Creating, Not Just Crafting

Last spring I wrote myself a reminder that would automatically pop up in my feed on December 26, which is about the time I start firming up plans for the next year.  It says, “Don’t plan sewing & inside projects starting in March–once it gets sunny, you hate being inside!”

I remember being swamped with quilting deadlines last year, and looking out my window at my blossoming yard and just being so forlorn about not being able to be out in the sunshine and dirt.  March and April are weird months here amongst the elevation of the Rockies and the super fun extra element of being in the desert–it’s still pretty stinking cold outside, but spring is hesitantly getting her foot in the door and then quickly pulling it back by throwing a spring snowstorm in the mix, repeat ad nauseum, and then May happens and it heats up FAST.  I’ve had plants just not grow because they were planted too late and couldn’t handle the heat, which is so weird because, hello, SUNSHINE!  It’s what makes plants grow!

With this year’s forced distancing from crafting–thanks to our family believing we were going to relocate to North Carolina until the last minute when that company rescinded their job offer, and already having packed up my crafting room because that’s an easy thing to pack first–the reminder to not schedule crafting starting in March was moot, but still appreciated.

I just spent today out in the garden, which has been in a state of preparation since mid-March, planting peas (might be too late for those, but we’ll see), carrots, onions, lettuce, sunflowers, and various herbs.  A neighbor walking by asked me if I felt like a Winter Quarters pioneer, planting crops with the expectation of leaving them behind for someone else.  And I really do–I don’t know if we’ll still be living here come July, which is when most of these things will be in height of their harvest, but it’s still creating something, and I really need that right now while I’m stuck in this limbo of not knowing where we’re going to be living next school year.  That feeling of doing something and making something is still needed, and I don’t need to create via my regular channels in order to satisfy it.

To be honest, it’s really nice to be out in the garden without any pressure to hurry up and get back inside to meet a sewing deadline!  I’ve been under sewing deadlines for the past three years now, and I’m appreciative of this, albeit unwelcome, restriction that has cut me off from regular time with my sewing machine because it’s good to get a breath of fresh air and be able to look around and contemplate if your life is heading in the direction you think it should be heading.  I’m learning that I probably need to cut back on the sewing commitments so I can more uniformly focus on the many facets of my life.

That sunshine feels good.

 

 

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Spring Fever, or, Portable Project Time

I can’t craft, people!  I mean, obviously, because most of my stuff is boxed up, but mostly because it is SUNNY outside, and whenever I think about crafting inside, I just recoil from the thought in horror.  I actually noticed this attitude of mine last year and wrote myself a Google Keep note to not schedule anything from March through August because I just feel so unmotivated crafting-wise once the nicer weather hits.  I’ll do some sewing during the dog days of summer when it’s just too hot outside in the afternoon and all I want is the coolness of my basement, and then something about it turning colder in September just ignites a sudden urge to knit for me, and off I go with crafting craziness.

Unfortunately, just because it’s spring and the weather has turned nicer, doesn’t mean I can really get going on my garden because I live at a high elevation, which means freak snowstorms and freezing temperatures.  The rule of thumb ’round these parts is to not plant anything until after Mother’s Day…and that’s, like, six weeks away!  So I clean up the garden as best I can, and trim errant branches…but that’s not enough activity to fill my days just yet.

But I need to be outside in that sunshine, so I think it’s time to get out the ol’ EPP projects and maybe some knitting before all desire to knit evaporates with the warmer weather.

Does spring fever affect your crafting rituals?  Any great portable/outside crafting suggestions?  I’d love to read ’em!

Oh, my darling Clementine

It’s the twentieth of the month, and, if you’re one of the Clementine Quilt Along contributors, that’s the deadline for submitting photos of this month’s block so that they can be posted on the Fat Quarter Shop’s blog when they do the official release of the new pattern for the month.  Come this month’s release, you will not find my name on the list of bloggers sewing along.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I announced that I’m no longer a part of the quilt along due to my husband’s employment relocation that then fell through–we got word we were heading to North Carolina, and a few days later were told, “Yeah, never mind.”  But, the damage had been done: I had submitted my temporary withdrawal from the quilt along, we’d talked to a realtor and started prepping the house to sell, AND, worst of all, I started packing up my craft room.  So when we got the whiplash announcement that the job was not going to happen, it was just more than I could do to unpack everything and reset my craft room.

