Washable oversize market tote bag

I have always had an affinity for minimalist things that are crafted from beautiful fabrics.  If you have ever taken a gander at my etsy shop you would know this basically sums up my entire aesthetic. 

When it comes to bags I usually go for a mid size cross body made of worn leather. Bucket bags are my ultimate weakness. But sometimes life calls for a bag that is more function than form. Something practical for toting groceries, beach stuff, travel necessities or diaper bag contents. Nothing fancy or flashy, just big basic and beautiful.

Lately, I have been seeing these perfect oversize linen totes all over Pinterest and am loving how simple and clean they look.  They are a great size for hauling all your things and have the added bonus of being washable…a definite plus in covid times.

Working with linen a lot in my shop, I always have odd size pieces left over that wont quite work for a garment and decided to create my own linen tote.  It turned out perfect and now I have Christmas presents planned for some of the ladies in my life. 

This is a super easy beginner sewing project.  If you’re just dipping your toes in the waters of sewing, this one’s for you!  You can grab some oatmeal linen like I used at a great price here. Or if you’re a thrifty person, check out your local thrift shop for fabric. I have made many a successful project out of old cotton bed sheets!

This post contains affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when readers purchase through the link.

Let me know if you tried this and if you love your new tote, or even better, take a pic and tag me @home-made-mom on IG or pin it on pinterest!

Easy DIY succulent garden

I was recently part of a gift exchange with a $20 limit.  Being someone who hates excessive waste, the though of buying someone a crap gift just for the sake of buying it felt yucky. In this day there is not much, (aside from books) for $20 or less that isn’t objectively garbage.   I needed something that would not end up in the donation bin in a week.  Coupled with the fact that the exchange would be of a Yankee swap variety, my gift had to be something that would appeal to any member of the group. I was stumped. 

I started at the thrift store…just to get ideas, lol. I ended up leaving with a huge bag of new finds for the shop but I also came across a super interesting wood and glass bowl and the ideas started flowing.  Using a 3.99 thrift store vessel and a few $3 succulents I was able to create a gorgeous gift with mass appeal that everyone wanted to swap for!   

This is a fun easy DIY that is super giftable, gram-able and pinterest worthy.  Succulents are an amazingly easy way to add green to almost any living space.  All they need is a little sun and occasional watering.  You do not need a green thumb to pull this together or keep it alive. 

Just head to your thrift store to find a home for your plants and then to your local plant nursery for a handful of interesting succulents…the rest is easy.  Succulents don’t have a deep root system so a wide shallow container is the perfect vessel for showing them off.  A container with drainage at the bottom is optimal but if you can’t find such a container a thick of layer of pebbles on the bottom of your planter will give those roots some room to breathe.

Succulents prefer soil that is a bit dry and sandy.  You can purchase a bag of succulent soil at your plant nursery or just mix a bit of gravely sand in with whatever potting soil you use at a ratio of about 1:2 in favor of the soil.

You will need:

One pot/ vessel for your garden, thrift shops are the best place to find unique quality items for low prices.

5-6 small assorted succulents

A few cups of small pebbles (I grabbed some from a local park and washed them well)

Soil for succulents



Fill the bottom of your succulent garden with a thick layer of pebbles an inch or two deep.

Add your succulent soil to the planter so it is about ¾ full.

Arrange your succulents while still in their plastic potting until you settle on an arrangement that you love.

Gently plant your succulents in the soil and fill the rest of the vessel with soil so that it is lightly packed and all the roots are covered.

Top with another fine layer of pebbles if desired.

Put it in a sunny spot and enjoy the view. Water infrequently…about twice a month is just fine

If you enjoyed this simple tutorial please pin and share and let me know in the comments if this inspired you to make your own succulent garden!

Effective natural home made bug spray

It’s that time of the year again, all I want to do is be outside.  Lovely days spent in my garden under the hot sun often inevitably turn into peaceful nights around a fire.  It’s all so blissfully wonderful, until the evil vampires come out.

They creep out of shadows, they stalk me ruthlessly, and then they pounce, leaving mountainous wounds all over my arms and legs that keep me up at night with itchiness.  Yes, I’m talking about mosquitoes.

 Mosquitoes and I have always had a love hate relationship.  I hate them and they LOVE me.  Maybe it’s my O blood type.  Maybe it’s just all that dark chocolate running through my veins, but alas, those suckers torment me all through the month of June and into early July. 

Being the type of hippie dippy granola cruncher that would rather have full blown B.O. than wear conventional deodorant, I have in the past, forgone bug spray and just suffered in silence.  I’m not going to spray some deet filled poison that burns my eyes and tasted like toxic waste all over my bod, not to mention my kiddos.  But this year I decided it would be wonderful to actually wear shorts without looking like I have fully blown leprosy come august and keep my kids safe from blood sucking pests.

I’ve noticed a lot of online recipes call for a vast and intricate combination of essential oils. Because I am just building my essential oil collection I wanted to use what I have rather than spend $50 on oils for a $5 spray if-you-know-what-Im-sayin. And because I don’t use an emulsifier in my recipe I recommend giving it a good quick spray prior to each use.

This spray is:

Gentle on the skin

Pleasant smelling, at least to my hippie self and my kids also love it

Very effective. I don’t want to jinx it but I walk my dog though a field near a pond daily and have yet to receive a single bite, even though I know those suckers are out in full swing.

Also effective on other pests like gnats, flies and ticks


Add 1.5 tbsp vodka to your glass spray bottle.

Add 25 drops citronella essentail oil and 25 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil.

Put the top on and give it a super good shake to combine.

Fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel. If you are using a particularly large bottle you can add 1/2 cup withc hazel and fill the rest with water.

Put the top on and give it another good shake to combine.

Use liberally anytime you plan to be outside during mosquito season, particularly in the evenings and cooler, windless days.