Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just in Time

Classes start tomorrow, but I finished the bag tonight.  Whew!  The pictures are not good on color.  If I can grab some time tomorrow, I’ll try and take some outside.  Meanwhile, here’s from one side.  You can see in this photo that the lining fabric folds over so that it looks like binding on the top edge.

Here’s from the other side. 

Hmmm.  Taken in another room with different lighting.  The actual color is perhaps somewhere in between the two?  Not so light a gray as the top photo and not nearly as beige-y as the second.  The top one is definitely closer though.

Here’s the inside – I do love having lots of pockets.

And here’s why everything is moving so slow:

A healthy pup, saying, “We can play some more, right?  Right? Right now?”

Monday, August 16, 2010

Still in Process

The tote bag is coming along.  I have two pockets-to-be sitting on my worktable.

Just because, here’s a photo showing one of them with the foundation in process, patches being added:

My progress has been a little slower than I’d like.  Our accident prone pup (who may need a miracle to survive to adulthood) got sick over the weekend.  We spent yesterday afternoon at the emergency vet’s trying to figure out what was causing him such major intestinal distress.  Bizarrely enough for Jeff and I, this was the same emergency vet, in the same examining room, where three weeks earlier we lost Wyatt.  It was not a place we wanted to be.  This time, however, we walked out the door with our dog still with us so that was a plus (even if we did spend more than I like to think about finding out what wasn’t making Cooper sick).

The good news is that today, finally, he seems to have bounced back.  (Fingers crossed for tomorrow).  One of the results of his being sick though was a day without walks.  Uh-oh.  Suddenly, as he felt better, there was a sudden onslaught of puppy energy.

Figure me still valiantly trying to get work done in the sewing room.  As Cooper rolled around on his back and barked just because he really had to do something:

And when that didn’t work, there was always dragging bolts of fabric around the sewing room:

Well, bolts of fabric, and Fast2Fuse, and fabric stacked on a chair, and wool stuffing found under the dresser and . . . 

I think we’re both going to be happier when he’s well enough for a good (tiring) walk!

I can’t complain at the moment though.  One, because we much prefer a happy trouble making pup to a too-sick-to-be-bad one.  Two, because he’s curled up on his favorite spot (the stone slab of the fireplace) sound asleep.  I’d take his picture but no way am I going to risk waking him up!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tote Bag In Process

The new school year is nearly upon us.  That means a new school bag is in order.  Not that the old school bags aren’t still good, or won’t get used.  It’s just – the school year always begins with a new school bag.  I’m not quite sure what this one is going to look like yet, but  I have a basic idea.  And I have faith: the bicycle trunk case may have kicked me in the patootie but I know I can make a bag. 

Anyway.  I know the design is going to include two outer pockets that show off a couple miniatures.  Often times I know what I’m going to do before I start cutting fabric.  (That is time efficient).  Other times, I just cut a bunch of patches.  Like this.

Then I just play till I get a design I like.

Then, I prepare the foundation.

Create the Patch Layout Guide:

And sew it up.  (Here it is with the patches all added but the rows not yet sewn).

After the rows are  joined, the foundation trimmed, and paper removed, it’s time to square it up.  I like to draw a square on freezer paper – in this case, a 7 1/2" square since the finished foundation is 7" by 7".

After the mini is squared:

So, now it’s time to design another foundation and think about how exactly I’m putting the bag together.  (I’m rather pleased to say that the dark brown linen is actually a pair of pants that no longer fit me since I’ve lost weight.  Yippee ki yay, indeed.)

During all of this, Cooper was my helper. 

He helped by putting his nose in all the messiest places in my sewing room, ever so tactfully reminding me there is some clean up that should be tackled soon

He did finally settle for giving his chew toy a good work out.  Is that slobbery or what?

And then, gave out and got past me to another messy corner I didn’t particularly want him in.  Thank heaven he just wanted to nap and not chew on those cords!  (which will be out of the zone come tomorrow).


I’m missing Wyatt fiercely but it’s comforting to have a new companion deciding the sewing room is a good place to hang out.  (That is when we’re not on walks – and I’m getting a whole lot more walking in these days.  Those walks just keep getting longer and longer.  I know it’s good for me, but frankly my middle aged muscles are saying, “What the heckAnother walk?  Are you kidding me?”)

Until tomorrow.  Cooper’s words of advice for the day: “Play hard.  Sleep hard.  Be happy in the morning.”

Nothing like a puppy to get down to basic wisdom.  Cheers.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Swap

This is the mini I sent out for the July MiniQT swap.  It’s around 12" square.  The theme challenge was underwater/beach. 

