Handmade Holidays underway

Got a little sewing done this weekend. I’m finishing up the binding on baby Erik’s (my gorgeous new nephew) quilt – finished pictures coming soon on that – but here’s a little preview.

Baby Erik's quilt progress

Also made some ornaments for family members. I used the awesome pattern and tutorial by Elsie Marley posted here. Super cute and simple. The best part about her pattern is that she sews the gingerbread man down to a felt rectangle and THEN cuts him out! So much easier that cutting two gingerbread men and sewing them together around the bite marks. Very smart!

Oh no!

And finally, I got to work on a zipper pouch – I needed a gift for a man…hope it’s manly enough! I used this super simple tutorial by terrabytefarm.com posted here. I’ve made quite a few box pouches, and they were all kind of a pain. This tutorial was super easy. The key is that the inside is unfinished. But since I’m not crazy about all those little threads and stuff, I think next time, I’ll add a 1/2 inch to the length on one side when cutting the fabric and do french seams. I also added a handle by jamming a little rectangle of fabric into my corners before I squared them off. I’ll definitely use that tutorial again!

Zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

I also made these pillow cases a few weeks ago for some ugly leather pillows we have. It’s funny, now we use those pillows all the time – it seems like someone is always putting one behind their back. I swear no one ever used them before. So that makes me happy!

Some new pillows for the tv room

Jane Market Bag

I got to do a little sewing recently. I’ve been dragging around my Purl Soho tote bag for months and months and it is sorely in need of a wash, but I hate all my other bags. So I thought I’d make something similar, but less NPR-free-tote. (Not that I don’t totally love a free tote).

So, anywho, I started checking around the interwebs for some inspiration and found about a zillion people had made this lovley Jane Market Bag. As evidenced by the very numerous search results on flickr here and the fact that it has it’s own group here. I should note that this pattern is actually supposed to be used as a fun grocery bag. Most of the changes I made (that I’m about to talk about) came about because I wanted to turn it into more of a big catch-all purse.

I bought the pattern for the bargain price of $6. It took me longer to pick out some fabrics than to do the cutting for this VERY easy and user friendly pattern. (Kudos to Alicia at rosylittlethings.com for such an easy to use pattern.) Recommended for beginning sewists. (sewers? I always think that reads like sewers where rats live…not sowers.)

So first – here was my initial fabric selection:

planning a new bag

I really needed a neutral bag that I could carry anytime. So that eliminated most of my prints for the outside. I love linen, and although I’m not sure it’s really sturdy enough for a bag, I went with it. Sadly, I didn’t have enough of this brown linen to do a front and back pocket, so I just did a front pocket.

I deviated from the pattern a little by adding some piping strips to the front, back and handles. I also added pockets inside and a little key hook inside so I wouldn’t have to dig around for my forever-missing keys.

Front:
jane market bag front

Inside:
jane market bag inside

Back:
here's the back!

I really liked the piping, but it was a little too fat. I used a one inch strip, folded in half and sewn into the seams between the panels on the front and back. I should have just done a half inch. So it looked more like this piping (the super skinning piping on the left and right of the pocket):

vanessa prototype-1

For the straps, the pattern calls for 4″ x something (21″ I think?) strips. But that seemed like it would be too short for me (I measured my Kroger .99 cent grocery bags as a baseline because they never fall off my shoulder), so I went with 4″x 26.5″. But to get the print on the edges that I wanted, I did 1″ of brown and 3″ of pop garden – sewed them together along the long edge, and then closed the loop by sewing the other long edge of brown to the long edge of pop garden. Make sense? It gave me a tube – inside out. I used my crochet hook to flip it right side out, and pressed it centering the brown linen. Then I top stitched it inside and outside the brown.

strap detail

Finally, instead of sewing the straps to the outside of the bag like in the pattern, I sewed them in at the same time that I sewed the lining to the outside of the bag. I’m not spatially smart enough to explain how this works, but you sew them in before you pull everything out through the bottom hole. You can see a great video of this ‘birthing’ method here: birth of a bag video by sugar sugar bags. She’s got the straps sewn inside also.

I’ve been carrying my new bag around for a few days now, and overall, I like it a lot. I’m planning a 2nd one, and next time, I’ll sew a bottom seam at the bottom of all pockets so my cell phone doesn’t slide down UNDERNEATH the bag. I just hate that. Also, I may consider interfacing. I was too lazy to put it in this time, and the pattern certainly doesn’t call for it. But even cotton batting would make this bag a lot more stable.

