Thursday, September 30, 2010

Best. Bag. Ever.

Well.  I did it again.  I made another bag/sling/purse/tote bag.
And I am freakin in love with it!
You gotta see this.
Look what it started out as:

Yep.  A rich dark chocolate buttery leather mini skirt!
Apparently a size 6 is enough leather to make this bag.

Used my own version of this pattern, based off of this pattern, but with some changes.  Like for instance, I left out the pleats and did not use fusible fleece interfacing on this leather sling.

This is the vintage fabric I used for the inside pockets.  I LOVE it because it has birds, acorns, fish, pyramids, mushrooms and pears!  It's perfectly odd!

I used this amazing wood grain fabric that I found at the Woven Threads quilt shop in Chelan for the lining.  I LOVE this fabric too.  I am going to buy the rest of the bolt and see if my mama will bring it over with her next time she visits.

Here is one side of the soon to be bag.  Notice the seam down the middle.  That's the side seam of the skirt.  And see the crease/fold across the bottom.  That's the bottom hem pulled open. 
Apparently the people who make leather garments use all manner of binding, edging, hem stuff to make the leather behave and act like they want.  I should have taken a photo of all the deitris that came out of the folds and seams of this skirt.  After taking out its lining and pulling apart the seams, the leather was still strong but thin enough to give my sewing machine no complaints.  That's a good thing!

Here is one side with the vintage army canvas band attached.  I am having a major crush lately on vintage army canvas.  I love the earthy hues.  It comes in varying greens and browns.  It's getting harder to find. 

And I am using it to make love, not war!

I happened to find a sleeping bag cover, at a tag sale three weeks ago, for $3!!!  MAJOR SCORE! 
I am on the hunt and look out for more so if anyone out there has any good resources they care to share, please fill me in!
Its durability, texture and color make me happy!

This is the large pocket attached to the lining.  It has a seam running down the center to make two compartments.  And it turns out my stainless steel water bottle fits perfectly on one side while my sunglasses/lip balm case fits perfectly in the other!

Here's another shot of the finished bag.  One thing I like about this bag is that it doesn't really need a closure piece on it.  It doesn't call for a button, zipper or snap.  Because of the handle design, wide at the bottom and thinner on the shoulder,its not easy for anyone but the wearer to get into.  And it wont gap open dramatically, or least you can fold it over, if you have to take it off out in public.
I say best. bag. ever. because I love it so much for me.  It turned out exactly as I envisioned and I plan to wear the heck out of it!  And too, I have actually had several very kind friends and people say they like it too.  And some of them have even asked me to make one for them to buy.  And that is so flattering and sweet and makes me smile.  Since this is not an open source pattern I need to find a similar one that is so I can make them to sell.  Since I set up an Etsy shop I haven't even had time to make, list, sell or ship a single item yet.  Its coming though.  Coming soon.  I can feel it in my bones!
Me + My Bag = True Love


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Curious and Curiouser

I guess this is what you would call a curio cabinet.  It's full of my little collections.  All my records are housed below it.  And my studio record player sits on top.  Lemme see if I can find a photo:
Ah, here's one.  The boys bought me a retro looking, take along, turntable for my birthday last year and I/we listen to records all the time.  There's nothing like the crackle of the needle on the record.  I love it!  I now buy all music I love on album if they have it and if they don't I still buy CDs or use iTunes.  In most cases, when you buy an album nowadays, they give you a way to also download the whole thing anyhow.  This turntable is actually able to hook up to the computer and turn your albums into CDs potentially but I just use it to listen to awesome tunes and dance around my studio!
Above the turntable we also have a lot of our black and white photos displayed.
Here's one side of the 'curio.'

And the other.

Now for some close-ups. 
I love and have been collecting, for a really long time, all manner of devil figurines, anthropomorphic animals and people, unusual and interesting children's clay projects, birds, nuns, American pottery,

gnomes, rabbits, pixies,

pirates, faun/Pan figures, carved wood creatures,

cloth dolls, rag dolls, felt dolls, yo-yo dolls,

souvenir shell dolls, busts, tin can doll furniture unpainted,

doll heads, bodies, parts,

schnauzers, clocks, tiles, bead work, silver trays,

European pottery, mirrors, sheds/exoskeletons,

pumpkins, jack-o-lantern, paper mache,

chalkware, plasterware, compositionware,

transferware, restaurant ware, and made in the U.S.A. California art pottery.


That's a lot of curio-usness!

This is an ever evolving, ever changing, rotating, in and out kind of collection.  I add to it.  I take away from it.  I gaze and wonder at it.

It's probably kind of obvious by now that the stranger, weirder, odder, more unusual something is, the more I love it.  I seek it out.  I watch, look, and listen for the whispers of "perfectly odd," when I am out and about in life.  I am drawn to the bizarre, uncommon, and strange.  I am completely comfortable with these "things."  And although I certainly don't need them to survive, they do make my heart sing!

What do you collect?  What are your favorite things?  What makes you extra comfortable when you are surrounded by it?

Off to keep working on my space reset at the antique mall.  Its coming along but it's a ton of work!!!  I'll be sure to post some photos when it seems more "finished."  I can't wait to be done with it so I can get more sewing projects finished!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


White Rose Brew Dr. Kombucha: my new favorite refreshment

I have always loved making and drinking my own Kombucha.  My sweet friend Kimberly has given me multiple "babies" over the years.  I usually am consistent about making it all summer but then I slack off toward fall and end up having to start over every spring.

