Sunday, October 31, 2010

Project Genesis 11/1/2010


This tutorial will show you how very simple it is to make your own
reusable grocery bags, gift bags, lunch bags etc.
(This is a basic pattern for beginners and yes, it's long... sorry )
Any fabrics can be used, just be sure to consider the bags
usage in choosing the weight of fabric.

I think it is wonderful that stores now sell reusable
bags, but many are not washable, and if using for food products,
food safety is paramount, so make yours washable.
Advanced sewers know that these can be embellished with trims,
pockets etc, but for our purposes at PG, we just want to reduce
plastic bag use and wasteful gift wraps, so simple it is.

For my grocery bag here I used two different
Home Dec fabrics leftover from a purse I had made.
Pre-wash fabrics if necessary.

Size is up to you. I used 17 x 17" squares of fabric but you
can make them any size square or rectangle, the same
method applies for every size.
I used webbing sold by the yard for the handles.
( I had some leftover from another project)
You may make your handles out of fabric
if you wish or some other sturdy material,

I rotary cut two lining pieces 17x17 and two outer fabrics 17x17
I cut two pieces of webbing 20" each.

Place one end of one handle 6" in from edge of top side of lining.
(right side of fabric)
Place other end of handle 6" in from other top side of fabric.
The webbing end is flush with the end of your lining,
and make sure you do not twist handle.
If you are using a print that has direction make sure the handles
are placed at the "top" edge of the fabric, or your
design may be sideways or upside down.

Now, lay your outer fabric right side down or right sides together (RST)
Line up your edges perfectly, and again make sure the "top" of your fabric,
if there is one, is placed correctly. I use a 1/2" seam.

Sew this seam.
I go over several times in area of handle for extra strength.
Repeat with other handle and other lining and outer fabric.

Open the seam and press carefully.
You now have two pieces that (should) look like this.

Keeping the linings together on one side and the outer
fabrics on the other side, flip these two pieces right side together.
Make sure your handles are tucked inside
and that they won't get caught in the seams we are about to sew.

Line up the seams you just sewed on each side. I pin carefully here.
Then pin all they way around the outer edge, leaving an
area open on the lining end for turning.
You can see my opening where I have the double pins.
Prior to sewing it should look like this.
That bump is the handles tucked inside.
Double check before sewing that you have (RST).

This is my opening.
Sew all the away around the outer edges,
leaving that opening for turning.
Trim your fabric on the diagonal in the corners to reduce bulk.

Now, reach in and grab your outer fabric and pull it through the opening.
Pull it all out and push out all your corners in both the lining and outer fabric.
The lining will be all out on one side and the outer fabric will be all out on the other side.

Your lining will have the messy opening on one end.

Iron the edge in neatly and sew across to close.

Now press your lining if needed and push it back into the bag,
making sure to push out all those corners very neatly.
I use a bone folder. Be careful not to poke through fabrics.
This gives you a nice, lined, handled tote without gusset,
but for most items I like a gusset.

So, for that turn the whole bag wrong side out, your
lining is now showing. and tidy up all the corners again.

Putting your fingers inside push one corner as far in as it will go and then
flatten out the corner so it looks like a triangle shape, with the
seam running down the middle.

I marked in 2" with washable marker for a sewing line.
The deeper the inches you mark in the wider the gusset.
So if your bag is much smaller or much larger, adjust the depth.

You can see the sewed opening and the seam running
through the middle of the triangles.

Make sure you have all the corner nicely flattened out in there,
the lining and outer fabric is bulky so take the time to make it
very neat. Sew across this triangle forming the gusset.
Repeat for other side.

Turn bag right side out again and your inside should look like this.
Now, there are fancy ways to have these reversible and no gusset tabs showing,
but I figure if we keep it simple you are more likely to make these in multiples.

The gusset you made.

The lined handled bag you made!


From start to finish this size bag does not take even an hour to make.
When I am making these in multiples. I cut out all my squares
and handles one evening, and then sew together another evening.

