So… What Lining Did I Decide On?

Thanks to everyone who commented on last night’s post about what lining I was loving for my indigo batik and KFC scraps bag.

And the reveal… I decided I should have a beer before I let you all know my decision… mmmmm. Delicious!

Many more people guessed that I would use the yellow jumble. And, interestingly, I originally bought all these indigo batiks with the intent of combining them in a quilt with yellow Kaffe Fassett Collective prints. So it’s a bit ironic that I didn’t select the yellow. Even the color wheel tells me that yellow was the choice to make.

The other jumble never had a chance.

So, why did I choose Brandon’s Bang? I have to say that I just had a reaction to it when I put it next to the bag panels. Take a look at this photo and then I’ll describe what I see…

First, I really like the exciting feel of the pattern of this fabric. The jumble fabrics felt more like solids to me.

Second, this fabric just made the blues in the indigo feel almost electric to me. The KFC fabrics already popped off the indigo, but I felt like this vibrant fabric made the indigo more of a star in this bag, rather than supporting cast.

Third, I love the way this fabric pulls the blues out of all the other KFC fabrics. The blues just feel electric and exciting… and I don’t normally get that feeling from blues. Not my favorite color.

All this came to me in one moment when I put this fabric next to the panels. It’s not logical. It doesn’t make sense. It just feels so right to me!

I managed to finish up this bag tonight. Here’s some photos of the finished product.

And here’s a view of that lining in the bag. I love it!

I really do love a fun and unexpected lining! It’s really not the place to scrimp!

I did go ahead and add a zipper pocket, a double slip pocket and a zipper placket.

And I sewed my little tag to the correct side of the bag!

I got a call from my regular vet this afternoon because the results from Bender’s blood test had come back. The last time I had his blood tested to check the level of Potassium Bromide (one of the epilepsy drugs Bender is on) was in June of 2020. At that time, it was at 2.8. This is in the range that is considered safe and effective. The test today came back at 1.7. this is still considered safe and effective, but it seems like a pretty significant drop to me.

Every epileptic dog is different in how they react to medications, in how much medication it takes to control seizures. For Bender, that 2.8 level was pretty magical.

The test results have been sent to Bender’s neurologist and we should receive a call from her in the next day or so. Bender is already on a pretty high dose of the drug, but I’m betting she’s going to want to increase his Potassium Bromide dose. And if she does, I’m hopeful that we’ll get back to a seizure free streak.

I also found out today that I have to have my roof replaced. I figured this was coming. And now I just want it to be done so I can stop worrying about it. Luckily, we have a pretty good streak of dry-ish weather coming up.

It was a pretty normal day today. Here’s the view I had during our afternoon walk…

There are no sidewalks in my neighborhood. So I’m very attentive to traffic and make sure all three of us don’t get hit. For our evening walks, the dogs wear lighted collars and I wear a reflective vest. A woman stopped her car the other night as she passed us and thanked me effusively for being so visible!!!

Now I have to decide what I’m going to make next. Thinking I might pull out those fun Timna Tarr animals panels and whip up a bag for myself. It might involve a sheep and a pig.

Indigo Bag Progress and Not Much Else

Another average day here at the old ranch in Portland. I worked. We walked. I worked some more. And we walked again.

And after that, something completely different… I HIT MY SEWING ROOM!!!

I managed to make the quilt sandwiches for my indigo batik and KFC panels and got them quilted, cut some faux leather and made the handles, and constructed the bag body. Here’s what I’m considering the front of the bag.

Oh man! I just love this!!! This is my favorite part of making a bag… when I finally see it in its three-dimensional form. If the quilting makes a panel look like an actual thing, getting the pieces into bag form transforms the whole thing to an amazing place! Love it!

Here’s what I’m considering the back of the bag.

The two sides of the bag are almost exactly the same. I just like the color combos a little better on the one I’m calling the front. Now we’ll have to see if I can manage to sew my tag on the correct side.

Here’s some lovely close ups of the quilting because I love it so much.

