Sunday, February 1, 2015

Reversible Tote Giveaway!!

Reversible Tote Bag Giveaway - winner chooses color! There are so many great uses for this tote, the possibilities are endless. Keep reading to get the scoop and enter to win a free reversible tote bag!

There are so many exciting things happening for Toppled Turtle during 2015! But, let's back up a little: I took some time over the holidays to work on some reversible tote bags. These will not be added to my line, but were a means for practicing some construction techniques. I really enjoyed the process but now I have several tote bags and I can't possible use them all! So, I'm just going to give them away. That's right! Free!

Here's how it works:
1 tote bag will be given to the winner of the giveaway below. Winner will get to select their color/pattern.
Remaining totes will be included with purchase of $50 or more (while supplies last)

These tote bags are super sturdy and reversible. They feature an interior pocket (or exterior, if reversed), thick straps, and a slightly boxed bottom.

Toppled Turtle tote bags are excellent for:
- transporting those delicate hand knit photo props to your shooting location
- carrying around your works in progress (for my fellow crafters!)
- organizing and transporting paperwork and files
- the uses are endless!

Fill and Go!

Lots of entry options (see below)!
Complete as many or as few as you'd like (you must complete at least 1 to be entered).
Contest ends 2/8/15 at 12:00 am (when the clock strikes midnight....)

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Easy Cinch Bag Toy Storage - Step By Step Tutorial

In this step by step cinch bag tutorial, I'll show you how to create easy cinch bags for DIY toy storage that also double as a play mat, making play and clean up a breeze!
Cinch Bag Play Mat
My kids have too many toys!

 When I was younger, I remember my brothers had an amazing Lego collection. It wasn't their Legos I admired, however, but the storage bag. It was made of denim and rope. Whenever they wanted to play, they just pulled the bag down, let it fall open, and they had a ready-made mat. No pieces all over the floor, no hours of clean up. When they were done, they just pulled on the rope and hung the bag back up. My sisters and I were not so lucky, spending hours cleaning up Barbies and other various toys with miniature pieces. Now that I'm an adult, with kids of my own, I covet that play mat bag all the more! So, this weekend I set about making some for my girls to make play and clean up more enjoyable. I made some mistakes with my first attempt, but in the end, we have 5 great bags and a clean room!

So, let's get down to business. The supplies:


1.5 yds of 54" wide fabric (trust me when I say a typical 36" wide fabric makes too small of a bag - remember those mistakes I could probably do 45" wide if you want a smaller bag, however)
16 - 1/4" eyelets
Tape Measure
Hammer (for eyelets)
Marker (whatever your favorite method of marking fabric)
Rotary Cutter and Mat (or scissors)

Let's discuss the rope for a minute...hubby bought the rope I used in this project at Home Depot. I used 2 bag's worth to make 5 cinch bags. I tried cording rope (from fabric store) for my trial and quickly discovered it was just too "sticky." This alternate rope is nice and smooth making it glide nicely for easy, kid-friendly cinching! The bonus is the price: $5 for the bag!

Rope from Home Depot
Ok, let's discuss the steps involved.
1. Fold your fabric into quarters so that all of the folds and raw edges line up (fold in half lengthwise, then in half widthwise - or vice versa)

2. With a tape measure, mark fabric at 28" from folded corner around in a semi-circle always careful to measure from the corner where all of the folds come together (you can modify this to 25" or 26" if the fabric store was stingy and gave you exactly or less than your 1.5 yds or cut your fabric crooked - I was able to cut all of mine at 28" with a little room to spare even)
Fold and mark a semi-circle cut line

3. Use your rotary cutter to cut the semi-circle (or scissor if that's your preferred method, but since your fabric is quartered, I'd recommend a quick pinning if you go the scissor route to keep it all lined up)

A semi-circle unfolded = CIRCLE!
4. You now have a perfect circle (note: if you've ever considered making a circle skirt, you're halfway there already! Just cut a smaller circle from your corner fold, serge, hem and done! There's math involved for that center circle and I love this little tutorial for it). Whoa! Off course! Sorry!

5. Run that perfect circle through your serger. Don't have one? Don't fret, run a zig-zag stitch along the inside edge or use pinking shears to make your original semi-circle cut.
secure your raw edge however you prefer, but don't skip this step -
you want your bag to last, right?!
My mannequin got a workout!

6. Fold over and sew approx. 1" hem around the entire edge. You can be a perfectionist and press first, but who has time for that? Since you're sewing around a circle, you will need to allow for a fold in your hemline to account for the difference in circumference from outer edge to your sewing line (1" in). Just allow the fabric to fold over itself every couple of inches to accommodate this. It's really no big deal - don't let it stress you out!
See the pucker building up? Just fold it over itself and sew right over it. See, it's ok!
7. Eyelet time! You're almost done, though this is, admittedly, the most tedious part of the process. I found it easiest to quarter my fabric again rather than measure all the way around the circle. With the fabric quartered, mark each fold as an eyelet location. Then, measure approx. 10" away and mark, marking every 10". I say "approx." because this will depend on your exact circumference. Mine had about an inch extra that I just spread out between each placement. No need to get out the calculator or complete advanced calculus - approx. is just fine!
The arrows indicate where the eyelets will go.
8. Install the eyelets on each layer. You can measure and mark just the top layer, but make sure to actually install an eyelet on each layer individually. Like this:
Quartering the fabric before measuring will save you time and energy on installing
the eyelets. One measure, one mark, but install on each layer individually
Close up
(no, you're eyes are not deceiving you, it is a different fabric)

9. Thread the rope through the eyelets. If you've done it right, there should be the perfect number that both ends come out the same direction. Be sure that there is enough rope that the circle can lay open flat (this is the play mat, too, remember!) and secure the ends together.

