{Sew} Easy Pouch with Zipper Tabs

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I first attempted the zipper pouch three years ago. Although the pouch came out fine (especially for a novice), the experience was horrible and I swore off zippers for a loooooooooooong time. This past summer, however, I taught sewing to a group of 7 teenage girls and I decided it was time to bring back the zipper in my life. Have you ever seen a group of teenage girls look at you with anger, frustration, and tears? It’s pretty horrible! But each of the young ladies in my class finished their zippered pouch and the pride on their faces when they saw their finished pouch made the whole experience worth it.

While perusing Pinterest one day for new sewing ideas, I came across a pin for a tabbed zipper pouch. I had never thought to do this, but loved the idea of adding tabs so that my zipper actually opens all the way on my finished project. (True story. The ends of my zipper ALWAYS get stuck in the pouch.) After looking at several different tutorials, I finally put together my own pattern that has worked best for me. Hopefully you all find this as easy as I did. {For this project I have been using my Fat Quarter Bundle of 7 from the Wrens & Friends Collectionby Gina Martin for Moda that I bought from Sisters and Quilter’s Etsy shop.}

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Cut (2) 6″ x 9″ pieces from your outside fabric
Cut (2) 6″ x 9″ pieces from your lining fabric
Cut (2) 2″ x 4″ pieces from your lining fabric (for zipper tabs)
7″ Zipper


1. Cut out all of your pieces of fabric. You will have two pieces of outside fabric, two pieces of lining fabric, and two pieces for your zipper tabs. After you finish your cutting, we will attach the zipper tabs to the zipper.

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2. Take the first 2″x 4″ piece of fabric and fold it in half. Iron on the crease.

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Open up the fabric, fold each side into the middle of the crease, and press with an iron. Then take the two folded pieces and fold them into the middle. Repeat for the second piece of 2″x 4″ piece of fabric.

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3. Pin the fabric tabs to ends of the zipper making sure you do not cover the zipper stoppers.

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4. Sew the tabs onto the zipper.  I like to sew two lines to make sure the tabs are super secure.

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Trim the fabric …And voila!

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5. Now we assemble the pouch. Lay the lining fabric right side up, followed by the zipper right side up, then the outside fabric right side down. Make sure the top edges all line up.

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{Christen cheat. I like to pin everything on the bottom part of the zipper to hold in in place.}

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6. Repeat this process with the other side of the zipper. Once everything is sewn together, iron out the top pieces and topstitch next to the zipper.

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7. Lets sew a pouch!

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OPEN UP THE ZIPPER a few inches! (!!!!!) If you forget to do this, you will not be able to turn your pouch right side out, so please do not forget this step! Next, move your outer fabric to one side and your lining fabric to the other. Start pinning the fabric together, leaving a several inch gap in the lining for turning purposes. When you get to the zipper, fold the seam so that the outside fabrics match up together on the inside and the lining fabrics are on the outside. Pinch it together this way and pin in place. (I accidentally reversed this, so do the opposite of my picture.) Sew the bag up (leaving that several inch gap in the lining).

8. Clip your corners, being careful not to accidentally clip your thread.

photo 13Reach into your opening in the lining and pull the bag right side out. Take a chopstick and push out all of your corners.

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Don’t forget to sew up the gap in your lining with your machine or by hand.

9. Admire your amazing work!

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Pretty gorgeous, right? And hopefully not too painful! Lastly, one final tip: IRON! Iron like your life depended on it. I legit didn’t even know we owned an iron because I never use it… but it makes such a difference when you are sewing. Seriously!

So, what did you all think? This is my first ever pattern and I’m pretty proud of myself right now. 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone and happy sewing!



And now for something a little different…

I think one of the things that keeps me sane on a day to day basis is my love of many different things. I love my family, my job, crafting, AND running. Over the last 10 months, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about this blog. You see, while I love all things DIY, I think I love running even more. (I might have even started a running blogonce… or twice…) However, I just can’t commit to a running blog, and always end up back here. With all this being said, I (read: my husband) created a new link at the top of this blog that will focus on all things fitness. This will, hopefully, allow me to keep my two interests together in one space, but also separate, too. I’m not really sure if anyone will check it out, but I’m excited to have a place to document my fitness and running adventures. Please feel free to check it out!


He Gives Warm Hugs {DIY Olaf Costume}

OlafMy two year old was very anti costume this Halloween.  In fact, he started telling me in September, “I don’t want to wear a costume. I just want candy.” Sorry kid. It doesn’t work that way. In early October, this Olaf costume pattern from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop came into my inbox and I just had to make it! I showed it to my husband, who laughed and said, “you know Dax will never wear that, right?” Luckily, I have a friend who was looking for an Olaf costume for her three month old son, so I got to make it for him.

I downloaded Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop’s free pattern off of craftsy and was on my way. The pattern was for size 6-12 months, but I had one of Dax’s old 3 month jammies and I modified the pattern from that as was instructed.

