Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gussie bag - final bag swap version

Oh, I'm so excited about this! I'm so glad I stuck with this bag & didn't give up & resort to another pattern, I'm just loving how it turned out. There seems to be an extra bit of satisfaction from the fact that while this pattern probably isn't ground-breaking in its originality, it did come straight from my mind, not from a pattern I have purchased.

And now that my partner has received her bag, I present to you, the Gussie bag!

Isn't it pretty?! While this fabric probably isn't one I would have normally picked up, I absolutely fell in love with it the more I worked with it. It's a perfect blend of fall colors.

As I was working on getting the pattern pieces cut out, I tried to decide what I wanted to do for the front pocket. On the first versions of the bag (I still have a third one I haven't shared yet) as I was working on the pattern, I embroidered a little something on the front to make it a little less plain. I knew I couldn't embroider on this one because the pattern was just too busy for it, but I also knew I wanted to do something to break up the pattern on the front side (the back is all the print fabric, I forgot to take pictures of that).

I toyed around with the idea of making the front panel all out of the brown interior fabric, or making the center pocket (that wide panel on the front is split into three pockets) the print material, or trying to appliqué a piece from the print onto the panel (which with this print would have been really difficult), then though of just putting a band of the print across a brown panel. I liked that last idea best, but thought it might look a little out of place, until I remembered the gathered clutch from Noodlehead that everybody has been doing lately. A-ha!!! I could make the brown part gathered or pleated, then add the print piece as a band across it! I remembered that at one point my swap partner had mentioned she liked pleats on bags, so it was a win-win situation. I quickly cut out a new front panel (seriously, this was a last-minute, game-time decision after everything was already cut out), adding about four inches to the width, then tried my hand at gathering. It took a couple tries, and I wish I had added more than four inches, but overall, I love how it turned out. It breaks up the pattern on the front of the bag while still adding to the overall look of the bag.

Here's a closeup of the gathers. Like I said, I wish I had added more to the width of the piece so it could have been gathered more. But I do still think it came out nicely.

The inside has another full panel that was split into two pockets.

On another trial version of this purse (the one I haven't share yet, it's wider than the first two I showed), I had yet another panel pocket on the inside that wasn't split at all. For me it's perfect because I like to keep receipts & other papers separated in my purse, and the pocket keeps them from getting all crumpled & lost at the bottom of the purse.

And here's my lovely gusset on this version. I opted not to do the bias tape method (the one with embroidered flowers), and somehow managed to get the gusset to turn out nice & crisp, unlike the very first one (the one with the embroidered heart).

I'm telling you, I don't think I could have been happier with how this turned out! I'm toying around with the idea of making a tutorial and/or a pattern for this, but the thought of all the pictures & explanation that would be needed make me think I'll probably push that aside if I'm being honest with myself. Right now, with the exception of one freezer paper stencil piece (with a few notes on it), the entire pattern is just in my head. Trying to sufficiently explain some of the steps could be difficult, even if the overall construction of the purse isn't terribly hard. I'll admit, attaching the gusset will certainly try your patience, but I think it's all worth it in the end. At the very least, I'll add this pattern to my list available for custom order, so just shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment (make sure your e-mail address is attached to your profile, or you include it in your comment!) if you're interested.

Oh, and if you really, really want a pattern or tutorial for this, just let me know. If enough people want it (seriously, it would probably only take a few), I'll be much more likely to take the time to do it. I have to tell you, while I have always fully respected people charging for their patterns before, I have a whole new understanding for it & can appreciate it even more when they offer free patterns & tutorials. When it comes to charging for patterns, I think Rae explained it best when she talked about her Bonsai Bag pattern.

Until next time...

Sumo Sweet Stuff
Join  us Saturdays at for the weekend   wrap    up           party!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

TWT - Sunset

One of the items for the October Photo Hunt Challenge is your best photo taken October 23. I haven't been doing a very good job taking pictures this month, but figured that while I can make up any of the other ones at the end of the month, this was one I wouldn't have the chance to make up!

Nick & I went to a movie Saturday night, and since I wasn't smart enough to grab my camera (which is surprising, considering how much I was kicking myself all week for not having a camera with me & missing all sorts of photo opportunities), and we saw one of the most amazing sunsets on our way in to town. These are all taken with my cell phone, and half of them while we were driving (Nick was driving!).

