Feb 232013
 

Sara at Sew Sweetness released her Locked and Loaded bag pattern, which means I can show the bag I made to help test the pattern. This bag is nice and roomy, and I really like the shape!
Locked and Loaded bag

I tried to be a good tester and follow the instructions exactly, but I couldn’t keep myself from adding a patch pocket that’s not in the pattern.
Locked and Loaded, patch pocket

As you can see, I had to get creative with my lining fabric, since I didn’t have enough of that pinkish stripey print (that matched the Echino really nicely, boohoo). And then I got annoyed at myself because I put my lining in backwards from what I prefer, since I like to have interior zipper pockets on the back side of the bag. Once I flipped my bag right-side-out, I had to keep telling myself that my sister (who said she’d take the bag) wouldn’t care. >_<
Locked and Loaded, zipper pocket

One of the fancy features of the bag is the twist lock, and it’s the first time I’d ever installed one. I think it looks nifty! My cheapskate side tells me that twist locks probably won’t become a regular feature of the bags I make, though.
Locked and Loaded, twist lock

I think this is a super cute tote that’s the perfect size for the kind of mom who probably ought to still carry around one or two diapers and a couple of toys along with her normal stuff, but doesn’t need the entire gigantic diaper bag all the time. In other words, me. Hah! :D

Feb 212013
 

I made a couple more things for the kids’ second Valentine’s Day on Saturday; first was a new bag each for Cosmo and Sunshine. They both have the same reverse applique heart and birdie embroidery (although I forgot to include the wing on Cosmo’s). Since Cosmo can work zippers, I made him Noodlehead’s wide open pouch. It was also kind of a test because I was thinking of making these for end-of-year teacher presents, and I wanted to see if I liked it.
Cosmo's and Sunshine's Valentine bags

Sunshine’s bag has closed, finished handles because of Ikat Bag’s fantastic Make a Bag series. I love these! I’ll never make an exposed open-ended bag strap again!
Sunshine's Valentine bag handle

I put in yummy (I want to buy more for meee!) almond cookies and candied squash. It looks kind of empty in the kids’ bags, but that’s all I could fit in my niece’s goodie bag.
Valentine bags, goodies

For my sister-in-law and niece, I made heart-shaped ditty bags. I like them! In person, though, they remind me of 80′s Madonna pointy bras. :D
heart ditty bags

Feb 122013
 

Last month, I treated myself to a couple of Architextures prints and the Day in the Park Backpack Tote pattern. I love bags that can also turn into backpacks! It makes it easier to chase after my boys in stores while bystanders wonder why that mom doesn’t have her kids under better control. :>
Day in the Park backpack, front

The bag closes with a magnetic snap, and I’d like to say again that I dooooon’t like sew-in magnetic snaps. I can’t sew around them neatly! After I finished the bag, I vaguely remembered that it might work better if I sewed the magnetic snap to the sew-in interfacing instead of the wrong side of the bag lining, but pfft. I think the prong magnet snaps look nice, so I’ll just use those in the future! Plus, this bag never closes anyway because it’s always stuffed too full.
Day in the Park backpack, inside

This had an awful lot of pattern pieces, so it took me a while to cut just because I kept forgetting what I was doing and kept flipping through all my bits of paper. Some of the pattern pieces were just rectangles, though, and I understood that they were included because of pressing guide marks and things like that, but it added to my paper overload confusion.
Day in the Park backpack, back

These straps are ingenious and so comfy! Plus, I like that when I put on or take it off as a backpack, it doesn’t go sliding off wonkily sideways the way it would if the backpacky straps were one long piece. Mr. Yazoo said this is his favorite of the bags I’ve made myself so far. :)
Day in the Park backpack, backpack style

I want to make more of these, and maybe I’ll be ambitious enough to try to add an inset zipper at the top!

Feb 012013
 

Yesterday, Sara at Sew Sweetness released her new bag pattern, the Dot Dot Dash Bag. Earlier in the year, she’d asked if anyone would be interested in helping her test patterns, and I was all, ooh ooh me! I often read about people getting to test patterns and felt jaaaalous, so was super excited that this time that I could be a tester, myself.

This is the bag I made!
dot dot dash bag

The pattern’s marked as intermediate/advanced, and I guess that’s at the very tippy edge of my current bag-making ability, because that dang inset zipper took me two hours to finally get in. I ripped things out many, many times, and when I finally got it in, the bag looked like this:
dot dot dash bag, after attaching zipper panel step 10 - full

It was totally worth it, though, because now I (theoretically) know how to add inset zippers to other bags! I already have another bag in mind for that treatment… but anyhoo, it came out pretty nicely on this bag, if I do say so myself, despite how awful it looks on the inside.
dot dot dash bag, interior zip pocket

Oh yeah, the pattern doesn’t call for it, but I added interior zip and patch pockets. You know, because the bag didn’t have enough compartments. ;> I ended up giving this bag to my niece — it’s so padded that I thought it would make a good bag for her laptop. Also, I really wanted to use that funny musubi print when I saw it in the store, and she was the only person I could think of who wouldn’t give me a look for it. hehehe.

