Tag Archives: fashion

Sew, Travel, Sew, Travel, Sew…

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Sew, Travel, Sew, Travel, Sew…

This month we are fortunate to visit my two favorite cities:  L.A. and NYC!  Just returned from a short trip to L.A. to celebrate the engagement of our son, Bryan, and his fiancee, Liz.  We spent some quality time in Marina Del Ray and saw the wedding and rehearsal dinner venues for June. Looking forward to an awesome event!  This week we are having fun with our other son, Eric, and his girlfriend, Jill. Then Friday, it’s off to Austin to visit Jennifer, Tate, and the girls.  Loving the holiday family fun times!

While in L.A., I dashed down to the Fashion District for a visit to Michael Levine and Mood.  I spotted some brightly colored fabrics, anticipating spring/summer bagmaking. 🙂  We’ll be visiting NYC next week and our boutique hotel will be in the Garment District!  Oh, darn–ha ha.  Since many of my blog posts are about travel, you probably wonder when I have time to make bags.  Well that’s coming up in January, but I did manage to finish a few after the China trip and Quilt Festival, and I’ll share those with you now…

Loretta Loves Leopard

Loretta Loves Leopard

Rumor has it that Loretta Loves Leopard was purchased by a lady named Loretta. I’m so happy!  This faux fur textured bag’s pattern had extra room on the sides where you see I added two pockets.  Fancied the top with a little gold fringe and a cute doll accessory, then added leather gold handles.  Voila!

Beyond the Nest

Beyond the Nest

Beyond the Nest was one of those purses that I secretly hoped wouldn’t sell–but it did.  I love this bag!  It is my own Jenny pattern design, created from a fur/feathery fabric from Michael Levine.  The band is vintage crushed velour and I placed a beautiful brooch from Trims on Wheels.  The handle is an easy-to-apply and fashionable clip-on that I love from Studio Mio.

Cowabunga!

Cowabunga!

Cowabunga is a snazzy little Western bag that will be perfect for Texas Hill Country.  The faux cow-hide is from Cowgirls and Lace, and I simply added black and red fringe, dripping Western beads, and a few flowers to give it a chic yet country vibe. 🙂

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London Flat again makes use of the crushed velour, plus a furry leopard, and beautifully textured golden upholstery fabric.  A large flower and clip on handles complete the look.  This is actually a pattern designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter’s Dream that I had noticed at Quilt Festival where it was fashioned from cotton.  I decided to use denser fabric and create a fall/winter look using the same pieces, and adding more interior pockets.

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After returning from China, I couldn’t wait to finish Shades of Shanghai.  This is also from the quilt world, a pattern from Pink Sand Beach called the Mahattan Handbag.  I like to fancy it up and since this had an Asian vibe, I added bamboo handles and a frog closure just for decoration.  The fabrics were a fat quarter bundle from long ago.  This is why you purchase fabric that grabs you.  I bought this not knowing what in the world I would use it for and it has become a stylish purse. 🙂

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Now this is the same pattern, using another fat quarter bundle purchased long ago, but I added delicate dripping black beads, crushed velour gusset and handles, and sewed a purchased flower to one I made from faux leather.  I named her Vintage Victorian.

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Boho Chic is created from a Cindy Taylor Oates pattern called the Lakehouse Bag.  I used a mod design fabric that has a denim feel and added a large boho style flower.  I knew when I saw these beautiful Hippie look beads that they would accessorize it perfectly, with a little braid sewn on top in the same shade of green. A very fun bag!

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We have a newborn in the family now from my nephew and his wife, and since she’s a gorgeous little girl, I had to make her a “first purse,” right?  Fashioned from vintage chenille, this simple bag has cording for a handle and a ribbon closure.  Of course it has a pocket and an “It’s Sew Anny” label inside. 🙂  Something tells me she’ll be receiving many more over the years…

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Okay, don’t faint…this bag is for me!  I had a very similar one I had sewn over four years ago and used every winter.  A few beads had fallen by the wayside and it had some fading, so I whipped up a new version and enjoy it so much!  This is from the same Cindy Taylor Oates book, but a style called “Caroline’s Bag.”

