Tag Archives: fabric flowers

MANHATTAN HOLIDAY

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MANHATTAN HOLIDAY

If I had won the lottery, I would have purchased a penthouse apartment in New York City, but alas,¬†it seems I’ll only be visiting. ūüôā ¬†So between Christmas and New Years, Rick and I traveled to NYC with Jennifer, Madison and Grayson. ¬†We usually stay at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, but since we didn’t want to get involved in the ball drop hoopla, we chose the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South. ¬†We will definitely be staying there on future trips.

 

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Park Lane Dining Room overlooking Central Park

Park Lane Dining Room overlooking Central Park

Our first evening included the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.  Spectacular is a great description!  Not only was the show fabulous beyond our expectations, but we serendipitously met a few Rockettes at the side door afterward who graciously posed for pictures with Grayson.

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Speaking of Serendipity, after the show we were craving the Frozen Hot Chocolate offered in giant sizes at the popular restaurant. ¬†Since the wait was seriously long, we put our name on the list and ventured out to Dylan’s Candy Bar, where Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, has established the most luscious two story candy shop right in the heart of the Upper East Side.

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Laden with candy bags, we checked our wait list at Serendipity to find we still had time to ride the Roosevelt Tram (a few blocks away) over the East River and back.

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The view from the tram is amazing!

Finally, our table was ready at Serendipity and we indulged in the Frozen Hot Chocolates!

Serendipity

Serendipity!

Frozen Hot Chocolates

Frozen Hot Chocolates

Since the following day was Jennifer’s birthday, she and I enjoyed a morning of shopping. ¬†LaDuree was our first stop where we chose a variety of macaroons to share with everyone later.

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Nearby we visited the Ralph Lauren Flagship store.

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And more fashion at Tiffany…

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Of course their tree would be adorned with little blue boxes!

While we shopped, Grayson and Grandpa climbed the rocks in Central Park.

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We all met up again in the afternoon for the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites tour.  We met our guide in the lobby of the The Shops at Columbus Circle.

Lobby of the Shops at Columbus Circle.

Lobby of the The Shops at Columbus Circle.

After a quick run to Starbucks, we boarded a very plush comfortable bus that had two screens where the guide played movie clips for the movie sights. ¬†After the clips, we passed by the sights and the guide would provide interesting tidbits about the filming. ¬†Some of the scenes were connected to the holidays, like Home Alone, Elf, and Miracle on 34th Street. ¬†Others, just to name a few, were An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle as we passed the Empire State Building, and Ghostbusters as we passed the New York Public Library. ¬†For the Holiday Lights part of the tour, the bus stopped at least four times, allowing us to depart and see the fabulous window displays at the Department Stores up close and personal. This year Bloomingdale’s theme was Holidays through the Senses. ¬†As you viewed the windows, the scent of peppermint and cinnamon filled the air (scent), ¬†Christmas carols were playing (hearing), greenery edged the frames you could feel (touch), peppermint was available to taste, and of course, the sight of the displays was pure eye candy!

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On the other side of Bloomie’s, there were Star Wars themed displays.

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Now Barneys had a fascinating window featuring an ice carver sculpting penguins and polar bears!  The poor guy carving was wearing an insulated suit as the temperature was four degrees Fahrenheit.  The sculptors worked six hour shifts for forty-five days straight!

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Lord & Taylor featured “A Few of Our Favorite Things.” ¬†Here is a Sweet Shop display:

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Of course, no Holiday Lights tour would be complete without the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Angels. ¬†Seventy-eight feet tall and weighing in at ten tons, this year’s beauty comes from Gardiner, New York. ¬†The tree had been in the Asendorf family for four generations but was beginning to outgrow the property, taking over the whole yard. ¬†So the family submitted it online, Rockefeller Center’s head gardener showed up, and voil√†, the tree was chosen!

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The tour concluded near the Empire State Building which was dressed in appropriate holiday colors.

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You know, one of my favorite things about New York City is the way I’m constantly surprised, in a good way. ¬†(Not in the way that we accidentally ended up in a “special” graffiti-ridden part of Queens by subway.) ¬†But after our tour, we entered the subway to return to our hotel and were met with an awesome five piece jazz band!

