Mostly Happy

Checking in from planet awkward, just south of galactic center (aka) Jason’s laptop!

We are in a crazy mostly happy mess of a graduation speeches, parties & college plans (Alexa is the commencement speaker!), AP exams, (first ever non-volunteer) summer job hunting, prepping our one & only for a fall move out to Boston, oral surgery (Lex needs her wisdom teeth out!), financial planning (really more worrying) about all the expenses, not to mention the 1900 house and grounds needs some “pre-party” TLC (if you come to Alexa’s graduation party and the house looks like total crap, just know all that money we didn’t spend on the cosmetics, is helping put Alexa through school!) And finally my beautiful sister is heading into the second leg of surgery after surviving breast cancer, she will be heading down to the MAYO at the end of the month ♥ (on Jason’s birthday actually, I‘ll be sure to bring him home a super birthday sized bag of Carroll’s Corn!) …if you ever find yourself in the subway level of the Kahler Hotel, seek out Carroll‘s! ..I love you sister, but I would make the trip for the popcorn alone!

But amidst all the freakouts, tears and frazzle induced arguments,  we are trying to keep things pretty light & loving around here and all that begins with making/keeping mom happy, so here is my happy lately…

Every baby I will ever meet, will get this hat in their welcome bundle ♥ I love it that much! ♥ (it’s perfectly seamless from beginning to end & the included flower is really cleverly constructed too! Best of all it goes all the way up to ADULT sizes!)
Pattern is Perfectly Pixie Bonnet by Thomasina Cummings.

Little summer sandals, for little summer feet!
Pattern is Baby Sandals Espadrille Shoe Booties by Lorin Jean of Two Girls Patterns.

♥ very intellectual collegiate, with a pinch of Dr. Who meets Mr. Rogers (as a baby) ♥

A well-dressed little cardigan in a classic “old man” color, Bert’s slight albinism freaks out my camera every time! …so the bertless cardigan photo is most color accurate :)
Pattern is Bow Tie Baby by Rhiannon McCulloch.

With my computer still a wreck, I have been getting most of my basic web happy from the nook hybrid, we’ve become BFF’s, all cozy sitting on my lazy end of the couch!

What’s this nook hybrid you ask? Well it’s completely AWESOME and turned the nookel or nooklet (term of endearment) into a android tablet! ..yes all the google play games and apps you’ll ever want! In our home, we have both a nook and a kindle and never have the 2 mingled, until now! ..with the apps we can read B&N books and Amazon ones too, along with using the overdrive library, my inside barely there bookworm is content!  You can customize the SD card with android jellybean, CM7.2 gingerbread, Miui or JOY and put it all on a 8,16 or 32 GB SD! (cripes did my inner nerd just flash ya!?) Oooh I almost forgot, it also gives it Bluetooth capabilities! Pop out the SD card and it’s back to a regular old nook, no harm.  AFN is where I got this magic!

Super Bag Spectacular

My first love is sewing, hard to believe when I almost always post about knitting or crochet..right? ..well it’s true!

I got my first machine as a teen, a heavy-duty metal Kenmore in a hard plastic carrying case. No one in my family was a seamstress (my mom would repair missing buttons and mend holes, but didn’t sew for fun). I was never taught by anyone, one day I just taught myself. Making everything from clothes to quilts to pillows & toys. Back then most of my fabric came from old clothes and sheets, I used spools of colored thread pulled from my mom’s sewing box, that most likely belonged to my grandmother.

I remember breaking so many needles at first, once unknowingly I dropped a thin sewing needle on my bedroom carpet and one day while walking across the floor, I slid it into the ball of my foot, right between my toes ..ouch! Thinking I just poked myself good I walked on it in pain for a week, until my mom said lets go in, the doctor did an x-ray and sure enough there was the broken tip of the needle lodged between my toes! I had minor surgery to remove it …I still always sew barefoot, but keep a better eye on those needles!  

Many years later, I have a new machine a Husqvarna, it’s lightweight (comparatively), so quiet & smooth, nothing like that old Kenmore, which is in need of a new cord, but still clunks along just like always! When I moved out at 18, I took my moms old metallic blue ironing board (still perfect & what I use to this day) & her Black & Decker iron (I’ve since upgraded to a super steamy ½ ton Rowenta).

Now days I mostly make bags ..allsorts..sometimes I use patterns, but most of the time, I just make them up.

I make little bags for my knitting & crochet projects & to hold gifts.  

I make bags for friends & family. A simple heavy canvas tote made extra special with hand painting & a bird appliqué (from the excellent book Applique Quilt Revival).

Sometimes I make bags just so I can embroider or draw on them. This “Always” tote was inspired by one of my favorite Shinzi Katoh designs. I like to use fine line fabric pens & draw on the fabric before sewing it up, that way the design falls into the seam, instead of stopping at it. 

 I draw silly things, strange things or things that make my heartbreak.

I love how this one looks like a big slouchy pillowcase! Made ultra feminine in a busy rose print & sweetly gathered along the top. It’s made using the slouch bag pattern from Linen, Wool, Cotton of my favorite bag sewing books.

Even though I have access to a extremely well stocked local fabric shop, mill end outlet & the (worlds largest) Textile Center garage sale,  I still am always on the lookout for beautiful or unusual sheet sets, old  tablecloths & oddball pillowcases at thrift shops and rummage sales, you can’t beat all that yardage for cheap! (you can easily work around holes & stains)

I love strong burly bags for toting auction & thrift finds. Tough outdoor fabrics & upholstery fabrics make EXTRA sturdy bags!

I acquired a load of zippers awhile back, so I have been sticking them in everything, sometimes they only open up into the tiniest little pocket for penny treasures, but I can’t help the color & sweetness a little zip adds!

I am by nature a perfectionist, so I like my bags to be near perfect, so no fraying seams, unclipped threads or messy finishing here.  I have a serger now, but before that I always lined my bags or used simple French Seams to hide the raw edges. Sometimes I will use ready made items like t- shirts, terry cloth towels or pillow cases (already finished seams!) and with minimal sewing, fashion them into one of a kind bags & pouches!

There are loads of excellent tutorials and books on bag making, if you have recommendations I am all ears! Really, once you get the feel for bag construction, you’ll be designing your own in no time!

Couldn’t help linking you to death .. here are a few of my favorite patterns & books!

* Morsbag start a revolution & do your part! SAVE THE EARTH!
(for the AWESOME tote pattern click make one)

Charlie Bag from Burda Style. 

* Reversible Bag from verypurpleperson.

* Easy Drawstring Bag from The Purl Bee.

* Lined Drawstring BagVintage Pillowcase Laundry Bag  from IN COLOR ORDER.

French Seams from Sew to Speak.

* T-Shirt Bag from Martha Stewart.

* Carry Me by Yuka Koshizen

* Linen, Wool, Cotton by Akiko Mano (favorite sewing book mentioned above) …really any of the  Make Good: Crafts + Life books will make your eyes happy!

* SEW by Cath Kidson (her style & aesthetic is so lush!)

I also obsessively sew aprons, sun bonnets & kleenex pouches too ..but that’s another post!