And that’s it for now–off to find more fabric in the Big Apple!  Happy Holidays, Everyone!

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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!

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. 🙂  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!

Say Goodnight, Gracie!

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How lucky can one lady get?  TWO granddaughters who love to sew!  Grayson, aka Gracie, visited this week and not only does she love to sew but she’s a night person as well!  Oh yes– days spent gallivanting around Galveston and nights of sewing.  By day we shopped, enjoyed mani/pedis, visited the hairdresser, hit all the great restaurants, painted pottery, and frolicked on the beach.  Grandpa and Gracie sculpted a man of sand and we all played in the waves (including Buddy.)  By night we visited the Pleasure Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel,  took an awesome carriage ride, and did I say sew?  Just like the Madison visit, we packed it all in!

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Our very first evening together, I entered the sewing room to find that Gracie had already pulled together a combo of black fur, pink ribbon with leopard spots, and a black velvet flower, saying she wanted to make a bag.  Needless to say, a short time later and with a little help from Granny, Gracie had fashioned this adorable bag for back to school. 🙂

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You’ll notice in the second pic, Gracie has her nightgown on.  Bedtime?  What bedtime?  After the successful bag attempt, she was off and running to make miniature bags for dolls, rugs for her dollhouse, and pillows.  But the best part was when she used an iPhone to make sewing instructional videos!!  I loved it when she told the viewer, “Now you really need to use foot #53 for this laminated fabric, so if you don’t have it, you may want to start collecting different feet.”  OMG!  She says she wants to be a director. 🙂  Sounds like the Frugal Crafter to me!  Right, Lindsay?

So did Granny get any sewing accomplished?  Well, that’s why we have two Berninas!  I completed a bag I had started while sewing with Maddie.  I call it Gypsy Style with plenty of fringe and tassels using a Carol Taylor Oates pattern.  But the neat thing is the source of the fabric.  Repurposed!  My neighbor said his friend had upholstery remnants and he knew I made bags, so this beautiful heavy duty red polka dot fabric was intended for upholstery!  Paired with a taupe/red toile lining and an ivory/tan animal print,  it has new life as a stylishly whimsical bag.  Thank you,  Jeff!

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Interestingly, the other bag I created with Gracie was also fashioned from an upholstery remnant, either from Jeff, or my sister’s upholsterer.  I used this floral linen and an Amy Barickmann pattern.  A golden crushed velvet drapes the front with a leopard print tab adorned with a pin from my stash.  Delighted with this outcome.

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Since Grandpa was returning Gracie to her mom that day, I sent the bag along to show her.  They were meeting in LaGrange since Grandpa had property business to attend to.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to photo the bag before they left, so I phoned him asking if he could please photo it and text it to me.  Uh-huh, you guessed it.  In the first pic I received, my bag is draped over “the other woman” in Rick’s life these days–that cotton pickin’ Kubota tractor!  Not funny, Rick!  Well, he made up for it by sending the one above, which I think is actually stunning.  He’s a darn good farmer/photographer!

The other item I sewed was from an unusual fabric I found in L.A.  (More about L.A. fabric in my next entry…)  It’s a ruffled, blue, animal print, fading from light to dark.  This does not sound very attractive, but drapes beautifully on Gracie as either a dress or gown.

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Finally, a few Gracie-isms.  She informed me that the reason kids have parents is so they don’t say things they shouldn’t.  She says that is when your parent says, “Just keep that to yourself.” 🙂  And then there was the day we were late to the Painted Potter and were running through the parking lot.  She yells, “Wow, Granny!  You run pretty fast for an…uh…your age!”  Nice save, Gracie!  Say Goodnight, Gracie!  I miss you!

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

Be Careful What You Wish For!

