Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Campfire Messenger Bag

I had the pleasure of testing the Campfire Messenger Bag pattern for Anna Graham before I went to QuiltCon and I love how it turned out! This pattern is the March bag for the Bag-of-the-Month club over at Sew Sweetness. Sara has a stellar set of bag designers lined up and it's a great value if you like making bags (and you guys know I do ;-). I think it will be available as a stand alone pattern from Anna in the summer (July-ish).

So this is a cross-body style messenger bag that finishes at about 9"x12"x2.5" - it's a good size to use as a purse, hiking bag or even camera bag. It uses Soft & Stable on the body so it's a nice sturdy bag and seems like it would provide some protection if you did want to use it for camera stuff. Aside - am I fooling myself here thinking that anyone still carries around a camera? I know I've pretty much gone to iPhone photos except for blog posts which I mostly shoot at home. Just curious. 

Back to the bag, it has great pockets (I love pockets - the more the better) as well as an inset zipper on the front which is nice if you want to keep anything really safe. I love the binding closure around the top edges too - so much easier than turning a bag inside out, plus that additional pop of color looks great. This pattern is fairly involved but none of the steps are difficult, you just need to be organized. 

Which leads me to this: I write the name, size and what I need to cut for each piece on a sticky note and keep it on top of the pieces as I work. I can't finish a project like this in one sitting thanks to child, dinner, laundry, life - you get the idea - so this helps me keep everything straight in between working on it. I would also say make sure you read through all the steps and can visualize what you're doing. Each step is building one part and if you understand that part and go slowly you'll be amazed at how well your bag turns out. I try and break up the steps like this: 

Day 1 - iron and cut out all fabric pieces 
Day 2 - cut out all interfacing pieces
Day 3- Fuse/baste all interfacing to fabric
Remaining Days: Bag assembly

That's just what works for me - if you have the uninterrupted time to sit down and sew then yay for you and I'm a little jealous.

I changed very little from the original pattern - I left the top zipper off, I just find I never zip them and they scratch my arm while I'm inevitably digging around for something (totally personal preference). I moved my snap tabs up slightly (about a half inch) from Anna's placement because I know I'm going to jam PACK this bag full of stuff. My last change was to not interface the snap tabs - I just found it easier to insert the snaps through the layers of fabric without the interfacing. I have no idea if that will significantly change the durability of the snap tabs but I always know who I can get to replace them if need be ;-) 

I used Cotton + Steel arrows for flap, Essex yarn dyed Linen in Flax for the body, a navy Kona for the accent and a seafoam Painter's Canvas from Laura Gunn for the lining. If you have any questions please let me know and I'll be happy to provide any other info that I can.

NOT that I need another project but how cute would this bag be in this Little Red Riding Hood fabric?! I know, I know but still...

Thanks again to Anna Graham for the opportunity to test another great bag pattern.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Finish It Up Friday :: Desert Strings Quilt Top

I have to say it is SO satisfying to create something that so fully realizes the picture you had in your head. I've been posting these blocks on IG as I finished them so you can check there for more up close shots if you'd like! Most of these fabrics came from my two local favorites shops, Stash Fabrics and Cuts of Cotton - both carry great variety and have excellent service.

15.5" blocks sewn on muslin
24 blocks total
Quilt top = 60"x90" 
Apparently I have lost the ability to make a lap sized quilt.
Already bought the flannel backing and I think I'm going to tackle the quilting on this one myself - wish me luck.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mini Quilt Monday :: QuiltCon Strings

12.5" string blocks in all solids, not quite done yet but I'm so in love I just had to share.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Finish It Up Friday :: Mending Kit

It's a tiny finish this week! This is the Mending Kit pattern from Michelle Patterns. There is quite a bit of interfacing and prep work - I'd say you need to be an intermediate bag maker or a REALLY confident beginner for this one. But Michelle does a great job writing and photographing her patterns and I've never made one that I didn't completely love and this one is no exception.

I made it to take to Quiltcon - I think it seems like the perfect like kit for classes and to take on the plane. I'm trying to not overpack for once (can you hear my husband laughing?!). I used a Denyse Schmidt print from JoAnn's and a Kona solid for the lining.

Thanks for stopping by and happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday :: More Strings

Can you tell how obsessed I am with string blocks and quilts right now? I've fallen hard and it just seems to keep getting "worse". I've been dreaming of a quilt in this palette (which I'm calling desert) for at least a year now, maybe longer. It's far from my normal favorite color - any and all greens - but I just love it. So I've been collecting fabrics here and there and waiting to find just the right block. 

I found it!

These are 15.5" blocks which is a much more FQ friendly size since it requires shorter strings on the largest diagonals - 22" will go from side to side at the widest point of these. The whole block-a-day thing is working out great, sometimes I'm even doing two blocks. I'm actually making myself stop at two because it's keeping me really excited to start again the next day after just two. Any more and it starts to feel like work and who needs that?! So I'm already half way done with this version and I'm so super excited to watch it come together. I'll keep you posted as I finish it! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Finish It Up Friday :: A Tale of Two Quilts, part 2

Ta-da! Here's the second of the two re-purposed shirt quilts and I am IN LOVE. The navy solids are new but everything else is repurposed. I love how all the blues work together and the quilting just adds another dimension of pattern and texture.

I used this tutorial from Jeni at In Color Order - I did modify her pattern to add the small center triangles - I just wanted a little more contrast there. It finished at 66" square after washing. I used the same navy for the binding and a gray and white flannel on the back that was in keeping with the color scheme and masculine feel of the quilt. Straight line quilting finished it off - I debated the thread color for the outer navy triangles but ultimately I liked the contrast of the white thread on the blue
and I felt like using the same thread color throughout unified the design.
So now it's all crinkly and soft and ready to go home!
Feeling really thankful for the opportunity to make these wonderful quilts.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

World's Easiest Blondie Recipe


1 package yellow or butter cake mix
1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C (1stick) melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

1 C chocolate chips (I used milk)
1 C Heath Toffee Bits (you could used chopped nuts instead)

Crushed pretzels

Preheat oven to 350. Spray or foil line and spray a 9"x13" pan (I use foil and spray - makes the bars super easy to remove from the pan and cut).

Blend the cake mix, brown sugar, eggs melted butter and vanilla in a large bowl on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits. Spread dough in prepared pan with a spatula - it will be stiff and you'll think it won't spread enough to cover the whole pan. It will. 

I started with a bag each of chocolate chips and toffee bits and used the extra (along with the crushed pretzels) to sprinkle the top with before baking. Bake about 25 minutes - bars will crisp up as they set so don't over bake (should be golden brown but still soft). Let cool and cut into bars.