The sky was a bit more pink than they look in these pictures, but otherwise it looked like the sky was just on fire! I'm actually fairly happy with how these turned out, considering I was using my (non-iphone - seriously, those things seem to take amazing pictures!) cell phone. Not sure yet which one I'll actually use for the official photo hunt picture, probably one of the last three.

Other news - I should be able to share the finished Gussie bag this weekend! I'm just waiting for my swap partner to get it so I don't ruin the surprise, but I've got the post all written up & ready to go! I can't wait to share how it turned out, I was totally in love with it, and kind of wish I didn't have to send it off! But I know Sharon will love it, so it's alright.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

TWT - Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park elk

More this week from our trip to Colorado July 2008.

We saw lots of elk while we were out there, but this guy was just chilling right off the road.

I'm not certain what's up with the fuzziness in these photos, they were taken with my manual 35mm, so I probably had something set funny. I think I may have had the doubler on too, which can mess with stuff when it's not super close up. Unfortunately one of the major problems with shooting film is you (obviously) can't see the photo right away, so can't correct the shot right away. I still love these shots, even though I wish they'd been a bit more crisp. Lessons learned, and all that.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Keyka Lou small satchel

I made another Keyka Lou small satchel purse this weekend. I really can't recommend the patterns enough, I absolutely love them. I have so many it's almost a little ridiculous & really need to work on getting them all made.

I absolutely love this fabric. Kind of fall-ish & summery at the same time. Is that even possible? Maybe I'm just weird.

This one is going to a friend of mine, I've been promising it to her since her birthday in July, but it kept getting pushed toward the bottom of my list for no particular reason. But now she's moving away (don't even get me started on that!), so I knew I had to get it done to give to her before she leaves this weekend. If I'd been thinking I should have waiting & could have said we had to deliver it to Montana in person. :)

Until next time...

Sumo Sweet Stuff

Sneak peak - the Gussie bag

I just can't wait to share part of this bag, on one hand because I need some serious help figuring out a little problem, and on the other hand because I'm just so excited about the little "extras" I added. Yes, I realize these are just practice bags, but I figured if they turned out nice enough (hey, I'm optimistic!), I wanted them to be a little less plain.

I've made two versions so far, varying only slightly. The one on the left ("flower") doesn't have a top band because I added a pocket panel to the front side and I used bias tape to bind the edges. This one isn't lined yet because I'm not entirely certain the best way to do it. The one on the right ("heart") has a top band (and pocket on the back) and I sewed the pieces right side together, then flipped right side out.

One side on the heart bag turned out really nice & pretty:

The other one (on the right, here), not so pretty:

Any bright ideas on the best way to add a gusset? I'm really attached to the idea of this purse & don't want to give up on using it for the bag swap. I do know I could do square corners instead of having them rounded, but I'd prefer not to. And I could keep the general shape of the bag & use darts instead of a gusset, but I like how this is the full depth all the way up the purse. It makes it surprisingly roomy for a smaller purse.

I can't figure out quite why, but one side was also higher than the other. So when I tried to sew in the lining, the top seam was super angled going from one side of the strap to the other. To fix it, I just patched in another piece of muslin (wasn't too terribly concerned about how it looked for now since I was just going to carry it to check the functionality & sizing. Although, it's really growing on me). I wasn't able to get the original edge in the seam, so it's a little messy in this corner.

I had to add this little heart to hold in the patch. But it turned out kind of cute, so it was totally on purpose. :)

Oh, and don't mind the ugliest topstitching in the universe on this, I wasn't too particular.

And now for the fun pretty stuff.

I just hand drew this heart (as well as the little one that's on the other side for the patch). It's nothing spectacular, but I like the simplicity. And yes, I do draw my hearts with that line going from the bottom back up to the top. It was on the little one too, but I chose not to stitch it because it looked funny on such a small heart.

And my favorite part:

I found the flower pattern over at Needle'n Thread, and there are a ton of other really great patterns, including a couple alphabets. There's also a lot of other good embroidery info over there, so check it out!

I did a simple stem stitch for all the lines, a French knot at the end of each vine, and French knots to fill the flower centers. I mixed colors for each part so it was a little more dimensional, and I really love the way it turned out.

