Recycled Jeans - A Book Bag

Recycled Jeans Tote Bag
My sister gave me a stack of her son's old blue jeans.  They were in pretty good shape so I thought I would take my time to decide how to repurpose them. I didn't want to cut them up willy-nilly then discover that I should have cut them differently.

I knew I was making some sort of tote bag out of the legs. I liked that the bottom hems were not frayed so I wanted to use them as the bag opening. I cut the legs off at the knees (where they were worn out) to see how tall I could make the bag. Then I left the French seams intact and cut the leg pieces next to the opposite seams and sewed the two pieces together.

I had a nice, large piece of denim fabric with two French seams running through it. I then deconstructed the back pockets and the belt loops. I reattached the pockets over the French seams.

Then I took the thigh parts of the pants and cut them into 3 1/2-inch wide strips and sewed them together to make the bag strap. Since the fabric was so thick, I just turned in each long raw edge 1/4-inch and sewed them down. I then sewed 4 more rows of stitching to give the strap a finished look.

I then squared up the main bag piece and sewed it into a tube, then sewed the bottom shut. I also added a gusset 1 1/2 inches from the corners to form a bottom.  Then I measured the bag to make a lining the same size.  I then figured out that my strap was way too long so I cut off a piece to make the bag closure.

I added a few doily details and some decorative buttons and viola!....a new bag - no pattern necessary. I really like how it turned out.


Quilts for Kids Delivery

Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin
Renee and Bonnie dropped off 135 finished quilts that our chapter made over the past few months.  These two ladies from the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin were very appreciative and happy to receive them.

Our group meets on the second Saturday of each month for a day of sewing. We have a lot of fun making them while enjoying each other's company. This was the third trip this year for delivering the quilts.


Cute Little Bullfinches

I was inspired by Svetlana's blog post to make these cute little bullfinches. She made twenty of them all at once and they were so cute I couldn't wait to make my own.

So I dug out my scrap basket and found the right sized scraps to fit the pattern pieces and before I knew it, I had a dozen of them ready to sew. It was fun to pick out the ribbons for the tail feathers as well.

After looking at the version Svetlana made, I decided to use fabric instead of felt for the beaks which is also what was used in the original instructions.

Since I started my recovery from neck surgery, these little projects are so nice. They are manageable without causing me much pain and they fill my time so I am not so bored since I can't really do much. And I am so happy with the results, I can't wait to make some more. The original instructions and pattern to make these little cuties can be found here.

I can't wait for my granddaughters to see them, I think they are going to be attracted to their bright colors.


Wonky Star Quilt - Completed

I made this quilt from a photo I found on Pinterest.  I didn't have any idea how large the quilt was in the photo but I was inspired by it enough to dig out my scraps and make my own version.

I cut 24 three-inch squares of fabric for each block all in the same color tones. Then I cut 1 three-inch square of white for the center of the star.

After I laid out each block, making sure the white square was not on the edge, I cut three-inch strips of white fabric for the points of the stars. From each strip I cut the strips at random angles and sewed them to the squares surrounding the white square.

It was fun to start each block to see how many scraps of the same color families I could pull from my stash. By the time I got to the last block, I had run out of colors and had to shop for the fabrics to make the salmon block.  For the back, I took a leftover scrap from each of the blocks and sewed them to a white strip of fabric then sewed the strips together at random. I decided the binding had to be something black and white and simple. I think it really complements the many colors in the quilt quite well.


Quilts for Kids - Christmas Holiday Quilt

Christmas Quilt
I took this beautiful set of Christmas panels from the fabrics donated to our Quilts for Kids group. Even though it didn't seem like a great candidate for a child's quilt I thought I would give it a whirl.

I cut the panel apart and arranged the 5 pieces into a logical assortment then took some measurements to build borders around each panel piece.

I added a complimentary border to it and finished it with a white backing, using the last strip of border fabric from the front as an accent.

It turned out to be a quick, cute little project that has some whimsy for the holiday season. Maybe an older child will like this one to cuddle up in.


What's on the design board?

If you're one of those wonderful people who are following my blog you know that I started this thing called "what's on the design board?" a few months back. My plan is to take a photo of whatever is on the design board on the first day of every month with the hopes that each month there would be something different on the board. I see this sort of as a way to push myself to make progress on projects. But last month I failed to post a photo as there was nothing on the design board.

Here we are starting another new month and yes, that design board is still empty. But I do have a reasonable explanation.  In fact it is a design of sorts or more like a redesign. I had cervical spine fusion the first week of October and this photo is the x-ray of the fused vertebrae in my neck or as my surgeon would call it, my progress report. He says it looks great. I'm very glad he says so.

So for November, this is as close to something on the design board as I can come.  Luckily, I'm feeling like I might just have the energy to make December's post a little more interesting. Or at least a little more colorful.


