Tag Archives: library bag

Two steps forward, one step back

My small start back into sewing went quite well last week.  I made a few more iPad covers, remembered (well – was reminded) that I still ‘owed’ my kids a few promised sewn projects, and started developing some new designs.

One of the products that I want to develop is a man’s wallet.  (I also want to make a woman’s wallet/purse but with Father’s Day around the corner thought that the men’s products had to take priority!)  I played around with some ideas and then made this prototype.

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I put it up on my Facebook page and asked for feedback.  Quite a few of my lovely female followers responded, with many of them commenting that it needed a closure of some description.  There were also comments on fabric, leather, colour etc, but I am not too concerned about those as simply making items with different combinations addresses that issue.  However I was concerned about the fastening issue, so I put a post on my personal Facebook profile, asking for input from males on the question of fasteners on wallets.  The first response was ‘No fastener for me. If you need one of those you’re not a man.’  And the following 40+ responses followed that pattern, except for one friend who responded that he had a fastener, then read the other comments and made various ‘manly’ statements to reclaim his manhood.  The respondents were of varied ages, educations, locations, backgrounds etc, so I think this is a fairly definitive indication that men do not like fasteners on their wallets!   I will tinker a bit with the design and hope to make some more this week, and will be sure to label the wallets as ‘man approved’ so that the women buying them don’t think they should have a fastener!

I also put out some feelers on whether people preferred baby bibs to fasten on the back or the side.  The responses were mixed, so I have decided for my next range of bibs to do a bit of both!  This was a custom order, but I plan to make a few more, and make some square ones with teether chews.

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I then had a great Saturday afternoon and produced a Kindle cover, shoulder bag, and library bag for my chicks (finally!!)

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The shoulder bag as a work in progress

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Kindle cover

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Library bag for the boy using the fabric he chose some weeks ago.

My steps forward were going well.  But I feel like I am going backwards this week.  The boy only managed to last 40 minutes at school today.  Last week he was there most days for between one and two hours, so I had some time to get things done.  This week, although we have only just started, I am feeling much more dejected about my ability to sew, to earn a living on my own terms, and to keep everything afloat.  I have finally decided to apply for some government benefits to help out.  While part of me feels grateful that the services are there, the other part of me is falling into a deep well of self pity wondering how I went from high-flying lawyer to government benefits.  Of course I know the logical answers – parenting a child with special needs means a change of course – but it is still sucking the energy out of me.    My mission this week, then, is that, in between filling out many, many, many forms, and organising my financial records for my tax return, I will find time to make things that are fun, and will re-energise me.

One of my ideas is to make a few more stencilled bags.  I made these two over the weekend as gifts, and enjoyed it, so a few more will be fun!

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I have also been playing with ideas for handwarmers and road tested a couple  with my boy and his friend yesterday – and received positive feedback from them, so will try to make a few more – sure to get me up and going!

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Right.  Here I go, off to get re-energized and move forward again!

 

Following through

After posting my list of gadget tutorials on Friday I was a bit inspired, and finally made a cover for my iPad!  I have owned it for about 6 months, without any cover on it, so this was very overdue.

And then because the pattern that I designed worked well, I made a few more!

These ones have all been delivered to the Shop Handmade where I stock my products, but I plan to make more this week that will then be stocked in my Etsy shop.  I made some to fit the iPad Air, and some to fit the iPad mini, so my next task is making some to fit the other iPads.  I love technology but why do they have to change the size slightly every time they release a new model?  Then again – it does give designers a chance to make new products each time, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain!

It felt good to be back sewing again.  Before I could get back to work I had to clean up the room.  It had become a dumping ground for anything extra in the lead up to our trip, so required some cleaning out, and tidying up.  I should have taken some before shots so that you can appreciate how amazing the after shots are!

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In the process I decided that it was time to be a little ruthless with my scrap boxes.  I suspect it was the result of my childhood training but I find it hard to throw away scraps of fabric – they can always be used in some sort of project, and so many of my scraps are from just delicious prints.  However 4 boxes of scraps was getting a bit ridiculous, particularly when I have so many larger pieces of fabric these days.  I was feeing resolute but guilty, and posted on Facebook about my decision.  And voilà – problem solved.  A friend who makes beads will take my scraps and make fabric beads from them!  Much better than throwing them away!

