Nine Days Without My Bernina… and Counting

The good thing about being without my Bernina right now is that work has been really hectic, so I’m perfectly happy to just rest and recharge in the evenings. I was on zoom calls today from 9 am until 4:30, with no break. Tomorrow is a little better.

I took my sewing machine in for a servicing on January 11. That means I’ll be without her for another week or two. I’m actually feeling a little enthusiasm for creating coming back to me. I think I might be ready to get moving again once I have her back at home.

I ran across a wall hanging on Instagram a few days ago that has my creative juices flowing. It’s similar to this sea glass wall hanging I made last summer. I’m thinking I’d like to make one to hang in my sewing room.

It’s the same concept, but a different color approach. Here’s a snippet of the one made by @hasmeinstitches on instagram.

I thought it would be cool to use some Kaffe Fassett shot cotton for the background, so I ordered a couple of pieces so I would have some color options.

I’m thinking the darker one will give me the effect I want, but I didn’t want to have it arrive and have it be totally wrong and not have options. So two different pieces are on their way to me.

I’m thinking I’ll cut the colorful pieces from various color ways of the brassica fabrics I have left over from making greeting cards.

The variety of colors will give me lots of options for arranging the colors on the background.

I’m not sure if I’ll make this a rectangle or a square. Thinking I might go with a square this time. I’ll have to look at my walls and see where it will fit the best and then make it accordingly.

That’s really the extent of my creative work since I’ve been without my machine. I didn’t get anywhere near firing up my old Singer on the weekend. I actually had opportunities to hang out with friends instead so went that direction instead. And it was a good decision.

I finished my bird jigsaw puzzle after our walk tonight.

I really enjoyed putting this together. It’s been a lot of years since I have done jigsaw puzzles. It’s been fun to have this on my kitchen table and spend a little time on it each evening. And it’s been a really good ten minute break from work a couple times during the day. It’s so hard to sit at my desk all day without a break.

I enjoyed it so much that I went online to buy another puzzle this evening and I ended up buying four more!

I had to buy the bottom one with the leaves because it looks like a Philip Jacobs fabric design! It might be a hard puzzle to put together, but I think I’ll enjoy it.

And now I’ll have enough puzzles that I’ll be able to trade with friends. I do have a few friends who are avid jig saw puzzlers so I think I’ll be set for puzzles for a while. Or at least until my interest in them fades.

Looking at these puzzles, you might get the idea that I like color!

I had planned on taking the boys for a nice trail walk on Sunday but decided to go on Monday instead. I had a couple things going on Sunday and didn’t want to feel rushed. It was a fantastic walk. It wasn’t too terribly cold but it was quite foggy. The fog made it feel a little eerie, which was accentuated by the fact that the we didn’t see very many other people out there. I like being in the woods alone and feel safe with my boys. But it did feel different than it does when the weather is clear.

We walked a total of six miles. At about the 2.5 mile mark there is a side trail where I let the boys run off leash. We walk in a half mile and then back to the main trail the way we came in. The trail gets steep at the turn around point and when it’s wet out the trail is muddy and slick. So we turn around before it gets too steep. And six miles is a good walk.

The boys love the part of the walk where they get to run free. In that mile of walking, I’m pretty sure they run at least three miles. And it’s all with pure joy.

With my schedule of meetings today, my poor dogs were bored out of their minds. Rico handles it pretty well — he just goes to sleep. Bender doesn’t handle it as well. So when I used the last of my peanut butter for my sad little lunch, I gave Bender the jar to lick out.

I think it kept him occupied for about 90 minutes! I finally took it away from him when he started chewing on the plastic.

I have a quilt guild zoom meeting tomorrow night. I think I’ll get all the pieces for my octopus franken bag cut and prepped so I can start right in with sewing it when I get my machine back.

I got quite a few Frankenbag photos sent to me in the last few days. This first one is from Paula Florence. She really went all out with this one and included a divided slip pocket, a zipper pocket, some embroidery on the inside, and a zipper placket. I love her fabric choices… love that dark turquoise paired with the purples. It feels very rich and noir. Paula said the zipper pocket was easier than she thought it would be. So if you’re thinking about making one, be like Paula and dive in!

