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WHAT DO SWEET POTATOES, EVENING BAGS, AND GELASKINS HAVE IN COMMON?

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Anny has them all!  Let’s start with the yummies:

PRALINE TOPPED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

2 large cans sweet potatoes

2/3 c. (small can) evaporated milk

1 stick butter, melted

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

TOPPING

2  c. brown sugar

2/3 cup flour

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 stick butter, melted

Drain and mash sweet potatoes; add butter, sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla and eggs.  In separate bowl mix all topping ingredients.  Spread potato mixture in dish and spread topping on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.  Serves 16.

This is more like dessert than side dish.  Mouthwatering!  I make it every year and it’s delicious and easy. I also wholeheartedly recommend a Pinterest recipe called Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake.  My niece served it yesterday and it was awesome!  Paula Dean–need I say more?

Now let’s visit the sewing room.  Going into the holidays, I’m downsizing to evening bags. I’ve taken some to Tina’s and the rest will be in the It’s Sew Anny Etsy shop.

Here you see Ali Foster clutch design bags fashioned from sumptuous upholstery fabric.  Zipper bags with inside pocket and they fold over to a magnetic snap.  They feel so good!

IMG_4621 IMG_4616I created another bag from a lightweight velvety deep brown with just a dusting of golden threads design throughout.  The interior is a soft faux fur leopard with pocket.  Oh, and the frame was a cinch.  Just sew a casing and slide it on.  The ends of the frame have screws.  Studio Mio, of course!

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This last bag was an internet pattern from eHow.   “How to Make a Drawstring Purse With Round Bottom.”  I modified the pattern to make the drawstring a two-way and covered a round cardboard shape for bottom stabilization.  Fashioned from a lovely teal washable damask and embellished with elaborate beading.

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There is a fabulous Dickens Christmas celebration in Galveston the first weekend in December and many ladies dress in period costumes with fancy gowns and purses like the one above.  Men in top hats and tails, little boys with knickers and smudged faces–so fun!

And now for something completely different.  Have you heard of Gelaskins?  This is a sturdy, flexible covering for your iPad, Kindle, even laptops.  A large selection of designs are available.  Here are some I’ve chosen.

This is my laptop.

This is my laptop.

Front of my iPad

Front of my iPad

Back of my iPad

Back of my iPad

Front of my Kindle

Front of my Kindle

Back of my Kindle

Back of my Kindle

Just thought I’d mention these because they make great gifts.  They’re removable with no residue–gently peel off, which makes it easy when you’re applying and positioning also.  No, I’m not being paid by Gelaskins–they don’t know me except I keep ordering…  🙂  My daughter introduced us.  They just make technology even more fun!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

S’MORES AND MORE!

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We were in LaGrange this weekend and I had a chance to experience the Texas Quilt Museum once more.  Quilt displays are changed every three months and the setting is a beautiful century old brick building.  I highly recommend it if you’re visiting the Texas Hill Country near LaGrange. They don’t allow photographs but I asked permission to snap an overall shot to entice visitors to this lovely quilt haven.

Texas Quilt Museum LaGrange, Texas

Texas Quilt Museum
LaGrange, Texas

Right next door to the museum is a fabulous quilt/yarn shop, The Quilted Skein.  Very inviting fabrics greet you (think Kaffe Fassett, etc.) and one whole side of the store is devoted to yarn and knitting.  I could spend hours there.  Since it’s finally cooler here in Texas I have the urge to knit and bought just enough yarn to make a scarf.  Check out this warm and cozy scene:

The Quilted Skein LaGrange, Texas

The Quilted Skein
LaGrange, Texas

Late that afternoon Farmer Rick wanted to show me the property he’s working on, and I must say, it is quite lovely.  Here is a photo down by the creek and another of sunset:

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That evening we met my sister and her family at Bistro 108–the place in LaGrange for delectable meals (we had brunch the next day as well.) 🙂

Fantastic Food!

Fantastic Food!

