Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas and More

Wishing you and your families a Merry and Blessed Christmas! Thank you for viewing my Blog and leaving your comments. They are a great inspiration to me and I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

I have been sewing up until just a couple days ago and wanted to share what I have been doing. This first bag is the Wavy Top Bag designed by Bethany Rapp of Sweet Bee Buzzings that I made for my baby sister several months ago (but had forgotten to photograph it). Fortunately, I had forgotten to close the bottom of the lining and so she let me borrow it to fix the lining and I took the opportunity to take the photos I needed). I had made one even earlier for myself, but have worn it out because I carried it everywhere for almost a year.

This is the front of the bag. In addition to a stylish wavy top, it has a nice sized front slip pocket.
 This is the top of the bag showing the inset zipper that keeps everything nice and secure.
 This shows inside with the zipper pocket....
 and this view shows the opposite side with 4 slip pockets.

It was the first time that I had tried Annie's Soft 'n Stable and I really liked the way it worked.

Then about a week ago, I finished another Necessary Clutch Wallet (NCW) by Emmaline (click on the link to order your own pattern) that used the last of the great paisley fabric that I had used for my sister's purse shown above. Here is my 4th NCW. It has a cross-body strap and double zipper pockets. Front of NCW:
 This next shot shows the inside of the NCW containing two sets of six card slots, two slip pockets for cash and coupons, two zipper pockets, a large center space that will hold even a large cell phone and two smaller spaces in front of each of the card slots. These little bags hold a lot in a small space (finished size is about 4.5" x 8").
 I just got some rivets, leather punch and rivet tools and so used them on the sides and strap of this NCW. They really worked beautifully and I intend to use a lot more rivets in the future.

If you see a bag on my blog that you might want to order, just send me a message and I will contact you. Each bag is handmade and unique. I do not do any mass production.

Thanks for reading my blog. Until next time, may the Lord watch and keep you and yours!
                                    Blessings to you!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Necessary Clutch Wallet


I recently finished my first Necessary Clutch Wallet (NCW) by Emmaline, showed it to a few friends and immediately got some orders! It is a lot of fun to make and has a variety of options that can be used to make it fit your needs. I absolutely love it!

You can order your pattern by clicking Emmaline. I did the instant download and found the directions very clear. You can also join NCW Addicts on facebook for lots of help and additional files to help you personalize your own NCW.


I did my NCW in cotton quilting batiks in Arizona Sunset colors. I followed the basic pattern other than using the wristlet option and the zipper tab option. Both options are available in the files section of the NCW Addicts FB group. You must have the basic pattern first, the additional files do not work without the pattern.

I used the suggested interfacing, but after getting a very uneven front flap, I searched the files and found one called NCW Border Placement Alternative Method. I took apart my flap, recut my border piece and trimmed my peltex per the instructions. Put it all back together and got a much nicer flap with the border. I am currently making 3 without the border, but with the double zipper option in the files, 2 will have long straps and one will have a wristlet. See the photo below of the fabrics chosen and cutout. Awaiting hardware and zippers before I can do much more.

Will just have a wristlet. Exterior flap cut from a repurposed piece of faux leather.

Will have a long strap.

Will have a long strap.
Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!

"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble. And He knows those who trust in Him."   Nahum 1:7

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Zipper Pouches, Zipper Pouches

My sister talked me into doing a craft fair with her recently (she makes very nice jewelry) and so, in addition to a number of the purses I have done as tests, I made a number of zipper pouches to have some lesser expensive things to sell. My sister and I had a great time spending a day together, but the crowd was sparse and not buying anything from anyone. Anyway, that is not the point of this long overdue blog....zipper pouches are the point. I made a number of them last year as Christmas gifts for friends and family and they were so well received, I thought I would make some more.

All of the fabrics are quilting cottons, scraps from other projects that I couldn'g bear to part with. The one with bird houses was from a larger piece that had this lovely border on the bottom. All but the small pouch in the front with the autumn leaves pattern were quilted (because I love to quilt small items) and have boxed bottoms. All are lined and one or two have slip pockets inside.

The two on the upper left (gorgeous blue and black floral and the lovely striped multi-color pattern) have top zippers. The others all have zippers placed a bit down from the top. In the middle, above the birdhouses, the light aqua one, has an exposed zipper and decorative stitching using stitches from my sewing machine. The darker blue-green on above it, has a detachable flower that I had made some time ago on my embroidery machine doing embroidery on organza. 

The largest one on the upper right was designed to incorporate a test of an embroidery design.  Zipper pouches are just one of a number of ways I have been able to use the test stitches of embroidery designs. 

