Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another purse and someone needs to stop me now!!!

So here's my latest. It's the Phoebe Bag (a free download) from Artsy Crafty Babe. I made it from the Amy Butler remnants of a bag I made for one of my daughters. I'd originally picked this pattern out for her and I was a bit disappointed when she vetoed it. However, after I finished the Phoebe I can honestly say it was a good decision on her part.

First of all, let me say, The Phoebe is a really nice pattern, and I love it!

For me.

However, it's not nearly as roomy as the Ava Rose that I ended up making for her.

And that's a good thing to know.

I guess it must be that whole 'make-the-most-of-what-you have-I-lived-through-the-depression' attitude that my mother passed down to me that made me make this bag reversible.

I do this to a lot of the purses I make.

Note to self: apply some Scotch-Guard to the button I covered in light covered fabric. I can see the possibility of it becoming grimy very quickly.

And the flip side.

I added a double pocket just below the button.

I actually think I may like this side better than the other.

But honestly!! I really don't need any more purses but I just can't stop!! And today I found a free market bag download and before I knew it I was off and running (more on that to follow).

Check out the tired pitty. Today was a particularly wild day at the off leash dog park where Wilbur reigns supreme.

He is such a special pooch and I get a huge kick out of watching him have major zoomies as he alternately chases all kinds of dogs and then lets them chase him. It also thrills me to watch people go out of their way to pet him.

He's truly a Good Will Ambassador for Pit Bulls.

Needless to say I was very thankful tonight that Wilbur was so stinking worn out, and I was finally able to spread my very first quilt top out on the dining room floor and baste some quilt batting to it without him doing his cat impersonation!

He snored through the whole procedure.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This crazy thing called life!

But first a bit about sewing.

I loved the Amy Butler fabric I used for my daughter's Ava Rose bag so much, I was thrilled to have enough left over to cut out a Phoebe for myself.

The main body will once again be the brick color.
The lining will be the yellow/green with a pocket.

The handle will be brick on one side and yellow/green on the other, and since it will also be reversible, each has a matching tab closure with a contrasting button.

I only bought two acrylic buttons for my daughter's bag but luckily I had some big button thingies that you cover with your own fabric and I think they look just fine.

Still not sewn and lying on my ironing board .

I want this purse to have some body to it so I will be adding fusible fleece to the main piece and interfacing to the lining.

I would have finished this today except Hans and I went for our first bike ride of the year. Yes, June is almost over and we had yet to go for a ride. I'm glad to report that this year our Big City completed its bike trail into our neighborhood but I fear Hans misses the good old days of fence jumping.

The temperature was perfect and after I took Wilbur to the dog park in an attempt to wear him out so we could leave him at home and not feel guilty, we were gone for over three hours. It was a great ride but soon after we got home I realized I had a huge rip in the seat of my capris! Like seam to seam! Thank God I was wearing panties but Hans swears that they must have torn after we got home as he didn't notice it during our ride.

So on to the crazy stuff.

It would appear that we are going to move to Florida sometime in August to live on our boat.

Florida in August!!

On a boat that has no air conditioning!

Hans received a job offer down there and at this stage of the game we really need to take advantage of it. Our recent foray into the let's try to live on the boat ended up eating deeply into our savings, and just try to find affordable health care at our age (it doesn't exist)! So we're going to give up our apartment, move the boat to a marina (it's currently on the hard) and live on it there.

After all, we bought the boat with the intention of someday living on it and now we will. We'll just be in a marina and I'm okay with that.
Luckily the marina we're looking at is very affordable, has Wi-Fi (free!), showers, laundry, a swimming pool, parking next to the slip, shopping, restaurants, and theaters within walking distance, and free ice and water.
And (drum roll here) the most important thing, they allow dogs!!!!!!

I'm hoping if I tell my family that they now have a free place to vacation during the winter, they'll be okay with it too.

Somehow I doubt it.

Poor Wilbur. "We're moving where? Are you guys nuts??!!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sonofagun!! Another purse sewn, and I like it!

I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted to make a purse for my daughter. She told me that it had to be roomy and slouchy (what she meant was unstructured and floppy), but after going through the gazillion purse patterns that I already own, I couldn't find a one of them that might work. Then I remembered that Rebeka Lambert from Artsy Crafty Babe makes cute bags and sells her patterns on Etsy. I was sure that the Phoebe Bag (a free download) would be exactly what my daughter wanted but luckily I asked her first because she said, "No."


But she did like the Ava Rose.


