22 December 2014

Butterfly Sling Bag

Earlier in the year, I signed up for the Bag of the Month club, where you get six patterns from six different designers for six months. It was awesome. I think I signed up in like month four, because I wanted to see what it was about, first. By the time I remembered it existed, it was month four, and I was like "oh why not?" No regrets, friends. No regrets. They're doing it again this year, and I totally signed up.

But moving along, I haven't had the opportunity to make any of the bags for now. I made Emmaline Bag's Butterfly Sling Bag. Lemme tell you, if you've NEVER made a bag before, unless you're super freakin' confident, do NOT start with this one. While the instructions were well written, this bag made me question my sanity at some points. But, now that it's done? Totally pleased.

I mean, look at it:

Please also admire my insulation.

Okay, that's a terrible picture, but I was in a hurry to get it in the mail. But you get the point. It's a pretty awesome little crossbody that holds a secret.

BAM. This sucker opens up and has ALL sorts of space. You're looking at a zippered pocket, an ID holder, a quick pocket, all squished together by metal snaps.

When you snap them together, it creates the purse look. What's that? you noticed two MORE zippers?

SURPRISE INSIDE. On each side, there's another pocket, and six card slots! I'm pretty impressed with the functionality of this purse. It's almost like it's one of those wallet-purses.

Because I battled the stomach flu all last week and still look horrible, The Blue Maroon is doing a wonderful job modeling it for you.

Over all, I'd give this bag a 7 out of 10. I'm not fond of how the straps are attached, but I don't know how to improve them. I'd probably also make them about a half inch wider, too. Also, I bent a needle sewing over the zippers. Instead of using a 12" zipper and trimming it, I'd use a 10" and just adjust as needed from there. I'd also cut the fusible fleece to actual size, not smaller. If you've made bags before, I highly recommend it.

For my own "performance" I'd give myself a five. I screwed up in a lot of places, including slicing a hole somewhere not fixable. (Well, I put some Fray Stop on it, but eh.) I could have done a lot better with the zipper, it stressed me out. The inside zipper was fine, but the double zippers made me want to cry. Also, my fusible fleece did NOT want to fuse, which made things a bit worse. Though, I would make it again, just with a few adjustments.

I only got two projects out of the five? six? I was supposed to? It would have been three, but I embroidered something wrong, and thankfully that client is the most wonderful, patient person EVER, so I will be redoing it, soon. Could have gotten a WHOLE lot more done, if someone didn't pass on to me the stomach flu. PSA: If you or your family is sick, please quarantine yourself. Don't spread the joy.

03 December 2014

What's black and white and red all over?

Why, my newspaper bag, of course!

 I had the pleasure of being a pattern tester for Sara at Sew Sweetness with her new bag coming out, the Holland Road Bag. Originally, I was going to use other fabric to make it as a Christmas gift, but after an hour of sorting through my fabric collection, I seem not to have that fabric, for some strange reason. It's a mystery to me, too.

Anywho, I started this bag yesterday afternoon, and finished this evening. I'd say it took me about six hours to make total, not including all my distractions (cats) and the fact that I have to eat and sleep. I also cut and sew slow, because that's just how I roll.

To be honest, it took me probably two hours to pick out the fabric. As mentioned, I couldn't find the original fabric I wanted to use, but couldn't find it. Cue fabric strewn everywhere and mental breakdown. So I decided to go in another direction, an hour later, I had it down to two choices: Newspaper or colorful Babushka doll print. Then, the riddle "What's black and white and read all over?" popped in my head. Bam. Bad joke wins. 

Got all the fabric and interfacings cut out, then started to iron them together. 

Pro Tip: When your sinuses are clogged, stand over the steam and inhale to help alleviate them.
I also have a hard time learning that if you soak your fabric, it takes quite a bit to dry. So, while eating supper, I waited for them to dry.

After supper was over, I cranked the music (and the space heater) up and sewed my little heart out.

I got the pockets stitched to the lining, and the straps stitched to the front. I also got them stitched together, but at that point, it was Sons of Anarchy time, and pictures were not important. 