Cleaning up my room also meant that I had room to put away all the new fabric I bought in Hawaii, plus some more that arrived from Spoonflower too.  And that meant I could finally sit and catch up on custom orders.  The first was a library bag for a young woman in Grade 4.  She enjoyed picking her own fabrics and I am thrilled with the way her combination turned out.

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Over the weekend I also made up a custom order for a nappy (diaper) bag.  I am very happy with the way it turned out.  The fabric was chosen by the customer from Spoonflower, so is different from what I might have chosen myself, but it came together really well and completely suited her style.  I have a couple more custom orders to complete, and then can get back to designing.

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It is definitely time for some new bags – all that gorgeous fabric is sitting there tempting me!  I also need to update my Etsy shop – I have a couple of boxes of bags at home that are not listed there yet!  Time to get organised!

I hope that your week has started well, and that you have found time to do things that you enjoy!

 

 

Friday finds – tutorials for Back to School projects

The summer school holidays are stretching on in a haze of heat, sunburn, bushfire warnings and crankiness at being told to drink more water and stay in the shade.  And that means that it is time to think about pushing the little bodies back into uniforms and shoes to see if they still fit (because it is a well known fact that amazing feats of growth happen over the summer school holidays every year – especially if you have stocked up on their school uniform at the end of last year!)  It is also time to think about what they need for going back to school.  Which is the basis of the following list of tutorials.

Each of these has been found on the blog of another crafter who has also been faced with the back to school dilemma, so I present simply a gathering of their ideas so that you can think about some projects to help the back to school process begin!

School bags

While some schools require a uniform bag, complete with school logo, many still allow students to bring along a bag that reflects their individual personality.  That is where the following patterns come in.  With the amazing range of fabrics available the possibilities for individual fashion statements are endless!

I just love the vintage feel to this bag by Hannah13 from Sew Adorable Fabrics that is posted on the Riley Blake site – Vintage inspired boxy school bag

The Quilt as you go Improv Patchwork school bag by TeresaDownUnder provides lots of opportunities to personalise a bag for your student.

Quilt-as-you-go improv patchwork school bag | Sewn Up by TeresaDownUnder

 

For a completely different look this bag by LisaMarieblog uses burlap – DIY Burlap messenger bag

The lovely people at Plaid have already collected a lovely selection of tutorials with their collection of 5 DIY back to school bags

 

Library Bags

There are so many bags that children need for back to school.  Library bags are a definite need, especially in the junior school.  (The librarian at our school is constantly pleading for parents to remember to pack books in bags to protect them!)  They can be as fancy or as simple as you like.

The 20 minute library bag by And Sew We Craft is a great place to start.

The Library Bag Tutorial from Pam at Threading My way is along a similar vein – with lots of potential for using different fabrics to make a statement.

Another option is the Simple Library Bag Tutorial from Embracing Life’s Journey.

Samelia’s mum provides a beautifully detailed tutorial to make a  Library bag with name applique tutorial.

Library Bag with Name Applique

While Sewing by Moonlight provides a different take again with her Nancy Drew Blog Hop Library Tote Tutorial.

 Pencil cases

In addition to the various zippered pouches you will find listed here, the tutorials below might also assist in making a new pencil case for your school goer.

At Crazy little projects you will find a zippered pencil case bag pattern – nice and straight forward!

Then there is this one Ann Kelle’s site for a Pencil case

A slightly different take on the traditional at Heidi and Finn with their pencil case

And yet another style with A Spoonful of Sugar Designs

Snack and lunch bags

Of course, in addition to the books and pencils there are also nutritious lunches and snacks to be thinking about and if you are packing them in these lunchbags or snacks bags they are going to look good as well as tasting good!

A Kids Lunch box pattern from Crazy Little Projects guest posting at Skip to my Lou is a good place to start.

The Girl Inspired has a great tutorial for a re-usable snack bag.

As does/do Sisters Sisters

and Rugrat Design posting on Lazy Green Mama.

And Sew Can Do

And for the ultimate collection of patterns for lunch bags, over at fresh juniper she has collected 50 patterns together for lunch bags and totes with tutorials!

