Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Well, at least it’s still barely St. Paddy’s day here. Just made it in under the wire. We celebrated today with a very surprised daffodil!

I went to a friend’s house for a dinner of corned beef and cabbage tonight. It was a big old warm bowl of comfort and I loved every bite. And the company was so wonderful! It felt like it’s been so long since I was with people at a table.

After dinner I made quick trip to the post office to send this bag off to Texas. It made me a little sad to see it go.

When we got home I decided to head out for a two mile walk. It was so gorgeous out. The moon was really amazing. I wish I could get a better photo with my phone.

Once home from our walk I thought I’d just finish up the bag I’ve been working on. There wasn’t much left to do and I had it all done in about an hour.

Holy cow! Look at those colors. I just love that strip of green! And the deep reds and purples are so good together.

I decided to play off those bits of purple at the top of the bag for the lining. For me, the lining is really important. A peak of something spectacular or unexpected at the top of the bag is a great feature. This is not the place to make shortcuts!

Here’s some detail photos.

Wanda from the Exuberant Color blog commented on yesterday’s post that the blooming tree might be a red bud tree. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I took a closer look at it this afternoon when we passed it on our walk and it’s a flowering plum.

They are one of the first trees to hit full bloom in the spring. I have one in my back yard and haven’t gone out to look at the blooms in a few days. You really have to be sure to enjoy them while they are in bloom because they don’t last long. One good rain storm can knock all the petals off the tree. You can smell the blooms as you walk around the neighborhood.

Friday tomorrow! I’m actually going to take the afternoon off and get my hair cut! I’m almost embarrassed at what a mess it is! I’m going to a new hairdresser that a friend uses and I hope he’s not horrified by the mess I bring him!

Wednesday Night Excitement

So, it’s been quite a night! I took the dogs for a walk, and then I sewed on a bag!!! I know! You can’t believe it!!!

I did see a really pretty moon while we were out walking.

And I’m loving that I’m starting my evening walks in daylight! That gives me the chance to take a different route that gets me off the streets and onto the trail. I don’t walk the trail when it’s dark because it’s just too damned dark, and there are critters like nutria, bunnies, and coyotes. I’m not very worried about the bunnies, but the nutria and coyotes are another story.

Oh, and we had a special treat for our afternoon walk today when a co-worker joined us for a three mile stretch. It was really great to see him and the dogs were really happy to see him. He just loves Bender and Rico. It was a good walk.

It was a gorgeous afternoon and I took the opportunity to get a photo of the boys in front of my forsythia bush. They all look pretty spectacular.

My siblings and I posed in front of our forsythia bush every spring when I was a kid. It just seems right that I make these poor boys do the same.

I had a pretty productive couple of hours in my sewing room tonight. I made the handles and constructed the body of the bag I started last night. And I’m loving these colors!

And the other side.

Then I dug into the lining and got it all cut, fused the interfacing, and got the pockets made and attached to the lining. Look at that yummy green pocket on that purple!!!

Ooh! That’s so pretty! And the pop of green in this pocket lining is so brilliant!

I got the zipper placket made too. I just love the way the design on these fabrics have so much movement.

Here’s all the lining and placket pieces…

Here’s how the lining looks with the outer bag. I think that violet was a good choice. And that green pocket… I mean, come on!!! So good!

I’ve been invited to a friend’s place for dinner tomorrow night… corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. It will be nice to be around people, like in person and not through a computer!

I will probably finish up this bag tomorrow after dinner if I don’t drink too much wine.

And I just remembered that I’m supposed to bring dessert! Damn. I’m glad I remembered! That would have been embarrassing!

Adding a Little Color to My Evening

I took three walks today. My work day stacked up that I wasn’t going to get a walk until after 3 pm, but an earlier meeting ended short so I got a 20 min walk in before a two-hour meeting. Then after my two-hour meeting ended at 3:00 we hit the pavement for two miles. It was gorgeous! And look. There’s spring all over the place!

