SEWING ROOM TOUR, i.e., My Little Slice of Heaven


While I love all the rooms in our new loft, of course I gravitate to the sewing room.  To give you an idea of my work space, I’ve included five pictures or views.  As you walk into this room, you face the large arched window on the brick wall.  The main portion here is occupied by the cutting area where I have plenty of natural light by day and a swing arm lamp mounted to the wall above for cutting at night.  The cutting boards rest upon several wire basket drawers of fabric.


Moving to the right, you’ll see the actual sewing area.  Rick gets the credit for hanging the fan quilt from my quilting days, while he balanced fifteen feet or more on a huge ladder.  Didn’t he do a wonderful job?  The Hoosier Cabinet is a family heirloom that houses my notions and scrapbook supplies.  The two Bernina’s allow me to stitch with two different color threads when necessary.  I just roll my chair back and forth.  Also, this setup comes in very handy to sew side by side with my granddaughters.  AND, I measured carefully before the furniture arrival so that my sewing chair would be placed where I can see the ships coming down the harbor as I sew!


Moving again to the right you see the entrance wall with a six foot bookcase Rick built for me.  He also built the cabinet drawer space under the map chest.  The map chest houses buttons, trims, fringe, beads, and patterns.  The Tibetan prayer flag was a gift from my niece who visited Tibet with her National Geographic photography group.  And anyone who sews knows that you need prayers every time you have to rip stitches or seek inspiration, right? :)


Now we come to the amazing closet.  This used to be a normal sized, mirrored, sliding door type closet.  Since I knew this would be my sewing room, I asked for a huge archway and no doors.  This allowed space for my fabric armoire whose arch shape echoes the arch above.  Hidden behind the armoire is a large filing cabinet.  AND, I get to have two chandeliers to add a little romance to the space.  On one end of this closet Rick built shelves and rods to hang and organize even more fabric.


By the way, the black wall color was a happy mistake. :)  The armoire front is loaded with purses right now that will be in my fall/winter line.  Since we have now settled into the loft and I don’t have to worry about moving and decorating anymore, I’ve been sewing and sewing!  (You’ll see those purses in detail in future posts.)  On the other end of this closet is my tiny, cozy, brick walled nook that serves as my office.  My desk is a library table that I bought in the sixties from a courthouse auction in Kokomo, Indiana, and it just fits!


So this is my happy place, where I sew, design, research, blog, make tags, email, catch up on Days of Our Lives, CNN, Bravo housewives, and The Bachelorette.  Hmm, that Kaitlyn’s interesting, isn’t she?  Okay, not going there.  Any…way…until next time, Happy Sewing!

NOW WHAT?! or Top Ten Reasons to Live in a Loft


Last fall Rick and I decided to downsize to a loft! :)  Here’s how the conversation went:

Anny:  You know, if anything ever happened to you, I think I would move to a loft…

Rick:  Well, why are you waiting?

Anny:  Whaaaat???!!  You always said you had to have a garage!

Rick:  Well, now that I have our big barn in the country, most of my workshop tools are there.

Now what?!  Needless to say, I was thrown for a loop–my dream was going to come true!  I dashed to the computer and Googled lofts in downtown Galveston the rest of the evening, and the next day couldn’t wait to start the walk-in search.  This is embarrassing but true:  I fell in love with the first loft I met.  Part of my loft living rationalization was, if you’re going to live in a town like Galveston, why not have a view?  The first loft I entered not only had a view of the harbor and The Strand, it was located on the top floor of a large printing company built in 1890.  With original brick walls, huge arched windows, high ceilings, exposed duct work and a location in historical downtown a block from the harbor, it was love at first sight!  I walked in and said, “Now this is a loft!”  When I raced home and asked Rick if I could just steal him for thirty minutes to introduce this loft concept, he not only agreed but was very impressed by what he saw.  We decided a two bedroom with a harbor view would be perfect for us.  (I need that second bedroom for my sewing business.)

Now what?  We had a 3700 square foot historical home full of furniture.  Hmm.  Would you believe, we immediately signed a contract with our realtor and the house sold in four days?!

Now what?!  Fortunately, the wonderful buyers had similar taste to ours and we were able to negotiate selling much of the furniture as well.  But–the loft wouldn’t be ready until spring!  The lofts are apartments from the 90’s and each one is being renovated.

Now what?!  We started a search for temporary housing.  In the meantime, the loft management met and agreed to offer us a unit (#407) that was not yet updated until ours (#505)  was available.  How perfect!  Oops!  It’s only a one bedroom!

