Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Totes Ma Tote Pattern Testing



I love pattern testing, I was able to test for Janelle of Emmaline Bags, her new pattern Totes Ma Tote. I have done pattern testing for a few of her bags. I always find it fun to do and of course there is always a chance to use some new hardware. The size of the tote is W 17" at the top of the tote, W 13" at the bottom, H 12", D 4". I have no problem fitting in my iPad, wallet, water. I'm sure that I could fit in a small lap top, if need be. I like that it is a recessed zipper on this tote, as it doesn't take away the look of the bag.


This pattern is fun and different, due to the fact that you are adding oval grommets to place the straps in. That means you get to play with hardware and purse jewelry......eyelets, buckles, purse feet, magnetic snaps and my all time favourite Handcrafted in Canada. There is no shortage of bling.

I had no problems following the instructions for this tote as Janelle has clear written instructions as well as great pictures. I also got a chance to try a new product for me Annie’s Soft & Stable. Such a great product to use in the bag, I love how this adds so much body to the bag.



There are enough pockets inside for all your needs, to place your phone as well as any other things you wish to place in them so that everything is easy to find when needed. I find that the zippered pocket is a good size that I can even zip my wallet into it.

I used quilting cotton and then vinyl for my bag. I was able to follow the pattern to the use the vinyl except till I got to the straps when you needed to add the buckles to it. I ended up making the buckle straps by cutting 1/2" on the width of them and folding them to meet each other in the centre of the straps and stitched on either side of the centre. Due to the fact that it was vinyl that I was using, the ends of the vinyl show white so I needed to use a permanent orange maker to paint the ends.



I did make the handles the length that the pattern called for, then after taking all the pictures of the bag and using it for a couple of days, I decided to make longer handles. The only thing I would add next time I make the bag is a key strap to attach my keys too, it could be easy added to one of the pockets.

I had so much fun with this bag as I decided that my zombies needed to be Quilted around so I went nuts and quilted pretty much all the drawing on the fabric.

I can see myself making up a few more of these bags in the future, I think it would look great in leather.

This is the tote after I added the long straps.


My crazy quilting.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Windham Fabrics Quilt Market Mini-Quilt Challenge! Whoa I Won the Challenge.

UPDATED POST MAY 26, 2014

I'm so excited to have heard that I won the Challenge. I was so surprised as I was up against such great quilts.




I like to challenge myself when sewing, by making up as you go purses instead of using a pattern.  I also like to go outside my box with quilting.  So when I saw that the first 18 people to comments on Windham Fabrics blog one day would get a chance to design a Mini-Quilt. A best in the show quilt will be chosen from the displayed Mini-Quilts the winner will get to choose a 1/2 yard bundle of their favourite fabric from the new Windham Fabric Spring offering. 

My Mini Quilt none the less that would be displayed in their booth at International Quilt Market, Pittsburgh.  I knew it was the challenge for me, OK so after I sent in my comment then I started stressing that it wasn't the challenge for me that it would be too much outside my comfort zone. I became even more so when I got the email from Nell that said I was in.

Of  course the stress didn't go away when I opened up the fabric pack and saw what fabric I had.  I saw  Bake by Julia Rothman. Don't get me wrong, I love the fabric I can see myself making some things from it, but I couldn't see a clear design at first as the patterns them selves are large for such a small quilt, as it was only 18"x18".



My first idea didn't turn out at all as the pattern was too busy, for the design I was trying to do. I kept working on it of course that meant that I was running out of time and fabric.  I made it though,  not my best work ever, but the main thing is I'm happy with the results and I diffidently made myself jump outside my comfort zone.




 I used the Knife Edge Binding to finish my mini as the other prints were just too big. I like the look of the knife edge as it doesn't detracted from the front of the quilt.





I wish I could be there to see it hanging in the booth.  Hopefully  we will see some pictures being posted of all our great mini quilts displayed in the Windham Fabric booth.

I'm very Happy to have been given the chance to do this contest.  

Also of course now that I have seen all the new Windham Fabric, I might have to go shopping......Who am I kidding I will have to go shopping.








Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Kidney Car - A Guest Post

Hi.  I'm Natalie's husband and I'm guest posting for Natalie, as she's knee deep in material at the moment.

Natalie wanted a Chrysler PT Cruiser from the day that the first concept car images were released.  She had it as the background on her computer for years. She bothered bugged badgered convinced me that a PT Cruiser would be the ideal replacement for her ailing but beloved Sherman (blue Nissan pickup).  Like any intelligent husband, I crumbled under pressure and agreed.

