Bags Bags Bags, Beastie Adventures

More Adventures in Bag Making

If you read Monday’s post Zip Zip Zippers!, you saw that I now have a lot of zippers for bag making thanks to my generous friend Wendy.

Well I used one of those zippers to make another bag from a pattern by The Netherlands based designer s.o.t.a.k. handmadeBoxy Tool Pouch.

The pattern comes in three sizes and I made the medium sized one:

The fabric is a printed in Japan canvas which I bought years ago because it had a schnauzer in the print:

However I accidentally cut out the schnauzer while making the bag! (Don’t tell Mike my Miniature Schnauzer, ha!)

Here are my supplies to make the bag (minus the ribbon tape I discovered I needed for the side tabs later while working through the pattern):

Here is her YouTube video on making the pouch:

Here are some photos from my bag making process:

In the first of the images above you will see that I am pressing on a sleeve board, which I recently bought online after seeing the pattern designer Svetlana Sotak use it in several of her YouTube videos she has on bag making. It’s one of those things I never knew I needed until I got it!

Here are images of my completed boxy tool pouch:

It did not come out perfect but I was pretty pleased. At least it was not a “Misadventure in Bag Making” (see post Misadventures in Bag Making).

So what to do with the completed pouch?

Well tierneycreates Beastie changed from her Winter wear of her sweater, hat and scarf:

To her Spring wear of her t-shirt:

So I needed a place to store her clothes as well as her accessories:

And now her accoutrements are easily accessible on my bookshelf in my studio!

Next post the tierneycreates Beastie will guest blogger post and tell you about her latest accommodations in my studio as well as some other changes (“Mr. Woodworker” has been busy!)

An awesome find I discovered during a recent thrift shopping adventure and immediately put up on my studio wall!
Bags Bags Bags, Guest Blogger

Zip Zip Zippers!

After reading my posts (Misadventures in Bag Making and If at first you don’t succeed…) my wonderful friend Wendy Hill (IG – @wendyquilter) offered to send me some of her HUGE collection of zippers to support my future adventures (or misadventures, ha!) in bag making. I of course took her up on her offer!

So a couple of weeks some “GOOD MAIL” arrived – a bag of zippers in various sizes from Wendy!

So how did Wendy come to have all these zippers in her stash and what had she done with all these zippers in the past? Well she was kind enough send photos and a summary of the story so I could share with you in this post.


“Zipper Mania” by Wendy Hill (edited by tierneycreates)

Around 2007 I wanted to make things with zipper but they too expensive to even buy used at a thrift store considering how many I needed.

So I put out a request for zippers in the Ruralite Magazine (Western USA, Midstate Electric Co-op) and many zippers arrived to my home!

The smallest package I received: 1 zipper

smallest package
And I received many zippers in the mail which I sorted by color into bags – it looked like a spice bazaar!

all bags #1
I thought of all these zippers as a “material” for my art projects. Here is what I made below.

String piecing using flat zippers

“Autumn Textures” is my favorite. It has been in exhibits.

Autumn Textures, Wendy Hill copyautumn_tex_detail_sm

I did make several quilts with flat zippers between 2008 and 2011)

Coiled Bowls using half zippers

In the photos below are two different bowls- left zip pulls in as decorative elements)

middle bowl2zipbowlzipbowlside

3D Art – Zipper Cones –  Sea Anemones

zipcones#8zipcones#7
I have more zipper ideas— but I have not followed up on them in a long time.


Postscript

Thanks to Wendy for sharing her story and art related to her donated zipper collection. And thanks to Wendy for sharing some of her collection with me. I am pretty sure there will be some “GOOD MAIL” in her future when I send her a little something I’ve made with one or two of the zippers she sent me.

Next post I will show you the project I just finished using one of the zippers she sent me – another bag – this time a different pattern by s.o.t.a.k. handmade.

Bags Bags Bags, tierneycreates

If at first you don’t succeed…

Try again!