Oh, and don't mind those faint blue & purple lines, apparently not all the ink has disappeared yet, and I obviously didn't completely follow all the lines.

So there you have it, let me know what you think!

Until next time...

Sumo Sweet Stuff

Monday, October 11, 2010

Working out the kinks...

Well, still working on the pattern I would really love to use for the SMS Bag Swap, but I'm not sure it's going to happen. I did finally find some great fabric for it this weekend, but I've only got two weeks to get it sorted out, made, & mailed. Sounds like a long time sitting & talking about it now, but I'm not quite completely happy with it yet, and I'm not going to send out something I don't love. I'll give it a few more tries though before I give up on it for the swap. Even if that does happen (and I'm really hoping it doesn't, because I really do like at least the idea of this bag), I'll definitely keep working on perfecting it. Until I make up my mind about it, I don't want to share too many pictures/details of it (I want it to be a bit of a surprise for my swap partner!), but I am going to share a couple small details I've added to the practice bags. I'll save that until I can get some decent pictures though (it's a bit dark now).

Just wanted to share a quick update, I hope those of you who are participating are in a better place with their swap bags! :)

Until next time...

Friday, October 8, 2010

New stuff on the blog & a little randomness

If you follow me on a reader, you might want to stop by the blog, I've added a few new tabs up at the top. Plus, you may not have seen the pretty new makeover I did a month or so ago. I'm loving the color, but think I may be time for some more fall colors. We'll see. :)

The first new tab is my Project To-Do List. The more I think about this, the more I realize I should probably rename it as my Project Wish List since my actual to-do list at home includes none of these projects! :( Over time I've been e-mailing myself all kinds of patterns & tutorials, but then they get buried in my e-mail, and I seem to have completely lost a few, so I thought this might be a better way to keep things organized. I'll add links to my versions when I complete a project, and I've been adding more to the list, so check back occasionally. Definitely let me know if you've done one of these projects, I'd love to see how yours turned out! And let me know what you think should be added to the list, I always love finding new ideas!

The other new tab is for the October Photo Hunt Challenge, but I'm still kind of up in the air about participating. If I do, I'll add the pictures over there to keep track of them for now. We'll see how the month goes.

As a side note, thank you for all your kind words after my last post. Like I said before, the kindness of so many people I've never met is amazing. A CaringBridge website has been set up by the family if any of you would like to be updated on how Romayne is doing. Although he has a very long road of recovery ahead of him, it sounds as though he's doing better than the doctors expected of someone with his severity of injuries.

I've started work on the muslin for the new pattern I hope to make for my bag swap partner. I decided to use actual muslin instead of digging into my stash since I have no idea how this first go-round will turn out. I'm doing a few things I've never tried before, so it should be an interesting weekend. Last night I did a little embroidering on what will be the front side of it, just in case it's nice enough to use. I actually kind of like the look of the plain muslin, so if it goes well it'll be my new purse. :) Hopefully I can get it finished up this weekend & post a few teaser pictures. I don't want to give away too much since the entire bag will be somewhat of a surprise to my swap partner & I'm not certain whether she reads the blog or not. I don't want to take any chances, so you'll have to wait for full pictures until November.

I used the freezer paper pattern trick for the first time when I made the pattern pieces for this purse & I think I'm a convert. It's soooooo much easier than pinning pieces! Nick was watching as I made them & was pretty impressed when I explained why I was using freezer paper. I did find that if I ironed on all my pieces, then went to cut them out, some of the pieces were starting to lift off as I got to the last few. Maybe I wasn't using a hot enough iron? I wasn't sure what to set it at & didn't know if I could damage the iron, paper, or fabric by using too hot of an iron. If you've used this method, how hot do you set your iron? I did remember to turn off the steam, and had it set around Synthetics. I'm thinking I probably could have turned it up a little bit.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

TWT - Garden of the Gods

Taken at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, July 2008. I took this one just shortly before this other awesome picture. You should know the one I'm talking about without even having to go back in look. But you should go back & look anyways, because it really is an awesome shot. :)

Yes, I've been slacking. Yes, I'm going to try to get back into the habit of doing this.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A bittersweet birthday

Please excuse me while I take a break from the sewing & crocheting & crafting for a moment.

