a mindful thing

I’ve been kind of following (in the loosest sort of use of that word) the WordPress Daily Prompts. This one is about just sitting down and writing for 10 minutes non-stop. Well, I think I can do that, but it all comes out in a gobbledygook sort of mess and lands at my fingertips, ready for cleaning up and redressing. Or is that re-dressing? Sometimes the English language gets in the way of what I want to say.

So here I sit, thinking about what I want to write. Not many thoughts worth hanging onto long enough to write down. I had one thought that just came in and spooked all the others away and took over my mind. I was SO HAPPY to receive a package in the mail this week, from a gal whose blog I follow, called CurlsnSkirls. She shared some patterns with me. I have GOT to try one of those jackets! She also sent me a lovely crocheted heart. I put the heart with the pincushion (it’s actually a Christmas tree ornament) she’d sent me before. I use that little boot ornament to hold my hand-sewing needles, and now it has a heart! Thank you so much, del, for thinking of me!!

Guess what else I was thinking? I’ll tell you anyway. I was thinking about the other day when talking to a friend. She was relating a story about her grandkids. One of the littles, age 4, asked her mom why Grandma always called her pants ‘britches.’ Mom explained that it was a generation gap. Oldest son, age 7, piped up, “What’s a generation app? Should we download it?”

Well, time’s up. It’s been 10 minutes and I guess I don’t have fast thoughts. Only two had time to develop in my mind and I’m OK with that. It gives me time to get photos to go along with the thoughts (well, at least the one I have photos to accompany!), and time to fix all my typos that I really don’t want to show you. What I DO want to show you are these great patterns and the heart. I just love this blogging community!!!!

I cannot WAIT to try that pocket pattern!

I cannot WAIT to try that pocket pattern!


I have both denim and leather to try this on...which one, which one???

I have both denim and leather to try this on…which one, which one???

what a lovely heart - makes me feel loved just to look at it

what a lovely heart – makes me feel loved just to look at it

these two go together like a bird and a feather

these two go together like a bird and a feather

is it lunchtime yet?

I love the weekends! But this weekend, I actually looked forward to Monday – especially lunchtime! Not that I was hungry or anything. I just wanted to try out that new lunch bag I made this weekend.

I had a lunch bag already, but hubby needed one. So I made one for…myself. :lol:

OK, it started out to be for him, but he’s so picky. He didn’t want ANYTHING fun like embroidery or flowers or stuff like that on it. So I did what any loving wife would do. I gave him my old, plain bag and made a new one for myself.

The original bag (the one he now proudly uses) is made from a single layer of thin, thermal-type fabric (I don’t know what it’s called) that looks almost like paper on the outside, with a silver lining – see, I just KNEW there was one in this story somewhere!! :lol: It’s lightweight, and the design is simple – only four pieces: a front, a back, a side/bottom strip, and an outer pocket.paper bag?

I felt the need to complicate it a bit, just to spice up my life. I didn’t have any of that thin thermal fabric, so I used what I had: insul-bright ®, a partial pair of jeans, a strip from an old jeans skirt (used for the side/bottom of the bag), iron-on vinyl, a strap from a defunct camera bag, and cotton broadcloth for lining. It’s a tad bit bulkier than the original bag, but it works!side pocket

For the side pocket, I used the other back pocket from the old jeans, cutting the pants around the pocket to make the piece measure 7″ X 8.” I ran a stitch down through the middle of the jeans pocket to make smaller slots, and embroidered fork and spoon to make it fun.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Abbreviations I used:

  1. RST – right sides together
  2. WST – wrong sides together
  3.  – inches
  4. ® – registered trademark

Steps I took to make this bag:

  1. Cut all front & back pieces [outer fabric, lining fabric, Pellon Vinyl-Fuse® (an iron-on vinyl coating), and insul-bright® (used in oven mitts and hot pads)] to measure 8″ by 12″.
  2. Cut side/bottom pieces (outer fabric strip, lining fabric, vinyl, and insul-bright®) to measure 7″ by 31.5″. side/bottom strip
  3. Cut handles to whatever length you prefer – I cut them 18″ and turned each end under 1/2″.
  4. Attach insul-bright® to wrong side of lining, using whatever quilting style you like. I just used a plain X shape. Trim the extra insul-bright® out of the seam to cut down on bulk when you’re adding the bias tape.
  5. Remove paper backing and put vinyl sticky-side down on back of lining pieces. Lay paper back over the vinyl to use like a pressing cloth. Press vinyl to lining pieces using a dry, medium-heat iron. Turn piece over and press from other side also – be sure to read the instructions for using this product!
  6. Cut outer pocket 7″ by 8″. Turn top under 1/8″ and iron down, then again at 1/2″ to form a casing for elastic. Cut elastic 4.5″ and pull through casing. Tack down on each side of casing.
  7. Measure 11.5″ down from top of side/bottom strip and mark – this will be the bottom of the bag. Lay pocket RST on strip, with bottom facing toward top of strip and 1/8″ above the mark. Sew a 1/8″ seam across bottom of pocket. Flip pocket back up, with top toward top of strip, and sew another seam 1/4″ on outside of pocket bottom, to encase the seam just made.
  8. Attach sides of pocket to the strip with 1/8″ seam. The elastic will pull the sides in, so it will be a little tricky to keep it straight while sewing the side seams.pocket
  9. Put front piece and side/bottom strip WST – start with the side with the pocket on it, and about 1/2″ below front piece (to leave room for the zipper later). Clip pieces together down to the bottom of the front piece, curve side/bottom around bottom of front piece and clip, continuing on up the other side. Sew together with 3/8″ seam. Attach back side same way. Clip curves at bottom of piece, but don’t clip seam!sides attached
  10. Encase seam in wide, double-fold bias tape. Open tape up, clip to seam with raw edges even and sew, following fold line. Fold over to other side of seam and clip in place. I hand sewed this part using a slip-stitch.bias tape
  11. For the zipper, I used a 12″ and let the extra 4″ hang over the side away from the outer pocket. Lay zipper on top of front side, WST, and using a zipper foot, stitch about 1/4″ from outer edge of zipper. Open zipper and attach other side to back side in the same way. Cover edges of zipper with single-fold bias tape. Open tape, line up raw edges, and sew along fold line, all the way down the zipper.
  12. Cover the end of zipper. Cut a piece of fabric about 1/2″ wider than width of zipper and roughly 3″ long (you can cover more of the end than this if you want). Turn wrong side out, fold raw edges of top 1/4″ down and press. Run a 1/4″ seam up each side. Turn right side out and slip over end of zipper. I hand-stitched this down because I used a metal-tooth zipper.zipper4


Well, here’s the final product!





What’s black and white and red all over? A fashion statement, of course!

Fashion statement purse, that is.

This is the second in a series of black/white purses I’m making from that reversible vest. There’s enough fabric for another one – and maybe even a small zip clutch. Besides all the scraps (just about zip-clutch size), almost the entire back of the vest is still there. That was a BIG VEST!!

I see another purse coming!

The doll gives an idea of how big this vest was

I used Simplicity 2201, view D. This pattern calls for reversible quilted fabric – bingo! There were a few things I liked about this, and a few I didn’t. I like the size and style: not too big, with a pleated front, lace & ribbon accents, and a cross-body strap. I don’t like the no pockets and the partial lining. And what happens when I don’t like something about a pattern??? Yup.

the pattern

The instructions had the zipper installed after the lining and outer were sewn together. Only the upper part of the front/back and the side/bottom pieces were lined (see the illustration above). The pleated bottom part was unlined, according to the pattern; I think that was to show the reverse side of the fabric on the inside. I wanted it completely lined, and I wanted pockets.

How to do that? Well, first of all, I scrapped that top lining piece, but kept the one for the side/bottom. I finished the outer front and back pieces per the instructions, and traced around one of the completed pieces to make a new lining pattern. I then added a zip pocket to one lining piece and a phone/pen pocket on the other.

I decided to just follow the original instructions, as though installing a partial lining. According to the pattern, the lining pieces were sewn directly to the outer pieces, and then the purse was assembled – with the seams encased in bias binding. That worked; since the lining is black, the seams really aren’t noticed.

Overall, I really like this purse. I love the red accents, and the fact that it keeps its shape well. And it holds all the stuff I usually carry!  Can’t wait to get the next one started now – just need an idea. Whatcha think?? Any ideas?

Oh, and that first purse? I liked the red on this one so much, I added a tiny pop of color on it too. Today a button, tomorrow a ribbon – the next day, who knows!! It’s a fashion statement in the making.

Fifteen-star night

almost morning

almost morning

Every photo has a voice, but they don’t all speak my language. This week’s photo challenge is to share a picture taken at night. This one (not retouched except for the blog name added), was taken sometime between 4:30 and 5 a.m. overlooking the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. We’d been driving all night, and needed a break. This was the vista that refreshed us.

I looked at many other entries (229 so far – true story!!). Some I could see but just could not hear. A few crooned, one or two shouted, many whispered; these are the fifteen I heard most clearly. For me, these were the stars of the night.

