Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Couple Shades of Gray

After Dinner Project

diy field bag/satchel

Satchel made from recycled twill pants

I was bored after dinner. That is never a good thing. Boredom forces me to look for things to do and I usually find things to do. Tonight I happened to let my dog outside when I noticed a pile of outgrown pants that belonged to my daughter sitting in a neat pile on my back porch table.  I sew out there in the summer.

I picked up the gray pair. Don't know why. There was not a spot of wear to be found anywhere on these pants. I remembered a gray paisley fat-quarter I had in my stash and pulled it out. Perfect match!  So naturally I decided to make a bag. I have long wanted to sew one with a flap so I put my mind to conjuring up a field type bag, lined with the gray paisley fabric, inside and outside pockets and a flap. With a basic plan in my head I cut out all the pieces. I did not use a pattern. I mostly eyeballed it. 

Outside (cut off most of one pant leg)

Inside lining

Outside pocket to attach to front

 Inside pocket (I love this one--IT ZIPS!)

Did some stitching, cut out some more pieces for the long strap and stitched up the strap and top stitched it too. The straps were cut from the other pant leg. Only thing left to do is top stitch at the very top. I will do that tomorrow. My husband has gone to bed and I am sewing in the room under our bedroom. It's a bit noisy though my husband never complains!

This is what I ended up with--exactly what I had conjured up in my mind! The flap is lined with the same fabric as the inside of the bag.

Here is a peek inside. I was able to utilize a pocket from the side of the pants. I love that it has a zipper.
I am happy with the way it turned out. I made myself a khaki green field bag last year. I used that thing all summer and fall and it still looks brand new. 

I don't really enjoy watching television in the evening. I 'd rather sew. It relaxes me. 

The good news is that there is a large pile of pants out there waiting to be turned into something. I promise the next project will not be dull gray. I saw the cutest pink, sort of shabby-chic print pair of pants in the pile. I remember my daughter wearing those pants when she was about 7.  She is now 17! Almost 18. So I have hung on to them all these years for some reason. I will use that pair next. After all, it is spring.

I happened to look up gray in the dictionary because I wasn't entirely sure how to spell it for this post. Grey, or Gray????? Turns out both ways are correct though "GRAY" is the preferred spelling. Then I read further that gray means literally a color without color. Interesting!

how to reuse old clothing

Anyhow here is my latest shabby field bag. It's color (gray) is somewhere between black and white and  is frequently associated with boredom, dullness and indifference according to the dictionary. That certainly  explains a lot tonight!

This post is linked to:
Fluster Buster Fluster Buster Party #21-Click here to check it out
and Penny's Vintage Home! (Co-host) Click here to check out the party!

"Life isn't black and white. It's a
million gray areas, don't you find?"
Ridley Scott

Gift Tags for that Handmade (Made from the Heart) Gift!

Handmade Gift Tags--embellished with fabric scraps!

A couple of days ago I posted a new tote bag I was making as a gift for a friend. I finally ironed it last night and made the gift tag above to pin on to the bag. For instructions on how you can make personalized tags for that special gift, please refer to my previous but updated post. Here is the link: 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Signs of Spring

Good morning! I am drinking my second cup of coffee and have been reading  many blog posts from my enormous list of "blogs I love to read" list. I have a lot of catching up to do and I can see that I have missed out on many wonderful postings over the past few months.

 I hope everyone is doing well and finding signs of spring, no matter how small they may seem, in your neck of the woods. Though it is cold here in southern NH, the forecast appears to have some warmer temperatures coming by the end of the week. By warmer I am talking high 40's, maybe low 50's. I will take it!

What is on your to do list today? Today I will do some spring cleaning. I noticed yesterday that my back porch is actually retaining enough solar heat that I can spend some time cleaning it off and organizing. Really looking forward to meals on my porch again. I also love to sew out there! I love the sounds of spring--birds chirping and yes--even the distant (emphasis on distant) sound of a lawn mower!

There is so much to look forward to in the weeks ahead. My youngest daughter is graduating from high school, we have some last minute accepted student days to attend at various colleges, and my oldest daughter is engaged so we have a wedding to plan! I also want to get to Martha's Vineyard to visit my middle daughter as it is so peaceful there before the summer crowds arrive. For today though, I will be looking for signs of spring. Happy Spring everyone!