Now what?!  The management also said that we could use two storage units in the indoor parking area.  That brings us to today.  We are living in the loft directly below our permanent home in progress.  (I’m hearing the floors being sanded upstairs as I type this.)  In one huge room, we have:

*A Living Room

* A Sewing Room

*An Office

*A Dining Room

And that all attaches to:  A Kitchen.

This is accomplished by placement of area carpets and carefully arranged furniture items that create dividers.  (That was a challenge and a subject for another blog.) :)  We couldn’t be happier (except to be in our #505 two bedroom.)

Here’s what we’ve learned about loft living:

1)  It’s amazing what you can live without. :)  I now need just one of everything, from cleaning supplies to office supplies, to linens…the list is endless.  I feel like we’re living in a five story house but everything is “right here.”  Of course, that includes the whole low maintenance factor.  No more upkeep on the house and no yard work.

2)  You can still have overnight guests.  We just hosted Jennifer and Gracie as guests for two nights and using our new inflatable beds worked well.  If you haven’t seen inflatable beds, they’re amazing!  You plug them in, turn a knob and they inflate themselves onto an off-the-ground frame!  They deflate themselves, as well, into the proper size to fit back into their suitcase size carrying case.  So cool!  Before we moved, we joked that the Tremont Hotel, across the street, would be our guest room.  And, we really could book a room at the Tremont if the whole family visited at once.

3)  Walking to stores and restaurants is good exercise and fun exploration.  We’re enjoying our new urban surroundings.  Tina’s on the Strand, where I sell my purses, is part of our view.  We joked that I could just zip-line the purses down to the shop. Of course, being near inviting boutiques and yummy places like La King’s candy and ice cream parlour can take a toll on the budget and our waistlines. :)

4)  You can have pets in a loft.  The rule here is two pets, and that’s what we have.  Of course, potty time is more challenging.  No doggy door.  We walk them breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed.  They just walk up to the elevator, sit and wait for the door to open.  They’re making friends in the building and around the block.  The bellman at the Tremont keeps a doggie treat and water bowl by the hotel door.  When we walk past, Buddy is kind of oblivious, but Kate helps herself like it’s a doggie drive-thru!  Again, we’re getting more exercise, and that’s a good thing.

5)  Security.  Even when Rick is in LaGrange, I feel so safe.  We have gated indoor parking right by the door and an access code is necessary to enter each outside door.

6)  Outdoor living.  We have access to a terrace with a pergola type roof on the second floor.  Again, no yard work, but we can still relax and enjoy fresh air and sunshine in a relatively private setting.  The weather has been perfect for open windows lately, and not only is the air cooler up here but the insects don’t seem inclined to fly this high!

7)  Laundry and Gym.  A gym with really fine machines and a TV is available on the first floor.  Adjacent to the workout room is a small laundry area with four free commercial size washers and dryers.  Each loft has a washer and dryer, but if you wish to launder more than one load at a time or that king size comforter, no problem.

8)  Low insurance.  We do live in an area that has experienced hurricanes and flooding.  But since we’re on the fifth floor, flooding is not an issue.  The Great Fire of Galveston was in the downtown area in 1885, and as a result, the building was built in 1890 with giant steel shutters to block fire spreading from nearby buildings.  Of course this historical feature can now be used as hurricane shutters.

9)  Urban decor.  Since we sold most of our furniture and the rest will be used for the future farmhouse, it was an exciting opportunity to choose furniture for a new decor.  Industrial Chic, Contemporary, whatever you wish to call it, this is a real departure for us and Restoration Hardware is our new best friend.  It’s past time for something new and we’re having fun with it.  The renovation architects have wisely saved and incorporated as many historical features as possible.  In some units, this means a stairway to nowhere, old fire doors, and parts of the old printing machinery.  In our loft, in addition to the usual loft features, we have the original freight elevator space with cables, giant wheels, and  pulleys. I’ve designated the major portion of this space to what we’re calling “Rick’s Office.”  Very Industrial! :)

10)  Drumroll please….ships!  Okay, ships don’t thrill everyone, but the number one favorite thing about living in the loft for me is seeing the ships.  I don’t mean boat boats.  I mean ships–freighters and cruise liners.  Of course we have our share of shrimp boats, tugs, and barges, but when I see (especially lit up at night) this giant building go floating by our window, I just freak out!  Oh my word–I swear to you, there is one floating by as I write this.  Seriously–A giant freighter with “Glory One Monrovia” written on it!  I can tell because it’s still daylight.  There’s something so romantic about a ship floating out to sea to exotic locations.  I just want to hop aboard.  Maybe I was a sailor in another life?  Anyway, that’s the main wow factor for me!

