Sunday, October 10, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Final

For the last week or so, I have been looking forward to taking this picture. The one with all the bags from the last month. Of course it is only 30ish bags because I gave a few away. I really liked doing this, it was good to force myself to sew every day and I am definitely back on the sewing wagon (although I need a couple of days off to clean up my sewing area and think about what to sew next). Of course now I can finally move on to posting some other stuff that we have been working on during the last month.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine and Thirty

This is the last post for the 30 bags challenge. I did it, although I don't have a picture of bag Twenty-Nine, but I can't put off writing this post any longer. For Bag Twenty-Eight, I made an extra-large tote out of a green plaid tablecloth...

For Bag Twenty-Nine, I made a reusable grocery bag with an appliqued flower (no picture, but maybe I will edit this post later). . . and here it is . . .

And finally, leading up to the last bag, I have been trying to figure out what I should make since I wanted it to make one bag to end all bags, I couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to do, and then, it turned out that my niece and nephew (who are 5 and 8) were staying with us for Day 30, so I figured I wouldn't get any bag done, much less a spectacular bag. But then, on Day 30, we woke up and the kids started asking about my sewing machine and I showed them how it works. My niece grabbed a bunch of small scraps of fabric and designed a bag that I sewed together for her and, tada! Bag 30.

And for fairness and sibling equity, here is a picture of my nephew with his new pillow, "Pilly."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven

For Bag Twenty-Six, I made another envelope clutch, this time out of a manatee fabric. No zipper in this one, instead, I used a button-hole closure.

Since I have been a bit behind, I knew that for Bag Twenty-Seven I needed to make yet another small zip purse. The bag is nothing spectacular, but I tried yet another new method of installing the zipper, and . . . nailed it! It came out great without great big lumps on the sides, so I am really glad that I made this bag since so many of my bags have zippers and I really like the new technique. I will try and take pictures of the zipper installation next time (I had no idea it was going to turn out so well) and post a tutorial.

I am off to work on a more (hopefully more interesting) bags for the last few days of the challenge.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Twenty-Four and Twenty-Five

For Bag Twenty-Four, I made another messenger bag, this time with gear appliques. Although I thought the bag took a long time to make (I worked on it over a few days), the time to make it was nothing compared to the time it has taken me to get a half-way decent picture of it. This bag has sat through three different photo shoots and I still can't find a good picture. I think the dark-ish color of the fabric is throwing it off. Anyway, two photos, one of the bag and a close-up of the detail. The gears are appliqued on with a metallic thread (which was not nearly as difficult to work with as I had always imagined it would be).

On an unrelated note, my cat was recently exposed to toxic gamma rays and has now developed super-speed. Because she is so fast, you can only see a blur in the upper-left hand corner of the above picture.

For Bag Twenty-Five, I made an armband cozee for my MP3 player. This was mostly because when I woke up on Day Twenty-Five, I wanted to clean my house and all my clothing items with good pockets for holding the damn thing were in the wash.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Twenty-One, Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three

I have fallen really behind in the blogging, but I am having a hard time getting good pictures.
My flash is washing out all the pictures and it has been too dark out lately to take any good pics with no flash. Anyway, for Bag Twenty-One, I remade the wallet from Day Seven. It came out much better this time (a bit bigger all around and definitely less interfacing. The secondary fabric (which you can't see from the outside) is a darling light blue with brown dots.

The other day I got coffee at my favorite coffee stand and the woman who owns the place is just so great that I decided to make her a bag. Once I got home, I remembered that I had this coffee shop print
fabric (of course, she might be totally over coffee decorations, since she probably has lots of coffee related stuff), but like everyone else who likely thinks her main interest in life is coffee and therefore drowns her in coffee gifts, I will give her this zip purse.

For Bag Twenty-Three, I had purchased a small amount of this brown cotton with a funky lime, turquoise and yellow print that I knew would go well with all of the other lime and turquoise fabric and bits that I have at home. I decided I wanted to use some bobble fringe I had to make this bag, but it took me almost a week to figure out where it was. As my husband said, this bag is "um, very festive."
Also, yesterday I was at Goodwill (replacing the stuff I donated) when I found this awesome old projection screen on a tripod. I am not sure what I will use it for, but I couldn't resist. So as you can see in the picture above (which barely shows the bag and mostly focuses on my new toy), I am currently trying to use it for taking pictures (except the background is reflective which complicates things).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Day Twenty

Well, I am two-thirds done and to celebrate this momentous occasion, I think I have created my favorite bag so far. I knew that I would end up with at least one Mario-themed bag since the whole geek crafting thing is just so much fun and colorful. I created a simpler messenger bag pattern than the one I used for Bag Three and so instead of fiddling all day with zippers and such, I spent my time appliqueing the flap. I give you the Fire Flower Messenger Bag...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Eighteen and Nineteen

For Day Eighteen I decided to have another go at a purse frame. After much hair pulling, I have decided that I will stick with zippers, buttons and velcro. It just takes so much work and concentration and I am not totally thrilled with the outcome. But anyway...