Then we started our evening walk after 7:00 and did the first mile in daylight! It was so wonderful! I love having the light back in the evening.

I didn’t think I was going to do any sewing tonight but I felt the need to put my hands on some fabric and work with some beautiful colors. When I got into my sewing room I saw a small stack of fabric that ordered a week or so ago, and it arrived yesterday.

I love my reaction when the camera hits that green fabric on the far right! It’s so gorgeous! I love it when a design or color gives me a physical reaction like that!

So, after I fondled and appreciated all that gorgeous fabric I started working on a new bag. I wanted to play with a little more color in the Aboriginal fabrics. I started with some of my left over strip sets and made them into blocks. then I started playing with fabrics to go with them. Here’s what I came up with.

And here’s the other side of the bag… almost exactly the same, but the 2 inch squares are different.

I love that red and purple fabric on the top and left side of those panels. I’ve been going through my stash and selecting 1/3 yard pieces and am cutting them up before I cut my larger pieces. I’m generating quite a nice pile of Aboriginal scraps. I used to purchase fabric in 1/3 yard increments. It’s not really enough for larger projects so those pieces are perfect for these bags. I buy more half yards now, unless it’s a fabric I know I’ll use more of or something I really love, and then I buy more.

Here’s a lovely close up to show the fabrics and some quilting.

And both panels in one photo so you can verify that there are actually two different panels.

I actually have an appointment to get a hair cut on Friday afternoon! It’s been a full year since I’ve had a hair cut. My hair hasn’t been this long since I was in college!

I was actually a little shocked when I took this photo today. I had no idea my hair was that far down my back!

Bender has been on his increased medication for his seizures for just two weeks now. The first week he seemed to be basically unaffected by it. But the last week he’s been really wobbly. There are times when he appears to be completely drunk. He’s been slipping more on my laminate floors, and he actually wobbled and fell down on his hip this morning.

It’s not unusual to have this happen with increased meds. Most dogs will adjust over time. But I’m actually happy to see him affected by the increased meds because that tells me that his body is processing them correctly and he’s not just peeing it all out. So I’m hopeful that it will control his seizures and we’ll be back on another long seizure free streak. This weekend was two weeks since his last. It’s not five years, but it’s a start. Fingers crossed!

Poor kid. But I’d rather have some drunkenness than seizures.

PS. That’s not blood in the tub. It’s a red towel to keep him from slipping!

No Sunshine, But More Evening Daylight

I was a little disappointed that there was no sunshine at all today to help me celebrate the arrival of Daylight Saving Time. But it was really nice to be wrapping up our evening walk at 7 pm in daylight. It’s so nice to have the luxury!

It rained off and on all day today but we did manage to get our two walks in. This is pretty typical spring weather in Portland. Cloudy for days and days with anything from mist to drizzle, downpour to showers, and everything in between.

I had a sheep herding webinar at noon today. It was supposed to be an hour or 1.5 hours long, but it went on for 2.5 hours! I took my computer into my sewing room and worked on a new Frankenbag while I listened.

And then after dinner and after our evening walk I was able to get it all finished up. I’ve been wanting to combine some of my Australian Aboriginal fabrics with Brandon Mably’s octopus and I love how it turned out.

All the colors in the octopus fabric are in the Aboriginal fabrics. I feel like this bag reads blue and I love that. But there are so many more colors than just blue!

Here’s the other side of the bag.

And that side is even more blue! Gah! Those fabrics are so gorgeous!

Here’s some detail photos, because I love the details!

And I want to share these close up photos of the quilting because they show the colors in these fabrics so well!

Good grief! Look at those colors! And more…

I have three completed Frankenbags made from Aboriginal fabrics sitting on my cutting table tonight. I just love how they look together.

These fabrics are like KFC fabrics in that they all play together so well! I don’t think I’ve ever put together a bad combination.

And look… my cute little tags!!!

Another work week on the way. I’m hoping for something good to happen this week. I could use it!

