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My Weekender bag tips (and bag #5!)

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I have made 5 of these wonderful bags ( #1, #4, #5. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of #2 {but it is made similar to this one, only with purple, green, and white} and I haven’t gotten around to getting a picture of #3)  so far and so I thought I’d write some tips and tricks that I have found to make this bag easier to conquer.

Before we start, there is something you should know about me: I’m cheap frugal.  I don’t have much to spend in the way of supplies (and if I had the income to dispose of, I’m not so sure I’d spend it on myself, anyway. Unless it’s to go out to eat. I LOVE eating out!). In light of my frugality, I did as much research about this pattern as I could. I found a Flickr forum that talked about how much supplies would cost to make on of these bags. That sum just blew my mind: $120! Are you serious?? On a bag??!

I knew there had to be a cheaper way and still make something beautiful. I’ve been sewing for a long time, and I’m not afraid to find different materials and ways to make something. Plus, I look at it as a challenge and I love me a challenge! Winking smile Once I had the pattern, I was able to lay it out, read it, and come up with a plan. By the way, I have yet to use all of the called-for supplies, too.

1. The patter calls for upholstery fabric, of medium weight. I have used quilting cotton in all of my bags, and they come out just fine. Believe it or not, 5 fat quarters are enough for the outside of the bag (not including the bottom) as seen in this bag:

As you can see in this picture, the red fabric starts just below the top of the pocket so the red is not seen. This is how you can get that front panel out of 1 fat quarter.

2. Heavy, sturdy interfacing works very well. I use Pellon 926W1 sew ins stabilizer with great results. Doing the quilt-as-you-go method also works very well, as seen in this bag:

3. If you are of average height or taller, you’ll want to add some length to your handles. If you are wanting to add a shoulder strap as well or instead, attach the strap below the zipper at the side pockets.

4. Using a zipper foot or a piping foot to attach the front panel to the zippered panel makes things a whole lot easier! But if you don’t have on of those, it can be done with a walking foot.

5. The pattern piece for the bottom I have found is 2” too short. Cutting it 8.5” x 18” took care of this problem. Also, I have found the side pockets to be too narrow, so I have added 1.5” to make it line up with the zippered panel.

6. Some people have used purse feet for the bottom, but that isn’t something I have wanted to invest it (yet). I do, however, have quite a bit of Cordura fabric (the material that is used in backpacks, semi-trailer tarps, and the like), so I have used that on the bottom of all my bags to help with waterproofing. You just never know where those bags are going to land!

7. The pattern says to make your own piping. There is only Walmart that has any type of craft supplies near us and they don’t carry piping cord. That leaves me with the pre-done stuff and 2 packages of that works fine. You can always cover it if you want a particular color or print to match your bag, like I did with these two bags:

Of course, you can always skip the piping, which looks fine too.

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8. Add your own flair to your bag! There are many different things you could do. Use twill tape for the handles,

or quilt them.

If you’d like a shoulder strap, try covering an one from an old bag (like the one with black piping, seen above) or make one of your own using whatever hardware you have laying around.

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You can make the lining match the bag perfectly or have it coordinate but not match.

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I have made these bags with both the plastic teeth zippers and the metal teeth ones (as seen 2 pictures up). It just depends on the look that you’re going for.

Sometimes, things happen that makes you look really good. Open-mouthed smile

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So there you have it, my tips and tricks. Don’t be afraid of this pattern. It can be done with a very modest budget (you might have everything you need already!) and you, too, can have a wonderful, huge bag! This grey bag was made as a diaper bag for a friend. The teal and red bag is my diaper bag and it makes a fabulous diaper bag!!

Did I mention it was huge?

I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a fabric addict!

The traveling stash

 

We have a winner! Kris of farmgirltransplant.blogspot.com has won. She has been contacted and the box will be sent to her ASAP. Congratulations Kris!

“Stash: a secret store of valuables”

For quilters, it’s a collections of usable quality products. This is an essential part of this addiction hobby. To help us all with this necessity, there has been a sweet little box floating around the country (with a few stops in Canada) since January 2011. It’s called “The traveling stash”. There are 6 boxes going from house to house, bringing many smiles along the way. In these boxes, you will find many different sewing and quilting items: patterns, magazines, thread, ribbons, bobbins, needles, and our beloved fabric!

