Another Lunch Bag from Pink Penguin

Bento box 2

I admit it – I’m cheap. I refuse to trade in my money for junk that are neither practical nor useful.

Gifts are the worst. It’s a death trap for our wallet because we’re usually confused and often pressed for time when selecting them. If we’re not very careful, we’ll end up throwing away our precious money on stupid tchotchkes that are usually overpriced, cheaply made, and overall lame. I know this because I was once a victim of it all. I would make a mad dash into a store on the way to a party and pay a pretty penny just so that I don’t show up empty handed. The gifts usually screamed out “I put absolutely no thought into your want or need” inside a colorful tissue paper. Where’s the spirit of gift giving in that?

Now, I make stuff. Sure, it takes more time and effort, but it’s more personal.  And it saves me money. And since I’m a cheapo, that’s what matters. And it satisfies my crafting addiction so it’s a triple-win. So no, no store-bought gift for you!

bento box 5

This is Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag I made for a lovely three-year-old on her birthday (I’ve made the same bag before, here). Her mother and I often discuss that we want our daughters to grow up smart and sassy, so I purposely avoided bubblegum pink and used two bold colors in orange and turquoise. I love these two color combinations.

Project Note Logo 3

Project: Lunch Bag
Pattern: Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag
Recipient: Scarlet for her 3rd birthday
All fabrics purchased at

(Click to view the fabrics used on the project)

Bento box 3



I’m still not very skilled at cutting fabrics, so I’m usually left with wasteful scraps when I’m done with a project. A clean and organized part of me thinks I should throw them away to eliminate clutter, while the other, more thrifty hoarder side of me thinks these little scraps should be reincarnated into something new. I think the Japanese “mottainai” (「もったいない」, translates roughly to “don’t waste it”) philosophy is so deeply embedded in my nature that it’s very difficult for me to part with things. Case in point, I finally got rid of yeeeeeeeeeears’ worth of plastic utensils just the other day.

Thus the predicament …

Now that Pon Pon is rolling around and is almost ready to crawl, it’s time for some serious overhaul at the Lavender and Olive household. This means getting rid of pretty much everything in the house (including fabric stashes) to ensure the baby’s safety and make room for her to play around.

Keep or not to keep the stash, that is the question …

Then I remembered the patchwork drawstring bag tutorial that my favorite craft blog, Pink Penguin, posted a few years back and decided to turn the scraps into these little cute bags …

… and here they are! biggrin

drawsting bags

I’m definitely going to use one to put Pon Pon’s change of clothes in her diaper bag, and others to wrap small gift for friends!

drawstring bag blue

My current fabric obsessions are Liberty of London and Kokka but you can tell by looking at these patches that I was incredible smitten by Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry’s nature-inspired designs!

drawstring bag 1

I love these Midwest Martini designs by Amy Butler!

bag 2

Look, even the cord casing is a patchwork!


I still have lots more of the fabric stashes that’ll soon turn into lovely bags. It’s no joke – someone’s trash can be someone’s treasure! I think my “mottainai” goddess is really happy.

Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag

If I were to ever change career, I would love to be a textile designer. Yes, I still want to be a bread baker, pastry chef, yarn shop owner, and food writer (I’m a dreamer), but sewing up something using my own, originally designed fabric sounds pretty darn fantastic.

Just like fashion, my taste in fabric designs changes pretty frequently. I started out with Amy Butler, then moved on to Heather Bailey, Joel Dewberry, and to Liberty (all of which I still love) … and now, I’m really into Eshino, particularly the polka dot design!

Here’s the lunch bag I made over the weekend, using Pink Penguin’s tutorial. I LOVE Ayumi and her well written, fool-proof instructions. She certainly knows how to write up a tutorial that is incredibly easy to follow, even for beginners. In fact, her Reversible Drawstring Bag was the first project I made after I purchased a sewing machine back in 2008.

The bag has a drawstring bag inside so you can carry small things without worrying about spilling over. I used a heavy duty interfacing for it so it came out very sturdy. I am so in love with this bag, I may make many, many more. I’m even thinking it’s great to organize all my extension cords and wires that have become out of control in my storage.

I purchased these fabrics from PurlSoho when I was in New York last summer (not the recent trip … but I did bring home a whole lotta fabrics from that trip too).

On the food front, Kevin and I went out for lunch at Ahoha Food Factory on Saturday, as I was craving macadamia nut pancake like a mad woman!

I finally remembered to save some room for shave ice! My favorite — strawberry with sweet milk. It was crazy hot over the weekend, and this definitely hit the spot for us!