Congratulations to Sara for releasing her pattern! I’m so impressed by people who have the kinds of brains that want to design things!

Jan 112013
 

Back in the fall, we had a family trip planned to New York, and so I needed to make myself a Weekender for my carry on bag. This is what I made!

zig zag weekender bag

Since it was for me, I excused myself from the hassle of trying to match up the zig zags on the pockets and zipper whatsadoodle. I also skimped on the length of the green shoulder straps, hoping that quilting wof would be enough. It wasn’t quite, and made those handles a little hard to use. I didn’t notice much, though, since one-inch straps are uncomfortable anyway when such a big bag is full of stuff, so I hardly used them at all.

I made eighty jillion (or four) pocket modifications: I added a zippered pocket inside one of the outer pockets, slip pockets and a zippered pocket inside the main body, and I changed the back outer pocket to a zippered one.

zig zag weekender, front zip pocket

Like the interior of the bag? This is what happens when you only buy half-yard cuts of all your fabric. :D

zig zag weekender, interior

Finally, I added a shoulder strap, but I attached it to the bag waaaaaay too low down, which meant that the bag had a tendency to want to tip over when you used the shoulder strap! That bugged me the whole trip; fortunately, Mr. Yazoo mostly carried my bag for me, so I didn’t have to struggle with it. I’m thinking I might try buying some rivets to make the strap attached higher to the body so it’s more useful. :P

zig zag weekender, side

This sucker is heavy, even when it’s empty! It was an awesome carry on in that it held a ton and fit pretty nicely under the airplane seat, but it was a huge pain because it was uncomfy to carry, heavy, and tippy. The one thing I really love about it its awesome vintage zipper. I can’t bring myself to rip it apart to reclaim the zipper, so now I’m waffling about whether to try fixing the shoulder strap, and then whether to keep it for our next big vacation (yeaaaaars from now) or to give it to my sister since she travels a lot and is always super nice about things I make. heh!

Jan 052013
 

For Christmas this year, I made my ten-year-old niece a fish purse using Make It & Love It‘s adorable tutorial. At first, I thought she might be at the age where she’d want a more grown-up purse, but Mr. Yazoo thought she’d like the fish purse better, and he was right!



I also made her a zip pocket coin purse, but I don’t think she was as excited about that one. :D



Jun 142012
 

I made a weekender bag! It’s the first of three, at least hopefully, since I already bought the fabric for the next two. ahehe. This one’s for my mom to use when she visits my sister in a month or two.


My mom told me she liked the elephant fabric back when she requested her birthday bento bags. I forgot to buy interior fabric especially for this bag, but fortunately I had a half yard of yellow pearl bracelets that went with the elephants nicely. Not-so-fortunately, a half yard isn’t at all enough for all the lining pieces, so I scrounged up extra stuff to make it up. (Sorry about the picture — you’re not going blind; the elephants on the bottom are fuzzy. I thought they were in focus when I took the picture, but they weren’t. :} )


By that time, I was feeling too lazy to make an interior zip pocket, and now I regret not adding it in because it doesn’t take that much extra time. Also, I was too lazy to tack the lining up to the seam with the piping, which was silly of me.

I made the exterior pockets into zip pockets, and I thought I could get away with only using the lining pieces the pattern has you cut for the slip pockets (I was tired from trying to find coordinating linings!), but I REALLY should have made the pockets the way I know I should have made them (the normal way!!!). This is the part that bothers me the most:


I’m all about just getting things done and letting imperfections go on quilts, but I have to get it through my head that I shouldn’t be lazy with bags, especially since making things right doesn’t take that much longer. Grr at me! Anyhoo, one thing I am happy about is that I added an adjustable cross-body strap — I think those make bags a lot easier to use, even if they aren’t necessarily the most attractive thing. At least it’s removable if my mom doesn’t want it!


With all my griping it was probably hard to tell, but this bag does make me happy. I’m happy that I finished it and it wasn’t too bad to make! :)

May 292012
 

I think because I have a whole ton of baby quilts that I want to make for soon-to-be-born kiddos, I’ve been procrastinating with little projects. Mr. Yazoo’s grandma is visiting from the outer island for a bit, and I noticed she didn’t have a bag for her walker. My grandma put all kinds of things in her walker bag, so I think they’re totally necessary and had to make her one!


