Monday, June 28

My first kiss clasp bag

A few days ago my package arrived with my frames and glue and slider parts below. I love seeing the frames so naked, just waiting to be a part of something fun and useful!

My fingers look like they have a molting problem now, but it was worth it to have my first kiss clasp bag completed. The glue that is used for these non-sewing clasps is a form of fabric contact cement, and having not perfected the art of stuffing the edge into the frame (yet), I have a date with a scrub brush and warm water later. (I used a good amount of goo gone on the frame, and will save the rest of it for the three other frames I have yet to fabric-up.) But here it is!

(You can see above, Baxter is not impressed, but he doesn't have thumbs, so I'm not taking offense.)

It is pretty slouchy, and I think next time I'll reinforce the sides with interfacing. I also need to learn how to insert a small interior zipper pocket.
A few days ago my package arrived with my frames and glue and slider parts below. I love seeing the frames so naked, just waiting to be a part of something fun and useful!

Sunday, June 27

Ben's 3rd birthday party!

Dan and I drove up to Champaign to celebrate my nephew's 3rd birthday. There were so many kids! The pool was set up outside, with sidewalk chalk and bubbles. The parents were filling in the gaps, making sure plastic bats weren't being swung too close to other children and towels were at the ready when it was time to go in for cake and presents.

Ben had an Airplane theme - as that is his passion at the moment. The cake (a few pictures down) was made by Nanny Rebekah and Jessie, and it had a runway and airplane, and all of the kids got to take their own airplane home in the grab bags Ben was happy to give out when they arrived. The big hit seemed to be the blow toy - the kind that unrolls when you blow into it, making it look like a big, long, tongue.

Look at all these kids!

Here's the birthday boy in the captain's hat I was lucky to find. Such a fun birthday!

Saturday, June 26

Kid bag

Inspired by a cutout Linda sent me, I made a small kid-sized bag this morning. I'm planning on giving to Benjamin - who is 3 today! - along with some other things I think he will probably like more. Dan says it looks like a (little) man bag, to which I rolled my eyes and walked out of the room.

I love it. It has an adjustable strap, and fun bright colors, and I think even if Ben doesn't use it all the time, it will be fun for him to have something he can carry his own stuff in (dinosaurs, or books, or snacks). And it's little! 8 in wide and 10 in long.
I received the bag parts I ordered. Below is my bounty - I am excited to finally have the hard ware to make a clutch with a kiss clasp instead of using a magnet. Also, some adjustable strap hardware, as it is hard to find them in Carbondale.
As I mentioned, Ben is 3 today. Dan and I are heading up the Champaign to celebrate with the family and Ben's friends. Miah is BBQing and I'm hoping the kid pool is set up for some water fun. Party!

Sunday, June 20

Around the Interwebs

Happy Father's day! Here is my wonderful dad back in the Navy. He was probably 18.

Here are some fun things for you:

Sports' fans have jerseys to wear, bookies can have these.
Some wisdom on life @ Stuff No One Told Me
Who needs a dog when you have chickens?!
Reaction to first sounds...what a great moment.
I'm always in favor of a Coffee Party
A new stamp! What took so long?

Lemon Buttermilk Rhubarb bundt cake
Awesome, free, printable labels for Father's Day, or any day.
Bicycle sidecar!

Weekend sewing project - Pouf

My sister is in a pin cushion exchange. You can read about her creation here. I saw this tutorial a while back and decided to try my hand at it this weekend, thinking that it looked like a giant pin cushion!

I needed 24 swatches or 12 double swatches for the wedges. It took me a while to decide which to use, and I was a little disturbed by how much pink fabric I have.

After cutting out the 24 wedges and 24 backing strips out of muslin, I sat for a good 30 minutes rearranging their order to decide how they'd fit together best. I decided on the orientation above.

Cutting everything out was the longest step in the process (I'm not a good cutter). The sewing lasted through an episode and a half of Fresh Air, and the stuffing another 15 minutes. I threw a trip to JoAnn's in the middle to buy a 12'' upholstery needle for the tufting bit, and by last night all but the decorative button was in place.

This morning, a few stitches for the button and this was what I had! Comma slept on it last night, and this morning, both Kodak and Baxter found it to their liking. I really enjoyed this project, but would alter a few of the directions to be clearer (ie: sewing the points and tufting the washer in place).

Ta da!

Saturday, June 19


I love this!

Catio's slideshow (courtesy of PsychoKitty)
How great is it that these people have put this much effort into having a safe outdoor environment for their house cats?

Thursday, June 17

Blue bag, red bag, pink bag

I've been on a bit of a sewing binge the last few days. Deciding to put my foot down and compact my work schedule has been great for this part of my life. However, all the sewing has made it clear that having all of my sewing things at hand's reach is essential, and to do that in my little packed room means it's in disarray.

I came home today to the image you see above. To keep the cats from nesting in all of the bags, they now hang on the back wall, clipped to hangers. I like to think that Comma is happy to sit on the ironing board because it reminds her of Ciara and all of her sewing projects.

Below are some of the things that have come to being these past days. The first is really little! Maybe 10 inches by 8 inches. The next, the big blue, is huge! And the last is a normal, nice shoulder bag.