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I ended up using this free hat pattern from FleeceFun.com to make the Olaf hat. Didn’t it come out great?

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I actually made the lining of the hat first, then attached the eyes, eyebrows, nose, and mouth to the front outside piece. Next, I attached the twig hair when I sewed the front and back of the outside of the hat together, and finally I finished the hat by adding in the previously made lining. (Does that make sense?)

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This was my first attempt at a costume and I’m REALLY happy with the results! Even the maniac toddler was impressed.

{“You make that hat for me?”

“Would you wear it?”


Lastly, thank you to my friend Sarah and her lovely children for letting me put their pictures of on my blog! The costume is cute, but it’s baby J that really makes the costume FABULOUS!

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 {He gives warm hugs!}

Thanks for reading!


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloweenie 2014 from the DictionFairy! I wish I could say this brilliant idea was all mine, but alas, I stole it from Pinterest.  (Is anyone really surprised?)  Got to love a costume you can whip together in two hours with an old dictionary, some ribbon, and a lot of hot glue.

I wore my DictionFairy costume twice, and I must say it was much more of a hit at my Halloween Family Fun Night event at the library than it was when I went out trick or treating with my son last night. Go figure.

I thought we were pretty cute: The DictionFairy and the Engineer of the Hot Mess Express. 🙂

And just because you moseyed over here… how is this my baby’s third Halloween?!

Happy Halloween weekend, everyone. Enjoy the candy!


Paint Sample Notebooks {Self Directed Programs}

I have posted before that I am the Queen of Self Directed Programs at my library. It’s hard to get teens to participate in a library program… but leave out a little craft to do and they are all on it! This past September I decided to bring back the DIY To Go, this time with Paint Sample Notebooks. They were fun and easy to make and all 30 of my kits were made in three weeks. SCORE!

6You’ll need:

  • Paint chip sample
  • Paper scraps
  • Stapler
  • Stickers (for embellishments)

***Quick note on paint chip samples. I had to go to several different stores before I found the paint chip samples I wanted. (Walmart still carries the long skinny samples.)  I know that these are used to sell a product so I only grabbed what I knew we would use. I work on a budget so I have to plan on a budget.***




1. Choose your paint chip sample and then fold and crease one end up about a half an inch.

32. Take the top edge & catch it under that little flap on the bottom to form your little matchbook-style notebook.


53. Place the paper scraps inside of the folded paint chip sample. Staple the bottom flap to hold the paper into your mini notebook.


4. Decorate the paint chip with stickers or stamps!


Like I said at the beginning of the post, I was using these specifically with my library teens, so I put everything out on a table and walked away. Everyone was very respectful of the project. I never saw a single wasted paint chip sample, plus they saved their instructions, baggies, and paper clips so I could reuse them. (I didn’t even think to ask them to save the baggies and instructions.)

This is a fun and easy craft that would be great for birthday parties or Ladies Craft Nights!

Have fun…



Super Easy Infinity Scarf


Sometimes I think I’m the world’s worst blogger… but I have been super crafty lately and I really need to start posting again.

I taught quite a bit of sewing this past summer to tweens and teens. I had my Sew Fantastic class, for teens in Grades 6-12, meet five Thursdays in a row and then I also assisted with our Sew Together class for younger children and their caregivers. In August we made these super easy (and awesome!) infinity scarves that my boss found on this blog post from Kitchen Counter Chronicles. I loved the project so much that I decided to also reuse the pattern with my teens!  This scarf is fast and easy to sew up and makes a great accent piece (and present).


-2 yards of fabric (Mine is Barbie fabric from Walmart!!)

-Coordinating thread

-Basic Sewing Supplies


  1. Cut a piece of lightweight fabric to 72″ x 14″. (The original instructions said to cut the fabric 57″ x 14″, but I wanted a longer “adult” scarf, so I used the full length of my fabric.)
  2. Fold the fabric along the long edge, right sides together. Pin and sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
  3. Turn the scarf right side out. You can simply finger press the long edge flat or use an iron to press the scarf. (It will look neater if you use an iron.)
  4. To create the loop, tuck one end of the scarf into the other end of the scarf…creating a loop…be certain you have not twisted the scarf. Tuck the raw edge of the outside piece of the scarf under, about 1″. Pin this edge. Sew along the pinned seam.
  5. Wear your awesome new scarf!

I didn’t take pictures of my steps, but make sure to check out the original blog post from Kitchen Counter Chronicles to get pictures and instructions!

Have a great weekend everyone and happy crafting!


Crafternoons {Duck Tape Key Chains}

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Crafting with my teens at the library is kind of hit or miss.  Earlier this year I decided to make my monthly craft program, Crafternoons, drop in, meaning all the supplies are out and open for several hours to any teens that drop by our teen space. The only tricky part to anything “drop in” is that you never know how many kids to expect so I need to guesstimate my supplies. Oh. And the craft has to be boy/girl friendly. This month I decided to tackle Duck Tape key chains after coming across several pins on Pinterest. The project is fun, easy, and practical. I compiled a list of step by step instructions, but if I’m too hard to understand, check this video out here. (I would like to add, I am not as professional as this video. I don’t use Duck tape sheets and I don’t have a paper cutter.)