So there you have it!  Top ten reasons for living in a loft.  Is there a downside?  When I find one, I’ll let you know. :)

PICTORIAL REVIEW: Quilt Market and Quilt Festival 2014



I know this is just a picture of a badge but I feel so privileged to be considered an “industry professional.”  This year, in order to attend Quilt Market, you had to submit several items.  In my case, it was proof of publishing two patterns, a tax I.D., and proof that I’ve been published in Haute Handbags magazine.  In exchange, I received this badge to enter the International Quilt Market, an industry trade show at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.  What a surprise to meet fellow bloggers in person!!  Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness, right in front of me with her fabulous patterns!  Thank you, Sara, for featuring Purse Palooza!  And when I signed up for Mixed Media Miscellany, little did I know that Gilbert Muniz of Muniz Couture would be teaching me how to make tassels!  Thank you, Gilbert!  I’ve been practicing!  (More to come on that item in future posts…)

So this post will be a “miscellany” of pics from both International Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival.  Once again, my sister and I managed to score a room at the Hilton attached to the Convention Center.  Do you realize just how difficult  that is?  When you check out of the hotel, after attending the show, you’re handed a letter telling you the exact date and time you are allowed to call to make a reservation for next year.  At that time you will be competing with thousands of other ladies to book a room at that hotel during that time period. Whew!  The stress of it all! :)

Nannette and I both took classes from Jo Packham  (think creator of “Where Women Create,” and “Where Women Cook” and “Where Women Create in Business”) for great tips and secrets on organizing our sewing studios.  Our favorite part was the segment with slides depicting sewing studios–Before and After.  Don’t you just love those?  Actual examples!   I also learned a great deal about publishing patterns, self-publishing, editing, photography etc. from classes taught by Judith Montano and Meredith McManus.

Let’s take a look at the fabulous quilts!  It was the 40th anniversary of the Quilt Show and the theme was Ruby Jubilee.  As you entered the quilt arena, you were met with scenes like this:






But it wasn’t all “seeing red.”  Take a look at these beauties and keep in mind, they’re fabric–not paintings…








And more, pure eye candy…






This is so cute:  Anywhere We Hang Our Hat Is Home..








We loved the crazy quilts!  Here you see the whole quilt…


And now, two close-ups of that same quilt to give you an idea of the intricate details…




Sewn by an Austin artist, this is called “Suburbs”


And, the ocean in fabric form…



Here is a close-up of the lower left-hand corner.  I just wish you could see this in person, with all the texturing, layering, and dimensional qualities:


And now a peek at classes–literally. :) I peek in the doors of some classrooms that I find interesting and bring them to you…



A Class on Dyeing

A Class on Dyeing

Gilbert Muniz Demo on Making Tasselsl

Gilbert Muniz Demo on Making Tasselsl


At the end of the day, when the crowds wane, is a great time to enjoy the Winning Quilts!

This quilt is called “On This Winter Day” by Nancy Prince and Linda French of Orlando, Florida.  Over a seven year period, and approximately 2000 hours, this treasure was created using 75,000 yards of thread and over seven million stitches!  All the lifelike designs were done in Free Motion Quilting.  It was the $10,000 Handi Quilter Winner!



My personal favorite was the Superior Threads Master Award you see here…



The Pfaff Machine Artistry Award was earned by this quilt:


The World of Beauty $7,500 Award was earned by:


And another personal winner was our friend, Georgann Wrinkle’s, beautiful traditional applique quilt:


One of my all-time favorites was the featured quilt titled, Metamorphosis.  If you could only see the texture and dimension in this quilt:



So when you’re not feasting your eyes on these beauties, there are hundreds of booths to visit and shop.  Nannette was collecting items like velvet and satin, and buttons and trims, to start a fun crazy quilt!  AND she found a steal on a gorgeous antique quilt!  I purchased frames, patterns, trims (including some amazing buttons) and fabric, including vintage.  Here are some of our favorite booths:

Amy Butler's Booth

Amy Butler’s Booth


Booths selling antique quilts are particularly charming:


Here is a picture of Jennifer Patterson Designs, where we witnessed the most amazing technique of using a polymer to “quilt in clay!”  To learn more about this jewelry technique visit  Totally awesome!


Here is a booth that really captured my eye.  Should have snapped up a card or brochure.  You’ll understand why I fell in love with it!