A Low Key Saturday

I slept in again. I think I got up around 10:30 and it felt pretty amazing! I knew my body needed a good sleep in. And knowing the rain was coming back later in the day, we took a 5.5 mile walk while the sun was shining and it was so nice I did it in my shirt sleeves. The dogs were even panting when we got home.

I checked my flowering plum tree this morning because it’s always the first tree to bloom. And there it is!

these blooms don’t last very long and with all the rain we having coming up in the next ten days, I’ll need to get out a few times and enjoy them.

After our walk today I didn’t do much. I sat down and iced my foot for an hour or so and watched some TV. Then I washed some new towels I’ve been meaning to wash. I also filled up a few boxes of stuff to donate to Goodwill.

At some point today I decided that I was going to get take out for dinner. There’s a restaurant near me that has great rock fish tacos. And I LOVE rock fish tacos.

They have all my favorite things in a taco… grilled fish nicely seasoned, pickled onions, some spicy sauce, crunchy coleslaw and some freshly made tortillas. It was a good decision to have this for dinner! I ate it with a delicious Mexican beer. Yum!

After dinner I ran out to Trader Joe’s for a few groceries and then hit my sewing room when I got home. I finished the lining for this bag and got it all put together and got the tag sewn on.

Here’s the other side of the bag, which is essentially the same as the other side.

And the obligatory photo of my tag.

When I was sewing the zipper placket to the lining side that has the zipper pocket, I learned an important lesson…

It’s a good idea to make sure your zipper pocket isn’t folded up and caught in that seam. The good part is that it gave me the opportunity to work on my seam ripper skills.

Here’s some detail photos of various bag parts…

This bag and one other one will go in the mail tomorrow.

I’ve gotten a few Frankenbags sent to me this week from my blog readers. Let’s get started. This first one is from Lesley Nammar. She said she had a lot of fun making this bag and you can see she added some embroidery. And I love that she used some Aboriginal fabric combined with Phillip Jacob’s Van Gogh on this bag. That has my wheels turning!

The next bag was made by Belinda C. As you can see, she made it from Crown Royal bags. What a great use for those iconic bags! She used beer fabric for the lining and the placket is reminiscent of the wood used for whisky barrels. And look… there’s a dog nose in that bag! Every bag needs a dog nose in it!

Next up are several bags made by Cherry Naylor. She has made A LOT of these bags and each one is just great! She made a coordinating zipper pouch to go with this bag… I love the way she used that big print with the black and whites. It’s a nice strong design!

Here’s another bag Cherry made and included another zipper pouch. Another fun bag with those big old prints and strong lines. Love it! She included a zipper placket and zipper pocket on this one. ‘

Here’s one more bag from Cherry tonight with some really fun and summery fabrics. Cherry is a bag making machine!!!

Tomorrow will be another rainy day. I don’t have any plans except for a sheep herding webinar at noon. I will probably have it on my laptop as I work on a new project in my sewing room. I like to take those opportunities to multi task.

I might go out in the afternoon to do some mattress shopping. I might not.

I’m so excited that Daylight Saving Time starts tonight! The day the time changes in the spring is my favorite day of the year! I just LOVE having that extra hour of daylight in the evenings. I can’t tell you how much this change does for my spirits!

A few months ago I bought a new shower curtain and towels for my guest bathroom. I’m thinking I might give that bathroom a good cleaning tomorrow and get all the new stuff set up. If I do, I’ll take before and after photos.

Happy Daylight Saving Time! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Is This Week Over Yet?

It’s been another week and I will be really happy to see the end of it. The weekend just can’t get here fast enough.

Plus… DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME STARTS THIS WEEKEND!!! The day the time changes in the spring is, literally, my favorite day of the year! I just love having light in the evenings.

I feel better just knowing it’s coming!

I was tired last night and didn’t spend one minute in my sewing room. So I got in there tonight after our walk and cut and fused the lining for my current bag project, finished the slip and zipper pockets, and made the zipper placket.

