Monday, March 30, 2009

Amy Butler is a genius!

I am an Amy Butler fan! Confirmed. Love her fabric. Love her projects. Love her patterns. So I was really excited when I saw she has a new product launching in June 2009. recently reported that Amy Butler has teamed up with Electric Quilt to launch Amy Butler Softwares. This is a new way to purchase Amy's projects in electronic format. Trueup shares this link where you can see a preview of the gorgeous new projects that will be available in June 2009 for purchase.

This makes me especially happy as I can purchase, download and use. No postage fees and no waiting! If you are an Amy Butler fan, go check the above link out.

The Perfect Apron, by Rob Merrett

Although this book only launched in February 2009 I saw it late 2008. It was so popular that I had to wait more than a month after launch to get a copy of the book. It was well worth it! The Perfect Apron by Rob Merrett is value for money! Some great new, fresh designs I cannot wait to try! The book is divided into 6 sections: Back to Basics; Kitchen Couture; Domestic Bliss; Kitsch 'n' Cute; Fun & Function and Country Charm.
The Back to Basics section covers some very simple designs as seen above, but still lovely aprons.
The Kitchen Couture section has some really smart aprons. The use of fancy fabric with basic pattern designs allows you to create some smart aprons for entertaining or just if you feel like dressing up in the kitchen or home.

This is one of my favorites from this section!

The Domestic Bliss section has some very pretty apron designs. There are several that I have marked as future projects.
Isn't this apron gorgeous? It is so on my list!

Although I prefer full aprons, this design is also fantastic!

In the Kitsch 'n' Cute section there are several apron designs that I really like.

Such as this one. I can imagine this apon in the soft blue denim fabric I bought recently with some lovely pink gingham fabric. This one is first on my list but I might add a bib.

The Fun and Function section has more practical designs in. Many aprons for men, gardening and kids crafting.

It also has one of my all-time favorite apron designs in. Last year I purchased a vintage apron pattern from Etsy with almost the exact design.

The Country Charm section has lots of frills and girly aprons in. Although really cute, I don't find it practical in the kitchen. The woman in me wants one though!

Like this romantic apron. Really nice!

As if all these devine aprons aren't enough, the back of the book shares some really nice tips on pockets and other basic sewing information. And best of all, right at the back of the book - FULL SIZE patterns! I highly recommend this book if you love aprons!

Knitted, Felted bags

Last year I posted pictures of 2 bags my sister Linda knitted for me. She also felted the bags. I decided that I would sew fabric lining and handles for both bags but never had time to do this until last week.

This is the pink bag, now with a lovely cotton pink gingham lining and handles. I also sewed on the roses my sister knitted and felted.

A closer view of the pockets I sewed on in the lining. Not a large bag, but enough room for your purse, cellphone and other daily must-haves.

This is the blue bag - my favorite! It came out really pretty with the polka dot blue lining.

A close up of the lining and roses. I did this bag first and forgot to add pockets to the lining. I read on another crafter's blog that her daughters refuse to get the "prototype" of anything she makes as this one always has all the mistakes! So true. I always forget something with the first one I make! Still happy with the results though.

Cotton Tale Stash Club

Last year I joined a local fabric shop, Cotton Tale's Stash Club. Every quarter you get a parcel containing 32 samples of their latest fabrics. A few weeks ago I received notification that the Q1 2009 parcels were ready, so I agreed to purchase it.

A really cute idea that allows you to see what new fabrics the store has. Many of the fabrics co-ordinate so you can use the squares in patchwork projects. I have already planned a few. Wish I had more time to sew!

Sew Darn Cute, by Jenny Ryan

A few of my friends have asked me to post a review on this book as they are considering buying it. To be honest, I saw a few pictures of this book on blogs around the internet and decided on a whim to purchase it. I was very disappointed at first when I received it and just put it on my bookshelve. A few weeks later I picked it up again and I must admit, I love it now. I have made several projects from the book and plan to do a few more soon!

The book is divided into 5 sections: Pretties; Totables; Nest; Kid Stuff and Crafties. All yummy projects that are easy yet very effective. The first section, Pretties, consist of personal items such as a hairband, a cuff, jewelry and even sewing a few pieces of fabric to your clothing. Really simple, but nice.

Being a bagaholic, this section is one of my favorites! It includes several cute totes with fresh embellishment ideas.
Like this cute pillowcase purse made with denim fabric, a repurposed pillowcase and cute ric-rac. Really a simple project with great results.
A firm favorite, the "Ladylike Laptop Tote". I adore yo-yo's! This is such a cute bag. It is on my list!
The next section is called the "Nest" and this covers simple projects for your home. Projects include coasters, curtains, etc.
This project is on my list. A very cute way to embellish your dishcloths with ric-rac and fabric.
The "Kid Stuff" section is not really very useful to me with bibs, embellishing baby clothes and a doll blanket, but I do like the snake (can be used as a doorstopper) and the teddy!