And, Kaffe Fassett, well, how many superlatives can I use, right?


The adorable Tim Holtz had this wonderfully cozy booth!


Heather Bailey had a happy and inviting booth beckoning us:



Trisha Jane Patterns has been picked up by McCall and will shortly become a celeb!  Isn’t this cute?



And speaking of celebs, of course, you’re liable to run into quilting celebrities like Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims:


I don’t know why I didn’t take a pic of Eleanor Burns as we watched her demo, but I can show you the fans that fans were carrying everywhere (and they came in handy, Eleanor–thanks!)  This is one super sweet, talented lady:



And as we bid fond farewell to the George R. Brown for another year…


We enter our home away from home…


And say, “Cheers to another great year!” with a scrumptious peach margarita, right?!  See ya next year! :)



Trips = Happy Blood Pressure


Hmm, just noticed that my last two posts have been mostly travel related.  When I started this blog I imagined most all my posts would be about purses/bags or at least sewing.  But travel is a big part of my life, especially since retirement.  I once told my doctor that one of the ways I’ve managed to keep my blood pressure in check is to always have a trip in the works.  As long as I know that eventually I can escape and be forced to unwind for a bit, I’m happy.  And usually, to some degree, that travel includes some fabric or embellishment shopping. :) Sometimes, the whole trip is about sewing, such as the International Quilt Festival coming up this month!  Very excited about that and will report back.  But in the meantime, here are a few projects completed recently.

Last fall, I found a pattern on-line for fabric pumpkins.  Since fall fabric is plentiful in my stash, I was excited, but as with a lot of projects, I ran out of time and it was beyond fall before I knew it!  But, this year, I started early and here they are.  This pattern is called Patchwork Pumpkins by Kim Kruzieh at  You can download this pattern which has clear instructions, pattern pieces to cut out, and pictures.  The stem and leaves are made from felt.  The leaves have some handwork stitching, which you probably could leaf (lol) off, but I found very relaxing.  In case you’re not familiar with or have forgotten some of the embroidery  stitches, they are illustrated as well.  All in all, a very fun project–maybe for a gift!



You may recall my problem with purse frames.  I haven’t practiced like I intended, but here is one that’s always a sure-fire hit with me.  It’s an arched metal frame with a kiss-lock closure and an added chain that can be removed or tucked inside.  The purse is simply sewn with a sleeve at the top.  Then you unscrew one side of the frame bottom, slip the sleeve on, and there’s your purse!  No messy glue or stitching!  You can order it on-line from Mica’s Room.  I embellished it with an antique brooch, designed by yours truly, from Victorian lace and a vintage button.  Binge watching Project Runway while I sewed, of course, called for fabric from MOOD!  These are silky pin-dot velvets, inside and out.  I named this purse Victoria.




Cowgirls and Lace, one of my favorite places to gather fabric, is near my granddaughter’s house, so Gracie and her mom accompanied me to their Semi-Annual Sale.  I think Gracie scored even more than I did!  She had store personnel joining in her hunt for sample treasures.  She designs sets for her LPS videos.  It was like, “Oh, Gracie, this would make good wallpaper!” or “How about this fabric for a rug?”  They even gifted her with a sample book!  That’s my girl!



As a matter of fact, my most recent bag is almost completely fashioned from items from Cowgirls and Lace.  Finding two very beautiful and unique tassels, plus gorgeous fabric, inspired the bag I titled Serengeti.  The fabric is from American Folk and Fabric’s antique collection called Kings Muir.  If you look closely, you will see that one of the tassels is an elephant.  And the other is just plain elegant!  The lining is a sage green silk Dupioni with three pockets from the exterior fabric.  In some bags, this one included, I now add a swivel hook to the pocket to attach keys.  The hook is attached to the pocket with a piece of leather from one of the sample collections I found recently at Cowgirls and Lace.  I bought about six rings of leather samples, assuming I could put them to good use since each sample is 5″ x 5″ and they were only a few dollars per set!




To create Fields of Gold, a fabulous and fun gypsy bag, I chose a golden brown embroidered floral fabric for the exterior and a silky red interior.  A textured leopard print handle was added, along with teardrop tassels, thickly braided fringe, and a flower centered with a piece of upcycled jewelry.  This bag truly has it all!



Oh, and my good neighbor, Jeff, stopped by to bring me a beautiful rose and gold brocade fabric from his generous upholsterer friend!  I’m sure you’ll be seeing that in the future, maybe as an elegant clutch!  So many patterns, so much fabric, so little time!  I love it all!!