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That evening we strolled along Central Park West on our way to Jen’s birthday dinner at Tavern on the Green.

IMG_1720And here is the magical, twinkle-lit, Tavern on the Green:

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The following day, we ¬†toured again, and this time it was the Nolita/NoHo Food & Culture Tour. ¬†What a culinary extravaganza! ¬†Our guide led us to at least seven or eight establishments where we were served just enough to make us look forward to the next stop. ¬†Everything from appetizers to dessert and then some (wine.) ¬†Anny (yes, Anny with a “y”) such a personable and knowledgeable guide, imparted history of the neighborhoods along the way. ¬†If you’re in Manhattan, I highly recommend this three hour walking tour.

Tacombi, one of my favorites on the tour.

Tacombi, one of my favorites on the tour.

Anny had emphasized how special and transitory the graffiti art is in New York. ¬†She recommended capturing by photo, since it’s often here today, gone tomorrow.

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After touring, we stopped at Rizzoli, a well-known Manhattan bookstore, to browse…

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After Rizzoli, we headed back uptown and spotted preparations for the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. ¬†Throughout our stay in NYC, we felt totally safe and secure. ¬†The police were very, very visible, everywhere, everyday.

Just a few of New York's finest!

Just a few of New York’s finest!

Since we weren’t planning on attending the festivities in Times Square, we toasted champagne in our room at midnight as we watched the ball drop on TV, then rushed out the front door of the hotel to watch the magnificent midnight fireworks display over Central Park. ¬†Wish I had a picture of that! ¬†What was I thinking? ¬†Hmm, champagne…

The following morning we started the New Year off right by subwaying downtown to catch the Statue Cruises boat to the Statue of Liberty! ¬†She’s so beautiful! ¬†Such an awesome, inspiring sight!

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Here is what it looks like inside, from the pedestal upward…

Structure inside the Statue of Liberty.

Structure inside the Statue of Liberty.

Throughout the museum, there were body parts casts to give a sense of her massive size that you could use as photo ops.

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Then it was on to fascinating Ellis Island.

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The Great Hall

The Great Hall

After watching the short movie about the history of Ellis Island, we were invited to join a tour led by a park ranger (Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are a National Park.) ¬†This man missed his calling–should have been on Broadway. ¬†He brought the immigration experience to life by dramatically asking ¬†questions of each person in our group as though each one of us were immigrants trying to make it through the difficult inspection process. ¬†We learned so much! ¬†Each immigrant was subjected to a rapid fire series of twenty-nine questions by the inspectors. ¬†And that buttonhook that was used to flip the eyelid to check for disease–it was not cleaned from person to person! ¬†If a family member was rejected because of disease, who would return home with them? ¬†Our experience with the park ranger was seriously thought provoking and interesting. ¬†Never enough time at Ellis Island!

But as we departed, the skyline beckoned us back to the mainland.

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The next item on our agenda was to visit the massive 9/11 Museum.  On a previous trip, we saw the fountains, memorial wall, and the small starter museum.  This time we were able to enter the new museum and all its many sobering exhibits.  Here is a picture to give an idea of the size of the museum.

A beam from the World Trade Center.

A beam from the World Trade Center.

The museum is, of course, a sad experience. ¬†Although it is not a place of solitude, it is a place of respect. ¬†Visitors speaking in hushed tones are met with display after display of personal stories, both visually and auditorily, as recordings are played of loved ones’ calls from the Towers, and 911 calls. ¬†Screens replay the news reports of the surrounding days. ¬†As I write this, I heave a heavy sigh, not being able to impart the gravity of this collection of tragic memories. ¬†The hopeful elements concern the survivors and their stories. ¬†Now that we have seen the Memorial, and the Museum, our next visit to New York should include the new One World Observatory. ¬†The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere gives a Top of the World type experience with 360 degree views. ¬†The elevators reach the 102nd floor in less than 60 seconds and the building offers many dining rooms and cafes.