This is a follow up to the post Misadventures in Bag Making.

There is No Such Thing as Failure, Only Learning E - tymoff

I was not going to give up, zipper foot issues be darned, I re-attempted making the Devon Pouch by  s.o.t.a.k. handmade last night, and made a second one this morning.

This time I kept my dastardly zipper foot tucked away and just used my normal sewing foot.

Here is the first pouch redone with different center fabric:

I was so pleased with it, compared to my first attempt, I gave it its own section in my studio!

Sort of an homage to trying again and not giving up (smile).

This morning I decided to make the second one as my friend Dana had sent me enough supplies to make two:

In the third image above you will see there are trains at the bottom of the pouch. I plan to take this pouch with me when I do one of my “Bucket List” items in the future and take the transcontinental train across Canada (someday when they allow us Americans with cooties back into Canada…).

I am so happy with my two pouches! They are not perfect of course but they are MUCH better than my first attempt!

Oh and thanks to everyone who provided kind comments on the post of my first attempt as well as resources for learning how to use a zipper foot.

Bags Bags Bags, tierneycreates

Misadventures in Bag Making

My friend Dana* (@chambersdalix) is always inspiring me to stretch my sewing/crafting skills and try new things. These new things in the past have included such techniques as English Paper Piecing (see post From the Basket – English Paper Piecing), and using fabrics I would usually never select on my own (see post The Tale of Three Tulas, Part I).

*Note – Dana is one of those people who can merely look at an image of a handmade item on Pinterest and figure out how to make it from the image…and then make it perfectly!

So when she talked her daughter, me, and our mutual friend Kathy into working on an Instagram based “bag of the month” project to build our bag making skills I was excited. For February the bag was the Devon Pouch by s.o.t.a.k. handmade. You make the pouch and then post the image to Instagram.

If you go to the hashtag #devonpouch on on Instagram you will see some GORGEOUS versions of the pouch:

I was like: “Wow! I want to make this pouch!”. Sure I have not made very many things with zippers but I can follow a pattern; and the designer has a time lapsed YouTube video of her making the bag so you can see all the steps demonstrated in addition to have the pattern.

So I thought I was safe.

Plus Dana was so sweet and sent me cute fabric from her stash and some zippers to make 2 of the pouches. So what could go wrong….?

Excited to get started, this past Saturday I cut out the pattern pieces, applied the interfacing and prepared to make two pouches:

The elements of a wild Saturday night

I put on some yummy music (my favorite Denver radio station KUVO which is also a streamable Public Radio Station from kuvo.org), opened my laptop to the video of the designer making the pouch, sat down at my sewing machine and got to work.

Ready to sew!

In addition to materials to make the pouch, my friend Dana had also sent me scraps from when she made me a quilt (see post Mind Blowing Mail) and I incorporated some of these scraps into the front zipper pocket for my first pouch that I worked on.

Yummy scraps!

I was feeling very clever.

A couple hours later, I was not feeling so clever.

The written pattern stated to change to a “zipper foot” whenever you were working on the two zippers in the pouch. I found the zipper foot to my Bernina, which I’ve only used once before and I think that was in 2006 in a class when I first bough my Bernina sewing machine.

The pattern told me to switch between my regular foot and my zipper foot. Problem: I am very inexperienced using a zipper foot. Wait let’s just say it plainly: I did not know what the heck I was doing.

I will spare you the full saga, but my seams were off and once multiple seams are off in a pattern you know you are in the middle of a serious freaking sewing misadventure!

Here is my quite ugly version of the finished pouch:

Ugh

Here’s an even better image that might make you suspect I was under the influence of mind altering drugs while sewing (Nope, the bottom of the pouch is NOT supposed to look like that):

Gasp

Please look away if the image above is too grotesque. My version of the pouch does not appear to even be remotely related to the examples of the beautiful pouches on #devonpouch that I shared earlier in this post.