Happy Sewing To You!











Wow!  I feel like I’ve had a whirlwind summer and FINALLY the temps here have dipped to the 70’s!!  (Ok, just at night…) Although I had booked our trip to Italy for the End of August/Beginning of September to avoid the Texas heat, Italy was much hotter than I anticipated.  And a word to my sewing friends out there–major fabric retailers in Italy disappear in August.  They simply close their doors, post a sign, and go on Holiday.  While I did visit a few old school, super classy shops in Florence and Venice, I was not so lucky in Rome.  But without further ado, here are pics of Italy–a scenic dream!



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Next stop, the Roman Forum.  Somehow I felt it needed to appear in black and white…



A side trip to Naples and Pompeii.  I had no idea that Naples was the third largest city in Italy and densely populated.  Home to Sophia Loren and birthplace of pizza, but also home to organized crime.

Naples City View

Naples City View

Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius

Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius

Chained Slave at the time of the volcanic eruption.

Chained Slave at the time of the volcanic eruption.

Florence, I do believe, was my favorite city.  Everywhere you look, there are artists, cathedrals, cafes, and beauty.  Speaking of beauty, nowhere have I seen such picturesque towns as the five little villages of Cinque Terre.  Perched on the seaside cliffs, overlooking the cobalt and aquamarine waves, these villages are accessible only by foot, ferry, or train.  Our tour combined all of these to see each and every village in its glory–colorful homes, quaint shops, and lovely people.  Here is a taste of Cinque Terre:








Of course we couldn’t visit Tuscany without a peek at Pisa and Lucca, with its intact medieval wall.


Seriously, when is the last time you were in a bookstore built with true ancient columns and skylights?


And, our last stop, Venice…


The Grand Canal



A lady showing me how to make lace in Burano.

It is said the colorful homes served as a beacon to the sailors returning home from their fishing expeditions.

Colorful homes of Burano.

Colorful homes of Burano.


St. Mark’s Basilica


Navigating the narrow streets.


In our gondola…


We pass under one of Venice’s 417 bridges.


Dusk view from the gondola.


Venetian traffic jam. :)

I mentioned visiting a few fabric shops.  At Casa Dei Tessuti in Florence I purchased an exquisite half meter of sage green velvet.  Hopefully you will see a future delicate evening bag or two?  It didn’t take long to realize that I was in over my head euro-wise.  (Thus the small purchase.)  It should have been a clue, even before I checked prices, since there were several framed articles and pictures of personnel with the Royal Family!  Even so, I managed to sneak a few pics of my own.  Notice the fabulous antiques!

IMG_7379 IMG_7377 IMG_7378

Oh, yes, and I purchased a few elegant tassels in Venice at Mario Bevilacqua!  This small but opulent fabric store had the most lush items you can imagine.  Plush fabric, beads, tassels everywhere!

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Can you believe this place?!  I was in heaven!  I consider myself very fortunate to have afforded those two tassels.  Why?  Well, let’s put it this way.  The most gorgeous, golden, textured fabric I had ever seen beckoned me from the corner.

Hand on the roll, I ask timidly, “Do you sell this by the meter?”  (Thinking I could pull my half-meter trick as in Florence.)

“Yes,” answers the nicely dressed gentleman.

“And how many Euros, please, would that be?”

“2500, Signore.”

Okay–I guess the look on my face encouraged him to explain.  “You see, the fabric is hand-woven on family looms from centuries ago.”

I back away and approach the tassels, choosing a ruby red beaded and a golden beaded, which were only nine euros each.  I pay for my purchase, and as I slink out the door, what do I notice but another one of those darned, framed, Royal Family articles and pics!  Of course!  Hmm…a few more trips to Italy and I’ll have this down!  But not in August, right?!



Have you ever ventured into a Home Exchange?  Remember Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet trading places in the movie “The Holiday?”  Well, while Rick and I were basking in a beautiful mountain contemporary home in Colorado this month, the young family who owns that home was occupying ours!  A first for both of us, and we mutually agree, we’d definitely try switching again.  We just registered on Home and through a few emails and texts the whole operation came off without a hitch.  Plus, our sweet doggies could accompany us!

Here are a few of the mountain activities we were able to experience:





















Basically, we experienced a completely different lifestyle than we’re used to in the heat of Texas.  But while we took pleasure in the high altitude climate, our mountain exchange family soaked up sun at several of our nearby beaches and selected fresh seafood from our local markets and restaurants.  Definitely a win-win situation!  And while they had an opportunity to get together with family here, we met up with long time friends now living in Colorado.  The Home Exchange is world wide so who knows where our next adventure will be?