I was just too wiped out to get the placket sewn onto the linings. So I’ll save that for tomorrow night. I should get this bag finished tomorrow night and get it ready to ship this weekend.

I did something crazy on the zipper pocket. I rotated the zipper so the pull is on the opposite side. It just seems to work better for a right handed person.

Would someone even notice the different orientation for the zipper? Is there an industry standard for the proper way to install a zipper? Or is it like toilet paper on the roll and there are equal number of fans for over and under?

I’m a big fan of over.

I’m getting pretty fast at making these zipper pockets. But this was not one of my best. It’s not terrible. Just not perfect.

Here’s a photo of the zipper pocket after the zipper is sewn into the opening and before the pocket edges are all sewn together. It helps me understand how the mechanics of this all work.

And here it is after the pocket is folded up and the edges are all sewn closed.

I make these pockets a nice generous size… much bigger than in the tutorial I use. I might have to make my own tutorial that shows my measurements and how I place the pocket on the lining. I could use my new gooseneck!

As I was fumbling around in my top drawer for my zipper foot this evening I happened to notice some of the tools I use over and over.

Starting at the left, my brother gave me this wooden combo stiletto and seam ripper. Next is a pair of long tweezers. I’m amazed how often I use these… picking off threads, I use it a lot in paper piecing, all kinds of uses for this. Then there’s the Purple Thangle that a friend gave me. This is a great little tool. I’m not sure what it was made for, but I use it for all kinds of things. The next one is a fake bone tool. I think it’s made for folding paper, but I could be wrong. I use this for poking out corners, like on my zipper plackets and slip pockets. The tip of it isn’t sharp so I do less damage to my points. Next is that pair of scissors with the yellow handle. I keep those handy for trimming the fabrics off corners. They are serrated, so grip the fabric nicely. The last tool in this photo is a little pair of snipper scissors. I keep this at my right hand all the time to cut threads as I sew. I like to clip threads as I go along so everything stays neat and nice. I can’t stand having stray threads all over the back of a piece.

And my new plaything… earlier this week I purchased a goose neck stand to hold my phone so I can use it to video tape. I’m thinking I might make some quick little videos of how I do things that I can include here. I’ll have to come up with something to be the first thing I test it out on.

Here’s the picture from the box.

Here’s the real thing hovering over my cutting table.

The neck has a lot of heft to it, so it should stay in place once I get it set. It looks a little like some kind of prehistoric bird.

We’ve had a week or so of nice weather and we’ve been enjoying our walks.

The rain is supposed to come back on Saturday and will stay with us for at least ten days. pretty typical for this time of year.

I may have purchased a bag of 200 googly eyes a couple of months ago.

There are a good number of these around my neighborhood.

Here’s to the weekend . . . almost.

Tired Tonight, so a Frankenbag Recap

I’m tired tonight and have an early meeting…. so I decided I’ll do a quick recap of my recent Frankenbags.

I think I’ve made around 40 of these bags. I really should count them to see exactly how many I’ve made.

All of the most recent ones have been full blown with zipper pockets and zipper plackets. Here’s a look.

Here’s a few of the simpler bags.

Good grief! that took me all the way back to August! I knew it had been a few months that I wasn’t making any bags, but that’s crazy! It was all the way at the end of December when I posted the first bag after that months long stretch.

What happened in the mean time?

Fabric greeting cards, feed bag totes, a few quilt finishes. And that’s about it!

Like I said, I’m close to having mad 40 bags. It might be more than that. I’ll have to go back and see for sure. I still have a few more bag ideas that I want to try out before I have another dry spell!

On a Bit of An Aboriginal Fabric Kick

Today was Monday. It felt like Monday. The good part is that it was a gorgeous day. It was a little foggy first thing this morning, but it burned off quickly and the sun shined all day. We took our evening walk under a blanket of dazzling stars.