I did post the completed bag to Instagram and people were very kind but I was quite embarrassed over how lopsided and poorly constructed it was (the photo actually does not do justice to the sewing abomination!)

As a bonus, I accidentally stuck myself with pin (yay, that is always so pleasant) during final construction and bled on the back of the bag. I did not catch the spot of blood of course until I pressed/ironed in the blood (is this pouch doomed or what?):

A little of me permanently ironed into the pouch…

At first I decided to just keep the pouch and use it to store the fabric scraps Dana sent me:

Trying to create a purpose for the abomination made

But finally I decided to un-assemble it and salvage the nice zippers that Dana sent me; and reuse the zippers in my next attempt.

So when I feel up to it, I am going to start over again and make my first pouch again, before moving on to the second one. I am going to stay away from the zipper foot this time as I discovered towards the end I could sew the zipper just fine with a standard foot.


Postscript

In more successful crafting news, Mr. Woodworker (my partner John) recently finished a remodel of one of our basement closets to become an entertaining supply storage closet with cabinet and coordinating shelves:

Much more successful crafting

This was the first real cabinetry he’s made. He also made a butcher block style counter top of the cabinet!

Oh and John is going to take the advice several of you left in the comment section of the post Handmade Spools, and make more wooden spools for me to sell on either my Etsy shop (if I ever get it reopened) or a craft fair or something.

A Crafter Needs to Eat, A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, Bags Bags Bags

What I Did During My Blogging Vacation

I’ve been on hiatus from blogging for a couple weeks to temporarily remove any “artificial” obligations in my life in order to have some time to “reset”.

Now feeling “reset”, I thought I would jump back into blogging with a little essay “primary/elementary” school style like the infamous “What I Did on My Summer Vacation“.

By the way I was not hanging out with the fabulous looking women at the beach during my hiatus, like those in the feature photo of this post (photo by Vitae London on Unsplash), I just thought it was a fun beach photo to use in the middle of semi-freezing winter in Denver!

Okay so now it is time to imagine me standing in front of our 4th grade class presenting this essay below (and perhaps my parents helped me make a slide deck for my images/photos)…

READING

Listening to audiobooks and turning the pages of actual physical books, I’ve done a lot of reading during the past several weeks.

I’ve finished the book City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, that I read for my virtual book club with my friend Michele (see post Virtual Book Clubs):

city-of-brass
image credit – Kirkus Review

Last Friday Michele and I had another card-making playdate like the one I shared in the post Card Making Playdate from last October and discussed City of Brass. In tomorrow’s post (why yes, I am going to now post frequently…hope you don’t grow tired of me) I will share what we made.

I recently finished the next book in our “Virtual Book Group” (but wait is it “virtual” if we are meeting in person, socially distancing of course, to discuss the book?) and it was quite the awesome page turnerThe Guest List by Lucy Foley:

The Guest List
image credit – Publishers Weekly

It’s been a long time since I’ve read (actually I listened to the audiobook) the kind of book I absolutely could not put down. If you’d like to read a synopsis of the book – here is the link to the one on Publishers Weekly (no worries, there are no spoilers) – The Guest List.

Currently I am listening to an excellent (so far) Science Fiction/space novel – To Sleep Under a Sea of Stars by Christoper Paolini. I love it so much I’ve already bought the hard copy of the book as my library loan of the audiobook is about to expire and there are a zillion other library patrons waiting in line to listen to it next.

Image result for to sleep in a sea of stars
image credit – Paolini.net

It not just fiction books I’ve been inhaling, I’ve also read several new crafting books I picked up over the past couple of months.

