A Crafter's Life, Bags Bags Bags

Talking About “Good Mail”

A couple posts ago I shared the craft exchange that @Mildy Granola and I did – drawstring bag for hand knitted socks, in this post The Exchange! .

Well my friend Wendy and I call this “Good Mail“.

Good Mail is when you get something very fun in the mail, like a handmade item or some type of fun treat. Through out the pandemic, Wendy and I have exchanged Good Mail.

THE GOOD MAIL DELIVERED TO MY HOUSE

For this round of Good Mail Wendy sent me an issue of the amazing periodical Curated Quilts and a beautiful Chinese New Year artist postcard for the Year of the Tiger.

What made this issue of Curated Quilts so special is that it featured the story of Wendy’s Quarantine Quilt Collaboration.

If you are just joining us, Wendy did a series of five (5) guest blog posts sharing the amazing story of how deep in the early days of the COVID pandemic quilt she made during quarantine with the four (4) rambunctious boys next door (aka “The Boys”) ages 2 – 8.

Could you imagine (and perhaps you can) being quarantined with your four young children ages 2 – 8 for months on end? Wendy provided an amazing distraction/project for the boys and likely made their parents lives a little saner.

Here are the links to those 5 posts if you’d like to read the full story (or re-read):

In the Curated Quilts (the theme of the issue is “Collaborate”) article Wendy provides a nice summary of the whole experience and shares the best of the photos (including my favorite – the one with the whole family and the finished quilt). It was such an amazing and selfless gift she gave to this family my eyes get a little teary when I think about it.

THE GOOD MAIL DELIVERED TO WENDY’S HOUSE

And what did I send Wendy for her Good Mail? Well she loves cats, and has a couple darling cats at home, so I made her a project bag with this fabric:

It was some cool fabric I found in my stash, I did not know where I got it from. When I posted the bag on Instagram, someone mentioned it is from a Valori Wells fabric line. Since I only had a little more than a fat quarter’s worth of fabric, I must have picked it up from a scrap bag I bought at the Stitchin’ Post when I lived in Central Oregon.

Here is the completed bag:

I included the rest of the fabric for Wendy inside the bag in case she wanted to make something with the fabric, as well as some other goodies (couldn’t just send her an empty bag!)

She has hung her bag with some other previous Good Mail from me (the tote bag I made her):

Studio, tierneycreates, What's on the Design Wall

Another Bag Making Class and Another Project

Last evening I took another bag making class like I did a month ago (see posts Did something awesome – took an in person crafting class! and Adventures in Bag Making: Range Backpack DONE!) at a Denver quilt shop.

This time we worked on the Firefly Tote by Noodlehead. A month ago I shared photos of the quilt shop’s class sample of the tote:

Class sample photo 1
Class sample photo 2

The pattern has instructions for two sizes – a smaller “project” size; and a larger “tote” size. I figured I would make the tote size.

I decided to make it in the same fabrics as the Range backpack also by Noodlehead that I made in the previous class and here are photos in progress during the class last night:

My partially finished Firefly Tote

That was as far as I got (photo above) during class and I still need to make the lining and the drawstring topper. I found the “blingy” gold handles at the quilt shop and they go with the shiny gold zipper I used also in my coordinating backpack, also found at the quilt shop.

One class attendee got way farther than I did, and she was making the “project” size tote bag. Here is her nearly finished adorable project size bag being held up by our wonderful instructor:

Another student’s nearly finished project size Firefly Tote

Another student in the class brought her finished Range backpack to class and it was so cool I had to photograph it – she has it lined with a custom Yellowstone map fabric she found on Spoonflower:

If you are just joining us, here is the Range backpack I finished a couple weeks ago from the class I took a month ago. As you can see my Firefly Tote will coordinate with it:

And speaking of backpacks, I am currently working on a commission project of a scrappy Tula Pink Range backpack for a gift for someone who is a Tula Pink aficionado. The family member who commissioned it as a surprise gift asked me to include lots of Tula Pink fabrics. I am trying my best but I have a limited range of her fabric lines (but lots of scraps!)

Lots of Tula Pink All Stars line fabric scraps in my stash

Here is my design wall in progress as I work on piecing together/creating my own “fabric” to start cutting the sections for the backpack:

This is just a little bit of the fabrics I am using, it will be super scrappy. I am going to first make “fabric” from the scraps and do some simple quilting on it to reinforce it before I start cutting sections for the backpack pieces. I will share a photo when it is done!

I have to set finishing my Firefly Tote from last night’s class aside for now as I need to get the backpack done and shipped so they can surprise their sister for Christmas!

Are you working on any last minute December projects?

Bags Bags Bags

Adventures in Bag Making: Range Backpack DONE!

Follow up to my post Did something awesome – took an in person crafting class!, in which I took an in-person class (the first in many years it seems) to learn how to make the Range Backpack by Noodlehead.

I took the class last Thursday but I was determined to have it finished by the time I returned to the quilt shop for my first Open Sew evening on Wednesday (yesterday).

Here it is in my studio in progress:

And here is it COMPLETED:

To say I am pleased to have completed it is an understatement (smile). The instructions were excellent but it was like a zillion little parts and I was surprised that they all went together so perfectly (well almost, I did not properly center. my zipper and had to add some tabs on either side of the zipper to hide my mistake),

It was awesome to be able to show it off at Open Sew yesterday. The teacher I had last week for the class was there and I was able to show her as well as ask some follow up questions so I could make it even better next time (yes I think I might attempt it again…someday…).

Bags Bags Bags

Adventures in Bag Making: Drawstring Bag

Earlier this year several quilting friends and I decided to make a different bag each month (well sort of each month, we all fell behind at times) and to do a fabric exchange where we provide the fabric and supplies (like zippers, ribbon, cords, etc) for the bags.

We’ve been purchasing/using patterns by s.o.t.a.k. handmade , we love her wonderful videos on YouTube at her channel – Sotak Handmade. Below is an example of one of her fabulous videos:

Someday I’ll post about my used Juki sewing machine I bought off Craigslist – influenced by watching her sew on her Juki machine.

So far my “bag making group” has made: 1) The Devon Pouch (see post If at first you don’t succeed… ); 2) The Boxy Tool Pouch (see post More Adventures in Bag Making); and now most recently 3) The Drawstring Bag (this post).

Last night I finished my first Drawstring Bag and I have two more to finish (I decided to make three at one time, production-line style). My friend Kathy provided me with absolutely beautiful fabric – some purple Moda Grunge and several fabrics by Anna Maria Horner (you should check out her website I’ve linked, the fabrics are SO GORGEOUS).

Here is my first drawstring bag:

I could not decide whether to make the lining the outside and the fabric I used for the outside of the. bag – they were both so gorgeous!

The drawstring bag stands up on its own thanks to interfacing on both sides of the outside and inside/lining fabric. The pattern was quite easy to follow (especially since this is my third time using one of the Sotak patterns and I see concepts are repeated) and except for the prep work (like cutting and ironing on all the interfacing) it did not take long to assemble.

My friends Kathy and Dana posted their completed drawstring bags on Instagram and here are screen shots from their feeds:

I love their bags too and all the fabrics were generously provided by Kathy!

I hope to finish my next two bags today. They are pretty fun to make and I already had like 25 different fabric combination versions in my head for future drawstring bags, ha!

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.