Sunday, March 1, 2015

Campfire Messenger Bag

Welcome back everyone! I've been slowly decompressing and processing my Quilt Con experience this week. It was amazing - look for a post next week about that. So I'm diving back in with a bag pattern I tested right before I left for Quilt Con, the March bag for the Sew Sweetness Bag-of-the-month Club, the Campfire Messenger Bag by Anna Graham.

If you haven't joined the Bag-of-the-Month club and you like to sew bags, you should. It's a collection of top notch designers and a great value. This bag will be released by Anna as an individual pattern after the club session ends (look for it July or later). I'm thinking about doing a sew-along for it after it releases separately – let me know in the comments if you'd be interested. 

So first, let me say I love how this bag turned out – cute, great size, lots of pockets and cross-body which is my favorite style of bag.

Having said that I can tell you that the process of getting to the finish line was a long one for me. This bag isn't complicated but it does have lots of individuals steps that you need to pay attention to. I blame my pre-travel distraction but let me give you the advice I needed:
- Pay attention
- Read ALL the directions, twice
- Label all your pieces as you go and make notes if you need to (or highlight) measurements and placements on the pattern if you need to 

Anna is an excellent pattern writer and it shows in the final construction of this bag, but I managed to make more than my share of mistakes as I worked. I'm sharing them here to help anyone who feels intimidated to show that everyone makes mistakes, and you CAN make this bag. I worked through it with another pattern tester friend on IG which helped tremendously - she caught my mistakes and I ooh'ed and aah'ed over her cute (seemingly mistake free) bag ;-)

So here goes:
- I made the straps the wrong width and had to re-do them
- I put the inset zipper in sideways instead of across the top of the front panel. Do-over.
- I sewed my back interior panel in upside down (making the pockets USELESS) and didn't realize it until the bag was assembled. Took apart and fixed.
- Realized I made two straps instead of the ONE long one the patterns calls for. Re-did strap. AGAIN.
- Crossed the finished line and proudly snapped my bag shut, admired it and promptly broke off the snaps the first time I opened them. Another do-over. The FINAL do-over.

Are you laughing? Shaking your head? Questioning my true bag making abilities? I was too. But all I can say is that I kept going and am happy with the end product. In fact I feel like a bag-making hero for making this awesome bag. I climbed Everest and now I know I can again!

Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you're interested in a sew-along with this bag during the summer!

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.