And one more…

I took a quick break from work this afternoon to try out some fabrics for the lining of this bag. I was originally thinking I’d use some indigo batik for the lining, but decided I wanted to go with a bright KFC print instead. And I felt like I wanted one of Brandon Mably’s graphic designs, rather than a floral.

So here’s three that I liked as options.

One of those is definitely a stand out for me. I’m not going to tell you which one I decided on, but I’m curious if you agree with my choice. Which one do you like, or which one do you think I like?

As I was looking at these fabrics for the lining I gave a little thought to how I choose a piece of fabric like this. And it really comes down to selecting a fabric that gives me the best reaction. One of these pieces made me feel a little spark in my brain. It was clear to me which one was right the minute I put it up on the design wall. I didn’t think about it for more than a second, didn’t go back and forth on my decision. It just felt right… immediately.

And I love a lining that makes me feel like that every time I open the bag!

I took Bender in to his vet today so they could do a blood draw to check the levels of his potassium bromide medication. Potassium bromide works as it builds up in the dog’s blood. It can take several months for the levels to build up when you add the medication or increase the dose. It should take a couple days to come back, and then we’ll have another consult with his neurologist. It will be interesting to see if the levels have changed since his last blood test in 2020.

Indigo Batiks and KFC Prints — A Match Made in Heaven!

Ever since I made that indigo batik and hand dyed fabric bag a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about those batiks and how they would make some KFC prints sing. So I’ve been noodling on the idea of combining them with some strip tubes that were left over after making this quilt.

I cut the strips for this quilt from 136 different KFC fabrics! So there’s a lot of variety in there. I like a quilt that isn’t too matchy-matchy.

So after our evening walk tonight I dug in and started cutting some of the tubes, playing with combos and shapes, and combining with strips of various indigo batiks. Here’s some of the pieces in progress.

And see! I was right! Those batiks really make those KFC prints pop!!! I’m really happy with where this is going.

When I make these bag panels, I think of them in elements. I almost always have a square block in the upper left. Then a vertical panel down the right side. And some kind of block to fill the space at the lower left.

As I’m making them I’m measuring and seeing how these pieces will come together, and if I need to add strips for width or height, and sometimes I need to trim a little. The lighter indigo vertical strip on the right and at the bottom of the square block were both put there to add width and height to make the panel 17 inches wide and tall, but they also serve a really nice design function. It makes the panel more interesting and dynamic.

This approach of building with elements really works well in my brain. I do vary it up sometimes and sometimes the back of the bag is much simpler. But as you can see, these two bag panels are almost identical. And that’s ok! No one will ever see both sides of the bag at the same time.

Here’s the two panels that I was able to get done tonight.

Holy cow! Look at how those KFC prints just pop off of that indigo! Gah! I bought all these indigo batiks with the intent of making a hexagon quilt using KFC yellows and these blues as background. But now I’m thinking it would be a shame to limit it to just yellow! But I do think a quilt like this will be in my future. I will definitely keep my eyes open for more indigo batiks when I’m out and about and visiting fabric stores again.

Here’s both panels in the same photo, just because I love looking at them!!!

I plan to get these panels sandwiched and quilted tomorrow night. Might even get the bag body put together. I have decided that I will go all out with pockets and a zipper placket.

A friend of mine messaged me tonight to ask if my succulent bag was available. She has bought things from me in the past and wanted this bag for a gift. As I was looking over the bag to make sure there weren’t any stray threads or other linty objects, I realized that I hadn’t added the fabric tab on the end of the zipper. It’s not necessary and doesn’t really serve any function, it’s just a nice finish. So that’s the first thing I did tonight.

Now it’s all ready to go to its new home.

I met my friend yesterday to do some dog training and have some lunch. It was great to see her and we had a really lovely lunch sitting out in the warm sun on her deck with a nice view of her property and the neighboring properties while her dogs played around us.

When we finished training our dogs we were standing outside the training barn and I heard the sound of birds screeching. I looked up and saw two bald eagles high up in a Douglas fir tree.

That’s not much of a photo, but you can definitely tell what it is! It’s really fun to get to see eagles every now and again.

We had a little rain over night and this morning. It didn’t amount to much. It was supposed to be dry when we took our afternoon walk, but we got just a little wet.

