Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Wine Tote

Everyone needs a bag for shopping in wine country.  I am so ready for the next trip.  This is made with some of the fabric purchased on our last trip to the Finger Lakes wine country.  Originally I was going to put pockets between the straps but didn't want to cover up any of the beautiful fabric.  Then I realized why I really couldn't put pockets on it. Wine has to breathe.
Needed a glass of wine to celebrate finishing the bag!  Usually things don't end
up hanging from the chandelier when I drink.
There are pockets on the inside, however, just large enough to keep bottles from tipping and clanking.

I had the worst time getting photos today--could NOT get the lighting to work.  You can see that the wine glass is starting to empty out.

After the fifth try to get the light right, I just gave up.  Rather than refill the empty glass (it was barely noon after all), I decided to fix the pics with Photoshop later.  

I didn't sew the handles all the way to the top so that I could fold it over if the mood struck.

I think I may have to try this out at the local store first.  I'll be the obnoxious one in line saying, "No, thank you, I don't need your crappy leftover box.  I have my own wine tote."  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The First Attempt to Make Bath Bombs (aka Bath Fizzies)

I love the bath bombs from Lush.  However, they are expensive, and I'm cheap.  The general consensus on the 'net  is that bath bombs aren't hard to make, but there is a learning curve for getting the moisture and ingredient levels right.  Even better, most people say fails are still usable for the most part, just not pretty.

After sending away for the only ingredient I could not find on hand, the citric acid powder, and a round mold, the experimenting began.  My first attempts are NOT pretty.

Three different recipes
These were all supposed to be balls, but I could only get one out of the mold without splitting.  The extra half was just leftovers.  You know why they cracked?  According to internet sources, they are either too wet or not wet enough.  Oh, that helps.  What matters, however, is whether they work, right?

Yes!  This one did anyway.  It fizzed, gave off a beautiful orange citrus fragrance, and floated.  I really don't care about the floating, but some people apparently do care.  The only downside was that I had way too much oil in it.  I have a big tub, see: 

I made a BIG bath bomb.  I think the recipe was meant for making lots of smaller ones.  I felt like I was floating in a lovely smelling, ecologically acceptable version of the Valdez spill.  On the bright side, my skin looks freaking wonderful.  Cleaning the residual oil left in the tub: not wonderful.  I'll try using 1/4 of a ball next time.

Will I do it again?  For sure. I'm a sucker for bath products, take a lot of baths, and have trouble parting with money as mentioned earlier. Getting the oil situation in control will make mine just as enjoyable as the expensive Lush versions.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Bag That Happened Despite Me

Or maybe I should say "to spite me."  Bags can't think, right?  Nah.  

Okay.  It's a nice bag.  It's just not the bag I was trying to make. This was supposed to be such a simple project, just doubling the size of the tiny tote I did a couple of weeks ago.  First my reading skills failed miserably.  I needed TWO not one of some of the large pattern pieces I had cut and there was no more fabric.  Improv time! Sadly, my math skills were not up to my improvisation.  The bag changed and changed and changed some more.

Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with a rather long, squat bag with lots of pockets. If only I knitted or crocheted.  It would be perfect for skeins of yarn.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

So, what did you think of Vegas?

It's exhausting!  If you like to walk or need to, this is the place.  Yes, I am going to bore you with my vacation photos because Vegas can be beautiful,

albeit a bit ostentatious.

Of course, it also does gaudy really well, too.  

Even the buildings are giant screens for advertising.  Can't really complain about it because they are freaking mesmerizing.
The Aria sign is actually a giant screen continuously showing crystal clear, colorful videos. Who cares if it's advertising.  I was awestruck.  I want it.  Yeah, that is crazy.  Vegas does that to you.

Las Vegas can also be weird.  I have no idea why this wall of body parts exists.  I just could not bring myself to say, "Hey, what's this wall of boobs and butts about?"

Where else will you see local workers out to lunch in these outfits? I'm assuming the third member of the group went to the ladies' room.  Balancing that hat in the bathroom stall would be a bit of a hassle I imagine.

There is more to the area than the strip, though.  I LOVED the Red Rock Canyon area.  It's a photographer's dream.  I half expected to see cowboys come riding around the bend at any moment. 

The pic below does not do the massive wall of rock justice.  To get an idea of how big it is, the photo following it shows the two guys that were climbing it when I took the shot.  I didn't even know they were there. I heard them before I saw them and zoomed in for another photo. So look at the pic below where the red and white rocks meet, kind of near the center.  Then look at the one following it to see the close-up of the two climbers.

