2023 is my year to make a dent in my outstanding projects (next post I will share the audit I did of my outstanding projects); and I’ve sort of made a dent in stack of drawstring/project bags to be completed (which I put on hold in November 2022 – see post That darn grief, the Etsy shop saga, and a little grace ).
Here is the pile of some of the unfinished bags:
I am still non weight bearing on my left leg after an ankle fracture and subsequent surgery to repair, I wanted to return to my sewing machine (enough with the hand sewing only!)
So John helped me get all set up at the sewing machine with everything within easy reach and I got to work!
I started with making bags that need purple thread as there is a thread and bobbin thread change for each set of project/drawstring bags.
I finished 9 drawstring/project bags (3rd to 11th finish of 2023!):
The bags had some fun linings:
Here are close up photos of the bags grouped by fabric:
Next I am switching to an orange thread to work on the next set of bags.
It felt good to be at my sewing machine again even if I had to take some frequent breaks.
The other day a friend share photos of how she is using the drawstring/project bag she got from me last year – as a toiletry bag while traveling:
It was cool to see one of the bags I made in practical use!
I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season and if you celebrate Christmas then I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. It is actually BEFORE Christmas right now and I am sitting in an airport waiting for my delayed flight and I thought” “what the heck, I will work on some future blog posts!”
If you’ve been following my blog you know I’ve been obsessed in the past with making project/drawstring bags (pattern by Sotak Handmade). Well I thought it would fun to make the small sized bags as gift bags for my family for Christmas.
I made a bag for each person based on their interests and what fabric I had on hand.
For example my brother and his family love the Marvel Avengers movies. They’ve seen all of them (they go as a family) and several of them have also read the comics. Surprisingly I had a little collection of Marvel Avengers fabric in my stash (not sure why but it was there) and here are the gift bags I made my brother, his wife and their son:
The lining of each bag is a different Marvel Avengers fabric.
Then for my sister’s family I made them gift bags based on their interests:
Here are all the gift bags together:
I just love these bags and I still have a whole box of project bags in various stages of assembly for when I am ready to return to making them to possible sell of my Etsy shop someday…
Over the past couple of months on Instagram, I’ve been posting images of the project bags/drawstring bags I’ve been making in preparation for holiday season sales on my Textiles & Smiles (textilesandsmiles) Etsy shop.
Here are some of the cuties I’ve made:
And I had a lot more planned…
The bags are super cute in person and they have interfacing throughout the bag so they have a good heft and stand up on their own, I love them so much and I was excited to offer them on my shop (I sold out of the batch I made last year for the shop).
But, alas, that darn grief has taken ahold of me this holiday season/pending Winter again and as I approach the 4th anniversary of the passing of my life partner for 30+ years, Terry the Quilting Husband.
And I am not up to fulfilling orders this holiday season so I am putting my Etsy shop on hold for now.
This widow thing is a curious journey, you never know when you will suddenly be gutted with grief…
Thanks to everyone who has supported my Textiles & Smiles Etsy shop since I reopened it last November. Also thanks to those who were enthusiastic about the Project Bags (the photo below = a bedroom closet with some of the completed bags I was going to sell) I’ve been posting on IG that I was getting ready to offer on my Etsy shop this holiday season.
I was taking forever, and it did not make sense, to get the photos of the items and the listings up on Etsy. I finally figured out was was paralyzed with grief and could not bear fulfilling orders, etc. I had a recent sale on Etsy of the spools that John had made (see post Handmade Spools) and it was pretty excruciating to get that order completed.
Who knows why last year during the holiday season I could offer stuff on my shop and fulfill orders but this year I cannot. Grief is a mysterious weird thing.
I think of a wonderful card my friend Wendy sent me awhile back with with a reminder to “give yourself grace”:
I keep this card along with a matching candle I found while thrifting right before the card arrived (!) on my bookshelf to always remind me that sometimes I need to just take a breather…
So giving myself some grace, I’ve put my Etsy shop on hold for now and I am going to work on what is calling my heart – working with recycled materials and creating a new body of work of my art quilts.
Andwhat will become of the existing project bags? I will put the completed ones away for now and then decide whether to just finish up the ones in progress or put them away also…
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):
I am fascinated with the talent of the knitters whose blogs I follow. One of those is @Mildy Granola who is the queen of knitting socks. I think her entire family (hubby and adorable kids) only wear her hand knitted socks.
I’ve never owned a pair of hand knitted socks and I am Terrified (yes with a capital “T”) of knitting socks (even though I can knit a basic hat so I know all about double pointed needles).
So when Sarah @mildygranola offered to make me a pair of hand knitted socks in exchange for one of my drawstring/project bag, I quickly said YES!
