Tag Archives: sewing room

PURSES, PURSES, PURSES!

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PURSES, PURSES, PURSES!

As you may know, we moved twice last year and that put a dent in my sewing (and blogging.)  Drat!  But Tina’s on the Strand invited me to be the Featured Artist for Artwalk last fall and I was determined to keep my commitment so I managed to sew a dozen fall purses which never made it into the blog.  I dearly love the plushness of fall fabric, velvets, vegan leather, faux fur, and tapestry combined with fringe, full tassels, and dazzling embellishments like lush flowers and beautiful beading.  So for those of you who follow this blog for sewing inspiration, I now present to you:

A Gallery of My Fall Collection:

 

BEADS OF A FEATHER

Beads of a Feather

Beads of a Feather

A pattern I love from Ali Foster, this tapestry bag was embellished with dripping beads and feathers.  The handle is from Studio Mio and SO easy to apply.

FRINGE BENEFITS

Fringe Benefits

Fringe Benefits

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Fringe Benefits is a Cindy Taylor Oates design, created from tapestry fabric,  accented with faux fur adjustable straps, trimmed with tassels from Interior Fabrics and 12 inch chainette fringe from Mood.

MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN

Midnight in the Garden

Midnight in the Garden

Honestly, I don’t remember where I purchased this gorgeous textured, embroidered fabric but I’d like to find it again.  The pattern was a modified version of an Abbey Lane pattern called Lucille.  I added the gold braided piping, then attached a plush flower and dotted leather handles.  Almost all my handles are from Studio Mio.

AUTUMN GARDEN

Autumn Garden

Autumn Garden

This sweet bag was a combination of patterns from books and YouTube.  I experimented with the round dotted brown handles which paired so well with the autumn floral linen fabric called Ballad Bouquet.

CASABLANCA

Casablanca

Casablanca

Linen floral and a zebra print fashioned into a Cindy Taylor Oates bag, embellished with golden loop fringe and ruby red beading.

KEYS TO PARIS

Keys to Paris

Keys to Paris

This is one of my all time favorite bags and sold very quickly.  The pattern is actually from the quilting world, called Pasadena, from “A Quilter’s Dream.”  Normally sewn with cotton fabrics, I instead substituted a vintage crushed flock velvet from Etsy with alternating copper and silver fabric that had a soft texture.  I added a purchased bamboo handle, plus a large flower and sparkly keys from Miss Rose Sister Violet.

COWGIRL CHIC

Cowgirl Chic

Cowgirl Chic

A fun messenger style bag, Cowgirl Chic sports faux leather fabrics from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs, Texas.  The lady who purchased this bag said it reminded her of her mother’s real cowhide purse many years ago.

TINSELTOWN

Tinseltown

Tinseltown

I named this bag Tinseltown because it is glamorous!  It shimmers with a velvet textured silver fabric, complemented by black velvet (my fall favorite) and an amazing tassel trim from Cowgirls and Lace.

GIDDY-UP!

Giddy-Up!

Giddy-Up!

Giddy-Up! is similar to Fringe Benefits but fashioned from faux leather, fringe and tassels.  The exterior features a faux leather boot which I designed and appliqued to the pocket.

SAFARI SPLENDOR

Safari Splendor

Safari Splendor

This is a huge purse with twelve, yes twelve pockets–six exterior, six interior.  The exterior is created from an embroidered faux leather, paired with a sturdy textured leopard print.  The tie is a dark chocolate velvet with a fine gold etched thread throughout.  The pattern is, again, from the quilting world, and is called My Favorite Bag from Kati Cupcake Pattern Company.  Not an easy bag to make because instead of making it from soft cotton fabrics, I chose to use sturdier fall fabrics.  And that’s a pain when grommets are involved…

MOROCCAN DREAM

Moroccan Dream

Moroccan Dream

Such a joy to construct.  This is another pattern from Abbey Lane.  I modified it by using a vintage French ribbon down the middle instead of gathered fabric.  I happened to have the perfect size ribbon from an antique shop in Los Angeles so I was able to apply it here, along with a sturdy, yet softly textured black velour, fancy tassels, and a braided handle made from a drapery tie-back. 🙂

LOTUS BLOSSOM

Lotus Blossom

Lotus Blossom

Lotus blossom is an Amy Barickman pattern called the Rachel Bag.  The back side is a heavily textured black fabric with a zipper down the middle for accessing the purse.  A unique silhouette makes for a very charming bag. 🙂

Knowing I would be featured in the fall Artwalk show was the impetus for creating twelve purses beginning mid-summer.  This was actually a wonderful opportunity to sew up a storm in that newly styled loft sewing room.  I’m still enjoying my brightly lit sewing room with the brilliant colors, brick walls, and fabulous views!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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! 🙂

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. 🙂 “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.” 🙂

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! 🙂

 

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!

