Purse Palooza 2013

I’m so excited! Last year, I followed a blog hop all the way through. First.time.ever. Why? It was all bags!! I LOVE bags!! It was AWESOME! It gave me some great new ideas on bags to make and reviews of the patterns to know ahead of time to know what I was getting myself into!  I’m typically a “jump in and find out how it goes” kind of gal! There was TONS of inspiration involved. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was asked by the creator of that blog hop to participate this year!! There may have been some seriously ugly happy dancing going on!! (I’m NOT known for my dancing skills, but sometimes ya just gotta cut loose anyway!!)

I’ll show you the bag I made for this on Oct 7th! Wish I could give you a peek, but it’s kind of like Christmas…NO PEEKING until the big day!! :)

So, come join the FUN! The best news is that you can be involved too. Crank up those sewing machines, grab those bag patterns, and those cheater spectacles (we all know you need them, it’s ok, you’re among friends here) and get ready to win some prizes!!

I’m going to totally cheat and copy Sara’s (our hostess) from Sew Sweetness post about the nitty gritty details. She explains it so well and why mess with a good thing?!

Announcing Purse Palooza 2013!!

I am happy to be participating in Purse Palooza this year with a special purse sewing pattern review! Here’s how the event works:

1. Every weekday from September 30th – October 25th, there are 2 amazing guest bloggers scheduled to

share with you a purse sewing pattern review. None of the purses reviewed from the event last year are being reviewed again, so these will be fresh sewing pattern reviews! The review will contain

detailed information about what I thought about the sewing pattern,

modifications I made, what kind of interfacing I used, and more!

Get inspired!

Aeroplane Bags

2. Even more exciting…THERE WILL BE A GIVEAWAY EVERY WEEKDAY DURING THE EVENT! That’s right, 20 GIVEAWAYS! 

3. At the end of the event, you will get a chance to show me your purse in order to win some amazing prizes! Of course, international entries are welcome too!

Dot Dot Dash Bag

Pattern Review Schedule

All About Bag Interfacing

September 30 – Sara – Sew Sweetness (Serendipity Studio – Media Frenzy Camera Bag)

                       Kim – My Go-Go Life (Sew Sweetness Lilium Laptop Bag)

October 1 –       Samantha – At Home with Mrs. H. (Chris. W. Sugar and Spice Bag)

                       Rachael – Imagine Gnats (Bari J. Green Living Bag)

October 2 –       Anna – Charmed Liebling (Studio Kat Tandem Tote)

                       Mary – Mary on Lake Pulaski (Primitive Pieces Ewe Old Bags)

October 3 –       Lindsay – Lindsay Sews (Diaper Bag)

                       Joanna – Tutinella (Oliver + S Messenger Bag)

October 4 –       Andrea – Mouse in my Pocket (Michelle Patterns Pleated Wristlet)

                       Elena – Hot Pink Stitches (Sewing Rabbit Tote)

                       Angela – AngelaB (Amy Butler Sophia Bag)

October 7 –       Tiffany – This Crafty Fox (Two Peas Ava Bag)

                        Lana Parks – Moments of Sanity in a Crazy World (Dog Under My Desk Two Zip Hipster)

October 8 –        Allegory – A Thousand Needles (Sew Sweetness Aeroplane Bag)

                        Gina – Gina Pina (Echino Gathered Bag)

October 9 –        Katy – Imagingermonkey (Made By Rae Lickety Split Bag)

                        Ali – a2w (Melly and Me Sleepover Bag)

October 10 –      AnneMarie – Gen X Quilters (Michelle Patterns Strap Clutch)

                        Jaye – Art Quiltmaker (Oliver+S Day in the Park Backpack)

October 11 –      Kim – Kim’s Krafts (Charlie’s Aunt Anglia Bag)

                        Kerry – very kerry berry (Carolyn Friedlander/Noodlehead Social Tote)

October 14 –      Katie – Swim Bike Quilt (Style Stitches Origami Bag)

                        Amy – Diary of a Quilter (Noodlehead Divided Basket)

October 15 –      DeeAnn (Rebecca Lambert Corduroy Patchwork Bag)

                        R0ssie – Fresh Modern Quilts (Lotta Jansdotter Gardening Tote)

October 16 –      Elizabeth – Don’t Call Me Betsy (Noodlehead Super Tote)

                        Laura – Quokka Quilts (Moonshine Designs Bella Bag)

October 17 –      Cindy – Raspberry Sunshine (AMH Right Turn Bag)

                        Emily – EmmmyLizzzy (Pleated Beauty from Bend the Rules Sewing)

October 18 –      Jess – Elven Garden (Emmaline Necessary Clutch)

                        Brenda – Pink Castle Fabrics (Green Bee Vera Bag)

