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Sunday, April 24, 2011

I Should Call Them "Marker" Bags

About two weeks ago, Becky H bought a pattern for crayon bags while we were on a shop hop. We got together last week to make the bags as Easter gifts for our grandchildren. I should call them marker bags instead of crayon bags, because I put washable Crayola © Markers in them. Whatever I call them, we had fun making them.

Choose fabrics: Zoe got frogs, Kyra got smiling suns, Cassady got pencils. Linings for all are a cute black bug fabric, which I bought for $2/yard at a quilt shop End of Year sale. That is "I'll take the rest of the bolt" pricing! Pockets and handles are bright checks for the girls and a red/blue plaid for Cassady.

Construction started at my house. We loaded the lining fabric on my Avante, layered batting and outer fabric and quilted. I did simple grids, Becky got fancy with curlicues! It took longer to load the machine than to quilt, but it is SO much faster than quilting on a DSM! (Have I said how much I love my Avante lately?)

We headed to Becky's house, where we cut and sewed. I realized how smart I had inadvertently been when choosing my pocket fabrics. Always choose fabrics with straight lines when you want to sew straight lines on them!! The original design has two rows of pockets on one side, to hold 5" crayons. I modified it for the longer markers and put one row of pockets on each side. And I cut the bag pieces 12" per side instead of 10½ and 11½ like the pattern said. Question: how many times would I have had to measure those pieces if I cut them as directed? Answer: every time I picked them up!! After we sewed the pockets (Becky had to mark hers), we serged each side of the bags. (Sidebar: I AM going to buy a serger soon!). Becky's bags, cut to pattern directions, were just a tad small for the coloring books she had.

We thought we would get them completed in one day, but at quitting time, we still had to make the handles, then attach them to the bags. No problem, just an hour's work tomorrow morning, then off to the post office.

Day 2: Easier said than done! I didn't like the directions given for the handles, but I followed them. I know faster and easier ways for next time! I broke two needles sewing through the thickness of the handles and the bags. Becky broke six. On the 3rd bag, I figured out a better way. When the bags were done, I pulled out the 20 marker sets and loaded up the bags. The plaid fabric pockets were on the small side, which meant the bag was distorted after all the markers were placed in the pockets. Remember to sew at least 3/4" pockets next time.....

Search for the blank books I want to put inside. One hour later, give up on finding the blank books. And I don't have anything else to put in the bags. Darn it. Take pictures. Write each child a quick note, print shipping labels, drop them at post office. (USPS assures me they were delivered on Saturday, BEFORE Easter!!)

Day 3: Printer needs cartridge replaced. Since I'm already down there, pull out everything to dust. Find the blank books. &%#*% Again! *#&($%($!!

Things to modify in pattern:
1. Cut bags square.
2. Choose pocket fabric with straight lines about 1" apart.
3. Make pockets longer for markers.
4. Make handles the simple way.
5. Sew handles onto bag BEFORE hemming top of bag.
6. Keep track of blank books.

I'll have to make more bags so I can use all the things I learned!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Hate Stuffed Animals!

Right up front: I've said it! I'm not a fan of stuffed animals. I've seen hundreds of them come and go through my house. Bears and horses and unicorns and monkeys and more bears and frogs and more bears. Build-A-Bears and Beanie Babies. More than I can count. And it seems that no matter how many go out the door, the number inside my house never seems to decrease. While I don't like the real thing, patterns for stuffed animals are a whole different animal (pun intended!). I can't pass up a pattern for a stuffed animal. It doesn't matter if the envelope is shredded, if some of the tissue patterns are missing, or even if I already have three copies. I love the patterns!

The first stuffed animal I sewed was an Eeyore in 4-H. I used McCall's 8087. Eeyore is long gone, but I still have the pattern. One that I don't want to sell!

I have a soft spot for teaching dolls. You know, those dolls that have a snap on one shoe and a shoelace on the other. Buttons and laces and zippers. I've got a small collection. Dapper Dan and Dressy Bessy. Raggedy Ann and Minnie Mouse. Ernie and a weird clown. A couple more generic dolls. They sit in a doll crib, ready to play with anyone who is attracted to them. Not that anyone does! I've never made a teaching doll, but if I wanted to make one, Simplicity 7401 from 1967 would be one I might use.

And there are patterns of bears and animals from books and cartoons and movies. Kermit the Frog, Paddington Bear, Sylvester and Tweety. If you want to add a stuffed animal to your house, make one of these! But PLEASE! Don't bring them to my house!

If you want to see the toy and stuffed animal patterns I have for sale Click Here.