Wednesday, 30 June 2010

My creative space ...

... has been taken over briefly by my whim. Remember my new phone and the two new sleeves I made for it? I liked them so much that I decided on a whim that I was going to raid my small bag of special scraps to see if I could make another sleeve for my phone. How many sleeves does a phone need?! I love the black and white fabric and the last scrap of this is just long and wide enough to make one last sleeve. And the red oriental themed fabric is one of my favourites - I made a bag for a good friend from this fabric a couple of years ago and had enough left over to use in a bag for myself (must share that with you in next week's Midweek bag eye candy post) and there is just this last bit left which I am certain I can get both a phone sleeve and maybe a wee coin purse out of.

Head over to Kootoyoo and find out what other bloggers have on their creative spaces today.

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."
Henry Van Dyke

Have a creative day friends.

Midweek bag eye candy

Once again it's that time of the week and I'd like to share with you some bag / purse things that I have made.

There is a use for all those teeny bits of leftover fabric after all!! A 'wristlet' or pouch that hangs off your wrist. Zip at the top and lined with a dark green cotton material. These are really fun to make and there are tons of excellent tutorials online for zippy wristlets.

Here is a soft, yet structured, capacious handbag in a lovely brown decorator weight fabric. It's lined with a bright red poplin cotton.

This teacher tote was made from an oriental themed fabric teamed with black drill cotton. The inside is fully lined and has 2 large pockets. Happily accommodates A4 sized papers and folders. Perfect for a teacher, right?

This neat little clutchbag has a hex frame opening. I have a couple of these hex frames in my toolbox. I must get around to making something which will use them.

This is a ‘stuffy’ – so called because it’s good for stuffing bits into ... like change for parking ticket machines (also brilliant for putting your parking meter ticket into so it doesn’t get lost) simple and quick to whip up and a really good use of leftover scraps. I was thinking of doing a tutorial for this little zippy thing - would you like to see a tutorial for this?

I hope your week is going well so far my friends.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Another phone sleeve

I whipped another one of these phone sleeves up last night. I love this kawaii panda fabric - it makes me very happy. I bought this fabric a couple of years ago from this Etsy shop. I don't think she has any of this particular fabric left but she has some other really cute Japanese imported fabrics including another panda one which I think I might just have to buy from her really soon!

I used the same Sew Mama Sew tutorial as before.

Right - I'm off to drop Missy Moo at nursery and then head on to work.
Have a great day friends! (This post's for you, Cam!)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A sleeve for my new phone

I've had my trusty old Sony Ericsson phone for donkeys years and it was getting to the point where it was pretty battered and desperately needed to be retired - maybe sent off to some recycling facility somewhere. So my buddy, Craig and I went off at lunchtime on Friday to look at some phones. As much as I liked the iphones, I couldn't afford one. I had to go with whatever my pay-monthly contract would allow me to upgrade to. Enter the Samsung Wave - my introduction to the world of smartphones. It's reasonably slim, has a smart metallic chassis and a pretty neat responsive screen (which I discovered, does not work with long nails!)and the interface is slick and pretty intuitive for a noob like me. OK - I'm not here to review the phone. I am here to show you the new sleeve I made for it.

I used this cozy tutorial on Sew Mama Sew's blog. The dimensions I used were different to those in the tutorial. I measured up my Wave and adjusted the dimensions given to suit. It's a nice fit. It's got a piece of batting in the middle to add a bit of protection.

I used a black hair elastic band for the loop and a decorative button. I also added a fabric loop to the side and put a split ring on the loop. This would allow me to hook a lanyard to it if I wanted to.

It was a quick and easy project to make and I think I might make a few more for fun from scraps of fabric I have in my stash.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Dinky zip-away tote number 2 ...

... has turned out pretty well. I reduced the body of the bag to a single layer by eliminating the lining - it feels strong enough but I guess only a proper test-run will confirm if it'll stand up to regular usage. I made some straps from half of a long quarter strip of brown cotton. I'm not sure where I got the fabric for the base from but it reminds me of one of Orla Kiely's prints.

I used a facing at the top edge and put two rows of top-stitching all around the edge to secure and strengthen the straps.