The Square Bear, also featured on the front of the book, is really cute!

The last section, Crafties, is more my cup of tea! This includes a pincushion, needle book and a few other cute projects.
Like this cute Craft Apron with many pockets. On my LIST!
And a very pretty sewing machine cozy!
Overall I would recommend this book to other crafters. It has some cute little zipper bags in and of course, the travel pillow that I have already made. Quite a few new, fresh projects that I have not seen in other books. The patterns can be found in the back of the book, but some must be copied and enlarged.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's a bag weekend!

I was adamant that this weekend will be more productive than the last one. So, after finishing my Mystery Bag I started planning my weekend projects. Of course, there were several bags I wanted to make. First on my list was another metal frame purse. I managed to salvage quite a few nice frames last week, but I cannot get the RIGHT design in my head. This continued the whole weekend. In the end I decided to make something else until I get the design sorted out. So I made this delightful bag.

I saw a picture of this bag on one of my favorite blogs Nicole is an amazing bag designer! Her metal frame purses are different from the usual you see on the internet. In a few words, I would describe her designs fresh and new. This bag is one of her patterns called the "Flat Bag". I saw a picture of it on her blog and made my own pattern.

I just love everything about this bag. As with Lola's Mystery Bag, it plays on the contrasting fabrics and shows it off so stunningly. I have a variety of bamboo, bead and wooden handles I bought last year and never used. This is actually my first bag using these handles.

I bought this new home dec Amy Butler fabric from an Etsy shop at a great price recently and have been keen to use it. It goes so well with this bright orange moda fabric I bought locally. How clever to put the magnetic snap just below the handles. I did forget to add pockets! At least it has a large outside pocket. I also love the effect of the covered buttons on the outside pocket.

I then decided to make another bag with this pattern. This is a fun, pink bag for a colleague at work, Cindy. I promised her a bag months ago! This delightful brown fabric with the pink butterflies and flowers was a gift during a Swap I participated in last year. Fabulous fabric! It goes so well with the pink polka dot fabric. This time I did remember to add pockets inside. I also added some velcro to the outside pocket.

More views of the pink bag showing some fabric detail and the placement of the magnetic snap. It is well worth paying a visit to Nicole's blog and shop for inspiration.

Lola Mystery Bag complete!

I finished the Mystery Bag on Friday night. Love how it came out! It is a lot bigger than my usual bags but I can already see some great uses for this bag.
Isn't it pretty? Love the fact that the design is so unsual and the use of contrasting fabric that shows off to best advantage. Thank you very much Lola for hosting the sewalong! I will most definitely join in should you host another one! It was such fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lola's Mystery Bag Sewalong continued

I finally managed to catch up with the Mystery Bag from Lola at Last night I cut and ironed interfacing like a mad person and then, rather late, started sewing. I am delighted that I am now up to date.

This is where I am at the moment. The lining is done, complete with pocket sewn in as well as the flap with the male part of the magnetic snap inserted. My thoughts so far? Lola gives GREAT instructions! Clear and easy to understand. Lola has posted several free tutorials on her blog and I highly recommend all of them.

The cutting took quite a while. Lola has managed to squeeze this large bag into 1 yard of fabric and even gave us the layout of the pattern pieces to ensure 1 yard is enough. What I forgot is that I work in meters, not yards. This made my layout a bit different. I had to convert everything to centimeters, make the pattern pieces and then do the layout on my meter of fabric. The bag also cleaned out my little stash of interfacing! It is quite a large bag, in fact, the largest I have ever made so I am quite excited to see the end result.

Thrifting metal purse frames

I am totally into the metal frame purses right now! I did mention that I have ordered some more metal purse frames from Cottontouch on Etsy, but it will be at least 2 weeks (!) before these arrive in the post from Hong Kong. So I decided last night to search through my clothing cupboard and see if I can thrift some frames from old purses.
This is what I found to my utmost surprize! Some of these bags I do not even remember but one thing is certain - I cannot possibly cut up any of these bags! The gold bag on the left with a chain handle and the pink clutch in the middle were free gifts with the local Glamour magazine. The black bag at the botton is exquisite. It is made from velvet with embroidery and beads on it and has a stunning vintage frame. This was a birthday gift from my husband a few years ago. Love it! The little gold sequins bag on the right I have absolutely no idea where and when I bought it! It still has a price tag on it - R20 (about $2)! So, if I were to do any thrifting I would have to go visit the shops and look for bargains!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My first metal frame purse!

