This year’s DIY Pen/Pencil Holder.

Every once in a while I come up with something so smart, so cute, so useful, so great I can’t even believe how amazing I am.

Then the fella walks by and says, I don’t like it.

And just like that I’m locking myself in the nearest closet to pout and second guess myself.

Although I don’t tell him that because  … to do so would be admitting defeat.  And … it would be stupid.  But I did second guess myself. And the truth is, to make anyone second guess themselves, there has to a teeny, tiny bit of self doubt niggling away at the back of their  brain (behind the part that stores the first number from your locker combination in highschool) already.

The fella, who thinks he knows me better than I do, said it wasn’t “me”.  It was too kitchy.  Too … stupid.

You aren’t posting about that are you?

Well. Yes, that was the plan.

You shouldn’t.  


So here I am posting about something the fella doesn’t like, but I do, although I agree with him that it could be better.

The thing is … it’s as handy as a pocket on a shirt.






It is kitchy.  A little bit like something you’d find in a 1970’s crafting book with two hippies wearing brown and gold crocheted vests on the cover.




But since putting it up and can’t stand the thought of taking it down.  It eliminated the pencil / pen holder I had on my desk all last year.  Which I loved, but always looked a tiny bit messy and took up desk space.


PLUS, after I took these pictures I realized the small notebook I use every day to jot things down fit inside the pocket perfectly.


So while I’ll agree I could, and probably will,  improve on this (I’d prefer white Levi’s for instance with a painted white embroidery hoop) I still love it and the fella can suck it.  The last crafting adventure he embarked on was Crazy Gluing my finger together.  What does he know.



So the pocket stays.  Because …  it’s as handy as a pocket on a wall.



  1. sarah says:

    Hey Karen! The ‘wall pocket’ is a great idea and has got me thinking. . .eye glass holder, monogrammed, a series of wall pockets, a valentine in a wall pocket, different sizes. . Definitely cool! Oh, and a quote I really like:
    It’s in the doing that the idea comes. Edmund Bacon.

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    First of all..I am for anything that gets things off of my desk (I am still using the flower frog as a pencil holder)..also hoop art is really coming back in style..Having been the Hippie Type in the crocheted vest on the cover..and the 70’s crafty person who did awesome embroidery on jeans..I say this is “way cool”..As for the Fella’s opinion..How dare he criticize your brilliance..leave it will irritate him every time he walks past it..Revenge is sweet..

  3. Linda says:

    Love it…everyone is entitled to their own opinion…but I see nothing wrong with kitchy. I’m a girl of the 70’s and my jeans were a work of art, more leather patches than jean material and embroidery on the parts that were jean! Let’s see if the fella can come up with something better!

  4. allyson says:

    Taking 2 people’s ideas together: i see a line up of these on the laundry room wall, one for each member of the family (using each person’s cast off pants) to hold the stuff they’ve left in their pockets. You could even use smaller emobroidery hoops for the kids.

  5. Barbie says:

    Brilliant my dear simply BRILLIANT! Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut……or your butt! ha ha ha!

  6. Nicole2 says:

    Love it! May I suggest a lovely crocheted loop trim glued around to take it to the next kitsch level? I don’t think it’s kitschy by the way, it’s just to bug the fella. Hehe.

  7. lori says:

    I Love it!!!!

  8. shauna says:

    It’s totally genius, and totally 1970’s crafty kitsch that I would normally see my Mom create & I’d shake my head and go off on a diatribe of how she can single handedly ruin the word crafty. But, I keep looking at it & I agree, I like it. Maybe it’s the modern minimalism surrounding, I don’t know but I do like it. I agree white or another colored jeans would be even more craftastic. I have some purple ones that no longer fit, maybe I should try it out & see what my fella says. He really hates crafty shtuff. :)

  9. Auntiepatch says:

    Great idea! And that gives you a lot of fabric left over for mending other jeans! Genius! (I would think that white jeans would show pencil or pen marks too easily.) Tell the Fella to go out to the chicken coop and SUCK EGGS!

    P.S. What’s the story about him supergluing your fingers together???

  10. christine says:

    I read “second glass myself”,makes sense to me!

  11. Dawna Jones says:

    Although I couldn’t see myself using it, I love the idea. I think it could be improved upon a bit, just not sure how. Good job Karen!

  12. Lauren says:

    I actually love this!