The deal is, if you win one of these boxes, you can take anything you want from it. Just make sure that you add equal to, or more than, what you took back into the box. The boxes are not meant to be a dumping ground for items you no longer want that are of poor quality. There is nothing wrong with putting fabric or notions in there that you no longer care for, they just need to be of quilt shop quality items and notions that are new.

Guess what? Just in time for my birthday I won box #1!! It was exciting to get this in the mail and to reveal of the lovely contents!

Here are the items of the box as I received it.

Aren’t those lovely goodies?! (sorry for the blurry picture)

Here are the items I am taking.

And these are the items I am giving.

(the four fabric pieces on the top are 1 yd cuts, while the bottom fabrics are all fat quarters)

Would you like a chance to win this box? Of course you would! Here’s how:

1. You must be an active blogger and agree to post about receiving this box in a timely manner. The giveaway on your blog needs to be within a reasonable time frame. Ship the box as soon as you can to the winner. (Due to postage increasing, shipping is kept to the USA only. If you are an international reader, please go to Sparrow in Flight, for she is having an awesome giveaway for you!)

2. Seeing that this is Thanksgiving week, please leave me a comment on this post of what you are thankful for. On December 9, I will choose a winner.

Go visit these lovely ladies for more chances to win! Here are the links for the other boxes:

box #2

box #3

box #4 (drawing has closed)

box #5

box #6 (is pending. I will update when I have more information.)

Life moments

I know I’ve been quite hidden these few weeks, but I was getting ready for the craft fair we had this last Saturday November, 17. It was the first of it’s kind, here in Crandon, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go,. I didn’t know how much product to make, so it was totally a “shot in the dark”.

Unfortunately, that shot totally missed it’s mark. I sold a whopping 2 items. One of them paid for the spot, so I took home $3. Yeah, that kind-a stings to say it, but it is what it is.

On the other hand, Adam did quite well with the catering stuff. He sold more granola, spices, and Mango Habanero hot sauce then he thought he would. Which is good, since that’s the business that pays the bills!! Winking smile

Here are some pictures from Saturday.

craft booth 1

You can see my Bottled Raindbows quilt in the back, which was just for show. The 3 styles of purses are on the stand, with the (hidden) pillows behind it.

craft booth 3

The coasters are there on the far right, in the basket, and the makeup rolls are next to that. The key fobs are on the green napkin and the journal covers are in the basket behind my sign and business cards. I had a photo book printed to show case the various quilts I have made.

craft booth 2

Next to me was Adam’s booth (actually, we shared the same booth space). On the far left is the granola. We had 3 kinds for sale: Almond Crunch, Almond Crunch with Chocolate Almond, and Almond Crunch with sweetened Cranberries. Next to the granola in the little brown bags, are our nut butter cups. We had Cashew Chocolate, Peanut Chocolate, and Almond Chocolate.

In the jars at the corner are our Chocolate Nut butters: Cashew, Almond, Peanut, and Hazelnut. Behind the jars is the Mango Habanero hot sauce and Adam’s special blend of seasoning’s.

There is another craft fair Saturday December 1 that we will be attending. Why not? We have enough product!

Now that all those items have been made, perhaps now I can turn my attention to other things I’ve got waiting for me.

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                         (These are the 2 that I’ve had made since February.)

Like our Swoon quilt that’s been cut out since last January…. I actually did pull that thing out Saturday night (or was it Friday night?) and I have most of it pieced together.

Next up, I’ll assemble the block…..

ZOOM!!!

I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since Caleb was born and I wrote my last pregnancy journal post. All I did was blink and POOF, time passed! It seems like the last few months of pregnancy takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r., doesn’t it? Then once you have your baby, time makes up for it’s lack of movement. Sheesh!

