DIY leather desk organizer tutorial
Even though I haven’t been in school in years, when I hear the words “back to school,” sometimes I still get that feeling of dread/excitement that accompanied the start of every school year. Everybody knows that the best part of the new school year is shopping for new clothes and supplies, but here’s how you can make your own fancy (faux) leather-covered desk organizers to hold those shiny new pens and paintbrushes.

Tin can
Faux leather – I found this white textured faux leather sample at SCRAP. You can also use real leather.
Can opener – One that doesn’t leave a sharp edge. I used this one.
Measuring tape
Thin cork – I used cork placemats from Ikea.
Glue – I used E6000.
Painter’s tape
Thick decorative paper
Spreader for glue
DIY leather desk organizer tutorial
1. Start with a clean, dry tin can, label removed. When you remove the lid, you definitely want to use a can-opener that doesn’t leave a sharp edge, otherwise you run the risk of cutting yourself.

2. Measure the height and circumference (distance around) your can. Add half an inch to the height.

3. Measure and mark the measurements on the back of the faux leather, then cut out the piece.

4. Wrap the faux leather around your can to make sure it fits properly, and trim if necessary. You want the side seam to line up precisely, with no overlap.

5. Spread glue on your faux leather piece, paying particular attention to the bottom edge and side seams.

6. Wrap the faux leather around the can, aligning the bottom edge with the bottom of the can. Secure the seam with painter’s tape. Press securely around the exterior of the can.

7. Add glue to the inside top edge of the faux leather, and fold it into the can. Allow the glue to dry.

8. Trace around the can, then cut out a circle of cork for the outside bottom and glue it in place. Allow glue to dry.

9. To give your pencil holder a finished look, line the inside. Measure the interior of the can and add about 1/4 inch to the height and circumference. Cut out a piece of thick paper these dimensions. Cut out a piece of cork that fits the interior bottom of the can.

10. Coat the insides of the can in glue. Roll up the paper and carefully slide it into the can, then unfurl it so it lines the interior of the can. Press against the sides and allow to dry. Coat the interior bottom with glue, then press the cork circle down onto it.

DIY leather desk organizer tutorial

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It’s been blazingly hot lately, and with no air-conditioning, my main coping mechanisms are fans, ice water, and popsicles. With a mix of lime, strawberries, and yogurt, these are particularly refreshing.  While they’re not quite as effective as central air, they’re a nice summer treat that I’m glad to enjoy while I can. After all, fall is just around the corner.
strawberry lime popsicles recipe

Strawberry Lime Yogurt Popsicles

1/2 cup lime juice
zest from 1 lime
2 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

Place the strawberries in a bowl and mash thoroughly. Add the remainder of the ingredients, and stir until mixed. Pour into molds and freeze until solid.
strawberry lime popsicles recipe

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8-16-14 links
1. Make a cube planter to hold your favorite plant.
2. I’ve been into playing with bleach lately, so I was intrigued by this tutorial for stamping with bleach.
3. Sew a fancy metallic gem pouch to hold your treasures.
4. Get the free pattern for these boxer/sleeper shorts.
5. How to make a notebook from scratch.
6. These geometric paper lanterns would make great party decor.

Visiting Portland? I wrote up a Portland city guide for Cut Out + Keep, with lots of recommendations for things to see, do, and eat.


Last weekend we tried to go camping at the coast…and totally failed. All of the campgrounds were full, which is kind of what we should have expected on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the summer. So instead we just spent the afternoon at the coast. Although we didn’t get to sleep in the great outdoors, we still had a lovely little visit to the ocean.
8-15-14 PF 4
8-15-14 PF 5This week I finally found the perfect hanging rattan chair. I’ve wanted one ever since I was little, when I used to sit in the one my grandparents in Michigan had hanging in their mid-century modern house. (My grandma still has it, it just hangs in her Arizona pueblo-style house these days.) When I saw a cheap one pop up on craigslist, I was excited to go see it, but I brought Steven with me, and when he sat in it, it was obvious that it was too small for his tall frame. I told the seller the problem, and he told us that there was a bigger one at a local vintage store in town. So I headed over to the shop (Red Snapper) the next day, and immediately bought it. Now we just have to hang it up.
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I also want to make a cushion for it, and I was thinking that Pendleton fabric would look really good. So I took the opportunity to visit the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store for the first time. They had a great selection of fabric, and I found the perfect wool for a cushion. These are opposite sides of the fabric I bought. I can’t decide whether to use only the black background, or do one side with the black side and the other with the tan side.
8-15-14 PF 3Speaking of cushions, I bleached out another piece of denim, and made a third pillow for my set. For this one I bound it with string to get a striped effect, and though it took a couple of rounds of bleaching to get it right, I really like the end result.
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The latest issue of Bust showed up in my mailbox recently, and I was excited when I opened it up and found a feature about video games that included a write-up of the game my husband made (Gone Home). I’ve been a big fan of Bust for a long time, plus the game is in the same issue as Carrie Brownstein, who is also awesome. Today is the one year anniversary of the game’s release, so we had to go out and celebrate just a little.
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This weekend I’m going to try a yoga for beginners class, and go see Backfence PDX. Anybody else have any exciting plans? Whatever you do, I hope it’s great!


Necklaces are one of my favorite things to make. They can do wonders to spice up a boring outfit, but they’re relatively quick and easy. Especially this one. The only special equipment you need is pliers, so putting this together shouldn’t be hard even for a novice DIY-er. And you can totally customize it with different colors of cord, beads, or chain. Be sure to send me a link/tweet/photo if you make one!
DIY chain and leather ladder necklace tutorial

Shown on top of the geode jewelry box I made recently.

DIY chain and leather ladder necklace tutorial DIY chain and leather ladder necklace tutorial

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