Once we unpacked, I set to work on my winter gypsy purses.  Here are three that are hot off the sewing machine–so hot they don’t even have names yet.  Any suggestions?












You know how I love those sumptuous winter fabrics to decorate with fringe, beads, and tassels!!  As we speak, I am awaiting a delivery from my awesome neighbor, Jeff, who just notified me that he has even more fabric for me!  Oh, the anticipation!!  Until next time, sew long from your





Artwalk Galveston was awesome!  Purses were sold and I was privileged to meet the clients who purchase and enjoy my wares!  Since the show I’ve been loosey goosey on sewing.  Both Gracie and Madison visited independently and Gracie made some colorful clothes for her treasured pet collection.  Madison and I took a class in Burlap Flower Making and created all these and more:


I could attach these to headbands, purses, picture frames, etc.  Speaking of picture frames, I also managed a frame transformation in a furniture restoration class using Amy Howard paint.  I plan to take the follow-up class where you actually bring a small piece of furniture and transform it.  (You know I salvage from the alley when appropriate.) :)

Picture frame Before

Picture frame BEFORE









Picture frame AFTER

Picture frame AFTER











Madison and I also visited thrift shops.  I wish I had taken a before/after pic of the t-shirt that Maddie upcycled!  So cool!  We both bought place mats to turn into clutches.  Hers worked really well.  Here is an exterior and interior shot.   She sewed the interior with several pockets and partitions with velcro closures.



My place mat purse was made from straw and was so stiff it will be used as a file folder. :)  Besides researching purse patterns and fabrics, I upholstered a chair and accomplished some mending.  Not my favorite thing!  But thinking ahead to fall, I have sewn one bag that I call Wild Child.  The exterior is a soft yet sturdy floral velveteen that has a sixties vibe, with an interior of aqua moire.





On the travel front, I managed to visit my favorite city in the world one more time–NYC!  If you’re a fan of Tim Gunn’s Project Runway, you’ll appreciate the following:

SWATCH--Mood Fabrics Mascot!

Still pinned from Project Runway!!!

Still pinned from Project Runway!!!

Shades of Project Runway

Shades of Project Runway


SWATCH–Mascot of Mood Fabrics

Other than a visit to Mood Fabrics, I tried to incorporate new adventures.  Tender Buttons is a little shop on the Upper East Side that is top to bottom just buttons, and I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Two tours of New York City that I would highly recommend:

1) If you are a fan of Law and Order (and who isn’t), please take the Law and Order Walking Tour of Manhattan.  It is led by a real, retired NYPD detective who has written a book of true crime stories and a guide to true crime sites.  OH!!  And while he was showing us Central Booking, a town car pulls up and two detectives lead a real handcuffed suspect into the door where every arrested person must enter–from petty thieves to terrorists!  Trust me–you will enjoy this tour!

Central Booking

Central Booking

2) If you love awesome food (and who doesn’t) you’ll be so glad you booked the NOLITA/NOHO Food and Culture Tour through Foods of New York tours.  We were led to the most scrumptious food sites imaginable and given samples at each one!

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As you can tell, this tour started with dessert and ended with dessert–my kind of tour! :)  Both of these tours incorporated history through real life stories to keep it even more interesting.

I’ve been a little behind on blogging for the following reasons:

Oh, let’s face it–I’ve just been having fun!  More to come, with reports on Colorado, Italy, and the fabric I might find there!








Here is a SNEAK PREVIEW of the THIRTEEN new bags I have been frantically creating for ARTWALK GALVESTON, Saturday, June 7th!  I am honored, once again, to be Tina’s on the Strand Featured Artist.  Galveston galleries and boutiques put their best foot forward for this event all day long starting around 10 a.m., but the most fun happens from 6 to 9 p.m. when patrons wander from gallery to gallery sipping wine, shopping, and socializing.  (Makes a great “girls’ night out!”) I will be presenting all day and evening and the theme will be ST. TROPEZ BOUND, thus the French flair to all the following bags.  Drum roll please…





































(Backside of Ladies' Night)

(Backside of Ladies’ Night)