I thought a contrasting coloured zip might work well here. I used a black bias binding at the edge for a bit of extra contrast.

And here is the tote all zipped up. How dinky is that?!

We've had an awesome sunny and warm day here in Birmingham. My washing line was packed full of fresh-smelling laundry and the patio doors were open all day. I managed to catch a moment with Missy Moo and Dinoboy out in the garden. I wanted to get some nice photos of the pair of them for a photobook I'm thinking of making for my mother-in-law for her birthday in September. I knew I probably wasn't going to get anything sensible out of them when Missy Moo started lke this ...

... and went on to this ...

... and then Dinoboy decided he might as well join in. Funny lovely children.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend wherever you are.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

My creative space ...

... is currently cluttered with bits of fabric from my stash as I try to pick combinations for more zipaway totes. Prototype number 2 is lurking back there in the top left corner - see the green and orange stripey fabric? I've reduced the body of the bag to a single layer. You might recall that prototype number 1 was a lined bag. I really like this little dinky tote and will make a few more. Dinoboy thinks they might be very nice teacher appreciation gifts.

Head over to Kootoyoo and check out what other bloggers have on their creative spaces today.

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” Edward de Bono.

Have a creative day, friends.

Midweek bag eye candy

I'd like to share a few more of my bags with you this week. I've mostly made bags for family and friends. Or teachers! Here is a bag I made for Dinoboy's Reception year teacher. She was the first school teacher he ever had and she was wonderful.

This next one is a reversible tote made from thrifted curtains.

My aunt in Malaysia loves teapots. She collects them. When I saw this fabric, I knew I had to make something for her. This is my Aunt Jenny's teapot purse.

Here's another bag I made for another of Dinoboy's school teachers. Dinoboy asked what her favourite colour was and she said blue. He picked this cool oriental-style print in blues out of my stash for his teacher.

When Dinoboy left Infant School and moved up to Junior School, he asked me to make him a special bag for school. We found this very neat dinosaur skeletons fabric and I made him this school bag. Dinoboy was thrilled and is so glad that no other kid in school has the same bag as him.

Hope you're having a good week wherever you are, friends.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The zip-away tote bag - a prototype

I've just finished my prototype of this zip-away tote. It looks OK but I think the fact that it is lined makes the pouch when zipped really bulky. So pictures first - here is the tote zipped away into it's own little pouch.

Unzipping the pouch reveals the bag within ...

Here it is unzipped fully and laid flat ...

And here is the tote. I think using webbing for handles was probably not the smartest of ideas if one is trying to reduce bulk. They can be rather bulky. I could also reduce the length of the straps - that would cut down on the bulk too.

And here you can see the curved bottom of the bag ...

The finished bag measures about 11 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep at the widest point in the middle of the oval base and 12 inches tall. The handles are about 21 inches long. Perhaps they don't need to be quite so long.

I'm going to make a second one I think but this time, I will make it a single layer bag, I'll use an encased seam to join the body piece together and perhaps use a facing at the top edge to encase the ends of the handles. I think I might also make slightly narrower and somewhat shorter fabric straps. That should reduce the bulk when zipping the tote away.

Do you think a single layer bag body makes for a less sturdy bag? I suppose if it's an occasional use tote bag, it would not need to be lined and the handles wouldn't need to be quite so long either. What do you think?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

My creative space ....

... has been very much occupied for the past week by a new bag project. I mentioned a couple of days ago that I'd been playing about with a pattern for a tote bag. This will be a tote bag which zips into a dinky little pouch. It's pretty cute and I think it's coming along well so far.

I'm trying to keep notes on my progress and taking some photos as I go along to document the process. Hopefully if it turns out to be a successful creation, I'll then have the bits and bobs I need to put up a tutorial. I sometimes get so wrapped up in a part of the process that I completely forget to take photos! New projects are so much fun, aren't they?

Head over to Kootoyoo and check out what other bloggers have on their creative spaces today.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”
Mary Lou Cook

Wishing you a fun and creative day wherever you are.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Midweek bag eye candy

I'm working on a new tote bag and writing it up as a tutorial as well in case it does turn out to be very nice. It's looking very hopeful and I think it has great potential. I'll share a sneak preview with you during Thursday's My Creative space post and then hopefully, I can post the finished bag and the tute over the weekend.