All is well on the baby front. Caleb had his 2 month chick up today and he’s a whopper! He’s at 14 ½ lbs and 23 ¾ “ long. He’s already grown out of the 0-3 mths clothing and into the 3-6 mths ones, plus, in a few more months he’s going to be too big and too long for the infant car seat (at least I hope we make it a few more months!). We have an extra reversible car seat, it’s just not as convenient to take him in and out of the car with since the car seat stays in the car at all times, you know? My dr. made the comment “that must be some high octane breast milk you got there!”. I guess that’s one way of putting it. Disappointed smile He is sleeping 7-9 hours a night. None of my other children slept like this at 9 weeks and I’m not complaining! If he keeps this up a little longer, he’ll be moving into the boys room, into his own crib. But we’ll see, for he’s currently my alarm clock and I get up after I nurse him in the mornings. It’s kind-a nice being woke up by his grunts instead of a loud “beep”. Have you ever heard of an umbilical hernia? I hadn’t until about 4 weeks ago. As the days were passing, I noticed that Caleb’s belly button was getting bigger. Adam thought I was being silly, but it really was. And is. As it turns out, an umbilical hernia is what he has and it won’t be going away for at least the 1st year. It doesn’t pain him or bother him in any way, it’s just funny to look at. I told Adam that I thought it looked cute and he said, “You would”. It’s a mother thing, I guess. Winking smile

School is going really well so far. Not being a scheduled person by nature, school hasn’t always gone smoothly. And, much to my shame, sometimes it hasn’t even happened each day. So far, I haven’t gotten into the rut of not doing anything productive. It’s not a heavy schedule, for I’m not a believer of making the children do a lot of book work. I think learning and gaining knowledge happens with real life and real life doesn’t happen sitting down reading a book or doing a work book. (Although these things are necessary at times. You need to learn math this way, as well as history. But things like science should be more hands on and incorporated with real life.)

We have the contract for the “meals on wheels” county program for 2012. We had to increase the plate price by $.50 and we were very nervous about that, due to the county having budget cuts. From August 2010 – August 2011, our food prices have increased and average of 21%! We also petitioned the Commission on Aging board for an increase of the same amount for the rest of our 2011 contract, which they also agreed to. We have also be getting little bits of catering here and there, although not as much as last year. The economy is hitting everyone, I guess. Either way, the Lord is taking care of us very well, as only He can. Pointing up

We’ve been having some anger and behavioral issues lately in our house (mainly with our older girls) and so Adam and I have made some changes. Not in the way one would think, though. The changes that have been made have to do with ourselves and the use of our time. You see, Adam enjoys genealogy (he’s even published a book of his family, from 1638-2001) and he can spend hours and hours looking up this person or that family. I enjoy reading blogs on the computer, as well as sewing (I’m really into making quilts and all things crafty these days, as well as the needed article of clothing). When we are both doing our particular activity of choice, what are the children doing? Who’s supervising them? No one. That’s not a good thing. If we are more involved with our children, many of the troublesome issue/arguments/fights that arise would be nipped in the bud before it even gets going. There is also the issue of the anger the girls have been having with everyone. I’ve never been an angry person, but I realized that when I’m doing what I want to do, and I’m interrupted, I’m cranky. Annoyed. Irritated. When I talk to them, or finally pay attention to the racket they are making, I’m sounding angry because I have been interrupted. Adam has done the same thing when he’s on the computer. This is not right.

Our solution? We have made the commitment that the use of computer time, for personal use, not for the business or for school needs, will be limited to after the children are in bed or before they get up in the mornings. The same for my sewing. We both see that we need to spend more time with our children, doing the things that they want to do (with in reason of course). We are now playing more games with each other and we are striving to show them that they are more important to us then the computer, or genealogy or sewing or whatever past time things you want to include here. Even though it’s been about a week, we have seen much improvement. This is very encouraging and quite humbling, knowing we should have done this all along instead of being selfish with doing the things we wanted to do, instead of doing what we need to do.

Life is full of this, isn’t it? Having to decided between the things you should do and the things you want to do. That’s also the mark of maturity, something I’m striving to teach my children. If you do what needs to be done first, then doing what you want to do after wards is much more sweeter. The old saying “actions speak louder then words” is so true. By my actions I want to teach my children that they are more important to me then anything else, after Jesus.

There are rumors of snow coming soon here and I sure hope they are right! I’m ready for the snow to fly! Open-mouthed smile 

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Grace and Caleb. A boy is never too young for a car, right?