Both Bag Eighteen and Nineteen are made out of this awesome fabric that my husband picked out for me when I dragged him to the Fabric Depot in Portland (which was a big disappointment after wanting to go there for years and years). I haven't wanted to cut into the fabric because it is so gorgeous, but all fabric must be cut up eventually. For Bag Nineteen, I modified my Market Bag pattern a bit and had another go at it. I think I will try filling both bags up and see which one I like better or if the best is somewhere in between.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Sixteen and Seventeen

I have been super happy with my Day One gathered clutch. I have been using it as my main wallet/purse. So for Day Sixteen, I decided to try my hand at another clutch. It has a zipper and a snappy flap. I am calling it the Envelope Clutch. I am pretty happy with it (except next time I will make the flap a bit bigger) and it definitely has given me some more ideas for other clutches.

As soon as I saw this brown and green plaid fabric, I knew that it would make a nice business bag. So for Day Seventeen, I whipped up this smart tote. As with all new patterns, there are a few things I will change next time, but overall, I am pretty happy with how it came out. The one thing I am having a hard time with is how heavy the handles on this bag (and the beach bag) are. The handles sort of sag the bag down and make it harder to sit the bag up when not being held. Any suggestions?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Fourteen and Fifteen

I am finally caught up with the bags and blogs (I even have a bag made and ready to post for tomorrow). Also, I have made it halfway through the challenge (so yippee for me!).

For Bag Fourteen, I decided to work on a pattern for one of my favorite bags, an everyday purse/market tote. I have made a few of them, but since I just draw my pattern onto the fabric, each bag comes out a little differently. I decided I would like a pattern so I wouldn't have to go through the drawing, trimming, and adding every time. Of course the pattern I created was a bit shorter and wider than I would have liked, but I will just fiddle with it a bit for the next one. One of the reasons I really like this bag is that it is big enough to hold some groceries but it doesn't look out of place if I carry it as a purse. Also, the bags folds up small enough to fit in my jacket pocket.

The modification for this bag that I am super excited about is this double hook thingy for the button. You can choose which position to button depending on how much stuff you are carrying.

The bag for Day Fifteen was inspired by this sweet fabric I found a remnant of at the fabric store. As soon as I saw the print, I could tell that it was going to be a beach bag with plastic or wood handles.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Twelve and Thirteen

I think one of the reasons I have fallen behind is that while I can easily sew a bag a day, designing a bag takes a little more time and now that I have moved past using patterns, it is taking a little longer. Bag Twelve is a small patchwork sack that folds over and ties on top. It took much longer to decide what type of bag closure I wanted than it did to sew it up.

Since I am falling so far behind, Bag Thirteen is a simple zippered pouch. It is bigger than my pouches normally are (finished dimensions are about 9"x9"). The fabric is awesome, and I think I will send it off to a friend just in time for the Halloween season (my friend definitely thinks that Halloween is a season).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Nine, Ten and Eleven

I have fallen a bag behind in sewing and many bags behind in blogging about it. But once again since it is my challenge, I get to make up the rules and I say that I am right on time. For Bags Nine and Ten, I made small coin purses.

Bag Nine is loosely based on the Laundry Day Clutch from and was my first attempt at using a purse frame. The frame is scuffed up a little from bending it without wrapping my pliers in fabric (I figured that out quickly though and took a picture so you can't see it) but other than that, I am quite pleased with the bag.

Bag Ten is based on this tutorial. As if installing a zipper on a curve wasn't difficult enough, I used a zipper that has been folded up in the bottom of my sewing box for years and I couldn't ever get the bumps out of the zipper, so I am not too pleased with the way this turned out. I think I might use this type of pattern (where you fully line the fabric before sewing the sides up) with a purse frame next time.

Finally, Bag Eleven is a cute little patchwork number. I started with this tutorial from Kristin La Flamme, but sewed the bag together without reading through the rest of the pattern (it was late and I was pretty tired), so instead of having half-patchwork on either side, one side is patched and one side is plain. I really like it anyway and I think I will definitely do more patchwork for the other bags since it is so cute and reminds me of a Holly Hobby purse I had as a child.

