume once we had finished using the ones they had made.

They are already planning on making some for Christmas gifts, and I thought that was a great idea! In the past they have often wanted to make gifts for others, but were not able to make something without substantial help (and I can’t always work with them). These scrubs are easy enough that they can make them without much help from me.

I think they will be a huge hit with our friends and relatives! I know I can’t wait to try the Energizing Foot Scrub. I opened the jar to take a picture of it and the aroma was so invigorating. Looking forward to another appointment at my personal spa.

Learning to Make Skirts ~ Craftsy Class Giveaway

When I was in high school I took a home ec class and learned to sew. We were taught how to read patterns, select fabric, and eventually sew our garments. The thing I didn’t like about learning to sew this way was that it was so tedious. There were so many steps to follow and it seemed like most of them were unnecessary. (I guess that is why I naturally drifted toward quilting…I just do it my own way and call it good.)

Online Sewing Class

I was recently browsing through classes at Craftsy (have you signed up yet, it’s FREE to sign up, and a few of the classes are even free!) and I saw the class Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt. It promised to teach how to both design and sew a skirt tailored to my shape and style. At the time, I was thinking this would be perfect for my daughter. She wears skirts all the time and has been wanting to learn to sew. I signed up for her.

The Class

But somewhere along the line, God started tugging at my heart about making some skirts for myself. I thought I would watch the class just to help her out, but as I watched I learned so much. The class starts by teaching you how take your own measurements and draft a pattern. At first you just learn the basics, but as you progress she (Debra Moebes) teaches you how customize your skirt and add in the elements that are right for you.

What I enjoyed was the fact that she cuts out the unnecessary and just gets right to the meat. Yes, there are still some steps that I felt were tedious, but at least now I understand why they are necessary.

Once you draft your pattern, you then sew up a muslin (had never done that before…I felt like a professional). The muslin is a practice run so that you can make sure it fits properly and is just how you want it before moving on the real skirt.

After you have made your adjustments, you then transfer them back to your permanent pattern before cutting out and sewing your skirt. I say permanent, because once you have a pattern that you like, you can keep the same pattern and just make adjustments to it for any “extras” you would like to add each time. Debra teaches you how to make skirts with invisible zippers, yokes across the top of the skirt, fuller skirts with her slash and spread method, and how to add a variety of pockets to a skirt.

I finished this class and felt confident in my skirt making abilities. I was so thankful that she took the time at the end of the series to talk about different fabrics. I am only use to working with cotton fabrics, but they are a little on the lighter side for skirts (at least for me, now I wouldn’t mind using them for the girls). I am anxious to try my hand at making a linen or wool skirt. She also shares resources on where to find different kinds of fabrics for skirt making.


A few more things that stood out about the Craftsy class and are worth mentioning:

Indefinite access to your class — once you sign up for a class, you can take as long as you like in working on the class. What I like about that is if I get down the line and have questions about something I learned in this class, I can always go back and watch the lessons.

Ability to ask questions — both Debra and other students are available to help answer any questions that may come up as you learn to sew.

Ability to work on the class at my own pace and whenever I want — there is no waiting for the next class to become available, nor is there any getting behind if you don’t finish something. The classes are totally go-at-your-own-pace and you can watch them whenever you like!


I tell you I have had so much fun taking this class! I was have been up way to late on more than one occasion, watching the Craftsy videos…it’s a little addicting.

In fact, I am so crazy about Craftsy classes that I want to share one with one of you! I am going to be giving away a FREE Craftsy class to one lucky winner. And for those of you that might not be the lucky winner, Craftsy currently has all of their classes on sale for just $19.99 (now through November 26th).

If you don’t have time to take a class now, but think you might want to take one later, I would suggest signing up now while they are so cheap, and taking the class at your leisure.

To enter the giveaway, visit and browse their more than 100 classes. Then tell me which class you would take if you are the chosen winner!

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Shared on Hip Homeschool Moms