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March 20, 2013

Sew-vivor Challenge #1: Emerald





So I never got a chance to officially announce it on here, but last week I found out I'd been picked as one of the 10 finalists in Family Ever After's Sew-vivor Challenge - yay! Please go VOTE for my project if you find it worthy - voting ends Friday (3/22) night at 12 pm Eastern/ 11 pm Central.

Our first challenge was to create any project we wanted, so long as Emerald colored fabric was predominant. My stash was seriously lacking in Emerald, so after having Caitlin rush me some Pearl Bracelets, and Hawthorne Threads some Essex Linen in Putty, I was good to go! (But seriously, a huge shout out to both those shops, because they burned rubber and got my orders in the mail same-day - thank you THANK YOU!)



So on to my project. I've had the idea for an expandable tote bag floating around in my head for over a year, and it all started when I was packing my suitcase for a trip a while back. Do any of you have one of those suitcases with the special zipper around the middle to expand the suitcase and make it fatter? (so you can jam more stuff in there without having to sit on it?). Well I was looking at that, and thought to myself, "why can't I do that with a bag?". So I jotted the idea down in my sketchbook, and then unfortunately it was put on the backburner until this challenge forced me to dust off the cobwebs and pull out my big creative guns. 

My friend Heather agreed to my shenanigans and modeled for me outside her home in Uptown New Orleans. Gorgeous! (both her and the trees)

And honestly...with the adjustable strap and all...it's really more of a messenger bag/tote bag hybrid than a straight-up tote. I actually made this for myself, and I wanted something with a little more polish that a regular tote. And it felt good to do it. Seriously...I can't remember the last time I intentionally made something for myself. Sure, I've kept things I've made in the past year or so, but always because it was originally intended for someone else, and then I screwed the pooch on something and didn't feel it was fit to give away.



But anywho, the point is that I work in a big corporate office, and sometimes I feel a bit unprofessional schlepping in the office with a giant tote bag on my shoulder....plus half the time I don’t really need a big bag, and my handful of items end up rolling around in there like tumbleweeds. It all depends on what my workload is, or what kind of errands I have to run that day. But this bag solves both of those problems for me - I have a professional looking bag I can use that is slim and sleek, but if I need more storage to bring a big file home with me, PRESTO! The bag unzips around the sides and expands to 6" wide.



I also included a snap closure on the inside, and an angled front pocket (inspiration found here) to store my phone, keys, pens, or pencils in (because when you have your hands full, sometimes it's hard reaching inside a dark bag to 1) find and unzip the zipper, and 2) fish around the pocket trying to feel what you're looking for). Well, at least I have issues with that...mostly because I'm clumsy and slightly absent-minded ;)






I JUST WANT TO MUNCH ON THOSE CHUBBY LITTLE CHEEKS!


And just because he's adorable, here's a picture of Heather's little guy. His dad took him on a stroll and joined us during our "photo shoot". I use that term loosely, because mostly it was us laughing, and then trying to stop laughing + making stupid faces long enough to take a serious picture. But in case you were wondering, yes, when unzipped, this bag is large enough to hold one adorable chubby cheeked baby. SO CUTE! Heather and Warren made one good looking baby ;)

And if you don't want to VOTE for the bag on my part, at least do it for the baby. Yeah, I'm going there. I really want to win, and am not above using shameless (albeit adorable) tactics!

March 11, 2013

This 'n' That

Finished all my key fobs for Renegade this weekend. I needed a few "Under $10" items, plus I thought they'd make a nice lagniappe for people who make big purchases. In case you're contemplating making your own, I shopped around on Etsy and this shop had the best price on key fob kits... shipping was speedy too - received within 3 days.



And I made another travel laundry bag using Angela's fabulous pattern. I love that this thing impresses the pants off people, yet is deceptively simple to make. I finished this one a few weeks ago for my friend Heather who's a new mom - thought it might come in handy :)



And FYI, if you're looking for some cute fabric to make key fobs and laundry bags of your own, my friend Caitlin at I Don't Do Dishes has some great new fabric lines in stock like Comma (!!!) and Maritime Modern, and she's currently running a coupon for 15% off all orders placed in March - use MARCH13 at checkout.

Her Comma yardage is only $8.75/yd to begin with, so with the discount it's only $7.44, and her Maritime Modern is $8.55/yd, so only $7.27/yd with the discount. That's pretty darn cheap, so go gets your fabric on!

March 7, 2013

Renegade Austin! WOOT!



So, I know things have been pretty quiet around here lately, mostly because my life has been a cocktail of crazy lately. Work has been nuts, plus my father-in-law was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer with a Gleason Score of 9, so we've been working through that as a family. On the positive side, part of why I've been so quiet is because I've been working to beef up my Etsy shop in preparation for my application to the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin, Tx.

And guess what? I found out yesterday I WAS ACCEPTED!!!!!!!!

I've talked about this on here before, but Ray and I are moving into family mode and I've been working to find a way to make my crafting financially viable. Everyone's path is different, and I feel like each woman has a personal calling when it comes to being a working mom vs. stay-at-home mom - some feel called to work outside the home, and some feel called to work inside the home. Mine is to be a SAHM, so when the time comes, I'm going to take that leap of faith, quit my job, and trust in God for our needs to be met. It probably sounds completely crazy and irresponsible to some, but that's why they call it faith ;)

That being said, I've been working hard the past year to get my Etsy shop off the ground and build up my business to the point where, even if it doesn't fully replace my current income, it will at least cushion the blow when I leave the workplace. For the past 6 months I've basically been working 2 jobs - cubicle job by day/crafter by night. Unfortunately something had to give, which is why I had to let blogging fall to the wayside for a while.


A little peek at what I've been churning out for my shop lately. Made these four Michelle Patterns "Strap Clutches" during our girls weekend in Atlanta.


I'm exhausted, but it was worth it! I've set goals. I've met most of them. Even exceeded in some cases. Getting into Renegade was the biggest one, and I'm incredibly thankful to my hubby (who planted the seed in my brain back in November), awesome friends like Heather + my Quilty Girl posse who listen to my ramblings and act as a sounding board, and to God for listening to my whiny butt cry, complain, and occassionally fall asleep during my prayers (and also for answering them, whether things turned out the way I wanted or not). And I just realized this is starting to sound suspiciously like a cheesy acceptance speech for something that's a much bigger deal than some bi-annual craft fair, so I'm going to stop before I say something like "It came true." that makes me want to punch my own self in the face. (sidenote: how awesome is Jennifer Lawrence anyway? She's from Kentucky, you know...where all the best gals are born and bred *wink*. In my head, we're best friends. It's true.)

If you're in the area, please come visit me! RCF Austin takes place May 18+19 (Sat & Sun) at the Palmer Events Center.
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