Making zipper pouches is a great way to use up small pieces of fabric, practice quilting, and wind up with a lot of lovely gifts to share or sell. They are easy to make and you will find a wide variety of free tutorials online. Once I tried a few different tutorials, then I just adapted and made whatever sizes fit the fabric scraps I had. Unfortunately, this little endeavor did not even make a dent in my fabric scraps, so I will be doing more pouches and other small items in between larger projects. 

I am currently doing my first Necessary Clutch Wallet in what I call Arizona sunset colors. As soon as it is finished I will blog about it. I took photos of last night's spectacular sunset on our walk and you can see one below.

May God be with you until we chat again! Happy sewing. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Advanced City Slicker Bag by ChrisW Designs

A couple of months ago, I won a free pattern from ChrisW Designs and chose her Advanced City Slicker because I loved all the pockets it has and I like a challenge (she also has a simpler-to-sew version called the City Slicker). I finally got a chance to get one made:

It really turned out nicely, and I learned some new tricks and tips. If you want to order your own City Slicker or Advanced City Slicker pattern, just click on the Chris W Designs link on the right side of my blog.

This bag is listed as one for advanced sewers and I agree with the designation. It was a bit of a challenge, but a lot of fun to make. It is a great size, finishing to 15.75" x 10" x 4" (and has a large pouch pocket on the front, a wonderful welt pocket on the back. This was my first-ever welt pocket in a bag (years ago I done welt pockets in a jacket for my husband) and ChrisW's directions were very clear and resulted in a beautifully finished pocket. 

I did make a couple of judgement errors and had to redo my side gussets (that were originally going to be the same mauve fabric as the side straps). The funny thing was that as I was originally cutting everything out, I had accidentally cut the two side gussets out of the leaf print and then had to recut in the mauve.  The first error was choosing that mauve fabric, a linen-look cotton, that kept looking wrinkly despite interfacing and lots of pressing. The second error resulted because I was out of the Soft and Stable interfacing that the pattern suggested, so I tried Peltex and it was way too stiff. It  made my bag look and feel like a board. I was able to remove the Peltex from the exterior fabrics, but then also decided to use the lovely leaf fabric for the gussets as well as the front and back and not use the mauve.

I then used fusible fleece (Thermolam) and it worked fine. I also was out of my preferred Pellon SF 101 (that I like to add to the back of all my fabrics before adding fleece or Soft and Stable because the SF 101 helps prevent bubbles and wrinkles and stretching). So used some Pellon Decor Bond and Pellon Craft Fuse. Both worked okay, but I am not as happy with the results as I am with SF 101. 

This bag is full of pockets inside, something that I really love, since I dislike playing dig and feel to find things in my bags. There is a zipper pocket with two slip pockets on one inside and double set of slip pockets on the other inside.

Check out the photos below:

Zipper pocket and 2 slip pockets
Double set of slip pockets that create one pleated pocket, two pen pockets and four more slip pockets.

Close up showing large pouch pocket on the front of the bag.
Back of bag showing welt pocket. 
  All in all, this was a fine experience. ChrisW's patterns are exceptionally complete. She includes a list of supplies needed, a cutting list, pattern pieces, an exceptionally well-illustrated set of directions and a set of text directions. I printed the pattern pieces, the text directions, and the cutting list. My laptop sits to the side of my sewing machine, so I just pulled up the illustrated directions on the screen and referred to them as I went along.

The thing that took the longest and delayed my finishing the bag for almost two weeks was a septic issue in our old home in a rural location. All is well now!

May God be with you and happy sewing until next time!


"Trust in the Lord  with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, October 6, 2014

My New Kentucky Bag....

The Kentucky Bag

I was privileged to test the Kentucky bag for Sarah Goodall of Numb-Skull Patterns, but had to wait to share until the pattern was released. You can go to her site to get your own down-loadable pattern by clicking on the link above.

First, I needed to select the fabrics. The light-colored flowered print is a lovely 1950's-1960's vintage piece that came from my Mother's stash. Since I lost my Mother several years ago, whenever I find a use for one of her old fabrics, it is like using a special treasure. The main print, is a Robert Kaufman screen print that has a nice body to it. The turquoise and black is a scrap that I had in my stash from years ago and is also a quilting cotton.

This bag has a lot of style as you can see from the shape and the decorative band on the front of the flap shown in the photo below. The same coordinating fabric can also be seen at the bottom edge of the bag in the 1st photo below, at the top edge of the front of the bag with the flap open in the 2nd photo below.

There  are four zipper pockets; one on the front under the flap, one on the back exterior and two inside. These make for great storage. Also notice the cool twist lock (although a snap can be used is place of the twist lock). It was my first twist-lock installation and I love the way it looks and works.

Front of Kentucky with flap closed.
Flap open showing front zipper pocket.

Flap open, showing inside one of the zipper pockets.
 Doesn't the vintage fabric really showoff the inside and coordinated nicely with the exterior and coordinating fabrics?