While the natural flowers may not be abundant or large, they are exquisite.  I have no idea what these are called.  Should I get energetic later, I'll look it up and update this.  According to someone on Google Images, this is a Scarlet Globemallow plant in bud!

Hoover Dam is also close by and interesting.

I find it to be beautiful in an industrial, desolate kinda way.  This is what you see in one direction,

and this is on the other side.

 I know lots of people don't care for the desert landscape, but I find it to be magnificent.

Lake Mead, the result of damming up the Colorado River is beautiful, too.  This is just a small piece of it called Boulder Basin. 

One last thing--a photo of a towel I found in Nordstrom's.  I am definitely going to steal this quote to embroider on something.
Ain't THAT the truth!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tiny Tote From Free Tutorial

Sweet, quick, easy and from a free tutorial called the Pick-a-Pocket Tote at...I think it's You can just Google it if you're interested.  UPDATE: Here's the link for the tutorial thanks to Wonky Girl! By my standards, this is a tiny bag.  Note the glasses in the front pocket and figure it out from there. It is 10x8x4 inches.

Did I make any changes?  Of course, I did.  I'm genetic predisposed to make changes. I used a light/medium iron-on interfacing on all the fabric so the sides will stand well, polypro webbing rather than making the handles from fabric, and edge-stitched around the top of the bag.   One thing I wish I had done differently is to increase the length of the webbing so that I could put it on my shoulder.

It's going in my carry-on bag for my embroidery stuff and a few extras toys such as the iPod.  My usual traveling embroidery case opens like a book which is great for car travel but a bit much on a plane.
A sneak peak at a set of new designs that will be wee ginger-haired people.
Six outside pockets for the iPod and the essential snub-nosed
 scissors to be extra sure the TSA people are happy.
My Fusion pen in case I need to trace out a new
design.  You never know! I might go into a sewing
frenzy and finish the three designs I've got ready.

Once again, I only used stash fabrics including the webbing which was left over from the Departure Satchel. I might just get this stash under control yet.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Purse Organizer

I'm in a sewing mood lately, and this is a project I've wanted to do for a long time.  The goal is to be able to change handbags easily without emptying all kinds of pockets.  Most of the tutorial and patterns I've seen for purse organizers are made to fit a certain bag size and shape.  That wouldn't work for me.  My bags come in all shapes and sizes.  One idea I saw, however, was just a long piece that could be rolled to fit.  I have a lot of  "stuff," so my strip is long!
The larger pockets have small pleats at the bottom.  They take up less
space on the base fabric that way.  It also folds easier than having flat
wider pockets to accommodate the bulk of larger items.
I lined all the "stuff" up and decided to make seven larger pockets for bulkier things such as tissue packets, phone, and the rolled up shopping bag
and smaller ones that are about pen-size for pens, my favorite stylus (am I the only one with fingers too fat to type on that tiny phone keyboard?), comb, and that sweet invention for hanging your handbag on the table when dining out.  That would be the silver circular things sticking out below.

Rolled up, it fits nicely in the new bag I made, the Cate from Paco Bean,

but it could be folded to fit in any bag and around any larger items that might be carried.

Another "I've been meaning to do this forever" project finished AND using only fabric from the stash again!  In this sewer's world that qualifies as a minor miracle.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Paco Bean's Cate Bag

Not bad!  It's a simple bag, not too big.  If I recall correctly, the finished size is 9x11x3.  I thought it would be a good size for everyday.

The pattern is clearly written and easy to follow.  My one really tiny (okay, petty) complaint is that the pattern pieces don't have the dimensions for the straight rectangular pieces printed on them.  It would have saved me needing to tape pieces together to get the dimensions.  If pieces are straight lines, I'd rather cut them with my ruler instead of the pattern pieces.

I added clips on both handles because I could, and I FINALLY figured out how I could remember to do this. As soon as I finished making the handles, I slipped the hardware on them.  I cannot tell you how many times I forget to put these things on.  It would be too embarrassing.
Clips in place so they won't be forgotten.
There was a zipper with two slides in the stash, so that got used.  One change I made was to make the top lining pieces from the exterior fabric.  I wanted all of the pieces that would show on the outside to be from the same fabric.  Had I followed the directions, that fabric next to the zipper would have been the lining fabric.
I'm hoping the zipper will not be a pain to use.

All the fabric was, once again, from the stash.  I may get this stash under control after all.
I think the lining is a linen.