We ended the evening with a scrumptious dinner at the ever-pleasing Balthazar restaurant. ¬†It has been described as a “blended atmosphere of NYC, Paris, and a local diner.” ¬†After our meal, we stopped next door to gather some of the luscious pastries at the Balthazar Bakery for dessert later. ūüôā

The following day, we didn’t waste time, as it was the last day of our trip. ¬†Of course, our final hours consisted of a little more shopping. ¬†Our favorite was the MacKenzie-Childs store on 57th Street, within walking distance from our hotel. ¬†Trust me, this store is a real life walk through her catalog! ¬†Oh, the vignettes throughout the store! ¬†Here are just a few:

Linens

Linens

Lighting

A Place for Gathering

A Place for Gathering

What?  More shopping?  Just a quick dash into the Shops at the Plaza, and meeting Grandpa for lunch in the Plaza Food Court below.

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After good-bye hugs, Jennifer and the girls were off to the airport since they were departing a few hours before us. ¬†As for me, I said, “Grandpa, grab your Kindle. ¬†We have one more stop to make, and it’s a short subway ride away.”

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Oh, yeah! ¬†You didn’t think I’d miss it, did you? ¬†As the elevator operator swung the lever on that ancient elevator door and allowed us to step into fabric Mecca, I suggested Grandpa sit up front in the “husband waiting” section, while I frantically explored all four floors and the new Mood Home next door.

A sampling pic: just one row, and there are many where that came from!

A sampling pic:  just one row of the many, many rows on every floor.

I offer a “Thank you, Mood!” and a wave good-bye! ¬†Hauling my bulging Mood Fabric bag onto the subway, then onto the plane, I bid a fond farewell to my favorite city in the world. ūüôā

 

 

 

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WILD CHILD

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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:

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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.) ūüôā

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.

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My place mat¬†purse was made from straw and was so stiff it will be used as a file folder. ūüôā ¬†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.

WILD CHILD

WILD CHILD

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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

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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! ūüôā ¬†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!

Ciao!

Anny

 

 

 

Flowers and Beyond!

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

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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.

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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:

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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! ūüôā

For Kate

For Kate

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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. ūüôā “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!

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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!

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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.” ūüôā

Fringeship

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! ūüôā

 

What do you get with Dismal Weather?

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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!

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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.

IMG_5278DANCING IN PARIS

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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! ¬†

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DOWNRIGHT DOWNTON

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!

RADIANT ORCHID

 RADIANT ORCHID

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.

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 GARDENS OF PARIS

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!”

FRIGHTENED OF FRAMES!

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Whew! ¬†Having finished Artwalk, I have been concentrating on donation commitments made some time ago. ¬†The first was a fashion show benefitting women’s scholarships, the challenge being that the donations were to be refashioned from a thrift store. ¬†Let me just say that I now have infinite admiration for those of you who do this regularly and well, especially those ladies at Refashion Runway. ¬†If you haven’t checked out this blog, Renegade Seamstress, it is similar to Project Runway with weekly challenges, the difference being the projects start with a thrift store or cast off item.

This was a very difficult task for me because, in dismantling the canvas bag purchased from Salvation Army, I had a hard time deciding what to keep.  With an armoire full of beautiful fabrics and trims, it is a challenge to use any of the old item.  On this particular purse I managed to reclaim the animal print fabric for use on the interior.  Knowing that the bag was to be used in a Holiday Fashion Show, I chose to take the fancy route.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

I know, I know…nothing like the original except inside. ¬†This is not my strong suit. ¬†Maybe it just takes practice and willpower not to use all new materials. ¬†Of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” I guess I “reduced” more than I “reused!) ūüôā

The next project was for a Breast Cancer Auction.  A CraftApple pattern was chosen to create this handy little bag:

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Anxious to try some new patterns, (the clutches are Ali Foster designs) I’ve ventured into small purses this week. ¬†Here are a few:

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This floral bag was attached to the frame with E6000.  The fabric (both interior and exterior) was quilted from a beautiful Hoffman fabric from my stash.  It felt good to get the old walking shoe back on Betsy again!  IMG_4268 IMG_4309

This last bag “gave me fits!” as they used to say in Indiana. ¬†I need to watch a tutorial (OH NO!) on using purse frames, both glueing and stitching. ¬†The quilted floral bag above was glued and turned out well. ¬†But with this last bag, I redid the stitching two or three times and it’s just okay, in my opinion. ¬†(Notice you’re not viewing the interior.) ūüôā ¬†The reason I didn’t give up on this bag is because ¬†the flower, fashioned from that vintage ruched ribbon, actually looked like I intended¬†and¬†I learned to make upholstery leaves! ¬†Yea! ¬†AND, they had already been sewn down (sturdily) before arriving at the last step–THE FRAME–yikes!

