March 27, 2015

DIY: Make Your Own Luggage Tags (link to PDF pattern!)

My friends were planning a party for a group of young women. The theme was "EMBARK" and she didn't know what to give the girls as a take home gift. I offhandedly mentioned that luggage tags would be cool because that's what you use when you "embark" on a trip. A few minutes later, I found myself volunteering to sew some by copying some cute ones we saw online. After I made them, I realized that they could be used as more than just a tag to hook to your suitcase. You can use them as a bookmark (of course, books were the first thing that came to mind - we are Delicious Reads after all), labels for toy bins or organizational tags for your pantry, business card holders, or even a cute little tag to add to your Easter basket.

Materials Needed:
1. Fabric - I like to use contrasting patterns - scraps work well) & Thread
2. Clear vinyl - for the window.
3. Interfacing - this is definitely necessary if your fabric is thin. I used medium thickness, one-sided iron-on interfacing (found at any fabric store - even at Walmart). 

STEP 1: Print & cut out your pattern. You can make your own shape or use this fabulous one I found from Singer.

Link to pattern: Luggage Tags Pattern PDF
STEP 2: Lay pattern on fabric, interfacing, and vinyl and cut out. The pattern tells you which piece should be cut out of what and how many to cut. *Note: Pattern piece C says to cut (2) of the interfacing. My fabric was a little thicker so I only cut one of the interfacing. The pattern did not include a piece for the tab or fabric loop. I made my own that is 12" x 2" (see below).
  1. Cut 2 of main tag fabric from pattern piece A. 
  2. Cut 1 of pocket fabric from pattern piece B. 
  3. Cut 1 of interfacing from pattern piece C. 
  4. Cut 1 of interfacing from pattern piece D. 
  5. Cut 1 of clear vinyl from pattern piece E
  6. Cut 1 strip of fabric 2" x 12" for the loop (you could use ribbon or bias tape for this)
Delicious Read do it yourself
Use your fabric craps or even old clothing for your tag!

Delicious Reads
Save time by tracing each pattern piece onto the fabric, vinyl, and interfacing instead of pinning it.

STEP 3: Fuse (iron) the interfacing to the corresponding fabric piece.

iron on interfacing

STEP 4: Clip inside corners of pocket fabric and press seam allowances of pocket fabric to wrong/interfaced side using the dashed fold line on the pattern piece as a guide.

Sorry about the use of lots of different fabrics. I took the pictures while making 40 different luggage tags.

STEP 5: Iron the clear vinylFIRST, cover with fabric. The iron will melt the plastic. Ironing the vinyl will sound weird, but believe me, IT IS NECESSARY! The vinyl when it is heated, shrinks slightly (look at my picture on the far left). This isn't a big deal for the vinyl sizing, but if you have already sewed the fabric to the vinyl and then you iron, it pulls on the fabric and looks awful (yeah, I didn't iron the vinyl the first time I did this).

STEP 6: Place the clear vinyl under the pressed pocket fabric and topstitch the vinyl to the wrong side of the pocket at the inside, folded, edge. Use tissue paper or (in my case) scratch paper over the vinyl so it doesn't stick to the base of your sewing machine. 

Do you love the scratch paper I used to keep the vinyl from sticking to the plastic of my sewing machine?

STEP 7: Topstitch along the outside folded edge of one of the short sides of the vinyl/fabric pocket. Remove the tissue paper/scratch paper.

STEP 8: Loop fabric piece (2" x 12") - Press the inside edges of the loop fabric to the center and then fold over and press so that all raw edges are hidden. Topstitch along the edge of the loop fabric piece.

STEP 9: Place the pocket on top of the main tag section (the one without the interfacing), aligning the edges and using the line on the guide pattern piece as a placement guide. 

STEP 10: Stitch along the edge of the interfacing, leaving the bottom edge of the tag open (so that you can turn it right side out afterwards). Trim along the edges of the tag, especially near the corners. 

Leave the bottom open!
STEP 11: Turn right side out and press flat. Be careful with the vinyl. It will melt if the iron touches it. It should be perfect by just ironing from the backside.

Step 12: Fold under the open bottom edge and press the raw edges into the inside of the tag. Top stitch on the bottom edge.

STEP 13: Slide in a card with your information.

Add your business cards.

Use as a bookmark.

Add to your luggage.

I hope you enjoy this fun sewing project. Ready, Set, EMBARK!


New Beginnings Embark
The "take home" luggage tags we used at the New Beginnings activity for the young women.

March 25, 2015

Spring Cleaning: 5 Tips to Feng Shui Your Home

It's that time of year again! SPRING has arrived. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and outside it smells like fresh-cut grass. It's also the time of year that everyone's thinking about Spring Cleaning. But at Delicious Reads, we like to put a fun spin on everything. Why just Spring Clean when you can bring a little Feng Shui into your home?

First of all, what IS Feng Shui?
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Basically, Feng Shui is a way to create balance between the energies in a given space. It's an ancient art and science developed over 3000 years ago in China. Feng means wind and Shui means water. Without air and water, we couldn't survive. In Feng Shui philosophy, the spring represents new beginnings, growth and expansion. So let's get started!

