Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pink Quilter's Caddy

Here's another matching item for my sewing classes/excursions - a handy quilter's caddy or bucket bag. This was a fun quick project that can be sewn up in a few hours. I also purchased a turntable at Bed, Bath and Beyond to sit underneath so I can access all my fav items in a nanosecond.

Of course, I just had to kick it up a notch so I personalized some ribbons that tie on the sides. What do you think?

I also whipped one up for our outings to our local pool in a lovely beachy fabric. Had so much fun this year taking our granddaughter with us. She is such a joy!

This time I decided to make my own bias binding for a better match. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pink Sew Together Bag Plus Bonus Link to Tutorial

One of the accessories to my Pink Professional Tote Bag is this handy Sew Together Bag. 

Don'tcha just love the happy pinks?

The bag was intentionally designed for sewing accessories and everyone seems to think the bag has one purpose. But everyone was so surprised and excited when I explained I use it as a wristlet handbag to store my personal items when I attend sewing classes, meetings or any other outings. It actually fits perfectly in the bottom of the Professional Tote Bag. And I have carried it separately as just a wristlet. Multipurpose - coolie moolie!

I really like the bag handle which is constructed as an extension of the zipper.

The best part of this bag is that you can use up all your scraps from other projects to make a matching bag. Love it!!!

The bag is fairly easy to construct. My only concern was when you sew the border on the side and "lay down the pockets" during construction - just had never done that before - no probs once I figured it out. 

Things to note:

- I used Decor Bond to firm up the bag, I have seen it quilted and unquilted, but I like the firmness of    the Decor Bond - you just have to remember to iron, iron, and iron it to get a good set.
- I used 3 different fabrics on the inside pockets which gives it great personality.
- The inside pockets are a tight fit for credit cards/IDs but mine do fit.

BUT AS PROMISED, I found a link to a great tutorial for this bag Sew Together Bag Tutorial.  It is broken down into 5 days as the owner of a quilt store and pattern store and zipper store all coordinated to provide a class. I always print out my tutorials and spiral bind them for ease during construction.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! I also found a pattern for a Mini Sew Together Bag where the pattern maker coordinated with the original Sew Together pattern maker to sell a worksheet where you can calculate a smaller bag. Here's where you can purchase the worksheet for the mini sew together bag: mini sew together bag worksheet  And here's the tutorial from OPQuilt:  mini sew together bag tutorial

All in all, a cute little bag with lots of possibilities.

So scissors be sharp and fabrics be trim as you conquer the Sew Together Bag projects!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pink Professional Tote Bag

How about another coordinating item to add to my travel sewing machine? This was my second Professional Tote Bag. Although this is not an easy tote to construct, it is just wonderful for carrying items to and from my sewing activities. Did you notice my name tag/badge I created for my ASG meetings? If you look closely enough you can see the ASG reference next to the scissors - coolie moolie!

I also included the travel strap which I omitted on my last Professional Tote and it works perfectly with my Tutto sewing machine carrier.

The side pockets are perfect for carrying water bottles to quench my thirst during all that hard work.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the pattern, here it is:

Professional Tote Pattern

Want some helpful tips in creating this tote?

- I have seen many color configurations of this tote, but I prefer the bottom, trim and straps out of a dark contrast to the lighter patterned bag body
- I used Pellon Decor Bond and it takes forever to bond it to the fabric. Take your time and ensure you have a good firm bond or the result will be wrinkled
- Don't be afraid to modify the pattern to meet your own specs - I have changed interior pockets, removed the interior zippered pocket on both totes and constructed it with and without the travel strap
- The old rule of always purchasing a little extra fabric absolutely applies here - you can easily create coordinating items for your tote - how great are matching little bags, sewing accessories or other items?
- If you plan on matching the fabric patterns on the front and back remember to purchase extra yardage to make it happen. I like to match if at all possible - even the travel strap above is matched.
- Take your time and realize that this is not a fast and easy tote. I sew it in sessions, with breaks in between each to avoid mistakes. I talked to some women who have made multiples of this bag and can sew each bag in one session, but that is not me. So I accept it and don't let it discourage me. Plus it's fun to enjoy the journey.

Anyhoo, have fun and be prepared for all the "oohs" and "ahhs" you will receive when you strut your stuff with this functional and gorgeous tote.

So what's next? I'll be posting my coordinating Sew Together bag next. So keep a sharp lookout for the next scissors session.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sewing Organizer with Free Pattern

Many years ago my quilting group and I all decided to make sewing organizers. When you're sewing away from home it is normal to be space-restricted. Of course that leads to chaos with all your sewing tools. Turning chaos into order is my mantra, and this is a great little item. I bought tons of this fabric (Maywood Studio Fabric "Back Porch Bouquet) several years ago and I have created several coordinating items that I'll feature in my next posts. It's a pink, happy fabric that makes everyone smile and inspires creativity.