After dark my nephew built a huge fire and we all roasted marshmallows (giant size) for drippingly good s’mores.  A choice of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or Hersheys with almonds.  Oh so good!!  I had seconds. 😉

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Our visit was topped off the next morning with sitting on the porch with our coffee while my sister finished binding a quilt and I knitted.  Ah, heaven…

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One more thing.  Since it’s great soup weather, I’ll share a recipe made a few nights ago which came from another quilter friend (thanks, Beverly) that I’m sure you’ll find delicious, quick, and very easy.

Chicken Enchilada Soup Um-Um-Good!

Chicken Enchilada Soup
Um-Um-Good!

CHICKEN ENCHILADA SOUP

1 can Chicken Broth

l0 oz. can enchilada sauce with green chiles

10 oz. can medium enchilada sauce

Tortilla strips (I used “Crunchy Toppings for Salads” kind)

1 tsp. ground cumin

Frozen Fully Cooked Chicken Fajita Strips (I used about 1/2 of a 1.37 lb. bag)

1 cup half-n-half

1 medium diced tomato

1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

sour cream

Combine both sauces and chicken broth in a large pot.  Cook over medium heat until broth thickens somewhat.  Add cumin, chicken strips (still frozen) and half-n-half.  Toss in a few handfuls of tortilla strips (but save some for topping in the bowls.)  Heat through until the chicken is thawed and hot.  Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with diced tomatoes, cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and another handful of tortilla strips.  Yum!!

QUILTERS’ PARADISE

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QUILTERS’ PARADISE

It is back to reality for me.  From Wednesday to Saturday Nannette and I were in P-A-R-A-D-I-S-E!  2013 International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas.  This gallery of pics will give you an idea of our many ventures.  Let’s start here:

OPEN! OPEN! OPEN!  Quilters flocking to the door.

OPEN! OPEN! OPEN!
Quilters flocking to the door.

An overall view from the Window Up Above (Wasn’t that a Mickey Gilley song?)

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Nannette and I with Kaffe Fassett and his new book, QUILT GRANDEUR.

Nannette and I with Kaffe Fassett and his new book,
QUILT GRANDEUR.

KAFFE FASSETT and LIZA PRIOR LUCY

KAFFE FASSETT and LIZA PRIOR LUCY

If Kaffe Fassett doesn’t ring a bell with you, you are probably not a quilter and that’s okay.  Just letting you know that he is the author of numerous quilting books and known all over the world for his brilliant color combinations and designs.  I so love to use his fabric in my bags.  And, oh my, he admired my bag.  MY BAG!  I can die happy now…

My new favorite booth:  ADORNit.  www.adornit.com  These gals (mother and two daughters) have developed an amazingly strong presence in the fabric, pattern, and quilting world.  You go, Ladies!

ADORNit.

ADORNit.

Snazzy contemporary fabric and a pattern book (plus some charm squares) were scored at ADORNit.  If you sew, plan to visit soon for inspiration.

You can always catch demos at the show.  Check out this lady’s sewing machine…

Gelaskin for Sewing Machines?!

Gelaskin for Sewing Machines?!

This next mother/daughter duo is a booth Nannette and I always take time to visit.  Brilliant colors and designs are offered on a number of projects like chair covers, floor mats, travel mugs, mirrors, lamps, shades, clocks and clipboards.  Did I say quilts?  And more. Dianne Springer finds ways to artistically apply scraps on anything–even mailboxes!  Don’t stand still too long–she may find a way to Scrap-o-Late you!!

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www.quiltinacup.com

You’ve heard me mention FRAMES.  Yes, I succumbed to one of my favorite booths, Mica’s Room.  On Halloween, no less.  My friends here entice me (doesn’t take much) to buy frames, patterns, clasps and fabric.  This year I’m trying coin purses.  They do have frames.  But isn’t that a great way to practice?

My friends from Mica's Room.

My friends from Mica’s Room.

This year I purchased  antique ribbons, lace, and vintage buttons and fabric at booths featuring embellishments.  Many more booths featured bags, bag patterns and hardware this year.  Right up my alley!  You know I was crossing my fingers for colored denim and I hit the jackpot.  Thanks to designer Amy Barickman, Crossroads Denim will allow me to fashion totes, slings, and clutches from a softly laundered denim in shades of orange, navy, blues, greens, and neutrals.  I’m so excited!