Here are the amazing socks she made me:
And here is the drawstring/project bag I made her with the fabric she requested:
Sarah was not particularly focused on the fact that the outside bag fabric was Tula Pink fabric, she just liked the raccoon fabric, so I did not use Tula Pink fabric for the inside bag. Instead I found this lovely floral fabric that coordinated better in my opinion.
Sarah of course has already received her bag and it is already featured in photo in her latest post: Quick Trip
I think I made out better than she did with my first pair of hand knitted socks!
I continue with making project/drawstring bags (little obsessed) for my imaginary reopening of my tierneycreates Etsy shop. While making the latest group, I thought I would try something: making them “mass production” style. Okay well small scale mass production style. I would cut all the pieces out, fuse the interfacing, and sew them production style one step at a time.
The first three bags to come out of this experiment was three bags in different sizes (small, medium, large) made from Figo Fabric’s Harmony line, with the word “Harmony” from the selvage stitched onto the bags.
I decided to name this series of three bags – “Three Part Harmony”. Get it? Or perhaps the name is silly but it made me smile. I will sell them as a set on my Etsy shop.
I didn’t have enough of the word “Harmony” in the rest of the fabric’s selvage to continue to stitch it onto the rest of the bags, but I finished them up also “production style”. Here are the rest of the bags in progress:
What I learned from my “mass production” experiment:
And if you’ve ever seen the comedy TV show In Living Color you can hear the inflection in my voice in your mind, ha!
Something about the magic of completing a bag got taken away when I was doing each step production line style on 7 bags.
I guess I just enjoy making one bag at a time and being in the process of completing one bag. I would be very poor if I tried to live off the proceeds of selling on Etsy – ha!
But this is to be a hobby not the way I make a living. Unless I could sell each bag for $1000….ha!
My friend Judy (the one who got me in to quilting in the late 1990s) and her husband came for a long weekend visit this past weekend. We did a little Denver area “quilt shop hopping” during her visit and stopped at Treelotta Fabricswhich I discovered during the Rocky Mountain Quilt Shop Hop. While at this shop we discovered a different take on the drawstring bag that we really liked:
Instead of ribbon or cord, they made the drawstring from the same fabric as the bottom of the bag. Also they added some rick-rack to the seam between the two coordinating fabrics – very creative!
This gives me future ideas for bags. Of course I do need to make other things for my Etsy shop besides bags! (I do actually have a stash of other things I’ve made that I will share in future posts).
I have a fantasy still that I am going to reopen my tierneycreates Etsy shop and I am making stuff for my shop (shhhh don’t mention I’ve said many times in the past I was going to reopen that shop…but this time I might really do it…maybe…)
Here are the bags I’ve made so far and I have 6 more cut out to sew.
Repurposing Words/Label from the Fabric Selvage
A Little Butterfly Bag
Black and White Bag with a Pop of Color Inside
Since finishing that art quilt for the exhibit I mentioned in the post Secret Quilt and Design Wall Struggle, I am enjoying just making drawstring bags. Thank goodness I have a large stash of interfacing as these bags use a lot of interfacing to make them stand up. I
I am sure I will tire of making them eventually and move on to other stuff but right now I am enjoying playing with fabric combinations.
Good Morning and here is part two of my story of the “Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat” I attended August 9 – 12, 2021 with my Washington based friends Judy and Dana. In Part I (A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part I) I shared that what began as a “bring your own project to work on quilting retreat” turned into a “let’s just make drawstring bags for 3 days obsession”!
We did do other things than make drawstring bags during our stay at the Riptide Retreaton the waterfront/beach in Shelton, Washington.
WE ENJOYED OUR COZY RETREAT CENTER
It was cluttered at times (this is what happens when you get a bunch of crafters together) but here are some scenes from the quilt retreat center (including while creativity was in progress):
In addition to the upstairs and its deck overlooking the water, the retreat center also had a downstairs with a cozy seating area, additional beds, and access to the downstairs deck.
There were only three of us at the retreat so we had plenty of space (the Riptide Retreat is set up for up to 10 attendees). Judy and Dana took the upstairs bedroom and I had the downstairs to myself – I had my own apartment! I would wake up each morning and look out on the water – it was pretty yummylicious (another fake English word like “bagalicious”, ha).
WE ENJOYED GORGEOUS VIEWS
One of the challenges of being at the Riptide Retreat (okay it was the only challenge) was not getting distracted by the gorgeous views. We keep being lured outside to sit on the upper deck and look at the water, instead of working on our drawstring bags.
I sat outside each morning with my tea and when I was not too distracted with the quiet peaceful views I worked on a blog post or two.
