I seem to be making a lot of personal and gift projects these past few months! I have some craft show projects on the go, too, such as in the last photo of this post (and I’ll post more photos as those projects are finished); but making personal projects has been fulfilling, too.
First up is another cross-body bag I made for myself! You might recall the black bag from this post last year. Well, this new one is similar (from the same black cotton sheet fabric), but with an improved divided lining design. And of course every time I improve a design, I just MUST make a new thing, right? RIGHT?! Of course I’m right! Ahem…and besides, making a new thing on an improved design just brings another opportunity for some fun embellishing. 😀
Below is an up-close shot of the divided lining. With the last bag, I made the divider come up too high in the bag, which made it difficult for me to sew the topstitching around the opening of the bag. So you can see in this one, the divider is lower in the side seams. Also, instead of inserting a plastic canvas piece in the divider, I padded and quilted it. With the other bag, the plastic canvas broke almost immediately. This padded divider feels more substantial in the bag, and it certainly will protect things better. Oh, and of course the lining and divider are made from one of my vintage floral cotton sheets!!
Here is a closer look at the bag flap. Surrounding the flower (close-up of that to follow) is my hand-embroidery work in a pretty green embroidery thread. I also added buttons and transformed them into flowers with a blue thread, and added a spray of orange-stemmed orange flowers (orange pearl glass beads). It’s so much fun to stitch tiny details to practical objects!!!
Here is a closeup of the pink and yellow crocheted flower I made and attached to the bag flap. I firmly sewed an aqua glass pearl bead to the centre, and some clear glass beads to the ends of each pink petal (I love this flower design – I used them on past tote bags such as the orange one in this post).
This next photo shows one of two lampshade covers I made on a whim. I was helping out one weekend with a local youth group project in which the teens were raising money for hunger plus renovating their meeting room with donated labour, materials, and furniture. My part was to stay overnight as a chaperone for the teens. Anyway, the leaders were showing me the progress of the room renovation before I went on duty for the night. One of them had taken some curtains from her home and asked someone else to make cushion covers with them. The cushions helped furnish the youth room. Then she was talking about some lamps she had at home that she wanted to donate, but she wasn’t too sure about the covers. My mind started turning, and at the same time she suddenly looked at me with a glint in her eye and said, “Oh, Colleen, I have an idea………………………” as we all laughed about her enthusiasm for gathering people into projects (she’s a lot of fun to work with). Yep, we had the same idea – use the curtain fabric to make new lampshade covers to match the cushions. “It’ll take maybe an hour tomorrow afternoon while the kids are doing some of their activities! You can just glue fabric to the shades and we’ll help you! It’ll be a community bonding thing!” she said. Meanwhile I’m thinking, “Um, I need to see the shades…need to search the internet for ideas…need to determine if the shades are something I have the skill to cover….”
After my (somewhat sleepless) night as chaperone, she brought the shades to me the next morning. I went home and slept, then got to work figuring out how to make a six-sided shade that has curved panels (after looking online and getting distracted by all the gorgeous handmade shade covers out there and determining to make some for my own plain white boring shades…). I finally just took the panels apart, made a pattern from one, and hoped that that would work with this curved panel business. Then I gathered up my sewing machine, tools, supplies, shades, and pattern; and drove back to the youth group event so I could “sew in community.” There I found a table in a public spot, set up everything, and started tracing the pattern and cutting curtain fabric (it was dark pink, bright orange, and lime green florals and leaves on a white background – beautiful!). Soon teens and adults started noticing this second project going on in the building, and came over to chat and ask me about it.
This was fun for me! I loved chatting, hearing whispers and giggles, and watching two girls especially losing it in fits of laughter about who knows what (reminded me of my best friend and me in high school).
THREE hours of cutting/pinning/sewing later (not one of gluing, haha, although I did glue the finished covers to the lamp frames), both were finished! I ran them upstairs to the youth room, screwed them on, listened to my friend gush over them, and then we all had supper together to end the weekend project/fundraiser.
New knitting pattern for me! I spied this…somewhere that I can’t remember…and decided to knit a cloth for another friend for her birthday. She could use it as a dishcloth (except that her sons do the kitchen cleaning every day) or a facecloth. It’s made from soft cotton yarn in two tones of blue. I like learning some new patterns, especially if they are quite geometrical. It’s soothing to work on. She liked it.
This last project is something I’ve been planning for almost a year. I had cut out squares from the last of the batik fabrics I had (see third paragraph in this post) for another project. But then I decided to use them for this one. I have a niece who is getting married in July, and I planned to make them a patchwork covered wool blanket to use in their living room (they live in a cold province). I found a wool blanket (for $2!!!!) in a thrift store, plus a thick flannel sheet. After sewing all the squares together, I tied the layers together with pieces of yarn. Then I made a bias binding from a vintage sheet and sewed that all around. Voila!
Nice and big enough for two people to cuddle under on the couch!
That’s it for now; I’ll be back with more photos when my latest bags are ready!