As you might know, yesterday was my birthday, and it was...well... unforgettable, unfortunately. First I want to give a huge thanks to all of you who wished me a happy birthday. It was you, similar comments on Facebook, and the love of family & friends who got me through the day & helped make the day at least a little more bearable.

You see, yesterday afternoon, we got a call from Nick's mom that her brother (so Nick's uncle) was in a pretty bad farming accident. He was life-flighted to a hospital a few hours away, and as of right now we haven't heard much about how he's doing. We do know he'll have a very long road to recovery ahead of him, and this is particularly hard on the family as they're amid harvest season. I'm touched by the outpouring of support in their small community.

So thank you, to everyone, for caring about someone you've never even met. You've made a world of difference in my life, and I'm sure the lives of many others.

Hug the ones you love a little tighter today.

Until next time...

Laura Bag

Here's the finished Laura bag for a friend of mine. Her favorite color is purple & I love this nice royal purple. It's a bit overload for me, but she absolutely loved it!

Final dimensions on this one were about 9 inches high, 7 1/2 inches wide & 1/2 inch deep. I think I personally preferred the look of the narrower white one, but this one does hold a bit more.

I made the zip ends on this one a little longer than the previous because I only had a 7 inch dark purple zipper & didn't want to use the lavender. Needed about 7 3/4 inch zip, so with longer ends, this one worked out fine. But again, I prefer the look of the smaller zip ends on the white one. It's just a personal thing.

Finally! A nice, narrow flat bottom! I don't know what I did differently this time, but it worked perfectly. I think the big thing was notching out the interfacing in the corners. Less bulk = prettier bottoms.

This design is one I'd be more than happy to make on a custom order basis. The strap on this one is 48 inches, but I can do it shorter or longer if you'd like. Just let me know if this is something you'd be interested in!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy, happy birthday... me! velvet, my favorite...

When I showed this to Nick as I was sewing on the "frosting" I said I was making myself a birthday cupcake because I knew he wouldn't be making me any. He just laughed & said I probably wouldn't want him to. He's probably right. :) So this is as close as I'll be to getting cake for my birthday this year, but that's quite alright by me.

No big plans for my birthday this year, just dinner with hubby, which means no cooking & no dishes. Perfect! We did go to the pumpkin patch on Sunday with some friends, and thankfully it was a beautiful day & perfect for walking around checking out all the animals.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Until next time...

Monday, October 4, 2010

SMS Super Style Bag Swap update

I got my swap partner this weekend & I'm so excited to get started on a handbag for Sharon! I was checking out the patterns she sent me (Buttercup bag, Marlo Bloom, Pixie, and the not-yet released Bonsai), and I really like the general style of them all (especially that Marlo Bloom, I may still need to get my hands on that one. Hello, did somebody say reversible?!). The Buttercup pattern is even one I finally picked up last week (free version to give it a try!) after admiring for some time now.

Today I was looking around at even more handbag patterns & have decided I'm going to at least attempt to make things even more difficult for myself...errr...I mean challenge myself...and make my own style/pattern/design. I've got it all sorted out in my head, so we'll see how this goes. And with the October 25th shipping deadline, this bag can't go the way of the Origami Imposter & just sit around in my brain forever. I figure if all else fails, I've got the Buttercup bag to fall back on, but for now I'm going to get creative!

Until next time...

And the winner is...

And who is #8? Well, I started the numbering in Facebook, which means the lucky winner is Leslie! Congratulations! I'll be sending you a message on Facebook shortly.

Thanks to everybody who entered.

Until next time...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Blog Awards

Oy...I've been meaning to do this for a while now, so Jill, please don't think I've forgotten about your generosity! But after a second award from Saurkraut, I just don't feel like I can put this off any longer. I'm so appreciative to you both that you chose little ol' me from all the much cooler blogs out there! :)

I'll tell you right now, I'm going to cheat a tiny bit & combine a few of the "requirements." :)

First of all, Jill from Envirocraftiness awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award, so we might as well start there.

The conditions of this award are:
1) Thank the person
2) Share 7 things about yourself
3) Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs
4) Let the award winners know

Secondly, Sourkraut from Langes Fädchen, Faules Mädchen awarded me with the One Lovely Blog award.

