DIY: Luggage

Yesterday was a busy day for us. We hosted a brunch as a final farewell for our good friends Superman, Wonder Woman, and their precious spawn. Cooking breakfast is a surprising amount of work. We had waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs, and hash browns. Afterwards, we started up the laundry that has been taunting us (me) all week. And we decided to pack.

See, B works today from 0430 until 1830ish and the same again tomorrow, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for packing. Now we’re very efficient packers, I once packed for a week long trip to meet his parents in a carry-on duffel bag. It was small, but I got everything in it. But of course, anytime we go home these days we always leave room to go shopping. And since it’s the holidays we have to take gifts home and leave room to bring them back. Our normal routine involves a large suitcase (mine), and wheeled duffel bag (B’s), and backpack (B’s carry on) and my purse (my carry on). I also always pack a small duffel bag in my suitcase to expand our carry on luggage for the trip home. But I only use it if absolutely necessary as I hate having carry on luggage. I mean, when the flight is at least 10 hours, there’s no way I’m having something under my feet the whole time.

So we washed our clothes. And folded them. And went to find our bags in the basement. Now we use the heck out of our bags, but we were both surprised to see that our go-to bags both had a pretty major tear in them. B’s duffel had the handle torn out leaving a gaping hole into the bag. The zipper on my suitcase had also ripped out in one place leaving a big hole. We started by being efficient. Needles and thread were  grabbed and hole’s were stitched up. That failed instantly. The lining on mine was brittle and tearing out and while B managed to sew his shut, a quick tug pulled it all loose again.

At this point we declared defeat and headed to the BX. We had 30 minutes before closing to find the perfect bags. Not that it was hard as they didn’t have much selection. I graciously bypassed the Vera Bradley section and we picked up a 5 piece set of black luggage at a decent price. I really hate black luggage. Everyone has black luggage. My previous set was a brilliant turquoise that was always easy to find. But black? Please, everyone and their grandmother is carrying that. There weren’t any suitcase belts that I could see, and this is where I decided that I’d have to get creative. I had B detour into the pens section where I picked up a two-pack of sharpies. I told him I’d just write our initials all over it and surround it by hearts. He laughed and looked concerned.

Rest easy though, that’s not what I did. This morning I woke up and googled “Monogrammed D with Swirls” to start my day off right. The very first hit was this site, with the perfect font and swirl pattern for my plans. It also included my favorite word – free. So I downloaded the font and the invitation and started playing around with it. The original pattern had an artistic center motif that was just too intricate to be used on luggage, so I got high tech and went into paint and erased it. I then inserted the D into the middle and printed it out.

my template after cutting it out

I decided to just cut as close around the outside edges as possible, I then traced around the template with a pencil. This was very hard to see against the black of my suitcase, but it gave me some guidelines to begin with. I then kept the template close to guide my free-handing of the interior with the silver sharpie.

getting started


adding the pretty swirls



Anyone who knows me in real life also knows that I cannot draw a straight line to save my life. And I can’t. But these are curved lines and that makes it so much better. After I did the first two sides on the first suitcase, I switched to just freehanding the entire thing. As easy as that (seriously, this took me about 20-30 minutes of work spread out over the course of a couple of hours thanks to a puppy who needed some playtime) I have bags that are now easily identifiable as mine. I decorated the long sides and the bottom of both suitcases. The backs would take a little more work and I honestly think I’d rather have a paint pen for that.

Still, for the 2.99 of the sharpie pack, this made a quick and easy solution to be able to identify our bags. It catches the eye and is different. There’s no doubting that these are our bags. I’ll let you know how they hold up after our trip!

~The Countess~


About texancountess

I find myself in the calming roar of the sea, floating gently on the foam of the breaking waves. Blue. Green. Gray. The colors of the sea mark the boundaries of my soul. The tumbled glass finds its polish under the relentless pounding of the waves upon the shore. Thus am I. Rough transitioning to polish, refinement ever a process, finding my niche in the storms of life.
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