10. Load up the toys!
Feed the rope through with enough slack that the circle can lay flat
11. Pull up the rope from opposite sides of the circle to cinch and you're all set! Play, cinch, and hang your way to a cleaner play area!
In action. 4 bags hanging and 1 open for play
(see how huge some are - I need to pare down the doll accessories and Barbies!)
(Note: the top bags are the same size, just pulled up by 4 sections of rope to layer them on the hooks)

I hope you've found this blog useful! I love comments and reply to questions when asked, so ask away! Best of all, enjoy your clean play area!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

3-way Giveaway

July is the month I'll be celebrating my 10 year wedding anniversary and I'd love to share our happiness with you! So, I'm hosting a huge, huge, huge giveaway! THREE of them, actually!

Enter 1, 2, or all 3 giveaways! To enter, just answer a question in each Rafflecopter widget. That's it! Want bonus entries? Fill out the other options: like Toppled Turtle on Facebook, Follow Toppled Turtle on Instagram, and/or sign up to receive Toppled Turtle Newsletters.

Giveaways end at 11:59 pm on July 31, 2014

Now, let's discuss the giveaways, shall we?!

Photographer's Giveaway!
3-piece newborn photography set:
mini bump blanket in cream, 2 coordinated cream and sky blue hats
These are super soft photo props!
Retail value: $86

a Rafflecopter giveaway

$50 Toppled Turtle Gift Card!
Winner will receive a coupon code good for any ready to ship/in stock item in my Etsy shop!
No expiration!
*shipping charges will apply for items purchased with gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yarnie Giveaway!!
Win 4 skeins/hanks of some of my favorite yarn, including 2 balls of kid mohair blend, Berroco Vintage (my go-to yarn!), and Schachenmayr Aventisto!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Parenting lessons - our children are the best teachers

Every once in a while something happens that really knocks the air out of you. Usually, this is born out of an unpleasant, surprising, or devastating situation or experience. But it's not always bad - sometimes it's just pure love, an overwhelming sense of awe, or a happy surprise. About a month ago, my 6 year old completely took my breath away with her words. After I processed what she'd said and responded calmly, I sent her out to play and the tears came. These were not sad or hurt tears, but tears that resulted from complete, overwhelming, breathtaking love. I was so proud of her, so emotionally raw, so in love.

What did she say that caused such an enormous emotional reaction?

To set the stage, first you need to understand that Olivia is my mild-mannered child. She's calm, methodical, deeply caring, and sensitive. She doesn't do things in a big way, like her little sister. This isn't to say she doesn't do BIG things, she just doesn't do them in a big way; she's understated.

This particular day, she got up from the table where she had been working on her homework and approached me. I was sitting in the living room, laptop open, taking the opportunity to squeeze a few more minutes of work in while she was occupied.


I looked up, expecting some short, seemingly unimportant statement before shooing her off so I could keep working.

"Mommy, for my birthday - " Oh boy, I thought, here comes the laundry list, "- I'd like people to help drill a well for clean water."

I paused. For a long time. Where did this come from? As a social worker, I take advantage of teachable moments to try instill a sense of caring for others and our world in my girls, but I new, this had nothing to do with me or those lessons. I was so caught off-guard, I needed a moment to process before responding.

"What do you mean?" She had my full attention now.

She went on to explain that some people didn't have clean water and she wanted to help them have clean water. She had learned about this global issue at school that day - she attends an international bachelorette and Spanish magnet elementary. She continued by stating that she'd learned about another child who'd done this for her birthday and she wanted to do the same.

"You understand that if people do this for your birthday it will be instead of giving you birthday gifts, right?"

She nodded. She understood. And then, meekly, "well, maybe I can still get something small?"

Yes, sweet child. Yes, you can still have something small to open on your birthday.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of research, information gathering, and setting up a gofundme site - continuously checking in with her that she was SURE this is what she wanted for her birthday. She was steadfast in her reply.

Through this process, Olivia has taught me so much - things I thought I already knew. She's opened a window into what it means to be selfless, at a time when children are developmentally self-centered. She's shown grace, love, sacrifice. I am humbled by her example and have been reminded that being a social worker is more than just getting a degree. It's looking for opportunities to serve others, lift communities, lighten the burden of others everyday, be it a small gesture or something on a larger scale.

We've partnered with a wonderful organization, Love One Another Project and are working to raise $7000 to drill a borehole (deeper than a well and therefore doesn't run dry) in Busega, Kampala Uganda. You can read all about it, see the faces of the individuals who will be impacted by Olivia's gift and donate directly on Olivia's gofundme site. Please consider supporting this selfless wish and help us spread the word through facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc. I would really appreciate it. Olivia would really appreciate it.