I’m really sorry to report that Bender had another seizure Sunday morning. I called his neurologist today and we’re going to do a blood test to check the levels of his meds. It’s possible that his body has changed how he’s metabolizing the medications. The neuro is having me double up on his evening medication as an immediate remedy. Once we get the results of his blood test, we’ll see if his other med needs to be increased.

The good thing about all of this is that Bender bounces back really quickly and doesn’t seem to suffer any lasting effects. He was perfectly fine and able keep a close watch on me as I ate some popcorn last night.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that increasing his evening meds will do the trick for now.

Put That Succulent Bag in the Done Pile!

I’ve had a good number of people ask me about the tutorial I used for making the little trash bucket that I shared last night.

Here’s a link to the tutorial I used. It’s quick and easy and I use it all the time! It hangs on a knob on the buffet next to my desk.

I took Rico to his sheep herding lesson this morning, and he was brilliant, of course. Then we stopped at the park that has the creek, up in Vancouver, to get a nice run in and some splashing before we headed home.

It takes a lot of sticks to have fun in the creek. A lot of them get lost in the water.

Although the dogs get a lot of running in at that park, I don’t get as much exercise. Maybe 1.5 miles of walking, if I’m lucky. And it’s pretty slow walking. So when I got home, I leashed up the boys and took them for a 3 mile walk. Then I picked up some rock fish tacos for dinner from a local seafood restaurant. They were so good.

After dinner I hit the sewing room to finish up the succulent bag I’ve been working on. And I did get it done. Here’s the front.

And the back…

And the tag that I love so much… I actually sewed it to the correct side of the bag this time!

My lining and pockets ended up being pretty low key. I used a green batik that was used on the bag panels. (Click on each image to enlarge it.)

A few months ago I purchased some metal zippers in a couple different sizes. The color of these zippers is much more stark white than I had hoped, so I dyed half of them with tea tonight to tone down the white a little.

I just brewed up a bowl of Lipton tea and dunked the zippers in. I let them sit in the tea for about 45 minutes.

Here’s how the color changed. They are sort of a soft taupe now. Much better than the stark white. Tea-dyed on the left. Original zipper on the right.

The white is actually much more bright white than this photo shows. It needed to be toned down a bit.

And now I have a bunch of tea dyed zippers drying on a towel in my kitchen.

I’m going to meet a friend tomorrow for some dog agility training and then we’re going to pick up some lunch and sit out in the sun to eat it. It sounds so fantastic! We just have to take advantage of this amazing weather because it won’t last.

I’ve Done a Few Things This Weekend

I haven’t been near as productive this weekend as I thought I’d be. But the good news is that it’s only Saturday morning, so there’s still time.

The weather here is so amazing. It got up to over 65 degrees yesterday, with glorious sun all day. It was a record breaking day across Oregon.

So, for our morning walk, we just kept walking and walking and got in a full five miles. I had to strip down part way through the walk and had to stop to give the boys a bit of a break since they’re not accustomed to the higher temps yet.

I thought I’d dig in and work on my succulent bag after our walk, but I made the mistake of turning on the Olympics and that was all she wrote. I did finally make in into my sewing room at about 10:30 pm… the hour when life just starts to get interesting!

I managed to get the panels for this succulent bag sandwiched and quilted.

Mmmm. Let’s take a closer look at that quilting just because it makes me so happy.

And I’m really sad that I don’t have more of that gorgeous green batik with the leaves at the bottom of this panel. It’s so gorgeous.

I also managed to get the linings cut and got the interfacing fused. And I decided what fabric I’ll use for the pockets.

I’ve pretty much decided that I will go all out with this bag and include the slip pocket, a zipper pocket and a zipper placket at the top.

I may be able to finish this bag this evening. Depends on how well I do at forcing myself to be productive.

I’ve also been thinking about what I’m going to do next. I had so much fun working with the indigo batiks on my last bag that I’m going to go in that direction again. But I’m going to combine the batiks with KFC scraps instead. I’m building off this little trash bucket I made to keep next to my desk. Here’s the Tutorial I followed to make this bucket.