In the meantime, I'd like to share with you another small selection of my past creations.

As you can probably tell by now, I do like the Basket bag shape. It's great for showcasing really nice fabric like this blue cranes Japanese print which I think is from Kona Bay.

Little zippy pouches like these are super quick to whip up and make terrific stocking fillers at Christmas. They also don't require a lot of fabric so they are great for using up scraps.

This yummy green bamboo bag has lovely rounded leather handles and a zip closure recessed into the top.

I wanted to try a different way of putting handles on a bag. This purple linen bag was made specially for a colleague's daughter who had just moved to senior school. I knotted the straps through some grommits which I had put into the bag.

I'm always looking out for special finds in remnant baskets outside our local curtain shops and this lovely aqua and brown fabric was one such find. Isn't it pretty? It was a two-way fabric woven in such a way that it was aqua on one side and brown on the reverse side.

See you Thursday! *waving*

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bike basket number 2 ...

... was made by special request of Dinoboy who liked the idea of a bike basket very much after seeing Missy Moo's. The bike basket is from this tutorial by Anna on the Noodlehead blog.

We looked through my fabric stash together and found this old fat quarter print of colourful cartoon dinosaurs. I remember making Dinoboy a pillowcase from this fabric when he was about 2 years old (he will be 8 in a couple of months). We found a plain blue cotton fabric for the lining and a vibrant green batik print scrap for the binding and the tab at the back.

It's roomy enough for a drinks bottle and a fluff companion, with boy treasures like a few Pokemon trading cards and the odd small rubber bouncy ball hidden inside too.

Dinoboy is pretty pleased with the bike basket. Thanks for the tutorial, Anna!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

My creative space ...

... today is being occupied by my latest project - a second bike basket for Dinoboy.

I am hoping to get it finished by the weekend and show you how it turned out.

'My creative space' is a casual meme started by Kirsty @ Kootoyoo. It's on every Thursday and I am going to try to play along and show you what I have going on in my creative space every Thursday. Why don't you head over to Kootoyoo and check out what other bloggers have on their creative spaces today.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Midweek bag eye candy

I did say I would share a few more pictures of bags I have made with you. I love making bags - I find it immensely satisfying and it helps me de-stress after a long day at work. My job doesn't involve a whole lot of creativity for the most part and sewing gives me a chance to get some back into my life. I like that a bag project can either take me a couple of evenings to do or be stretched over several evenings of leisurely sewing. I like that I don't have to worry about whether it fits - a problem I still have when making clothes for myself! Best of all, people love being given something handmade and I get a big kick out of their delight. So it's a win-win situation for all really. Here are a few bags I have made.

This one was given to a local brass band for their annual fund-raising raffle.

I love this Alexander Henry fabric with the geishas, don't you?

This cute pleated bag was a special present for my lovely teenage cousin in Malaysia.

I utterly love this anime print. It's another Alexander Henry fabric called Thunder Flower.

And finally, this cute bag made from an old table cloth and an old cushion cover is one of my favourites.

"So try to pursue the very things that you are passionate about- that is the difference between good and great!"
Shawn Doyle, from Passion Defined

Sunday, 6 June 2010

New bike and a new bike basket.

Missy Moo had a bit of money left over from her birthday. Last week, I drove past a guy's house and he was having a garage sale. He had this cute little bike parked outside his garage. I thought about the bike all week and promised myself that I'd go look this weekend to see if he still had it. He did! It was in really good condition and was just the right size for Missy Moo with some growing room. We haggled a little and for £20 I got the bike and a pink floral helmet to go with it. Missy Moo loves her bike.

See that little basket on the front? I saw this tutorial on Noodlehead's blog and thought it was just the cutest thing and exactly what this pre-loved bike needed.

The main fabric is a thick cotton-linen Japanese print. I've had a small piece of this in my stash for ages just waiting for the right project to come along. The pink floral binding fabric and the green floral lining fabric are cotton bits from my off-cuts bags. I had enough left to make a matching strap for the carry-chair at the back of the bike.

I have to go make a second bike basket now as Dinoboy would like one for his bike too. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.