Archive for September, 2008

A Charming Handbag

I finally made something from Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol (also known as Angry Chicken.) I was flipping through it looking for something to make for my aunt Susan’s birthday (I won’t say which birthday it is, but let’s just say it involves “over the hill” wrapping paper and black balloons.) When I saw the “Charming Handbag” project., I thought it looked like a really simple and pretty bag so I decided to try it out.

Based on this first project, I am impressed with the book so far. This bag was really easy to make and is truly do-able for a beginner (which is unusual for a handbag.) I had one gripe with the instructions (specifically: step 6 should tell you how to lay out the lining and fabric pieces before you sew them. If you are making this bag, lay them out in the following order from bottom to top: first a flannel piece, then a lining piece right side UP, then a lining piece right side DOWN, then another flannel piece.)

Of course, I made few alterations of my own. I enlarged the pattern about 10% and added a snap to hold it closed. I appliquéd a piece of fabric to the front instead of using ribbon, and I sewed on three buttons instead of making a bow. I also used fleece as a facing instead of flannel, as the instructions called for. This made the bag a little more difficult to sew but made it much sturdier in the end.

Next time, I think I’ll stick with the flannel facing and try using a home-decorator weight fabric on the outside. I usually have trouble finding heavier-weight fabrics that I like, but I’ve seen some gorgeous ones lately. Feast your eyes on these lovelies:

From Denyse Schmidt’s Country Fair collection

From Amy Butler’s August Fields collection

From Anna Marie Horner’s Drawing Room collection

From Joel Dewberry’s Ginseng collection

September 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm 1 comment

Puppy’s Got a Brand New Tag

Remember Shrinky Dinks? I remember coloring those plastic sheets as a kid, cutting out the characters and baking them until they’d turned into little plastic toys. I can’t remember exactly which ones I had, but they were probably Smurfs or Strawberry Shortcake or something along those lines. By today’s standards these toys might seem a bit dull. But to me, they were thrilling.

These days, you can buy blank sheets of the plastic and design your Shrinky Dinks yourself. I’d been thinking of playing around with Shrinky Dinks for a while now, and our puppy needed a new ID tag, so it seemed like the perfect chance to try them out. I started with shrink film by Grafix, which I bought at the craft store. (Next time I’m going to see if the flat portion of a plastic takeout container will work just as well, which would be a great way to upcycle it.) Using sharpies, I drew a penny (three inches in diameter) and added Penny’s name and our phone number.

Then I cut out the circle and used a hole punch near the top edge. I put it on a cookie sheet between two pieces of parchment paper and baked at 350 degrees for three minutes. While baking, the plastic curls up and then flattens down again. It should be mostly flat by the time you take it out of the oven. If it’s slightly curved when you take it out of the oven, you can flatten it with a spatula. After the tag cooled, I coated it with Modge Podge to seal in the color.

Ta-dah! Now Penny is stylin’ with her own custom dog tag.

This was just as much fun as I remember. I’m looking forward to experimenting with other projects using shrinky film. It’s so quick and easy! I’m thinking about making magnets, wine charms, quilting pins, and custom eyes and noses for softies. More shrinky projects to come!

September 12, 2008 at 12:50 pm 1 comment


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