I got the Aboriginal fabric panels that I made last night all quilted tonight and got the bag body constructed. (I feel like I’ve typed that before. It’s like deja vu.)

I’m a little disappointed that the long strips around the two sides of the pieced block aren’t as bold as I was envisioning, Which just means that I’m going to have to make another one to test it out again. It needs more contrast between the two darker fabrics. And that red I wanted to use originally would have been really strong in this. I might have to buy some more.

Here’s the other side of the bag… almost exactly like the first side.

There IS something about this side of the bag that I just LOVE! Let’s zoom in…

I’m just loving that little blue kangaroo! And that was totally serendipity since these were made from strip sets! What a happy little accident!

Here’s a few more detail photos just because I Love looking at these prints!

And this little detail also makes me happy. Look how that curvy dotted yellow line in the center of the photo continues uninterrupted from one fabric to the next. It’s like I planned it! Total chance, but fantastic!

Here’s the bag with the fabric I plan to use for the lining.

There’s a strip of that in the bag, so this will work nicely.

I took a break between quilting these two panels and called my quilting friend. As we were talking I was hit by an idea. I’ve been wanting to make another bag using Brandon’s black octopus fabric. What if I combined the octopus fabric with Aboriginal prints??? So I just tossed some of what I was using most recently onto the table with a piece of Octopus.

Maybe not these specific fabrics, but I think there’s an idea here worth exploring. I’ll be noodling over this for a while, but don’t be surprised to see something like this materialize soon.

As I was finishing up tonight I decided to spin a bunch of bobbins. I do this all the time, that way I can just pop in a new bobbin and keep going! I have no patience for stopping to wind a bobbin.

My neighbor across the street moved early last fall and she gave me some pots that she’d had on her patio. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed that there are tulips and other bulb plants growing in some of them. And today I saw these adorable Tete-a Tete¬†Miniature¬†Daffodils.

I can’t wait to see what else will bloom!

Ooh, I Love this Aboriginal Bag! Better Make One More

I slept in this morning. I planned on getting up at 9 am. But I didn’t. I slept until almost 10:30. And it was glorious!

So our Sunday morning walk started a little late. We walked for over four miles as I talked to a friend on the phone. It was another gorgeous day! I had to stop half way through to strip off my coat and gloves. The sun was glorious. And when I got home I drank a beer on the back patio with the sun on my face.

And while I sat there I realized that it’s time to pick up my yogurt containers that Bender gets to lick out every morning.

That’s about three weeks worth of breakfasts!

Once I sucked the last golden deliciousness from the can, I did a little puttering, did some laundry, made some nectar for the hummingbirds and then I hit my sewing room to finish up the Aboriginal bag that I started on Friday night. And man… I LOVE THIS ONE!!!

Here’s the other side. I just love that bold red! It’s all so pretty with those left over strip sets.

And the obligatory tag photo… Holy cow! Those colors are so rich, so deep… just amazing!

And I love the dark lining on this one. It really works well with all the color on the front of the bag.

Here’s some detail…

As I started working on the lining this afternoon, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to use a pen to mark the line for placing the zipper placket. I thought I could use chalk, but figured it would all be a muddled mess by the time I got that the point where I needed it.

So I put a piece of painters tape on the fabric to mark where I needed the line…

And then I just stitched a line along the edge of that blue tape.

It worked really well and was very visible. And it was there when I needed it.

I will definitely remember that trick the next time I’m working with a really dark lining where a pen won’t work.

Here’s a picture I took as I was sewing the final line of top stitching around the top of the bag. I love this step, but man… it’s really a wrestling match to manipulate all that bulk around the machine!

When I finished this bag it was early enough that I wanted to try something that I’ve been thinking about.

Several months ago I made two batik bags from a wall hanging I made during the pandemic. I wasn’t terribly crazy about the wall hanging so decided to cut it into four pieces and make two bags out of it. It was a really good decision… I loved the bags much more than the wall hanging! Here’s one of the bags.

