DeVon D.’s email read,
“I am a runner. I would really like some type of tote made from [all these race shirts and race bibs that are just sitting around.] Any thoughts? Feel like tackling this?”
13 years of custom quilting and I’d never made a quilted tote bag! But, hey, I love a challenge, so I said, “Sure!”
While waiting for her marathon shirts to arrive, I decided to do a trial bag. That’s how I ended up with this ENORMOUS beach tote. I mean, it’s big. REALLY big. Like “hide the pregnant actress’ belly because it’ll ruin her character’s storyline” big.
With a few adjustments, though, I felt ready to take on DeVon’s projects. She sent me enough shirts that I ended up quilting her both a beach tote and a book tote.
And, I threw in a quilted backpack, just for the fun of it.
These were definitely a fun little digression from regular quilting. I liked having to figure out the math as I went along to get to a normal size on the bags and the instant gratification of finishing a small project is always nice.
And DeVon seems pretty happy with them, too. She posted yesterday on the Whimzie Quiltz Facebook page,
“I knew you were the right person to hand that project over to. The totes are all great and I just adore the fun Jingle Bell Run back pack. Such creativity!”
You say there’s an evil super villain with a shrink ray taking over the world? I’m not worried – I’ll just move into my new Altoid tin Whimzie Quiltz studio and keep right on quilting…
As you can see from the photos below, I tried to recreate my actual sewing studio as faithfully as possible.
Starting with the lid on the left, there’s the felt wall that I use to audition blocks and photograph quilts, a “sew fun” inspirational message and a teeny tiny copy of my book, A Quilter’s Christmas Carol (life-size versions still available in my Etsy store.)
On the right side, I used leftover pink wall paint for the background and hung a mini blind and three decorative “oversized” buttons, topping it off with miniaturized fabric banner just like the one hanging in my room.
In real life, I have a planter/vase shaped like a giant thimble where I keep scissors and pens – in the mini version, I included a Monopoly thimble (RIP). The tiny spools of thread came pre-wound with pink so they fit in nicely with no alterations and I used scraps of pink and orange fabrics from my stash for the bolts of fabric.
My real sewing machine is white – I painted the mini sewing machine white; my everyday scissors are orange – I painted two mini scissors orange. The sewing cabinet in my room is finished in cherry wood grain laminate; it was easy to stain a small piece of balsa wood to represent that color finish in the tin.
One final tip if you want to create your own – I cut the prongs off of 4 tiny brads (the kind you use for scrapbooking) and glued the heads on the right side of Altoid tin as feet. Without these, since the lid side is bigger, the tin leaned to the right when open for display. Brad feet keep everything nice and level.
I found part of the fun of this project was making the Altoid tin match my actual sewing studio as closely as possible, but I could totally see creating the sewing room you’ve always wanted as a mini version, too.
If you do decide to make one, please share a photo with me as I’d love to “visit”… and that way we can all thumb our noses at shrink ray-wielding super villains!
I have two sewing spaces in my home – the sewing room upstairs and a little cart downstairs. It’s a nice set up because I can work on small projects in the evenings while watching TV without having to disturb my regular Whimzie Quiltz activities. But as I started work fresh in the new year, I noticed both areas had gotten messy. (Oh, we’re all friends here, I won’t lie… things were out of control!)
For upstairs, the solution turned out to be a washi tape organizer (on sale at Michaels!) Turns out that 100+ small thread spools (most of mine are Sulky and Gutermann) which had been just tossed in a drawer, fit perfectly. Now all my appliqué thread options are easily viewed and color coordinated.
For downstairs, the problem was I had amassed a large collection of secondary quilt tools. They, too, were just randomly tossed on the cart. To organize everything, I decided to make a wooden display. It has holes drilled on top, one for each tool, and a wooden “pocket” on the front to keep my smallest Omnigrid ruler. (The metal “inspire” embellishment coordinates with the galvanized steel chicken feeder pincushion I made two years ago.)
Even though these were just two small organization efforts, I’m feeling much more together now and ready to face 2017’s quilting projects. Bring ’em on!
Making custom Whimzie quilts for my fabulous customers isn’t all I do (it’s just my favorite thing to do.) When I‘m Not Quilting I still like to create, though, so here’s some quick photos of some of the Grinch themed WINQs I’ve done recently…
Who-ville Canister Set
Must Stop Christmas from Coming Countdown Calendar
If you saw yesterday’s post on my Grinch dining room decor, you probably won’t be surprised by today’s blog entry.
Once the table runner, placemats and napkins were laid out and everything turned into a pink, red and white Who-ville wonderland, our denim captain’s chairs didn’t quite fit in anymore. Slipcovers to the rescue!
While I am a pretty great quilter (pause while I blush, humbly) I am a terrible seamstress. Yes, Virginia, sewing and quilting are two very different things! But, fortunately, these sewn slipcovers were super easy.
I glanced through a couple tutorials from Pinterest, decided to start Saturday morning, and by mid-afternoon I had 2 chair slipcovers and a bench slipcover done. Easiest day of sewing I think I’ve ever had!
Amusing fact: While we have two of these captain’s chairs in the dining room, the only one who ever sits on them is the cat. Both have had broken legs, and I’m as good at repairing woodwork as I am at sewing, so people aren’t allowed!
I love pretty much all versions of the Grinch story*, but the original book holds a special place in my heart.
So when I was putting together all my Grinch-themed holiday decor I wanted the book itself to take center stage. But the version you read from is pretty small and I was hoping for more impact. So, just like the Grinch’s heart, I grew it 3 sizes…
Well, almost 3 sizes. The original store-bought book is approximately 8 x 11 inches. My version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” ended up being 20 ½ x 24 inches, not quite 3x, but definitely big enough to make the impact I hoped for!
To make the big book, the first thing I did was scan the front cover of the little book and have it printed as an oversized photo at Shutterfly. It needed a bit of trimming to fit, but that’s easy peasy.
I used two thin sheets of foam core for the front and back covers, wrapping them with a solid green fabric to make it look like a vintage children’s book (I even finagled a way to have a small gap between the covers and the spine like hardback books have :D)
The middle pages part is a wider piece of foam core with the edges covered in waterproof adhesive tape, the kind you get from the drug store to adhere bandages. It has a lined feel that gives the edges the look of a stack of paper (and, unlike electrical tape, which I also considered, it doesn’t stretch.)
MY finished GIANT book now sits in a decorative cubby in the entryway to our home – welcoming everyone who visits. And if you want to read the story, I’ve still got the smaller version, which will fit comfortably in your hands while the story warms your heart – whatever it’s size!
*Except the live action movie. As the late, great movie critic Roger Ebert commented, it’s a “dank, eerie, weird movie” and I completely agree. Not Grinch-y at all!
Since Halloween was on a Monday night this year, we didn’t want to sit out in the driveway greeting trick-or-treaters like we have been the last several years. And, even though we were home, we’re getting too old to get up and down every time the door rings. (Sad, but true.)
So we decided to leave candy on the porch with a sign encouraging kids to take just a couple…
Using our Ring door monitoring system we watched kids come by for an hour or so. Most read the sign and stuck to the plan, but as the night wore on, the kids got greedier… and we ended up with far less candy than we should have.
To all you gluttonous little goblins and ghouls – thanks for keeping us from eating the leftovers! 🙂