Yes, I am now Frightened of Frames! ¬†(A Halloween movie?) ¬†So, I’m off to find a Frame Tutorial! ūüôā ¬†(I’m not kidding…) ¬†Any recommendations?

 

Sleep? What sleep?

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Imagine my surprise to find I’d been nominated for the Good Neighbor Blog Award! ¬†Katherine from Pillows A-La-Mode (an awesome site) requested nominations for someone in the blogging world that you would most want to live next door to! ¬†The winner was a fabulous blogger, Crafty Staci, that you will certainly enjoy reading. ¬†And to the person(s) who nominated me, I send my deepest gratitude! ¬†I consider myself fairly new to blogging and as they say in Hollywood, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.” ¬†Amen to that! ¬†Just for being nominated, I get to display a Good Neighbor Award button on my blog, and you will be seeing that just as soon as I learn how to display it. ūüôā ¬†Yep, I still have lots to learn about blogging, my friend. So in this world of widgets, buttons, and stats, please just bear with me!

This is Wednesday night and Saturday is my trunk show at Tina’s for Artwalk Galveston. ¬†As noted in my last blog, I thought my fall collection was finished. ūüôā ¬†Oh, silly me! ¬†They had requested 15 bags and I had 16 bags. ¬†But when I mentioned that there was not an Anny Bag in the collection, I could read the disappointment in their faces. ¬†While I consider the Anny Bag as something more suited to a Spring/Summer collection, apparently the customers have been requesting the Anny Bag, so… In the last four days, I have designed four Anny Bags! ¬†Sleep? ¬†What sleep? ¬†I needed to find fall/winter type fabric that would also be able to drape for those ruffles. ¬†I am pleased to say that without shopping, I managed to come up with the fabrics and trims I needed. ¬†(That should tell you something about my stash. ¬†Shh! ) ¬†Anyway, today I planned to make the tags (see previous blog) but after lunch, Tina’s called. ¬†The newspaper needed a photo preview of my presentation by day’s end. ¬†Whaaaat?? ¬†I know NOTHING about photo shoots. ¬†So you should have seen me schlepping bags and lamps all over the house trying to figure out what to do next. ¬†Too much light! ¬†Too little light! ¬†Too many bags! ¬†Too few bags! ¬†Too much background distraction! ¬† I was mainly working with two coat racks. ¬†After taking about 30 pics, I decided less is more, and since they just wanted a sneak preview, here is the photo that will be published:

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Bag #16 is a pattern I designed called the Jenny Bag. ¬†(Publishing it is on my “to do” list.) ¬†ūüôā ¬†Here it is, fashioned from that sumptuous copper velvety fabric from Cowgirls and Lace, and the Roma Deco upholstery fabric I picked up in L.A. in silver and gold tones. ¬†Embellished with four glass beaded tassels, and a beaded golden applique, I’m not sure what to name it. ¬†Any suggestions?

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So…the four Anny Bags. ¬†The first is created mostly from velvet and a leopard faux fur. ¬†(Can you tell I relish¬†that copper fabric?) ¬†I had purchased the leopard flower but added a brooch from my stash from Trims on Wheels for the center. ¬†This whole bag is so velvety smooth I could just eat it up!

The Fancy Anny

THE FANCY ANNY

The Western Anny was fashioned from faux leathers and a furry leopard print. ¬†Yes, I had these western looking leather straps in my stash from Cindy’s Button Company. ¬†The fringe completes the western look. ¬†Would you believe the beautiful dangle on the front was from a broken necklace? ¬†Don’t you just ¬†love repurposing!! ¬†Yeehaw!