    It could even be awesome with colored jeans, and a white hoop.

    Super cool! I’m definitely doing this in our spare bedroom :)

  13. Patti says:

    I love this! I think I want to find one of my guy’s jeans which has the worn mark on the pocket from his wallet. I feel like that would be fun, too!! YAY!

  14. Laura Bee says:

    Could you bleach them white? A men’s dress shirt or corduroys would be nice too. Whatever would fit someone’s style.
    And for the record – kitchy makes me happy.

    • Laura Bee says:

      I just thought, with a pocket protector for the geek in your life! Love this idea, I’m all about making things that are fun or pretty – but also useful.

  15. Kristen@PrettySweet says:

    I think that is adorable!! Who care what the fella thinks?? But I totally know what you mean about the self doubt. I think it was Bill Cosby who said, “Women don’t want to hear your opinions. They want to hear their opinions in a deeper voice.” And…well, it’s TRUE. ;)

  16. jamie says:

    I like it, but I think he’s right-it isn’t you! What if you did it with a colored jean or other sturdy pant and added some gold leaf or something to elevate it? I love that it’s off the desk though!

  17. Michelle H. says:

    Bums to the wall! So cute! This would be cute to do a smaller version with jeans a little one has outgrown, for the kids room wall with a stuffed animal in it..or maybe I could convince my dad to stop wearing his ratty denim shirt and make one of these with it using the front pocket for his office wall!

  18. Lisa says:

    Your timing is spot on. I just went out over the weekend and bought new jeans. It felt weird just to throw out the old pair (can’t donate due to them pretty much falling apart) and I was wondering what crafty thing I could do with them. Not sure this would fit in with my office decor but I’m liking the inspiration!

  19. patti says:

    Anaise, Anaise was second only to Skin Musk! Love your wall pocket, Karen. I might just make a few different sizes to organize some of my sewing things!

  20. Cindy says:

    This is a great idea! I have a stack of old jeans that I haven’t been able to part with, knowing that there HAS to be something super cool I can do with them! If you aren’t loving the plain denim, I wonder what would happen if you just spray painted it? Good project!

  21. Ann says:

    I think it is quite chic and totally you. Sometimes other people just don’t get the need to create that drives both you and I on a daily basis. My DH can go months without making anything and he really doesn’t understand that I have to be creating constantly. Either knitting, cooking, quilting, gardening, carpentering, ect…..I do it all. But that is what keeps my head happy and I bet it does yours also

  22. Bonnie says:

    I like it. I like ideas that use things for a completely different purpose. That is why I have trouble throwing things away; I always think they must have some alternative, cool purpose. Then, they just pile up and the alternative, not-cool purpose they serve is to become junk. This is a good idea, simple and useful.

  23. marilyn says:

    sorry’s a first ..i’m with the fella on this one…and i know..i can suck it.

  24. Love this, Karen… I could use a few in the laundry room to stow the crap they forget in their pockets, too.

  25. ev says:

    I like it a bunch Karen! Next time I get to trash a pair of my guy’s shreddy jeans I will use them to make this. I cut large patches of not shreddy denim out of those jeans & save them for mending getting-shreddy jeans. Yes, I mend stuff. Stupidly let it get out that one can–now strangers on the street beg me to fix stuff. Anyway, clever of you to make the thingy. The fella is just wrong!

  26. Ruth says:

    I think I would prefer white Levis too, but this looks cute anyway. Love it.

  27. mia pratt says:

    I think it’s adorable, kitchy, fun, Karen…what do men know about such things? My only recommendation is to make it from a nice pair of jeans that fit back in the 80s…in memory of that tight, fit, tiny little ass we all had from all that dancing and aerobics and great sex and, well, remember with fondness. Sort of as inspiration to walk up those stairs instead of taking the elevator. Sigh.

  28. Debbie says:

    Well, I don’t really do kitchy so at first I didnt love it. But then when I kept scrolling through the pictures, I noticed that it’s like a weird optical illusion with the perfect circle of the embroidery hoop. It sort of looks like you have a porthole in your wall and someone is standing on the other side of it. Maybe it’s just that way in photos but it’s kind of fun! You keep staring at it, going “What the…??”

  29. madison says:

    What!? I think its ADORABLE! No self doubt, it’s awesome and I love it.