Let’s begin!

Duck tape 1


Duck Tape

Key ring


Duck tape 2

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Step 1: Cut a 14” piece of Duck tape. Begin by folding the tape into itself so that both sides meet in the middle.

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Step 2: Once both sides are folded down you can trim the edges. (You should end up with a 12” or so piece.)

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Step 3: Cut a thinner piece of Duck tape in a coordinating color. Place the Duck tape along the inside seam of your first piece.

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Step 4: Place key ring at one end of the long piece of Duck tape. Fold the long Duck tape piece over and use the second color of Duck tape to tape the key ring into the loop.

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Step 5: Trim the long piece of Duck tape to your desired length. Then, attach one side of Velcro to the top of the long piece and the other side of the Velcro to the bottom.

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Step 6: And voila! Fold the Duck tape over to Velcro shut and enjoy!

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I hope you all enjoyed this easy peasy Duck tape craft brought to you by Crafternoons at my library!  {Have a fun and gender neutral craft for teens? I would love to hear about it in the comments section!}



Leg Day

I am exhausted! Between the craziness that was yesterday and the physical activity from today I am ready for bed.  So on that note, here’s to the fastest post ever.

My husband is awesome:

1{These are stargazer lilies and irises. I was supposed to get them on Valentine’s Day, but because of snow, they were never delivered Friday.  After spending the weekend on a FedEx truck, they were delivered yesterday to my library. Of course, the library was closed because of the holiday, so my flowers spent the day and night outside of the building. Fingers crossed that the flowers bloom.}

2{He really does love me!}

3{I did NOT eat any of this. Day 2 of the BFL Challenge and I am going strong. WOOT!}

I went to the gym during my lunch break!  YAY!  When I checked in on foursquare I saw that it had been 5 weeks since my last gym check in. Booooo! But I’m back and I’m ready to do some damage.

4{Gym selfie.}

You can find the BFL exercise guide here if you are so inclined. Today was lower body and I did:

1a. Barbell squats

1b. Leg extensions

2a. Lying leg curls

2b. Dumbbell lunges

3a. Seated calf raises

3b. Standing heel raises

4a. Floor crunches

4b. Reverse crunches

Words cannot express my soreness and my exhaustion, but I am done, I am in bed, and I am about to go to sleep.

Good night and sweet dreams everyone!


Self Directed Programs

*** 1/12/15: The blog has moved! make sure to check out the updated version of this post here. Thank you!***

I recently gave a presentation at the 2013 New Jersey Fall Youth Services Forum entitled “Nothing Passive About It: Portable Programs for Teens on the Go”.  I work for a library that has a hard time attracting teens to “typical” library programs (book clubs, crafting events, movie tie in parties), so last year I decided to embrace the Self Directed Program.  Almost monthly I set up a “program” that my teens can take part in while stopping by the library.  They usually have to fill out a survey, take a quiz, cast a vote.  They always get candy for participating, and I like to have a Grand Prize for at least one winner per program.  I went through several of my more successful programs during this presentation and now I’m going to share them with all of you.  At the end of this post I will share a link to my “Nothing Passive About It” Dropbox folder.  Please feel free to borrow or recreate any of these ideas!

Fairy Tale{Fairy Tale Scavenger Hunt}

YA Book Brawl{YA Book Brawl}

Blind Date with a Book 2014{Blind Date with a Book}

Catching Fire Display{News from the Capitol- Catching Fire Movie Tie In}

No Shave November{No Shave November- I can’t take credit for this one. I told my supervisor I wanted to do this display, but didn’t have the time so she offered to do it for me. It came out fabulously!}

DIY to go{DIY To Go: Chevron Friendship Bracelets}

Garden State Teen Book Awards 2013{Garden State Teen Book Awards}

Round of 32

Winner{YA March Madness aka My FAVORITE Self Directed Program of all time!!}

I hope these pictures help inspire you to try out a self directed program at your library or classroom.  You can find all of my files here.  Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts… and please feel free to share any successful Self Directed programs in the comments section below.

Happy Sunday,


DIY Sensory Board

Sensory Board 2

My library is getting ready to host a community play date for toddlers and I am in charge of creating a sensory board for our littlest patrons.  While perusing Pinterest for the perfect inspiration, I came across this pin for a DIY Sensory Board.  I knew as soon as I saw the way the fabric was being displayed in the embroidery hoops that this was the sensory station for me.  That is, until I saw the totally amazeballs sensory board on MDF board.  That I had to have for my (almost two year old) son… and I had to have it STAT!  

I’m going to wait to elaborate more on this board after we get done making the second square, but in the meantime, please check out Fun at Home with Kids to see how Asia made her board for her children.  It is a brilliant idea and my son loves it!

sensory board 1

Thanks for reading…