This next bag was made by Judith Tompkins. This is the third Frankenbag Judith has made. It’s for her daughter who is a teacher and likes to use it for taking her school supplies to work. Judith said she likes the Frankenbags because they are a good respite from the time commitment required to make a quilt. And they have provided her with the freedom to let her creative juices flow. Plus, making them has helped keep herself occupied during the looooong pandemic. That’s the same things I like about making them!

I just love her really fun bright and graphic fabric combined with the bold black and whites. It’s such a perfect bag for a teacher!

The next bag tonight was sent to me by Ute Drury who lives in Germany. I love her bold colors and really fun black and white pops! She’s also added a zipper pocket and a zipper placket. I just love that I’m seeing more and more zipper plackets. If you’re going to get over your fear or zippers, you just have to do more zippers!

She also made this little cross body bag… it’s basically a mini Frankenbag! I love how she switched it up and made it her own!

Next up is this bag from Sharon Hancock. This is her third Frankenbag and she used blocks that were made for her by her old quilting group. She cut them up, stitched them back together, added some lace and buttons to come up with this fun bag. She’s include all kinds of pockets and a zipper placket (not from my tutorial). She added D rings on the sides of the bag so she can add an adjustable shoulder strap later. I love that she added her own features and included elements from others patterns and designs. That makes it even better!

The final bags tonight are from Lynne Hummel. I just love the large print she used on this first bag. It’s such a great use for those big blooms! She also included a zipper pocket and a slip pocket on the inside.

Lynne also made this Frankenbag. She used a small piece of Philip Jacobs Carp and Petals fabric in he centers. It’s such a great fabric. I have a modest piece of it in my stash and I wish I had many more yards of it. I would love to make a shower curtain from it. I really like Lynne’s quilting on this bag and the turquoise accents are so good with that carp fabric. And of course, the black and white lining with pops of turquoise make me happy!

Thanks to everyone who sent photos.

Some Odds and Ends on a Saturday

I am now five days without my Bernina. So far I have found ways to pass my time. I ordered a jigsaw puzzle online and it arrived a few days ago. It’s really pretty and I like that I can finish little pieces of it and move onto the next section.

I’m already moving along on it. But I’m setting a 30 minute timer and only allowing myself to work on it in short stints.

I’m using the muffin tin to sort the pieces by color. That way I don’t have to have all those loose pieces all over the table.

There are a lot of my blog readers who see each post via email. The emails are automatically generated and sent every time I make a new blog post. If you are receiving this by email, be sure to go to my blog and look around. You can scroll through all my posts, going back a few years. You can search for projects and tutorials. You can read all the comments and my responses on each post. I typically respond to every comment.

Here’s the link to my blog for your convenience:

If you’re new to my blog, I have a few tutorials on my blog that you may be interested in:

  1. Frankenbag Tutorial
  2. Frankenbag Panel Tutorial
  3. Frankenbag Zipper Placket Tutorial
  4. Knitting Project Bag Tutorial
  5. Zipper Pouch Tutorial
  6. Feed Bag Tutorial

Here’s a picture of each of these projects for reference. Click on each photo for a larger view.

We’ve been having some really nice weather the last few days. It’s so nice to have these days in our typically dreary and wet winters. The sun was out today in Portland. On the way to our sheep herding lesson this morning, the jet trails in the sky were really crazy.

I’ve never seen jet trails like that. I’m so curious as to why the planes were flying like that. I could see them from my house in SW Portland all the way to Vancouver, WA.

After our sheep herding lesson I took the boys for a four mile walk around the Washington State University Campus in Vancouver. They got a couple of field runs while we were walking. It was so good for all of us to get outside in the fresh air and move our bodies.

I also cleaned out the drawers of my coffee table. I opened one this afternoon and it was so crammed full of crap the it got stuck. Now they are all organized and actually have plenty of space for more stuff.

We took another walk, about two miles, before it got dark. I noticed how light it is now at 5:00 pm. A month ago it was almost totally dark by 4:00 in the afternoon.

It makes me so happy to notice the sun coming back in the evenings!

And look. My daffodils are up!!!

Tomorrow I’m going to take the boys for a nice long trail walk in the morning, will meet some friends for some dog agility training in the afternoon, and then I have a dog club meeting in the evening. It will be a busy day.

