Friday, February 29, 2008

Three Seed Bread

My bread machine had to have been boxed up for a good 4-5 years.  It's big.  My kitchen is small.  So it just never got used.  About 4 months ago, a good friend and neighbor started using hers again and praised having fresh baked bread.  I was unconvinced.  I still wouldn't get it out. Then I was having a highly domestic day(of cleaning) and I needed something creative and productive to do.  SouleMama posted her recipe for WHO bread and I made some right away. 

There are healing powers in the smell of bread baked bread - I just know it.

So now I am a bread making machine.  Here is the latest:
THREE SEED BREAD (for the bread machine)
Add ingredients - in this order - to your bread machine:
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup flaxseed
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp (or 1 package) active dry yeast

Select basic bread cycle and let it do its thing.  This bread turned out so tasty and is really good toasted with butter.  Mmmmmm.  I think I'm making another loaf today!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Koi and Flowering Peach

Tomorrow I have to submit my paperwork for the pieces I plan to donate to the New Britain Museum of American Art's (NBMAA) Annual Auction.  So I needed to finish the work to make sure it was good to go.

This piece, Gathering of Koi, was something I started months ago.  I think I did it in my watercolor class but didn't finish it.  So I only had to put another hour or so into it for the auction.  
It's always funny to me to see which fish I end up liking the best.  I think my favorite is the dark one hiding behind the main fish.  I like the way his blues turned out.

Along with the main painting, the museum does a little "postcard" auction, where the works can be no bigger than 4" X 6" in size.  I was going to donate the frog scherenschnitte, but since all the pieces sell for $75.00, I worried that no one would want it for that much.  So then I painted Flowering Peach on some lovely textured rice paper.  Now I don't know which one to choose.
Any opinions?  Frog or branch?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Flower and the Bee

It's not Spring time yet, but I wanted to try a bee.  Mainly I wanted to work on the intricate cutting of the wings.
Since I've been researching paper cutting more, my husband asked me why would someone do a paper cut when they could just do an ink drawing?  So I've been thinking about that.  Right now, for me, I like the symmetry of it.  It would be a pain in the tush to do that with pen and ink.  But for images that are asymmetrical - I don't know yet.  It's a good question.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Neighbor's Cat

Monday morning at 3 am, I am outside in the pitch black, wearing my pajamas, boots and a coat.  I am walking around my neighbor's house with a flash light trying to peek under crevices and call - quiet enough not to wake the neighbors, loud enough to be heard - "Mischief!  Here kitty, kitty."

I had been watching my neighbor's two cats for the better part of the week.  Marbles, a big fluffy calico, always stays in.  Mischief, an enormous white male cat with black spots (think small cow), is permitted to roam.  There was no real pattern to Mischief's ins and outs.  Sometimes he would go out.  Sometimes he would stay in.  Sometimes he would come out and visit when I stopped over to feed them.  Sometimes he would stay hidden.  But when he was out and I wanted to let him in for the evening, that could be tricky because he covers a wide territory and I had no way of knowing when he would be at his door.  I'd just have to keep checking and checking.  It was annoying, but I wasn't about to leave the cat out all night.

Then it snowed.  Mischief stayed in for three days.  So things got a little easier on me.

Saturday afternoon I was making chili.  I realized, mid-way through the process, that I didn't have any chili powder.  I ran next door to check my neighbor's spice cabinet - which, in case you're wondering, is totally fine with them.  No chili powder.  But big old Mischief came out for a little pet on the tummy.  Then I was off.  I was rushing because I had to run to the store, now, for chili powder.

All was well.  The chili was fine.  Sunday came and I fed the cats.  All was still well.

I watched the Oscars and went to bed.

You know how sometimes when your mind is at rest, things become really clear.  At 3 am, I realized that I hadn't seen Mischief all day on Sunday and that the food bowl was still pretty full.  There had been so many times that I had been in and out of that house and sometimes the cat came out and sometimes it didn't.  Then I thought - what if, on Saturday, the cat came out?  What if, the cat has been out since Saturday afternoon?

There was no way I was getting back to sleep without checking.  Just no way at all.  So I put on my boots and scanned the area.  No luck.