I hope that you find some inspiration in this collection to assist you with the back to school requirements!  (I can tick ‘new school shoes’ off my list, but have found post it notes from the eldest chick stuck to a pillow on my bed, and the screen of my computer, that list her ‘stationary’ requirements.  Think a trip to the office supplies store is in order – plus a quick lesson on the difference between things that don’t move, and things that are used to write on and with……)

If you have ideas to add to the list, please feel free to add them in the comments!

 

 

Small bits of creativity

The weekend was full of birthday parties.  Other people’s parties and our barbeque to celebrate the double-digit birthday.  That meant that it was also full of shopping, cooking, cleaning, driving, and organising.  Not a lot of time for crafting.  Well – not by me anyway!

After a week in which I did very little sewing I was keen to get back into it on the weekend.  When I realised that this was unlikely to happen I looked at all I had made without sewing and wasn’t too disappointed.  Marinated chicken skewers, a Pavlova (the gluten-free dessert of choice!), salted caramel fudge (our all time favourite – made in the Thermomix using this recipe – mmmm mmmmm…..) and I experimented with making a satay sauce that used pureed sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, to accommodate one of the guests who has a nut allergy.  It worked surprisingly well for a recipe that I made up based on what was in the cupboard.  Although the child in question of course wasn’t interested in the sauce the adults all enjoyed it!  It was a great night with a lovely group of friends – there was a bunch of boys in the yard with light sabers, a bunch of girls hanging out on the trampoline, and a bunch of adults on the deck enjoying the sunset, the cheese platter and the wine.  A delightful way to celebrate 10 years as a parent!

Although I didn’t manage my own sewing, the girls did some sewing and are justifiably proud of their efforts.  It is their school swimming carnival tomorrow, and they were both keen to make mascots for their house, which wears green in support of the house members.  So these are the results – based on templates that we drew ourselves.

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The middle chick wanted a green owl, so whipped this one up.  (I can also confirm that removing fingerprints from the camera lens does make a difference to your photos!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe monster was lurking in a tree in the late afternoon sun!

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Made of an upcycled cushion cover, with scraps from my collection, the green monster is quite cute.  I was particularly taken with the tail that the eldest chick designed – and her chosen pose for the photo!

I also managed to finish the library bag and get it in the mail.  I am happy with the way it turned out and hope that the little person it is intended for enjoys it, and the books it will carry, for many years to come.  It is such a privilege to be asked to make special gifts for little people.

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Oh look – the fingerprint was obviously there last week too….

So the weekend finished with the house in order, the week planned out and me ready to start my week of early starts with the babysitter lined up to be at the house by 7am to prepare the kids for school and get them there.    Hmmmmm……. the best laid plans.  All was going well this morning – I woke up to find 2 children snuggled in with me, and managed to get up, get dressed, tend to the chickens, have my breakfast and prepare my lunch without them waking.  When the babysitter arrived, however, all hell broke loose!  The dog was going berserk with excitement at seeing the babysitter (who is also our house and dog sitter) which obviously woke the boy.  He had snuggled over next to his sister after I got up, which had pushed her to the edge of the bed.  So when he started to stir and stretch he pushed her out of bed, and she hit her head on the bedside table, so woke with a fright, in pain and screaming.  So between the screaming, the dog, and the other two children waking and attacking the babysitter with hugs and non-stop stream of consciousness stories it was complete chaos!  Looney Tunes could learn a thing or two from our house.

The good news is that the middle chick got the all clear from the doctor and had a lovely day quietly drawing and colouring and playing on her iPod in my office.  The other two got off to school with no drama and we had a calm afternoon after school.

After all of that I decided that I needed to at least start sewing something tonight – my creativity bug was itching away, floating ideas around in my head.  So I went with pillowcases – and managed to make two!  I can of course tell anyone who asks what I will do differently/better next time, but I am trying to learn to just enjoy them as they are, so will iron them and photograph them properly and put them up in my shop soon.

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I am hopeful of a week of sewing after so little over the last couple of weeks, so stand by for a burst of colourful creativity, or alternatively a stream of colourful language if my plans have to change again!

Wishing you all a colourful creative week.