I’ve written before about how I grew up in New Jersey and loved the shore.  Particularly at night.  On the pier, it was all noise and light.  But step down onto the beach and all that was behind me and it was just incredibly beautiful – the stars, the ocean with the froth of waves.  I loved it – moving from the human crowded pier to the suddenly immense sense of the cosmic. 

It’s hard to tell from the photo but the stars are crystals and the foam of the waves is bits of lace.  I really liked how this one came out.  It’s a bit simple (I hope not too simple for my swap partner) but, for me, that fits the memories I have – this sense of everything being suddenly stripped down and very big and deep at the same time. 

My husband really likes this one, too.  He’s requested a version to put up at his work, so I see another little mini in my immediate future!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some Days

Well, some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats you.  Wanna make a guess?

It started out so easy.  I wanted a little trunk to carry on my bike rack – just a little one to hold my bike lock, ID, glasses, garage door opener.  It didn’t seem too much to ask.  But when I went to the bike store, all the bike trunks were way bigger than I wanted.  And more expensive than I wanted, too.

I looked at them and thought (of course), “Well, I’ll just make one for myself.”  As two minutes later my own true love came up and said, “Well, you could sew one of those up, couldn’t you?” 

Of course. 

Many hours later, many seams sewn, unsewn, resewn, unsewn (you get the picture), we have this:

It has, may I say, many lovely features: D-rings on the side so I can create a shoulder strap in case I want to make a quick stop into a store, a little Velcro loop inside to hold the bike lock so it doesn’t shift around, inside pockets to hold little stuff like the cell phone and car door opener.  And the fabric is pretty, too.  Yes?

It was not easy getting here.  Those inside seams are not a thing of beauty like I originally thought they might be.  Still, inside seams, I say, what does it matter, really?  You will notice, however, that zipper, just hanging there on the work table.  It is not a part of the bag – where it would be useful.  This is because I was making this project up as I went along.  I said to myself, “Self, you will figure out how to add the zipper when you get there.”

Seriously.  And just long have I been sewing?  It seemed like a good idea at the time. 

Yes. Well.  I may still figure it out at some point.  But by mid-afternoon yesterday, I had reached another point.  The point where you say, “*&%$!#*!”  (I mean, “Oh, darn.  Enough already.”)

The point where you go to yet another bike store, find a bag that is exactly the size you were looking for, and see that it is on sale

If I knew how to add sounds effects, you would hear a thumping sound right now – the sound of my head repeatedly hitting the table. 

Still, my version is prettier (as long as you don’t look at those inside seams).  I haven’t given up exactly, more like taking a time out.

I have friendlier projects on the horizon.

Meanwhile, Cooper would like to share a word:

Hi, again.  I’ve had a pretty exciting week since moving into my new home.  (Mom and Dad say I’m accident prone).  I got my foot stuck in the crate and it hurt and was really upsetting.  Then I got my foot squished under the door.  And I rolled off the deck – which was a five foot drop.  I was fine but Mom said it took five years off her life. 

It’s all good now, though.  The crate and I have made up, I’ve learned not to slide under a door just as it’s being opened, and the deck has netting.

I get to take walks in the park which can be pretty exciting, too – though not always in a fun way.  A few nights ago a little dog (only half my size but really mean) attacked me.  I didn’t like that at all.  It makes me nervous about other dogs in the park – even though I’ve met some other nice ones since then.  Maybe I won’t decide all dogs are bad just because a few are.  That’s what Mom says, anyway, but I’m still thinking on it.  She enrolled me in Puppy Class, and she said I’m going to have lots of fun playing with other puppies.  I have my doubts.

Plus, I have to brag a little.  I have had only one “accident” inside the house – and that was really Mom’s fault because she had shut the deck door. 

I hope you’re having as much fun as me today.  Right now, we’re off for our morning walk.  Each day we go a little farther.  Mom says she’s trying to tire me out.  I have a lot of energy.  She likes it, though, I can tell.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Little Quilts

Here’s the wonderfully fun mini quilt I received from Bahamadawn: “Fish Kiss.”

Isn’t it wonderful?  All the fabrics are vintage.  It’s got those cool beads and sea shell fringe at the bottom and wonderful stitching.  And, of course, the design is fabulous.  I just love how sassy it is!

It also came with a cool bag (and you can never have too many cool bags) and a book:

I’ll post pictures of the one I sent to her after she has received it.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten another photo of one of the quilts made in the workshop I taught in Indiana.  This came out so pretty in really traditional fabrics and colors.  In person, the glow in this was really soft and wonderful.  Thank you, Joanne, for letting me share this!