We ordered ourselves a PT Cruiser, silver, manual shift in May 2000.  No arguing over pricing, MSRP was the rule from the get go.  It arrived in October 2000, so fresh off the assembly line, the cargo bin under the passenger seat wasn't available (we never did get it).  Over the years, Natalie collected PT Cruiser stuff.  Coke cans with a PT Cruiser on it.  A PT Cruiser Hot Wheels car, silver. A superb die-cast model of a silver PT Cruiser.  A pink fairy pig that hung from the rear view mirror.

Did we say that it snowed today ?
 Natalie loved her PT Cruiser.  It bought both our sons home from the hospital, as my car only had 2 doors. The first time we had my in-laws in the car, we took it through the car wash with them, and laughed when my mother-in-law accidentally opened a rear window.  For 14 years, that car had been part of our family.

This year however, marked the end of that relationship. As a 14 year old model of a car with limited desirability, a quarter of a million on it, and manual shift, we knew we wouldn't get much selling it and no dealer wanted it as a trade.  We wanted more than just to drive it to a wreckers.   We decided to do something special with the car.





Fourteen years is a long time in car years.  We considered my nephew who just turned 16, but as we have to stay on speaking terms with my sister, we had to rule that out.  We tried to donate the car to the automotive program at my nephew's high school, but that didn't pan out either.  Then we saw the Kidney Foundation of Canada advertisement in this month's CAA magazine.

The Kidney Foundation has a program where you can donate a car, truck, or even a boat. You get a tax receipt for a minimum of $300 (depending on the ultimate value of your donation) and proceeds from the Kidney Car funds medical research and patient services for those living with kidney disease. Although we've been fortunate enough not to have a family member with kidney disease, this solution felt right.  It felt very right.

As it turns out, this world is a small one.  We learned just after making arrangements to have the car picked up by the Kidney Car folks, that a friend of Natalie's has a relative that has just received word that a kidney is available.  You can't imagine how powerful this felt.

The driver who picked our car was wonderful !
So we watched the Kidney Car tow truck arrive in the snow this morning.  The cheery driver, who had already picked up a Volkswagen Cabriolet earlier today, handled the paperwork and hooked up our car.
As we watched the car get taken away, we were pleased to hear that the transplant surgery went well, with the expectation of kidney function within the week.

Karma ?  Carma ?  Seriously, you just can't make up stuff like this.
Link to the Kidney Car Program


Bye Car !

BTW, did you notice that the first picture was of the model, not the actual car ?




Monday, 3 February 2014

Bag of the Month Club Feburary............Butterfly Sling Purse.





I am so excited I got to pattern test Emmaline's The Butterfly Sling Purse pattern before it was released for the February Bag of the Month. I had so much fun with this. I love Janelle's patterns they are very well written and her pictures, that help to explain the steps in the pattern, are very clear. When you buy one of Janelle's patterns you know that the finished product will look like the picture on the front of the pattern. (I think I nailed it.) lol

I always read the pattern before I start, and was happy to see that I had all the supplies on hand. Of course, Janelle has all the hardware in her shop http://www.emmalinebags.com  if you are not able to pick up the supplies locally. Hence, why I need to place an order for the heart shape lock.....Love it.


The hardest part for me with any patten is deciding on fabric. I seem to have a large stash of it in my sewing room. (big large stashes of fabric....there I feel better because I have admitted it.)  I have had this decor fabric for awhile as I wanted to make a clutch with it.  Soon as I read the pattern I knew it would be perfect for the Butterfly Sling.  I used Pellon TP971F Fusible Fleece Thermolam Plus and Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight that Janelle suggested in the pattern. Also I found my decorative zippers with great zipper pulls on them.

It is decor fabric that's the same weight as quilting cotton.  The only thing to watch for with some decor fabrics, is that the fabric shrinks when fusing on your interfacing or fusible fleece.  I ran into problems with the closure strap, as it is a little tighter than I wanted when closed.   As long as you are aware of your fabric content, you shouldn't run into any problems when fusing your interfacing and causing your fabric to shrink. Some people fuse their interfacing on before they cut out their pattern pieces, this can help insure your pattern stays true to size.


I wasn't sure if I would like the clear plastic pocket on this purse, as I always find that your I.D. sticks to the plastic and is hard to remove.  The I.D. pocket is generous in this purse, so I have not had any problems with getting my I.D. out of it.  It has a phone pocket as well, which is handy. Not having to dig through your purse is a bonus.  I find there are enough slots for all my cards, as we all seem to have tons of them. Also, there is a place to put my change, even though we no longer have pennies in Canada we do have toonies and loonies that need a place to pile up.

I didn't run into any problems making the purse other that the shrinkage of the fabric.  I find it is comfortable to wear and a good size to take out and about.  I'm sure I will have to make up a few more of these.   Of course, with most of the bags I make up now I have to add a little jewellery to add the bling.  Emmaline has a great selection.