Saturday, April 30, 2011


Linking up this May Day (or a day early), with Old Grey Mare’s "Project Genesis".  One of the most consistent things I do to try and help the environment, is faithfully haul my reusable grocery bags with me each week when shopping (if you carry them back out to your car once groceries are all unloaded, and keep them in the trunk, you can never forget them). This got me thinking of doing the same for my daughter, to alleviate the glut of brown paper bag lunches she carries to work now (and knowing it would be a little more cheerful, also. Z also has a simple Bag Tutorial on her blog, which she posted last year).

Gathering up some fabric I had on hand, I set forth to make her a reusable lunch bag of her own. One that is easily folded up and brought home in a purse each night, to be used again the next day. Following is a quick tutorial I threw together, in case you get the urge to ditch your own paper (or, GASP! Plastic) lunch bags – this bag goes together in no time.  It's a tiny step, but every little bit helps in the long run...

MATERIALS NEEDED:  Main Fabric – ½ yd.; Lining fabric – ½ yd.; 1-1/2” piece Velcro; thread and sewing machine. ALL SEAMS ARE ½”.  Since main and lining pieces are constructed the same way, you will construct both at the same time.
1.  Cut two pieces of main fabric, 16” long X 12” wide.

2.  Cut two pieces of lining fabric, 15-1/2” long X 12” wide.  (Quick Tip: Ever made a bag and had the lining “pool” up in the bottom, like it was too long? It was! Try cutting it ½” shorter in length.)

3.  Cut a 2” X 2” square from each of the bottom corners.
4.  With right sides together, sew across bottom seam of both the outer bag, and the lining.  Press seams open.  On right side of each piece, stitch ¼” on each side of seam line.  This will hold your bottom seams flat.
5.  On main bag (with right sides together), sew both side seams, from top to bottom.  On lining (right sides together), sew ONE side seam from top to bottom.   Sew the OTHER side seam, leaving a 3 - 4” opening in your seam.  Press seams open.
6.  Your bottom corners will now have formed an opening.  Open out edges and, matching side and bottom seams (right sides together), stitch across opening – this will “box” your corners.  Do this for both main bag and lining, on both corners.
7.  Turn main bag, right side out.  Leave lining WRONG side out.  Slip main bag inside of lining, right sides together.  Matching side seams, stitch around upper edge.
8.  Gently pull main bag through opening in lining.  Stitch side seam closed on lining, and push lining down into main bag.  Iron and top stitch ¼” from edge, around top of bag.

9.  Center 1-1/2” piece of Velcro (the stiff side) ¼” from bag edge, at upper center of bag.  Sew in place.
10.  Center remaining piece of Velcro on opposite bag side, approx. 4-1/2” down from top edge.  Stitch in place.  If you have placed these correctly, you will be able to roll top down twice, and Velcro in place, to hold.

11.  Measure over 1-7/8” from each upper side seam, and mark with pin.  Smoothing lining on inside, fold your fabric between lower edge (at boxed corner) and your pin at the top.  Pin along fold that forms, making sure you catch your lining in at same time, also.  Sew a 1/8” seam along this folded edge.  This will help your bag hold its shape, like a paper bag.  Do this for each of the four sides/edges.
12.  Just about done…fold your two sides in towards the middle of the bag (you will have a "V" from the folded/stitched edges in towards seam), and the bottom up (grab a paper bag if you need a reference, but it should pretty much fall into place, once you start easing it into place), and iron to hold shape.  Finished bag will be the size of your standard brown paper lunch bag, but much more fashionable, and certainly reusable.

Project Genesis - Creating change, one day at a time...

Friday, April 29, 2011


Hope the week is treating you well.  Not much new to report here...Wills and Kate got married, and my daughter and I stayed up to watch it, as I had with Diana and Charles, 30 years ago.  David Beckham was spectacular, I must say!  Wills and Kate were smashing, too, but my heart belongs to Harry.  I definitely will be going to bed early, after running on 2 hours sleep today.