October 21 –      Katy – The Littlest Thistle (Momma Hear Me Roar Tohoku Tote)

                        Joanna – Shape Moth (Emmaline Boyd St. Bowling Bag)

October 22 –      Penny – Sew Take a Hike (Patchwork Bag by Akemi Shibata)

                        Corinna – Another Thing Off the List (Amy Butler Belle Bag)

October 23 –      Teresa – Crinkle Dreams (Drop Top Messenger Bag from Stitch Magazine)

                        Natasha – House Full of Nicholes (Dog Under My Desk Daytripper)

October 24 –      Kay – Miss Print (Amy Butler Birdie Sling)

                        Terri – Sew Fantastic (Michelle Patterns Inset Zipper Clutch)

October 25 –      Emily – Mommy’s Naptime (Duffle Bag)

                        Julianna – Sewing Under the Rainbow (Studio Kat Gadabout Bag)

Lapin Noir Bag

Contest Rules

1. Check out all the purse pattern reviews throughout the month and get inspired to sew up a purse of your own!

2. Link up your completed purse on the Purse Palooza 2013 page BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 30th AND NOVEMBER 11th. Your

purse must be created and photographed between those dates; purses made

prior to September 30, 2013 will be disqualified. The purse may be of your

own design, or made from a sewing pattern. You can link from Flickr, your blog post, or wherever else you host your photos.

3. There is no limit to how many purses you may enter, as long as they were made between September 30th and November 11th. Only one link-up per purse please.

*Note: Besides bags and purses, for this event also acceptable are clutches, backpacks, wallets, etc.

Greenbacks Wallet Trio

Prizes

This year, there will be 1st-4th prize winners chosen from all those that submit a purse during the event. There will also be a randomly-drawn winner out of everyone who enters!

1st prize – 4th prize will receive an AWESOME prize pack courtesy of Pat Bravo, genius fabric designer extraordinaire! The prize packs will each include 3 Pat Bravo sewing patterns (La Boheme Skirt, Barcelona Bag, and Capri Bag), a pack of Pat Bravo Aurifil Threads (thread pack may vary, as there are 3 different packs), and 10 Pat Bravo fat quarters (fat quarters may vary).

In addition, the 1st prize – 4th prize winners will also receive a copy of Sara Lawson’s new book, Big-City Bags!! The book releases November 5th, and you can pre-order your book now!

Retail value of each prize pack: $127.

There will also be one randomly-drawn winner out of all purses entered, and this winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to my publisher, Martingale (as well as a copy of Big-City Bags!).

Retail value of prize pack: $77.

Judging

Purse Palooza will be judged this year by Kay Whitt of Serendipity Studio. Kay writes the most stylish and fun-to-sew clothing patterns and bag patterns out there.

Thank you to all of the wonderful sponsors that are supporting this event!

Pat Bravo  //  Bari J.  //  Emmaline Bags  //   V. and Co.  //

Chris W. Designs  //  Betz White  //  Amy Butler  //  

Dog Under My Desk  //    By Annie’s  //  Studio Kat  //  

Grab a button!!

Sew Sweetness

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Baby Squares Squared Quilt

Batik Quilt 2 004

What do you do on one of the hottest days of the year? Pull out the flannel, of course!! Guess I’m not a seasonal quilter! But hey, it’s a completed quilt and I don’t care what season it is, it’s PARTY TIME!! It looks like an innocent little quilt that doesn’t look like a lot of work, does it? And, truly, it’s not. It’s a pattern made for a beginner and one “should” be able to whip this quilt up pretty quickly when one quilts on a fairly regularly basis. Well, this is where the problem begins…

“Oh, look over there…shiny!! That project looks like so much more fun. Oh, and look, a bag, yes! I definitely need one of those. Oh, look at that pattern. I HAVE TO HAVE that one NOW!”

Yes, this is the story of my sewing life. So, yes, this project should have taken waaaay less time than it did. I’ll be honest, it took YEARS. Yes, years. I’m not proud of that fact. I even took it on a quilt retreat thinking it would give me a jump start, but I’ll be honest, it got so boring to me that I had to change to another project for a time. Now, I know some of you can relate! How long is the longest it has taken you to complete a project? Or, do you stick with one project and one project only until it’s done? Bless your heart if your one of THOSE!! I have diagnosed myself with SADD (Sewing Attention Deficit Disorder). I’m sure it’s in the diagnostic manual somewhere, probably with my photo next to it!! As far as I’ve researched, there is no cure; however, there are numerous support groups particularly amongst quilters!!

On to the nitty gritty details on the quilt. The pattern is Baby Squares Squared by Aardvark Quilts. It came as a kit by SewBatik. You can purchase it at http://www.sewbatik.com/detail.aspx?ID=915.  I made a twin size which is 64″ x 80″.