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! 🙂

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

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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“Do you have a pet hummingbird?”

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Oh, Yes, I am a New Woman!!  Wow!  A lot can happen in just a few weeks!   Two weekends of Homes Tour were a great success;  literally thousands of people toured our home and nine others here in Galveston.  The first Sunday, Rick and I were enjoying breakfast at a neighborhood cafe while docents led guests through the tour of our home.  But–is it ever a good thing when the House Chairperson calls your cell and asks, “Do you have a pet hummingbird?!”  It was a beautiful day–bright blue skies, swift breezes, and perfect temperature.  So naturally, I wanted to leave all doors and windows open and convey to our guests a sense of coastal living–you know, those lovely tropical breezes drifting in.  Apparently, that wasn’t all that drifted in. There was a hummingbird flying around our kitchen.   By the time we arrived to help, the little fellow had taken himself back outside.  Just the day before I noticed the hummingbird feeder was empty, but didn’t have time to fill it, so Rick suggested that the hummingbird was probably there to lodge a complaint!  Needless to say, that issue has been addressed. 🙂

The Galveston Historical Foundation had also asked Rick and I if we would host a dinner on Saturday evening.  They sold tickets, they provided a chef (who was marvelous), they provided drinks, and Rick and I gave a private behind-the-scenes tour of our home.  I only had two stress points–the timing and the number of guests.  Including Rick and I, there were fourteen seated at our long, long dinner table.  Coming up with fourteen place settings, etc. was not an option for me, but Martha Stewart says you can mix and match, right?  So that is what we did.  I said, “I don’t even have fourteen napkins that match.”  My friends said, “But you sew.  Somewhere in that stash of yours, you will find enough coordinating fabric to make fourteen napkins.”  And sure enough, I had been collecting French fabrics that complemented the French Second Empire style of our house and our dishes.

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Yes, I seriously sewed fifteen napkins (just in case) and my friends had suggested using raffia for napkin rings.  I ended up tying raffia while sitting in bed at the hotel the night before.  Eek!  Then I decided they looked too Western and the next day I ran to Pier 1 for napkin rings which were perfect.  I said, “You know, hosting a dinner party for fourteen would be stress enough, but I don’t even know who I invited!”  Since tickets were sold, I had no idea who was coming but, oh, my, it was so much fun!  We had a very eclectic mix of guests, to say the least, and by the time we actually sat down to dinner, we were laughing and talking so loudly that the dining room echoed!   We made awesome new friends and had a blast.

I mentioned timing being an issue.  The Saturday tour ended around six, the chef arrived at six, and dinner was scheduled for 7:30.  After dinner, everything had to be restored to its proper place because at ten o’clock the next morning, the tours started again!  A very sad event occurred the evening before, which was that my father-in-law passed away.  He had been quite ill for a long time.  Rick was making funeral arrangements up in Houston during this same time, but welcomed the distraction of that Saturday evening.  With the arrival of relatives from Tacoma, we were soon grateful to be reminiscing with cousins and sharing awesome memories of a fun-loving, gentle family man, who lived to be 89 years and 5 days.

In happier news…  Due to a number of circumstances, we have decided not to sell our lovely home!  You know, it’s hard to part with something that has just received so many compliments.  Since Rick retired in April, he was anxious to get started on clearing the land we have in the Texas Hill Country and start building a weekend home.  The thought of moving was becoming an obstacle to other progress.  We really didn’t need yet another project.  Not to mention I will be keeping my awesome sewing room!

In sewing news we have the following:

I completed an Anny Bag that I call Rhapsody in Blue.  Created from Michael Miller, Phillip Jacobs, and Kaffe Fassett laminated cotton fabrics, this item was only at Tina’s a very short time before it was sold.

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Another laminated bag that I just turned in to Tina’s is an Abbey Lane pattern (The Lucille Bag) that I call Bali Dancing.  I seem to be stuck on Phillips Jacobs, Michael Miller and Kaffe Fassett. 🙂  This pattern came together so easily.  I have always been happy with Abbey Lane patterns and anytime you have a question, they will respond very promptly.

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A side note about the tours through our home… When we came home to deal with the hummingbird crisis, the upstairs docents asked me if I had business cards because so many people had enjoyed seeing the purses in my sewing room.  Long story short–I ended up selling two bags on Etsy.  I had to say good-bye to these little beauties:

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After receiving more requests, I’m currently working on a few more of the bow style.  A great pattern by CraftApple.

Our son was home from Minneapolis and since his plane left at six in the morning, he just took a nap from midnight until two.  So, of course, wanting to stay up and say good-bye to him, I just sewed.  Ended up sewing until 4:00 a.m.  Here’s hoping your spring has sprung and you’ll be visiting your sewing/crafting area often!  Don’t leave your windows open without screens, or a little birdie may fly in to help you…