I’ve been obsessed lately with making non-quilt items such as tote bags (see post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags) and pincushions (a future post); and love my new book by Ayumi Takahashi – Patchwork Please which features lots of fun things to make:

Patchwork Please!: Colorful Zakka Projects to Stitch and Give - Takahashi, Ayumi
image credit – amazon.com

I am sort of obsessed with “zakka” and Japanese author craft patterns. I love the aesthetics of their designs as well as the function. Here are many of the books in my home library collection of Japanese author craft patterns:

COOKING

For a while in the Denver metro area, our restaurants closed down again to inside dining during the pandemic. Finally they opened to 25% capacity and now I think they are starting to reopen to even 50% capacity (or perhaps I am hallucinating at this point as I have complete pandemic fatigue at this point).

While they were closed again, like in the early days of the pandemic, we tried to make fun meals at home and not get home cooking fatigue. Here are a couple photos of the delicious meals my partner John (a very good cook who used to actually cook professionally) and I made.

Delicious Irish Stew and Homemade Biscuits

Salmon Fried Rice

Nachos!

Pizza (with dough made from “scratch”)

Orzo Pasta Salad

Are you hungry yet?

One of my favorites that I could not locate easily locate a photo for was the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and scallops that John made one night. I thought I was at a high-end restaurant!

Yes, I will not lie, I had packed on a couple “pandemic pounds” from all this good eating, but we do not eat like this every night. We do try and have salads for dinner a couple nights a week.

WALKING

To combat the effects of all those delicious home cooked meals, I’ve been going on a lot of very long walks. It is always a great way to listening to my audiobooks. Most of the times I take Mike my Miniature Schnauzer with me but many times I just go walking alone (then I do not have to stop for the “frequent signing in on bushes” that Mike loves to do on his walk).

Here are a couple Black & White images I took on a wintry walk, in which someone had left a found glove on a branch for its owner to hopefully someday find. I got a kick out of the “composition” in the stark landscape created by the glove.

If you enjoy B&W images, I do have a series of posts where I feature B&W images – Life in B&W.

In case you are wondering – either the glove blew away or was reunited with its partner by the owner as the next day it was gone.

REFLECTING

During my break from blogging, I spent a lot of time reflecting and trying to figure out my life. As many of you know, I am in my second year of widowhood caused by the very sudden and very expected death of my life partner, Terry the Quilting Husband (see post Remembering Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)).

I’d been with Terry since I was in my early 20s and I am now on a journey to “reinvent” myself in my middle years of life as “Tierney minus Terry”, after what seems like a lifetime of “Tierney +Terry”.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop and my original plan when I took a hiatus from blogging was to start blogging again in about a month when I was ready to re-open my Etsy shop.

Over the past several months, I’ve made a lot of items in preparation to re-open the shop but still could not move forward with re-opening the shop. I was struggling to figure out what the big block was for me.

Then while looking at some old photos on my Google Photos account which I rarely use, I found an old image of the joint tierneycreates business card Terry and I had together when he was helping me with my Etsy shop. He was listed as a “Maker” on my Etsy shop as he helped me with many of the items I produced by cutting out patterns and doing preliminary sewing, especially on items like Miniature Kimonos, which were very popular on my shop.

I realized that my tierneycreates Etsy shop is just too closely tied to memories of crafting with Terry and I am just not ready.

Part of my “widowhood journey” is trying to figure out what to do with what is basically a lifetime’s worth of memories with someone who is now gone.

After losing your spouse you are expected to go on with your life but what do you do with all those memories (and mementos) of a life previously lived? I think that is the $64,000 Question which I have yet to answer for myself (I’ve done a lot of reading on grief and the answers of other people’s journey but I still have to find my own answer).

But I have figured out that unless it is something critical, not push myself to do anything I am not ready to do, even if it seems like a good thing to do (like re-opening my Etsy shop).

(The above images are of Terry, Sassy, who passed in Dec 2017 a year before Terry, and I vacationing in Cannon Beach, Oregon; and of Terry modeling a quilt he helped me make)

CRAFTING

There’s been a whole lot of crafting over the past couple of weeks. I’ve found a lot of peace in making things. I feel very lucky to be a “Maker”.