I will, once everything calms down/we’re settled wherever we’re going to end up, finish the quilt along.  I hope that I can jump back onboard before its official end because it’s a very fun thing to be a part of.  But, if life works out that I finally get to sew again after the quilt along is finished, then I’ll do it then.  It will still be cute even after the official ending date.

My kids are NOT happy about this, but it’s because I said I’d sew up the little cat and dog stuffies that come with the Woof Woof Meow fat quarter bundle once I was FINISHED with the Clementine Quilt.  (Apparently they don’t care about childhood cancer research, meaning that I’ve apparently failed as a parent…although they do think we should donate the one extra stuffed animal to a children’s hospital, so that makes me feel a little better.)

Obviously, things might get super quiet on the blog, but I do plan to come back after all this craziness subsides.  Any guesses where we’ll end up?  There’s been nothing local (except for, you know, that one job that wanted to pay him the same wage he made fifteen years ago when he was freshly out of college…um, no), so all his interviews have been out-of-state, which is…nerve-wracking, exciting, and dreadful all at the same time, ha ha.  It won’t matter much in the long run where we end up–we made Australia work, so we can make staying-in-the-same-country work rather nicely, too, I’m thinking.

I just hope our next house has enough room for a dedicated craft room.

Because I don’t think I can make anything work if I don’t have that.

(First world problem.)

(Whatever; I use my craft room to help raise money for childhood cancer research, yo–I’ll pine for a craft room all I want.)

Hopefully I’ll see you again soon with a new Clementine block, because that would mean we’re settled and all this craziness is done.  Let’s hope extra hard RIGHT NOW.  😉

Clementine Quilt Along Block #2

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It’s Clementine time again!  Woo-hoo!

This month’s block is called “Broken Berries,” and it boasts the nice little perk of using up any accidentally-made flying geese blocks from last month:

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It’s not too late to join up with this fun sew along that will benefit childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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There’s a lot of us quilty bloggers participating in the Clementine Quilt Along, and you can check out their second blocks as well:

APRIL OF APRIL ROSENTHAL (@AMROSENTHAL)
BONNIE OF SUNSET FAMILY LIVING (@SUNSETFAMILYLIVING)
CARA OF THAT CRAFTY CARA (@THATCRAFTYCARA) <—THAT’S ME!
CARRIE OF MODA CUTTING TABLE (@MODAFABRICS)
DENISE OF PIECED BRAIN (@PIECEDBRAIN)
ELISE OF ELISE AND EMELIE (@ELISEANDEMELIE)
GINA OF CARPE QUILTIN (@GINA_TELL_CARPEQUILTIN)
HEATHER OF A CREATIVE PURSUIT (@ACREATIVEMAMA)
HILARY OF BY HILARY JORDAN (@BYHILARYJORDAN)
JAN OF COCOA QUILTS (@COCOAQUILTS)
JEN OF HERITAGE THREADS (@HERITAGE.THREADS)
JOANNE OF QUILTS BY JOANNE (@TURTLEQUILTERJO)
KAIRLE OF KAIRLE OAKS HANDCRAFTED GOODNESS (@KAIRLEOAKS)
KENDRA OF GOOD STARTER (@GOOD_STARTER)
KRISTEN OF 3 IN THE NEST (@THREEINTHENESTRALEIGH)
KRISTINA OF CENTER STREET QUILTS (@CENTERSTREETQUILTS)
LEAH OF PONDERINGS FROM MY HEART (@PONDERINGSFROMMYHEART)
MELANIE OF A BIT OF SCRAP STUFF (@MELLIERC)
MELISSA OF HAPPY QUILTING (@HAPPYQUILTINGMC)
PAT OF PAT SLOAN (@QUILTERPATSLOAN)
PAT B. OF LIFE IN THE SCRAPATCH (@SCRAPATCHES)
PATTY OF ELM STREET QUILTS (@ELMSTREETQUILTS)
REBECCA OF ONE WEE BIRD (@ONEWEEBIRD)
SARAH OF 123 QUILT (@123QUILT)
SEEMA OF SSK CRAFT SHOP (@SSKCRAFTSHOP)
SHERRI OF A QUILTING LIFE (@AQUILTINGLIFE)
SONDRA OF OUT OF THE BLUE QUILTS (@SONDRADAVISON)
STEPHANIE OF QUILT ‘N PARTY (@QUILTNPARTY)
TANYA OF TANYA QUILTS IN CO (@TANYAQUILTSINCO)
TERESA OF AUREA’S KITCHEN (@AUREASKITCHEN)
VICKIE OF CROCHETING VIXEN (@CROCHETINGVIXEN)

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Fat Quarter Shop has kitted up fabric for both the top and also for the backing, in April Rosenthal’s newest fabric collection, Mama’s Cottage.