I followed this tutorial and made a bunch of modifications (which I now mostly forget, because I made this two weeks ago). Oh! I used a magnetic closure instead of a button for the main bag — I figured it would be easier to open and close than a button. I also used heavy-duty snaps for the hanging straps. I installed them out on the sidewalk in the middle of the night (as usual), and I hit the metal part of the installer tool funny, which made it go flying off into the grass where it was lost forever! Boo! I looked for it for at least ten minutes, but I didn’t poke around in the grass because I saw buggies and a centipede crawling around, and it was creepy.

After all that, when I gave it to Mr. Yazoo’s grandma, she liked it, but asked if she could give it away because she’s not a bag person. Hah!

Mini project numero two-o is a pair of simple zippy pouches I made for Mommy For Reals’ request for girls’ and boys’ bags for the kids attending the Royal Family Kids Camp for children in foster care. This sounds like a really sweet program, and I think Danny still needs a couple more bags if you’re so inclined. :)

Danny made sure to specify that the pouches should be simple so that each camper would get something special and handmade, but no one would be getting a bag that was more special than the others. I think that was really smart! I had to resist adding wristlet handles, and I’m sure other better sewerers would have been tempted to fancy them up even more.

(The topmost one is a bag I made for Cosmo to carry around all his dry erase pens.)

The last mini thing I made was another hot pack for my sister-in-law. This one uses Wild Olive’s Chinese lantern pattern.


I tried making the kind of long hot pack that has the filling sewn in sections so you can wrap it around your knee and not have it all fall to the ends. My attempt was semi-successful…ish! It works if you make sure to hold the ends of the inner bag (with the filling) along with the ends of the cover; otherwise, the inner bag sometimes falls down all at one end.

Not speaking of which, I spent all my blog-reading time last week entering SMS giveaways. I didn’t win anything, but I figure it gets a whole heap of not-winning out of the way so I’ll have better luck at other giveaways during the year! That’s how it works, right? ;> I hope you guys had better luck!

May 252012
 


I went through a couple of other projects for my Pinterest Challenge (which I’ll post about more next) before I landed on my final one. Here are my outtakes!

First, I wanted to make this hilarious mug rug that I pinned; isn’t it awesome? (This picture is of Sew Fantastic‘s one.)


I don’t think mine turned out as giggle-inducing, though, which is why I didn’t want to use it for the challenge.


After that, I thought I’d try making a project knitting bag, which is really just a drawstring bag with pockets.


I combined Jeni’s tutorial with Michelle’s small grocery bag since I was feeling lazy about boxing corners.


There are a couple of slip pockets inside to hold dpns and scissors and things.


This project didn’t feel fancy enough, though. Up next is my actual Pinterest Challenge project! :)

May 142012
 

My mom was feeling junky earlier last week, and in trying to think of something that might help, I remembered that I’d bookmarked a tutorial for a hot or cold rice bag thingy. Since she got better before I got a chance to make one, I gave it to her for one of her Mothers’ Day presents.


The reason it took me so long to make these is that I used buckwheat (which I had to go get) instead of rice (which I have in the house) — when I was pregnant, I hated the smell of cooking rice, so I wanted to avoid that since my mom mentioned that when she feels nauseated she sometimes gets hypersensitive about smells. I bought a whole lot of loose cardamom at the same time as the buckwheat though, so it’s slightly cardamom-scented, whoops! But cardamom smells good!

The bottom one was for my mom, and I used Wild Olive’s super cute baby and mama sloth pattern. The top one was for my sister-in-law; the gnome is from Lark Cottons. (Can I just say? Lark Cottons is awesome! I ordered my fabric in the middle of the night — basically on Friday morning — and then I got my fabric on Saturday! I made my purchase when they were having a free-fat-quarter-with-your-order thingy, and she took the time to choose one that went with the stuff I ordered [I ordered three pezzy prints, and she gave me a fq of that in a different color]. And the fabric cuts were really nice and straight, andand the store’s shopping cart is fantastic. I’m a sucker for good site design.)



I only gave my sister-in-law the buckwheat pillow, so I made a drawstring bag to make it a little fancier. The attached taggy card things have instructions for heating (microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes with a small cup of water alongside), instructions for cooling (stick it in the freezer, heh), and a warning (don’t put it on your eyes if it’s too hot, yo!). When I was reading up on these, I read a surprising number of cautionary comments — people who microwaved their bags for FIVE minutes and were surprised when they got burnt, and someone who enjoyed having the heat pack on her eyes, but then had fuzzy vision for two weeks afterwards. Yeesh!

Edit: I’m linking to Clover and Violet’s Summertime Adventures linky for projects on the go. Embroidery is great to carry around with you! In fact, I almost never embroider at home — I mainly do it at work (during lunch! not when I’m supposed to be working!). :D