Isn’t that indigo batik fantastic with the bright KFC prints???!!!

I have plenty of the indigo batiks left over from the other bag, and I have more pieces in my stash.

My plan is to combine these batiks with pieces from the strip tubes that are left over from my scrappy KFC trip quilt.

This will be a great use for those left over strip sets. There aren’t enough of them to make a quilt, but I could get a couple of bags and a cushion or two out of them. Might be fun to combine some with my menagerie animal panels! Oh! Those panels would be fun with the indigo batiks too!

I’ve gotten a good number of Frankenbag photos this week, so let’s go!

This first one was made by Judy Russell. This is her first Frankenbag and she used some Laurel Burch panels and left over blocks. I just love this! Those panels work so well in these bags. And I love how scrappy and free form this is.

Next up is this bag made by Marlene Lennox. This is also her first Frankenbag. She said she found the interior challenging, but kept with it and finished it. This is a gift for her grand daughter and I think she’ll love it with all those bright and scrappy fabrics!

These next bags were made by Aimee Kaneko. The first bag was made for a friend who loves dragon flies — see the little dragon fly in the center of the yellow block? The second bag was made for her friend who loves green and purple. She used mostly Sig Zane fabrics (a Hawaiian fabric designer), with some KFC and others. Her friend was born in the year of the rabbit and Aimee was born in the year of the rooster, so that’s why there are all those animals!

This next bag is from Nancy Kelly. The bag on the left was made before she found my Frankenbag tutorial. The second bag was made from my tutorial. I love the purples she used and the wavy quilting is really fun.

These next bags were made by Celia Garcia Goins. Celia has made quite a few Frankenbags. I like that she really goes for it with her fabrics and treatments. She messaged me last week as she was having issues with stitches skipping when she sewed the faux leather handles onto her bag. I gave her some suggestions on how to fix it. And now she said this is the first time she was able to sew in the handles with no skipped stitches! I love that everything you make is an opportunity to learn new skills and tricks!

We’re getting ready to head out for Rico’s weekly herding lesson. It’s going to be a glorious day to be outside with dogs and sheep. I’ll probably take the boys for a nice field run on our way home.

Succulents and Fast Panels

I wasn’t really planning on doing any sewing tonight as I’m having fun watching the Olympics, but I decided to get in there and get something done. And I finished up two panels for a new bag really quickly.

A couple of months ago I saw a quilt on the Kaffe Fassett Collective Facebook group that was essentially a Jewel Frames quilt… like this one that I’ve been making for way too long…

… except that instead of the bright KFC prints in the center of the blocks, it was made with some digitally printed succulent panels. And I really liked how it looked. So I started searching around the internet and found the panels and ordered one set.

They’re really pretty and vivid. Lots of really nice colors there. So I decided that I would use some of the panels to make a bag.

So last night I dug through my batiks and found some muted green and aqua toned fabrics that I thought would work with one of the more traditionally colored succulents in the panel. Tonight I made my final fabric choices and started cutting.

The succulent panels are pretty wonky. So I squared two of them up to 6 inches. That was about the max of what I could do. Then I started making panels. First row of batiks added.

Then more rows..

Then some strips and chunks to make it 17×17 inches.

Then the second panel…

And both panels, because I like to see them side by side.

Tomorrow night I’ll get the fleece cut and fused to the back and get the quilting done. I’ll probably also have time to construct the outer bag. I’ve selected a batik for the lining, so I’ll be ready to go once I’m at that point. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll make this with a zipper placket.

I’m enjoying sewing with batiks. They are so different that the KFC fabrics I’m used to. My blocks are much less wonky with batiks.

We are in a really amazing and unusual streak of beautiful weather. We’ve had at least a week without rain, and have another ten days of beautiful weather in the forecast. It’s supposed to be 60 degrees and sunny later this week.

This picture is from Rico’s sheep herding lesson on Sunday. It was such a gorgeous sky!

We saw our first daffodil on our afternoon walk yesterday! Mine are nowhere near ready to bloom.

The boys are certainly enjoying the weather. They wish I would spend a little less time working while the sun is shining.