I personalized it with my initials and it's loaded with sewing tools. It also makes me smile every time I use it because there are so many memories tied to my "graffiti" or "flair" that I've added. Some are pins from trips, sewing conventions, and gifts from friends. Most recently I gave a demo on this organizer at my American Sewing Guild group and our ASG President  presented me with my very own ASG button  - coolie moolie!

It works great on a table or sewing cabinet and is a snap to sew up.

The original directions came from one of the ladies in our sewing group. I have made some modifications and am happy to share this very easy-to-make functional item.

Stylish Sewing Machine Caddy


½ Yard of pre-quilted fabric or ½ yard each of two coordinating fabrics and batting (I quilted my own fabrics)
½ Yard of coordinating fabric for pocket and binding
6”x18” clear mylar or vinyl for pocket


1.     Round off the corners of the pre-quilted fabric.
2.     Cut 7”x18” piece of coordinating fabric for pocket (I also quilted this piece)
3.     Cut 4 pieces 2 ½” wide from coordinating fabric for binding
4.     Using one of the binding strips, bind one edge of the wide fabric strip and one edge of the mylar strip. When sewing with mylar use tissue paper to slide the mylar through the sewing machine.
5.     Layer the wide strip across one end of the pre-quilted fabric.
6.     Layer the mylar strip on top of the fabric wide strip. If you want these two strips to be of different widths, cut the mylar strip to be the more narrow of the two. I cut mine to ~5  1/2 “ H.
7.     Pin all layers together. Using the other two binding strips apply to the entire edge of the pre-quilted fabric and pocket edges. (See figure below)
8.     Finding the middle of the pockets, sew through all three layers to create pockets on both sides. I created 4 pockets by sewing in 5” from each edge and then 3” between the two smaller pockets.

Decorations (optional):

Need some ideas to personalize your own caddy? I centered and embroidered my initials above the two center pockets. I also added two rows of wide ribbon to add decorative pins for additional flair.  In addition, I purchased extra fabric for matching accessories. I added a mug organizer, and recently completed a Professional Tote Bag to transport my projects. I also decorated my travel sewing machine to match. Remember to think happy thoughts when you use your caddy and enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Decorate your Travel Sewing Machine - Janome 4120 QDC

Do you have a special machine that you use exclusively at retreats, classes, sit n' sews, etc. Well I do, and in addition to my other machines, she's fully decorated. As you know the 4120 is a powerful machine in a small package. She's everything I could ask for for sewing everything from quilts to the professional tote bags. I decorated her to match my travel sewing accessories that I'll be featuring in several new posts. She's smart (the math reference), creates happiness/laughter (a play on one of my granddaughter's fav characters - My Little Pony) and girlie (the extra decorations). Did you notice the My Little Pony font? Coolie moolie if I don't say so myself!
I've had several double-takes when I unload my machine, which end up in a big smile.
Hope this inspires you to enhance your machines to kick your creativity up a notch. Next post I'll be featuring my handy dandy sewing organizer. I gave a demo and shared the pattern at my local ASG chapter. And yes, Pinky Pi galloped along enjoying every minute.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day 2018!

Take a moment to celebrate your irrational side! Nyuk, Nyuk!!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Space Invaders Geek Gone Wild Mini Professional Tote Bag

I've had this fabric since I created my son's diaper bag for our darling granddaughter, who is 5 now. Don't know if you remember, but here's the link to the post: Space Invaders Diaper Bag. After coveting that bag for years I decided it was time to make my own, and I love it! The mini tote was just as complex as my larger zombie tote, but I love the smaller size - yeah babee! Just right for a tote, or small handbag to show off to my fellow nerdos. And it's still gonna work for me as a fashionista bag. So what do you think?

I had fun again matching all those little aliens on the front, back and side pockets. But match them, I did!

Don'tcha just love the inside Geek fabric?

Added a key fob fussy-cutting the little nerd head - nyak nyak!

 Moving on to some smaller projects and this crazy holidaze phase! Isn't this a great time of year!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Zombie Professional Tote Bag

Zombie and Professional????? yeah, babee! I don't like boring projects - it took me a zeptosecond to pull out my Riley Blake Zombie Apocalypse fabrics. Hope you luv the results as much as I do. The front has a great little zippered pocket.

I have talked to oodles of folks who have sewn this bag (Professional Tote Bag Pattern by Creative Thimble.) One lady told me she has made 20 of these! Coolie Moolie! Here's the back  featuring a nice large pocket.

Did you notice the fabric on all the pockets matched the base tote fabrics? Was a little extra work, but if you scroll back through my posts at the Space Invaders diaper bag, matching the fabrics makes all the difference!


And don'tcha just luv the zombie eyes fabric in the lining? I even utilized the Riley Blake ribbon from a fat quarter set for a key fob. The other side has a cute fussy-cut pocket.