Eliminate Clutter
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Clutter chokes positive energy flow in your home. It stresses you out on a subconscious level. So the first step is to get rid of things you no longer need or are taking up too much space. One reason so many people put this off is because it can be time consuming and sometimes you will have emotional attachments to items that make it hard to throw them away. 

Let's break it down so it's manageable. 

In your bedroom: 
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Relocate items that don't really belong there: work related items/papers, receipts, workout equipment, items that need to be stored. Go through your clothes. If you haven't worn something in six months, donate it. Let's be honest... are you REALLY going to wear it again? Open the windows at least once a day for twenty minutes to air out your room. Be sure your bed is a prominent position that does not face a television (or have a way to cover up the TV). Make sure you have a few plants to help circulate positive energy.

In the Kitchen: 
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In Feng Shui, the Kitchen is directly connected to the state of your health. In particular, your liver. Your liver is in charge of detoxing your whole body. So be sure to take this one seriously! Clear off that fridge. Get rid of papers that have been hanging there for a while (do you still have Christmas cards up? Or last month's calendar?) Wash down your appliances and light fixtures. De-grime. Put away small appliances that you don't use very often to create more open counter space. 

Your Front Door: 
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Make the entrance to your home enticing! The way your entrance looks is very important in Feng Shui because it's the grounding or centering area for all who enter. The quality of the energy at your front door will circulate all through your house. Get rid of any plants or trees that are unhealthy or have died. Find another area for your garbage or recycling bins that are out of view from the front door. Get rid of any chipped pots or other items that look tattered. If there are items in you entryway that are now out of season (how many people still have a pile of winter boots lying around?), find another location for them. Charm your visitors with plants, a water feature and wind chimes near your greeting area.

Add Greenery

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Plants will increase the flow of energy in your house. You will feel a whole new vitality to your home when you add in some greenery.

Lucky Bamboo- Bamboo is a plant that is abundant in Asia and grows very quickly. It represents upright and honest growth, as well as flexibility and adaptability. Since the bamboo plant does not flower or fruit, it’s lifespan is long and simple.

Potted Orchids- Orchids are graceful flowering plants. The flowers are long lasting and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They can bloom all year round, even in the coldest winter. Orchids not only absorb carbon dioxide but they release oxygen at night, which make them ideal for bedrooms. They can also help us sleep better because of this fact.

Golden Pothos- This green plant is a vine with heart shaped leaves. This plant is suitable for those with the blackest of thumbs. My plant has survived weeks of forgetful watering and even a dark ground floor apartment. They’re also very insect resistant.

Incorporate a Water Feature 

The sound of water has a healing element. Water will also increase the flow of energy in your house.
I like this water feature too.

Display Books
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Books encourage learning for you both you and and your children. Plus you can add so much charm and personality to your home. Here's our latest post on How To Style Your Bookshelves

Update your Color Scheme

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Colors have a huge impact on us. Update your color scheme to reflect your current tastes. Quick fixes like painting a wall or getting new rugs or pillows can give the room of your choice a quick face-lift and revitalize the energy of the room. 

If you want to get even further into Feng Shui, you can arrange your house to reflect this grid to help the energy flow through your home. It's called a Bagua, which means eight areas. Basically you position this grid over the layout of your house, putting the lowest row at your front door. Once you know the elements that go with certain areas of your house, you can learn tricks to incorporate more of the feng shui techniques for each area. This is more in depth than I'll go into here, but I wanted to give you an overview since it's a big part of Feng Shui.
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Well I hope these tips help you get the basics of Feng Shui. Spring is the perfect time to begin incorporating these techniques. You'll definitely feel a shift in the energy and overall attitude of people in your home. Happy Spring everyone!

Your Writerly Ranter,

March 23, 2015

Food Ideas for "My Life in France" {byJulia Child}

How can you read a book about food and not go all out on the menu for book club night?
We certainly didn't scrimp on anything and brought our "A food game!"

Whitney did such a great job picking the food for tonight and put a lot of thought into which dishes she wanted to highlight while making sure not to choose recipes that were over our head.

I mean, have you read this book and all the food they talk about?? You can gain 5 lbs just reading about it all because it makes you so hungry!

(PS. I'm loving this Eiffel Tower)


Julia wrote this book with her two French friends. She spent many years perfecting the recipes and deciding which ones to put into the book. You should buy it if you want to Master French cooking OR if you're like me and just LOVE how darling it looks on your bookshelf.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking

I was so inspired I wanted both of her books so I bought them in this set. Aren't they beautiful?

We did a fuzzy drink with Fruit Puree but if you are not opposed to alcohol Julie talks extensively about Wine, well her husband Paul talks a lot about Wine and the different types and which ones to eat with each food type.

French Bread

Cheese, Meats and Cracker Platter

Winter Tomato Mozzarella Salad

The Star of the Night, Beef Bourguignon

Crepes with every topping imaginable!!

All the Chefs in the Kitchen

Let's Eat!

Our beautiful group!

We wanted to imitate the cover picture on the book. Here are our results. It was so hard to stay serious we were laughing so much.


Don't forget to download our delicious BEEF BOURGUIGNON recipe for your next special occasion.
Check out our other post on My Life in France
and our Book Review




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