It’s pretty hard to believe that February is at an end. Even harder to believe, that in a little less than two weeks, I’ll be turning the big 3-0!!!!! I always figured by the time my twenties wound down, I’d feel like an adult inside, but I’m still waiting for that to happenIn the mean time, to distract myself from my outrageously multiplying gray hairs, I’ve been busy playing with fabric! I’ll be joined by my super crafty (long distance) bestie, Jessieof Inside the Paper Box. In one of many (thousand) conversations about fabric, a concept that has repeatedly risen is Collection Mixing. Specifically, as an aspect of quilting that many people confess to struggling with. It can be difficult when your stash isn’t huge to really feel comfortable mixing as opposed to buying a bundle of a set collection. I believe that only with constant practice and education, can one grow as an artist. Together, we’ve come up with a series of palettes to push ourselves beyond our normal “color comfort zones”. We’ll aim to blend as many collections as possible. We’ll try to illustrate how one color palette can be interpreted so differently, through our respective styles and stashes!!!!! We would LOVE it if you’d like to play along!!!!! We’ll post palettes in the flickr group ( Fabric Stack Fridays ), at the beginning of the month. Then you can link up in the comments with your interpretation.
I’m really feeling these colors together. Can you ever really go wrong with turquoise?
As always, palette made using the excellent services over at Play Crafts. It automatically generates the Kona colors for you, how awesome is that? I’ve spent a scary number of hours making these. You should definitely head over and give it a try!
Howdy Blog hoppers! Today is my stop on the Ellison Lane Crafty Traveler Blog hop. I was thrilled when Jennifer asked me to join in on this round and I figured it would be a perfect time to finally blog about the two bags I decided to make at the same time as a personal growth challenge.
It’s pretty much a rite of passage on the path of sewing bags. Those in the know usually get that wide-eyed, distant look in their eye, like they’ve caught a glimpse of a Heather Ross unicorn, running in the wild, at the mere mention of its name. “The Weekender” they whisper, as they unconsciously reach out to stroke it. Now, you might be sitting there thinking, “But Ale, it’s so hard, it has interfacings and Peltex and layers and PIPING. OH MY GAWWWDDD SHE WANTS ME TO MAKE PIPING AND BREAK A MILLION NEEDLES AND MY HOPES AND DREAMS IN THE PROCESS!!!!”
Except, here’s the deal… its really not that bad. The most important “tools” for projects like this are PLANNING, PATIENCE AND TAKING YOUR TIME. And with some help from the online sewing community; you, too, can have your very own unicorn to use everyday of the week!!!!
So let’s get down to it!!
While I’m a fairly advanced sewer in the areas of quilt and home goods, I’m by no means a bag expert. In fact, the Weekenders were my 2nd & 3rd bags…. ever!! Having heard of this harrowing urban legend, I spent a good hour really reading through the pattern. Visualizing the process and making sure that I understood all of the terms mentioned and familiarizing myself with any rusty techniques called for. Then, I spent a good 3-4 hours searching for blog posts, tips/tricks and modifications. Find my pinboard here: Conquer the Weekender
Here’s a brief rundown on the most modified parts of this bag ( based on my own and and countless inspiration blog post changes). This isn’t a project you can do in a day. Plan to spend at least one evening cutting, ironing and interfacing the pieces. This is a lot of work so just try not to rush through this part. Mistakes can be really expensive!!!
Handles: This is a really BIG bag. As written the handles are too short to be comfortably slung around ones shoulder, and too thin to really support the weight of this bag, packed to capacity. I added 12” of length to the handle and still could’ve added more. Think about where you want the bag to fall on your body and adjust accordingly. Increase width of the handles when cutting to 4”x 60” and the Peltex to 1” x 60”
Also, sew them up high and do a reinforcing X at the top to really anchor them while backstitching like it’s your J-O-B.
Piping: This can technically be skipped, and I’ve seen several bags without it that are still totally gorgeous. However, in my mind, the piping is a touch that elevates this from a homemade looking bag, into a polished finished piece. I couldn’t find the exact 6/32” cotton cording called for, so I chose one slightly larger and it hides mistakes a little better! Rather than sew the binding together, I used ¼” Steam-a-seam tape. This way you don’t have to worry about hiding the original line of stitches. Also following advice of others, I increased the strip width to 2” so it wasn’t as fiddly and prone to shifting while wrestling the layers together. A piping ( or zipper) foot is a great help if you’ve got it!!!! Use the right foot for the job!!
Outer pockets: Added magnetic fasteners between the outer pockets and main body panels for a little added security. I’ve used this as a carry on bag on 3 cross-country flights now, with no issues of stuff falling out in the security line!
Step 11: By far the most challenging part of the bag is joining the thick layers together. This is where people report breaking dozens of needles. Switch out your needle at this stage for a really heavy-duty denim needle and go really SLOW. I made two bags without a single needle break!!!!! I also found that using Clover Wonder clips helped A TON when holding the layers together to prevent shifting. Trying to jam needles through all those layers is dangerous! Don’t try to get the stitch line perfect on the first go round. I found that I needed to get the first line of stitching on well enough to join the layers. After that it was a matter of carefully sewing closer and closer to the piping to get a nice tight finish. Remember, this won’t show in the finished bag since it’s lined. So you can get a little freaky with the method to get it sewn nice and snug. Mine resembled a standing lunge with weird arms. I like to break it out at cocktail parties and serious event.
Lining the bag: Some people managed to machine sew in the lining, but I like to hand sew, so I went that route. My biggest complaint is that, as written, the lining has no internal pockets. I made some really simple pockets and if I were to do it again, I’d put more thought into them. I highly recommend at least one internal pocket, a deep, gathered elastic pocket would be a perfect match
Whew!!!! Thanks for reading that novel!!! I hope this helped a little and that you feel ready to tackle your own beautiful unicorn;)! Thanks again to Jennifer for putting together an awesome blog hop!!!!! To reward you for reading all the way down how about some fabulous prizes???