Fast forward to today. I got back down there and finished up, remembering, how much I really don't like sewing small curves. No, really.  I like large ones, but small ones? Nope. Nope. Nope. After much struggling and cussing, I finally got them to the shape that they were supposed to be. Mostly. 

Then, I made a button. I've never made a fabric covered button before. It was suprisingly easy. Makes me want to make a whole slew of buttons. YOU get a button, and YOU get a button! EVERYBODY GETS A BUTTON. 

Anywho, it's finished. 

 BAM. There's the front. Check out that weather forecast. 

And here's the back. Who likes crosswords? Sudoku? SPORTS?!

And here's the inside. Four nice large pockets (and really wrinkly) that probably would hold a large amount. No, really. I can fit my 7" Kindle in one of them. 
And here's one of the Blue Maroon modeling it for you. She does it so much better than I can.

Overall, I think this bag can be done by a beginner, but not a super fresh beginner. Someone who knows how to sew, for sure. Six [guesstamated] hours from start to finish. Well written, clear photos, recommended...if you can sew curves. ;)

I used:
- Timeless Treasures' newsprint fabric
- One of the grey Kona cottons
- Mystery red fabric, probably from 2007.
- Dritz button maker
- 4 D rings from MeiMei Supplies on Etsy.

01 December 2014

Happy Thanksgiving....oh CRAP it's December!!

Here it is December, and it's when I start into panic mode, because I haven't finished everyone's gifts yet. But, enough of the worry, how was y'alls Thanksgiving? Mine was FANTASTIC. All I had to do was make a sweet potato pie, shower, and show up. I'd almost declare it the best Thanksgiving ever. 
But the pie. Let me tell you about this pie. It all started out innocent enough. Brian's coworker invited us to Thanksgiving. I asked what we could bring. I got "nothing." as a reply. Whatever, that's not how Thanksgiving works. So, I asked if I could make a pie? And offered the suggestions of Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Pecan, Apple...SWEET POTATO OH MAKE A SWEET POTATO. Apparently, it was this guy's greatest wish. Or something.
I set out on the task of finding a recipe. I decided to use this one (Sweet Potato Pie I) from Allrecipes.com and Pioneer Woman's Pie Crust. Being that I have never made the pie recipe before, I decided to make a test pie. Good thing I did.

Why? Because this is what happens when you have Dyscalculia and you think that "boil sweet potatoes for 50 minutes" actually says "boil sweet potatoes for 30 minutes."

RIP Beater.

After I figured out what happened, I threw everything in the KitchenAid mixer (like I should have in the first place) and it proceeded to fix what I had broken.

While it was beating the living tar out of the sweet potatoes, I set forth to make the crust. Having no pasty cutter, I started out using two forks. Then, one fork. Then, fuck it, I'm using my hands. Got the pie crust all nice and crumbly like it should be, rolled it into two balls and stuck 'em both in the freezer.
Cleaned up a little bit, and checked on the sweet potatoes. Smooth, like butter. So, I threw the ingredients in, and let them mix some more.
I got one pie crust out of the freezer, and attempted to roll it. Attempted. Cussed at it, beat it, smashed it, then rolled it some more. 15 minutes later, I finally got it round enough to be able to fit into the pie dish and have some excess. Got it all squished in, settled, and poured the sweet potato mixture in.

I don't know how to do fancy pie crusts, so I just rounded it out and hoped for the best. Stuck it in the oven and waited. And waited and waited. And it was done! No, wait, it's still soupy. Waited some more. Nope, STILL soupy. Gah. Wait wait wait wait waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait okay, now it's done.

Mmmm....pie. It's not burnt, like it looks. It's browned. (Yes, there's a difference) This pie, was almost heaven. Except...that it was too sweet. Yes. I just said that. But, weirdly, the husband loved it. (He normally says everything's too sweet) So, I took notes, and adjusted and made the NEXT pie, perfect.

Adjusting from the original recipe, I did instead of 1 cup sugar, I did 3/4 c brown sugar, and 1/4 c white sugar. I also separated the eggs, and beat the whites until stiff. Baked for an hour and 15 minutes. This one? Perfect.

We returned home with an empty pie plate.

With that, hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving.

(These are my honest opinions, I wasn't paid by anyone to do this review. I just like writing about my online finds.)