secret tote swap: round 2

I really like the bag I made for round two of the secret tote swap, and was almost tempted to keep it for myself! It was fun to bring the somewhat ambitious project (for me at least) out of my head and into the world.

I’d been wanting to do a pieced project with some of the fun vintage fabrics that I had from Kathy’s mom’s stash. My partner requested a lot of solid colors so I threw in some solid scraps of my own.


I bought the purple and orange to round out the rainbow, fitting the nature theme of the swap.


As I was sewing it up, I added some light blue and fuchsia scraps to give the rainbow more depth.


I used strips of the rainbow colors at the top of the inside pocket, on the straps, and as a feature for the front of the bag.

I added some diagonal quilting to the back of the bag and a few vertical lines to the front alongside the rainbow piece.


I like how the quilting shows up on the navy linen I got at JoAnn’s.


I added a pocket on the back of the bag and secured it with velcro.


And stuck a snap inside as per my partner’s request. I used a lighter blue fabric from my stash for the lining.


And that was it! My bag was complete and sent off to my partner.


My bag for the swap came to me from England. I always get excited when I see this stamp in the mail.


I got a couple of additional goodies along with my yellow and blue hexagon bag. I was pretty psyched that I had a partner who was willing to put that kind of time into hand-sewing the hexagons and I really like the fabrics she chose.

I also got a bag pattern, card and fat quarter of white hearts on a red background (not pictured).


Thanks so much to my partner over at The Patchwork Robin and to Lia’s Handmades for putting the swap together again for round two. Check out more bags from the swap on Flickr!


birthday totes, bibs, and aprons

I finished my bag for the secret tote swap, but since today is the much celebrated and beloved holiday of Columbus Day the post office is closed. I think post office and bank workers must be Columbus’s biggest fans. But since I’ve not sent my latest tote out yet, I have some other totes for you today.

I made some more birthday totes in the last few weeks. This one was for my mom’s friend Sandy. She likes bright happy colors, and I’d been saving this shirt to make a bag. It was a thrift store find of course.


I paired the shirt with the rest of the pink sheet (that has lasted for YEARS since I first got back into sewing) and turned it into a fun beachy tote.


I used the sheet for the lining, straps, and part of the front since there wasn’t a whole lot of shirt to go around. I did use a little bit of the shirt on the inside pocket. Some triple topstitching finished off the front.


I meant to finish the bag before I went to Pennsylvania, but ended up mailing later because it wasn’t done in time. I made the card during a cardmaking blitz that I hope to blog about soon.

My next tote was for my friend Christine. I’m still stashbusting fabric, so I used a checked red and white fabric from Kathy’s mom’s stash that I thought suited her.

I knew I wanted to make a large bag because she’s a crocheter and has been working on afghans lately. I had a pillowcase in the stash that was about the width that I wanted to make the bag so I used it as the lining. No sewing up the sides and bottom, just insert the pillowcase into the outer bag!


I like the striped on the edge and will be saving them for another project.

I wanted to pair the checked fabric with a thicker one since it’s a loose weave and the pillowcase did the trick. Lots of topstitching on the handles and a divided inside pocket finished this bag off.


The boyfriend laughed when he saw how large this bag is, but it’s working out for Christine.

christine tote bag in action

She’s been making some great projects lately!

I made her son a bib since his birthday was pretty recent too. I’ve intended to make so many things for him since he was born a year ago, but I really haven’t gotten around to it. *guilty friend syndrome*


I made this reversible toddler bib pattern using some plaid fabric from the same acquired stash as the checkered fabric. Levi just turned one but he is already toddler-sized.

My last birthday present in this round-up is for Barret’s sister. He picked out the fabric, and I made the apron from one of my go-to patterns. After I made an apron for Barret’s mom last year, Casey mentioned that she wanted an apron. I kept that though in the back of my mind and it took several months almost a year, but her birthday was the catalyst I needed to make it happen. (Even then I almost waited until this Christmas to finish it, but Barret kept nudging.)


The prepackaged bias tape matched perfectly, as did a button from my stash.


I really like the full skirt of this apron pattern. It adds something special to a very practical garment.

I’ll be off to the mailbox tomorrow to send my tote for the swap (luckily it’s not going far) and the sailboat pouch to my giveaway winner. (Congrats to TheFamilyClass!)

I’m hoping things are slowing down a little so I’ll have a chance to post more regularly. I’ve been working against some deadlines and was out of town for a conference last week.

Revelation (& giveaway winner!)

Just a quick post for now. I have been knitting for years and just realized I do not know how to purl.

I thought I did but realized that my patterns with purl stitches haven’t been turning out because I wasn’t bringing my yarn to the front.

My current project looks so much better just in the first few rows since this revelation. (I did frog it and restart.) I feel like a whole new world of knitting is opened to me and just in time for fall/winter!


Love the Malabrigo I am working with (thanks Mom!) and my new bamboo needles. Also, this is my first post from the WordPress app on my iPhone.

And now for the giveaway: The Family Class, you are the winner! I will be contacting you for your address so I can send your prize!

my new jewelry display (and a giveaway)!

Almost a year ago, I spotted a printer’s tray on one of the blogs I read. I left a comment immediately because it looked like it was in great shape. I got a quick response and snapped it up since she was offering a good price.


My idea was to do a cool printer tray earring holder like I’d seen on Etsy. Unfortunately, the finished pieces on Etsy average more than $100 which is out of my price range. (I got this tray for less than half of that, including shipping.)

I enlisted the boyfriend to transform this wooden tray into a fabulous jewelry display. He didn’t want to put in all those tiny screw eyes, so he decided to put copper wire in loops through holes drilled in the back of the tray.

The project got put away for awhile shortly after he started it, and despite my nagging constant reminders it was only finished and hung up on the wall within the last few weeks. Yes, that means the tray was sitting around half finished for almost a year. But I love it, and I love that he made it for me. 🙂


Looks like I need some more jewelry!

It’s still not completely done. I want some necklace/bracelet hangers on the bottom, but it’s finished enough to be used for now.

And now I’d like to take this opportunity to show off some of my favorite pieces of jewelry! I lean towards simple, small pieces and away from the loud and chunky.


1. sapphire and diamond earrings from the boyfriend!  2. lapis lazuli earrings from little bug jewelry  3. caribbean blue quartz earrings from true elements  4. my dad’s mother’s class ring from 1942 (it survived the fire!)  5. earrings my mom bought me in Sonoma  6. cheapy earrings my little brother bought me years ago (they still get a surprising amount of wear!)  7. gold arrow ring, $12 at Kohl’s during a recent sale

One of the great things about this display is that it serves as a nice visual as well as storage. I like seeing all my jewelry options at once, and have been wearing some earrings, rings, and bracelets that I tended to forget about before.

I used a large standalone jewelry chest for storage when I lived in Alabama, but gave it to the roommate when I left since I knew the apartment I was moving to in Kentucky had limited space. So what was I storing my jewelry in for that year+ since the move?


This egg carton was where my earrings had been living since September 2012. Some of the larger ones were in an embroidery floss box, but a lot were hanging out in here. I used a piece of tissue paper between the egg cups and the top to keep them from rattling around, though I still lost a few… Anyway, the lid came off at some point, but I clung to hope that my display would be finished soon so I didn’t move them to another box. I am so glad to be rid of that egg carton!

And I promised a giveaway in my last post since this post will be my 200th on the blog!

Who’d like to win a zipper pouch featured in my last post? I’m giving away the one on the left with the sailboats. I’ll leave the giveaway open until the middle of next week. Just leave a comment to enter, and thanks for reading!