Little Girl Apron Skirts

Toddler SkirtI've been in the mood to make little girl skirts lately.  I have so many pretty little prints that I could probably make at least 20 different skirts.  However, in an effort to use up some leftovers, I've decided to try out a new tutorial using the leftover fabric from some baby quilts I made last year.

The skirt tutorial I found is adorable.  I love when tutorials have multiple sizes and since I have two granddaughters, that means I don't have to do any calculating myself to adjust a pattern. So I made a size 2/3T and a size 4/5T as a start.  I will have the girls try them on before I make any more just to make sure I have the right fit.

Here are the finished skirts.  They were quick and easy to make and I hope my granddaughters like them because I sure want to make plenty more. The tutorial for these can be found here.

Toddler Skirt


Oak Creek Legion Post Craft Fair

A long time ago I agreed to rent a booth at the Oak Creek Legion Post's craft fair. At that time I made an assumption that said craft fair would be held sometime in the middle of September just like it always is.  So when I got the admission form I was surprised to see that the date of this year's craft fair as October 18th. So I never completed the form. In fact, I pretty much forgot about the entire thing.

A few weeks ago I got a call from the craft fair coordinator wondering if everything was ok since she didn't get my application yet.....AND she saved me an awesome space.  Rats!....the reason I never filled out the form was that I expected the fair to be held in September - before I had neck fusion surgery - not 9 days after that surgery.  Out of guilt I filled out the form and sent in my 20 bucks to pay for my saved spot.

Lucky for me, I had lots of inventory. I didn't really have to worry about rushing to make stuff, although I do admit it would be nice to have a wider selection of some things. So I did what little I could before surgery but was comfortable enough to attend as is.

After surgery my daughter and daughter-in-law volunteered to run the booth for me.  What a nice bonus. So my husband drove my display racks and inventory to the fair and set them up and the girls set up the craft items. I basically gave them instructions on using the credit card reader, my discounts and where the sale bags and business cards were and they were off and running.

It was nice that they didn't really need me because I sure was not ready to work the fair. In fact I think I will be laying low for some time.


Trick or Treat Bags

I've had some Halloween-themed fabric hanging around my sewing room for ages. Since I wasn't sure how ready I would be to sew after my cervical fusion surgery, I didn't really plan on doing much of anything, let alone sewing. But lo and behold, I found the energy (either that or the Vicodin is working really well) to make something smaller than a quilt. I found these cute trick or treat bags and an online tutorial to go with them so I thought I would give them a try.

Halloween BagI dug out my Halloween prints and my fusible interfacing and got started on some trick or treat bags. The instructions were easy to follow and even though my lack of strength made it a little difficult for me to work with all that interfacing, I must say it was totally worth it.  These bags are exactly as described, they close up nice and when you open them up wide, the sides stand up nice. I can already picture how nice it will be for the people in my neighborhood to easily toss candy right into the bag.

I hope my granddaughters like them. Unfortunately, the fabric combinations look much better (like they actually go together) in natural light than they do in the photo. I found the tutorial for them here if you would like to make some too.


Mini Superhero Capes

 I've been so busy making these little capes.  I got a request to make 25 of them with the letter 'I' for Innovation on the cape.  After delivery, I had to make 25 more.  When I got that order I made a large version so the facilitator of the project could actually wear it. And what do you know? He ordered 20 more!

So I finally remembered to take a photo of them before delivery. My next big project is prepping for a craft fair. It will be nice to work with a different color fabric for a little while. :)


Modified Lickety Split Bags

I made my sister the modified version of the Lickety Split bag for her birthday. She uses it often and receives many compliments on it. (I'm so glad.)  Her co-workers wanted to know where she got it and next thing you know, I was making more bags for them.

Of course with use, comes ideas on how to improve the bag.  My sister mentioned that a little velcro closure on the outside pockets would be nice and a longer handle would also be helpful.

I made these three bags and with each one, the handle got longer.  The brown bag is nice for slipping the strap right over my head.  I hope these "improved" versions meet their needs. If not, I won't mind using them or giving them as gifts.


Super Hero Capes

Craft Fair Items
I recently had a customer order for some really small super hero capes. Even though the client did not need them until the week of October 5th, I completed all 25 of them in record time and delivered them right after they were done.

Just as I put the leftover fabric from the project away, I received notice that the client wanted 25 more! Good thing I bought 10 yards of black cotton solid fabric at the last big sale. Once I had those done I was left with a few pretty good sized chunks of black fabric.  So I decided to make some super hero capes of my own.

The leftover pieces I had were enough to cut two 18" x 24" pieces that would make a nice sized cape for a toddler or small child. I know this because once I had my first one completed, I tried it on both my 2 year old and 4 year old granddaughters. It worked well for both of them. So I dug through my stack of larger scraps looking for child-friendly fabrics and I came up with these 5 capes.  They were so much fun to make I think I will make some more.