And now for something completely different…As you probably noticed,the latter two bags, although charmingly springy, are a total departure from the laminated breezy, beachy vibe.  They were created from 100% vintage materials.  The outer bag was fashioned from a chenille bed covering from the fifties and the blush floral chintz was a vintage remnant from a friend.  To be true to the 100% vintage, I did not add the usual interfacing between layers, nor did I add a magnetic snap.  The antique dice button on Ladies Night, which is Bakelite, serves as the closure, along with the loop made from antique velvet French ribbon. Why did I title the bag “Ladies’ Night?”  Can’t you just picture the ladylike hands wearing those proper little gloves gently tossing the dice onto the casino table in Monte Carlo on the French Riviera?  Oh, yes, we’re still on the French theme! :) Inside I fashioned a pocket from a removed chair covering from a Paris flea market. The floral embellishing came from the millinery section of a department store that closed in the sixties.  An unopened box was found in the back room containing the post WWII “Made in Japan” delicate flowers.  I’ve tucked inside the glove the little fifties style original brochure that came with the pair describing care, etc., and inside the pocket is the original button card from Costumakers (25 cents!)


I’m really looking forward to Saturday and hope to see many friends there.  But I’m REALLY excited to present the summer line so that I may start my fall/winter line!  You know, when I used to teach, I would be worn out by May and looking forward to summer.  But at the same time, I would be anticipating fall, and my head would already be filled with ideas for my new students!  Well, some things never change–my head is spinning with fall/winter ideas and I’m ready to open that armoire containing my lush chenilles, faux fur, leather, and warm fabrics in rich darker hues.  Aren’t I lucky that I LOVE my work?!!! :)



Flowers and Beyond!


Spring has sorta sprung here in Texas and my thoughts have turned to flowers–fabric flowers that is!


Fun to Wear Fabric Flowers by Elizabeth Helene Searle is a wonderful resource that guided me through crafting all the flowers above.  A 96 page book with fabulous photos and examples.



Four of the five flowers you see above were sewn from kits I purchased at International Quilt Festival.  The top left flower, though, was made from a pattern by Heather Bailey that’s attached to her purse pattern, “Marlo Bloom Handbag.”  This decorative flower is easily constructed following her well-written instructions and adding a vintage button.  Here is a closer look:


And here we have the same flower styled with laminated fabrics and a hand-painted button from Mood.IMG_5551


Sometimes, as with the Heather Bailey project, the flower is a bonus from a purse pattern.  The same happy circumstance occurred with Carina Gardner’s “Dainty Blossoms Sling” which sports a lovely lush flower that I created for our Springer Spaniel, Kate, from laminated pink floral. She wears it proudly and everyone can see just how feminine she is! :)

For Kate

For Kate


From that very sling pattern I actually fashioned a laminated bag with a casual vintage vibe that I titled “Welcome Back, June”!  in honor of summer approaching and a nod to June Cleaver. :) “Now, Ward, don’t you think you were a little hard on Beaver?”  Oh, geez, showing my age again…  But it does just channel the fifties, don’t you think?

Welcome Back, June!

Welcome Back, June!

In addition to my journey into flowers, I also sidestepped into headbands.  And where did I find those patterns?  Just Google “how to make a reversible headband” and YouTube, of course, will have you stitching headbands before you know it!  Here are a few of about a dozen reversible headbands I created.  Such fun!  Easy and quick!  Now at Tina’s!



During Spring Break, my adorable Gracie, The Fashionista, visited and here is a picture of her latest creation–a purse, and of course, it’s in animal print!  Girl after my own heart!


My return to actual purse making came in the form of an Anny Clutch from a beautifully vibrant laminated Kaffe Fassett print.  Behold “Cheshire Garden.”

Cheshire Garden

Cheshire Garden

One of my favorite Etsy shops, Laminates, provided the fabric (Who’s That Girl? from Robert Kaufman) for this awesome Parisian bag which I deem “Shopping on the Seine.”  And the genuine leather handle is from another favorite I’ve mentioned before, Cindy’s Button Company.

Shopping on the Seine

Shopping on the Seine

Wanting to experiment with laminated fabric using one of my favorite patterns by Cindy Taylor Oates, I stitched a bag with elements from the sixties.  The flower child print is from Stella Dear Stella Designs which I discovered at an awesome Austin shop called Stitch Lab.  Dripping with tassels, fringe, and a large leather flower, I coined a new word for this lovely bag– “Fringeship.” :)



In the spring/summer season, it’s too easy for me to get caught up in the laminates.  (Although, that seems to be what the customers like.)  AND I was ready for a pattern that was completely new and different to me.  I chose a pattern called Laguna from The Quilter’s Dream.  When I saw the sample ready-made at Quilt Festival, it was sewn from all cotton.  Instead, I chose to fashion it from a teal floral heavy linen, then machine appliqued the large flower from a fuchsia chenille.  I placed a purchased light pink fabric hibiscus in the center, then topped the rim with a sage green ball fringe. I’m delighted with the outcome and titled it “Floral Magic.”