The pattern includes an interior zippered pocket.

 Well, I'm off to another tote bag project. The pattern consists of many steps, but there are some great learning opportunities with the bag construction.

So, dig in your stash and find that unusual fabric that's just waiting to transform that usual application from boring to spectacular!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Halloween Witch Mug Rug

 I love mug rugs, they are not only functional, but decorative as well. The digitizing was a fun challenge all done in line design. It took an hour to stitch out, but no color changes were required which was great.

Here's a close-up of the detailed stitching.

I recently upgraded my Janome 15000 to the new Janome 15000 Quiltmaker Version 3.0. The new HP quilting 1/4" foot worked really well. The stippling was done with a digitized design on the 15000. I love that the stipples turn out just perfect when it's embroidered. I also used my walking foot for the assembly and stitch in the ditch quilting.

Well my pretty, I'm off to park my broom and enjoy my favorite beverage on my new mug rug!

xoxcx (notice the cackle?)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Digitized Folk Art Wristlet with Guitar Strap

When you digitize your own designs the possibilities are endless - take a look see at my new handy wristlet - functional yet colorful.  I started with this initial graphic (antique patterns) which is a great public library with oodles of patterns.

I used fabric my my stash and purchased the swivel hook hardware with my handy dandy Joann's coupons, so it was very inexpensive.

I used multiple hoopings (2) for the strap, and the canvas was a bit challenging as it becomes thick at the seams, but I just love the final product. It's functional - large enough to hold my phone, cards, etc., right-sized- not too big, and very fashionista - embroidery is in right now - ooh la la!

The zipper is in a cool funky place and and lining is a vivid blue moire that matches the blue
embroidery thread and zipper. 


This was digitized using my Janome Digitizer V5 and sewn on my Janome 15000 (Calypso).
Fabric exterior was black canvas duck cloth. I used 40 wt. rayon embroidery threads,
black cutaway stabilizer, a blue Janome needle for embroidery, and a denim needle for the assembly. To ease in the assembly I created a clear 7.5" template and traced it onto the front of the embroidered piece for visual placement. I then basted on the circle and used the backside as a sewing template. I pondered using my circle attachment, but decided to manually align the circle to the design as I like to eyeball the design placement prior to sewing.

Now that I have a short guitar strap, there's nothing stopping me from creating cross body guitar straps, and I think I will just do that - coolie moolie!

Monday, July 3, 2017

New Janome Digitizer V5 Challenge - Crochet Cut work In-the-Hoop Coaster

One of my goals in 2017 is to get close and personal with my Janome Digitizer. I am a member of a digitizing group with project challenges. A recent challenge involved a simple line design project. Then the next challenge included machine embroidery cut work and crochet.
Here's the vintage cherub graphic I chose.

I machine embroidered the completed sample on simple cotton. I took some liberties in changing the design as it was not a very good graphic, or very symmetrical. I realize now that it was a very poor choice for digitizing and will be careful in the future in selecting suitable graphics.

Another challenge was an in-the-hoop cut work and crochet coaster. The cut work was challenging as the design's cut out areas were very small (pull-your-hair-out small), but I do like the results of the crochet border.


Machine used - Janome 15000
Software - Janome Digitizer V5
Linen Fabric
Sulky 30 wt. Long Staple Cotton Matte Finish and 40 wt. Rayon Embroidery Threads
Light Tear-away and Light Wash-away Stabilizers
Top-stitch needle

1. Cut work patterns without copyright restrictions are very hard to find. I located a free download for a machine embroidery cut work butterfly design that I used. I only copied the graphic and did not download the free stitch file. However, here is the link should you want to obtain the free stitch file yourself from ABC embroidery designs:  free butterfly cutwork design
2. I hooped Tear-away on the bottom, light Wash-away next layer up.
3. I stitched the run lines for the cutouts then hand cut the tear-away on the bottom, and the linen fabric on the top. 
      4. Then stitched the rest of the butterfly in the 40 wt. rayon adding a layer of wash away on top.
      5. I then removed the tear-away from the bottom under the crochet border, then stitched the crochet border with the Sulky 30 wt. cotton and satin stitch ring last with the 40 wt. cotton rayon another layer of wash-away on top. 

      I hope this inspires you to to maximize the use of this wonderful tool and it's many functions just waiting to be unlocked by all of you creative machine embroiderers. So grab your tiny scissors and start snipping those cut-outs!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy Belated 2017 Pi Day!

I'm sure havin' fun with Heidi Swapp's mini lightbox in my craft room. The basic kit comes with a few pre-made slides. Of course you can purchase extra alphabet sets and slides. My fav has the fun icons (luv the nerd with glasses). It's just the right size - not too large, not too small. I even purchased a set of blank slides so I can generate my own quotes with my Silhouette vinyl sheets. Coolie moolie!