Baby Squares Squared Quilt 001

It’s made in flannel batiks. I haven’t seen a plethora of them, but I LOVED working with them, and I love the weight of them. The only thing I didn’t like was that they show lint like crazy (especially the dark colors). But, since I love dark colors and bright colors, I’ll deal with the downfalls.

Batik Quilt 2 005

Do you see lint in the photos? Just ignore that or consider it a free “add-on”! My cats consider it their duty to pre-test all quilts to ensure only the best quality. Just another service they offer!

I hired a long-arm quilter, Diane Shotl, to quilt it for me. She did an amazing job, as usual. If interested, you can check out her website at http://www.dianequilter.com/home.php. She used a variegated thread and swirl pattern throughout. I think it works perfectly for this pattern.

Baby Squares Squared Quilt 005

Here’s a look at the back where you can see the variegated thread stand out better.

Batik Quilt 2 002

It’s a great pattern for a beginner and it’s great for working with flannel or other textured fabrics as there isn’t a lot of bulk in the pattern. Also, if you need a fast quilt and don’t have sewing span attention issues, this is one that you can put the pedal to the metal and get that sewing machine smokin’!

Review of “Heaven is for Real”

Cover Art for Heaven is for real a little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back Quick Review: 5 stars, You won’t be able to put it down, start to finish 2 days!

As most of you know I’m a avid reader and could never post reviews on all the books I read or I’d never get any reading done! And, to be honest, I went through quite a few “blah” books that make it very difficult for me to want to comment on. Or, maybe I could just put “blah” on the review and be done with it, but that’s probably not very helpful to anyone.

Having said that, there are a few books that have really stood out and I’ve loaned and recommended to many of my friends. “Heaven is for Real” is one of those books. If I gave out star ratings, it would be a 5 out of 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, lots of smilies, you get the idea. Now, (small disclaimer) I may have been more moved by this book because at the time I read it, I had a 3 yr old son and the main character in this book reminded me of him so much. I don’t typically cry while reading books, but this book had me crying on a plane. Yeah, awkward! However, it does tell you how much I was impacted.

Onto the review…as you can probably figure out, the story is about a 3 yr old boy who “dies” and goes to heaven. You can argue if he really died, if he really went to heaven, etc., all you want, but please don’t argue it with me. I can only go by what the book says and frankly, at some level it doesn’t matter. The images of heaven this little boy conveys in this book simply enhance my understanding of heaven and drive me (and most likely other readers) closer to Jesus and to me, that’s the key. I’ve tried to envision what heaven would be like and this book has broadened my perspective, made sense out of confusion, and provided comfort.

One of the main concerns I had beginning the book was, “Is it true?” After reading the book, my conclusion is probably, but I can’t swear to it. I will say that the parents throughout the book intentionally quiz the little boy in almost trying to trip him up to disprove him and are unable to succeed. Also, the admission that the little boy is “no angel” upon his return is really funny/realistic in my book!! (Remember, I’m the parent of a little boy of similar age!!) My humble suggestion would be even if you don’t believe the book, don’t want to read the whole book for whatever reason, are against the whole thing in general, skim through the book until you find the “picture section” and look at the picture of Jesus. I don’t want to be a spoiler, but this picture is the most amazing part of the book for me. Sometimes words cannot describe things and this is one of those times.  It’s beautiful and the story of how it came to be is amazing.

It truly is a great read, very inspiring and is a book that sticks with you. You won’t read this book one day and forget about it the next. It sticks in a good way.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t, run to the library or bookstore, it really is worth it!

Pattern Review: Dot Dot Dash Bag by Sara @ Sew Sweetness

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I LOVE bags!! And, I really enjoy making bags. I mean, what sewer doesn’t like things she can use every day, are practical and can be tailor-made to fit her picky individual tastes?! So, when I got the opportunity to do a pattern review for what I consider one of the bag queens of the sewing world, Sara from SewSweetness.com, I jumped at the chance.

Image

I chose the Dot Dot Dash Bag. Oh, the joy of pockets!! I LOVE a LOT of pockets and this one fit the bill perfectly–6 of them! Be still my heart!! And, for good measure, I added 3 more in the inside as I’m an overachiever–ha! As I said, one can always customize bags for one’s individual fetishes tastes.

The pattern was labeled as ‘Advanced’ and I wouldn’t start with this one if this was one’s first bag as it’s a little intense, but Sara gives excellent, clear directions and TONS of pictures. I LOVE pictures in directions as I’m a visual learner and to have a picture is so helpful. I’ve sewn bags from other designers who don’t have many pictures and I still have the emotional scars!! I kid, I kid…

Ok, let’s look at the bag…6 zippers on the outside. Now, if zippers make you break out into a cold sweat, never fear, they really aren’t that bad. Sara does a stellar job of holding your hand throughout the process of installation. I don’t know if you can see the lower 2 curvy zippers on the bottom of the bag which made me twitch a bit when I went to sew them (and for the record, I have a pretty friendly relationship with zippers thus far), but other than putting the one on upside down the first time, they really aren’t that bad.