Friday, September 17, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Day Eight

For Day Eight, I made the Phoebe bag from artsy-crafty babe. Like the cowboy duffel from Day Six, the fabric I chose has been languishing in a pile because of its large pattern, so again I chose a bag that had bigger pieces. The bag is big enough to hold just about anything but because of the soft curves, I don't think that it will look like a huge bag once it is full.

My trusty old iron has been on the fritz lately, and I was hoping to get a new one as a holiday gift. It just hasn't been getting as hot lately and the steam buttons are stuck and no longer working. It turns out I couldn't wait because a few days ago, it started leaking water real bad (every time I picked it up, there was a huge wet spot on the ironing board). Besides the fact that I don't really want everything I iron to be soaking wet, it was also a huge pain to keep filling up the water. So anyway, I purchased a new iron yesterday, and because of a faulty design, it also leaks. I am returning it immediately and I guess I will be sticking with the old spray bottle and dry iron until I can afford a nicer iron that doesn't spill water everywhere.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Day Seven

So I made a wallet from this tutorial. While I was making the wallet, it called for bias tape around the edge. I was kind of surprised that I didn't have any at all anywhere in my stash, so I purchased some. Once I got to the part where I was to apply the bias tape, it suddenly dawned on me why I didn't have any. I hate the stuff. I can never get it to lie flat and it gets all wonky and out of sorts. I finished the wallet, but cannot bring myself to send a picture of this horribly crafted monstrosity out into the ether. So instead, here is a not so great picture of my cat guarding an orange (she is so cute in real life, but she is definitely not photogenic as all the pictures I have of her turn out a little bit wonky like bias tape).

I will probably give this wallet another go since I loved the fabrics I chose and I think the wallet could be really nice. Next time I will make the whole thing a bit bigger and just use a sew wrong sides together and turn technique for the finishing instead of bias tape. I made add a bit of trim though because one of the things I liked the best about this wallet was the contrasting bias tape around the edge.

30 Bags in 30 Days - Day Six

For Day Six, I chose this mini-duffle pattern that was posted on craftster. I bought a yard of this awesome half-naked cowboy print mostly because my husband was at the fabric store with me and it seemed like a good way to embarrass him. It's such a big print that it has just been sitting in my stash waiting for a project with a few big pieces. Anyways, this mini-duffle pattern seemed like just the thing. I am super happy with how the bag shows off the fabric.

This second picture shows off the fabric a little better.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Days Four and Five

I kind of figured that taking pictures, uploading said pictures and updating my blog would be the part of this project that I had the hardest time with. And I was right. I totally forgot to update with Bag Four yesterday (but I didn't forget to make a bag). Of course this works out well since Bag Four and Bag Five are actually the same bag pattern but with different fabric and a few modifications.

My older sister just had a baby and I needed to make her something, so I am putting together some blankets and burp cloths. I found this Lucille Picnic Bag-sket on sewtakeahike and I thought not only would it be a good way to present the blankets and cloths, but also a pretty useful bag to have around for throwing toys, diapers, clothes and other baby stuff in. So on Day Four, I made a sample to be sure of size and functionality.  I really like the bright colors and the Hawaiian Print. I think it would make a perfect beach bag for a towel, book and a bottle of water. 

I decided that the size was right, but that the bag for my sister needed a little more body so for the second bag, I interfaced the whole thing (I used sew in interfacing and it works out so much better that fusible. I think I am done with fussing around trying to get all the bubbles out with fusible). The bag is reversible with a floral pattern on one side and a check pattern on the other.

These bags remind me of a firewood carrying bag where the bag doesn't really take shape until after you put stuff in it and pick it up (you can see this a little better in the second picture). Anyway, both bags turned out really well and I am excited to fill the second one up with goodies. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Day Three

For Day Three, I chose to make a messenger bag. It is based loosely on an online pattern I found, but the pattern and accompanying tutorial was so riddled with problems that I no longer consider this bag to be from the pattern and will therefore not link to the tutorial. The tutorial gave wrong measurements, the instructions were confusing and worst of all, the person who posted the pattern used a picture from a bag that is for sale in retail stores and rather different from the pattern (I can't imagine that the poster even made a sample from the pattern). I don't mind a few mistakes in a pattern especially if you put it online free for use, but it bugs me that this person used a commercial image and from the looks of it guessed how the pattern should go.

The colors in the picture are a bit off, the bag is made out of dark green denim which I chose hoping for a eco-chic look. Unfortunately, it turned out a bit more army surplus than I wanted so I painted some purplish brown diamonds on the front. 