Here’s the fabric selection for the 2nd one – natural linen body, green red riding hood fabric for the pockets, green solid for the inside and piping. Should be cute!

in the works - another jane market bag

what’s the word?

It’s the last month of my virtual bee, Bee Happy. Well, the last month for me, anyway. I’m still 4 months behind in my sewing! Talk about guilt! So I’m opting out of next year’s festivities. Kind of a bummer. But who knew I’d go full time at my job, move across the country, buy a house, etc. When we started our bee, it was all local LA Modern Quilt Guild members. Then HALF of us moved to different states, so everyone ended up having to ship their blocks, fabric, etc. each month. Even though that’s how most of the virtual bees operate, that’s not really what everyone signed up for. Anyway, once I get these last few blocks done, I’ll feel a big weight lifted off my shoulders.

Still – the bee has been awesome. Make sure to check out our work. Lots of fun ideas! I’m especially in love with Libby’s urban city block idea and her use of the grey herringbone print to be LA’s smoggy skyline.

In other sewing news, I’m making my way through a diaper bag. I using Anna Maria Horner’s pattern for the Here We Go Bag from her Handmade Beginnings book. Super cute. So far so easy – pictures coming soon. My sweet aunt and her hubby adopted a perfect little baby boy, and I’m putting together a little package for them: diaper bag, burp cloths, onsies, one of those cute little ribbon tag blankies. I’m saving the quilt for his 1st birthday – I just want to get this package in the mail! One more thing off my plate.

I joined a local crafter meet up. It’s been fun getting to know a few new girls in the neighborhood. We’ve all go different skills – knitting, sewing, alterations, repurposing, crochet…very fun mix. We all have different tastes too. It’s a nice mix of fun personalities. I especially like the group leader – she’s a laugh a minute. I’m working on getting a little bit of a life in our new town. Here’s to new friends!

In TV news – are you watching American Idol? When Stefano did his sing-off to get into the final 13, I cried. I thought it was just awesome. I am so glad they picked him. I just love this whole season so far. Seriously. Here it is in case you missed it.

Stefano Langone, I Need You Now Wild Card Performance

It makes me want to go to church!

2 Jul 2010, 7:00am
addictions blabbery TV
by

2 comments

Summer TV!

Let’s talk about some of the new shows on this summer. Memphis Beat? Anyone watching it? I like it. The pilot made me cry a little, which is always good. No characteristically funny stuff from Jason Lee, but good drama, for sure. And I always love when a show is really part of it’s surroundings – I’m looking forward to lots of good Memphis music.

Top Chef DC is off to a great start. Who else was surprised that the middle school kids loved the carnitas tacos with pickled onions?

Work of Art is awesome. Full of kooky, crazy artists. Art is SO SUBJECTIVE, I was really curious how they were going to pull this off. But when you think about it, it’s not like we can taste the food on Top Chef or necessarily ‘get’ the fashion preferences of the Project Runway contestants. I’m totally enjoying watching the little bits of the artists’ process that we get to see, and I’m especially enjoying the crazy coming out. I loved Nao’s quote in the first episode…something like, “I already feel like I won, so I’m going to be liberal with my criticism.” And Miles keeps winning and he’s the craziest of all. And I’m not even talking about the OCD. I mean, why WHY why would he interrupt the judges and critique a fellow contender’s work? Crazy is not the right word. And I love watching them shop for art supplies way more than the visits to Whole Foods or Mood. I wish someone would give me $100 and an empty bag in an art supply store.

My most favorite show at the moment is So You Think You Can Dance…I seriously love Kent. And I love ALL the all stars – I’m so happy to see them dancing again. They definitely should have kept Christina and cut Melinda, though.

What else?

Pretty Little Liars/Make It or Break It/American Teenager – mind candy. I watch them all. I like Pretty Little Liars a lot – I almost feel bad putting it in the same category as the other two, because the acting is really a lot better – and I love to see Holly Marie Combs in something new. But since it’s essentially a teen Desperate Housewives, it still falls in the mind candy category.

Lie to Me is great – I’ve missed Mekhi Phifer in the first few episodes, though. I hope he’ll be around more.

