Friday Favorites–Back to School

I cannot believe it.  After spending 18 years getting kids ready to go back to school in the fall, I’m done.  My youngest starts college near our home next month, but it’s just not the same.  He doesn’t need anything from me, and I’m pretty sure his professors won’t be asking for party parents, or help with classroom projects.  It’s the end of an era, but I’m really okay with it.  I enjoyed all those years, but I’m excited to move on to this next phase of our lives.  And avoid the giant mom-line at Starbucks on Tuesday morning.

Back to School - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

Start the new school year off right by getting organized with this School Binder with Printables from Thirty Handmade Days.

School Binder Printables from Thrity Handmade Days

If you or your kids pack their lunch, you know sometimes an ice pack makes it a little more edible come lunchtime.  Make them cute and less drippy with these DIY Ice Pack Covers from Little White Whale.

Ice Pack Covers from Little White Whale

The ruffley girliness of this Bustle Backpack from The Sewing Rabbit is so sweet.

Bustle Backpack from Me Sew Crazy

If you have kids of THAT age, you might have noticed all of the options for interior locker decoration available in the stores these days.  Why not make your own?  Sassy Style has you covered with this set of DIYs.

DIY Locker Accessories from Sassy Style Redesign

How come I never noticed that a Twinkie looks like a pencil before?  Thanks to Club Chica Circle, that’s all I’ll see now.

Back to School Twinkies from Club Chica Circle

This First Day of School Sign from Pinkie for Pink is a great way to remember what your kidlet was like each year.  You know, once they’re almost 19 and in college.  Sniff.

First Day of School DIY Sign from Pinkie for Pink

If I needed a lunchbox to head back to school with, I’d make this Bento Box from Lark Crafts.

Bento Box from Lark Crafts

This Back to School Gift for Teacher from Skip to my Lou is a fantastic idea.  You can write your phone number on the tag so the teacher knows how to contact you if they need help in the classroom. 

Back to School Gift for Teacher from Skip to my Lou

My kids were always big readers.  They got it from me, which means someone was always trying to find a bookmark.  We really could have used these Printable Back to School Bookmarks from Simple as That.

Printable Back to School Bookmarks from Simple As That

I don’t remember daily wardrobe being a huge issue for my kids, except for the phase my son went through where any camo was good and it all matched.  In his head.  These closet dividers from West Side View would have been handy to space out the Army green a bit.

Back to school wardrobe organizer from Authentic Parent

To those of you who are getting back in the swing this week, or have already braved those first few days of school, my thoughts are with you!

Friday Favorites–Gifts for the Teacher

I’ve been volunteering in my kids’ classrooms and at their schools since my oldest started preschool.  That puts me at sixteen years of hanging out with teachers.  They are awesome people, doing an increasingly difficult job, and deserve a little something special once in a while.  I decided since a friend of mine, the voice behind a lovely blog called Welcome Company, suggested my Binder Bandolier would make a good teacher gift, I’d throw out a few more ideas I found.

I’ve watched many a teacher spend his or her own money to buy things for the classroom.  Sometimes it’s a book, other times it’s supplies for students whose family may not be able to afford everything they need.  Sending a few extra supplies is always welcome, and why not make it cute like these Back to School Bouquets from Oleander and Palm?

Oleander and Palm

This Pencil Cake from One Charming Party is almost too cute to take apart and use.

One Charming Party

Craft Quickies shares a list of gift ideas teachers like to receive.  Be sure to read about #1:  A heartfelt letter.

Craft Quickies

A beverage of some sort is a common sight on a teacher’s desk, and I’ve often seen that take the form of a jolt of afternoon caffeine.  This Soda-Lighted Teacher Appreciation Printable from Seven Clown Circus on Skip to my Lou is a great way to gift it.

Skip to my Lou

You could fill this Apple Sachet from Willowday with just about anything teacher-related.


I’ve heard some teachers like chocolate.  These Printable Candy Bar Wrappers from Skip to my Lou might stay on until lunch.

Skip to my Lou 3

There isn’t enough hand sanitizer in the world when you’re spending time in a classroom.  This Hands Down Teacher Appreciation Gift from Eighteen25 is shown on a bottle of hand soap but either way, goodbye germs.

eighteen 25

This Edible School Glue from The Celebration Shoppe makes me smile.  Just be sure the little ones understand the difference.

The Celebration Shoppe

This Summer Survival Kit from Today’s Creative Blog on Skip to my Lou is intended for a male teacher at the end of the school year, but my kids have had teachers of both genders that would love this anytime.

Skip to my Lou 2

You could fill this Terra Cotta Apple from Seven Thirty Three with school supplies or edible treats.  Or a little of both.

Seven Thirty Three

If your school supply list is as long as many I’ve seen lately, you might not have any extra resources to buy or make a gift for the teacher.  No worries.  A heartfelt “Thank you” is always welcome.  Teachers rock!

Binder Bandolier

If I can be accused of having too much of something in my house, besides crafting stuff, it’s office supplies.  A colorful set of file folders or cheap spiral notebooks get me every time.  I’m still on the search for the perfect pen.  Long after my kids have moved on, which is very soon, you’ll still find me in the back to school aisle, scoping out my next package of Sharpies. In my defense, I do use what I collect.  Eventually.  I’d be especially lost without my three ring binders, but if I could throw a few extra supplies inside they would be even better.  Done.  Want to know how I turned this:

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 1

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 1

Into this?

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 2

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 2

With this inside?