I was thrilled when shortly after buying the downloadable version from Etsy, my printer was happily spitting out the pattern. Why was I so happy? Because Rebeka lets you know she will send the pattern to you within 48 hours of purchase, and I had it within about one!!!!

So here it is, and I decided to make it reversible. This is the side I think will get used the most.

Here is the inside. There's a line of stitching down the center of that pocket so now there are two pockets instead of one. They are also held closed with Velcro for extra security.

That big button is there for a reason...

And, aha, here it is...

It's now on the outside, as are the pockets.

In order to make the bag 'reversible' I ended up leaving an opening at the top of the bag for 'turning' and then just folded the seam allowances in and sewed it shut during the top stitching.

But anyway, I was concerned when I found that the directions specifically mentioned that this is supposed to be a structured bag and that is not what my daughter wanted!


So I omitted all interfacing's (even in the straps) and just sandwiched a layer of stash fabric in the bag body for a bit of stability. I basted it to the lining (the yellowish green fabric) and treated it as one. And for the most part it turned out just fine!


My only issue with this bag is the not so great job I did with the bottom. It's a gusset style construction and the yellow side's bottom is pretty wonky (possibly due to working with two layers of fabric). I may send an email to Beki and ask her if she has any hints.

I'm actually very happy with this bag and I really hope my daughter likes it too. I wouldn't mind making another one and use some contrasting fabric for the bottom and sides. This pattern really lends itself to that idea.

And I'm happy to add that I downloaded the free Phoebee bag and I have just enough fabric left over to make one for myself.

And yes, it will be reversible too!!

It appears to be a given that I can't sign off without a picture of Wilbur the Wonderdog.

Here he is in the back seat of my vehicle today after a visit to the off leash doggy park where he's the reigning king.

No one had better ever dare try to usurp this guy!

It just isn't going to happen!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sew, what's up now?

It's been a long time since I've taken on more than one sewing (crafting) project at a time but for some reason I've bitten off a bit more than I normally do.

For starters, I finally bought (at 40% off) some batting for my quilt top and as soon as I have some 'Wilbur free' time, I'll get it put together. Unfortunately for me, as soon as I lay anything on the floor, Wilbur (our vicious pit bull) gives me his best cat impersonation, and lies all over it!

I opened up the package of batting and it's so stinking soft I almost hate to hide it between the quilt and its backing.


And what's this? OMG, it's yarn! My middle daughter is having a very difficult time with depression and anxiety, and she thought that maybe if she took up a hobby like crocheting it might help to calm her nerves. Yesterday she brought her supplies to my apartment and made a small stab at it.

After she left I did a bit of googling and found some fabulous sites and YouTube videos that show people crocheting the most unbelievable things; rugs made out of thrifted sheets, sandals and dog leashes from recycled plastic bags... and in my attempt to understand and help, I ended up getting myself worked into a lather and bought a skein of yarn (I already own a crochet hook). However, most of my enthusiasm went by the wayside when I actually attempted to 'crochet'. Way back in the day I crocheted an afghan so I know I can do it, it'll just take a bit of time.

I'm just not so sure this is going to be a calming activity.

Today I took her to the market district which just happens to have an incredible fabric store. I mean a store with 'real' silk, designer quilt fabrics, and notions to die for!

I asked her if she'd like me to make her a bag and when she replied in the affirmative I expansively told her to pick anything she wanted. We ended up with these two (very expensive although she didn't have a clue) Amy Butler prints and matching acrylic buttons. The fabric colors are brick and gold but to me they are brick and green (my dad is completely color blind and my sister and I are color shy! Not a good thing when it comes to picking out fabrics!).

Anyway, she likes slouchy bags and I think I have a good idea of what I want to do and I also plan on making it reversible. And I think I'll have enough fabric for a matching wallet and maybe even a small purse for me!

Wish me luck!

Here's Wilbur, the vicious pit bull, I mentioned earlier.

He's my boyfriend!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My first quilt...

... almost. It's just not quite done yet. Here it is at 4 strips wide.

Anyway, I mentioned on my last post that I'm trying to use up leftover scraps of fabric in an effort to avoid spending money.

Those odd paper squares you see here are just post-it notes that let me know where the heck I am in this whole quilting block process!

I cut out one hundred and forty six (146) 5 1/2 inch squares of fabric, which I then stitched one hundred and forty six (146) 2 1/2 inch squares atop of. Does that make sense?

What I'm trying to say is that I sewed one 2 1/2 inch square on top of one 5 1/2 inch square. Very tedious yet a sixth grader could do it.