I went back to bed but, of course, I couldn't sleep for guilt and worry.  Mischief could be in the house.  He's probably fine.  It's not my fault.  I went over on Sunday.  The cat wasn't waiting for me.  It is my fault.  I haven't been calling his name.  I haven't been looking.  Over and over again.  It wasn't a great night.

At 7am I was up and had on my boots.  As I walk next door I prayed the cat would be sitting on the steps.  Nope.  I prayed the cat would be inside.  Nope.  I still didn't feel like I could call loudly outside, but I looked around.  Nothing.

At 7:30 I had my boots on.  Cat on porch?  Nope.  Cat inside?  Nope.  Etc.

I knew that at some point I would have to call my neighbors.  They were due to arrive home at 6pm and I didn't want to tell them that their cat is MIA at that point.  So, I decided if  the cat doesn't turn up by 11:30am - when Magoo and I return from art class, I would call then.

I checked for the cat every 30 minutes.  I called - it's late enough now.  I put out food.  I shook the food.  I took a cat toy with a jingle bell.  Nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing.

We went to art class.
We came home.

I drove by slowly wishing for a white cat to be sitting on the porch.  Nope.  No cat.

So I placed the call.  (Here's the thing - this cat has done this before.  Especially if it's cooped up inside for a few days.  There are a ton of logical reasons why the cat is out "catting around" and I really, technically have not done anything wrong.  All I did was let the cat out, which I'm allow - nay, supposed to do.  Still, I feel horrible.  I don't know where the cat is.)  But I told them all about it.  They were cool and made me feel a lot better.  They know how the cat is, and told me not to worry.

I continued to look for the cat for the rest of the day.  No cat.

They came home around 6pm and soon after went to get their dog.  (Tuna, the dog, was staying about a block and a half away.)  When the dog came home, guess who was right on its tail? Mischief the cat.    The theory is that while the cat was out, he saw his little doggy being walked by the dog babysitter and followed them home and there he stayed - not in the house - by in the area until it was time to go home.

So the cat's fine and I got a very good night's sleep last night and we all live happily ever after.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Proper Snow

It finally happened.  Friday we got a proper snow.  So much of this winter has been filled with a small amount of snow followed by rain - which either erased all the fun, white stuff or made it tremendously icy.  We haven't been able to get out there and do all the fun winter stuff.  So when we got 6 fluffy inches on Friday - we were all pretty happy.
There's a nice little park within walking distance and it has a lovely hill just right for a 5 year old.  One side, by the brush, is steeper.  Over by the park entrance, it's a milder incline.  So, depending on the quality of snow, you can choose your hill.  
Because it was big, puffy flakes, we went on the steep side.  I love Magoo's hat - spider legs flying back. (Last week when the snow was covered by a sheet of ice, we went on the mild side of the hill and FLEW!!!)

Here Magoo stops for a snow snack.  As long as it's not a metal pole!
After an hour, it was time to head home.  Lucky Magoo got a ride.  

Really, though, it should have been the other way around.  After a quick snack, his energy was back 100%.  Michael and I felt like we needed a 4 hour nap!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

By the Window

I finished this watercolor yesterday.  The image is of a boy, Teo, laying on the top of his sofa right by the window, playing with the curtain cord.  My friend, Shirley, took a photo (of this image) of her youngest and sent it around with a batch of other photos a while ago.  I thought the image was gorgeous and I loved the extreme light and shadows.

In my most recent watercolor class, we focused on light and shadow, so this was the perfect project to start in class.  But, mores times than not, I need a painting to live with me for awhile - so I can glance at it and see which parts seem good and interesting and which parts seem weak.  After a couple weeks I tightened it up so I'm officially calling it finished.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Skirt to Blouse Conversion

So I took the skirt (from the previous post) that I bought at Salvation Army, and I decided to make a summer blouse out of it.  I don't know what you call this style, but it's very loose and peasant like.  It's the kind of thing I would see on a 6 year old girl and think, "I'd like one of those!"

If you can see it - here's a visual break down of what I did:
I cut off the waistband but I saved an end piece where the button went.  I also chopped off some of the bottom to make my straps.  I cut a strip of dark blue cotton to make an inner band round the top - just to make it more finished and to give it some support.  The skirt is rayon, so it's flimsy and flowy.  (It's also lined- so I kept the lining in.)

