I’m So Tired — So Here’s a Quick Bag Retrospective and My New Bathroom!

We’re in the middle of an on air fundraising drive, so I’m wiped out. I worked six hours today and barely had enough oomph left to walk the dogs three miles before dinner. So I’m winding down before hitting the sack.

I was looking through my Instagram account the other night and realized that this orange and blue Frankenbag I’m working on is the 20th one I’ve made with the zipper placket and zipper pocket since December.

Here’s all of them in one place…

It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve made 20 of this version!

I think I made 30 of the bags without the zipper placket. So that’s 50 bags in a year! That’s a lot of bags!

I’m happy to say that I’ve slept like a baby in my new bed the last two nights. It’s made me realize how often I was waking up and repositioning in my old bed. It feels so good to sleep so undisturbed! I’m really happy about this.

Since I worked so many hours today I wasn’t productive much beyond that. But I did manage to get my new bathroom linens in place. And I love the way it looks. Here’s a look at before, with the red rug, and after with that magnificent bird shower curtain!

Here’s a better look at that shower curtain.

That great big print is making me feel very happy! If you’re in need of a pick-me-up in your home decor I recommend you switch out your shower curtain, towels and rugs. It’s such an easy change and makes a huge difference! This bathroom feels so much brighter and lighter.

I have a few reader frankenbags to share with you tonight. This first one was made by Niki Sager and I love it! that sunburst fabrics is so wonderful and I like how she’s combined it with the darker blues. Very nice Niki!

These next two bags come from from Paulette Aldrich. I just love those flying geese and the black and white is so good. And all that green is so yummy. And look at the cool detail she’s added to her cork handle. I love it! And everyone is making zipper plackets! I love seeing people get over their fear of zippers!

Next up is this bag made by Connie Nygard. She said she’s hat these fabrics in her stash for many years. Those cat faces are so fun combined with the other black, white and red fabrics! She said this bag was a great way to use up fabric that she didn’t even know she had!

This next bag was made by Laurie Grawl. I love her very scrappy fabrics and relaxed design. This feels very sweet and romantic to me. And it feels like something you’ve loved for years.

These last two bags tonight were made by Betty Sims. How can you go wrong with letting a big Philip Jacobs blooms just be a big old bloom? it’s lovely! and I do love that geometric turquoise fabric. All very graphic and rhythmic.

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos and sent me such nice messages!

Quilts for My New Bed

My new mattress and box springs were delivered this morning and I got the bed made this afternoon. These boys are sure that there is plenty room for all of us!

Sheep sheets!

I’ve been wanting to buy a queen size bed for a couple of years. And in anticipation of that I’ve been in progress on two quilts that I’ll switch out on that bed.

My Jewel Frames quilt is the first one that I worked on for a larger bed. The blocks have been done for some time, but I haven’t put it together because I want to make sure it will fit the new bed.

Here it is on the design wall.

I’m planning on adding substantial borders of Philip Jacobs Shaggy in black to get it to the size I need. The cornerstones are also made of that shaggy.

I bought this piece of Kaffe’s Uzbekistan for $4 per yard several years ago with the plan of using it for the backing of this quilt.

That’s such a cool design and I love it in this green color way. But I might give my left arm for 10 yards of that in red! I managed to get my hands on several yards of the red a couple of years ago. I’m hoarding it selfishly.

The other quilt that I have saved for this new bed is this one I made from my own KFC fabric selection on the Moss Garden pattern.

I just love this quilt and I found it really fun to make. I love those great big blocks that show these bold prints so well.

This quilt top measures 97×97. I’m not sure it’s wide enough for this bed. I might need more drop and might have to add more borders on the sides.

I had to go to the post office and my actual real work office tonight, so I didn’t get any sewing done.

My yard guy was here working all day. The last thing he did was power wash my patio. I can’t wait to see it tomorrow in daylight! It needed this power wash badly.

I’m off to bed for my first good night sleep in spaciousness! I have to be at work at 7 am!

No Sewing Tonight

My new mattress and box springs are being delivered tomorrow morning. So It was imperative that I get my bedroom cleared out and get my new bed completely put together tonight.

Poor Rico is NOT going to be able to get under this bed.

