Friday, April 10, 2015

A Week of Purses - One Down and One to Go

 I really do need to take more time for personal sewing, but I get so excited about patterns that I keep putting my own projects off for another day. Right now with the happy frog mug rug completed I don't have any really pressing projects.  This is a great time to take a bit of a break, so I've begun sewing a couple of  spring purses for myself.

The first purse is finished. This was my very first experience with making a messenger bag.

I made so many mistakes in designing this pattern! It finally came out okay, but what headaches I created for myself by not thinking it through carefully enough before I began.

I should probably break down and buy a couple of patterns, but I'm so stubborn about making my bags from my own designs. I never see anything that's exactly perfect. If I design my own bag I can construct one with the exact style and measurements that I want. My husband tells me that I make work for myself when I could do things so much more easily, and he's right, I suppose. Stubbornness runs in the family and I inherited it in spades.

The second bag will be so different from anything else I own, and I'm truly excited. The idea for the design came from Pinterest, of course, and the decision to make it came out of a trip to the Baby Lock shop.

I had to pick up a new foot for my sewing machine, you see, and I should have known that I'd get lost in the fabric department. This scrumptious little group of fabrics was irresistible. I had saved a photo of a bag that I loved, and it required a group of soft and warm coordinated fabrics.

That bag I saw on Pinterest that will be the basis for my design. No pattern is available, so this time I have a real excuse for doing my own thing. Plus, I plan to make some major changes to the design, so the bag will be quite unique.

I really wanted to start today, but I can't do much until I have a zipper. Today, I'll take care of some essential chores around the house and work on getting the pattern just right. The zipper will have to wait a day.

Later in the week, I hope to begin making a second fat quarter quilt from my slice and dice design.

This time I'll get photos as I go, and, although it will be made with the same design as this one, you'll see two totally different quilts in the final pattern.

The weekend is upon us, and the drizzle of the past few days seems to be ending. We've had some warm days, but it's been very chilly this past week. I'm definitely not complaining about the moisture! We've had an unusually dry winter and the rain is more than welcome.  My grass is lushly green and my apple tree has begun to bloom. I can't wait to say goodbye to the cold and welcome the fragrant spring breeze when we can finally open the windows and let the fresh air blow through the house.

I love this photo! It reminds me so much of my grandmother's farmhouse. Thank you Google Images.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ideas and the Origin of a Happy Dance

I'm always surprised when people ask me where I get my ideas and whether I'm afraid I'll run out of things to make.

I honestly don't go around wondering what I can possibly do next. I do, however, run into trouble trying to choose which of my ideas I should work on next. Ideas pop into my head faster than I can write them down, and half the time I don't know where they come from or why they arrive. It seems that all the while I'm working on one project my mind is chasing ahead to next twenty possible projects.

Now and again, though, I know exactly why I thought of a specific design. The frog pattern is a great example of that.  My niece has a little girl who has a hard time getting up in the morning. They have finally found a solution, and her father posted it on facebook.  He said that the song, "Good Morning", from the Gene Kelly movie, "Singing in the Rain", was the newly discovered trick to getting her up and about with a smile on her face.

It's one of my favorite movies of all time!  I had to go hunting until I found the movie clip for Gene Kelly's famous dance in the rain. You remember this, don't you.

What a joyous dance!! The inspiration for my happy frog dancing in the rain with an umbrella traces all the way back to 1952 and a movie that has stayed with me since I first saw it as a young girl. 

I wasn't planning the pillow until a facebook follower said that she needed a frog pillow for her sunroom. Others liked the idea, and first thing I knew I was off buying a pillow form and planning a pillow as well as a mug rug. 

I chose the colors of the mug rug because they are so bright. They simply shout "happy". The colors on the pillow were picked to go with the small lap quilt that brightens our guest bed.  

I made this little lap quilt before I retired eight years ago. It was my very first experience with free motion quilting on something bigger than a small table runner. I hadn't a clue what I was doing and my stitches were all over the place in size. Even so, this quilt is one of my favorites, and to be honest, I'm the only one who's ever paid the least bit of attention to the quilting. 

The pattern is really quite deceptive. It's a Jacob's Ladder quilt and the color placement creates the stars. I spent hours moving all of the patches in the blocks around on my dining room table and photographing the different effects until I happened across this particular arrangement. 

There are no photographs of the process, of course, but it's such an easy little thing that I could likely make the pattern using my very limited skill with the drawing program in Word. It shouldn't be that difficult - all squares and half square triangles. I wonder if anyone would want it. 

I'm not yet sure what I'll stitch up next. I do need a new purse, and I have all of the fabrics for a low volume quilt for the "Slice and Dice" pattern. Those will be made before long,  but that doesn't mean for sure that they'll be next. At some point a vision of a project will hit like a bolt of lightening and I'll be catapulted into whatever it may be. 

In the meanwhile, here are just a few of the ideas I've jotted down for the future. For the most part I don't know which of these will be table toppers or table runners, mug rugs or wall hangings. I may even work up another pillow.  
  • A heart shaped box of chocolates for Valentine's Day.
  • Children on swings.
  • A trio of friends "then and now" quilt blocks or mug rugs.
  • Mug rugs shaped like a camper and a VW Bug.
  • A fish bowl
  • Sunflowers
  • Tiny houses
  • Christmas stockings
  • Packages on a table runner
  • A rocking horse
  • Farm scene
  • Little house in the big woods
  • Ships and sea
  • Cupcakes
  • Cats and a scratching pole
  • A table runner with feathers, probably in batiks
  • A sewing themed wall hanging (maybe for next year?)
  • Fruit
  • Sunshine
  • Child building a snowman
What would you like to work on next? 

Wishing you a joyful week with new reasons for happy dancing every day!