I’m also watching:

  • Merlin on SyFy
  • Burn Notice, Royal Pains and In Plain Sight on USA – all great
  • Friday Night Lights (so awesome, always)
  • Leverage on TNT
  • some new shows – Persons Unknown (so far, so good) and The Gates (just Okay…I mean, how many creatures will they introduce? vampires, werewolves, succubi, witches…too many – no focus), Scoundrels (seems like a rip off of The Riches, but Virginia Madsen is good, so I’ll watch), Rookie Blue (first episode…meh. we’ll see.)
  • The Good Guys – very entertaining so far, and excellent classic rock soundtrack
  • Kathy Griffin, My Life on the D List – super hilarious. Start watching it today. I just wish it was for free somewhere online.
  • If I Can Dream – reality show on Hulu. Gigliani is pissing me off and I want to see more Kara, but entertaining.

Lots of good stuff coming up: Rubicon, The Glades, Haven, Eureka, The Closer, Rizzoli and Isles…you see why I’m not getting any sewing done.

gems on the web

We’re reading Skippy Jon Jones around here – have you read it? It’s awesome. So in the spirit of Skippito Friskito, let me say, “Holy Guacamole!” There is so much awesome stuff on the web. Here are a few beans from my pinata:

Latifah Saafir, co-founder of the LA Modern Quilt Guild, has reinvented her blog. Her new home on the www is http://www.thequiltengineer.com/, and it’s looking awesome. I especially love her latest quilt.

Tons of awesome new fabric on the way. I’m greedily eyeing the new LizzyHouse line, Castle Peeps. And not just for the awesome name! I especially love the castle-scape prints, although I truly love the whole line.

Castle Peeps - Gallant Green Castle Town by LizzyHouse

It looks like Fabricworm will have it on sale any day now. And look at this Villagers Rejoice quilt! Super awesome. You can read all about it and download the pattern here.

And of course, I’m counting down until Far Far Away II is released. Can’t wait!

eye candy

EYE CANDY!

Oh man. Look at this quilt tutorial from Vanessa of V & Co. SO CUTE. I must make one of those. Who’s having a baby next?

Extra time on your hands? Maybe you need some fabric eggs for Easter!

And I have at least three pairs of cargo pants that need to become these awesome little messenger bags. Reuse!

So many awesome FREE tutorials online. Why do I ever buy patterns?!

Two audiobook recommendations

I just listened to two excellent audiobooks. Not at the same time, of course :)

First up, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. A fantastic story about a girl who gets put on a boat in England bound for Australia at age four. The story covers her life, her parents lives, her children and grandchild – who finally solves the mystery of why she was on the boat. It’s a little dark, and feels magical, although there’s no actual magic. It was excellent as an audio book – I know the paperback is on the bestseller list now. I think if you liked The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, you’ll like this one.

Next up is The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss. So funny and interesting – the tale of disgraced Revolutionary Army Captain trying to save his first love and save the new nation from financial ruin. SO MANY parallels to today’s stock market and government. It’s a fun, fictional glimpse at Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury, the men and women of the west that improved the Whiskey trade, the first government in Philadelphia. I loved every bit of it! Historical fiction at it’s most entertaining.

Audible has an awesome sale going on right now – over 200 books at only $4.95. I can’t get enough!

Summer of Making

As part of my full-fledged crazy excitement about attending Heather Ross’ fabric design class in Portland this Summer, I became a fan of the Summer of Making facebook page.

Today they sent out this link to the Museum of Contemporary Craft to download Denyse Schmidt’s talk from last summer’s program. You can right click on this link, or just left click on it to stream the mp3. Awesome! It’s also on the Summer of Making blog.

**Update – After listening, I think it would be a lot cooler if we could see the pictures. But it’s still great.

Awesome giveaway

Over at the Purl Bee…one fq of EVERY COLOR of Kona Cotton solids!!! I think it’s running for the whole month of March. I hope I win!!!

Sold! And Treasure, too!

I’m pretty excited – I sold 3 camera straps yesterday!!! The two Denyse Schmidt ones went right away, which doesn’t surprise me. I need to make some more of those RIGHT AWAY. And an owl strap is making its way to Poland! So awesome! My sales were to NY, LA and Poland…how’s that for a little internet shop? Super cool.

I’m working on my packaging – what do you think? It’s not perfect, but without making any kind of big investment – I think it looks nice.

moxywares-1

And even more exciting, my most wonderfullest friend, Pancockies, sent me a box of Munki Munki treasure. When I was on my serious Munki hunt a few weeks ago, she took up the challenge and scoured her own Marshalls…all the way in the Sunshine State! She found these adorable kittens, which I believe, are the find of the century. She also found a lovely shoes robe and a couple sets of coffee pjs. She is the BEST! Think a coffee camera strap is a good idea?

treasure-2

treasure-3

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