Isn't she pretty? I am in LOVE! This is my first attempt at a metal purse frame and I learnt some valuable lessons along the way. I followed a fab tutorial posted by Lisa of U-Handbag at It's a bit scew on the right and I messed a bit with the glue. Wish I read some other comments BEFORE I did it, but the next one will be better!

I used my current favorite fabric from the Amy Butler Daisy Chain range. I have already cut out a bag from the same fabric mixed with chocolate brown vinyl in a new style.

A better view of the inside. When I took the pictures I have not cleaned the excess glue off yet. I bought the metal frames from Cottontouch on Etsy last year when I wanted my sister to knit and felt me some bags for these frames. I have ordered a few more frames from Cottontouch recently to try some other style bags, like bigger bags with a chain handle and some coin purses.

UPDATED: Lessons learnt:

Use CLEAR drying glue! I used white craft glue and this messed on my fabric big-time! Do not use too much glue! Wow, did I plaster the glue in there. What a mess! NicoleM from Australia suggests you use a matchstick to put the glue in the frame. That's what I plan to do with the next one. I also need to make some adjustments to my pattern as the gap between the hinges and the fabric is too big. Even with interfacing ironed on both the outer fabric and lining, there was still a gap when the fabric was in the frame so I used some of the string I use for piping to fill the gap. Worked like a charm! Patience! Wow, do you need lots of that! Give the glue some time to dry. Overnight. Now I just need to find out Nicole's secret to crimping the frame without a crimping tool and NOT using pliers! I went on Etsy today and ordered plenty more metal frames and even some chain handles. Lots more metal frame purses coming soon!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lola's Mystery Bag Sewalong

I am a frequent visitor to Lola has a 6 kids and a wonderful sense of humour I really enjoy. She also makes the most beautiful bags! I have made several based on her patterns. Recently I saw that Lola planned to host a Mystery Bag Sewalong and immediately signed up.

It took me several days to select the fabric I will be using to make this Mystery Bag, but here is my final choice: Amy Butler Daisy Chain and the gree polka dots are from Moda Fabrics, Daydreams by Deb Strain. It makes a lovely combination, don't you think?

I am 2 days behind at this stage on the Sewalong due to internet problems and my current workload, but I will catch up soon! The progress can be followed on the Gracie Lou group on flickr and I will be posting here too!

Weekend Sewing Projects

I had such a bad, un-creative weekend! By Sunday afternoon I had achieved absolutely nothing and i could not even blog or surf as my internet was full of it! I called my MIL and she had been having a great sewing weekend. She suggested I make a new, shorter list of projects as it seems my problem was I had too many things I wanted to do and could not decide where to start. I finally got going late Sunday afternoon. What a waste of precious time!

I grabbed my new book, Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan and decided to start making something from my somewhat smaller list of projects. It worked like a charm! I have wanted to sew this little travel pillow since I got the book. It is ideal timing as I am flying off to Chicago in a few weeks' time and always have trouble sleeping on the plane. This little pillow should make it easier. I should have done a bit more patchwork on it but was too lazy to bother. The other side is the softest candy pink fleece!

I also made a pouch for my new mobile phone. Not the best effort but at least I got going again and felt so much better.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Stash

At the Hobby-X craft show I went to this weekend I discovered that there was a fabulous fabric shop close to my work I never knew about. During lunch-hour on Monday I slipped out to go pay a visit to The Sewing Room in Blairgowrie. What a great find! Colleen Watson, the owner, is a lovely lady that even remembered me from Saturday's visit at the show. Isn't that amazing?

Look at this lovely fabrics I got there! I am delighted as it is closeby and Colleen has great taste in cotton fabrics. I cannot decide which ones are my favorites, but I can see some lovely bags coming from these...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taxi Tote from Seams To Me, Anna Maria Horner

I have posted a review recently on Anna Maria Horner's book, Seams To Me. I love the projects in her book and especially like the full size patterns. I decided a few weeks ago to make the Taxi Tote featured in the book. I just never finished the bias binding on the top.

I used beautiful fabric from the Olive Rose range of Valori Wells to make this bag. I love Valori's fabric and the big pattern requires a bigger bag to show it off the best. These colours are so stunning.

A view of the inside with a contrasting fabric in the same range and the pockets, using the same fabric as the exterior. Can't wait to take this bag shopping this weekend! I received some great vouchers this week and plan a little shopping spree this Saturday!