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They say, “Be Careful What You Wish For!”  Well, I’ve always wished to be a featured artist on one of Galveston’s Artwalk Evenings.  AND…my wish has been granted!  On October 5th, I will be the featured artist at Tina’s on the Strand on Artwalk night!  However…by that time  fifteen bags must be ready for my “trunk show.”  Whew!  Yes, I can do this, I tell myself.  It’s been a few days since my “wish was granted” and I have spent those days basically taking inventory of all my exquisite fall/winter fabrics, trims, and potential patterns.  You know that’s my favorite part!  It’s true, I need to get in gear and churn out those bags, but planning is a very necessary step for me.  It is psychologically energizing!  Last night my mind was whirling with possibilities until 4:30 a.m.  (Yes, I’m also a night person.  Too bad most of the world is not in this mode. 🙂  But I digress.)

I have been sewing, though, since we last met.  Creating a Victorian style bag was a goal that I can now check off the list.  Below you see a sumptuous exterior upholstery fabric trimmed with richly colored tassels and silk ribbon fringe.  Lined with Dupioni Silk, this bag has a pocket and zipper top closure.  Now for sale in my Etsy Shop–ItsSewAnny!  Yay!  Progress!

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Next, I tackled another goal of fashioning a gypsy/hobo/chic bag, which is now at Tina’s on the Strand.  Extensively embellished with silk ribbon loop fringe, beautiful beading and large tassels on the back, this bag is definitely one of a kind!  Again, it is thickly woven upholstery fabric but very lightweight and the lining features three dimensional bees–yes, bees.  My friend, Pattie, suggested we name her Honey, Bee Chic!  Take a look!

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My sister, Nannette, had a birthday last week which gave me the opportunity to stitch a bag from a kit I purchased from Cactus Quilts in Texas City, Texas.  Fabrics and pattern provided transformed into the sewing tote bag that you see here.  Hmm, wouldn’t mind having one of those myself!  Lots of pockets both inside and out!

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Speaking of my sister, she and her husband, daughter, son, and daughter-in-law invited us to join them at their ranch house in LaGrange (Texas Hill Country.)  We had a blast despite 104 degree heat!  We pitched in for  a mock Thanksgiving Dinner to pretend it was fall! 🙂  In the evening, it was cool enough to go down by the river in a grove of trees, sip some wine, and enjoy the most striking sunset ever!

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But a fabulously fun feature of this awesome weekend was everyone’s dog was also invited!  Yay!  There were seven adults and eight dogs! Here is a sample of a few trying to share a bed that actually belonged to Natalie and Adam. 🙂  P.S.  Kate, our bird dog, seen here, was the smallest dog there…

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Everyone had a grand time but had to say good-bye on Sunday, so we loaded up Buddy, the  Golden, and Kate,  and, like a typical kid, Kate seemed to be saying, “Are we there yet?”

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BUT, the fun continues!  My darling granddaughter, Madison, selected a vintage romper pattern (really vintage–the price on the pattern envelope is $2.50!)  Those were the days!  Anyway, she arrives this evening when we will visit the fabric store and see if we can fashion a new chic outfit! (Been a long time since I’ve sewn a garment.)  Perhaps in my next post, you will see a pic of Madison modeling that adorable romper!  Until then…Happy Sewing!

So What’s the Drink of the Day?

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Our first day back on shore I turn to Rick and ask, “So what’s the Drink of the Day?”  Oh yeah, back to REALITY!!  No more Mango Mungo Madness!  Back to selling the house, readying house for Homes Tour, Rick starting on Hill Country land, putting Spring items on Etsy, sewing for Tina’s, having the flu…  Yep, the first week back from the cruise I think I’m dizzy just getting used to land again but no!  Very sick, but just for a few days.  Now I’m good as new!

