Friday, March 27, 2009

BTRSswap Charming Handbag Completed

My pieces of this round of the BTRSswap is now complete. I finished the bag itself about a week ago, pushed into early motivation by the ladies behind Twin Fibers. While wasting time I saw their creations on the BTRS flickr pool. I liked both of them so much it gave me the inspiration and motivation to get sewing. I can hardly believe I am finished with days to spare. I am usually a last minute, fervent sewing to meet the deadline kind of swapper.
For this bag I used an unbleached cotton for the outer bag and a gorgeous Caribbean Blue velvet ribbon and bow. The color of the ribbon really pops against the simplicity of the bag.
Along with the bag we were asked to slip in a few goodies totaling about $5. I tucked in a package of tropical colored tassels, cool blue vintage buttons and a small hand knit dish washing cloth. I prefer smaller washing cloths so that the dish water doesn't go flying around while washing the dishes. (Yes, I hand wash. Partly because I like it but mostly because we don't have a dishwasher.)

The inside of the bag is an Amy Butler fabric with an aqua background and mustard yellow and white pattern. Amy Karol's pattern doesn't call for a pocket, but I really like to have pockets in my handbags so I added one. The pocket as a trim of the same outer fabric sewn across the top so the pocket blended with the inner fabric but didn't get lost. I also added a little ribbon tie for a closure. It's all packed up and ready to head to it's new home on the opposite end of the country. Pretty much as far away from here as you can get without crossing an ocean. Or Canada.

Here's a little close up of the wash cloth. It has a seed stitch border all the way around and a little knit/purl checkerboard pattern in the center. It's made from Peaches and Cream cotton yarn in yellow.

I am a really slow knitter but this was pretty quick. I may make myself one, too. After I get a sock finished...


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I say she's a Swap Mama

Swaps are risky by nature. You may get what you always wanted but never knew it or you could get a great handmade creation that's well made, but just not you. It's a 50/50 chance at best.

I love swapping, yet I am often hesitant to sign up. I am usually a quick decision kind of girl. Swaps are one thing that slow me down. Not only am I thoughtful of the fact that the person on the other end is only going by what they read from this little blog and from my lame attempts at describing my likes and dislikes, but I am always worried that, going off of similarly little information, my creations for them are OK, but not blow-her-away spot on.

With the latest installment of the BTRSswap I definitely came out on the plus side of that 50/50 risk. (Please excuse the crappy cell phone pictures. I usually borrow my guy's camera, but he's got it and I am impatient.)

My make-it-for-me partner Erika of Inspired Mama Musings sent me the best swap package I have received. In this round swappers made the Charming Handbag from Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing. Erika paired an awesome chocolate brown background and bright flowers fabric with a bright stripe fabric for the lining and handles. This bag is very me. It's already backed full of my daily necessities.

Along with the Charming Handbag, Erika made some matching fabric covered buttons that I already plan to use with the Full Contact Apron from Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me, two super cute fabric covered hair pins, several custom made tags and a rockin' fabric covered ring.

Also tucked in my new bag were these handmade tags, which I don't know if I will be able to use because that would mean they wouldn't be mine anymore.

Uncharacteristic of me, I actually have started and finished the bag I am making for my partner. I am including a few little goodies and am half way through knitting a little dish washing cloth to go along with the package. Hopefully I will finish up the knitting tonight and send the package off tomorrow.

Jeffery T. was very helpful during the sewing of the bag. He likes to help me press the fabric (aka laying all over it while I am trying to trace/cut/line up pieces). He did get a little bored of me shooing him off the fabric and amused himself by trying to measure his own head. This is difficult to do with a metal yardstick. He kept saying, "Mama, how big is my head?" or "See, Mama, my head isn't as big as you thought."

No, T, 5-1/2" inches is not too big for a cat head.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Green Goodness

In honor of St. Patrick's Day here are a few green things that I love...