Some ladies at the show try their hand at longarm quilting.

Longarm quilting booth.

Longarm quilting booth.

It seems as though Nannette ran up a huge total at Quilts By The Bay.

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Oops!  Thankfully, that was just a mistake, but maybe it’s time to turn from shopping to quilts.  Hello–it is a Quilt Show!

The Best of Show Winner is …

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Close Up

Close Up

Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist

There were contemporary, traditional, charitable, whimsical, biographical, autobiographical, military and art quilts.  A sampling:

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Sparkles covered all the flowers on this quilt.

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Yes, Jack Nicholson.  The artist said she was studying expression and emotions.

Yes, Jack Nicholson. The artist said she was studying expression and emotions. 🙂

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This year $102,800 cash awards were given (and the prizes also include airfare to and hotel accommodations for Quilt Festival.)  See all the winning quilts at www.quilts.org.

There were classes offered at Craftsy:

Craftsy University

Craftsy University

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A Craftsy Class.

Many specialties were offered in the upstairs classrooms (Nannette and I enjoyed one) and even classes offered right on the main floor amongst the booths.

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For breaks and a chance to catch a breeze in our fabulous fall weather, attendees are welcome to stroll on the balcony.  When you’re in the midst of shopping and viewing, it seems the world is removed (happily so) but it’s occasionally beneficial to let your brain experience the connection of a view of downtown.

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Often we run into old friends that we usually see at retreats.  This year we had fun meeting old friends in the crowded aisles, trying to catch up on the run, waving, and signaling to meet up later.  Fortunately, I noticed Jo Packham in the Food Court, having just had two classes with the Where Women Create panel, and she joined Nannette and I for a fun and relaxing late lunch. We solved most of the world’s problems and then it was back to shopping. 🙂

At the end of the day, we welcome this sight:

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“Come into the light, Carol Ann…”  It’s the corridor that links the George R. Brown Convention Center to the Hilton Hotel.   Oh, yes.  That walkway reminds us that Starbucks is not a food group.  Without even depositing our treasures in our room, we head for the lovely restaurant where the food is actually quite good.  After dinner, drinks, and dessert, we drag our loot up to the room and share our awesome treasures.  We always vow to get plenty of sleep, but how do you do that when there is just so much to share??  And no sleeping in the next day because, hey, we need to find that fabric we glimpsed yesterday and hope it’s still there!

This year we took a class and it was titled, “Crafting an Ideal Day.”  It basically involved time management and we learned a lot from the facilitator and the participants.  Everyone seemed to have the same problem–not enough time to sew.  We lamented this and brainstormed solutions.  The main idea that Nannette and I took away from the class was this:  Get 20 minutes in your sewing area everyday.  This will lead to more, and if it doesn’t on any given day, at least you will have been twenty minutes productive.  Naturally, we left the show this year pledging to gift ourselves those twenty minutes.  And it may not happen everyday, but, well, it’s a start.  So here I go… I’ll bet I could get a small purse cut out in the next twenty minutes. 🙂 How do you get YOUR twenty minutes in?

THE SUCCESS OF PASSION

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I  had the great privilege to take two classes at Quilt Market–The Success of Passion and How to Let People Know Who You Are. Both classes were led by Jo Packham, hosting a panel of exceptionally talented and creative ladies who shared how their passion led to successful businesses and how they stay ahead of the game in this media driven world.  Jo Packham created the fabulous magazine, Where Women Create–Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women. www.wherewomencreate.com.  This led to Where Women Create-Business and Where Women Cook.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of perusing these publications, you are in for a treat.  Get a cup of coffee, ease into a cozy chair, and prepare to be inspired.

Speaking of inspiration, the classes were followed by the actual Quilt Market where companies like Westminster Fabrics, Moda, Anna Griffin and countless booths offer patterns, fabric, notions, books, machines, and all the latest items available for quilting, sewing, bag making, and embroidery.  Here is just a sample of booths at the Market.  Pure eye candy!

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Marcia of Abbey Lane Quilts displays a pillow that I bought the pattern and fabric for last year, and a new bag pattern that I can’t wait to sew!