I used Annie’s Soft & Stable for a stabilizer as recommended on the pattern. This is the first time I’ve ever used this product and I really like it. It’s a sew-in stabilizer that’s a little thick, so it doesn’t let the bag droop–LOVE that! I got mine at the local quilt store, though I asked about 3 stores before I found it. You can also order it online through http://www.byannie.com/shop/category/supplies-and-tools/byannies-soft-and-stable/.

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As mentioned earlier, I did change the interior of the bag in that I added a zip pocket on one side and 2 pockets on the other side. I’m particular on how my bags are loaded and put certain things in specific pockets so I can find them. So, I consider interior pockets a ‘must’ for me on any bag.
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The only somewhat challenging part of the bag to me was the last step and Sara duly warned me ahead of time!! Sewing that second to last seam to connect the top is a doozey! It’s a bit thick, so lovingly pat your sewing machine and give it encouraging remarks throughout that seam and don’t be breaking any speed limits on the gas pedal and you’ll be just fine!! Oh yeah, and that denim needle in your sewing machine works wonders too as well as a walking foot if you have one!

Would I make this pattern again? Yes! It was a fun pattern. One of those that you smile when you think of the experience of making it. If you’d like to purchase the pattern, here’s the link http://www.sewsweetnesspatterns.com/. Check out the rest of Sara’s patterns while you’re there also as she has some for all skill levels.

Thank-you Sara for giving me the opportunity to make this and share my review!

*I was given the pattern to test, but not otherwise compensated in any way. The opinions are 100% my own.*

Silence, Interrupted

Well, hello there. Yes, it’s been a while. Life seemed to get a wee bit crazy and I blew off my tiny piece of the internet. Oops! While I’ll try to get back on a more regular basis.

sewing-machine[1]

Where to start? Well, I don’t know if you know this about me, it’s a well known secret among my friends, but I sew. Yes, I do. I haven’t shared a lot of my sewing because, well sometimes it seems like it’s a personal thing and kind of puts me out there to be judged and critiqued where I don’t want to be. It’s a hobby, not a career for me. It’s to be enjoyed.

At the beginning of the year, I decided that I should stretch myself. Now, when I say stretch, I don’t mean physical exercise as that would be a little too far out of my comfort zone! But, I decided I wanted to share a bit more of my sewing endeavors. Now that it’s June (baby steps people, baby steps!!) I’ll finally get around to sharing and see how it goes. Yup, let’s put the toe in the water and see what happens!

Truth be told, I failed my first quilting class. Yes, I’m a quilt class drop-out. I would have gotten an ‘F’ if graded and I had continued. My garage sale sewing machine died during the class and I had no idea how to fix it and I was under a great deal of stress in other area of my life, so I had taken the class for stress relief. Ha! Obviously, that was counter productive! But, a few years after that situation, I got a shiny new sewing machine and met a friend who quilted and patiently taught me the ropes. Bless her heart, she’s now created a sewing monster and I think my fabric stash rival hers!! Hey, at least she has one more person to call when she needs that specific color of fabric when the fabric store is closed for the day!!

Now, I won’t be sharing pictures of my sewing stash with you as that’s a little too personal yet! Let’s not get crazy or anything!! But, I do plan to give you a peak into some quilts, bags and who knows what all. Sound like a plan? We’ll start off with a pattern review on a really fun bag…tomorrow!!

“Rick and Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage” Book Review

 

I picked this book out as I thought it would be a fun book and I needed some laughs. I got them!! While I’ve never heard Rick or Bubba on the radio as I don’t live in that area, they have warmed my heart. There’s one chapter in this book that had me laughing so hard I actually woke up my husband who was sleeping soundly beside me.

Now, having said that, I’m a therapist and would be remiss not to mention that this is NOT a book for marriage counseling. It is not that in-depth, but I don’t think it was intended for that purpose. Don’t get me wrong, it has some good advice and may help some couples, but hard-core marital issues will probably not be resolved by reading this book.

Rick and Bubba seem to have a lot of fun writing the book. Since it is written by 2 guys with a few inserts from their wives, it is predominately focused on the guy’s perspective. Most of it is light-hearted and fun, but one chapter in particular deals with the death of Rick’s youngest son when he was 2 1/2 yrs old. Heartbreaking. Yet it shows how they struggled together as a couple to come through that seemingly unbearable experience and their marriage is stronger than ever.

Full disclosure: I got this book complimentary from the Book Sneeze program through Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review or in any other way compensated.