So, about the cruise…  If you know Flat Stanley, you know that since Gracie is in second grade, Rick and I were in charge of photographing  this nicely dressed flat boy doing various activities in settings that prove he has visited countries outside the U.S. so Gracie could share with her class.  Duly noted!  As the pics portray, Stanley went to the On Deck Sailaway Party, Belize zip lining, marketing in Cozumel, enjoying the Atrium, and even getting his hair styled (his hair always did look nice…) in the ship salon.  He’s a dandy!

Docked in Cozumel.

Docked in Cozumel.

Sail Away Party.  See those deck chairs?  Drink of the Day setting.  Non-alcoholic for Stanley. :)

Sail Away Party setting. See those deck chairs? Drink of the Day setting. Non-alcoholic for Stanley. 🙂

My Cabana Boy

My Cabana Boy

Waving to Roatan, Honduras.  Too choppy for ship to dock.  :(
Waving to Roatan, Honduras. Too choppy for ship to dock. 😦
Stan dances the night away.

Stan dances the night away.

Zip lining in Belize.
Zip lining in Belize.
Market visit in Cozumel.

Market visit in Cozumel.

Salon visit for Formal Night.

Salon visit for Formal Night.

Although Stanley zip lined in Belize, he passed on the Cave Tubing expedition, and on the Helmet Diving in Cozumel.  He prefers dry activities.  A great time was had by all and it was amazing how many people recognized Stanley.  When taking that Market pic, a policeman says, “So…how many countries has he been to?”  🙂   The one place I planned to buy fabric was Roatan since we had friends there who actually knew where to take us.  So no new fabric.  (Although I did place an order today from QuiltHome.com. 🙂  And I plan to order soon from another fav, Laminates.)

So…still keeping the sewing room tidy for house showings (an open house yesterday) but before we vacationed I took time to finish a few items for Its Sew Anny on Etsy and a few evening bags for the cruise.  (P.S.  If you visit my store on Etsy, please don’t place an apostrophe in the “Its” or you will visit someone else’s shop. Yes, I’m a teacher and this just drives me crazy…)

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These bags are a wonderful design by CraftApple.  I can’t say enough about their patterns.  Very clear, attractive, easy to follow instructions.  I carry a fall upholstery version of this bag and love it because it’s just the right size.  It’s shoulder style, holds more than you realize, and I’ve added three pockets inside.  They offer two versions.  The magenta and gold bag is the gathered style and while pulling the fabrics I found this embroidered ribbon in my stash that matched perfectly and was a nice little embellishment.  When the straps seemed too lightweight (even with interfacing) I decided to add lines of stitching which gave a quilted effect and a much sturdier strap.  I opted to use the non-gathered pattern on the blue bag since I didn’t want to interrupt the beautiful floral design.  Blue beads called to me from my embellishment stash, so voila!  I don’t remember where I purchased these fabrics–it’s been a while–but I have been waiting for a project worthy of these beautiful colors and designs.  I do know that the magenta fabric is from Timeless Treasures called “Darling Clementine.”  The lining is Garden Pindot.  The blue lining is from Moda, and probably the floral also.  The polka dot is from Marcus Fabrics, “Authentic 1930’s from the collection by Judie Rothermel.”

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This evening bag is a Studio Mio design with the clever slide magnetic clasp.  Fashioned from the most opulent copper plush fabric I own, and embellished with a feathery accent.  The strap was enhanced by a rhinestone buckle found in my trimmings drawer.

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Recuperating from the flu I decided to try this Katie’s Draw-string Bag pattern from Amelie Scott Designs.  This is a gem of a pattern that I plan to use again.  I had some Michael Miller laminated cotton that begged to be used and I was able to whip this drawstring/backpack style bag up in no time.  The pattern comes with flower embellishment instructions which I plan to create from a coordinating fabric.  Next time I would add pockets.  What was I thinking?  Hmm, coming off the flu I guess.  But you know how I love pockets!!