ABBEY LANE QUILTS BOOTH

ABBEY LANE QUILTS BOOTH

If you quilt, I know you’ll recognize this sweet lady–Eleanor Burns!  Check out her new book, Quilts from El’s Kitchen.  www.quiltinaday.com.  Savor fresh new quilt blocks along with recipes for tasty treats.

ELEANOR BURNS

ELEANOR BURNS

I had a great time shopping as a “business owner” and chose new patterns for my bags, along with handles, and yes, FRAMES!  No, I’m not really a masochist.  I’m just determined to conquer those challenging glueing and stitching frames.  Checking out those tutorials on frames, I discovered that it’s not just me.  Usually in tutorials, the instructor seems to breeze through, finishing with “And there you have your beautiful project!  Wasn’t that easy?”  However, I noticed that the frame tutorials used words like “Now here’s the tricky part…” and, “You may have to practice and redo a few times…”  I didn’t hear any actual curse words but you know you can edit those videos. 🙂

So between classes on Friday and Sunday, friends joined Rick and I in partaking of German beer and scrumptious homemade apple, cherry, and cheese strudel at the local Octoberfest.  Perfectly gorgeous weather as well! 

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OKTOBERFEST TUNES

Yes, I did manage to sew one bag this weekend.  A Victorian drawstring bag that’s appropriate for evening, or festivals like our upcoming Dickens on the Strand here in Galveston.

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And now I must go pack, for my sister and I will be checking into the Hilton tomorrow that connects to the convention center for the International Quilt Festival, the largest quilt festival in the world, and the largest convention annually for the City of Houston.  This year, as well as continual shopping and viewing the lovely quilts, we’re taking a class–something along the lines of “How to Make Time to Sew.” 🙂   So what am I looking for that I couldn’t find at Quilt Market?  Well…fabric.  The fabric companies that I mentioned above sell to shop owners who buy wholesale bolts at a time.  But Festival is for the individual quilter (at retail prices.)  So now I’ll have the opportunity to buy just enough fabric for my purses.  I’m looking for spring/summer fabrics like cotton, laminates, vintage fabrics, and hopefully, colored denim.  Each year Nannette and I treasure this time together where we shop, eat, giggle, and gab until the wee hours.  We’ll be there until Saturday, in the room that we had to reserve at this same time last year, since rooms sell out immediately.  Go Quilters!  Support the Economy, right?

Next week I’ll share our pics and bargains scored at the International Quilt Festival.  Join us!

 

COMING UP FOR AIR!

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Well, it’s true I have been sewing like a maniac the past few months to build an inventory of bags for the Artwalk Show.  I am now officially Coming Up for Air!  Last Saturday night Artwalk was amazing!   I sold four of my favorite bags to lovely ladies–one shopping for Christmas, one shopping for her own bag, one shopping for an evening bag, and a pair of ladies who decided to buy a bag and share it–each one keeping it for six months!  So cool! 🙂  A huge thank you to all my friends and family who supported me in this venture!  I had a chance to visit with my daughter, granddaughters, sister, niece, and several friends!  Here are the four bags that sold:

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MIDNIGHT ROSE

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RENDEZVOUS

THE WESTERN ANNY

THE WESTERN ANNY

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LONDON FLAT

And now my focus falls to bags I have previously committed to sewing for charity events.  Next blog–charity and beyond…

This week “Coming Up for Air” consisted of:

Two Lunch/Shopping Dates with Friends–Cafe Express, The Hotel Galvez, & The Strand

Two movies–Gravity, and Rush.  We gave both an “A.”

One Dinner and Play–Downtown Houston with our good friends.  The funny thing is my  iPhone calendar read, “Dinner and Theatre with Bruce and Gayle.”  But “Location” said, “Burlap Pretties.”  Completely puzzled, I’m thinking, “Did I sign up for a craft class I forgot about??”  But apparently my iPhone had auto-corrected the name of the restaurant I had typed, Birraporetti’s, to “Burlap Pretties.” 🙂

Dinner, a play, and some Burlap Pretties.

DINNER, A PLAY, AND SOME BURLAP PRETTIES!

One BBQ Party – with Galveston neighbors

Catching up on TV – Castle, Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Nashville, Scandal, Grays Anatomy, Good Wife, DIY shows like Restoration Rehab, and I’ll admit it–Days of Our Lives.