"Is the Spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sun."
Francis Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy Days Are Here Again!

DIY tote

Yesterday was Saturday! It was the first Saturday I have had to myself at home, in 20 weeks and it felt so good to be home. I lounged in my jammies, admired all the week-old "after-the-show" floral bouquets still in their glory, (below are some blossoms that I just cannot get enough of) drank plenty of coffee and decided it was time to fire up the sewing machine again. I have missed sewing!

Going to have to relocate these flowers so that I have room to sew....


Love that shade of purple!

so pretty!

I had to keep sniffing this rose!

This one is HUGE!

Anyways, I got out my sewing machine and set it up on my dining room table and looked through my stash of fabric....guess I was inspired by the large blossoms in my bouquets!

Grabbed a pile of fat quarters for a new tote--bold red floral print on turquoise. This is a gift for a friend.....I cut out all the pieces and started sewing. 

Outside of bag....went together so easily! I really do enjoy sewing these bags! Decided if I was going to spend the day sewing I had better throw together something easy for dinner.
 I have been craving Shepherd's Pie and a crunchy salad. I have been needing some comfort food. Just as I was thinking that Spring had arrived, we got blasted with more snow and now more cold. So I have been thinking a lot about comfort food. Cold weather makes me want to hibernate and cook....taking a break to go throw diner together.....it is in the oven!

Inside of bag....

Getting ready to sew the inside lining to the tote

Sewn but dinner is ready to come out of the oven.....will return to my bag after dinner. 

Just your basic Shepherd's Pie!

With a garden salad....

and rolls.

It tasted sooooo good! Dishes are done and now I am ready to get back to sewing!

My favorite step--turning it right side out....first the handles emerge.

Next, the body of the bag is pulled out.

I always check at this point to make sure the side seams lined up nicely....they did!

Top-stitched around the top edge of the bag....

Tote bag is done!

Additional views....

I so enjoyed my Saturday at home. "There's no place like home."  I love to cook and I love to sew. That is all I accomplished today and it was enough! This bag lady is baaack!!!

"I love what I do. I take great pride in what I do. And I can't do something half-way, three-quarters, nine tenths. If I'm going to do something, I go all the way."
Tom Cruise


Got scraps of leftover fabric? 

Make a "handmade especially for you" tag to attach to your gift item from coordinating fabric scraps. This tag is created by cutting a piece of oak tag (but nice card stock works well--my supply has run out)

Using a paper punch, make a hole in the upper left corner of folded gift tag.

Cut out shapes from fabric used to make the item. Any shape. I have used hearts, stars...hearts are nice:  "handmade from the heart".

Then just stitch them to the oak tag using a sewing machine. Carefully outline stitch, turning as you go (leave needle in down position when you need to turn) I have used a zig-zag stitch and it works equally well.

Next, find ribbons, cut narrow widths of fabric or twine and loop it through the hole in the tag and pull the ends up through the loop...I used a couple of very narrow pieces of the bag fabric and a red piece of raffia....

fabric embellished gift tags

When the tag is finished, attach to the bag with a tiny, gold safety pin. This adds such a nice, personal touch to any handmade gift. 

I have also made note cards and greeting cards using fabric scraps. They are so fun to create! Dig out some fabric scraps and give it a try!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

After the Show

The show is over and life is beginning to return to pre-season normalcy. To say that a  huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders is an understatement. I am still exhausted but anxious to get on with my sewing, my blog and opening my ETSY shop. I had hoped to have my shop open by now but my time commitment at the rink ended up being much more than I had previously planned.  Since when does anything go according to plan?

My dining room looks like a floral shop. Between us, my daughter and I received so many flowers that I ran out of vases and my husband had to cut off the tops of four Poland Spring gallon jugs to accommodate the bouquets! The fragrance is beautiful throughout my entire house! These still look beautiful 3 days later despite being left out the entire night after the show. (I was too tired to put them in water after getting home at 10:30pm after the second show) 

They completely cover my dining room table!