This is the back:
I kept the original zipper in, so I used the extra piece from the waistband to do a button over the top.  You can see the dark blue cotton band.

I also put in side slits so it would sit better.  This is the finished result:
It's going to be more of a 60+ temperature top - so it will be in the closet for awhile.  But I don't think it turned out half bad.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Salvation Army

I'm cheap.  But we can say "frugal" to be nice.  So when I go out shopping - which I love to do because I'm a girlie girl - I go to The Salvation Army.  But, here's how frugal I am - I only go on Wednesdays because it's HALF OFF DAY!  So those shoes for $5.00 ---- $2.50, baby!

My friend, Sara, who got me hooked in the first place, always finds fabulous shoes here.  I got a beautiful red leather Kate Spade bag for $5.00 once.  There are treasures to be had.  But you have to be patient and you have to be lucky. ( And the thought of wearing someone's old clothes has to not gross you out.  That said, there are plenty of things with the tags still on.)

Things are arranged by garment and color.  So you'll find a rack of sweaters all arranged by color.  Size is anything goes - so you have to go through the hangers one by one.  

This is about 1/3 of the place.  I felt a little odd taking pics in the Salvation Army so I didn't frame things up artistically.  Just a point and shoot mission.  I can usually spend 60 - 90 minutes here EASY.  And I can usually walk away with about 10 items for under $20.  But I had Magoo with me so I only found a couple of things.

This skirt and these shoes.  The skirt I bought for the fabric.  Normally I try things on, but again, Magoo.  So I just bought it.  The shoes I was unsure of.  I couldn't tell if they were hideous or fabulous - but they were so comfortable and I thought the color would look good poking out from a pair of jeans.  And they were HALF OFF!

Turns out the skirt's shape is straight out of Working Girl - 80's office wear.  Not what I was hoping for.  Then inspiration struck!  Tomorrow I'll show you what I did with it.  (Oooo, a blog teaser.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


My second in the series of paper cuts is an octopus.  I was inspired by the fabulous octopi (is that right?) at Scherenschnitte.  But I tried not to "copy" her designs.  Can you tell I have a small hole punch that I enjoy?!

Right now I'm focusing on the folded paper symmetry.  I really enjoying opening it up at the end.  It's like a present on Christmas morning.  But I'll probably soon try something asymmetrical to get a feel for it.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February Break

In Ohio - where I'm from, we don't have February Break.  We just have a week off around Easter.  So I'm still getting used to the two break weeks we get in New England.  Someone told me that February break was created so people could go skiing.  I believe it.

We're laying low, for the most part.  I always try to schedule the week so that no one gets too bored (Magoo) or too cranky (me).  Finding alone time will be tough so I may be a little blog-light this week.  But this is the day we're having so far.

A little quiet alone play for Magoo.  It's nice to rediscover toys.  He hasn't played with this one for awhile, but found joy in tormenting the cat.  And believe me, she has it coming.  
Then Magoo's friend, D, came over from a few houses down.  In the warm weather we see all the neighborhood kids all the time.  Instant play dates.  It's really nice.  Then we all hole up for 5 months and I miss the connections.  I think Magoo does too.  So it's nice that D could swing by.
I love the light coming through the window.  It's been gloomy for a long time.  Sunlight feels so good. And it's crazy how much more energetic I feel when sun is streaming through the glass.  Of course - I did exercise this morning too, so that may have something to do with it.  I hope it's sunny where you are.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Basement Discoveries

As I mentioned before, last Wednesday there was a storm in New England.  Snow followed by rain.  What happened to us is that the hose that pushed the water out of the sump pump froze, so when the pump kicked on, the water had nowhere to go - except, of course, our basement.

It's wasn't a devastating flood (although my husband may beg to differ), we got a solid inch of water all around and in some places a little higher.  But I had prepared for the possibility and put a lot of things up.  Still, some things got wet and some needed pitching.  Other things just needed cleaning and bleaching and that was what I was doing Thursday and Friday.