Catching up on Reading – Dan Brown’s Inferno, Haute Handbags, Studios, Where Women Create

Surfing the Net – Pinterest, Blogs, NYC travel sites, Trip Advisor, and yes, those YouTube tutorials!

Baking – Monkey Bread, plus that Pinterest recipe for putting brownie mix and cookie mix in a muffin tin.  SO yummy!  Good thing I took it to the party or I would have eaten more than two!

Yep, I work hard and play hard–never a dull moment!  What do you read, bake,  watch, and attend when you’re not sewing?  What do you do when you “COME UP FOR AIR?” 🙂

 

 

Wow! Those YouTube Videos Are Addictive!

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Just had my two week knee check-up and I’m healing great!  AND I’ve managed to complete bags number fourteen and fifteen for the Artwalk Show!  Bag #14 shall be named Merry Messenger.  It’s the same Ali Foster mini-messenger pattern that I used a few weeks ago and loved.  This time I stitched from an embroidered floral faux leather from Cowgirls and Lace, and just for fun, added a textured leopard print strap and a laser cut button.

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For Bag #15  I modified my Anny Clutch pattern, including adding a tan and turquoise beaded purchased handle.  After studying several YouTube videos on making fabric flowers I tried my hand at creating one.  Using a teal and tan French wire ribbon, I gathered it into a flower shape adding a vintage aqua and gold button.  A little netting that I happened to have on hand was an added touch, plus a circle of felt to cover the back and a pin so it could be removable.  There are so many awesome videos out there that it was exceptionally hard to quit watching them and actually try it!  (Just Google “Making Fabric Flowers.”  Oh, my!  A plethora of flowers–fabric, felt, ribbon, lace, sewn, glued–you name it! )  And this last bag was where I gathered the courage to cut that luscious silk velvet from Mood Fabrics, both the teal and soft floral taupe that seem to have an antique look. Forever in Velvet is the name of this bag.  But honestly, If you could touch that velvet, you would want to wrap yourself in it.  So yummy!

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Oh, yes, and I transformed my sewing room.  I don’t know what got into me but the night before my knee surgery I felt the need to rearrange that room.  I’m sure part of it was that Rick is building me a bench with drawers (Farmer Rick is also Retired Engineer/Woodworker Rick) and you know how that goes.  Once you have a great new item, it starts that domino effect and suddenly you want to organize, purge, donate, and make everything more functional.  I did that, including the entire walk-in closet, and I’m very happy!  Sometime I’ll have to give you a virtual tour of my room. 🙂

So with three weeks to Showtime, I have “finished” my Fall collection.  Hmm, do we actually believe I won’t try to slip in another or another?  Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but with every bag comes a handmade tag.  And by tag I mean this is how I keep my hand in the scrapbooking department. 🙂  I compose a little blurb about the bag, then print on scrapbook paper and embellish with sparkles, florals, ribbon, whatever strikes my fancy to give it dimension.  Sometimes I incorporate some of the fabric from the bag.  Last night I stayed up very late (so what else is new?) and composed the tags.  Just composed the writing.  Now I need to turn them into little works of art.  That’s what I’ll be doing this week.  Here are a few samples from past bags:

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Talk to you soon, after I get things just a little more under control.    But for now I’m off to catch just a few more tutorials before bed!  Darn those YouTube tutorials!  They’re as addictive as Pinterest! 🙂

Dramamine, anyone?

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The Madison Visit–We began with sewing and ended with sewing but mucho entertainment in between!  Our first mission was to purchase fabric for the cute McCall’s vintage romper pattern we recently ordered.  Madison chose a lovely red stripe seersucker.  Luckily, we borrowed a tape measure and discovered that the size was wrong.  But, after visiting two stores we located an almost identical pattern (also McCall’s) and promptly had it cut out and ready to roll!  We woke up to crashing thunder and lightning the following morning which, as you know, is perfect for sewing up a storm. 🙂  That sewing room had never seen so much cutting and stitching!  Maddie is a very quick learner, cutting and sewing with minimal guidance from Granny, and soon delighted with her new summery creation.  Encouraged by this awesome success, she proceeded to sew with me throughout the evening, fashioning matching hair accessories, belts, and bracelets!  Here is the new outfit…