For this year's Banchero Auction Bags (last year's are here), my husband and I are thinking about messenger bags. So I guess this was a bit of a test run. Of course, this bag was a pain to put together and there are just so many pieces, that I may chose something a bit simpler for the auction.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Day Two

Bag Two is the Diana Hobo from think liz. I've looked at this pattern a few times and I have always been drawn to the simplicity of the design mixed with the gathering.

When I was picking out the first ten bags for my challenge, I was trying to choose ten bags with different design elements to both inspire me in my own creations and to challenge myself to try different styles. So, I thought I did a pretty good job of selecting a variety of bags, but it turns out that I am really interested in gathered bags right now as the first two bags I made both use gathering as the main design feature.

For this bag, I used a moire fabric (the fabric has a water pattern on it) in watermelony colors that I found at the second-hand shop a while ago. I was going to do the whole bag with the stripes vertically, but I obviously couldn't wrap my head around that one because although I thought that was how I was cutting the fabric, somehow the fabric turned under my scissors (or something like that). Regardless, I like how it turned out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

30 Bags in 30 Days - Day One

I have been in a bit of a creativity slump lately. I just haven't much felt like making anything lately. So anyway, I figured that if I forced myself to just start sewing, I might break through this block. I have decided to issue myself a challenge to sew 30 bags in 30 days. So by October 9th, I should have a wide selection of emergency gifts (or 30 new bags for myself, but I'm guessing that I will have to get rid of a few since my bag collection is already out of control!). I have selected ten bag tutorials online that I will start with and then hopefully I will feel like creating a few (or rather 20) of my own design.

I started with the Gathered Clutch from Noodlehead's blog. Although it kind of feels like cheating, I started this bag on Day minus 1 and finished it on the first day. I also haven't decided whether or not I should be allowed to make two bags in one day and none on another day since the idea is to make something every day and if I am running short on time, I can always make a small pouch. But since it is my own challenge, I guess I can make up the rules and then change them along the way if I feel like it.

I really like the contrast of fabrics on this one, the lining is a dark maroon/brown with small pockets made out of the blue. I didn't take a picture of the back (I think one picture of each bag will have to do), so it is hard to see the main fabric, but it is an asian-inspired flower and bird print in bright spring-y colors.  The bag came together fairly quick, and although I didn't think I was going to keep it, I used it yesterday and it is perfect for carrying around my phone and a few other odds and ends.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This past weekend, a friend of ours got married. Not only did we leave the beautiful, cool Pacific Northwest and endure a week of horribly humid East Coast weather for our friends, we also painted this awesome Mario wedding painting as a gift (I thought I was done with the Mario crafting, but it was for a wedding). In addition to the couple's love of all things Mario (you can tell why we get along), our friend is also obsessed with Curious George. As you can see the foolish monkey is stealing Mario's hat in the painting (Curious George has likely never come across such a skillful item grabber).  As usual, my husband designed and started the painting, but then grew bored and was suddenly too "busy" to finish it by wedding time. Therefore all the tedious bits were left for me to paint (collaboration through necessity).

Also, thanks to everyone for voting for the Mario Shelf in the Happy Seamstress contest, the shelf is a finalist!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vote for me in the Happy Seamstress Nintendo Craft Contest

Over at there is a Nintendo Craft Contest going on. With a little over a week to go, the Mario Shelf needs your vote!  Please go hereto vote (this link should bring you to the 6th page of entries where the Mario Shelf Resides).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Question Block Blankie

Way back in October, I started and finished crocheting this blanket for some friends who are bringing a new little person into the world.  Although I had every intention of sending it out once it was completed, it has been languishing away on top of my dryer for five months.  In a typical fashion, I could never get it together to iron out the edge curls and give it a quick wash.  Needless to say, my friends have had their baby and now that I am sending out the blankie (hopefully before the kid outgrows little blankets), posting about it seems safe.  I figure that even if my friends used to check the blog, taking care of a newborn probably doesn't leave much time for surfing.  Congrats to Jason and Kassie (on being the recipients of one of my hand made creations of course).

Miles checked out the blanket and I guess approved of it since she spent some time rolling around and sleeping on it.

Monday, March 15, 2010


My nephew is totally obsessed with Spiderman!  For awhile, he carried around a headless Spidey doll and would stick out his hand in the web shooting pose and go "pshooo, pshooo."  Last year I made him and my husband (who is also obsessed with Spiderman) matching beanies.  This last weekend, they went to the Emerald City Comicon and got their pictures taken with Stan Lee.  Stan Lee awesomely put his arm around my nephew and struck a classic pose.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Banchero Bags

Banchero Friends Services, an advocate organization for adults with developmental disabilities, holds a charitable auction every year to raise money for the amazing work that they do. This year I decided to donate six handmade tote bags for the auction. You can learn more about Banchero here.

