Saturday, December 22, 2007

So last night I had a really successful crafting experience. Lately, I haven't been doing so well. There are a lot of broken needles, smeared glues and crunched crimps in my recent memory. This has been rough as I have a few more gifts to make and I don't want to mess them up.

For a while now I have wanted to make a gift for the wonderful woman who takes care of our daughters when Galen and I both have to be at work. It's been so nice to have her with the girls this year and I wanted to say thanks. She's a tough one to give a gift to. She's a talented world traveler who is paring down her possessions to get ready for next year's planned jaunt around North America. She doesn't want bric-a-brac. So I decided to make her a tote bag. I have some hoarded special bits of fabric in the studio closet I wanted to include and a shape I wanted to make it in.

Late last evening (around 11:00) I went into the studio and laid out the fabric. I plugged the iron in, set up the machine and got cutting. Oh, lining, hmm, found the perfect piece of fabric in an old pair of pants we found stuffing a pillow from Morocco. Strap? Hmm, here's that strip of upholstery I have been saving. Now for a catch, oooh, how about two really strong magnets from the fridge. Ahhh, it just flowed so nicely. The pieces were all the right size. The lining and the outside of the bag fit together. The pocket went in right side up. I even added a Merit Badge (reading)on the inside as a sort of, uh, inside joke. I finished the bag and had the room kinda cleaned up by 1:00.

I didn't get to give it to her today, but Galen reports that she loved it and Cleo told her all the stories about the different types of fabric I used on it. That makes me so happy. Seriously, when I finished this bag I could barely put it down. I love it and it felt so good to make something *just right* the first time.

If you are considering making a tote bag as a gift, I highly recommend it. It is like saying 'here, I want to help you get through your day.' Also, a tote bag is one thing you probably can wing, no pattern, just a trusty measuring tape. Rectangles are your friends!

This tremendous laptop bag was made by Lois as a gift for her sister. She used the patterned and embroidered felt sheets in lovely blues. You can make a tote bag, too. Here is a link to my tutorial about a similar (but less fancy) one I made.

Or make one out of old jeans.
Or make one out of an old t shirt.
Or make one out of fabric you have in your studio closet.

NOTE: as of 12/20/2008 we no longer sell these felt sheets. Sorry, they were swell but we had to import them in giant quantities from the Kingdom of Nepal and they just didn't sell very well. We no longer have any in stock. Try sheet felt from high-quality upholstery stores.