Our walk tonight seems to have completely done Bender in.

From that photo you are probably thinking that my Christmas tree is still up. But you would be wrong. That’s actually my sparkly winter tree. I usually leave it up each year into March when the time changes. It just makes me feel better to have that light and sparkle while the days are still relatively short.

I was looking at some old photos earlier today and ran across this picture of me and my Australian shepherd Billie from 1999. That seems like such a long time ago.

Billie would have been just over a year old in this photo. I lost her about a year-and-a-half after I moved to Portland.

I’m happy to announce officially that I’m taking Friday off. I don’t know what I’m going to do but I’m going to enjoy it!

Indigo and Batik Frankenbag Is Done

I had to work two three-hour shifts today. The second one was more just to listen and intervene if necessary so I took at time to work on my latest bag at the same time.

I had to cut and assemble the lining, pockets, and zipper plackets, then put the lining into the bag. Here’s the finished bag.

I took the bag outside to take photos before I remembered that I needed to sew a tag on. Here’s the other side.

Here are views of the pockets and zipper placket. And I have to say, I’m really loving those zipper pockets. This is probably the cleanest one I’ve made. So I’m getting better with each one. But they are so easy to make!

Then I brought the bag back into the house and proceeded to sew the tag onto the wrong side of the bag.

I know I’ll move it to the other side eventually because this is the kind of thing that will drive me nuts. The tag says, “This is the front of the bag.” And that’s NOT the front of the bag. Geez.

Here are some views of the lining and pockets in process.

And I have to point out that my least favorite part of making these bags is sewing the top of the lining to the top of the bag. I stab at least four fingers with pins on every one of these I do. Look at all those pins!

I spend a little bit of time trying not to bleed all over the bag.

Sewing the final row of top stitching around the top of the bag is better because I use clips and rarely find myself bleeding.

And now I’m wondering what I’ll make next. I’m thinking I might either make another Octopus bag or I’ll dig into those animal menagerie panels and start a bag. Or… maybe another bag from batiks.

I did receive some Frankenbag photos over the last week. This first bag was made by Christie Protheroe. I love all that saturated red and the big bloom. Christy went all the way and included a zipper placket and a slip and zipper pocket.

This next bag was made by Kristin Echols. She said she needed a large bag to take supplies to quilt classes, so adapted my Frankenbag and made an Uber Frankenbag that measures 18″ tall and 22″ wide. She used a mariner’s compass that she made in a class. I just love the color combo of her fabrics. It reminds me of a sunset! I might have to try making an uber Frankenbag too!

@BKsblingsandbags on Instagram tagged me in her photo of this bag she made. She said “It’s snowing in Alberta after a couple of days of rain! A great day to stay home and make something 🌞 and bright.” She said she takes lots of sunflower photos and waits patiently every August for them to bloom. I can almost feel the summer heat coming off this bag! I love sunflowers too and am ready to see some in bloom.

Next up is this bag made by Susan Stewart. This is her third Frankenbag. She included a large slip pocket on the exterior of this bag and made a matching pouch. I love the combo of the aquas and greens. And I love that Susan added her own features. It makes me really happy when people experiment!

Last up this evening are these two bags made by Cindy Clark. I love the way she used these big pieces of fabric. It’s definitely fun to let those big blooms sing. And I love the idea of an all black and white bag. Hmmmm… my brain is racing!

Thanks to everyone who sent photos!

I had to work this morning from 7 am to 10 am. After than I took the boys for a nice long 4.2 mile walk. We have a gorgeous stretch of weather coming up and today was so nice!

We’ll take another walk tonight after dinner.

Rico has a sheep herding lesson tomorrow and then we have the rest of the day off. Might have to start a new project.

Indigo Outer Bag Wrapped Up

It’s been a long day. I was at my desk before 7 am today and have to be up and at ’em early tomorrow.

Our streak of lovely weather started today, after a few days of dreary rain. This is unusual weather for us in February.

This is the equivalent of a tropical island during a Portland winter.