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For more information about the sew along, including this month’s pattern download, you can check Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Sew Along landing page.

If you’d like to sew along, Fat Quarter Shop is asking for a $5 donation for each block pattern download, which you can donate here, to help them reach their goal of $40,000 raised to help in the battle against childhood cancers.

Clementine Quilt Along Block #1

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YES!  It’s Clementine Quilt Along time!  Fat Quarter Shop has designed a new block of the month program to help raise funds for childhood cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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I signed on to sew along, and here’s my block:

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It’s called “Watermelon Wheel,” and, if I may, I have some advice about putting it together (aka “Don’t Be Dumb Like Cara Was”)

  1.  When you go to sew up the diagonal components of the block, don’t go on auto-pilot and turn them into flying geese, and
  2.  After you re-cut the pieces for the diagonals, CHECK THEIR DIRECTION before starting to sew them, or you may end up with a whole lot of diagonals that go the wrong way.

However, once you finally remember how to sew like a good little sewist, this is a nice little block to make.  It looks great when you’re done, and part of the fun of this particular quilt along is that you’ll make two sizes of each block:

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I think it’s going to look pretty great when it’s all done!

I’m joining other bloggers to get the word out about this great fundraising opportunity, and we’re all sewing up Clementine blocks of our own.  If you’d like to see the other blocks out there, here’s who’s sewing along:

April of April Rosenthal (@amrosenthal)
Bonnie of Sunset Family Living (@sunsetfamilyliving)
Cara of That Crafty Cara (@thatcraftycara) <—that’s me!
Carrie of Moda Cutting Table (@modafabrics)
Denise of Pieced Brain (@piecedbrain)
Elise of Elise and Emelie (@eliseandemelie)
Gina of Carpe Quiltin (@gina_tell_carpequiltin)
Heather of A Creative Pursuit (@acreativemama)
Hilary of By Hilary Jordan (@byhilaryjordan)
Jan of Cocoa Quilts (@cocoaquilts)
Jen of Heritage Threads (@heritage.threads)
Joanne of Quilts by Joanne (@turtlequilterjo)
Kairle of Kairle Oaks Handcrafted Goodness (@kairleoaks)
Kendra of Good Starter (@good_starter)
Kristen of 3 in the Nest (@threeinthenestraleigh)
Kristina of Center Street Quilts (@centerstreetquilts)
Leah of Ponderings from My Heart (@ponderingsfrommyheart)
Melanie of A Bit of Scrap Stuff (@mellierc)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Pat of Pat Sloan (@quilterpatsloan)
Pat B. of Life in the Scrapatch (@scrapatches)
Patty of Elm Street Quilts (@elmstreetquilts)
Rebecca of One Wee Bird (@oneweebird)
Sarah of 123 Quilt (@123quilt)
Seema of SSK Craft Shop (@sskcraftshop)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Stephanie of Quilt ‘n Party (@quiltnparty)
Tanya of Tanya Quilts in CO (@tanyaquiltsinco)
Teresa of Aurea’s Kitchen (@aureaskitchen)
Vickie of Crocheting Vixen (@crochetingvixen)

Fat Quarter Shop has kitted up fabric for both the top and also for the backing, in April Rosenthal’s newest fabric collection, Mama’s Cottage.

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For more information about the sew along, including this month’s pattern download, you can check Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Sew Along landing page.

If you’d like to sew along, Fat Quarter Shop is asking for a $5 donation for each block pattern download, which you can donate here, to help them reach their goal of $40,000 raised to help in the battle against childhood cancers.

Classic & Vintage: Double Nine-Patch Quilt

Good morning, friends!  Today I get to FINALLY share Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern with you!  It’s from their “Classic & Vintage” series of patterns, and it’s called the Double Nine-Patch Quilt!

You probably aren’t aware that one of my most favoritest, favoritest things about quilts is NESTED SEAMS.  Seams that have to match perfectly, and so you press the seam allowances opposite each other so they’ll nest into each other and lock themselves into place…oh my goodness, sign me up for THAT.  You can imagine my exclamation of joy when I first laid eyes on the mock-up of Fat Quarter Shop’s newest pattern in their Classic & Vintage line-up, the Double Nine Patch:

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Just. look. at all of those nested seams.