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On Sunday we visited with Nannette and Laura, then back to Galveston for evening sewing.  This time Madison was itching to try her hand at stitching a bag pattern (with a zipper!) for small travel items.  She selected a laminated chevron fabric from my laminated scraps bin and again, with minimal guidance, created a lovely bag.  With even less guidance, she produced yet a second bag for pencils etc. to coordinate with her backpack.  As I sewed my latest bag, she continued at the Bernina, trying her hand at fabric flowers.  Yay!  A beautiful turquoise polka dot laminate rose was generated, along with a fabulous shabby chic satiny silver peony.

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No, we didn’t spend four days just sewing. 🙂  We experienced the Duck Tour, visited Moody Gardens Aquarium and The Texas Seaport Museum, learned to Segway along the Seawall, took a carriage ride in the historic district, and rode the Ferris Wheel (Galaxy Wheel) and Log Ride (Pirate’s Plunge) at the new Pleasure Pier over the water.  Wow!  I am a little lacking in sleep but happy as a clam that we had such fun together!  Except for the sewing, Grandpa was a great sport at escorting us and being the bank. 🙂  We dined at our favorite places and sampled some new ones.  If you’re in Galveston, we highly recommend the following:  Mosquito Cafe, Farley Girls Cafe, Hey Mikey!’s Ice Cream, Mario’s, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Olympia Grill (umm, the blue lump crab cakes are divine), and Galvez Bar and Grille (try the bacon wrapped shrimp.)  We also sneaked in a little shopping here and there at Tina’s on the Strand, Colonel Bubbies, Flea by the Sea (Maddie picked up a cute nautical bag), and Modern Vintage on Post Office Street, where I snapped up a beautifully embroidered silk pillow and an antique bird feeder for Grandpa’s wildlife preserve on the Hill Country property!

I mentioned we also ended our visit with sewing.  Last night I helped Madison start some embroidery and she took to it like a duck to water, stitching a tea towel with a pear design–a foray into hand stitching.

You must be thinking, “But I thought Madison just arrived Thursday evening?”  Yes, she did, and sadly bid us farewell today.  But anyone who has traveled with me knows that I do like to pack in the fun until you drop.  Grandpa told Madison the story of our honeymoon and how I planned a fantastic agenda but forgot to include little things like travel time and sleep.  On the fifth day, he fell asleep in his plate at Trader Vic’s in San Francisco!  I stayed up that night reading magazines and viewed more action out the window of our downtown hotel.  When I traveled with the teachers, they learned a little secret–I get sleepy if I’m taking Dramamine.  Now they threaten to sprinkle it in my food! 🙂  Well, Warren Zevon had a song in the 70’s called, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.”  Anyone remember that?  Somehow it resonates with me…

Just need to restore a tiny bit of shut-eye to prepare for our upcoming trip to L.A., followed by a Gracie visit!  Hmm, Dramamine anyone? Zzzzzz

Oh! The Sparkle of it All!

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Release me!  That’s what my new Anny Clutch Pattern kept saying, but I kept editing and testing and editing and testing and getting help from my computer guru (aka Hubby) until finally today (Yes!  Today!) I was able to put the new pattern on my Etsy Shoppe for sale!  Hallelujah!  Like birthin’ a baby! 🙂  I added more pictures with the directions this time and a template for the main part of the bag.  This new creation has a choice of button/loop closure or magnetic snap, three pockets, and is actually a generous size for a clutch.  Width – 11 inches, height 8 inches, and depth at the bottom 3-1/2 inches.  Here’s a pic of the new Anny Clutch and my sweet, granddaughter, Madison, who modeled it for me:

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Fashioned from Michael Miller quilting weight cotton, this bag will be calling my closet home because I always keep the prototype for my pattern in case there are any questions from customers.  (That’s what I tell myself.  Could it be that I have separation anxiety and/or would love to use this clutch?  Moi?)  Since this was the prototype, it features both a magnetic closure and a loop closure with a button I covered from my stash.