Finished up a new sample/class bag for SEW OBSESSED, from the fabulous green, leftover fabric, an easy application zipper, and a vintage buckle.  Hand formed pleats make for a kicky summer clutch - clutches are SO in right now.  Class schedule for this darling little store will be posted soon...stay tuned.  Hope your weekend ROCKS!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


There is not much "pretty" about the sand and heat of the desert, but once a year, the cacti put on a pretty spectacular show.  It's amazing that something so lethal can be so beautiful - even if just for a week or so.  I have been waiting for this year's bloom and, upon seeing some gorgeous pink flowers in the median the other day (and being bright enough not to stop my car in the middle of the road), I drove to Ethel M's Cactus Garden to see what was in bloom.  Ethel M's...they're not just for chocolate anymore!  They have one of the most beautiful cactus gardens in the United States, right here in our town.  Because REALLY, how many of the rest of you that are able to grow real plants would want our cacti?  We got em' - I guess we're stuck with 'em...seriously.  Jealous, huh?!
I was still just a little bit early for the full show, but the preview was gorgeous.  As always, click on the box of pictures and it will enlarge (if you see a magnifying glass with a +, click again and they get monstrous!).  The color of cactus flowers are exactly as bright as shown.

I wished I had had something to give you perspective on the size of the cactus in the upper right corner, but I was prevented from even getting near it by rocks and armed guards.  It was seriously only three inches tall, at the most, and yes, those little flowers are looked like the ones we used to buy at the grocery store when I was a kid.  And, there really were no armed guards.  Just a sign that told me to stay on the path.  Probably the first time I've ever obeyed a sign.  When I go back, I will get a picture of the cactus that the needles supposedly jump at you...that's what that sign says, anyway.  I've never had the nerve to get close enough to that one to see if it's true or not...I definitely stay on the path at that point!
And a few flowers of my own, though the bottom two are my favorites.  My precious Golden Retriever, Joe, and his little buddy, Voltron! (with an exclamation point)...Joe is always smiling.  Plant a few flowers of your own this summer...I know that wherever you are, they will undoubtedly grow better than they would here!  Happy Tuesday...

Monday, April 25, 2011


Hope your Easter was wonderful, no matter how you spent it.  I actually enjoyed some time to myself, sewing - finishing up a few promised projects, and flying through two samples for a brand new venture.  For those of you who are local to Las Vegas, I have "plugged back in" with a brand new quilt/fabric store in town, and will be teaching again, as soon as June.  SEW OBSESSED is located at 147 Water Street, Ste. #120, in downtown Henderson.  This beautiful little shop is a RIOT of color, fabulous fabrics, the newest patterns, and unique gifts...with one of the most personable shop owners you could ever hope to meet!  Drop in, meet Lorna, and take a look around - I guarantee you'll be glad you did!  Jump on her mailing list while you're there - classes will be taking off soon...spread the word, if you're local.
This new bag of mine will be a "store exclusive" pattern, and has been dubbed "Sew Obsessed".  A comfortable, quilted, shoulderbag with a full panel of pockets across the inside, and instructions for accessorizing with fabulous fabric roses - as many or as few as you like.

All fabrics used in these two bags are available in the shop - the green bag is now spoken for, but a few will be heading to the etsy shop next week, in case anyone is interested.  Yes, I might just have found my sewing mojo again!
I also hit my vintage rhinestone stash...obsession was definitely the name of the game on these.

Vintage buttons for closures...and lots of thread.  Both bags are custom, free-motion quilted - pattern can be made simply with quilted lines.
AND, Ashley's horses were mailed off today.  I had a special request from her Mom, my friend Joleen, back home in CO.  Our country girl, Ash, has a special fondness for horses, and had been eyeballing a 1st grade backpack of the equine variety.  I was more than happy to accommodate such a special little girl.  How cute is this?

Another custom quilted bag...zipper pocket across the front, and zipper opening on the side gusset.  Lots and lots of pockets inside, and enough horses to last her for years.

Cowgirl up, Ashley!  Cowgirl up!  Next on the agenda is the purse I did to help out my friend, Carole - made from a vintage, beaded top - all hand sewn, as the vintage pearls, sequins and bugle beads wouldn't allow for any machine work.  Happy Monday, friends...