Many of the items I’ve shared on my tierneycreates Instagram account but many I have not. I am going to save a discussion of what I’ve been working on for future blogs posts but I will share that I’ve been making more tote bags like I discussed in the post Tote, Tote, Tote Bags.

Here are some of my latest tote bags:

I look forward to diving into more about what I’ve been making in my future posts!

WAKE UP, THE ESSAY IS FINALLY OVER!

So that concludes my essay and I can safely assume the whole class is asleep now at their desks!

Oh wait, I see the teacher is also asleep at their desk! Maybe I won’t get a “A” on this presentation…

Photo by Matheus Farias on Unsplash

Postscript

Just a quick follow up to my post Redesigning my logo. I decided not to change my logo at this time and just figure it out at a later date.

Bags Bags Bags

Tote, Tote, Tote Bags

Yes there are a lot of very strange things going on in my country (U.S.) but I am only going to write about making tote bags.

Lots of tote bags…

It began with making a Christmas gift for one of my partner John’s son for Christmas who is very eco-conscious:

Next came a gift for our friends we golf with (in warmer weather) with some golf themed fabric I found in my stash:

Next came a craft beer themed tote bag for another friend for a New Years gift (more novelty fabric from my stash):

Most recently (couple days ago), I decided to experiment with more “artsy” fabric instead of novelty fabric and made this tote bag:

Here is one side of the tote bag:

And here is the other:

I’ve actually made a total of 6 tote bags since I began my tote bag making obsession in early December (2 of them are repeats of ones I shared above).

I am currently taking a break from tote bag making and moved on to other projects but I plan to make a fresh batch of tote bags in a couple weeks, this time for my (to be reopened sometime this winter I think) tierneycreates Etsy shop.

Each tote bag, except the first one I made, is lined with canvas drop cloth (yes the kind you use when painting to protect surfaces) from a home improvement store:

image credit: Home Depot

The canvas drop cloth (which I pre-wash before using), gives the tote bag a nice structure and is less expensive than buying canvas fabric from a fabric store.


Postscript

Here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer riding through another home improvement store to pick up supplies for our next home remodeling project and some canvas drop cloth for more tote bags!

Addendum: I just realized from one of the comments, that Mike technically IN A TOTE BAG himself in the images above (smile)! He’s “tote-able”!

Bags Bags Bags

The “Madness” Returns

The madness has returned.

Little Wallet Making Madness!

2019-09-08_09-02-38_908.jpeg

I am back to making a massive amount of little wallets inspired by Valori Wells’ pattern (which I modified), just as I discussed in this 2017 post Little Wallet Madness.

Some of you might remember the little wallets being part of my October 2017 and 2018 “Bloganniversary” giveaways. Well it is now October 2019 which means it is my blog’s 6th anniversary.

However, given the major change in my life over the last year, I may or may not do a 6th blog anniversary celebration like I did in the past…we’ll see how I feel later in the month.

It’s not like last year, where for my 5th blog anniversary I posted daily for 30 days and did a series of (what I thought was) awesome giveaways.

Honestly, thoughts of my blog anniversary makes me sad as it makes me think of how Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH), who passed in December 2018, used to help me do the blog anniversary giveaway drawings along with Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer (who passed in December 2017 and used to have her own blog, Schnauzerships) who ensured the integrity of the drawings (see post Announcing the Winners of the tierneycreates Blog’s 4th Anniversary Giveaway).

During previous blog anniversary Octobers, I would share links from favorite previous posts, like a “Best of tierneycreates”, but so many of those posts are loaded with memories of my previous wonderful (darn near perfect) life with TTQH.

But next year is my 7th year of blogging anniversary and my hope is I do a blowout sort of celebration for that one! Time does help ease the pain of loss a little at a time. So bear with me (smile).

