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!

Reynolds High School

I hope you’ll all forgive this side-step from my usual craft and sewing posts today.  My heart is heavy and I’d like to talk about it a little.  Thank you for understanding.

I’ve shared with you the fact that my husband is in law enforcement.  He’s the lieutenant for an agency a couple of cities over from where we live.  It’s a lovely little community which sits on the Sandy River where it meets the Columbia.  It’s also the location of the school shooting yesterday at Reynolds High School.

This incident falls into the category of training that the police receive but hope they’ll never have to use.  They knew what to do, and they did it with calm precision.  Two lives were lost, but many were saved because of these men and women, coupled with the fact that students and staff behaved with bravery.  A teacher, struck by a bullet, made his way to the office to initiate lock down procedures. 

I spent the day yesterday watching the news, which was punctuated by the audio from the radio contact between the officers and dispatch.  One of those voices belonged to my husband.  I listened to him barking orders, and I hadn’t even been able to talk to him at all yet.  Tears fell, because I know this is one of those events that will stick with everyone involved forever.  Our police family is hurting.

I’m not here to talk about guns or mental health.  I don’t know why this person did what he did and I hope his name and face see as little air time as possible.  I’m thankful he can’t hurt anyone else.  I just want to ask for your prayers and good thoughts for a community dealing with something no one should ever have to.

DIY Teacher Gifts

My baby is graduating from high school this year, so the days of apologizing to appreciating his teachers with a gift at the end of the year are pretty much over.  Actually, he’s one of those kids whose report cards always said “A pleasure to have in class”, so the gift was more about thanks for being on Team Where-Is-Tucker’s-Homework-This-Week.  If you have a teacher in your life that deserves a little something (don’t they all?), I have a few ideas for you.

DIY Teacher Gifts by Crafty Staci

I originally made this Money Gift Tea Bag as a birthday gift, but I think it would be great for a teacher with a gift card inside and maybe a few calming real tea bags thrown in with it.

Money Gift Tea Bag by Crafty Staci

What teacher doesn’t find him or herself carrying books?  This Ruffled Tote Bag is the perfect size for hauling homework to and from school.  If an actual grown-up book gets slipped in there once in a while, all the better.

Ruffled Tote Bag by Crafty Staci

I think there must be a lot of teachers out there with a Pencil Coffee Cup Sleeve.  Not only is it one of my most popular projects on this blog, but I’ve made dozens of them for my Etsy customers.  You can even buy an embroidery pattern for them from FindingPinsNeedles on Etsy and add the teacher’s name!

Pencil Coffee Cup Sleeve by Crafty Staci

I’ve noticed lots of teachers brown bag it when it comes to lunch.  A Snap Lunch Bag would be a great gift to brighten up their midday break.

Snap Lunch Bag by Crafty Staci

Even if a teacher doesn’t bring an entire lunch, there’s probably a snack on the desk most days.  Make her a Reusable Snack Bag and she won’t have to explain why she can’t share her fishy crackers with the rest of the class.

Reusable Snack Bag by Crafty Staci

If you’d prefer something with a little more flexibility for multiple uses, try this Lined Zippered Bag.  A teacher could put just about anything in here, except for an unruly student.  Or parent.

Lined Zippered Bag by Crafty Staci

The options for colors for this Floral Infinity Scarf are as endless as the bolts of knit fabric in your favorite fabric store.  School colors?  Her favorites?  Your kid’s favorites?  Something to match whatever they’re painting next week so it will go with her outfit?

Floral Infinity Scarf

I didn’t notice until I was done here that all of these projects involve sewing.  Time to break out the machine!

Friday Favorites–Dorm Living II

We’re down to one week.  One week until my oldest child bails out of the nest.  She’s raring to go, to the point I’m surprised she hasn’t started loading up her car.  Which I might hide somewhere.

Once all the necessities are out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about decorating that dorm room.  This braided paper wall hanging from Scrapbooks, Etc. would be perfect.  It’s lightweight and could be changed easily.


This Scrabble Tile Wall Art from Décor Chick would also work well, made from balsa wood and hung with that sticky, non-wall-damaging stuff that most dorms allow.


I’m guessing photos are a common décor element for college kids, so these DIY Cardboard Hipster Frames from Photojojo would fit right in.


One very common suggestion is to clip photos to a string and hang across a wall.  These Decorated and Dyed Clothespins from Madigan Made would brighten up that idea.


Every dorm has a desk and a thirsty student, so these Quilted Coasters from Martha Stewart are both pretty and practical.


Take a little childhood with you into the adult world with this Paper Airplane Throw Pillow from Craftbits.


College students will eventually find themselves all in the same room.  Once all the seating options have been exhausted (being a bed and a chair that won’t take long) this floor pouf from Retropolitan would come in handy.