Our kitchen cabinets which I painted green two summers ago

Green recycled glass aggregate which we sell at

Lettuce from our garden which is growing into nice little heads

My handmade-for-about-$7-just-what-I-wanted-green dress (that needs to be ironed after sitting through the wedding ceremony, whatever)

Avocado acid stain, also sold by us at

Our green screen door to the back patio painted green by my guy last summer

My beloved bird of paradise that grew from a wee little 8" plant to this nearly 20 foot tall beauty

The Turkis Green 1962 VW Single Cab, aka work truck

The 1959 too fast for me VW Convertible Beetle that I LOVE to drive, but only get to sit shotgun in (see "too fast for me" above and note that "too fast for me" is should actually be quoted as "too fast for you" and be coming out of the mouth of my guy because I don't think it is too fast for me...I like going fast and letting the wind whip through my hair as I zoom down the street speedy quick because that car if FAST and oh so fun!)

Happy St. Patty's Day! Have a green beer for me! =]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Funky earrings and a giveaway you can't enter

Jenn from the aforementioned baby quilt post gave me these rockin' earrings just for going to her baby shower! Can you believe it? I couldn't. I just love their funky shape and uber hip design. I don't have any gold earring, but I think these are my new favorites. Won't they make me look hot this summer when I have a nice bronze glow?

Her friend owns a shop called Panache in Gulfport, Mississippi where she sells funky stuff like these earring. Go there if you are so inclined to copy me.
In other gifting news, Jenny made a gorgeous spiderweb quilt and is donating it to her mother to giveaway on her blog. I am only posting about this so I can earn another entry. I really want this quilt, so don't go post a comment. I want it. Stop brainstorming where you would put it, it's coming to my house. And anyway, I plan on gifting it to another friend who is having a baby in May. She needs it more than you. Don't comment, I mean it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jackson's Quilt

This past weekend I drove to visit life-long friends of mine. We all grew up living on the same street and amazingly kept in touch after I moved away after eighth grade. This was way back before it was easy to keep in touch either through e-mail, myspace, facebook, twitter, etc. (The only one of which I use is e-mail. I am so un-hip.)

After I *finally* left a mere three hours after I had intended and five hours after I tried starting to leave, the drive was great. We live off the same interstate, only three states to drive through. Friday night I got to hang out with my friend Susan and her family for a little before we crashed.

Saturday Susan held the baby shower at her house for her sister Jennifer. We had delicious finger foods including these amazing little tomato finger sandwiches and a fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust. I could have eaten the entire plates of both and not been ashamed at all.

I made this quilt for Jackson (the baby due at the end of April and whose shower we were attending) using some of the gifted fat quarters and other fabrics from my stash. Actually the binding and tan fabrics on the back of the quilt was extra fabric from the place mats I made Jackson's parents for their wedding gift a year and a half ago. Nice little coincidence.

I stippled it, washed and dried it the night before I had to leave. I am a not a great time manager when it comes to sewing. I stayed up until about 2 am Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights piecing the blocks, combining the blocks and piecing the back, but it was completely worth it.

The blue section of the tag reads: May your life be wrapped in love, warmth and sunshine *heart* Me 2009.

I got a little weepy (classic me) when she opened the blanket and read the tag. I don't have a lot of friends here where I live now, and none of them are really close friends. It's hard to top 29 1/2 years of friendship when I'm only 30. Susan and Jennifer's friendship means a lot to me.

Sappiness over. I had a great weekend! Staying with Susan and her family is so fun. With two boys ages 5 and 2 and a 8-week old puppy there is never a dull moment! I think my favorite was when we were eating dinner Saturday night. The 5-year-old looked at me and said, "You look like one of those Spanish people!" I'm not Spanish, but that's not the first time I had heard that. His mom looked at him with that I-can't-believe-my-kid-just-said-that look and said to him, "I told you, God made everyone look different so we wouldn't get tired of looking at people." Awesome response. That's why we've been friends for nearly 30 years. That and we can both crack up at a statement like that.