These totes are a gift all by themselves and the hardest
part is choosing what fabrics to pare together.
(For ease of the tutorial I chose a solid)
I have used old quilts, bedspreads and burlap.
There are no limits to your imagination, and
this is a great way to recycle leftovers from the craft room.
Even a small 6x6" scrap of fabric can become a gift bag for jewelry, or CD's.
A weekend is all it take to make enough to replace all your holiday gift-wrap.
Advanced sewers know that these can be embellished with trims, pockets etc
but for our purposes at PG, we just want to reduce
plastic bag use and wasteful gift wraps.

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and remember to link directly to your Genesis post not just to your blog. All the Genesis posts are archived in my sidebar, so the direct link to posts is required
of everyone. Play nice, and no self promotion please, or I must edit.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Architecture to me always means vintage,
though that is an inaccurate assessment of the word.

Unable to live in a home with what I consider
to have real architecture, I hauled part of a
rooftop from a vintage home into my living room.
What can I say it makes me happy?

Many of my vintage cabinets and tables have
other people's names on them.

No, I did not borrow from them, nor are they waiting for my demise,
(at least I hope not), they are waiting for their
chance to own the piece, if and when I decide to sell.
Some pieces have as many as four names.

About this piece, I have had dozens of people say to me
" If you ever decide to get rid of that..."

But folks, I have to tell you, even if I decide to sell off everything,
which I threaten to do now and again and some day it may be necessary,
this piece will never be in the estate sale or the focus of an auctioneer's gavel.

If I have to strap it to the roof of my car and it finally
settles into a teensy studio apartment, it is staying with this gal.

It's not just architecture, it is character.
You cannot buy good character, and you
should never barter with it either.

You either have it or you don't.

Getting an early jump on Friday's Architecture Challenge
at Razmataz hosted by Chania.


Create Change - The World Will Thank You
Project Genesis November 1st
Please join us.

Don't be caught without your PG post...It is coming up fast.
The last Project Genesis had visitors from 48 states
and from over 26 countries. Maybe your new
best blog friend is one of them?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Doily Garland

Inspired by a doily garland
I spoke of HERE, I began this.

I don't know where it will eventually hang and
there is more of it than you see here.

I'm loving it and so glad it is made.

My favorite: I am amazed at what these women used to create.

Please join Kathleen over at Faded Charm
for more gals sharing in White Wednesday.

Create Change - The World Will Thank You
Project Genesis November 1st
Please join us.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Life Lessons

I'll be here in 2 months.
Scotty and my beautiful young Mom.

Most of us avoid uncomfortable topics, shy away from pain.
Facing the difficult parts of life is not a joy ride,
however, standing as testimony to our lives is vital.

It is with this intent that I join Char at Ramblings
today as several of us discuss our Life Lessons.
I have given much thought to sharing something
so intimate in such a public manner, disregarding my "normal"
blog fare but obviously have opted to do so.

Life lessons are meant to be shared.


Alice Kae
Mothers bake cookies, read you stories before bed. Mothers teach you the lessons you need to be happy. Mothers get you ready in the morning, and have snacks waiting after school. Mothers are not expected to get severely ill when you are a little girl of eight, and they are not supposed to spend more time in the hospital and bed than they do in the kitchen or even at home.

Becoming chronically ill before the age of 30 and fighting to survive for the next 40 years, changed my mother. We will never know what her life, our lives, would have become had she been well. My father once told me after a very bad period of discord between Ma and I, that he wished I could remember what she was like as a young mother. How she kept their very modest home neat and cheerful, and we were always clean and in fresh clothing.

The type of illness my mother suffered, required many years of steroids and it was not until I was well into my adulthood that I realized much of her erratic behavior was most likely the result of decades of innumerable medications. Although they kept her alive, they altered her, she became her illness. It defined her, enraged her, saddened her.

My mother and I were often volatile, though never estranged for more than a few days at a time. We lived 2000 miles apart for 30 years yet we spoke several times weekly and during difficult times, multiple times daily, as one or the other of us hung up on the other. We shared a lot of wonderful days during infrequent visits, and I bore up through many horrific days, trying to maintain a relationship with someone who I could not reason with, as she vented rage my way for a multitude of reasons.

I spent 30 years after leaving home trying to understand how we got to this place, praying and wishing and begging for a different existence with this woman who was my mother. I never failed to see her through each medical crisis, told her daily of my love for her, and never doubted that she loved me.