I have Monday off for the Martin Luther King holiday and my plan is to hang out at home and fire up my old Singer sewing machine and see how she does.

I have to share with you my new favorite lunch. It’s crackers with raspberry jalapeno jelly and some crumbled gorgonzola on top.

My boys are very interested in that lunch! Rico could even smell it in the air! You should give it a try!

I’ve received photos of quite a few Frankenbags this week. So here we go. This first one was made by Dana Ligon. I love her bright colors and that Sharks teeth fabric is so fun! I have a few yards of that I bought recently. I need to pull it out and start cutting.

This next bag was made by Pat Krinock. The bright rainbow colors are really fun and cheerful and I love how she included the flying geese. That zebra fabric for the lining is so good too! Really fun! Pat said she hasn’t been quilting long and thought this bag was an easy make. That’s so great to hear.

This next bag came to me from Sandee Henricks. I love her fabrics and her narrow quilting all over the bag! That’s such a great effect, and it makes me want to do it even thought it will take forever. And that lining she used is one of my favorite Kaffe designs! It’s a lovely bold lining, which I love! this is her very first Frankenbag and she’s planning one with a bee theme for her sister.

Next up is the bag made by Susan Stewart. she added some padded pockets for phone and Kindle, and she used one single handle attached at the side seams of the bag. I’ve wanted to try this handle alteration. I’ll have to give it some thought. I love the gray spot fabric with these bright colors. And look… more geese!

This last bag tonight was made by Betty Sims. She made it from some of her left over holiday fabrics. It looks like she’s added some of her own customizations. She’s added the handles to the exterior, and it looks like she added a zipper to the top of the bag, rather than adding a placket. I love it when people add their own features!

Thanks to all of you for sending in photos. Oh, and it’s important for you to know that if you attach photos to a reply to one of my emails, I won’t get those photos. So if you want to send photos, email them to me at

Don’t forget to be like Rico and get a good stretch every now and again!

An Odd Sound and Some Time to Plan

I finished up the panels for the octopus bag last night. I like how they turned out, but I don’t love them.

For now, this is the front.

And this is the back.

I’m anticipating I will love them more once I see them sewn into bag form. That is usually quite a transformation for me.

This next picture shows the turquoise jumble that I’ll use for the lining.

I really like the cool feeling this turquoise brings to these panels. I had originally thought I’d line this bag with purple, but I really like the turquoise idea better.

Here’s some close ups of the quilting, just because it makes me happy. Click on each photo to see it larger.

I was just finishing up the quilting on the second panel last night when my sewing machine started making a funny noise. I decided to not risk doing any major damage and stopped sewing. So the panels are done, but the outer bag still needs to be constructed, then I’ll need to make the lining and pockets, make the zipper placket, and put it all together.

I will take my machine in for servicing later this week when I have a lighter afternoon. So I’ll be without my machine for 10 days or so. I’ve been giving a little bit of thought to what I can do while I’m not able to sew. It will be a good opportunity to get organized to finish some projects.

The first thing I want to do do it get my blocks for the Sunburst quarter log cabin quilt up on the design wall, get the setting triangles cut, and bundle it all up in labeled rows so I’ll be ready to sew it all together when I get my machine back.

This will be a large quilt. It is to be used on my brother and sister-in-laws bed. So it will take some time to put together.

I’m thinking I’ll also spend some time working on the strip tube sets I’ve made for my scrappy Aboriginal trip quilt.

I have four strip tube sets that are all sewn and haven’t been cut. So I will get those cut into strips, slice each tube, and then get them all pinned for sewing. I also have five or so strips sets already cut that need to be sliced and then sewn into blocks. So more pinning. Once I have my machine back I’ll be ready to just sew, sew and sew!

I’m also thinking I might do a little painting. I have a horizontal canvas that I want to paint for the bulkhead in my kitchen. I have an idea for the design, just need to take some time to do it. it’s been a long time since I did any painting and it sounds like a nice diversion. My plan is to do something like this…but in an extreme horizontal format.

I’m also thinking I might actually fire up the old Singer machine that I bought at an estate sale several years ago and have never taken a stitch with. It’s a beautiful machine and I got a screaming good deal on it. It came with the cabinet and a bench that are in beautiful condition. It had just been refurbished when I bought it.