Last week, during a quick stop at Whole Foods, I discovered this brew from Townsend's Tea Company.  I am a sucker for names and descriptions so even though this one single bottle cost $3.99, I had to try it out.  Now I'm in trouble because I want it by the truck load!

Brew Dr. Kombucha: White Rose: Raw Kombucha made from Townsend's Organic white peony tea, organic rose buds, hibiscus flowers, rose essence and organic sugar. 

Uhhhhh.... Sold!

Even if it weren't, "concocted by Townsend's Tea Company using their own high-grade, organic teas, fresh ingredients and no artificial nonsense with benefits including: appetite suppressant, immunostimulant, digestive aid, natural energizer, antioxidant-rich and probiotic with live enzymes,"  I would still gulp it down with a big ol' smile on my lips! 

And to top it off:  made in Oregon!  Yep, a Townsend Teahouse in my two favorite towns, PDX and Bend.  And they even sell it on tap (!!!) at The Alberta Street Co-op in Portland.  OMG, I'd be in trouble if I lived near there!

Can't wait to visit the Alberta Street Teahouse(pdx) when we go the first weekend in November.  I'll visit the Bend Teahouse next time I go see Julie.  Wish we had a teahouse in Monroe...

Try White Rose if you ever get a chance.  The floral essence and sparkly bubbles will delight you!

Off to completely revamp and reset my space at M&M.  Big job but will be looking lovely by the end of the week.  Come visit after next weekend!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Way Back When

If you visit this link you will find a photo of Jasper and I when he could still fit in a sling and I had pink highlights in my hair!  You will also find an abundance of natural herbal goodness! 

Flower Stand

This is my local Flower Stand.  For the past several years this is where I come each summer and fall to pick Dahlias, Sunflowers, Amaranth, Zinnias, Lunaria, Poppies, Glads and Chickweed!

Gus with Amaranth. 
Amaranth is one of my favorite flowers to use in bouquets.  It's gorgeous and it lasts a long time when it's cut.

The "candy striped" and dark dark red ones are my favorite of the dahlias.

Jasper took this photo of me.
Here is one view of the flower fields with the big barn in the background.  Can you spot Jasper amongst the Dahlias?

Here is a view of the valley, looking out from the flower fields.

Look at the prices!  Its unbelievable and so kind and generous of the folks who live here to offer their community this resource.  There is a cash box and it's all based on the honor system.  I just adore it!  And can you see that small brown bag sitting there?  It said FREE on the front.  When I looked inside it was full of green beans!  Lucky me!  I brought them home, smothered them in olive oil, sprinkled sea salt and Seaweed Gomasio(my favorite condiment) all over them and roasted them on high heat to bring out the sweetness and let me tell ya, they were delicious! 
I also bought that little yellow zucchini/summer squash.  If I don't use them right away I just grate them up and freeze them to make the Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe(p.194)out of Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  So good!

And to top it all off, the fields are FULL of Chickweed, violets and pansies!  Its wonderful!  Not only can I get all my flowers picked, I can come home with salad makings too!

Besides flowers and some veggies, the folks here often offer dried lunaria and poppies, squash, gourds and pumpkins, jars, buckets and seeds.  I am so happy to have a place like this so close by and on my weekly route.  Makes life sweeter, that's for sure!

Thank you for being there!
Thank you flower farmers in Duvall!  You give and give and give!
Thank you!


Clary's Bag!

I finally finished our friend Clair's sweet 16 birthday bag!
I used this Amy Butler pattern, for the first time:

The Birdie Sling

Here is a better look at the pink, gray, black and white fabric:
And here:
It's called "the ghastlies," by The Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection 2009
I bought it at Ben Franklin in Redmond many months ago.
When I saw it I knew exactly what to do with it and for whom.  For this sweet girl, for her 16th birthday:

See!  Isn't she so cute!?  Yes, that's August with her.  This is last spring when Kirsten and I took them both to see Evelyn, Evelyn.  These two have been bffs since Clair was 9 months old and Gus was born.  Awwwwww......

So!  The bag!  Well, when I saw this fabric I just instantly thought of Clair and I had been wanting to try an Amy Butler pattern for a while so here we are.  This pattern calls for the use of fusible fleece.  Yes, fusible fleece.  I hadn't heard of it either!  It's just like fusible interfacing, but super thick.  I wasn't too sure at first.  I thought it might make it too puffy, too floofy, too big.  But it turns out, it's just right!  That clever, clever Amy Butler!  How dare I second guess her!

Here is an example of the lining pieces, interior pockets and 3 grid sizes of pink gingham I used.

The tiny grid black and white gingham I used for the band and handle.

Here is the band attached to an exterior piece.

This is how I did the square corner.  I like what this does to the shape of a bag.  I did a very similar corner on the pagoda oil painting bag, just not so rounded.  The pattern told me to fold the sewn corner like this, measure in 1.5 inches from the corner, and measure out 4 inches on each side, then attach all three points with a gently curved line.  I have tons of old tins in my studio that hold everything from crystals to buttons and this one had the perfect gentle curve.  It worked really well.

Here is the corner trimmed down to 1/2 inch seam.
Once you do this to the inside and outside, you join them together, pull the right side out, finish a seam, and your done.

A glimpse of the interior.  The pattern does not call for any closure device.  No zipper, no snap, no button.  For now I will leave it like this.

I hope Clair likes this sling!

I am going to make a few more now that I have the pattern down.  They take a bit of time but you get a great finished bag in a few hours.  Think of all the fabric combinations you could come up with for the band, handle, exterior and interior.  I am going to try some vintage army canvas cloth and leather too.
I'll post more as they are created.  Stay tuned....

Finishing another pair of pants for Jasper,