But - I found some things.  Fun things.  Things to share.  Like this photo.  I'm in the middle and I'm guessing I'm about 5 years old.  I don't remember the performance or even the rehearsals. But I do remember being backstage and getting these blue wings put on me.
And I found my paper doll collection.  As a girl, I loved to play with my Barbie dolls, and make paper dolls.  I made a lot of them.  (I framed them later in life.)  Most of the time I made families that would fit in with my paper community.  I was fascinated with twins - so there are a lot of twins in the neighborhood. 
The top row are some of the earlier ones.  I remember these so fondly.  As you can see, I also really liked Princesses.  I was very girlie.  I circled a set of twins.  Dig those cool jumpers!!!
And the brunette at the bottom, well, that's the paper doll version of teenage Julie.  Beige shorts and strappy heels - that was my vision for myself!
Note too, the Hawaiian family of girls in what I thought would be their everyday clothing.

Obviously I was into clothes.  And to go further in that vein, as a teenager, I would design dresses that I would make.  Here is my Homecoming Dress.  The date says 1989, so I must have been a senior.
I have my high fashion design, my fabric swatches and the photo of the completed dress modeled by me and my big 80's hair.  Lookin' Good!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. Looks like Mother Nature is spreading a little love on us here in New England today after a really, really nasty little bit of weather yesterday. You know it's bad when our basement floods - and oh yes, our basement did flood.

But that was yesterday, and today is all about the love. Magoo is loaded up with Scooby-Doo Valentines for school. (In the past we have made our Valentines, but this year he wanted Scooby Doo. I just had to remind myself that it's his Valentine's Day at school and not mine.)
But I did take the heart design above and make a few for his teachers and some neighbors.

Mike and I are going out on Saturday night - so that will be our Valentine's celebration. And I promised Magoo we could make heart brownies later.

I hope you all have a little something special on this day too.

(BTW - the heart is really my first papercut. I was just playing around here. There's a lot I'm not crazy about. But I do like the spring green background. I think it makes it more lively.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Birds of Winter

It snowed a bit last night, but now it's turned to rain - freezing rain.  School is delayed.  The roads are crap.  The sky is grey.  Hard to get excited about that kind of day - so here are some colorful birds!!!

This was a joint project by Magoo and myself.  He had made some wonderful spooshes of color on white paper and I cut them out like little puzzle pieces.  Most of them are cut exactly the way they formed on the paper, but I took a little liberty with a few.  Then I played around with them and found birds - colorful, exotic birds.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with them - maybe make a few cards.  I just like them.  And on a dreary day like today - I need a burst of color.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mocha Hearts

The February Cookie of the Month is a Mocha Heart.  This is another recipe form my Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookie Magazine 2002 - which the cat nearly destroyed by spilling water all over it.  I didn't discover the damage until the following day and the poor thing (the magazine, not the cat) was completely saturated.  But it survived!  Hoorah!

These were actually lists as Mocha Logs but I wanted to do a heart shape for Valentine's Day so I switched it up a bit.  Mmmmmm.  I think I made them a little too good.  I can't stop eating them.  They're not Magoo's favorite though.  I think they have too strong of a coffee taste for him.  (All the more for me!)  I would say if you want to make something for the kids to enjoy, try this with a shortbread recipe.  


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (3, if you want a more mild coffee taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

-In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, espresso powder, salt and baking powder.  Beat until combined.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Beat in flour until combined.  Chill.  (I chilled it for about 2 hours and used a decent amount of flour in rolling it out.)
-preheat over to 375 degrees.
-prepare rolling surface and don't be stingy with the flour.  Roll out 1/3 at a time, keeping the rest covered.  I'd say 1/4" thickness is good.  Cut the hearts and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake approx. 8 minutes per batch.  Cool.
-begin melting chocolate in double boiler, stirring constantly.  When it is all melted, remove from heat and let it cool a bit.  
-now chop the pecans into teeny, tiny bits.  (Food processor is preferred.)  Have them in a bowl ready to sprinkle.
-line a tray with wax paper and dip half the heart in chocolate.  Sprinkle with pecans.
-when you finished a tray, set aside to cool.  (I put them on the back sun porch - where it's friggin' cold - for about 15 minutes.)  When the chocolate is completely set, you should have no problem stacking them without sticking.  Makes approx. 36 cookies.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Frog Gets Fly

It's only been in the last week that I've been turned on to papercuts.  Over at Angry Chicken, she does them with a more folk art feel.  I think she had a link to Scherenschnitte where there are more modern and totally cool ones.  And I got inspired.  Isn't it great when that happens!?

