Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall bag

Over the weekend, I whipped up the 241 Tote from Noodlehead.

I used some of my prized Echino and paired it with duck cloth solids. The strap is made from a long strip of the Echino and backed with the burgundy duck cloth.

I really like this bag! The pattern is clear and straightforward though I would definitely recommend reading it all the way through before starting. Anna offers some alternate ways of assembly that I think make a lot of sense and would be my preferred way to put the bag together. Also, um, read the directions about the seam allowance. I would have saved myself a LOT of frustration if I had realized the seam allowance was 3/8" and not the 5/8" I thought I read at first. Oh well, it just gives me a chance to make another one, right?

This one may or may not end up in the shop. I haven't quite decided and still need to finish hand stitching the lining closed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New dress!

Miss B has a new dress!

Okay....three new dresses.

I just can't help myself. The pattern (Ofelia - Patterns by Figgy's) is wonderful. Simple and easy to follow instructions make for a quick and rewarding project.

Seriously people - it takes one yard of fabric and one hour of your time. How can you possibly go wrong?

Bailey picked out this fabric - bright and lots of orange so no surprises there. She loves it. I love it. I especially love that she can get herself dressed without any help (thanks to the elastic neckline and no buttons or zips).

One little note: go by the measurements not necessarily the sizes (as you should on ALL clothing patterns). Bailey is not quite four but this was made using a combo of the size 5 (width) and 6 (length) pattern lines. These are the pattern sizes that correspond to her measurements and the dress fits perfectly.

And yes, she's freakishly tall for her age.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Problem solved

Well, I am nothing if not crafty and I love finding solutions to the strange little problems that creep into everyday life.

Case in point:

Both kids have become enamored of these "lap boards" - basically dry-erase boards for them to practice their writing. The problem is that they needed a way to erase but didn't want to keep track of a little cloth or anything like that.

So I grabbed a scrap of fabric (about 3 inches square), a cotton ball, and a rubber band.

Wrapped the cotton ball in the fabric scrap.

Fit the cotton ball/fabric thingy around the end of the pen cap.

And secured with a rubber band.

Voila! A dry-erase marker with an ERASER!

So far, so good. Though I have to admit that when I made one for Owen I decided to make things a little more rugged by replacing the rubber band with duct tape. Both versions are working like a charm!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I refuse to believe that summer is ending. So even though we had a gray and rainy weekend, I got busy making a deep dish peach pie.

The weather has been steadily improving since then.

You're welcome.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Swap Angel

I just sent off my very first angel package for a swap! It hasn't arrived yet at it's destination so I'll just post this little peek.

Swaps can be fun or horrible or anywhere in between. They can also be a little bit tricky because you are relying on people's honesty and integrity to follow through with their commitment. We all know that life has a way of being unpredictable and deadlines can be missed. As long as everyone communicates well, things usually work out just fine.

But every once in a while, someone is a flake and doesn't send anything out to their partner. That's when whoever is organizing the swap asks for "angels." An angel is someone who sends out a swap package without getting anything in return. I've never needed an angel in any of the swaps I've done and this was the first time I've ever been asked to be an angel for someone else.

It was really fun to put this little package together! I made a table runner, a hot pad, and a potholder since this was a "Spicing Up the Kitchen" swap. I hope they are well-received.

Do you participate in swaps? Have you ever needed or been an angel?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tutorial: Bento Lunch Bag

Thanks for the interest in a tutorial! Here's how I made the bento lunch bags.

First, gather your materials. I used a home dec weight material for the exterior and a quilting weight cotton for the interior. For the drawstring cover I used linen.

From your exterior fabric cut two panels 12" x 13"
from your interior fabric cut two panels 12" x 13"
From your drawstring cover fabric cut two panels 6.5" x 13" (or one panel 6.5" x 25")
From fusible fleece cut two panels 11" x 12"
1" cotton webbing - 24"

Other supplies:
one cord lock
one yard of cording
sewing machine

Note: all seams are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.

If you've never used a cord lock before, they look like this:

Cut a 2.5" square from the bottom corners of your exterior, interior, and fusible fleece panels. This will make it easier to do your boxed corners later.

Fuse the fleece to the exterior fabric, centering the fleece like this:

Sew the side seams and bottom seam.

Then box the corners by bringing the bottom seam up to meet the side seam. Stitch across the edge. Repeat for other side.

You should end up with something like this:

Press seams open. Turn exterior right side out, gently poking the corners out using the pointy device of your choice. I use an old knitting needle.

Repeat for interior, but keep interior wrong side out. Now you should have this:

Set the interior and exterior aside.