The bag is quite firm with just a firm fusible interfacing applied to all the exterior pieces, but one could also use a fleece and quilt it for different look.

Back of Kentucky bag showing zipper pocket. 
As always, Sarah's patterns have clearly written, easy-to-follow directions that make it easy to get a professional look.  The pattern is not difficult and was a lot of fun to sew.

Again, to make your own Kentucky, go to Numb-Skull Patterns to purchase your own pattern.

Happy sewing and may God be with you!

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."  Psalm 91, NIV

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Embroidered tote

I belong to Betty Falasca's embroidery group and she regularly runs a monthly contest for us to show what we have created using her designs. Betty is a wonderful designer and has many lovely designs that can be found on her site: http://www.bettysoriginalembroideries.com.

This month, I was able to eek out the time to participate. She had some lovely angel designs and I decided that one of the designs would be perfect to feature on the front for a tote. So I stitched out the design on my embroidery machine (Brother PR 600 II) and the began designing a simple tote that would highlight the embroidery. I also had a stash of batik fat quarters that were begging to be used.

I decided to work with these fall leaf colors. So here is a shot of the selected colors and a zipper for an inner zipped pocket. The muted orange piece on the bottom will become the lining.
The embroidered angel panel is surrounded by burgundy and orange batiks.
This will become the back of the tote utilizing the colors from the front with one additional orange. I have not yet added the top and bottom strips that will match the top and bottom strips on the front.
I first fused Pellon SF 101 to the pieced front and back. Then I added fusible fleece, sewed the front to the back and boxed the corners. I added 2 pieces of Peltex fused-together to give the tote a firm base.

Then I made my lining with an inset zipper pocket, added the cross-body strap and here's the finished tote. I used portions of 4 batik fat quarters for everything except the embroidered panel. I think it made a very cute tote, that is a nice medium size.
Finished cross-body tote showing the front.
Finished back of the same tote.
I am toying with a pattern and directions for this simple cross-body tote and took photos of the process so that I could use them in the directions. There are several refinements running around in my head, like a top inset zipper, an adjustable strap and inner slip pockets. However, I will be busy for at least the next few weeks testing new bags and tote patterns for others, so won't get back to this tote for a while.

In the meantime, may your lives be filled with our Lord's Blessings and may your days be filled with lots of lovely sewing. Come back soon, for I will have some great new bags to show (as soon as I can talk about them).


Friday, September 19, 2014

The Spectrum Tote by Cozy Nest Design

Hello all! I am delighted to be able to share what I was working on, but couldn't talk about during my Around the World blog. I was again privileged to to a tester for Sarah Gido of Cozy Nest Design (link to her site is on the right).

The Spectrum Tote with me holding it so that you can see how large it is.

 As you can see, this is a nice large tote with an inside zipper pocket. I found the pattern easy to follow even though this tote has quite a few pieces. Sarah has a nice set of labels you can print and stick on the pieces of fabric as you cut them out to help keep everything straight.

I used Pellon SF101 as the interfacing for my fabric and then used canvas as my interlining. It was the first time I had ever used canvas and found it quite east to use. I did switch to a size 16 needle once I got to the part where I was sewing the canvas along with the fabric. Sarah also used a great way to do the binding around the handles that was easy and gives a great finish.

The Spectrum Tote front view
The Spectrum tote side view

The Spectrum Tote showing inside zipper pocket.
Some of the other testers added more goodies inside their bags, such as slip pockets, a laptop pocket (yes, this bag is large enough to carry your laptop or tablet), and a key fob. So you can see there is lots of room for creativity. If you check out the Cozy Nation Design link on the right, you will find lots more photos of this tote done by the other testers. Depending on your fabric choice, it can look anywhere from very casual to very elegant.

It would also look great in seasonal or special holiday fabrics.

To see the other testers bags click here. The variety is amazing and they all look great!

Well, I have another tote that I created around an embroidery design that I will be sharing very soon.

Hugs and happy sewing!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

Hi! Today is my day to post as part of the Around the World Blog Tour. I was invited by Lorena of my way of blog. I recently got acquainted with Lorena while testing the Convertible/Reversible Bag for Sarah Gido of Cozy Nest Design (see her link on the right side of my page). We had great fun testing that bag and the post about it can be found in my July 31st post. Lorena is a talented bag maker and tester who also crochets super-cute creative toys and dolls. Be sure to click on the link above to see her work.

So here goes....we were all asked to answer the same four questions....

What am I Working On?

Well, what I am working on today is all very hush, hush because I am testing a new pattern that has not been released yet. But as soon as the testing is finished and the pattern released, I will definitely blog about it!