Oh but back to little wallets, the original subject of this blog post…

I had a HUGE stash of little wallets after making so many like in this photo from September 2017:

2017-09-10_15-49-57_316

Recently though I got down to only two wallets left:

2019-09-08_09-03-00_056.jpeg

Oh and if you are new to this blog and are curious what the little wallets look like on the inside, here is a photo:

2019-09-08_09-03-16_735

I have a ridiculous amount of tierneycreates business cards and each little wallet comes with a business card tucked inside.

SIDEBAR: It’s the tierneycreates business card that gave it away when I discovered one of my little wallets in a thrift shop, that obvious someone I had given one to had donated it – see post Found! At the Thrift Shop!. I ended up buying the little wallet for 50 cents from the thrift shop and then regifting it.

So it was time to make another stash of little wallets, so I pulled out a bunch of fat quarters and fabric scraps and got busy designing little wallets:

2019-09-08_09-03-29_0722019-09-10_08-27-29_8802019-10-06_09-46-12_952

The images above are just a couple of the combinations I am working on and in a future post I will share the plethora of wallets I made to replenish my little wallet stash!


Postscript

A quick follow up to the September 27, 2019 post A New Way to Organize My Fabric, I finished refolding my ridiculous fat quarter collection and now have them organized (except for novelty fat quarters) in front of the yardage that I wrapped in the comic boards:

2019-10-08_17-32-55_894.jpeg

I have to admit sometimes I just walk in the room and smile as this colorful organization makes me happy!

By the way – this is not all the fabric (should I even admit this?) – I do have separate organization for my flannel, canvas, and novelty fabrics that I recently created. Perhaps I will share this in a future post (if I am ready for full disclosure of my ridiculous fabric stash).

Speaking of stuff that makes me happy – two weeks ago my little brother visited me in Denver along with his family. He had a “milestone” birthday and we celebrated by taking him to his first NFL game to see his favorite football team of all time – the Denver Broncos. Here I am below with my brother and my adorable 7 year old nephew who thoroughly enjoyed the game (and danced in the stands during the music breaks!)

2019-09-29_13-42-59_592

Much to the chagrin of my Pacific NW friends, I’ve sort of defected from being a Seattle Seahawks fan to a Denver Broncos fan (though I still root for the Seahawks if they are not playing the Broncos).

Bags Bags Bags

Little Wallet Madness

As mentioned in recent previous posts, I have been making little wallets from my fabric scraps.

Endless wallets. Cutting out fabric from templates in the evening while watching TV and then engaging in marathon assembling and sewing.

58+ wallets later, I am ready to share photos of the wallets.

First here are 55 of them (two I recently I gave away as gifts and one I kept for myself):

2017-09-10_15-49-57_316.jpeg

An attempt at closer up photos of the wallets:

2017-09-10_15-50-04_1232017-09-10_15-50-07_5262017-09-10_15-50-11_7632017-09-10_15-50-15_7002017-09-10_15-50-19_870

I had so much fun rummaging through my boxes of fabric scraps and putting together various combinations. Here are photos of a couple of the insides of the little wallets to demonstrate some of the color and texture combinations I used for the inside pockets:

2017-09-10_15-53-00_5212017-09-10_15-53-28_0152017-09-10_15-53-36_5562017-09-10_15-54-08_069

2017-09-10_15-56-02_191

Here are some of my favorite little wallets from my little wallet assembly madness:

2017-09-10_15-54-24_6852017-09-10_15-54-31_8582017-09-10_15-54-37_9302017-09-10_15-54-45_4372017-09-10_15-54-55_2132017-09-10_15-55-00_4182017-09-10_15-55-10_6602017-09-10_15-55-41_4892017-09-10_15-55-28_4772017-09-10_15-55-37_7182017-09-10_15-57-18_7702017-09-10_15-57-29_142

I plan to do a “Little Wallet” giveaway to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog in October so stay tuned. They are perfect for business cards, a place to keep punch cards (like frequent customer cards) or to use as a wallet.

2017-09-10_15-59-53_350