This bed feels really big in my room. It will be interesting to see what the mattress and springs do to adjust that sense.

This bed was a pain to put together. The bolts that hold those cross supports in place have to be put in from the bottom! What a wrestling match! But it’s done and ready for my morning delivery.

And here’s the reason there was no sewing tonight.

I can’t even get in there, let alone do anything once I’m in there! The delivery people will take these away tomorrow.

So since I couldn’t sew tonight, I explored some ideas I’ve been having… been thinking about some improvisational curved piecing. Here’s some ideas for shapes.

Of all those, this is the one that has me most interested…

I might play with this idea soon.

Another reason there is no sewing tonight… I have to be at work before 7 am. So it’s 11 pm and I’m heading off to bed soon… in my guest room.

I had the plumber at my house today to fix the toilet in my utility room, re-seat the toilet in my guest bath, and install a brand new toilet in my bath. This was a little shocking!! The plumber told me that their prices have gone up significantly in the last few months.

But it’s really nice to check that off my list of things to get done before my May company arrives! And it’s really nice to have three fully functioning toilets to choose from!

I’m Seeing Orange… And I Like It!

I had to run to the post office to drop a bag in the mail this evening after our walk. So that meant that my time in my sewing room was limited before I was too tuckered to avoid mistakes.

I managed to get the lining, pockets and zipper placket basically done. All I have to do is sew the side and bottom seams and finish the gussets and I can sew it into the bag.

Isn’t that orange fabric gorgeous?!?!?!? I wasn’t a huge fan of this Kaffe Fassett design called Damask Flower when it first came out, but I just LOVE it now! That is the most wonderful color of orange! I bought a few yards of it in green with the plan to use it as a background for a mostly yellow KFC quilt. But I have never decided on a pattern.

Here’s a view of that orange with the bag. I just love it!

And this little peek of blue is so good! The little orange pieces in that blue fabric make this all so glorious!

Bender continues to believe that sewing is boring. He can’t manage to stay awake for it. At least he wasn’t under my feet.

I had my dog agility class with Rico last night. I got there a little early and it was nice out so I let the boys have a nice run in her field.

That is a field growing grass seed. There is more grass seed grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon than any other place on earth. There’s a fact for you.

Handsome kid!

I have a plumber coming tomorrow. It’s a toilet-palooza at my house! He will be fixing the toilet in my utility room, re-seating the toilet in my hall bath, and installing a new toilet in my bathroom. I’m so excited!!!

I’ll be sure to share photos of all this toilet excitement!

I Would Like Another Sunday, Please

Today went by really fast. I was busy all day but don’t feel like I was terribly productive. I really wish weekends had two Sundays.

I didn’t want to sleep the day away today so I was in bed around midnight last night. That’s early for me! So I was up at about 8:30 this morning and just as I was getting ready to get into the shower my brother called. We talked for about a half hour and then I started my day.

After breakfast the boys and I headed out for a three mile walk. It was such a gorgeous day… a gorgeous weekend! I’ve been keeping an eye on a white peony along our route that has been opening over the last two days. And this morning it was fully open!

Isn’t that incredible! And I’m excited because the dogwood trees are just starting to bloom. They are one of the last trees to bloom each spring and I just love them.

When we got home from out walk I dug in and started working on my house. I went through a pile of mail that has been sitting for way too long. I recycled a lot, shredded a lot, and it feels really good to have that pile gone!

I also did a couple loads of laundry and started working on my kitchen. I straightened all the counter tops… put stuff away, threw some stuff away. Then I moved to cleaning the top of the fridge, which led to pulling the fridge out, which led to cleaning behind and under the fridge. And while I had the vacuum out I vacuumed the walls throughout my house to remove cobwebs. Have I told you that we have a lot of spiders in Oregon? That was a big job and it feels good to have it done.

After a dinner of the soup I made yesterday I took Bender and Rico four our evening walk. Another bit of time spent in some gorgeous weather.

I ended my productive day with a couple hours in my sewing room. I got the two orange and blue panels sandwiched and quilted and constructed the bag body.

I pulled out the piece of tangerine paisley jungle I have and it’s not big enough to make the lining on this bag so I looked at some options.