Crafty Traveler Blog Hop: Feb 3- March 12
Link-up your travel handmade project March 6-12 for a chance to win one of three great prizes! (US only)
I was first introduced to the art of Friday Kahlo in my junior year of high school. My parents farm backed another that was home to John Ebersberger (or perhaps his parents actually owned it? I can’t recall). There were quite a lot of his students that lived/worked in the area and on the property, so I frequently came across groups of them painting in the woods while I was out exploring (and snapping pictures) on my wretchedly disobedient pony Cece. Seriously,she was pretty much demon spawn, the naughtiest pony that ever lived. She got us terribly lost more than once.
Anyhow, on one such occasion after she decided to bolt for no apparent reason, I came out into a field and happened upon my friend Wendy. She worked part time with me at the coffee shop when she wasn’t making amazing art. Anyhow, she was painting a portrait of woman and drawing strongly from Frida’s style. When I commented on the style, she told me about her and I resolved to go and look her up. Well, a love affair was born. I find so much of Frida’s life extraordinary. She dealt with such pain on a near constant basis, that to have put out even half of her work is rather incredible. Her color palettes are so just rich and diverse and full of life and pain. I won’t lie that this is light years away from my normal color choices but I just LOVE it. I’m determined to make it to the Blue House the home she shared with Diego Rivera) in Mexico that’s been converted into a museum. Until then, here is a color palette and a fabric stack inspired by Frida Kahlo!!
Now that I’m settling into my sweet new space, I thought it high time to revive my fabric friday color challenges.
Every week, I pick a theme, then I find an inspiring picture and build a palette. Then, using the palette as a guide, I make fabric stacks blending collections and finding new ways to interpret old prints. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I push myself outside of my color comfort zone. I’ve found some of my very favorite fabric combinations this way. I know that a lot of people struggle with mixing collections or don’t necessarily have the stash to do so. Hopefully by seeing these color exercises, you will be inspired to mix your collections and build some stacks too! I use the awesome free palette generator available at Play-crafts. You can add colors and drag them around to pull your favorite shades out of the picture ( so much fun!).Oh and did I mention it pulls colors and gives you the Kona name for the color! OMG YES PLEASE!! If you want to play along, you can find the schedule of themes for the next month in the Modern Fabric Porn flickr pool, and don’t forget to add your pictures there too!. Tag it on IG or twitter with #FabricFridayCC
So this is quite a bit outside of my color comfort zone. While I love these colors, I very rarely, if ever, use them together. I love the sense of Scandinavian Style they evoke. With christmas on the brain, I decided to mix in some greens to represent the evergreens that grow there so abundantly. Only two of these are actually christmas prints, but I think in the right context, they all “read” as Christmassy quite nicely!!!
Hope these inspire you to make a stack! Have a great weekend, good luck to those of you finishing ( or even starting) your holiday shopping!!!!!
So for the longest time I thought I HATED eggnog. I’d tried various store bought varieties and just never really got what all the fuss was about. A few years ago, my mom’s boyfriend shared a batch he made and aged at least a month before serving. Shut the front door.It was delightfully boozy, with warm notes of vanilla and cinnamon. It packed a hella punch, and I finally got it. Eggnog is actually pretty amazing. Using his recipe as a starting point, I spent a good two weeks looking up every single eggnog recipe I could find online and in midcentury ( or older!) cookbooks. I picked and choose all of the best aspects of dozens of recipes and developed what is rapidly becoming one of our favorite holiday treats.
Now traditionally, eggnog was made before hand and aged anywhere from a few days to a month before consuming. The booze helps to keep the dairy from turning. We stretched our batch last year all the way until May (Ben had the last cup as a birthday treat and it was insanely good). So long as you allow minimal air inside the container this will pretty much keep indefinitely. It is supremely warming, light textured and full flavored, everything a winter classic should be.
I make this every year as soon as the thanksgiving leftovers are gone and I get my fridge back. I make a huge batch and give it away as gifts, I think people look forward to this more than they do any of my other holiday treats!
12 C. milk (about 3/4 gallon)
2 C. Heavy Cream
2.5-3 C. Spiced Rum
4 C. Bourbon
2 T. Vanilla extract
1 T. Vanilla Bean paste or one vanilla bean scraped
3 T. Cinnamon, I try to grate at least one fresh stick or quill
1/2-3/4 tsp. Nutmeg, freshly grated*
1/4 tsp. Cardamon, freshly grated*
2 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
1 1/2 -2 C. sugar to taste
1 tsp. kosher salt
* If not using freshly grated, more may be needed.
**Try to use the freshest, highest quality you can find. This is definitely the place to splurge.
Beat the eggs, spices and vanillas with a whisk until they are smooth and even. Then, slowly add in the milks and cream. Add in the booze. Now whisk in one cup of the sugar until it dissolves and taste it. I don’t like it as sweet so I add in anywhere from another 1/2 – 3/4 C of sugar, so adjust to your taste. Now pout it into a a really clean container and store in your fridge. Everyday for one week,I whisk or shake it generously to redistribute the spices and any sugar that might have settled. After several days of aging, I taste again and make any adjustments needed to the flavor or sweetness
To serve, we like to use the traditional method of folding in whipped egg whites. I usually assume about 1 egg white = 1 C nog.
Beat the egg whites on high until they form stiff peaks, then slowly fold into the nog. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve. It’s also pretty divine poured into coffee, or even just on the rocks if you like it like that!! Two glasses of this stuff and you’re bound to be toasty, no matter how cold it is outside!!!!! Back tomorrow for fabric friday!!