Take your drawstring cover panels and sew along the short side. Of course, this is when I realized that this could be done with one piece measuring 6.5" x 25" so feel free to do that if you prefer. (Note: To prevent fraying, serge or zig zag along the short sides and top edge.)

Press center seam open.

Fold top edge down 1/2" and press well.

Fold cover panel in half, right sides together. Stitch along seam, stopping just below the folded down top edge.

When you're done, the edge should look like this:

Open the top edge and fold in one corner to the pressed line like this:

Then fold back down along the pressed edge like this:

Pin in place and repeat on other side.

Stitch around the top, creating a casing for your drawstring. Press side seam open.

Next, cut your cotton webbing into two 12" lengths.

Find the top center of your exterior. Place handles 1-1/4" to each side of the center and pin in place. Be careful to not twist your handle.

Repeat for other side.

Place the interior inside the exterior of your bag (wrong sides together) and pin in place (matching side seams).

Then take your drawstring cover and place it outside the exterior and handles (right sides together) and pin in place.

Sew around the top of the bag securing the lining, exterior, handles, and cover.

Tuck the cover inside the bag and neatly press the top edge.

Topstitch around the top edge of the bag, about 1/4" from the edge. The place a second line of topstitching about 1/2" in from the first. This will give your bag a nice finished look.

If you look in the bag, you'll also see that the second line of topstitching will conceal the raw edges inside your lunch bag!

Thread your cording through the casing and secure in the cord lock to finish your bag. (If you need detailed instructions about how to do this, check out my reversible drawstring bag tutorial.)

And there you have it! A fantastic new lunch bag!

If you have any questions, just ask. And if you make one, I'd love to know about it.

Happy Crafting!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Recently, I had the unique opportunity to do some sewing for a friend. Well, actually, my friend's daughter. Okay, her daughter's dog.

See, my friend's daughter has juvenile diabetes. A few weeks ago they were given an amazing and life-saving miracle of a dog. He is a service dog who has been trained to identify high and low blood sugar levels and alert the person to either take their insulin or eat some food.

Their dog, along with two others in the program, needed their "official" working vests. And I was the lucky one who got to make them!

The dogs are trained through an amazing group called Dogs Assisting Diabetics. It's absolutely amazing what these animals can do.

It was truly an honor to sew up these little vests and I wish the dogs and their owners all the best!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of school!

We are happy to announce that there is a kindergartener in the family!

I did not cry. I'm not one of those mommy's who is lamenting sending my children to school. In fact, I'm eagerly awaiting next week when the preschooler will be heading off as well.

I LOVE my kids. And I feel amazingly grateful every day to be able to stay home with them. It's not a choice that is right or even possible for everyone. But I feel truly fortunate to have had this incredible amount of time with my kids. And now I feel grateful to be able to send them to school where they will make friends and continue to learn and be inspired. Another step on the journey!

Of course, I won't lie, getting a little bit of non-kid time is also greatly anticipated.

In preparation for school there was a little sewing going on here.

First was a little pencil case - adorned with robots.

The other side:

And a couple of lunch bags.

I didn't follow a pattern for these bags - kind of a combo of other projects I've made and a healthy dose of winging it.They are bento style lunch bags with drawstring covers, which are great if the bag gets knocked or tipped over. Stuff doesn't go flying out.

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out and so are the kids. Any interest in a quick tutorial?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Last blast of summer

When most people think of Oregon they think rain. And we do get more than our fair share of the wet stuff along with gray days. But what it gives us is a lush green landscape - another thing people often comment on when they visit our little corner of the world.

What many people don't realize is that Eastern Oregon is quite different. On the other side of the Cascades lies an amazingly beautiful high desert. We took the kids there for the first time as a final trip of the summer.

Here we are at the Painted Hills. You can see that the sky looks a bit hazy due to the dozen or so wildfires that had sprung up from lightening strikes in the surrounding areas.

We met this little critter as we were hiking along one of the trails at the Painted Hills.

The landscape is pretty spectacular with all the different colors, each made from various mineral deposits and revealed by erosion over millions of years.

One of our favorite stops along the way was a museum which is part of the John Day
Fossil Beds. Park Ranger Molly talked with us about how they use fossils to discover
what the area was like in the Age of Mammals. Mostly the kids just thought the skulls
and teeth were cool.

As this little one heads off to kindergarten and his sister to preschool, this was a great vacation for capturing the last fleeting days of summer.

And just to prove that I'm still crafting, I have some back-to-school sewing to show you next time!