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Anyone who knows me, or wandered through the "Seven Things About Me" posting of mine, knows that I have a particular aversion to penguins.  I ran across this last evening, as I was amusing myself with photos of my friend, Melanie.  Probably payback...shudder the thought!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Melanie's life in pictures...
Melanie commented, from Montana, this afternoon, and apparently has taken umbrage with the fact that I referred to her as my "oldest" friend.  Soooooooooooooooo - just to set the record straight, she IS my oldest friend in NEVADA, while being on the YOUNGER side of the spectrum of my wide range of friends - she is simply the person I have KNOWN the longest, since moving here.  However, she is not as young as our friend Jackie D., who would have us believe she was born in 1984.  Nor is she my oldest friend in other states, either.  This is Melanie at her finest, when she danced for the troops, where she met her fly-boy husband.
Melanie before she started kickin' her legs all over the place, and hanging out in dance halls - diggin' the curls, and you can't get much younger than this, Mel!
A harbinger of things to come, perhaps?  Mrs. Schofield, the school teacher - she teaches Mommy and Me classes here in NV, and is WILDLY popular with her students and parents.  I know because I also used to take a little neighbor girl to her class, because I was too old to have kids of my own when she started teaching (I had kids - they were just too old and she wouldn't let them in, and I was a glutton for punishment and let my "dear" friend Melanie talk me into bringing the neighbor's kid, while the mom got to go to work).  She does have a new blog of her own, at Together Time Playgroups.  Regardless what this picture speaks (and it speaks volumes), she does not keep rulers on her desk.  She punished me by making me join in on "circle time".
THIS IS MELANIE...and Colton...IN REAL LIFE!  She sent this to me this afternoon, and gave me her blessings to use it.  She has some of the prettiest blue eyes you've ever seen, and a WICKED sense of humor - and she loves all four of her children - not just this one!  And her granddaughter...and her dogs...and her husband.  She is wearing her necklace in this picture, and WINNING!!!  If I know Melanie, she positioned herself directly under that banner on purpose.  The other photos of Melanie are courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.  She IS my oldest friend in NV!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


and her son, Colton...

OK, actually this is not her OR her son, Colton.  My dear friend, Melanie, came forward a few weeks ago and ordered something special to be made.  Melanie was the first person I met upon moving to NV, and has remained one of my best friends for the past 17 years.  Her son (one of four children, but I'm sure he is her favorite.  Actually, Melanie mailed Valentines cards to each of her children this year and told them each that very thing, and not to tell the others...did I mention she is also one of my funniest friends, EVER), Colton plays football for Carroll College (NAIA National Champions for 2010), in Montana.  Mel needed a "booster" necklace to see her through the season.  Having seen one of my other necklaces made with an antique children's wooden block, she asked if I happened to have an "8" (his jersey number) in my possession...I did (though it took some searching).
I resined Colt's team logo into a brass charm for the bottom, along with the larger National Champion logo to dangle behind the block, next to Mom's heart (the back side of the block has the number 3 on it).  Team colors are gold and purple (I hope).  Czech glass fire polish beads add a little sparkle (a few golden color freshwater pearls found their way onto the chain this afternoon, post picture session), and a hand hammered brass charm with their last name was also added.  Earrings were thrown into the mix, along with the pearls, and they are headed to Montana tomorrow.
And, in between a few sewing projects, and nursing a sick pup, I found the chance to finish up some promised items for a "newfound" friend in IN.  Swarovski crystal hearts (73 in each heart), in pink and clear, are heading off in time for a Breast Cancer Gala.  They will get delicate silver chains tomorrow, and will fly off to their final destination.
The beautiful, blown glass heart necklace on the left was received, this past Valentine's Day, from another cherished friend, Susan Silva.  Susan was my daughter's incredible art teacher throughout high school, and always told me she couldn't wait 'til my Jaci's graduation, so we could start hanging out (I believe it was the drinking she was looking forward to)...I guess it's the teacher version of the "I don't date my patients" clause.  Susan is a joy - unfortunately, time was pretty limited between that graduation and her husband accepting a new job in VA, where I know her new students love her as much as we do!