It’s really a lovely little machine. I don’t know whey I’ve never actually fired it up. I just like looking at it. Look how pretty this is.

It came with all the original attachments and manual.

It will be fun to dig in and get some projects organized and ready to finish.

I received some Frankenbag photos to share with you today. This bag was made by K.B. Barden. I love the greens and turquoises in this bag! It feels so cool and fresh. KB intentionally left the lining showing at the top of the bag… it sort of serves as a binding. She also used aquarium tubing to add stability to her handles. I just love it when people add their own features to a Frankenbag.

A few more days of work this week, and then we get a long weekend for the MLK holiday. I know I will appreciate the day off. I’m hoping for good weather to get the boys out on a trail somewhere. We all need it.

Finally Cutting Up Some Octopus

I’ve been wanting to cut into some of Brandon Mably’s black Octopus fabric for a long time. I’ve seen some really cool bags made out of it recently and have been itching to make one. So today I finally dove in.

I thought I’d combine the octopus fabric with some muted yet colorful crumb piecing. So I dug into my scraps and pulled out some fabrics I liked and tried them out with the octopus. Here’s those scraps made into the first step of the crumb blocks.

I chain piece the crumb pieces and it goes really fast.

Here’s a pile of the pieces on the ironing board all ready to be pressed and cut apart.

I used a big fussy cut piece of the octopus fabric for the first panel. I’m not typically a fussy cutter, but I thought this was really screaming to be fussy cut. I added some onion rings around the octopus block, some purple spots because the friend I’m making this for loves purple, and added crumb blocks along the right side and bottom. Here’s the finished first panel.

I started working on the second panel but my back started bothering me so I had some ice cream instead and am now curled up under a quilt on the sofa. Thinking I might actually watch a movie.

We had a great sheep herding lesson today. It’s been a few weeks since we had a lesson, but Rico jumped right back in and did an amazing job. And it was a gorgeous day! So much sun. It’s so nice to have the rain stop for a few days.

He really was not happy to pose since he wanted to go get those sheep organized!

Tomorrow afternoon I have another sheep herding lesson with a different trainer. I’m planning on taking down my outdoor holiday lights in the morning.

I got photos of just one Frankenbag in the last few days. This bag was made by Paula Laramie for her son’s mother in law who is named Guadalupe and was born on the feast of the Lady of Guadalupe. She made the bag to celebrate Lupe’s 70th birthday.

I love the bright colors, the crumb piecing, and the way she used that big panel on the front of the bag.

Why do weekend days go so fast and work days go so slow?

Yellow Frankenbag Zipper Placket After the Fact

We’ve been having some really rainy weather. It literally rained all day today. My poor dogs were not happy that we didn’t get a mid day walk. I wasn’t very happy about it either. The work days when I’m not able to get out mid day are difficult work days.

We did get a little break in the weather at 5:00 or so and I geared up and we headed out. We walked three miles, which takes us a little less than an hour. Most of the walk was in rain… soaking rain… mist… light rain… drizzle. We were wet by the time we got home, but we were much happier than when we were dry.

Since I didn’t get my walk mid day, I used part of my lunch break and made the zipper placket for my yellow Frankenbag.

After our wet walk this evening, I got it all applied to the bag that I finished last night. It works fine to do it after the bag is done. But it’s a little easier to line it all up if it’s sewn to the lining when the two lining pieces are flat.

I think the onion rings fabric was the right choice. It even looks like I was very careful in lining up the pattern on the fabric. I’ll let you believe that’s the case… and that it’s not just a happy accident!

I also took a few minutes to sew on my label. I just love these labels! They are the perfect finishing touch.

Here’s a few more photos of the finished bag.

While I had my needle and thread out, I decided to sew the tag on the Aboriginal fabrics bag I finished last week.

That’s two late holiday gifts done. Two more to go!

A friend of mine named Mary Basu painted this picture of Bender. She really captured him! I’ve added the original photo too. Check her out on Instagram and see some of her creativity at work.

We have a couple more days of rain coming up and then we’ll get a patch of some really lovely weather! I could really use a break from the rain and I’m hoping I’ll actually get to see the sun!

This forecast is even better because I have sheep herding lessons on Saturday and Sunday!