However, my second test of the pattern will be for sale on my Etsy Shoppe (remember, Its Sew Anny–no apostrophe) and here is a picture.  Hard to part with…uh-oh.  No, this baby’s already listed, and I’m sure it will find a great home.  Styled from Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study Collection (and a little Moda thrown in for good measure), this clutch is sturdy enough to stand alone because these beautiful fabrics are actually linen!  I chose a floral removable pin with distressed ribbon for embellishing, and there is a magnetic snap and three pockets.  Someday soon I’m going to experiment with creating my own fabric flowers.  Here is a pic.  Too bad Madison’s not here to model for me…

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Along with fabric floral experiments, my near future plans include a foray into Victorian type purses and perhaps some gypsy upholstered boho/chic type bags.  These lend themselves to the fall season, and although we haven’t seen Independence Day yet, with temps in the 100+ range, I fantasize about fall everyday!  Speaking of Fourth of July, here is a pic of my current redwork.  I had visions of it becoming a pillow before the Fourth of July but I guess we’re looking at 2014. 🙂  I had forgotten what a stress reliever redwork is!  Love it!

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In other news, we had a quick trip to Austin last week, with a stop along the way to visit the LaGrange property so that Rick could introduce me to his pride and joy–the new Kubota tractor (and all its many attachments.)  He coaxed me up into the seat and took my picture which I should probably publish before he does…but here is the proud new owner and operator himself.  The mean machine has actually cleared quite a lot of land already!

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Also along the way, he showed me an old farmhouse that we may move from a nearby town to our property.  Stay tuned…

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Once we finally made it to Austin, we had a super visit!  The first evening we headed out to a fabulous Italian restaurant (with gelato!) and threw an early birthday party for Gracie.  Grandpa put together the awesome dollhouse that is bigger than she is!  That was a lot of work, Grandpa!

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The next day I snagged a chance to visit my ultimate home dec fabric shop, Cowgirls and Lace, in Dripping Springs, Texas.  You should see the exquisite fabrics I gathered, and trims!  Actually, you’ll spy quite a few in the fall season bags I’m planning.  A quick trip but such fun!   Shortly after we arrived home, I felt something stuck under my shoe.  A rock?  A tack?  No…  Now where were we the last few days?  Oh yeah, with our crafty, artsy granddaughters!

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But of course!  It’s a lovely fuchsia stick-on craft jewel!  Oh, the sparkle of it all…:)  And speaking of sparkles, I hope you all have a fabulous Fourth of July with plenty of Fireworks Sparkles!

Gone Fishing!

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Last weekend we attended the most fabulous rehearsal dinner and wedding!  My nephew, Adam, married his beautiful, sweet bride, Natalie.  The whole weekend was just a magical fairy tale from the rehearsal dinner’s Corinthian columns and musicians from the Houston Symphony Orchestra strolling through the setting to the awesome wedding at the lovely church with reception at the Omni Hotel ballroom in Houston.

How does this relate to sewing?  The night before we left, I decided to sew a little bag to accessorize the dress I wore on Sunday.  I fashioned it from upholstery fabric!  Don’t know if I mentioned it, but just as Rick and I were leaving for our cruise in April, my good friend, Jeff, knocks on the door and presents me with a large bag of terrific upholstery fabric which he scored from a friend because he knows I sew purses. What a guy!  This fabric is very heavy duty, as you might imagine, and I created a small clutch wristlet with a fine corduroy lining and  red magnetic snap.  Although this purse turned out perfect for the occasion, I would use a lighter fabric for such a small bag in the future.

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The day after the wedding I planned to sew, but the upstairs air conditioner’s thermostat broke and it was 90+ degrees.  I brought lots of fabric and patterns and cutting utensils downstairs to the air conditioned dining room and spent all day and evening cutting.  (I’ve decided to pick up one of those cushiony kitchen mats to stand on for future cutting sessions.)  I used the same fabric you see here to cut a hobo style bag which will be so perfect if I find the ivory loop trim I want to embellish it.  I cut four other bags that await me in the sewing room.  (Oh, yes, Rick fixed the thermostat!  I have such a handsome handy man!)

