Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Creating - For Yourself and Others

Recently my sister helped plan and present a program at the Boone County Conservation District called "A Day in the Life of a Pioneer Wife". It was a tremendous success and the participants came away with a glimpse into the chores and activities of a pioneer woman, circa 1850.

Some of the activities included dying yarn with indigo and other natural plants. They also sew together small quilt squares. It was a chance to go back in time.

At the end of the day one of the participants approached my sister and said, "Thank you so much. I forgot how much fun it is to create something with your hands."

She's right. It is fun and rewarding. In this world of the manufactured, we've lost sight of the beauty of handmade. Have you visited ETSY? It's filled with really talented people. Some of them, like me, have lost their jobs and have decided to use their talents to create home-based businesses. It's a chance to try and create your own success.

I am thankful for the talents God has given me and for two women who encouraged and nurtured all things artistic - my mom and my grandmother. I was taught to do something creative every day. On my last day on earth they'll probably have to pry a crochet hook or sewing needle out of my hands!

I've been sewing and crocheting up a storm to restock my Etsy shop and in preparation for an upcoming craft fair that my sister and I will participate in. But I decided to take time out of those tasks to create something for myself. Yeah baby... no shoemakers kids without shoes in this house!

My brain was stuck on having a nice large tote bag to carry with me on the plane when I fly to Arkansas next month. In my dreams it is filled to the brim with yarn, hooks and projects galore. I can get alot done on a plane ride, you should watch that hook fly!

I saw this tote bag in a newspaper ad.


I love the quilted design and this tote has wheels and a handle, neither of which is actually necessary for my needs. It's a Chanel Coco Coccoon Nylon Trolley. Don't you love cool names? Someone got paid big bucks to come up with that one. But, it's a Chanel and the ad says, "Price Upon Request".


This isn't an Italian sport car, it's a tote bag. But the old saying is, if you have to ask you can't afford it.

And so, I decided to create my own tote bag using some tapestry style decorator fabric in lucious fall colors. I bought this fabric on sale and have been hoarding it for a special project. This is a special project!

While in Tennessee I picked Amy Butler's Sweet Harmony pattern. It includes pattern and directions for either a handbag or a nice large tote.

Beverly and I worked as a team and this is what we came up with.

Sweet Harmony Tote

It's perched on top of our stupid Sahara Sand Luggage. Haven't heard that story? Click the link and have a laugh on us.

I added the strap to keep the tote from gaping open since it will be overstuffed with yarn and I needed a good excuse to use this vintage button.

Strap and vintage button.

As often happens I couldn't stop there. With leftover fabric I created this little pouch for lipstick and other stuff. This is from a cool designer called Keka Lou. I love her patterns. They're very simple to put together and her directions are wonderful.

Keyka Lou's Pyramid Pouch

While surfing around I found Skip to My Lou, who posted a free pattern for a luggage tag. Gosh, you've got to love talented people who share stuff for free.

Skip to My Lou's free luggage tag pattern

Matching Fabric Luggage Tag.

Reverse side of luggage tag.

Not Chanel, but not bad.

Tote, straining under the pressure of tons of yarn.

Do you sew? Have you always wanted to learn how? Ask someone who knows how. Beg them to teach you. It's so much fun and so rewarding.

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Here's what I'm going to do. I'll create a luggage tag just for you. Leave me a comment and let me know you're interested. I'll close the giveaway on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time and announce the winner at next Monday's staff meeting.


Becky said...

I'd love to have a luggage tag you have created!! Count me in! Your totes look awesome. The fabric is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I am sewing again after many years of not sewing. I finally bought a new machine after buying an older Singer and having lots of trouble. Now the problem is how to afford the fabric? I have found hand sewing very relaxing, just finishing a applique quilt. Linda

Vee said...

I may never have told you this, but you have inspired me more to sew than anyone else. I loved your Beverly stories and all the neat things you've made, including these totes and tags. And I agree with you, some of the most generous women in the world live in Blogdom.

Lisa D. said...

Not Chanel? No, better than Chanel I would say! Absolutely beautiful.
Can you really take your crochet needles on a plane? I didn't even try when we went on our trip in the spring. I was sure they would be on the not allowed list.
I love crocheting and I really want to learn to knit. I just can't seem to get it. I have two good friends who do a lot of sewing. I can sew well enough to get by for a few small projects, but I just have no place to work. Crocheting doesn't require my kitchen table, so I will stick with that for the time being. Someday I can kick children out of the house and take over their room!

Suzanne said...

Becky - your name is in the drawing! I'd like to here where you intend to take that luggage tag.

Linda - Applique quilt? Those are hard. I agreee that the hand sewing is the best part and most enjoyable to me.

Vee - I am gleeful at the thought that I can encourage you to sew more! Woo hoo.

Lisa - Thanks so much. As far as the airplane, I have a full set of bamboo crochet hooks and I've never had a problem. The bamboo hooks are terrific. Try one and you'll be "hooked". HA.

Thanks everyone for visiting with me today. I appreciate your company.

MelissaD said...

Your tote is beautiful. It is funny you made a tote bag - I just made one for my needlework to attend a seminar next week.

After modifying the pattern - making it more complicated - I ended up with one I really like. Padded, lots of pockets inside, zipper top. I had such fun I made 4 more for my stitching friends. The nice part was shopping for fabric that matched their style and colors and finding old jewelry and such to make zipper pulls.
I too am very glad my mother taught me to sew - I've recently made drapes and curtains and my kids always had great Halloween costumes. One of the things I've learned from your blog is that there is such a thing as a lavender sewing machine - swoon!- my favorite color!
Keep up the creativity!

Millicent said...

What a great tote bag, and I love the button. I think your whole luggage ensemble looks great together. The luggage tag and matching tote are great. Would love to get one of your great luggage tags. Now I'm out to look for bamboo crochet hooks ;)

Pamela said...

What a great project - the tote and tag! Nice fabric choices too! I would love to win a luggage tag from you!

Brenda said...

Would love to have one of your luggage tags. I love your bags. Those are so great.

Bailie said...

Wow! What an awesome luggage set you have! The tote goes perfect with it. I would love to be included in your drawing. What a fun idea! Thanks!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I know I've missed the deadline! but I thought I would comment anyway! Hope you're having a great holiday weekend! ♥