Like this.

The 2 1/2 inch square is sewn (with 1/4 inch seam allowances) onto the 5 1/2 inch square with the raw edges of the smaller square completely exposed. This means that when the finished quilt is laundered, the raw edges of the smaller square will ravel, thus giving it a scruffy, or 'scrappy' look.

Aha! A pirate! How appropriate.

A wash tub from my house cleaning days!

And of course, Wilbur. How can I possibly make anything without his approval?

And here it is, a finished quilt top.

All twelve rows.

Do all my squares meet up perfectly?


Do I really care?


Do I now appreciate all the work that people put into real quilts?

I most certainly do!

At the Salvation Army the other day I lucked onto a 4 yard piece of fabric for five bucks, and it will become the backing for this quilt, so all I need to buy is the batting.

Hopefully my next post will be that of my very first (and possibly last) finished quilt!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

From sewing at sea to sewing on land

Wilbur still can't believe he actually sailed all the way to the Bahamas and back.

Actually, I can't believe we did either!

Anyway, I have to admit I didn't fully appreciate how laid back life was in the Bahamas until we got back to the good old USA. Back to rude custom's officials, tons of mail, a stolen credit card, no pets allowed signs, family dramas, health issues, car problems, trying to return a camera that quit working right out of the box (I finally received it back and hopefully repaired, yesterday!), and no money.

Yes, our boat is indeed 'the other woman', and an expensive one at that. But if we hadn't given in to her selfish wishes, and didn't treat her to all kinds of treatments before we crossed to the Bahamas, she threatened to sink us like a stone.

So we caved.

The boat is now on the hard in Florida, Hans is back to selling things and is out pounding the pavement day after day, and I'm staying home and trying not to spend money. And except for having to buy (with a coupon) a new self-healing cutting mat and a big plastic ruler (I left mine on the boat, unfortunately!), I haven't spent a dime on anything sewing related since we've been back (over a month).

In addition to taking care of family issues, and trying to wear Wilbur out at the off leash dog park on a daily basis, I've also been working my way through the fabric that I already have on hand.

I have some hex frames I've been wanting to use up so I went back to Lisa Lam's post from long ago and made a couple of purses.

I initially used up some Steeler's fabric for my first try as the dimensions of my hex frame were different from Lisa's.

For the most part it worked out well except for being about an inch too narrow as you can see from how the hex frame shows in this picture.

Kinda like panty lines. Ugly!

So I fidgeted with the pattern a bit, dug out my 'good' (expensive) quilting cotton, went as far as to use it as my lining also, and completely screwed up everything!

Did you really expect anything different from me?

It's presentable but don't look to closely at it.

It wasn't until I was finished that I realized that the inside pocket got all caught up in the 'frame' stitching. And why on earth was it 'flopping' so badly.

Duh!!!!!! I forgot to insert boning into the side seams! Damn!

I cursed and ripped and did my best, but in the end it's still not quite right (and the pocket ended up getting caught again, just not quite as bad as the first time), but since there's no way in hell I'll rip it out again, it'll do just fine for me.

On to the mini duffel bag kit that's been hanging around for about four or more years. This simple kit came with a piece of pre-quilted fabric and a piece of contrasting quilting cotton along with some very hazy instructions. Or should I say the worst instructions I've ever been forced to read.

Excuse all my crappy pictures, I was in a hurry.

'Place wrong sides together, stitch and turn right sides out'.

Yes, you read that right, and it was just one of the most unbelievably stupid directions I was forced to read.

'Turn under the edges of the four pocket pieces, press, turn again, and stitch' (there are six pocket pieces and HEY! how about giving us some seam allowances, 1/2 " or 1/4 "!!!

In the end I just winged it and since it was a duffel bag it wasn't really that difficult. Except for those stupid directions! And I never did figure out how the ends of the zipper (covered with fabric tabs) were supposed to be on the outside of the bag and mine ended up inside.

The inner pocket which looks bad but really works pretty well (especially after I added a velcro closure).

The directions for the pocket said, Fold inside pocket piece in half, top stitch and apply to bag where indicated. Where??!! There are no pictures!! Crazy stuff let me tell you.

I had some leftover fabric so I made a matching credit card/change purse. At least I don't need directions for this.

I also decided to make a quilt with all my leftover scraps of cotton. Nothing fancy at all but I'll save that for my next post.

It does feel good to be sewing again but I'd still rather be on the boat.

So would Wilbur.