I sent this to my girlfriends as my Pi Day card and baked my usual batch of Pi cookies (using my handcrafted cookie cutter from a kit gifted by my daughter-in-law.)

Our son still receives Pi cookies every year (nerds unite).  Another great Pi Day -  Nyuk Nyuk!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Adobe Photoshop Monogram Picture Collage Series Finale

As you may recall for my grandaughter's 2nd birthday (2014) I generated an "A" monogram which was featured on

Tutorial | Make a Photo Collage Monogram with Hybrid Techniques

Last year I continued the series with a second monogram. This year, for her 4th birthday, I'm completing this series of collages with the monogram - "M." I am also adding some detailed tips for you fellow craftistas just waiting to start your own series.

Side 1
Side 2

The sides, top and bottom were pre-measured and Mod Podged on as a single strip except the inside corners on the bottom of the "M" where seams facilitated a nice flat result.


Overall this is was an inexpensive project, just very time-consuming. But oh, what a fantastic customized gift for your loved one!

Handy dandy recommendations:
- Purchase your letters all at once to avoid chances of them being discontinued. These were purchased at Joann's the first year (with coupons of course). They measure 12" tall.
- I think Mod Podge could survive a nuclear attack - I used the same bottle all 3 years. Woo hoo!
- I painted the "M" white (2 coats on the back) prior to starting the process and allowed it to dry for 24 hours.
- To create the collage base I scanned (in 2  pieces) an outline of the "M" that I traced and created a Adobe Photoshop photomerge panorama as the base of the collage. Then dropped each pic and resized to cover the lines.You will have to fiddle with which ones to bring to front, sending to back won't work. I upgraded to Photoshop Elements 13 and found it an easy transition from the ancient version I was utilizing.
- To create a focus item, a pink color was revealed on a single photo. To achieve this you "uncover" the area you want color to show through:
  1. Create a new adjustment layer with a gradient map.
  2. Use the brush (adjust size) and brush over the area you want the color to reappear. Magic!
  3. Then I resized the photos and rotated as required for all sides of the "M."
- I created exact measured canvas sizes for the top, sides and bottoms. Some I enlarged 1/8" to allow for overlap when I applied it to the initial. Mod Podge is forgiving if you carefully to seam any of the pieces. Some of the inside corners resulted in a cleaner finish by seaming at the corner.
- Print out each piece and final fit it by trimming or adjusting as required. You may have to move pics a little wider over the edges and trim them back to get a tight fit. This takes patience, I had to print the "M" at least 7 times to achieve my level of satisfaction.
- Apply sides, top and bottom prior to the front. That way you can overlap the sides slightly to allow the front to fit right on top without a white seam showing through.
-The back was painted white and the date and occasion was also Mod Podged.

  So, now it's time to sharpen my scissors for next year's project. I challenge you to sharpen your own pair and let your inner craftista shine!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Knitted Poncho, Katniss Cowl Vest, and Cowl Bandana

I am dedicating this post to my darling daughter-in-law, Sarah. 

Knitters gonna knit, and knit Sarah does well.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE ponchos, shawls and cowls. This shawl is soft, warm and so versatile. Love the pattern and button and neutral tone, it goes with everything even though I wore gray  to simplify the photo session - shout out to the always fabulous Dr. T :-)

Here's the back, just as beautiful as the front.
Coolie moolie!

I can even wear it with the points off center for another look. You could even unbutton it  and wear as a simple shawl, but what's the fun in that?

I picked up the pattern at my local knitting store, but you can always order from someone on the web - Blue Sky Alpacas Techno Sasha Wrap

Here's the adorable cowl that Sarah whipped up - pls ignore the uggo selfie :-(

Love it ! Perfect with sweaters, coats or jackets.

Want one of your own? Here's the free pattern -  Bandana Cowl

This is my very FAV - my Katniss vest. I LOVE hunger games. When I first laid eyes on this unique knitted wonder in the movie I knew I had to have it. Sarah was so willing to try something new and did an AWESOME job! I love sashaying around the mall and watching people's reactions. Several recognize it and mention the Hunger Games. My response - the Katniss salute of course!

The back is just as unique.  I do wear it without the leather jacket and it's just as cute!

I saw several knitted versions for sale on etsy. When I Sarah offered to knit one, I found the pattern on etsy, and the rest is history! Here's the pattern on Ravelry - Katniss Cowl Vest

Of course, no photo op is complete without including Diva Coco. As usual, we couldn't get her out of the way to take the pics, but she didn't enjoy being held for an actual planned photo. "She who must be obeyed" was finally freed to monitor her kingdom on her own terms.

Sarah's working on some new items, and yes, they aren't gray! I can't wait to see them! Hope these great ideas transform you from potential knit-wits to knitologists! FYI - Sarah is leading the way!