Friday, September 24, 2010

Halloween Burlap Tote Bag

I was recently wandering the rows of a great local craft fair and found some really cute burlap tote bags. So I bought one and had been thinking about making one. Then I ran across a bolt of black burlap at the fabric store and thought . . . hum, Halloween? Of course a burlap bag really needs to be lined which sounds a little scary. After a few tips from various blogs on how to make easy lined tote bags I thought I'd try my hand at one. Really easy, really fast . . . my only tip is - with the loose weave of the burlap, use fairly big seams so the seams don't pull apart. My pictures really don't do this bag justice - the Halloween fabric and orange inside pocket fabric are fun sparkly fabrics and the burlap is not the dull black it appears in the photos. Use your imagination. Here's how I made the bag:

Halloween Burlap Tote Bag

You will need:

Black Burlap - cut 2 pieces (mine were about 14" x 17")

Top Border fabric - cut 2 pieces approximately 6" x 17"
(Since I was using a border piece I made it as tall as the border I wanted and then of course cut it the same width as your burlap.)

Handle fabric - cut 2 pieces approximately 5" x 22"

Inside Pocket fabric - cut 2 pieces 7" x 8"

Lining fabric - cut 2 pieces the finished dimensions of the burlap and top border piece.

(My pocket fabric was flimsy, so I also cut a piece of fusible interfacing the same size and ironed that to the wrong side of one pocket piece to give it some sturdiness.)
With right sides together, sew each border piece to the top of a burlap piece. My seam was fairly narrow to allow as much of the fabric print to show as I could, but I would definitely advise a wider seam!
On the right side, top stitch on the each border fabrics. Using a finished outside piece as your pattern, cut 2 lining pieces.
For the pocket piece, put right sides together and sew the top seam of the pocket. Fold over so wrong sides are together and baste the other three sides together. With a hot iron, press the sides and bottom in about 1/2 inch all the way around. Top stitch the top of the pocket.
Sew the pocket on to the right side of one of the lining pieces. Be sure to center the pocket side to side. I put mine about 4 inches from the bottom of the lining piece. Sew around the sides and bottom of the pocket.With right sides together, sew the two lining pieces together. Be sure to leave about a 4" opening in the center bottom seam (for turning the tote bag after you sew it all together). Turn the lining so the right sides are out.
Place the two outside pieces right sides together and sew completely around the sides and bottom.

To "box" the corners, take your lining piece and pinch the bottom and side seams together. Keep your side and bottom seams lined up. Measure up from the corner until you have a line that is 3" long. Sew along that line. Do the same for the other corner. Cut away the little triangle that is leftover. Now do the exact same "corner boxing" to both corners of the outside piece.
With your two handle pieces, fold each in half lengthwise and iron the fold. Open the pieces back up so you can see the crease.
Now iron each edge in so it meets the original center crease.
Finally fold the piece in half (on the original crease line). Top stitch down both the folded and "open" side of the handles. Place a handle piece on the right side of the lining. I placed mine about 3 - 3 1/2" in from each side seam. One handle should be on each side of the lining. I just pinned the handles in place, matching the raw edge of the handle pieces with the top of the lining. Push the bulk of the handle down so it won't get caught in the top seam that you are about to sew.Now with right sides together, put the lining piece (right side out) inside the outside piece (right side in). Line up the two top edges. Sew using a generous seam (1/2") all the way around the top. I reinforced the handle pieces well to give them some strength.
Turn the entire piece right side out using that 4" opening that you left in the bottom of the lining piece. Be sure to poke out all your corners. Close the opening in the bottom of the lining by sewing it closed. Nobody will see this so no fancy hidden stitching needs to be done.Now push the lining piece back down inside the tote bag. Make sure your bottom and corners between the lining and the outside piece all match up nicely. Iron the top so that everything lies flat and even. Top stitch around the very top of the bag about 1/8 inch from the very top.
You're done. Here is a picture of the inside of the bag showing the pocket. My lining and handle fabric was really just various shades of black - I'm not sure why it looks green in these pictures.
And here is the finished bag. Perfect for carrying a couple of diapers and a package of wipes, or some soccer games snacks and water bottles, or some treats to a Halloween party . . . or whatever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Knock on Wood

I love it when I take time to finish up projects that have been waiting in the wings for who-remembers-how-long. I know that I bought this Witch's boot at least a year ago and took a cell phone picture of the sample in the store so I would remember how cute it was. A few strokes of paint and an electric hand sander later (why do power tools make me happy?) and I have my first new Halloween decoration of the season.
I ran by the same little store that I purchased the witch's boot at a few weeks ago and picked up these F A L L letters for part of my Fall Favorites Gift Exchange. Talk about an easy and quick project. Hope my gift exchange partner likes them.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jewelry Roll

Since I travel a lot, I needed something to carry jewelry in that was both functional and, of course, cute. So I made this travel Jewelry Roll. A couple of layers of pockets, some coordinating piping, and a ribbon closure . . . .
. . . . and this little carrier just rolls right up to throw in my carry on bag.