After work tonight I took a few minutes and quilted one of the panels of my indigo and batik Frankenbag. Then after dinner and a nice walk with the stars shining, I finished quilting the second panel.

I just love the way quilting these panels completely transforms them.

I finished the quilting up so quickly that I had time to whip up the handles and construct the bag body. That part actually goes really fast.

I’m loving how this is turning out! It’s so fun to see the bag body come together.

Here’s the other side of the bag.

Tomorrow I’ll start working on the lining and pockets. If I have enough oomph, I might finish this tomorrow night. I’m thinking I’ll go all the way and include a slip pocket, a zipper pocket and a zipper placket.

My boys still had plenty of energy after our 3.5 mile walk this evening.

Luckily, they finally wound down and are sleeping like tired dogs now.

One more day and then it’s the weekend… except that I have to work on Saturday. So maybe it’s two more days and a really short weekend. I’m planning on taking a day or two off next week. Phew!

Indigo Panels are Done

I worked later than I wanted to this evening. Then I hurried and had my dinner so I could run into the office to pick up some papers, and be there early enough to see one of the people in my department before she headed home. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen her since early last summer. . . except on Zoom. It’s crazy how long we’ve been apart. We’re getting really close to 2 years working from home. It was really good to get to see her and have a chat. We don’t get enough of that these days.

After I got home I took the boys for a nice walk, and then I settled in to my sewing room to whack away at the indigo Frankenbag panels. And I got them done.

And now I’m anxious to see them quilted. I think it will really transform them.

Here’s a bigger view of each. I’m considering this first one the front of the bag.

I really like that fussy cut spiral image. I’m not a big fussy cutter, but I this fabric called for it.

Here’s a close up of the strips of fabric between the fussy cut block and the vertical block on the right. I think it’s harder to see in the larger photo that there are several different batik prints in that vertical strip.

I just love those indigo batiks. The different patterns and the lovely variation you get in color from batiks. I also love that the colors from fabric to fabric are a little different. I think it makes it all more interesting. And it’s more casual, like the variation in the crumb pieces.

Here’s the back of the bag.

One of the things that I love about my blog platform is that I can look at all kinds of metrics about who visits the site. One of the things I can see is how many visitors I have, broken out by country for each day. It’s so much fun to see how the countries vary. Yesterday there were no views from Panama. Today, 157 views from Panama. I’m so curious as to how all those people in Panama found out about my blog.

Here’s the rest of the countries on my list.

I’m having to wrap early tonight because I have to start work at 7 am.

I’ll leave this photo of my little Forrest for you. Forrest was my first Jack Russell terrier and he definitely had, and still has, my heart. He is the dog to which all other dogs are compared, and none measure up.

I always knew that if I couldn’t locate Forrest at night, he was in that room curled up on that pillow.

A Little Indigo Entertainment

I worked until about 6:30 today. Grabbed some dinner and headed out for a walk. I was dreading a night at home alone so I called a friend and walked 4.5 miles as we talked. It’s been a particularly stressful period at work, and the next two weeks promise to be equally busy.

I walked four miles last night too. I finished work much earlier last night and just couldn’t stand the thought of all those hours at home. It was a great walk and we all slept really well.

But tonight, after our walk I put on some music and spent about a half hour working on a jigsaw puzzle.

Then I decided to see if I could find some hand dyed indigo scraps my dyeing friend gave me a few years ago. I decided I wanted to preserve my larger pieces of indigo fabric, except for a few fussy cut pieces for the bag I’m thinking of.

I really had no idea where that little ziploc bag of indigo scraps was. I had to look in quite a few places to find it, but I was eventually successful. It was in a plastic bin of fabric scraps in the bottom of the pile of bins under my cutting table.

I selected a small pile of pieces and started making some crumb blocks. Here’s a bunch of these pieces lined up on my sewing table ready to rip!

And why do I fine these little piles of fabric trimmings so satisfying?

This next photo gives you an idea of what the indigo crumb blocks will look like with the indigo colored batik background fabric.

I got a I little stack of crumb blocks done tonight. I’m not quite sure how I’ll incorporate them into this bag.

Here’s the best thing about our 4.5 mile walk tonight.