I just love those bold borders on two sides of the improv block. So I made one big block from my left over Aboriginal strip sets and then bordered it with some gorgeous Aboriginals. I wanted to use the same red that’s in the bag I finished tonight, but I didn’t have enough of it. But I like what I used instead.

I like it, but won’t really know how it works until it’s sewn into a bag. I’m thinking the two strips around the pieced block need more contrast.

I finished piecing both panels for this bag before I called it quits for the night. I’ll probably make some progress on this tomorrow.

I’ll probably try this same design with some of my KFC scraps next. Maybe some fun Brandon Mably black and white prints. Hmmm. Ideas.

One more week and we switch to Daylight Saving Time. That is my favorite time of the year! It was light until 6:00 tonight. Next Sunday, it will be light until 7 pm!!! I love it.

A Nice Saturday and Some Aboriginal Magic

What an amazingly gorgeous day! Spring has definitely arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. Well, at least for now.

I took Rico to his herding lesson today and he did a really good job! Here’s a little video of us working together.

He’s such a great dog! I hope to live up to his talent some day as a handler.

But look at how gorgeous it was today!!! It was so wonderful to be outside!

After herding we hightailed it home to grab lunch so we could make it out to Oregon City by 4:00 for some agility training with friends. It was great to be around some friends and have even more activity on a Saturday. Here’s a nice photo as the sun was going down.

It really cooled down once the sun went behind the trees.

When I got home I grabbed dinner for me and the dogs. And I was wiped out. I didn’t go for a walk of any kind today! That’s probably the first day without a walk in many months. I thought about going for a walk after dinner, but decided I was going to sew instead.

So I hit my sewing room and finished up the quilting on the Aboriginal fabric bag panels I made last night and got sandwiched this morning.

OMG! That fabric is just completely magic! I really love working with these gorgeous designs and colors.

I also got the bag body constructed. I think this will be the front of the bag.

Look at that!!! Holy cow!

And the other side of the bag.

I decided to get the linings cut and fused before I wrapped up for the night.

I may use that red fabric for the slip pocket and zipper pocket lining.

Here’s how the lining will look in the bag.

That lining fabric is left over from the aboriginal quilt I made for my nephew. It’s really gorgeous. Look at these close ups of the designs…

And here you can see it with the bag to get a feel for how they look together.

That fabric reminds me of stars in the night sky when you’re in a place far away from city lights and there’s no moon. I’ve seen stars shine like that!

I will probably finish this bag up tomorrow. I’ll have to squeeze it in with a couple of long walks. I have to make up for my lack of walks today! The dogs will expect it.

I’ve received a few photos of Frankenbags over the last week. Let’s dive in.

This first one is from Yvonne Seaman. She wasn’t sure it qualified as a Frankenbag, but it looks like a Frankenbag to me! She said despite my warnings about the pitfalls when assembling a bag, she managed to make most of the mistakes I had highlighted! Well, Yvonne, I call those learning experiences! I love her cirved piecing. I’ve wanted to do some of that and found a good tutorial a few months ago. I guess I should jump in!

This next bag was made by Sandee Henricks. I just love this bag. The colors of the fabrics are so bright and springy. This is not Sandee’s first Frankenbag. But I love that she got brave enough to add a zipper placket on this one!

Next up is this bag made by Deanna Apfel. She made a quilt and this bag for her friend who makes masks and is very generous with them throughout their community. This is all mask leftovers. It’s a great bag and a great use for all those fabric scraps!

Last up tonight is this bag made by Betty Sims. She used an Arizona desert theme for her bag. I love all the fun colors. and it looks like she added a zipper placket and her own handle approach.

Oops. One more! This one was made by Barbara Ryan. she included a zipper pocket and a zipper placket at the top of the bag. The little dogs and cats are Laurel Burch fabrics. I love all her bright colors and her wavy vertical quilting.

Looking forward to a Sunday at home getting some stuff done.