    By the way. I posed a blog last night with your coop in it…posted a link to your page! xo


  30. Mary Werner says:

    IF one kitchy item is displayed but in a sleek, stylish room such as yours – it is really cool. I love it. I love that it is blue jeans in hoop and not altered. If it were white washed it may pretend to be sleek and stylish but would scream kitchy and blend into the background. Show it with pride – own it. You did good!

  31. Alixandra Bouchard says:

    Paint splatters. All jeans need paint splatters.

  32. Chris says:

    very clever and I like it! but then, I crafted back in the ’70s.

  33. Thera says:

    A touch of kitchy never killed anyone, I like it.

  34. Candice says:

    Showed this to my hubby this morning. Sorry, we both have to go with the fella on this one…but love the idea of using the embroidery hoop as a frame.

  35. Sandy says:

    I like it!!

  36. Tisha says:

    Really neat way to repurpose jeans. My jeans always seem to give out at the knees first so I usually cut them off and wear them as jorts for awhile. Now if I just had some use for the leg pieces after I do that… Karen? Any ideas?

    • kathryn says:

      not long ago i saw a great online how-to for making a fab draught excluder using jeans legs but i’m darned if i can find the link now…

      i love your peeping tom wall pocket Karen – and Mindy’s name for it.


  37. KarenJ says:

    Love it!
    What does the fella know?
    He ran a tough mudder – right? So technically he’s a little off:)

  38. Rebecca says:

    Love it! Your gut feeling should ALWAYS veto the Fellas…

  39. Jenny says:

    I can remember the first 2 numbers of my locker combination AND I still think you are BRILLIANT :) Making this for my teen son to hang over his desk.

  40. Moe says:

    What a great idea.. love it.

  41. jamie says:

    Wow! And i thought i was the only one that still remembered my high school locker 27-37-15. 25 years later and i still have it! Steal trap that brain of mine!

  42. dana says:

    Love it, Karen! But I can never stop when I do things like that. I would end up with jeans sewn into flowers and pinned to the lampshade, a mug rug from the jeans, and a seat cushion made from jeans.

  43. Amie says:

    Genius! I’m sitting in the Apple store waiting for my ass-head computer to be fixed and I just laughed like a lunatic at this. Needless to say, they all think I mad now…..

  44. Kate says:

    That desk has a drawer. How much stuff is crammed in that, that a pencil or two won’t fit?

  45. Mindy says:

    I love it. Although, it’s almost like looking at a butt through a lens. Or a Peeping Tom hole. There ya go. I’ve named it for you. Peeping Tom Wall Pocket. You can thank me later.
    Oh, I also agree colored or white jeans would be cute. Maybe even with embroidery on the pocket. 70’s? Yes. Still cute? Sure, why not?!

  46. Delphine says:

    Superb! What else can I say? Seriously, people sit around all their lives trying to dream these things up and you – you just came up with it. It’s bloody marvellous.

  47. Julie says:

    To this day, my high school combination lock number is the only one I can remember. Good thing I haven’t lost it yet!
    Also, I think your new pencil holder is clever and since you are clever, it fits!

  48. Tricia Rose says:

    That looks like a brand new pair of jeans…

  49. Janet says:

    I actually really like it but I think, and I’m dating myself here, you should add one of those folding Avon combs everyone had in their back pockets in the 70’s/80’s. Then it will be truly complete!

    • Karen says:

      LOL, I don’t know the folding Avon comb. I was an 80’s gal but all I remember from that time was Anaise Anaise perfume. :) ~ karen!

      • Violet says:

        In the 70s in Southern California, if you didn’t have one of these in the back right pocket of your Levis or Dittos, you were a total dork:

        I still have a few of mine. A lot of times, they were that tortoiseshell kind, but bright or pastel solid-colored ones were more popular. When you found one in a new color, you wet yourself and bought it on the spot. (I once scored one that was swirly pink, mint green, and white. Hey, it was cool at the time!) I still come across them in stores sometimes.

        Kids today demand PlayStations and iPads and iPhones, but in the 70s all we needed was a comb to make us happy. Or finding our dads’ stash of porn. Simple pleasures.

        I think your Pen Pal Pocket is super cute! The only reason it looks kitschy and 70s is because it’s dark denim. White would be PERFECT for you. Faded worn denim would be awesome, too. Garden shabby chic!

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