The conditions of this award are:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link
2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

I know I've already thanked both of these wonderful ladies, but I want to put it out there again. I really do appreciate you, and all those who read what I've got to say. What started out as my own personal space to keep track of what I'm doing has turned into something just a little bit more, and often times it's all of you who motivate me more than I do myself.

Let's see, now for seven things about myself:
1) I have a birthday coming up, next week to be honest. I used to make kind of a big deal about my birthday, but it's not such a big deal anymore. The main things I really want are not to have to cook or do dishes. This year has been especially odd. I'll be turning 28, and for whatever reason, I am having a real issue with it. I had a bigger issue with turning 23 (weird birthday freak-outs, I know), but this one is similar. Maybe it's because I've been making comments about hubby being 30 for the past couple months, and it's sinking in that we're getting old(er). Ugh. Whatever.

2) I'm a procrastinator & work best with a looming deadline. Seriously, I can know I have a project that needs to be done in a week & I'll leave it until two days before it needs to be finished. It only leads to late nights & much cursing, but no matter my best intentions to do otherwise, I can't change.

3) One of my dream jobs is to be an archeologist. I would love nothing more than to sit & dig through the dirt all day long, unearthing things have haven't been seen or touched by humans in hundreds/thousands of years.

4) Fall is my favorite time of the year, right up until it actually gets cold. I even told Nick last Sunday on a particularly chilly morning that I was ready for spring. I hate, hate, hate cold weather. I'm also not a big fan of super hot summer days either. Days when it's just a smidge chilly in the shade & not too warm in the sun are perfect. I love when it's just chilly enough that it feels perfect to get into a hot car that's been sitting in the sun - not a bit boiling or stuffy, just feeling like I'm wrapped in sunshine & warmth. I think a big part of what I love about fall are the colors - browns, oranges, muted reds. Yum. And spicy smells. Double-yum.

5) I'm a rambler. As I've mentioned before, if this is something new to you, then you're new to the blog. :) If this is something that bothers you, you might as well leave now. But please don't. I do my best to be less wordy & include pictures & other fun stuff to break up the words I go again.

6) I love post-it notes & lists. At any given time I typically have at least one on my phone.

7) I love getting comments & always try my best to respond to them. I know I don't always get to every single one, but I do try. I especially like the conversations & e-mail chains that result from some of these comments.

Now for my nominations. Again, I'm going to cheat and award both awards to each of these blogs. To Jill & Sourkraut, I award each of you withthe one you didn't give me. :) Oh, and these aren't necessarily newly discovered to me, but they may be to some of you. Although, I hang out in a lot of the same circles as you all, and I'm usually pretty behind the times, so they may not be new to you at all. Either way, check them out!

B Sew Crafty (even though she's on a bit of a hiatus)

Okay, so I know they each ask for 15, but I'm going to go ahead & stop there. Most of the rest I read are the big-wigs I know you all know. These are my favorites (in no particular order) and the ones I always head for first when I check into my Google Reader. It's a really good day when each one has something new to share.

Well, there you have it. I think I've fulfilled my obligations (did I mention I've been kind of stewing & feeling guilty over this since Jill awarded me with the first back in July? So trust me, it's not at all like I forgot!), and hopefully I didn't bore you too much.

Until next time...

Weekend Plans

I have two projects planned for this weekend - another cupcake pincushion (super-special edition!) I'll be sharing next week and the final version of the Laura bag (as I've decided to name it). Neither should be terribly time consuming, but hopefully I'll be able to get them both done. Saturday I'll have to squeeze in crafting time around work on the house & Sunday we've got big plans for the pumpkin patch in the afternoon. I'm more than willing to put off crafting for that outing!

So, what are your plans for the weekend?

Until next time...

Don't forget!

Don't forget, today is your last day to enter to win the tote! Remember, you must be a follower & leave a comment on the original post, and for an additional entry, head over to Facebook & leave a comment on the note about the giveaway. You must be a "fan" of MCC to enter. As of this morning, there are only 15 people entered, so you've got a pretty good chance of winning! All comments left before midnight tonight will be entered to win & I'll do the drawing this weekend & announce the winner on Monday!

Until next time...