To me, the choice is clear.

Ooh! I love that! And here’s what it will look like with a nice blue pocket.

While I was quilting these panels I thought I’d test the new gooseneck phone/camera holder and record a quick video. So, here’s a look at how I do the straight line quilting on my bag panels.

I do about 2 inches of matchstick quilting at the top of the bag and then the rest of the bag has horizontal lines spaced about 1/2 inch apart. My stitch length is set at 2.5 and I use my walking foot. I’ve got this down to a pretty efficient method.

And you know I love the close ups of the quilting! This one actually shows me using that seam line to make sure my horizontal lines are staying as straight as possible. I use those occasional broad horizontal seams to adjust my line of stitching so it’s not off terribly by the time I get to the bottom of the panel.

OMG! Look at the details on those fabrics!!!

Good grief! So gorgeous!

I have a few Frankenbags sent in by my blog readers to share with you tonight. First up is this one from Paulette Aldrich. I just love this one! I love the KFC fabrics she combined with the octopus fabrics… they really pull the color out of the octopus fabric! It feels so vibrant. She said she’s been saving this fabric to make a bag, and I think she made a good one. Look at her handle detail! I bought some of that hardware to give that a try. It’s a cool look!

Next up is this bag made by Joyce Treizenberg. I love her Bargello style piecing. And the colors are great! That pop of rust is so good! It’s all complete with a zipper placket and zipper pocket.

This next bag is from @sewingbyadane on Instagram. I just love all that orange!!! And I love how the two sides are different, but related. She’s also done all the pockets and zippers!

Next up are two bags made by Lori Taylor. That Dr. Seuss one is so adorable. I just love the balloons on the zipper placket. That’s such a cute collection of fabric. And zipper plackets everywhere!

Poor Rico is not happy with his crate being removed from my bedroom. He would go into that crate and sleep early every night as I was winding down watching TV and writing my blog posts. He’s taken to sleeping behind the sofa under the console table.

He just got up and headed down the hallway as I posted that photo. And then he came right back and laid down in the corner of the living room. Poor guy. I hope he adjusts. I really like not having that huge crate in the bedroom!

A Beautiful Spring Day, But Where Did it Go?

I slept in this morning. Much later than I should have. After I got showered, fed the dogs and had my own breakfast, poked around the inter webs for a while and got a crock pot full of chicken tortilla soup underway, it was almost 1:00 when we were starting out on our four-mile walk.

It was a gorgeous spring day and I walked in just a t-shirt. I was thinking about the dogwood trees and wondering when they would start blooming. And there they are! their blooms are just opening. The tulips are starting to fade already.

My lilac blooms are just starting to open up and I can already smell them in the back yard. The snowballs are just forming on my snowball tree.

I had a few things I wanted to chunk away at on my list of things to get done before company arrives in May. Today I wanted to get a start on putting my new bed together.

I can’t put it completely together yet because that will need to be done in my bedroom and I can’t do that until the old bed is out of there. So I did what I can before I have the space in my bedroom. I got head board and foot board assembled and they’re waiting in my bedroom

I got the side rails and support slats assembled too.

So once I get this into my bedroom, It should take more than an hour or so to finish putting it together. The assembly is relatively simple and quick. My new mattress and box springs will be delivered Thursday.

I also folded some laundry and went through a pile of mail and papers in my dining room.

I had a nice bowl of hot chicken tortilla soup for dinner and got some packaged up and in my freezer. After that I hit my sewing room to finish putting together the second set of orange and blue bag panels. It didn’t take long to have them done. Here’s the first one.

I just love that blue Aboriginal that is the largest curved piece. It’s go so much movement and a strong design. And the scale of the design is big, so that’s makes the cut pieces really interesting. Here’s a look at a larger piece of the fabric.

Isn’t that gorgeous!

Here’s the other panel for this bag.

I haven’t decided yet which panel will be the front of the bag.

Here’s another fabric from the package of Aboriginal designs that came in the mail yesterday. It’s so gorgeous!

And here’s a bit of a closer look so you can really see how fabulous it is.

it’s one of my favorites.

When I finally emerged from my sewing room my dogs were nowhere to be seen. Bender was out cold on the dog bed in my bedroom.