Putting this quilt together is pretty simple–I’d even suggest that it’s accessible by a “gettin’ tired of making charm pack patchwork quilts” kind of beginner.  I actually kept track of how long each of my sewing sessions were with making this quilt, and I went from starching my pre-washed fabric to finishing attaching the borders in a little under twenty hours (spread over five days).  And the finished quilt is sooo beautiful:

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I just love classic patterns, and this is such a clean, pretty look.

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I chose to go with a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake’s “Comfort & Joy” fabric collection, because, hello,  CHRISTMAS, and I decided that I was going to keep this quilt for myself and I have been in love with this collection since it was first released last year, so “Merry Christmas” to yours truly, mwa ha ha.  I love, love, love the red, green, and white together.  Oh, be still my Christmas heart.

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I had the quilting done by Utah Valley Quilting, in their “Holly AB” pattern.  I love how it turned out!

Fat Quarter Shop has a kit available with Sweetwater’s “Project Red” collection included (oh, it doesn’t get more classic than red and white, does it?), and also a backing kit to match.  (Seriously love the print they chose for the backing!)

As always, there’s a cute little video explaining the new pattern, and you can watch it here:

Oh my goodness, I love this quilt.  Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for the opportunity to help you spread the fun news of this new pattern!

Linking Up:
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

 

My “New & Improved” Plan for Battling UFOs and Scraps

Last year I came up with a plan that would allow me to work through more UFOs, whittle down the overflowing scrap baskets in my craft room, and allow me to work, guilt-free, on some new projects.  In the past, I always start the new year with grandiose plans to blast through all of my UFOs, and the white-knuckle willpower would only last about six weeks because the textile world is constantly releasing new fabric, yarn, and pattern collections.  So, I came up with this project rotation:

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The Original Project Schedule

And it worked really well for about six months until I discovered a glitch with my system–I never chose fabric from my stash when it came around to make a “new” project, choosing instead to use new fabric from a new collection that excited me.  The stash was starting to grow faster than normal, and I had this weird reluctance to cut into any of it because it was dear to me.  You don’t buy fabric or yarn with no plan unless you’re really in love, which makes it hard to use said fabric or yarn.  But, as a wise homeschooling parent told me about art lessons with my kids, “Art supplies is meant to be consumed, not conserved.”  The same is true of fabric and yarn.  USE THEM.

Plus, I’ve been noticing a lot of my contemporaries breaking into the pattern market, and they are killin’ it, which made me start wondering if perhaps I should start at least trying to write my own patterns for my use?  I know how patterns work by this point in my creative “career,” and the challenge involved excited me as well.

And then we did some charity blocks in quilt guild and it just made me feel good to make those.

So my project rotation schedule needed a few tweaks:

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And it’s been working WONDERFULLY.  I love the challenge of coming up with my own patterns, and I really love the idea of #everytenthproject being a service project–it’s like paying tithing on my creative abilities, for which I am so grateful to possess.

I kept a spreadsheet detailing my projects for last year, and it really helped me with my stash management and with branching out of my comfort zone:

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(It also alerted me to the fact that I tend to only knit with new yarn, which led to the decision to stop stashing yarn completely…because once it goes into the stash, chances are high that I’ll not be interested in using it EVER after that.  Interesting.)

It worked extremely well until I started sewing again for Fat Quarter Shop–by the very nature of those projects, they are always “new” fabric projects, which very quickly started eating up the next available “new” slots in my plan.  I’ll have to watch out for that this year, and possibly come up with a plan to accommodate those projects–the turnaround time on them is tight, so it’s not possible to actually have a “plan” to include those projects into my schedule.  I might leave them out of the “rotation” altogether, actually, and just enjoy the ride when I’m asked to ride along…because, duh.

Oh, another important note: Babies and weddings don’t have to follow the schedule because they are also impossible to plan around.  I just plug them into the spreadsheet where they belong and then work around them as necessary because I LOVE BABIES AND WEDDINGS.  I’m a gift-crafter at my core.

What I find, though, is that this schedule greatly reduces the chances of acquiring more UFOs.  I’m horrendously distracted by the new-and-shiny, but when I’d start thinking about cutting for or casting on a new project, I’d consult my spreadsheet and see if it could fit into the next category up for grabs.  If it didn’t, I’d tentatively schedule it; but more often than not, when I came up to its turn in the rotation, my excitement for the new pattern would have waned and I could move on to something that had been on my bucket list and would truly bring me pleasure.  I started 2017 with thirty-eight UFOs, finished (or donated or frogged) nine UFOs, and am taking in two new UFOs–that means I now have thirty-one UFOs, which is totally an improvement!  I have never ended a year with less UFOs than I had at the beginning of it.  Feels good.