  1. These shots on Joy Returns inspired me to try again. I’ve never successfully photographed the moon, although I’d like to…just once in a blue moon. *groan* sorry – I had to say it.
  2. The photo taken from the White Tank Mountain Regional Park on  Journeys with johnbo was bittersweet. I remember spending much time there with my late husband (a native Arizonan). That photo brought back very good memories.
  3. The photos on Eyes to Heart are as close as I’ll ever get to the dream of visiting Italy.
  4. The snow at night on An upturned soul whispered a welcome. Read her description – it’s is as beautiful as the photo.
  5. Summerfield84’s English Blog made me look twice and listen hard. Just LOOK at that reflection! It was like getting two photos for the price of one – and I do love a bargain!
  6. Steve Says…something I ponder often while people-watching. Where are all those people going? What are their lives like? The light around that street lamp looked like it was coming through frosted glass.
  7. On Exploratorius, the sand dunes and the sky – oh my! It reminded me of a fun trip to the Florence Dunes on the Oregon coast with my best friend.
  8. Following My Joy brought real joy to these ol’ eyes. I’ve been to Port Hueneme, but I’m not sure I’ve been to this particular beach.
  9. On a blog called iChristian, my favorite was the cross on the hill with the sunset on the water. It sang, “The Lord gives life its beauty, and without Him there is no life, no beauty.”
  10. This one on Broken Light: A Photography Collective was crisp and clear, but not what really spoke to me. The artist was watching for the sky to turn black as night approached. “But instead, it kept on lighting up and glimmering, as if the sunny skies were fighting back the night….I remember wondering how a battle could be that beautiful.” That visual intrigued me more than the photo itself.
  11. These were on a blog called the other pictures. I was totally amazed at the colors of the first one, and the beauty of the lightning in the second one.
  12. Lonely Travelog had a photo of the Eiffel Tower that was gorgeous! It reminded me of my four days there a few years ago, and how often I tried (vainly) to get a good picture. I’ll just look at this one instead and remember the fun of that trip!
  13. Jasper Smits beckoned me to visit Iceland. I’ve never seen the northern lights other than in photos.
  14. I love the desert, especially around Phoenix. These on @vannilla  clearly called to me, reminding me of my days in the Southwest.
  15. And last but definitely not least…I found this shot on [pictures people listen to] whispering to my eyes, “Come over here and take a look.” You can just make out a person walking into the unknown, unlit path. The blog title invited me in, and the photo kept me there visiting.

I have to say, after looking at 229 entries, I came away with a much more profound respect for the WordPress team that chooses entries for Freshly Pressed. Hard choices sometimes! Which ones did you hear the most clearly?

. . . perfection . . .

I might cry.

Today I decided to make a perfect clutch to match that vintage fabric purse. Well……..

not a flaw-free zone

not a flaw-free zone

I wanted to make one with a center divider. I found a pattern and instructions on a blog called sew to speak. I liked her design, and her instructions are very easy to follow. However, the pattern was bigger than I wanted. So, I ‘borrowed’ her idea and drew up a pattern more the size I wanted.

my version of the pattern

That was the start.

Why, oh WHY can’t I just leave a pattern as I find it, and follow directions???

Never satisfied. Hey, why not add some card pockets? Oh, and I’ll just make that center divider useful – it’ll be a zip pocket!

I wanted the finished clutch to be about 7″ wide by about 4″ tall. So, I cut the back lining piece about 8″ X 12″, and folded it up for the pockets. I measured it (after folding the pockets) against the pattern, to make sure I’d gotten the folds right. So far so good! That little success made me want to do it again – so I made card pockets for the front piece too. Bold, ain’t I!!

looks kinda weird, but it worked!

looks kinda weird, but it worked!

That zip pocket – it was a good idea. But not the way I first did it. I found that I couldn’t follow sew to speak‘s instructions as written, probably because they weren’t written for the alterations I’d made. So, I ended up finishing the bottom seam in the zip pocket, and not sewing it into the bottom seam of the clutch, as the instructions said to do. Instead, I had the pocket about 1/4″ above the bottom seam of the clutch.

bottom seams

I also had to make the zip pocket smaller than the outer pieces. The first try I followed instructions and sewed the zip pocket seams into the side and bottom seams. Not so good. The pocket buckled and was hard to open. OH well. The second try, with the bottom of the zip pocket left free, worked better – but the pocket still tried to curl in the middle.

I tried pulling the pocket sides about zip pocket1/4″ beyond the side seams, making the pocket slightly smaller than the outside pieces. Hey, whaddya know – it worked!!


Things were going so well.

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I’ve just decided to give up on perfection.

Maybe the next project will be that illusive perfect one. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy my imperfect but usable clutch.