The style of this No-Sew Fleece Robe from Jo-Ann might not say “undergrad”, but it requires zero sewing and could actually be made IN their dorm room.  Picture it in school colors.


Kids gotta eat, and with little resources that becomes tricky.  College Cooking by Megan and Jill Carle would help expand their options and carry them into basic cooking in their first apartment.


This Peanut Butter Mug Cake from My Happy Place requires a few things most college kids wouldn’t have on hand, but if it were me, I’d make sure to keep them around just for this.

PicMonkey Collage

As if waiting to ship her off wasn’t bad enough, my daughter also turns 19 this week.  This ride is going WAY too fast!

Friday Favorites–Dorm Living I

We’re into the final stretch.  My daughter has everything she thinks she’s going to need, and we’ll be moving her into her new dorm room on September 16th.  It’s both exciting and scary.  Oh, yeah, for her too.

Fortunately, we received some advice about those “what to bring” lists you see everywhere.  You don’t need everything on them.  In fact, if you were to bring all of it, you’d need a U-Haul and an extra room just for storage.  I did find a few things she might be willing to part with some space for.

This Multi Tasking Desktop Organizer from Lovely Undergrad would require a little work at home, but would be a cute and practical addition to the back of a table or desk.


If you’re aiming for something a bit smaller, try this Desk Magazine Holder from eHow.


A first aid kit is a must, but the ones you can buy are heavy on the bandages and light on everything else.  Why not make your own?  Check out this Dorm-Friendly First Aid Kit from Kill Jill Goes to College.


Storage is always an issue in those tiny rooms, and so is seating.  This bench from Grade 2 Happenings would help with both problems.


Maybe four is a bit too large?  Try this single crate stool from Fantastic in First.

seat crate

I’m sure my daughter will never bring home a bag of laundry.  She will make timely and frequent use of the lovely laundry facilities located mere steps from her door.  Yeah.  On the remote chance she’ll haul it home, she might need something to carry it in, this DIY Dorm Laundry Bag would be handy.


Since young women and flip flops go together like winter and super-cold toes, I could see where this clever method of storing them from EPBOT would be helpful at school.


I doubt most dorms have end tables by the bed, but what kid that age lets their electronics out of their sight?  Solution:  Bed Caddy from Sew4Home.


This photo from spoindexter on Rate My Space is a bit blurry, but I wanted to share it anyway because there’s one element to the way they arranged the room that I think is brilliant.  See how the armoire is at the end of the bed and facing the wall?  Open the door and you have a small, semi-private changing area! 


Let’s face it…college requires a LOT of sitting around doing homework.  Since my daughter isn’t a sit at a desk kind of girl, I could see her using this DIY Lap Desk from Gilbert Street Stitches.


Join me again next Friday for Dorm Living II!

Friday Favorites–Gifts for Teachers

Teacher Appreciation Day is on May 8th this year.  We’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a great school system and my kids have had excellent teachers over the years.  Having volunteered in their schools for the past 15 years (whew!) I can tell you that those teachers bring a lot of themselves to their classrooms, both mentally and physically.  Their rooms are filled with things they’ve brought from home or purchased with their own money.  It’s always nice to show them a little appreciation and support as the year comes to a close.

Have you ever been in a classroom that doesn’t have a box of tissues floating around somewhere?  Nothing says they can’t be fancied up a little with this Tissue Box Cover from Sew-4-Home.


These Mod Podge Glass Clings from Mod Podge Rocks are shown on vases and glasses, but they would make great window decorations for a classroom.


This Something Special Card and Envelope from Sew, Mama, Sew takes a simple message of appreciation up a notch.


A common site on a teacher’s desk these days is a mouse.  The computer kind.  This Fabric Scrap Mousepad from How Joyful would give it something pretty to sit on.


This Post-it Note Holder from Smile Monsters is cute, functional and inexpensive to make.


I’ve noticed most teachers keep some sort of drink on their desk (water, coffee, Kool-Aid, etc.), making these DIY Fabric Covered Tile Coasters from Marie, Oh Marie a handy gift.

This Chalkboard Planter from Accidentally Wonderful is just cute.  I want one, and I’m not even a teacher.


I could see this Emergency Zippered Pouch from A Spoonful of Sugar might be handy to clip to their ID lanyard when they’re out of the classroom with the kids.

Emergency pouch 2

Gift cards are always nice for teachers, and a Gift Card Cozy like these from Make It and Love It make them a little more special.


Let’s face it – sometimes the best thing you can give your favorite teacher is cold, hard cash.  To soften that “cold, hard” part, try folding it into a bracelet with this tutorial from Under the Table and Dreaming.


There are a few ideas for gifts for teachers right here too!  Check out the Pencil and Paper Drink Sleeve and Mat (also in my Etsy shop right now), Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeves, Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bags or Oval Mug Mat.

BIG THANKS to all the teachers out there!