Thursday, June 10

Practice, practice, practice

Yesterday I was trying some new sewing techniques. I came home after doing my coffee biz for the day, turned on This American Life via podcast, and got to it. I had read a tutorial about a month ago about bags with kiss clasps and in it, I learned some easy tips for turning out bags and straight stitching. My goal was to practice those easy tips, and hope it made my straight stitches more straight and crisp.

About an hour an a half later, and with Nancy Pearl's voice (via her podcast Book Lust with Nancy Pearl) I was angry and frustrated. I couldn't remember how to do it! I stitched and seamed ripped. I stitched and seam ripped. I turned the fabric, tried from different angles, and I still couldn't get what I wanted in the outcome. (I refuse to tell you what I was doing, as it is so embarrassing, and now, irritatingly simple.) Not only could I not get it on my own, but I just could not bring myself to go back to the website and re-read the directions, which as you are saying in your head, would have saved me time and the eye strength to stare at all of those stitches I yanked out. Who was this crazed girl at her Bernina?!

Then Dan came home. IPod plugged into his ears, absolutly dashing in his work clothes and new haircut, and happy as can be. He unplugs, drops his gear, and breathes in the cool air of our oasis of an air conditioner. I take his lead, and I step away from my machine and the devil fabric.

We chat about the cases he is involved in, with as much detail as he can, without giving any details. Honestly, I'm half listening because with the wind of the air conditioner going past my ears (I'm directly in front of it as Dan moves to get some iced coffee), and my mind still reeling from the fabric gauntlet in the other room, I only hear Dan's low voice in mumbles.

While he's still still talking about what he's going to do for his cases, I move to my computer and look up the website with the tutorial. Now I just want to get it over with.

Dan takes a drag from his cigarette, notices what I can only imagine is a scary expression on my face, and asks what I'm working on. I tell him I re-reading a tutorial. He, still happy with post-work euphoria, tells me, "Practice, practice, practice!" in a sing-song way. Poor Dan. He has no idea this was the exact wrong thing to say. I glare and fire back, "I have been practicing all goddamn afternoon. So please, just ..." and I made a 'zip it' motion with my hand. He closes his mouth, grabs his computer, and heads off to the bedroom without another word.

Later I apologize. He accepts. All is well. (Side note: today while recounting yesterday's events, he says, "I did good! You said zip it and I zipped it!")

All that is to say, today some cool things happened. I swallowed my pride, read the tutorial, and made some stuff. Here's a peek.

1) A clutch made with utterly fantastic flame/transparent butterfly wing/orange and purple goodness. It fits my cell phone and check book perfectly, side-by-side, with room for lipstick on the side. 2) It's a bit large for a wrist-let bag, so I'm thinking this is more of a cosmetics bag. Or perhaps an art supply bag. It also happens to be the first zipper I've ever sewn, and I proudly showed it off to Dan as he came home today.

Wednesday, June 9

Myths Series

I've been a fan of mythologies for quite sometime. The history of oral tradition mixed with the fantastical ideas of gods, quests, and creation stories make my mind whirl with how large and long they have been in existence. The idea of myths is something I feel is decidedly human, and not just historically human, but true still in how they continue to be revised and created today.

A few years ago, I read a book called The Penelopiad by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood. It's a wonderful perspective of what Penelope's world was like when her husband, Odysseus, was off on his adventures, known from Homer's The Odyssey. I loved reading it for many reasons: Atwood continues to use satire to entertain and educate, the main character is a powerful heroine in a world dominated by male creatures and force, and it shows more depth in a story I already loved.

When last in Sp0kane, I picked up Phillup Pullman's new book called The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, which is a fictional interpretation of, you guessed it, Jesus Christ, who in this book, is represented as two separate people. It is no where near one of my favorites, but in looking into the research done for this book, I found out it's part of series Canon Gate is doing, called The Myths Series. I was also happy to find that one of my favorites, The Penelopiad is a part of this series.

I've taken up the goal to read them all, and currently I'm working through Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith. It's the only one available through the library, so the others I'll be hunting on websites and bookstores. This one takes up the myths of the Celtic Dream God, Angus.

Just by their outlines on CanonGate's website, I'm particularly interested in the myths The Helmet of Horror, Baba Yaga Laid and Egg, and The Hurricane Party. If you like this idea, I encourage you to read them too.

Friday, June 4

New slouch bag

I made a new bag. A reversible slouch market bag. I love this fabric that Ciara found with me in Spokane. It reminds me of tentacles! The bottom is reinforced and the strap is thick for comfort. What do you think? I'm going to take it up to Chicago with me and try it out :)

Wednesday, June 2


The kitties are getting along a bit better. I'm using food.
Kodak has been the great peacemaker. He keeps trying to bump noses with Comma, but usually she runs off.
My talented sister made me this skirt. She says she loves how girlie it makes me look. I like that it has skull fabric in the pockets, along with the skirt itself :)

I went with Jordan today to wander around the area. We went to Makanda to the boardwalk and explored the few shops there. I have a pretty purple beaded bracelet now.

In Makanda they hold a Vulture fest. I will let you know what this actually looks like.

Behind the shops was a huge back yard with trails, and trees with old junk and hidden treasures. I especially like the huge metal bug.
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