However, I am delighted to share what I have just finished....The Maryland Bag by Sarah Goodall which can be found at Numb-Skull Patterns.  It was a fun bag to sew.
My finished bag from the front. It has a front zip pocket and an under-the-flap hidden zip pocket. It is a cross body mini messenger bag.
This shows the bag open with one inner zip pocket.

I had this lovely fabric remnant I had been saving for years for just the right project and it was great for this purse. The pattern is clearly written and was easy to follow. My main change was to quilt the fabric along some of the stripe lines. Unfortunately, my quilting is too subtle and the quilting doesn't show in the photos. I also re-purposed a strap from an old bag that matched the silvery gray in the fabric, so I didn't make the straps suggested in the pattern. I discovered a bit of matching colored ribbon in my stash and used that for the zipper pulls.

A close-up of my version of the Maryland Bag that shows the colors better than the first two photos above.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm, is this a trick question? My work differs because of my own personal preferences, selections of fabrics, just like most other sewers. We each add our own touches...that's what makes sewing such a creative activity.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Well, I started my blog just a few months ago so I could be part of the Convertible/Reversible Bag Tour and Giveaway. I had so much fun working with the group testing the bag that I couldn't bear to be left out of the blog tour, so I started my blog. As to the why I write and create....I have to! It is part of who I am. I have been writing and creating artwork, sewing a wide variety of things from clothes to stuffed animals for my daughter when she was little, to quilts and now bags and purses. I find that spending time creating something is almost as necessary to who I am as breathing is to keeping me alive. 

How does my writing/creating process work?

Fits and starts and stumbles....well sometimes it seems that's how it works. For me, it seems to work differently depending on the activity or project. I sometimes like to just put stuff together to see how I like it. Othertimes, I am very step-by-step and overly organized. Most of the time, I work using a combination of the two extremes. I really am very concerned with craft-ship. I want things to be done the very best that I can do them, so I am often spending time with my seam ripper, or cutting another piece of fabric because I don't like the way my first choice worked out.

The photos below show the highlights of my process while creating the Maryland Bag (link to the page where you can order your own downloadable pattern is Numb-Skull Patterns):

First, I had to spend a lot of time auditioning fabrics from my stash. Above you see my selected zippers and fabrics. The exterior fabric pieces have also been interfaced with Pellon SF 101 and Fusible Fleece (since I had decided, or more honestly let the fabric decide, that I would quilt it).

Here, I have quilted and added the zipper pocket to the front panel that is covered by the flap.

Exterior assembled, front of bag with flap, d-ring tabs for straps pinned to sides. 

Assembled exterior with flap up showing flap snap, flap zipper pocket, and front panel with zipper pocket and strap d-ring tab pinned to side. 

Back of assembled bag.

Completed bag showing interior zipper pocket.

Completed bag showing the back view.

Final completed Maryland Bag hanging and laying flat with straps attached. Mine finished to approximately 8" wide by 9" tall by 3" deep. A great  smaller cross body bag that is perfect for running errands. 

Unfortunately, everyone I contacted was already part of this blog tour, so I have no new blogs to suggest for this tour, but I am sure that if you search for Around the World Blog Tour or Around the World Blog Hop, you will find a number of other posts. 

Thanks for stopping by! I recently won two patterns from blog giveaways that I will be talking about soon as well as the "hush, hush" test I am currently doing.

Ah, too many ideas and not enough time and energy (even though I am retired).

May God be with you and yours until we meet again.

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."  Psalm 91, NIV

Friday, August 15, 2014

Finished a new baby quilt....

Below are images of a baby quilt I just finished (a little slow...baby is already a few months old). The embroidery images are from test stitch-outs that I did for embroidery designer, Tammie Pfeiffer, called Curley Sunbonnets. I have done tests for Tammie for several years and her designs are always great! When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for this quilt for a baby girl, I remembered these darling designs.

I dug into my large rubber tote of saved test samples, squared up the test blocks and found a a small print in my stash for the alternate blocks, border and quilt-back.  I pieced my blocks, then let it all sit while I pondered how I would quilt it so the quilting would stabilize the quilt and not interfere with the embroidery. I wound up doing a simple diagonal quilting. I added a narrow 1/4" flange in a dark green print all around before adding the border and really liked the extra touch that the flange provided. Used commercial binding and added a label on the back. Finally washed, dried, and photographed. Voila! Quilt finished and ready to be delivered.

Whole quilt

Some of the individual blocks:

All the embroidery designs are done in a lovely triple-stitch that shows up well and stitches quickly. You can order the Curley Sunbonnets embroidery designs in both the 4 x 4 or 5 x 7 sizes from Tammie at:

The individual blocks would also look great as an accent of the front of a purse or tote, or a collection of throw pillows, or .... let your imagination run!

Until next time, dear friends, remember:

The Lord's steadfast love toward us is great! The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117: 2, NRSV)