Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Make a super quick Snap Purse

I've been wanting to make one of these snap purses ever since I first saw them in a quilting shop whilst on holiday in the US about 15 months ago.  I could see it was simple, so there was no way I was buying the pattern.  Surely I could figure it out?  Finally - I've got around to it!

To be quite honest, I'd forgotten all about this little make until I came across a few versions on Pinterest.  I've found a couple of different tutorials, but I thought they were both fussier than they need be.  An idea formed in my head that I was certain would be easier and faster to make.

Sew....... this evening I've had a go using the method I thought may work - and luckily it has.  It's super quick to sew up, and if I hadn't bothered with the embroidery would have been a matter of minutes to complete.  (I thought I'd do a little purse to keep in the car to contain change for parking..... was going to be quick back-stitch, but after I'd written on the lettering - I realised I'd used a Sharpie rather than my air-erase marker, therefore a bit of stem-stitch was required to hide the permanent pen lines).

I'm thinking these could be used for a variety of useful purposes, the only requisite being that the top opening must remain reasonably small.  So.... coin purse, spectacle case, phone case, mp3 case, tea-bag holder, lipstick purse.............. oh, you get the idea!

Unlike the snazzy hinged snap purses, you do need to slide a finger into the middle to encourage it to open, but it works perfectly and provides a good closure (and the considerable cost saving is surely worth that extra bit of finger action).   No doubt coins would find their way out if it were tipped upside down in a bag, but mine is going to be sitting in the centre pocket of the car so I needn't worry about that.  Spectacles and the like would present no problem.

Do have a go at making one yourself, it's dead simple.  I'm not even bothering to draw out instructions for this, as anyone with an ounce of sewing skill will be able to run one up in no time.  Here's what I did.......

Finished Purse size - 3 inches square (excluding opening)

(All seams are quarter inch)

Outer - Cut two pieces fabric 3-1/2 inches wide by 3-3/4 high.  If you want to add decoration or embroidery to the front piece, do this before sewing together (right sides facing) around three sides. Snip bottom corners carefully across the diagonal.  Turn right side out.

Inner - Cut two pieces 3-1/2 inches wide by 5-1/4 inches high.

Lining - Using quilt batting, thin fleece or felt - cut two pieces 3-1/2 inches wide by 4-1/2 high.

Sandwich the inner and lining together ..... (lining, inners with right sides facing, lining) - with the lining and inner matched up at the bottom and the extra bit of the inner as the top.  As before, sew around the three sides, and trim corners - but don't turn out.

Next, pop the inner into the outer, ensuring the bottoms are snuggled up nicely together.  Then fold the inner fabric over the lining so that it matches up with the top of the outer purse.  Finger press.

Now grab your metal tape measure and attack it!*  The sort of tape measure you're after is the rectractable type used by workmen.... or me - I seem to amass them.  Have a hunt around - I bet you'll find one somewhere that's seen better days.  If not, I suggest purloining one of the hubby's and denying all knowledge when he can't find it.  You will need two pieces, each approx 2-3/4 inches.  The tape will break easily to size if you bend it.  You need to remove the sharp edges, or it will cut through your fabric.  I used my kitchen scissors to cut a gentle curve.  Do be wary of the pieces that you cut off - they are like glass shards!  Then wind a bit of plastic tape around each piece to further protect your fabric (wish I knew what the correct term for this tape is - mind's a blank - but it's the black or coloured stuff you always find lying around in the garage, or the junk drawer in the kitchen). 

We're nearly done! 

Finally, carefully turn over the top again.  Then pop a piece of tape into the front and back of the purse making sure that the numbered part of the tape is on the outside (the slight curve of the tape needs to be curving away from you).  The tape should lie comfortably close to each side seam - you may need to take a little more off to fit - I had to take a smidgen off) Then simply slip stitch around the top and you're finished.  Of course you could stitch carefully (not like what I do) and have a beautifully neat hidden seam, or choose to contrast and use your stitching as a feature. (sounds better when I call it that, rather than being a lazy-arse no patience seamstress).

*When snapping your tape, take care to bend the end of what's left of the tape - otherwise it will disappear inside the case and be lost forever.  You never know, you might want to make more of these - and one tape will provide enough for quite a few!