WE WENT SHOPPING!
The owners of the Riptide Retreat also own Annie’s Quilt Shoppea very reasonably priced quilt shop in Shelton, Washington. We got a discount on some items because we were staying at their retreat center.
All I can say is we might have visited this shop more than once during the retreat!
During one of our visits to this quilt shop (oops I just gave our secret away) I discovered that there is actually a National Sew A Jelly Roll Day on Sept 18, 2021. So quilters get your jelly rolls ready to participate – ha!
WE HAD YUMMY FOOD
The three of us are pretty laid back when it comes to our food selections and when we eat, so we had whatever/foraging for breakfast each morning among what Judy and Dana brought (I didn’t have to bring any food since I flew to the retreat). For lunches and dinners we either ate out, ate leftovers, or Judy/Dana made a wonderful meal.
We discovered this wonderful sort of “hole in the wall” place in downtown Shelton which was actually an awesome (and super delicious) family run eatery – T’s Cafe. There I discovered the most scrumptious meatball sub on the planet:
We enjoyed dining “al fresco” on the upper deck of the retreat for several meals:
And yes, those are homemade frozen margaritas in our glasses (and I am happy to report all three of us are of legal drinking age, ha!).
WE WALKED ON THE BEACH
From the downstairs deck you can walk down another level to the beach along the water. I had a nice solo walk and with my friends on the beach.
WE DID A LOT OF RELAXING
I think some people consider a quilt retreat (or a drawstring bag retreat, ha) time to get all those projects done you could not get done at home. Well we consider a quilt retreat time to actually “retreat” from the busy world and do some relaxing.
We spent a lot of time on the upper deck reading, blogging, playing iPad games, walks around the neighborhood, catching up with each other, and watching boats go by on the canal.
Sometimes I forget just how beautiful the Pacific NW is (and I lived there for over 20 years between Washington and Oregon) until I visit it again.
Before I get into this post, I just want to clarify for anyone reading this in which English is not your primary language, that “bagalicious” is not a real word – ha!
“Drawstring-bagalicious” was the best way I can describe a small quilt retreat I attended at a beautiful location in Shelton Washington in August 2021 with my friends Judy and Dana where we ended up making drawstring bags for 3 days!
I think for this post I will focus on our drawstring bag making obsession during our retreat and next post share the photos of the beautiful waterfront, the inside of the quilt retreat center, the awesome quilt shop we visited, and the yummy place we ate.
We each brought projects to work on at the retreat, and I brought some pre-cut and pre-fused fabric to make a couple drawstring bags.
Well you know how crafters are when we get together – before you knew it everyone wanted to make drawstring bags and put their planned projects aside.
Judy made several lovely bags (5 or 6 total) but the photo I took of them included some surprises/gifts for mutual friends, so I am not going to post the photo of her bags.
I will just share images of some of the bags Dana and I made.
Here are Dana’s first set of drawstring bags, including some fun photoshoots she did with her completed bags:
Dana started out making one extra large drawstring bag with the Ruby Star/Sarah Watts fabric – Purl (which I now own in several colorways the fabric is so yummy!) and then she became obsessed and made them in every size from on the pattern (we all got the pattern for the drawstring bags by Sotak Handmade)!
I plan to totally copy Dana’s interpretation of the pattern design and make the same drawstring bag. The photos do not do it justice – it was so freakin’ cute!
She went on and made more and along the way we worked out ways to make the drawstring bags faster and more efficiently. We basically had a Drawstring Bag Workshop! I can now make them in my sleep!
Here is an example of a trick to make sure the seams stay flat that Judy came up with and Dana used on one of her bags – press the seams open during early assembly:
Dana also got creative on her drawstring bag design and started added labels made from the fabric selvage:
Another idea I am totally stealing when I make more bags in the future.
Here are more of Dana’s completed bags and her fun photoshoots on the deck against the waterfront:
And here are some of the bags I made and some fun photoshoots I took with the waterfront in the background off the back deck:
If you haven’t figured this out from the photos, part of the fun of making the drawstring bags is not only selecting the external/outside bag fabric but also choosing a coordinating interior fabric. We had fun sharing fabrics and picking up more from the local quilt shop! We also had fun selecting the ribbon/cord for the drawstrings and went on shopping adventure one day just to buy more drawstring materials! Yes we were obsessed!
We even made the same bags when we’d seen another’s completed drawstring bag and want to make it also (any everyone was so generous with sharing their fabric and our dwindling supply of interfacing).
More to come on our retreat to including what we did when we weren’t sitting around making drawstring bags (and photographing them)!
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.
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!