One of the bags I cut was the Knotted Bag, all day style, from Craft Apple patterns.  You know I love this design, and when I saw the Brandon Mably fabric called Gone Fishing, I knew I had to use this pattern to accommodate the large fish swimming by.  I used the  Gone Fishing laminated cotton for the exterior and the Gone Fishing regular cotton for the interior.  I paired it with a plain slick red laminate for contrast on the bow, etc.  This is the perfect bright, happy, beachy fabric for Galveston and it is now at Tina’s for sale.  P.S.  That bag in Tina’s window from my last blog sold that very day I posted it!

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I really, really, really, wish I had someone to sew the bags for me.  Not that I don’t like to sew!  It’s very satisfying and therapeutic.  But I have a zillion and one ideas for bags–I have the fabric, I have the patterns, everything.  I already have many, many bags pulled together, in this way, already for next winter.  The fabrics, patterns, buttons, trims, etc. are neatly grouped together and ready to cut and sew.  Here’s a tip:  When I do this, I go ahead and take a picture of these items so I don’t have to rely on my fantastic 🙂 memory when the time comes.  But when I see these projects, I feel frustrated by something called TIME!  I just want to use my time pulling together the fabrics, patterns and embellishing to create one-of-a-kind bags.  Each bag takes so long.  Tim Gunn has said that one of the criteria for Project Runway is speed.  I would never make it!  My favorite part, by far, is the creativity that comes with the initial decision-making process.  If I win the lottery (oh yeah, I keep forgetting to buy a ticket…)  I will start a business where I provide the sewing machines and everything necessary for seamstresses to make the bags.  They will be STYLED by It’s Sew Anny Designs!  Does anyone else feel this way??

Until then, I’m not Going Fishing–I’m sewing,  and happily sew! 🙂

These Boots Are Made for Walkin’

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Oh, Happy Day!  Imagine my surprise when I delivered a new bag to Tina’s on the Strand and  Fiery Fiesta was part of the window display!

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Fiery Fiesta is the large version of the pattern I designed and now sell in my Etsy shop, Its Sew Anny.  It’s called “The Anny Bag Pattern” (a PDF pattern) and the idea originated with a glance at an apron from Pier 1 that had been cast upon the back of my sewing chair.  I had been dreaming of a pattern with ruffles but everything I searched to buy had too small and tightly gathered ruffles.  There was the perfect configuration in that ruffled apron, and thus, the birth of The Anny Bag.  The summery Fiery Fiesta bag was made from Kaffe Fassett laminated cotton.  The bag I delivered was Tropinkal Chic.  Fashioned from hot pink and tropical laminated cotton, with a flirty pink polka dot lining, this bag is the medium size version of the Anny Bag Pattern.

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Recently I created another one of my favorite patterns (CraftApple’s Knotted Bag–“Afternoon” size) that I call Paisley Polka.  The laminated fabric is a Riley Blake design called Sugar & Spice by the Quilted Fish.  And the whimsical turquoise polka dot bow and bib is from Michael Miller.  Available in my Etsy shop.

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That same pattern from CraftApple’s Knotted Bag also offers an “All Day” size which I styled from an Amy Butler fabric from her Alchemy Collection, called Sketchbook Rose.  I named this bag Blue Skies and Roses.  The quilted weight cotton lining had been in my closet for some time while I searched for the same print in a laminate.  I finally discovered it at the online shop called Laminates–a very fun store with a huge selection of laminates, as well as quilted weight cottons.  This bag is large enough to even carry a laptop!  There is a generous pocket inside but a huge exterior section that they call a “magazine pocket.”

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And now for something completely different, last night I went back to using non-laminated fabric and created a design by Sue Kim that she calls Hobo Chic. I call it Just Plain Mod!  The fabric I chose is straight out of the sixties!  It is a durable canvas weight and I lined it with yellow polka dot with two pockets.  (This bag is also available in my Etsy Shop. ) As a finishing touch, I added a tan leather button right in the middle of one of the giant flowers.  All you need to complete this look is a pair of GoGo Boots!  Oh, I’m showing my age…  These boots are made for walkin’, right Nancy?  Well, that’s just what they’ll do–right up the stairs to my sewin’ room!

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