I have a lot of crafting to do this week as I get ready to send off my package for the Fall Favorite's Gift Exchange - check back in later in the week and you can see what I'm sending my new friend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Coral Pink Sand Dunes / Tropic Reservoir / Bryce NP

One of the things that I enjoy about my job is the traveling. I definitely don't enjoy being away from home so much - I miss my family terribly while I'm gone. And I always feel incredibly guilty about leaving my husband home alone to take care of two young boys by himself. He's one-of-a-kind to put up with being a single dad so often! But I do love seeing parts of my state, country, and the world that I wouldn't otherwise get to see. I try to take every chance I get to really get out and experience the area - where ever I go. I "had to" (got to) go to Southern Utah this week to Kanab and Bryce Valley. I've driven this route a few times before and always found fun places to stop and visit. This time I decided to stop at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park - I only had a few minutes but I drove in and what to my wondrous eyes did appear? Real pink sand dunes in the middle of nowhere. It was a beautiful day!
After day #2 - a day full of meetings, I had the chance to hop a 4-wheeler and head out for a trail ride. We went out to Tropic Reservoir. It was a great ride - a little dusty but definitely worth it! Despite my nasty sinus infection and super sore sinuses, I'm glad I didn't miss this ride.
And on my way back home I couldn't resist a quick stop in Red Canyon to snap this picture. This certainly is a beautiful part of my state!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chicken Pincushions

I happen to be a pattern collector. If I see a cute pattern, I buy it and stash it away. Sometimes nothing ever comes of the pattern . . . but sometimes an actual "thing" is made from said pattern. I can't quite remember how long this particular pattern has been saved away in my stash, but who can pass up a cute pincushion?
The idea here is to take leftover fabric or quilt blocks or parts of either and make something fun and useful. I can't actually think of a time when I have had extra quilt blocks laying around - I usually only make exactly what I need (I'm a planner that way). But goodness knows that I have more than a few fabric scraps in my craft closet. So I made a couple of simple quilt blocks that are included with the pattern using some coordinating scraps (somehow this didn't seem to even begin to put a dent in my scrap piles). A beak, some tail feathers, and some eyes later . . . and you have a chicken.One new thing that I learned from this pattern is to fill a pincushion with crushed walnuts from the pet store. Perfect weight and easy to fill! And good for my pins and needles too. This pattern is "Pollo Loco" from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. Thanks Miss Rosie - love 'em!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Soccer Bags

It's official . . . I've turned in to a "soccer mom". Hopefully not the stereotypical one but rather one that enjoys watching her son(s) play sports for the fun of it . . . and doesn't over think the coach's choices and number of minutes played and boo the referees, etc. Today was son #1's first team practice. He did G R E A T! Knowing that today was looming, I wanted to make something soccer related just for him. I've seen Noodleheads' great tutorial on Drawstring Backpacks and decided to make a soccer bag for my little man. I changed it up just a little bit - I used all soccer fabrics and since I have the luxury of a grommet tool I added grommets in the bottom corners instead of using tabs to hold the cording.The zippered compartment in the bottom section of the bag exterior is pure genius! I have no idea what we'll actually put in here for soccer purposes, but for me it's all about the "cuteness factor"! I think I have to search around for a fun soccer zipper pull just to add another point of interest.Since I still had some leftover black oilcloth laying around from my hair clipper boxy bag, I decided to line his bag with it - - - whatever stinky socks or grassy shoes get thrown in won't damage it at all. Since most of the sewing for the lining is on the wrong side of the oilcloth, it sews like a charm.
And then today while sitting in a day-long meeting, I started feeling bad for son #2 who wants desperately to play soccer like his big brother. It's already going to be hard enough for him to sit on the sidelines and watch big brother play. Maybe he needed his very own soccer bag to put his little ball and water bottle and snacks in to take practices and games. Besides, he'll be playing on a team within the next 2 years. Of course, I always buy too much fabric which means there were plenty of leftovers. So I hurried home and grabbed my mat and rotary cutter and decided just to make this a simple, easy bag -no zipper pocket, no oilcloth lining. It did have to be "cute" so I patched together a few pieces to make the front interesting instead of plain.
And it literally worked up in all of about 15 minutes. I didn't have a long enough piece of leftover cording so I'll have to zip by a store later this week to grab another piece. But it worked for him today and he loved it . . . and he didn't feel left out. That makes my heart happy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Pleated Pouch

I seem to be on a roll with cute little zippered pouches. I decided to try another pattern - Skip to my Lou's Pleated Pouch.This one is super easy and quick. I seem to find plenty of things to pop in these and haul around. Can you ever have too many?
And I've got quite a few fun projects started . . . now I just need some time to finish them up. I had a very enjoyable trip to Joann's today armed with 3 coupons that cut my $60 bill down to $40. And just now, after some very fun blog stalking, I've decided I need to make another quick run there tomorrow on my way home. Fall is definitely in the air and I have some "Fall Favorites" gifts to get ready to exchange.
Here is a peek at one of my current projects that is waiting to be finished. Can't wait to see what these turn in to!