And now it’s onwards to a productive 2018!  Happy New Year, and may you find a little time each day to move forward on your projects.

clementine-qal-e1504126058289And if you’re looking for an idea for a service project, maybe you want to consider joining Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Quilt Along?  I’ve committed to it, and it would be lots of fun to have some more friends quilting along, too!

You can find more information about the Quilt Along by clicking here to visit the Fat Quarter Shop Blog.  Proceeds from this quilt along will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

The Nutcracker Mosaic Quilt Story

My mother and I adore decorating for the holidays, and we send each other new Christmas decorations most years, specially timed so that they arrive in the mail right about the day after Thanksgiving.  (Because it’s silly to give a Christmas decoration to someone to open ON Christmas–it just gets packed up the next day and you don’t get to use it for almost an entire year!)  My decoration theme is gingerbread men and woodsy greenery, and her decorating theme FOR YEARS has been snowmen.

But a few years ago she decided she was done with snowmen, and that she wanted to instead decorate with nutcrackers.

190e6f6925a9ba7931102d1122490416Last spring (think 2016) the fabulous “Nutcracker Christmas” fabric collection by Riley Blake came out, and the first time I saw it I thought, “Oh my goodness, that would be perfect for my mom!”  But money was tight, and it was softball season and I had no time to make anything anyway, so I told myself I’d revisit the idea at a later date.  Softball season came and went, and I kept catching glances of the collection and thinking every time that it really would be just perfect, but everything was working against me to buy the fabric.  But the pressure to make something with it kept hounding me.

Finally, one evening in July after having seen a whole bunch of mentions of the collection throughout the day, I had enough.  I was saying my evening prayers and I was so weighed down by thoughts of this fabric collection and really frustrated, so I decided to just be straight with God about my dilemma.  I told Him that I felt like He wanted me to make a nutcracker quilt for my mom for whatever reason, but that I just could not make the financial aspect of getting the fabric to work out, and if He really wanted me to make the quilt, then He needed to figure out how to get the fabric to me for free.  I was instantly washed over with a feeling of relief, and, thinking that the matter was settled and I was freed from the obligation, I crawled into bed, sighing with gratitude that I wouldn’t have to worry about the nutcracker quilt anymore.

The next day was quilt guild, and I set out for my meeting with a peaceful heart, settled into my seat on the front row, and chatted with my friends while waiting for the meeting to begin.  A member of my guild, Shannon, asked if she could make an announcement.  She walked up to the front of the room carrying a large basket and said that she had lots of scraps leftover from some quilts she’d made and that we could have anything we wanted that was in the basket.

Guess what was sitting on the very top of the pile?  Yep, a bundle of Nutcracker Christmas fabric.  I looked up at the ceiling and shook my head in humbled amazement.

il_340x270.1029714215_rds0Upon getting home, I measured the fabric in the bundle and I had roughly a fat eighth of every print in the collection, plus about a yard of all three colors of the border print.  That’s A LOT of fabric to get for free!

I decided to use the fabric with the “Mosaic” pattern found in Fat Quarter Style, and that I wanted to fussy cut the border fabric for the Christmas trees, gifts, and individual nutcrackers, using  the rest of the fabric to fill in the mosaic blocks.

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I chose to use Kona “Snow” for the borders and sashing, and ordered some more of my favorite print for the back.

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Utah Valley Quilting did the quilting; it’s “Christmas Pano 2009 SD,” using a light mint/seafoam-colored thread.  I went into the shop thinking white thread, but Kerri, the shop owner, talked me into a little bit of color and I’m so glad I listened to her!  The quilting really pops on this quilt!

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Last, but not least, the binding is made up of leftovers of the diamond section of the border print fabrics.

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I apologize for the photos–in my haste to make sure that the quilt got to my mom on the day after Thanksgiving, I rushed it to the post office and forgot to do a photo shoot!  “Draped over chair in living room so I could show the binding to my best friend in a Google Hangouts photo” is all I have of it in its completed state.  At least there’s that, right?