So here is my first original piece: Frog Gets Fly
Well, okay - it's not my FIRST piece.  I did a Valentine, but I can't show that yet.  And I did a tutorial.  But that wasn't my design.  I'm considering this my first serious piece.  It's small, 4X6" and I did it for a "small works" auction at the New Britain Museum of American Art.  This will be my third year donating a watercolor for the main auction and they ask for a small piece for the $75.00 auction.  So, if this sells, it will be for $75 - which is probably about $45 more than anyone would normally pay for something like this.  But I think the people who attend this event are a little on the loaded side and it's for a good cause.

All in all - I'm pretty excited about it.  

Making the Most of It

Saturday morning.  Magoo was in serious need of mental and physical stimulation.  The weather has not been great around here.  It's just a touch too warm to snow - so it rains.  And it's muddy and gross outside.  I was hopeful that we could go to a park in the afternoon, but for the morning, I opted for the Connecticut Children's Museum.

Here's Magoo running to "Connie" the whale.
Unfortunately the dinosaur exhibit had not opened yet.  But we made the best with what we had.  I love this picture of Magoo working the music box.  It captures his level of energy. ( A level I wish I had. )
And the giant Light Bright.  I know they probably call it a "color board" or something but, c'mon, it's a Light Bright!
We DID get some snow after lunch.  It certainly wasn't much.  But I wanted to get Magoo outside, so with the tops of the grass blades still showing, we headed out to our little neighborhood hill.  (I couldn't help feeling like a pathetic girl begging someone to take her to prom.  That's how desperate we were for some sledding.)  

It was still fairly muddy at the park - but it was slick enough to get about 6-7 good runs in.  We probably weren't out for more that 40 minutes tops before the snow started to become rain - but we did our best and a little pathetic sledding is better than no sledding at all.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bean Bag Frog

I found a new blog/site.  It's called The Purl Bee and it's fabulous.  Why is it fabulous, you might ask?  Because they have a ton of free tutorials for very cool sewing and knitting crafts.  And I don't even knit.  If you knit and sew - you're mind will probably explode!  Well, if you're a craft geek, you're mind will explode.  Otherwise, your mind will probably be just fine.

I just discovered it yesterday and I found this cute bean bag frog.  You remember that little pink lotus tote I made for my friend's daughter.  Well, she looooooves frogs and I haven't sent the package out.   So I whipped this up real quick to include.    

This is a good photo for the shape, but you can't really get the pink in the heart.  I took these down in the basement.  (It has been very dreary here and no natural light for photos. ) 
This is a little better for the colors.  Taking photo after photo of this frog really makes me appreciate the good shots other people get.

Anyway, it turned out cute and now I want to make a bunch of frogs.  But since not too many people need a bean bag frog, I wonder if I could fill it with potpourri and make drawer fresheners, or something.  Hmmmmm....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Valentine Fortune Cookies

Sometimes when I am grocery shopping, I will coast by the magazines and flip through a Martha Stewart Living.  If I see something interesting I will buy it thinking there will be other interesting things in it as well.

This time I saw these.  Felt Valentine's Day Fortune Cookies.  They were just so darn cute I bought the issue and then I thought who I could make them for.  
There's a list of possibilities - my husband being first, but we don't usually do this sort of thing on V-Day.  We're going out - a real treat.  So I decided that I could make a few for Magoo's teachers who are sooooo great!

For starters I bought the felt and the chinese food containers at Michael's Arts and Crafts.  In lieu of the colored ribbon Martha suggests, I just used strips of the felt.  I had the hot glue gun and wire at home already.  These are really easy to make.  I cut out circles a little smaller than a saucer.  Glued a piece of wire across it.  Glued a strip of felt across that.  Bent it and stuffed it with a few Hershey's kisses and a teacher quote like:
"A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops." - Henry Adams

I thought that might be a little more appropriate then, "You will meet a tall, dark stranger."

Anyway, that's it.  Pretty easy.  