 Now I've made this one, I think I'm going to make a case for my new reading glasses next, and another to carry my emergency supply of Peppermint tea-bags.  (I've got to use the tape up now I've attacked it..................... before it's missed!).
I hope I've given you the general idea of what to do, and the base from which to expand your own ideas. 
 Have fun!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What a beauty!

Just a quicky today..... saw this bag and had to share:

Isn't it lovely?  Love the red and blue combo.  And the coral, sea urchin and weed decoration.  Looks fab.
My only concern is that although the handle looks really pretty, it wouldn't be very strong and stretch like mad.

I've had a quick butcher's at the site from whence it came (click on link under photo) - and there's some lovely crochet on there.  Like me, you will probably just gape at the pictures, as it's in a language I can't begin to identify.

I do note that there are patterns for sale.  Wonder if this is one of them?  If in diagram form it would be a doddle to follow.  Seriously tempted.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Spring Colour Inspiration

On a dank and dismal day - what better than a splash of colour to brighten the mood?

I know we've all got oodles of fabric in our stash, but why not throw a little inspiration out there...... you never know, you may have just these colours in your collection.  If not?  Oh well..... another feeble excuse to add a bit more.

I'm thinking spring colours; fresh and bright.  I absolutely adore these colour combos - what do you think?

Let's start off with a little spring lamb.  Loving the blue and green combo.  Very natural and muted.

Lying in the sunshine - a beautiful cat, producing a wonderfully soft and gentle colourway.

A new leaf in sunlight - gorgeous - zingy, fresh and smiley feelgood

The colours of nature - peaceful and serene.

Okay - bugger all to do with spring - but I love it!

This combo is delicious in every way, but not quite my favourite....


It's this, This, THIS!

This one!  All my favourite colours together.  Add white for contrast and this is my dream combo.

Source - All found on Pinterest and stored in my Perfect Pallete board.  The majority of the pictures originate from Design Seeds , with the exception of the latter - which is from Photo Card Boutique  
 I'm rather addicted to these pretty pictures.  They are little art pieces in their own right, and a wonderful source of inspiration - as you can see from the photo that the colours work so well together.

What are your favourite colour combos?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A few more patterns to inspire

Today I'm sharing a few new patterns I've come across whilst browsing........ Let's hope that planet cloud is kind to me and manages to produce the links for them all!

Find the tutorial HERE - on Printable
 Firstly - the world is alive with quotation art at the moment, and easy as it looks - it's not that straightforward to do.  I know, I've tried - and it's nigh on impossible just using Word.  I made two small framed pictures as Christmas presents, and it was incredibly difficult to get the layout right.  Now I know what I should have been doing!   Here's a tutorial for producing your own Word artwork - I've had a quick look and it's clear and concise, with lots of pictures to follow.  What are we all going to print then?

Purse pattern from All Free Sewing
 I'm loving this cute little purse from the All Free Sewing site.  Haven't had a proper look at the pattern yet, and wondering if it's using metal tape measure as the fastening?  If so, I'm having a go.  Looks quick and easy, and how perfect as a little holder for ear-phones, tea-bags etc.

From Stash Happy:Patchwork  Find the tutorial at Lark Crafts
 Whilst I really don't need a Bento box to carry food around, I'm loving the shape and style of this little bag.  Surely it can be used for a variety of uses.  Quite charming.  The pattern can be found on the Lark Crafts site, so do pop over by clicking the link.

Video tutorial on DIY Dish

I love, love, love this mannequin pincushion, though I think they'd be rather nice as jewellery hangers, so a bit of re-sizing may be in order.  Not so sure how neat mine will be, once the base is shoved up the bottom - but I'm willing to give it a go.  Just my sort of style this!  It looks as though the tutorial is video based over on the DIY Dish site.

Now that I've seen this fabulous sewing themed Checker-board, I'm not sure I can live without having one in my life.  There's a tutorial!  Clappy Hands!!!  Click on the link to pop over to Stash Books.  Yes, we may need another book :) 
A fabric chess-board! - Hop over to Stash Books    

Saturday, 14 January 2012

It just fell in..........

to my Amazon Shopping Basket - honest it did!