Yellow Frankenbag with Lots of Black and White

I had today off and will enjoy my final day off tomorrow. It was really rainy today. We were able to get a walk late this morning. Most of it was in either no rain or light rain. But the first mile was pretty wet.

These boys don’t mind. They LOVE getting rubbed down with a towel when they’re wet!

Aside from our walk this morning and a short walk after dinner, I spent the entire day in the house. So I decided to crank out another Frankenbag for a gift for a friend… a late holiday gift.

I dug into some blocks that a friend gave me that are made with a lot of KFC fabrics and some other fabrics thrown in. I picked out some that read yellow and started cutting and designing. I decided to use lots of Brandon Mably’s black and white designs for a different look.

Here’s the mostly finished bag. I did realize as I was sewing the top stitching on the top of the bag that I forgot to add the zipper placket before I finished the lining. I’ll add it tomorrow after the fact. I was too tired when I got done and needed to be fresh to make sure it looks nice!

I consider this the front of the bag. It really doesn’t matter, it just affects where I put the pockets and how I position the zipper placket.

Here’s a close up of that sweet little bird in the upper right.

Here’s the other side of the bag.

I just love all that black and white! It gives the blocks such a different feel. I really had fun cutting up the blocks my friend gave me.

Here’s the pockets on the inside. There’s a double slip pocket and a zipper pocket made from the tutorial I linked to in my last blog post. I made the zipper pocket really generous.

I just love that onion rings fabric for the inside of that zipper pocket! What a fun pop of graphic bliss! And this simpler zipper pocket is much better than the more complicated one I made in the Aboriginal fabric bag I finished a few days ago. I will use this more simple approach in future bags.

I think I will make the zipper placket out of the onion rings fabric. I think it will tone down the yellow lining a bit and will be a nice element with all the black and white on the outer bag. I’ll decide for sure tomorrow.

Here’s a view of the bag with a peek at the lining. I really like it!

I realized today that it’s been seven years since I bought my Bernina. This picture was taken the day I bought it.

This machine has been a work horse for me. It would be fun to know how many hours of sewing I’ve put on this baby. And that reminds me… I do need to take this in for its annual service. Luckily I have a great local shop that is quick and does a great job.

I bought the Bernina from a friend of mine who is a very accomplished quilter. She was getting rid of it because she was having some issues with her sight and needed a machine that had a better lighting system. I got a screaming deal on it from her. It’s much more machine than I’ll ever need, but I love it all the same.

I have a bunch of Frankenbags from readers to share with you tonight.

First up is this gorgeous bag from Maddie Pepe. I just love this bag! The fish fabric on the front. The graphic black and white. All the saturated colors. I just love it. And she’s added some extra pockets. I love it when people customize their own bags!

Next up is the bag made by Celia Garcia Goins. I love that green, yellow and black, and those little pears are so cute! This is her first bag of 2022 and she made it in four hours! I think there may be more in her future!

Next up is a whole bunch of bags made by Tina Hadden. Tina has made some customizations to the Frankenbag with all kinds of padded pockets, different handle applications, and she’s used some really fun fabrics.

Here’s the first one. I just love those little sun panels! What a great use for that fabric. And the tree on the other side is really cool. The third photo shows some of Tina’s customizations.

Here’s Tina’s second bag. I love all those stripes and graphic black and whites, and I love those dark and colorful fabrics. You can she she’s made a single shoulder strap on this bag.

Her third bag has another one of those fun trees and Kaffe’s Jupiter design is so perfect for a tree! I’ll have to remember that! And I love that huge red bloom with all the black and white. And look at all those pockets on the inside. Plus another shoulder strap. I’ve actually been wanting to make one with a single strap.

Here’s Tina’s fourth bag.

… and number five… this one reminds me that I’ve wanted to make one out of Brandon’s octopus fabric. I need to make another one for a late holiday gift. It might have to be from octopus!

And finally, her sixth bag!!! Another fun one with the contrast KFC fabrics, big blooms, and that fun piece of onion rings! Love it!

Thanks to everyone who sent photos!

One more day off. I hope I can be productive. I have a few errands to run but do plan to get some sewing done.