On the day of the show I headed to the rink for 8:15 am. One of my fellow board members suggested I stop at Dunkin Donuts to pick up a Bag of Joe and some munchkins. I did. When I arrived at the rink, my dad was already parked in the parking lot waiting for me to arrive so he could help decorate the rink for the show at 1:00 pm. He saw my plea for help decorating on Facebook! Good thing he came because two dads I was expecting to arrive to help did not show up. He came armed with 2 staple guns, staples, hammer and nails!

He helped  us cover one side of the rink boards and plexiglass with back plastic and he hung up black curtains that lead to the back of the (stage) rink. He was a big help! THANKS DAD!

We had a great turnout of help for decorating. Even the rink crew was there to help and they helped in a big way!!!! I even bribed them with donuts!!!! Not that I had to!

Anyways, once all the black plastic was hung (we buy table covering by the roll) we began to hang the streamers and the banner that I featured in my blog.

When the zamboni cleaned the ice, some of the streamers got blown around.

Here you can see a bit of the banner peeking out behind the trees. It looked really neat surrounded by trees!

Friday, March 8, 2013



Representing OCEANS

Our skating show has 10 groups representing various elements in nature. Decorating the rink has always been a challenge due to the immense size of the rink. So I realized that in order to add a "splash" of color I would have to come up with a plan that would cover a large amount of space and not cost a small fortune.

Streamers are very colorful but the humidity in the rink tends to cause the crepe paper variety to droop by the end of the first show. For last years show, I machine stitched 3 layers of crepe paper together and these streamers held up for both shows. BUT it was very time consuming and tedious....I sewed miles of streamers for that show. I also used a gathering stitch so they were ruffled which was also very time consuming.

I saw streamers on pinterest made out of plastic tablecloths so I decided to give it a try....this was the first set of streamers I made for "OCEANS".

By stretching the plastic gently (almost as though you are crimping pie-crust) you can get a seaweedy ruffled effect...

 I then cut circles out of paper to make bubble garlands...

First set of streamers completed....here is a look at a few more.....


Spring has sprung...onto to Autumn....Ellie always has to be the center of attention!

Double doors really come in handy for this project! These streamers are actually twice the width shown. I have them folded in half to make the cutting move along more quickly....I cut through 4 layers at once. The actual size is 54" X 108".

I love autumn colors.....

I now have 7 sets completed....will be working on summer today and will post some photos later....

Speaking of summer, well, it seems so far off. Today I woke up to a beautiful, new, white blanket of snow
on the ground. It is the heavy, wet snow that sticks to the tree branches. It is so beautiful but I must say I have the worst case of spring fever ever! I don't mind the snow but I am really looking forward to warmer temperatures and the first signs of spring...

UPDATE--more streamers and show extras

These streamers represented out forest group....

green leaves traced onto construction paper and kraft paper bags

Here they are folded in quarters--storing then until the show!

To see how they looked in rink click on this link and scroll down to show photos:  SHOW

bowtie and cumberband for boys costume

We needed a yellow bow tie and cumberband and could not find a yellow set anywhere--so I made one. These rolls of organza come in very handy. Purchased at Joanne Fabrics.

Then our forest group needed a head prop. These rolls of organza and tulle worked very well....

I made up these headbands as I went a long.....sew a strip of 3 layers of fabric on rolls above.
Folded the strips in half.....sewed in a set of gathering threads...

cut out random leave shapes all the way across the strip....

pulled up the gathering stitches....

hot-glued to dollar store headbands....

Added ribbons....

many more to make....

dance recital headbands

A whole forest full of headbands....

These are hand props for our sunshine group....small embroidery hoops, wrapped in yellow fabric and then
yellow, orange and pink streamers made from ribbons looped over and through the hoops...

really looks like fire--will add some nice color!

Wrist ribbons easily looped over a hair tie, these can be worn on the wrist or added to hand held props. These were made for our star group and they are holding small stars and the ties will be added to the handles of the stars. Their costumes are red sequinned dresses with large silver stars on one side.

dance recital accessories

All together they add a splash of color! So easy to make....

These were wrist ribbons for the darkness group. They had black dresses with silver trim.