Rico was sleeping hard in the living room but he actually acknowledged me when I stepped into the living room.

Tomorrow I’m going to do a deep clean of my kitchen. It’s time to wash down my cabinets. Doesn’t that sound fun???

I took some Advil PM at 10 pm so I don’t sleep the day away tomorrow.

I’m Here to Enlighten You…

Purple and green are fabulous together! There. Now you know.

Look at how incredible this little peek of green is among all this gorgeous purple.

Gah! It almost gives me chills, it’s so good!

Apparently, I enjoyed working with these fabrics. Even though my machine was giving me fits tonight as I put the final touches on this bag.

And I broke THREE needles tonight alone! All because I forgot to either change a foot or set my needle back to the center location. I should have quit earlier, but I didn’t stop until I finished this bag.

I just love those curves! And, of course, all these colors and pops of the unexpected are really wonderful.

Here’s the other side of the bag..

And all that sparkling white. I love how it brightens up this relatively dark collection of fabrics.

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

The Australian Aboriginal fabrics I ordered a few days ago arrived today. It’s a lot of blue, but it’s really gorgeous! I just love a day when I know some fabric will be arriving!

And that means I can start working on the panels for my second blue and orange bag tomorrow. I made the curved blocks earlier this week.

That will be my weekend project along with a few items on my list of things to do to get ready for company.

I was looking at my strawberries this afternoon and they’ve been going crazy the last few days. I’m optimistic that I will have a good crop this year.

Last year was my first year of growing strawberries. I had a few berries but not much of a crop. I’m told that I should have a much better crop this year. The plants are ever-bearing so I’m hoping I get a few months worth. Now I just need keep the birds away!

I’ll sign off tonight with this photo of my sunny afternoon. It was so gorgeous and the sun felt fabulous!

Purple Thursday

I stepped away from my desk right at 5:00 today after a jam packed day. I grabbed a quick dinner of some home made soup I took out of my freezer yesterday. We were out for our walk by 6:30 and it was a gorgeous evening.

I can’t tell you how much I love being able to do our entire evening walk in daylight. I just love watching more and more evening light appear this time of year.

When I got home I hunkered down in my sewing room and put that second purple and green panel together. And I managed to get both panels sandwiched and quilted.

Here’s a look at both panels quilted and ready to assemble.

Definitely a different feel from the blue and orange bag. But I really like this one too.

I decided to take just a few minutes and get the bag constructed. It only takes me about 15 minutes to make the handles and get the outer bag sewn together.

It seems silly to not just finish it up before I wrap it up for the night.

Here’s the other side of the bag.

And just because I love all the detail…

These boys thought that extra few minutes to finish that outer bag was too much to ask of them.

Rico looks eight feet tall in that photo!

Oh, and I heard from Trudy tonight and asked her how that tiny lamb is doing. She told me that she found a pet home for her and she’s settling in with her new friend… a Shetland sheep. And the cutest thing… they named her Petal! How sweet is that?

She’s still very tiny. But I just love her new jacket! I’m so happy she is doing well that she’s ready to go to her new home!

Playing With Purples… and Greens

I felt a little fresher tonight so I pulled out that curved template I made earlier this week and started cutting. I narrowed down the fabrics I had selected to five… three KFC fabrics and two Aboriginal designs.

That’s a very different looking set of fabrics than the orange and blue. There’s not as much contrast, so even though the panels will be essentially the same, the bag will look very different.

I managed to get all five blocks sewn tonight. Here’s four of them.

Definitely less contrast than the blue and orange. And the thing I see the most are the sections of the green jumble. That’s because it contrasts with pretty much every other fabric I’m using and it almost reads as a solid in this grouping.

Someone commented on my Instagram post the other night that my blocks are all so nice and regular. And I replied that they are actually pretty wonky when they are all sewn together. I just press and steam the hell out of them and then square them up. Here’s the first one I made tonight.

It’s almost embarrassing to post that photo! It’s so wonky — but less wonky than some of the curved blocks I’ve made recently. But once squared up, it looks really good. And the beauty of how I’m using this is that there’s no need for precision as none of the seams have to match anything else.

