DIY Personalized Straw Bag

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Last summer I set out to make my own personalized straw bag. I had seen so many amazing versions online. One store in particular, MISA Los Angeles had some really pretty straw bags where they would spray paint any name or word on the front, if under 6 characters. I thought since straw bags only last so long it would be fun to try to make one on my own, I also knew I could do it at a fraction of the price (especially with the Canadian dollar exchange). I will try my best to show how I put it all together but I made it before I started my blog so it’s hard to show exact step- by-step instructions. Find the link to my inspiration, the original bag here. Etsy has a lot of these bags as well with different trims and some hand-embroidered versions as well.

 

 

I found the bag on www.french-baskets.com a website that ships right from Morocco, where they are handmade. When I bought it the price was lower, I think the popularity has gone up so I suggest purchasing a plain bag and adding a pom-pom trim to the top to dress it up or find a bag locally that is more cost effective. I will say they were a fabulous company to deal with and the bag was shipped very quick, they also have a variety of beautiful options and I liked how their bags had leather handles.

I found the exact pom-pom bag charm that was on the original bag at Shopbop Canada which you can find here. I will say again, the price on these too has gone up, I didn’t pay anywhere near what they are now, it must also be the dollar. I know if you hunt online there are cheaper versions on Etsy as well as fantastic online tutorials on how to make them on your own! I really want to try this in the future!

Making Your Own Personalized Straw Bag

STEP 1: Find a simple straw bag and add a trim to the top, or find one like I did below. I really liked that this one had leather straps!

STEP 2: Find a tassel-style bag charm or make your own from one of the many tutorials online

STEP 3: I used MS Word to print out my name to use as a template. My name is only 5 letters so you would really have to play with the font size and script that best suits you name and bag size. I made sure to set my margins to ‘narrow,’ and used the ‘Vladimir Script,’ font in bold and in size 600 pt.

 

My name had to be printed on 4 sheets of paper and I just pieced it together letter by letter once it was being traced on the bag.

 

STEP 4: I used nail scissors to cut out each letter. I keep a pair with my craft supplies for jobs like this. They are not meant for cutting paper, and this will dull them but their size and curved shape make them perfect for cutting out small areas such as these script letters

 

STEP 5: I don’t have photos of this step but I just folded the bag flat and used a washable crayola pink marker to trace the letters on. The name will turn out much bigger than the cut-out when marking them and then painting them so be mindful of this when choosing the font size. The marker was pretty faint but just visible enough to make out. I had to do a bit of freestyle painting in between the letters to connect them and fill in spots that didn’t paint well. I used basic acrylic paint and mixed a few colors together to get the tone I wanted. I painted 2 coats and let it dry thoroughly for 12 hours.

I can’t wait to use this bag in the summer, I hope to make another one soon in different colors and will use the same bag charm for both.

Thinking of the warm weather!

Lv, Julie♥

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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At the beginning of most every week you will find me in the kitchen making this salad. It makes a great lunch on the go or side at dinner. I started making this recipe when a nutritionist I was talking to advised me to have more protein throughout the day. At the time I was going through a phase where I was not that into meat, I wasn’t a vegetarian but was having meat only a few times a week. That phase is behind me and I grew to love this salad as a staple. Quinoa is well known for its health benefits. It’s actually a seed and is incredibly high in protein. It is also gluten-free and high in fiber and iron. I’ve tried serving different quinoa recipes as a hot side but prefer quinoa as a cold salad. This salad is so fresh and full of flavour, but is better on day two when all of the flavours come to life!

 

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Ingredients:

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry quinoa
3 diced red bell peppers
1 cup thinly sliced green onion (white & green parts)
1/4 cup sliced pimento stuffed green olives
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use almost 3/4 of a cup because I love lemon juice!)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup or whole package of chopped fresh basil

Directions:

1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in quinoa and reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed and the quinoa should be tender, if not cook for 1-2 minutes more or I often take the pot off the stove, set aside and cover for 10 minutes. Make sure to take the lid off the quinoa and cool completely before transferring to a large serving bowl.

2. Whisk the oil, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Add the red pepper, green onions, olives, feta and freshly ground pepper (to taste) to the cooled quinoa. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and toss 25-30 times (yes I count my tosses! I have found this makes all the difference in the world for a perfectly mixed salad!) Garnish with fresh basil & serve!

This is a great go-to quinoa salad. I happen to like acidic tasting dishes, hold back some of the lemon zest and juice if that is not your thing. This salad lasts 2-3 days, make sure to hold back the basil and add daily so it doesn’t get soggy!

Hope you like this recipe!

Lv, Julie ♥

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