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 3

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 3

To make the bandolier, you’ll need a piece of fabric for the part on the front of the binder cut to 14 1/4” by 4 1/2” with a matching piece of iron-on interfacing.  Cut a second piece of fabric and interfacing to 12 3/4” by 4 1/2” for the inside section.  You’ll also need a piece of 1” wide elastic cut to 12 3/4” and 3/4” wide Velcro cut to 3/4”.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 4

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 4

Apply the interfacing to the wrong side of both fabric pieces.  Fold the smaller piece in half lengthwise and press the fold.  Unfold.  Pin the elastic down the center 1/2” from the fold.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 5

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 5

Stitch across the elastic at the following measurements from the top (with the fold to your left):

  • 1/2”

  • 1 1/2”

  • 2 1/2”

  • 3 1/2”

  • 4 1/2”

  • 7 1/2”

  • 9”

  • 10 1/2”

Add a final row of stitching 1” from the bottom edge.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 6

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 6

With right sides together, stitch the two fabrics together at the top of the piece with the elastic with a 1/4” seam.  Press the seam open.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 7

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 7

Fold both remaining short ends under 1” and press.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 8

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 8

Fold the entire piece right sides together and stitch 1/4” from the edge down the long side.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 9

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 9

Turn right side out through the end.  It’s easiest if you start from the end without the elastic.  Press, carefully avoiding the elastic.  Topstitch close to the edge all the way around and across near the seam where the two fabrics meet.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 10

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 10

Position the Velcro 1/4” from the end on the back of the piece with the elastic.  Pin the other piece 1/4” from the other end, on the front.  Stitch in place around the edge and with an X through the center.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 11

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 11

To add fabric inside a windowed three ring binder, cut a piece of freezer paper the size of the front.  Iron the shiny side onto the back side of the fabric.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 12

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 12

Cut it out and slide into the front of the binder.  You can do the same to add fabric to the spine.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 13

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 13

Wrap the bandolier around so the elastic is on the inside and the Velcro is at the bottom.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 14

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 14

Add the supplies of your choice and you’re ready to go.

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 15

Binder Bandolier - Crafty Staci 15

As soon as I find that perfect pen, I know exactly where it’s going.

Binder Bandolier Tutorial from Crafty Staci

Binder Bandolier Tutorial from Crafty Staci

Friday Favorites–Back to School

Thanks to ongoing budget reductions, my son doesn’t start his final year of high school until September 10th.  It feels so late.  And my daughter doesn’t actually start her sophomore college classes until the first week in October.  However, I know we’re the exception and that many of you are already back at the bus stop, or at least have started your back-to-school shopping.  I’m here to share a few ideas to ease the transition from summer sun to autumn school books.

When I was a kid, I always wanted some of those personalized pencils that were sold everywhere.  However, when your name is “Staci” that doesn’t work.  It’s not too late though.  Thanks to instructions from Camille Styles I can make myself some and not settle for “Stacy” or “Stacey.”

Camille Styles

My extremely organized daughter would love these Sticky Notes Books from Greeting Arts.

Greeting Arts

Sometimes those first few days of school can be a little stressful for a kid.  Lighten up lunch a little with these printable Back to School Lunchbox Jokes from Paging Supermom.

Paging Supermom

Before the doors to the school are even open, the avalanche of school-related paperwork begins.  This Back to School Crate Station from Tatertots and Jello would be a great way to keep it under control.

Tatertots and Jello

This Hug-To-Go 1st Day of School Bracelet from Little Pink Monster is such a sweet idea for a little one unsure about leaving home.

Little Pink Monster

I love the sneaker look of these storage containers from Quilting Daily.  Perfect for a work desk, dorm room or homework area.

Quilting Daily

How smart is this?  Learn how to make an Interchanging Tote/Backpack with Somewhat Simple.

Somewhat Simple

I like the fun, retro look of these Printable Lunch Box Notes from Skip to my Lou.

Skip to my Lou

Looking back, it’s kind of hard to remember what my kids were like at the beginning of each school year.  If I could go back, I’d love to have this Back to School Interview from Giggles Galore filled out for every single grade.

Giggles Galore

I really like the simplicity of this Back to School Lunch Bag on the Purl Bee.  Just enough embroidery.

The Purl Bee

I hope your school year is off to a good start!

Friday Favorites–Back to School

My son hates that I’m writing this.  He cringes every time I mention school supplies, clothes, or schedules.  He wants his summer to continue, blissfully unaware the first day of school is knocking on his door.  Poor kid.

I might have squealed like a little girl when I saw these Pencil Nails from The Daily Nail.


I always want to make a special treat for the kids to have when they get home from their first day of school.  It rarely seems to work out, but I might find some time this year to make these Krispy Apple Treats from Gourmet Mom-On-The-Go.

1 apple treats

I’ve been hanging onto this one since last year.  The Blackberry Vine has the basic ingredients needed to make these Candy Pencils.


What I like about this Lunch Bag from The Long Thread is that it can hold larger items than the typical lunchbox.


The see-through window on this Binder Pouch from Sew, Mama, Sew makes it special.


I’ve seen some very plain stand-up folding iPad cases, but with this pattern you can purchase from Sewspoiled on Etsy, yours could be unique and colorful.


Don’t forget the teachers when school starts again!  This gift by Fireflies and Jellybeans is cute, easy and would work for anyone.

June Pfaff Daley shares an adorable Lunch Survey on her blog.


This Checklist Place Mat from Family Fun is genius. 


I love this Lined Paper Tee from Ucreate.  Click through to see the even more adorable onesie.


I’m off to help my poor kid dry his back-to-school tears.