Floral Magic

Floral Magic

And now for the Anny Bags–all laminated.  The first is a wild Brother/Sister Designs fabric, alternating with a Michael Miller polka dot, which I named “Psychedelic Gardens.”

Psychedelic Gardens

Psychedelic Gardens

Then I reverted to my four ruffle Anny Bag pattern.  I am continually tweaking (not twerking–although that would be exercise) my Anny Bag pattern, usually fiddling with dimensions.  I always think, “Ah, this is perfect!”  Then, I adjust it again.  What’s that about??  Anyway, the following are three that I have delivered to Tina’s in the last week or so.

Black and White and Red All Over

Black and White and Red All Over

Garden Party

Garden Party

Flirty Flowers

Flirty Flowers

And there you have it, folks!  The fruits of my labor!  This week I plan to produce three more Anny Bags.  Yikes!  Actually, Tina’s on the Strand has chosen me to be the featured artist at Artwalk on June 6th, and fear of inadequate inventory drives me!  I text pics of the completed bags to my daughter who last night inquired, “Do you ever leave your sewing room?!”  Well, yes.  I go to Curves, Bunko, Mah Jongg, Lunch with the teachers, friends, and family, mani/pedi, etc.  But the REST of the time, I’m sewing.  Happily Sew! :)


What do you get with Dismal Weather?


What do you get with dismal weather?  Eight purses!  Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed sunshine, so I’ve been stitching up a storm!  Temperature down=production up!  Here are six that I haven’t shared with you…

Madison’s birthday was last month and she (like her Granny Anny) loves all things British.  I had seen an Indygo Junction pattern for a British flag pillow at Quilt Festival.  Madison’s room decor, however, wears teal and many other colors other than red, white and blue.  Aha!  I shall convert the pillow pattern to a bag!  Using Amy Barickman’s new Crossroads Denim (which is softly washed and available in many colors), I stitched the front and back following pillow directions, then added a gusset, handles, and lining of navy ticking to create this patriotic bag.  BTW, the front and back consist of layering red, white, and navy, stitching along pattern lines, then cutting through either one or two layers to expose the red and white and allow the edges to be rough and free.  Love this textured effect!  I’ve always been a huge fan of Amy Barickman!


Not wanting to leave Europe I guess, my next two bags were fashioned from what I call my Paris fabrics.  Ooh La La by Jo Moulton for Wilmington and Salon de The’ Paris by Holly Holderman for Lake House Dry Goods.  Two Anny bags, one with a fabric handle and one with a purchased clear bamboo textured handle.



Since a bit of the luscious Downton Abbey fabric, licensed to Andover Fabrics, was spotted still lounging in a corner of my sewing cabinet, I decided to give it a whirl in a completely different pattern.  I harkened back to a Pink Sand Beach pattern called the Manhattan Bag, which allowed the various Downton fabrics to piece together in a lovely flow.  This time the gusset featured the castle fabric. The handle was purchased.  I replaced a jewel on the flower with a crown charm, and the necklace type embellishment on the front was a reclaimed charming but broken bracelet. Since this style has a wide bottom and the castle was a light colored fabric, it was the perfect time to try something new–purse feet!  



Mardi Gras celebrations in Galveston are huge–second only to New Orleans.  So my next bag (an altered Amy Butler design) presented with deep purple velvet handles. The look was completed with dangling jewel plum beads and a lush blue violet flower. Did you know that Pantone’s Color of the Year 2014 is Radiant Orchid?  The perfect title for a bag fit for a Mardi Gras Ball!



The sixth bag was created from a deep desire for sunshine.  I chose the most spring/summer fabrics available and fashioned a bag I call Gardens of Paris.  The blue floral is a heavy linen, surrounded by a buttery loop fringe and dazzling golden beads.  I love this gypsy style, which is a modified Cindy Taylor Oates pattern.



Am I gathering fabrics, trims, and patterns for bag number seven?  Tempting…  But I’m taking a break to “sharpen my saw” as they say.  More tutorials are calling my name, as well as books, patterns, and gorgeous ribbon (some vintage) for crafting fabric flowers.  As Jimmy Fallon would say, “Thank you, Dismal Weather, for enticing me to sew!”