Each bag is appliqued with a tree (the Banchero logo is a tree). They are all made of canvas and fully lined.

It took a few weekends and lots of help from my husband/sweatshop supervisor, but they are all ready to go and I think they turned out awesome. My favorite is the one with the pink and green leaves. It was supposed to just be the "test" bag to make sure the size was right and everything worked, but it turned out so well that it made it into the final six.

Detailed pics of each bag after jump.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nintendo Controller Scarf

My husband doesn't wear scarves, which is unfortunate for him because I make so many lovely ones... For his birthday, I decided to disregard his disapproval for scarves and make one he wouldn't be able to resist. For two weeks I hid my secret scarf project from him. I only worked on it when he wasn't home and made him call me on the phone before walking through the door so I could put it away. Even though he never wore a scarf before, the "Nintendo Controller Scarf" has become a daily item of clothing for him.

I originally made more red and black pieces to sew on the scarf to approximate the buttons of a Nintendo Controller, but eventually, I decided I liked the unobtrusiveness of the scarf without all the extra bits. From a distance, you cannot really tell it is a controller which, according to the wearer of said scarf, creates a better "wow" factor when people eventually realize that you have been wearing a controller this whole time.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bags, bags, and more bags

A few weekends ago, I decided it was time to retire my everyday purse (it was a lovely handmade small messenger bag style purse, but it is getting worn out). So I decided I would make myself a new bag, or three. Really, I didn't know what type of bag I would want to use, and I couldn't resist making quite a few. So by Sunday evening, I had a wall of bags...

By the time I took this picture, I had already given away the dragon bag (posted separately below).

I love this fabric, and the simple bag design turned out well with such a busy fabric.

Here is a close-up of the patchwork dresden circle bag. I should post a link to the page where I got the idea for this bag, but I can't seem to find it. It was originally intended to just be a straight dresden circle bag, but the first circles I sewed up were disproportionate and too small, so I cut it all up and added some more fabric to make the patchwork panels.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fire Flower Mini Quilt

I thought I was done making Mario themed crafts, but the mini-quilts just seem to keep coming... and I am so glad, cuz this one is my favorite so far. Someone, (crosswordnerd), had hoped to get me as her partner for a scarf swap so she could make a Mario-themed scarf, but no such luck. Anyway, she contacted me and asked to do a private Mario swap. She made me an awesome Yoshi scarf and matching fingerless mitts, and I of course made her a mini-quilt. As husband joked, a fire flower is perfect for a trivet, because you put hot stuff on it (a joke that was slightly funny the first time, not so funny the second time and kind of annoying the third time).

I have a back-log of video game related crafts to post soon, and I keep thinking that this one will be the last, but, no promises, working in 8-bit is just too much fun. Until later...

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Legend of Husband: A Pillow of Link

Problem: Wife has been burnt out on making my visions of living in a video game-themed home a reality
Solution:  Take a more proactive approach 

Plan: (In no particular order) 
1) Ask wife to release current ban on me touching all her cool craft gadgets
2) Ask wife to show me how to use those crafty gadgets to create stuff
3) Create stuff
4) Takeover Diffusible Interfacing
5) Takeover the world
After approaching wife with my ultimate plan, she happily agreed to show me the ropes.  I was thinking about creating a historical mega-quilt series displaying some screen shots from the classic video games of our generation, but she suggested that I start with something simpler (and more realistic).  We decided on a small Link throw pillow.  (A big thanks to The Retroist for the pillow design).

Link bit by bit

The finished product looks nice on our couch, though its hard for me not to be distracted by the handsome mug on the pillow next to it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mario window (UPDATE)

UPDATE: I finally got a halfway decent picture of the Mario Window at night. It's not great and it still doesn't show how awesome the whole thing looks with the flashing lights behind it, but behold...

PROBLEM: I just really don't want to make anymore Mario themed creations. I am burnt out on 8-bit art. Unfortunately, Hubby keeps wanting me to make more.
SOLUTION: Hubby should make his own damn Mario stuff!!!
PROBLEM: He refuses to learn to crochet or sew and is generally too lazy to paint or sculpt.
SOLUTION: Perler beads!

PROBLEM: The Mario Perler bead creations are getting out of control.
SOLUTION: Make a faux stained glass window out of plexi-glass, some weird lightweight space modeling clay, a few screws, christmas lights, and lots of clear tape. (After numerous ideas, a few attempts with other materials, this was the best solution).

Here we are carefully squishing the space clay into the perler beads.

And here is the finished piece in the front window of our house. At night it lights up which is really awesome, but of course since its so awesome all lit up, those pictures turned out horribly.