THE WESTERN ANNY

THE WESTERN ANNY

The Autumn Anny (sorry about the pic lighting) is actually made of gold, tan, deep red, and rich chocolate brown floral linens. ¬†The linens were purchased from various sources but worked well together. ¬†The trim features alternating glass gold beads and silky tassels. ¬†The tan leather strap was another past purchase from Cindy’s Button Company. ¬†There is a gold brooch flower pendant that I’m making into a removable pin that has the same beads as the trim but it isn’t in this picture because I haven’t quite finished it. ¬†Last minute idea. ¬†Yikes!

THE AUTUMN ANNY

THE AUTUMN ANNY

I had fun choosing fabric for the Denim Anny. ¬†After pairing two shades of denim with a blue leopard, I spotted a feathery trim from Mood Fabrics. ¬†Perfect! ¬†But, I’ve also been saving this sequined/beaded applique in shades of blue that I discovered last summer at the Pasadena Flea Market in L.A. where a lady was selling vintage fabric items. ¬†It made the perfect focal point! ¬†I wanted to leave the edges on the denim ruffles raw. ¬†If I tried to hem them, they wouldn’t drape, ¬†plus I just think it works as a fun denim look. ¬†After washing, they came out nicely frayed, so I sewed an invisible row of stitching just above the fraying to lock it in. ¬†I honestly don’t remember where I scored the handle fabric. ¬†It was funky and totally matched the style of the denim look but the back was a little wonky looking. ¬†The fix? ¬†Take a navy webbing from my stash and sew the two strips back to back. ¬†Voila! ¬†Handles! ¬†Dang! ¬†My Job Is Fun!!!

THE DENIM ANNY

THE DENIM ANNY

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So, I now have one day left to make five tags, which normally I can finish two per day. Okay then… ¬†It’s all a learning experience right? ¬†Everything needs to be turned in Friday for readying the display and pricing. ¬†Think I’m going to have to shift some priorities tomorrow…

But Hallelujah!  On Friday morning,  Jen, Madison and Gracie arrive and I will be basking in goodness and laughter and fun!  They are my good luck charms for a Successful Artwalk Show!  Hope to see you there!

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā ¬†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! ūüôā

Pivoting in Downtown L.A.

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Well, I’m two days post op from minor knee surgery–tear of the medial meniscus. ¬†Doctor O’Neill says my left knee probably was aggravated by a lot of pivoting motion. ¬†Pivoting? ¬†So the final blow to my knee was from mucho pivoting?? ¬†Hmm, I don’t play sports, I’m not what you’d call athletic these days, and my only real exercise is going to Curves. ¬†But wait–! ¬†Where was I last month when it really starting hurting so much more? ¬†That’s right–L.A. ¬†And here’s where the pivots come in. ¬†As I explore the Fashion District in Downtown L.A. ¬†I see—a fabric store–pivot–another fabric store–pivot–a trim store–pivot–more fabric–pivot–pant pant–well, you get the picture. ūüôā ¬†I was in Fabric Heaven and this blog entry is to share with my fellow fabric lovers.

It actually started even before we left Galveston. ¬†I was purchasing vintage velvet ribbons from a fabulous Etsy Shop, Rosa’s Creations, and I realized the seller was in L.A. ¬†I contacted the seller and decided to pay her store a visit where I could actually see all the ribbons she had to offer. ¬†Oh My! ¬†What a wonderland of vintage ribbons, antiques, and linens! ¬†I worked with Ashley, who was so very gracious, and before long I had a luscious treasure trove of exquisite velvet ribbons. ¬†(I couldn’t even bring myself to check them through baggage on our return flight. ¬†I managed to fit them into my carry on bag! ¬†No parting with those beauties! )

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Shortly after returning to Galveston, I fashioned what I’m calling the “Spend the Night Bag.” ¬†This bag (a variation of my Anny Bag pattern) came together larger than I intended but it’s a fabulous travel bag. ¬†Very sturdy straps with metal rings, six pockets inside, as well as another interior cross/bag secure strap and magnetic closure. ¬† The fabrics are from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs, Texas. ¬†Ruffles are a velvety upholstery weight, as well as a wonderfully textured faux crocodile turquoise band and strap. ¬†But as I finished the bag, I realized it needed a certain something. ¬†Velvety upholstery=velvet ribbon, right? ¬†So, as scary as it was to actually CUT ¬†aaaaahhh! ¬†that sumptuous vintage velvet ribbon, I held my breath and reached for the scissors. ¬†Hallelujah! ¬†This was exactly what my creation was calling for! ¬†And in the second picture, feast your eyes on the whole array of ribbons from that beautiful collection. ¬†I’m sure you’ll see them in future creations as well.