The two Celtic looking beaded pieces are new, and were a small diversion from serious thoughts this week, in the evenings - just something I picked up from another friend, The Boss Colleen.  Hope your week has been wonderful, spent among family AND friends.  Mine isn't over yet, with a few more friends involved tomorrow.  Melanie, I hope your team wins BIG!

Friday, April 8, 2011


Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend a class with Colleen, at The Bead Metaler, in texturing metal without hammers.  We were allowed to play with her snazzy rolling mill to imprint some fairly delicate items onto metal.  I'm talking LACE - ONTO METAL!  A fairly simple procedure involves a heavy-duty, hand cranked machine that has two steel drums/rollers that are tightened together to compress whatever you've laid onto metal, leaving an impression as it's rolled through and out the other side.  She was kind enough to allow us to play with practice pieces (pieces that I will use later...nothing goes to waste) before moving onto the real deal.  To say that my right arm is like jello today, is a bit of an understatement, but look at this WINNING cuff I got out of the deal!
My practice pieces (we sandwiched textures between two pieces of metal each time, hence the number of pieces I brought home), at the bottom of the collage, range from simple run throughs of pieces of lace (see the middle bottom photo - the piece of copper in the very center with the DELICATE lace impressions, after once through the machine), to layering of different items (including round paper clips at one point) and several run throughs on the same piece.  Texture was the name of the game, and texture I got.  The few different patinas on the pieces at the bottom (most of which are natural copper at this point) were from torch heating.

A glutton for punishment, I upped my game for the cuff, and chose a piece of inch and a half wide, 18 gauge copper (most of my play pieces were thinner, 24 ga.).  It is the reason for my sore arm today, but well worth the effort...a substantial bracelet, run through the ringer quite a few times, with various laces, burlap, etc., with a few finishing strokes from a texturing hammer.  Patina-ed with Liver of Sulfur (it's also shinier than it looks, having been sprayed with a clear shiny coating - my camera picks up glare at the most inopportune times, but never when I want it), I got some marvelous color in this one, and it will be rockin' the town tomorrow evening.  Thanks for a wonderful class, Boss!  LOVED the process, and will treasure the bracelet!  WINNING!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


...that is best.
Get your kicks on Route Sixty-six!
That's how we motor, out here in the west.  A special request from a dear friend, led to a "kicky" (kicky, not kinky) new summer bag this week - Jackie and I went fabric shopping last weekend, and that led to this...a fun and flirty summer purse for a busy, travelling gal!
Large, vintage celluloid button from my "stash", for the front closure.
"It winds from Chicago to LA, more than two thousand miles all the way.  Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Now you go through Saint Looey; Joplin, Missouri, and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona.  Don't forget Winona.
Kingman; Barstow; San Bernardino...."

They got 'em ALL on the one fabric, amazingly, though you can't tell from the ruffles - a great retro print, reminiscent of the paper place mats in the restaurants we stopped at on family trips.  The blue fabric is also Route 66, from a different manufacturer.
Bag bottom - I hate white bags only because of the dirt factor, but she made the call, and the end result is way too fun, I must admit!  And, it can always be washed.
Strap detail.

Hopefully this will see her through many travels with Charlie this summer.  I have three more special order purses in the works next, and three Swarovski crystal heart necklace orders that I am working on now; one down, two to go.  A copper bracelet class tomorrow, with The Boss and friends; Empty Bowls on Saturday morning; and a concert to go to Saturday night; with sewing peppered into my weekend travel plans, of which I have absolutely none!

Wherever your travels may take you the rest of the week and into the weekend, here's hoping the kicks are plentiful...and safety first!  Watch out for the other guy...

Monday, April 4, 2011


The reminder I promised, for Las Vegas locals...
Nevada Clay Guild Annual Empty Bowl Benefit Luncheon & Auction
Helping to Feed the Hungry in Las Vegas

11th Annual
(Click for more info)

April 9, 2011
11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Green Valley High School Cafeteria
460 Arroyo Grande Blvd. (just North of Warm Springs Rd.) Henderson, Nevada

Adults: $15 Children 12 & under: $12

Students at Green Valley High School create clay bowls for the school's 11th annual Empty Bowl benefit auction and luncheon.  Photos and graphics courtesy Fernando Agreda/LV Sun &

Hope to see you there!