Aboriginal Fabric Frankenbag Completed

I had a good sleep in this morning, then got up and had a good breakfast and a couple cups of coffee. Then I bundled up and took Bender and Rico for a nice four mile walk in the cold sunshine.

Today is our last day of dry and cold weather for a while. The temps are going up and the rain is coming back tomorrow.

It was a little tough to get Bender moving, but he did ask me to wish you a Happy New Year!

After our nice long walk I made a couple of feed bag totes for a friend that I’m going to see tomorrow. She had given me some of her chicken feed bags and I wanted to make her some totes to say thanks. She also has some brand new baby chicks that I’m going to go see tomorrow. Then we’re meeting some friends for some dog agility training. It will be good to see everyone.

After the feed bags, I got working on the pockets and placket for the Aboriginal fabrics Frankenbag that I’ve been making. I’ve had a good number of people ask me for my Frankenbag tutorial, so I’m linking to it here.

I added a generous slip pocket on one side…

And a zipper/slip pocket on the other side…

I used a method that has you make a faced opening in your pocket and then sew the zipper in once the opening is done. Rather than putting the opening in the actual lining, I made a separate pocket and sewed it on so it also serves as a slip pocket.

Here’s a video tutorial I followed to make this opening. I made up the rest of the pocket construction. I will make my next zipper pocket like she does in the video on my next bag. Mine was way too complicated!

Once the pockets were done and sewn onto my lining pieces, I made and installed the zipper placket. You can find my tutorial for how I do my zipper plackets here.

Here are some photos of the completed bag.

And the two different interior pockets.

This turned out to be a lot of construction but it looks really well made and fees substantial! But I AM going to simplify that zipper pocket. I made it a lot more complicated than it needed to be!

I was laughing as I turned the bag right side out after sewing the lining to the bag. It reminded me of childbirth!

And yet, somehow it always works!

I’m not sure what I’m going to work on tomorrow. Thinking I’ll either start another Frankenbag for a gift for a friend, or I might work on my scrappy sunburst quilt.

My Very Exciting New Year’s Eve

My most stressful fundraising month of the year has ended. I’m looking forward to four days off and some time in my sewing room.

I’ve never been a fan of big parties, so a New Year’s Eve at home is pretty perfect for me.

I took my boys for their evening walk and then I spent a little time in my sewing room, but I was tired so I didn’t want to do anything that required too much attention. So I cut the lining and applied the interfacing for the Aboriginal fabrics Frankenbag I’m making.

I’m going to add a slip pocket and a zipper pocket to the lining. And then this will get a zipper placket. I’m hoping to finish this up tomorrow.

Then I dug through some scraps and made 22 more key fobs. I chain sewed these bad boys and it went really fast! The first picture shows the string of 22 pieces getting the center line of stitching. The center photo shows all 22 pieces in one long strip piled on my cutting table. The third photo shows all 22 pieces cut apart.

Then I chain sewed each strip into a loop, cut them apart, and applied the hardware.

It’s taking me some time to figure out the best way to get the hardware crimped on all straight. But I’m getting there.

Here’s around 40 completed key fobs crammed into a zip loc bag.

No idea what I’m going to do with all of these. But I feel like I want to make more! I just love them! I have some lanyard hardware coming so will make some longer versions.

I changed the sheets on my bed this morning and tossed Bender’s favorite hedge hog toy in the washer with them because it was really stinky. He was a little concerned about this development.

And poor Rico is not happy with all the fireworks tonight.

A few more blog readers sent me photos of Frankenbags over the last few days. This first one was made by Kim Bates. She made this for a guitar-loving friend of hers. I love the black, white and red, and this bag looks really well made. That big piece of the guitar fabric is really fun! What a great bag for a musician!

Next up is this bag made by Celia Garcia Goins. She used fabric from a project from a long time ago and doesn’t remember what the fabric is. But it’s fun! I see pineapples and zebras. And it follows along with tonight’s theme of red, black and white! I love her wonky angles and big pieces.

The last bag tonight was made by @kimknitessex on Instagram. She made the bag for a friend for a gift and said ┬áthat as a complete novice at quilting and making bags it was an excellent way of practicing . She said my instructions were easy to follow and she’s going to make one for herself next.

Thanks to everyone who sent photos! Now off to be so I can be well rested for my four day weekend!