In other news:

My hubby retired right before the cruise and is anxious to get started clearing property in the Texas Hill Country where he wants to build a vacation home for us.  He is there today which means that I will probably sew until late tonight. 🙂

We have been asked to participate in the Galveston Historical Homes Tour 2013 which happens the first and second weekend in May.  Very honored, we are, and very excited to be sharing our home built in 1886.  Wednesday the docents arrive for the orientation meeting.  On those two weekends, we will stay at the Marriott Hotel Galvez on the Seawall–an historical landmark as well and host to classic celebrities as Frank Sinatra and past presidents.  During the day, we will probably spend half our time touring the other homes and half the time on our own deck answering any questions from tourists.  We are blessed.

So happy to be home and back with Buddy and Kate!  Our teacher friend, Amy, did a terrific job of house/pet sitting for us!  She did say that if she gets to return to earth as an animal, she wants to come back as a Heiberg dog!  🙂

With that I bid you farewell and I’m taking those Heiberg dogs up to sew!

Love,

Anny

Casting Call: Auditioning Fabrics

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With the completion of my latest bag, Ruby Rose (Valentine’s Day is near), I thought I would share a glimpse of what happens in the beginning stages of the bag-making process.  My absolute favorite part is that first step when I pull a few fabrics together that work well.  That is, I need complementary colors and textures for both lining and exterior, and also need to consider the season.  In the winter I get to use my “sumptuous fabrics” like velvety chenilles, tapestries, textured leather, even corduroy.  My summer fabrics include a lot of the laminated cottons and silky cottons.  Now as you can see below, I have a lot of help at this stage.  Buddy has obviously worn himself out sorting through the winter fabrics!  And Kate, well you all know Kate savors sleep like a good steak!  So she’s testing out the texture of the doggie quilt I made her.  Must have felt good. 🙂

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Next I decide which of my various patterns would put the fabric in its best light–large, small, shoulder sling, clutch, etc.  (Sometimes this step occurs first.  I may have just purchased a new pattern or sketched one, either on paper or in my imagination and I’m eager to try it.)  After I’ve matched fabric and pattern, I love searching for any trims that would enhance the look–colorful beads, fringe, piping, buttons, and a selection of closures all serve to make every bag unique.

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During this step, I often use my cell phone to snap a picture to preview a combination (or to take pet pics.)   Taking a picture lets you figuratively step back and decide whether you’ve selected, for example,  too much trim or too little.  (If you’re a quilter you’re probably familiar with a device called a view finder which allows you to focus on specific parts of your project, sample frame it in different ways, and detect color values.)  This is the same principle.  In the views above, I noticed that the texture of this fabric was so rich that adding beading to the pocket would detract.  Sometimes a fabric like this seems to “speak for itself”–a deep red, thick, soft chenille. The fabric was already richly textured and the pocket alone would add dimension.

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Speaking of texture, I should mention that when a fabric is this thick (and I chose a similar lining which you see here) I use a “walking foot” to feed the fabric evenly.  This attachment was expensive but served me well through the years when I made quilts.  Also comes in handy with slippery fabrics.

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Now what you’re seeing above is a picture I took in one of the last technical stages where the lining is sewn to the exterior–a very satisfying stage, but with a bag like the sling above, I just wanted to give you an idea of how much it takes to hold these layers evenly  while they are all sewn together.  As you can see, I used three different kinds of clips–not because they were uniquely special in any way or served a different purpose–but because I didn’t have enough of any one of them!  I used those awesome Clover Wonder Clips, mini clothespins, and small binder clips.  Well…it got the job done!

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And finally, TA DA!   RUBY ROSE!  She  features a large external pocket, and one large and two smaller interior pockets and a magnetic snap.  Since the two straps are simply tied at the top, they are completely adjustable.  A thick red and gold braided piping was the only trim necessary.  And I’m already thinking of my next bag.  Man, I love that first step!!

PUBLICATION LINK

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Haute Handbags, published by Stampington & Company, has offered a website badge that features the issue in which my bag appeared and will send you directly to that specific magazine on the Stampington website.  Please enjoy!

 

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