I ended up not caring for too much of the rest of the issue.  It deals more with a lifestyle that is unlike my own, for example, how do you clean your diamonds and how to make a 17 layer chocolate mouse cake in 5 days.  That sort of thing.  I need it quick and dirty, Martha.  But it is a gorgeous magazine, so maybe I'll find something in it another day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Frog and Toad

Another round of volunteering at Magoo's school has begun and since my last puppet show, The Gingerbread Man, went well, I thought I'd do another one.  But The Gingerbread Man had too many characters.  I managed, but it was a little crazy.  So I thought about stories with 2 characters and I came up with Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad.

What's even better about doing Frog and Toad is that there are MANY stories with these characters so I can use them over again!  Above, you see the finished puppets.  These are more traditional hand puppets, so I can manipulate their hands and heads a bit.

Below - this is my paper mache' station.  I used water balloons for the heads and taped small round beads for the eyes.  I also made paper mache' "hands" for both characters.
The following day I popped the balloons (the beads stayed inside) and I painted them.  I had to paint them according to body color fabric I already had.  If I were being really true to the book, Toad would be more brown.  The "hands" are drying on my marker rack in the background.
Here's how I put the body together.  I made a "glove" of primarily dark fabric and a bit of "frog flesh" at the top.  I leave the finger holes and the neck open.  I hot glued the neck in place. Then, separately, I made the pants with open legs.  I just hand stitch the top of the pants to the outside of the puppet glove.  (There will be a belt - so it isn't too neat.)  Then I sew a little jacket and I hot glue the "hands" inside the sleeves.
I then just stitch the jacket in place, right over the shoulders and that part is done.  The final thing I did was to make feet out of polymer clay (to weigh it down.)  Bake the feet.  Then I glued them into the open legs. (You can see the feet in the top image.) Ta-da - hand puppets.
It took about 3 days to do these and they are far from perfect.  But I think they'll be cute enough for the kiddies!

Monday, February 4, 2008


As I am in the midst of doing the final art for my picture book, one of the things that I am enjoying most is creating the kimonos for the ninja master.  My little ninja guy, the star (so to speak) is primarily in a black ninja costume.  He's cute.  But working with all the beautiful papers for the kimonos is turning out to be so much fun that I really look forward to it and am actually a little disappointed when there's no kimono in the spread.

This week I will work on a scene that lasts 3 double page spreads and the master wears the same kimono in all three.  In one spread, the kimono takes up 2/3 of the entire space, in another, it is very tiny.  So I had to find a paper that was A.) big enough for me to accommodate all that space and b.) would work well large as well as small.
I'm hoping this is the paper.
Isn't it gorgeous?  This is a hand stenciled sheet of paper featuring cranes and other water fowl and when I cut it, I will probably cringe.  It is so beautiful on it's own I could put the whole thing in a frame. (Maybe I'll do it with a scrap.)  But I think it will be perfect for the task at hand.  
I special ordered it from Aiko's Art Material Imports in Chicago.  So gorgeous.  And can I say I felt quite the professional to be special ordering paper.  I wish I could show you what it looks like when the spread is done, but I'm pretty sure that would be frowned upon by the legal department at Viking.  Not until the book's published at least.  I guess you'll just have to go out and buy it. :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Tote Bags

I love bags.  I can't get enough of 'em.  And what makes Lotta Jansdotter's book, Simple Sewing, so great is that she has a pattern for funky tote bags.  (And a lot of other cool things.)
I made the red one a couple weeks ago from skirts I bought at the Salvation Army.  I figured I didn't want to use anything too expensive on the first one.  And I followed the pattern step-by-step.  For the pink lotus bag, I made some alterations.  For starters, it is smaller because it is for a little girl.  But the big changes (and they really weren't big) had to do with hiding the stitching because I rarely have the proper color thread.  So instead of folding over the handles and stitching over top, like Lotta, I stitched on the wrong sides and pulled the handles through. And instead of folding over the top of the bag and stitching rectangles to secure the handles, I made a little 2 " cuff to go inside the bag so I could just stitch round the top and hide all the bits.
(Sorry the photo is out of focus.)
The fabric is Lotus by Amy Butler and I made a little Shrinky Dink frog charm because the little girl loves frogs.  I hope she'll like it!!!