Here’s a block I like better. It has more contrast and you can see all the curves really well. If you’re going to bother with sewing all these curves, you should at least get to SEE them!

This one will be on the front of the bag. Here’s all the blocks that will be on the front of the bag. I haven’t finished that panel yet.

It won’t take me long to finish that up tomorrow night. Here’s the one panel that I finished tonight.

That green jumble is strong. I’m glad I cut up that block that had the jumble as the large corner piece. It needed to be tamed! And isn’t it amazing how many different shades of purple there are… all in this one bag!!!

Bender was playing with a felted wool dog toy today as I worked. And when I looked down a few minutes later, he had fallen asleep with the toy around his neck.

And then I realized that he was much more stuck!

How in the world did he manage to pull that off?

I Just Don’t Have Enough Fabric… It’s True

I had a webinar this morning… the kind where you really only get to listen, but you don’t really get to participate. So I took my laptop back to my sewing room and sewed the curvy blocks that I cut out last night. It was just enough time to finish all four blocks.

These will be made into another bag, but I’m feeling a little inspired to make something bigger with these blocks. Maybe a wall hanging for my sewing room.

I had enough time during my webinar to look at the template I made last night for the curvy blocks. I did a little drawing on it to represent the actual pieces once they are cut

To make these curved pieces fit together, after you cut one curved piece you need to cut off 1/2 inch of the remaining pile of fabric on the bottom and left side of the template. If you didn’t do this, your block would be more triangle shaped.

Cutting off these edges not only makes your block more square, but it makes each piece fit the one before it. If you didn’t cut 1/2 inch off of each side after cutting a curved piece, it would be impossible to make the pieces fit together.

Since I really like this template and will cut it to pieces soon, I decided to trace another one so I’d have it on hand when I need to recreate another one after the current one wears out.

Denise commented on last nights blog post and suggested some templates that would save me all this frustration. But the funny thing is that I don’t find this process frustrating. I really enjoy it! I think figuring out how to make something like this is really fun and challenging in a good way. It’s like doing engineering or geometry without having any actual education or skills to back it up. It’s very freeing to me and very rewarding when I actually figure it out. Even if it is just an 8 inch quilt block!

I was going to make these blocks into a couple of bag panels tonight, but I realized that I don’t have enough fabric! And I don’t have the variety of blue Aboriginal fabrics I want for this project. So I went online and bought a few pieces and I’ll set these blocks aside for a few days until that new fabric arrives to replenish my depleted stash. I always feel happy when I know new fabric is on its way to me.

So instead of sitting here and just waiting for fabric to arrive, I put together a few KFC and Aboriginal fabrics to do a bag similar to the blue and orange one. Here’s a couple of options I put together that include Aboriginal designs and a couple of Brandon Mably’s designs and Philip Jacobs’ coleus in lavender.

I prefer the second one, and here’s why. The two fabrics I added do a couple of things for me. First, they have more white in them and offer more sparkle. That sparkle is one of the things I really like about that blue and orange bag. This second group also adds a few pops of color that the first set doesn’t have. Those little pops of color are really powerful in a group of fabrics.

I’ll look at these a few more times before I start cutting. I will likely start working with these fabrics tomorrow night.

It rained most of the day today but we got out and took a walk mid afternoon. It was raining but not bad. If you live in Portland and are afraid to walk in the rain, you’re not going to get much walking done. There’s a saying here: there’s no such thing as bad weather. Just inappropriate clothing.

And here’s something terribly exciting! Early on in the pandemic I thought my microwave was going out so I ordered one from Costco and had it delivered. And than my old one decided that it was not yet ready to die.

Well, it died a couple days ago. So I pulled that new one out of the box today and got it set up.

It did a beautiful job of heating my dinner this evening.

And I have tulips. More tulips than I’ve ever had here and in more colors. The funny thing is that when I first bought this house I had one red tulip. And now, in my 13th spring, I have a bunch of tulips in with my daffodils. Red. Yellow. Purple. Orange. And this gorgeous pair of pink ones.

Those blooms are nearly the size of my hand! Isn’t it interesting that I have more of them and in more colors and haven’t planted one bulb. it’s a puzzle.

Another rainy day coming up tomorrow. Looks like we’ll have another damp walk.