Loving someone is no guarantee that you will treat them kindly, with respect or with intent to make their lives easier. I wished, oh, how I wished, that things would change. I wanted Barbara Billingsley, Donna Reed, I wanted the Mom I thought I was entitled to have.

Within a week of my father's passing, and with devastating and cruel timing, my husband left, and I became a single Mom, struggling with heartbreak and fear and not at all prepared for the loneliness and demands of my mother who had miraculously outlived the man who had cared for her 40 years of medical needs. Thus began three years of constant struggle between two women, Mother and Daughter, both suffering such tremendous loss and having little tolerance for the pain of the other.

My hardest adjustment was the loss of what I knew to be true for 16 years; what was to have been my and my children's future. For my mother, who had been told since I was eight that her life was limited and each crisis was a death sentence unrealized, the suddenness of her life without her caregiver was intolerable. At her death bed three years later, gasping each breath in unbearable pain, came the words, "I just want it to be over. After all these years why does it have to be like this, be this hard." My mother had no faith, leaving this world in pain and sorrow, with a lifetime of regret and anger.

Suddenly, came the realization that there was no sense in grieving what never was; that Mother had done what she could, as she could, and from her view her life certainly had not turned out the way she had planned either. Two women united in sorrow for what could have been, should have been, in their own lives and with each other. The anger that I always felt directed at me was more likely misdirected as she railed at the universe, "why me?" Feelings I was all too familiar with. Feelings I now rejected as my legacy.

With intense clarity I envisioned that other young woman, Alice Kae, faced with devastating news that would leave her to become a different Mother than she had ever planned to be. As I sat by her bedside, holding her hand, I knew with absolute certainty that I must release the life I had planned in order to embrace the life ahead.

Seven years have passed and more often than not, joy abounds. I assume no outcomes as absolutes. My mother's lesson on happiness, unintentional though it may have been, was valued beyond measure; granting me peace, with the power of forgiveness, the power of grace.

I love you, Mom.

Friday, October 22, 2010

RED Letter Day


Favorite beads - Nettie's shoe

Please join Chania @ Razmataz
for this week's photo challenge RED.

Create Change - The World Will Thank You
Project Genesis November 1st
Please join us.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hoarding with Purpose

This old white box buried under there somewhere, has carefully
stored dozens upon dozens of doilies and linens for far too many years.
Most are from family, the rest collected during a brief
period when I was doily crazed?

An abundance, hoarded, waiting for purpose.
I have occasionally dipped in and snatched a few, but
I was always a more primitive gal than a frilly one, so many
remained safely tucked away atop a cupboard in my studio.

This edge piece is actually a collar and it is divine.

I sorted through these on the porch during a thunder storm
this morning. Does it get any better than this?

Yep, it does. This piece is 76" long and will
become the edging to my new linen or flax pillow slips.
It is chunky and perfect and oh my!

So why now? Why did I decide to sort through and
inventory the old white box?
THIS is why. A post by My Hearts Ease

Notice the photo of Linda of Willow Nest Farm, and you'll see
a doily garland. It appears this is display for the doilies to sell,
but I must make a garland for my home so that finally
all these treasures can be appreciated.

Please join all the other White Wednesday gals
over at Faded Charm hosted by
the delightful Kathleen.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Home Sewing


When the air cools, and the windows are open,
I wander back into the studio.

I fondle the fabrics, relishing the textures,
the muted colors, no brights here.

The bark cloth called to me.
I spied buttons, a perfect set,
rescued from a dress of my Mother.

They were joined into a new tote for the fall.
Four fabrics blended into a flirty, scalloped bag.

At times, the sewing, it feels like coming home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Voted!

Have YOU? Will YOU?

(I was reminded some don't have early voting)

and because I'm in the mood this Monday:
some things to ponder, no pretty pictures but it is still good
to exercise your brain matter

100 thing challenge

333 challenge

Neo minimalism

and no, I'm not advocating either side of the discussion,
(someone just emailed - most distressed at me), I am merely
advocating that we think, ponder, alternative ideas.
Yes, I did indeed just acquire a set of dishes but go back a few posts
to my sale to see the mountain of things I and others
recently sold and donated.
In the past year I have reduced my personal
belongings by 1/3 and will continue to pare down.
It's a process.