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I love how this quilt turned out, down to its cute little quilt label!  My mom phoned me half an hour after opening the box, apologizing that it took so long to contact me because she’d “been staring at it for twenty minutes” before remembering to give me a call.  She’s extremely pleased with her gift, and even more so after I told her the backstory of how this quilt came into existence.  Perhaps she just needed a reminder that God loves her?  It was fun to let Him work through me.  This has been a Christmas gift for both my mother and myself.

Jolly Braid Tote Bag

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I’ve been posting teasers on Instagram all week about a project I’ve been making for Fat Quarter Shop, and it’s finally time to show you the finished product!

Friends, meet the Jolly Braid Tote Bag, a super easy, very beginner-friendly bag made from Jolly Bar precuts.  I’d actually never made a structured bag before this, and I have no idea why I waited so long to get on the wagon!  SUPER easy, and totally satisfying to sew.

The pattern is available from Fat Quarter Shop.  You’ll need a Jolly Bar package, yardage of two other fabrics, some Annie’s Soft & Stable, one-inch polypro strapping for the handles, and a roll of “Fat Jelly Braid” Triangles on a Roll paper (seriously, I want to buy every available size of Triangles on a Roll because I love it so much).

I chose to make my bag from American Jane’s newest collection, “Merry Go Round,” and I’m really pleased with how cheerful it turned out.  When I first saw the dimensions of the pattern (12 x 11 x 5″), I thought it would make a great library book bag for my daughter, so I went with sunny prints to match her personality.

For my two prints, I went with Merry Go Round “Yellow Large Floral” (SKU# 21720-14) for my accent print, and “Red Mono Floral” (SKU# 21723-11) for my lining.

And, because I intended for the bag to hold heavy books, I added two inches to each end of the nylon strapping for the handles and tacked them down inside the construction of the bag so I wouldn’t run into ripped handles in the future. (I have ripped A LOT of handles out of A LOT of book bags…we nerdy girls always carry too many books in our bags!)

DSC03594-2My little Miss Junebug wanted to help with the photoshoot so much, so I let her!  There’s nothing like spending a beautiful autumn afternoon following your kid around the neighborhood as she proudly shows off her “new bag” to everyone she meets on the street!  (Don’t you just love it when a finished project makes the recipient enthusiastically happy?!?!)

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Thank you so much, Fat Quarter Shop, for allowing me to sew along on this super cute bag!  It’s going to get a lot of use in our home!

Fat Quarter Shop also has a tutorial video to aid you in the construction of your own bag!

Disclaimer: In exchange for sewing up this project, Fat Quarter Shop provided me with the materials.
Link-ups:

Life’s Simple Pleasures

I was driving the Brookelets home from school the other day and noticed that a tree on the side of the street had a lot of its leaves twirling towards the ground, which prompted me to exclaim, “Oh!  Falling leaves!  One of life’s simple pleasures.”

Miss Junebug scrunched her nose at me and asked, “What does that mean, ‘life’s simple pleasures’?”  I explained that a simple pleasure was a rather ordinary occurrence that just made your heart happy, and generally didn’t cost any money, which made it all the more special because it reminds you that you don’t need to spend money to be happy.  My girl nodded and went back to reading her book.

What I thought was a quick little explanation of some random phrase has apparently been percolating in her mind because we were driving to the library today, and saw a maple tree whose leaves had all turned a brilliant scarlet, but hadn’t fallen off the tree.  Junebug saw it and said, “It’s too bad those leaves aren’t falling off the tree because then they could be a simple pleasure for Mom.”  I explained that, even though the leaves were still on the tree, it was still a simple pleasure for me because I liked how it looked.

She looked at me through narrowed eyes, “Does that mean that simple pleasures can happen even if you spend money on them?”

“What? How did you make that leap?” I asked.

“Well,” she said, “you spend a lot of time just looking at your quilts and the things you knit, and it makes you really happy.  But you spent money on them, so I thought it was a complicated pleasure.”

I laughed, “A complicated pleasure?  No, spending money doesn’t take away the simple pleasure of admiring a job well done.  I’m proud of myself for finishing a big project, and I’m pleased with the good job that I’ve done on that project, so it makes me happy to look at it a lot and just be pleased.  It’s fun to make stuff.”

“Really?” she said, “Because it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of fun when you’re making stuff.  You yell a lot, and you breathe angrily when you run out of thread.  And sometimes you burn yourself on the iron or cut yourself with the circle blade…”

I studied her face for a moment, then turned away to stare at the traffic on the road while I thought about her statement.  Then I nodded, glanced over at her and said, “You’re right…it’s complicated.”