After the visit to Rosa’s shop, what do you think I spied across the street? ¬†MOOD Fabrics!!!! ¬†Yes, except for NYC, this is the only other Mood Fabrics store! ¬†As seen on Project Runway, this store is beyond belief. ¬†The pictures do not do it justice. ¬†It’s simply indescribable, and the staff was very courteous and helpful. ¬†Wish I could just helicopter you all in to see for yourselves, but these pics will have to do.

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I hope you can enlarge that first picture to see the detail, but keep in mind that you’re only seeing half of the store. ¬†If ¬†you could look the other direction, you would see a similar scene. ¬†Nirvana! ¬†The second pic is just a sampling of the vast assortment of beautiful embellishments they offer. In the third pic you will see exquisite patterned silk velvets that I actually mustered the courage to cut recently. Yikes! ¬†And, yes, I’ve also used one of those gorgeous hand-painted buttons. ¬†Here is a recent bag (an Ali Foster pattern) that I styled with one of those sweet buttons.

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This blue leopard fabric has an ultra-suede feel to it. ¬†The interior is a hot pink satin with pockets. ¬†Embellished with a feathery row of black roses, ¬†a black tassel, and hand-painted button on the reverse side. ¬†Love this pattern and can’t wait to fashion yet another bag with it.

On the third day of our vacation, we headed right into downtown, L.A. ¬†The Fashion District there is akin to NYC. ¬†Blocks and blocks of nothing but fabric and trim stores. ¬†(Hence the pivoting and pivoting and….) ¬†Avant Trims ¬†provided some beautiful embellishments, including the brooch that I added to a previous bag. ¬†And Roma Deco had luscious fabrics including a multicolored over 100+ inch wide that I’ve already used for two linings.

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag...

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag…

Lining from Roma Decor Fabrics

Lining from Roma Deco Fabrics

More lush fabrics from Roma Decor

More lush fabrics from
Roma Deco

My favorite was  Michael Levine, a huge store that was having their month-end clearance sale.  Yeehaw!!  This Texas gal dug in and scoured every aisle.  I LOVE the discoveries I made, including these fantastic leather flowers and colorful faux ostrich fabrics!!

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Aren’t they fabulous? ¬†Here is a mini-messenger bag utilizing both. ¬†(And one of the hand-painted buttons as well.)

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This bag turned out so well, I can’t wait to make another! ¬†You can bet your bottom dollar, I’ll be returning to Michael Levine on my next trip to L.A. ¬†Thank goodness our son lives there! ¬†When we weren’t shopping, we visited Bryan and his lovely lady friend, Liz. All in all, it was a fabulous trip. ¬†And once again, Rick was such a trooper, taking his Kindle along and never complaining as I shopped to my heart’s content. ¬†I am one lucky gal!

My final show-n-tell is yet another Ali Foster pattern that I love. ¬†This fabric feels like someone embossed black suede onto white leather–nicely textured. ¬†It styles so well with plenty of body to keep the shape of the purse. ¬†The pattern called for sewn handles but I had some handles in my stash from a while back that I thought would work well. ¬†So I just made some tabs to hold these handles. ¬†A velvety, yet sturdy fabric created the bow. ¬† Black and white damask with a zipper pocket complete the interior. ¬†The pattern called for the bow to have a center of the same fabric but I liked the look of this rhinestone buckle.

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You probably wonder how this knee setback is going to affect my production of 15 or more bags for the Artwalk trunk show on Oct. 5. ¬†Actually, I’m doing quite well (knock on wood) because I have now completed bag #13. ¬†Whew! ¬†Just writing about all this has tired me out. ¬†I’m gonna go prop up this poor pivoted-out knee with some ice. ¬†Until next time, HAPPY SEWING!

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. ūüôā ¬†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. ūüôā ¬†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. ūüôā ¬†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! ūüôā ¬†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! ūüôā ¬†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. ūüôā ¬†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!