Feeling the urge? ......  Click HERE to "pop" to Amazon UK's pre-order page

You know what it's like.......  see a tweet, catch a Facebook post in the corner of your eye.  Within seconds, you've "liked" it - and popped over to Amazon for a quick shufty (as you do).  And.... before you know it - you've added it to your basket and pressed the "1-click" (oh boy - but is that the best bit of marketing genius EVER).  Hey presto - you've bought another book on auto-pilot.

Seriously though - I can't wait for this one!

Despite now being a fully paid up member of the Sis Boom "Happy Home" Society (now there's an idea Jennifer!) - I now have to sit and wait patiently for it to arrive, as it's not due out for a wee while.


I absolutely adore Jennifer's prints and designs - and I just know this will be a "happy" book in my collection.  Though I can only guess at what the contents will be.....  this is what I'm looking forward to....

"In this gorgeous collection, Jennifer Paganelli shows readers how to whip up twenty-one beautiful accessories to transform their space into a sunny, happy home. Each project showcases Jennifer’s fresh, whimsical style—from luxe drapery to cheery tablecloths and napkins. Featuring simple step-by-step instructions, a comprehensive glossary of techniques, pattern sheets tucked into a handy front pocket, and lush color photos, this book makes it exceptionally easy to pretty up every room in the house."
 Quote taken from Sis Boom website.  A lovely site to visit if you're a lover of bright zingy prints and pretty things.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Hexagon Sadism

In a moment of madness yesterday evening, I decided I'd have a go at something incorporating hexagons.  You know what it's like when you have an idea brewing in your head?  Well....  despite knowing it was a crazy idea, (I detest hand sewing as a rule) I simply couldn't stop myself.  Until I did a google search of hexagon images, I didn't really know exactly what I would do.... until I came across a grid of teeny tiny little hexes.  "Why not?" I thought.


Oh my, but these little babies are tiny!  I knew straight away it would be madness, but felt compelled to give it a go.  My eye-sight isn't really cut out for something like this.  I peer away at the best of times, and know my reading glasses need upgrading, so imagine for a moment if you will, a woman sat with scrunched up eyes and tongue stuck out in concentration. 

After grabbing one of my scrap bags, I sat down and began looking for little pieces that could be fussy-cut.  A challenge in itself, as the hexes are so small, it really does need to be the tiniest print.  Although extremely awkward to do, it was strangely enjoyable - and a way of using up the smallest scraps, as each hexagon is only half an inch across.  

 By the early hours,  my eyes were decidedly squiffy (and for sure I've added a few more wrinkles to the collection) - but I do have the beginnings of a project.  I've sewn 7 together to make a larger hexagon, and it's turned out ok.  The stitches are far from perfect, but as I can't really see what I'm doing it's not a bad job on the whole.  And I have a little pile of folded and tacked hexes ready to go.  Amazingly, I did manage to get the paper template out of the middle hex, so there's hope for the rest.

Quite what this is going to end up as remains a mystery:

  • A Quilt?                             ha Ha HA
  • A Pillow?                          What if the cat pulled it with her claws?
  • A framed Picture?            Here's hoping
  • An unfinished WIP?         In all probability

So there we are..... my first project of 2012, and possibly my last.  The one thing in it's favour - this is most definitely a portable make.  The little vintage tin the hexes are sitting in is credit-card sized.

Ooh-er....... there's a thought: It's so small I'll probably lose it!

Wish me luck :)

And should you care to have a go at a little hexagon sadism of your own, here's the template I'm using....

After adding this, I realise it will be a different size depending what it's being viewed on.  Rule of thumb..... if it fits on the end of your index finger, it's close enough to be excructiatingly awkward to sew, and is therefore the perfect size. ;)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Bye Bye Tequila

Until the next time!
We've only been back in Blighty for a few days, but it already seems like forever ago we were sunning ourselves in Cancun.  Its' so lovely there.... perfect weather, amazing level of service and attention to detail, fabulous food, and of course - the obligatory non-stop cocktails.

We've never been abroad for Christmas before.  How relaxing it was.  I didn't have to put any decorations up at home - instead it was a family party and pressie-opening exercise the week before.
Mind you - the elves work really hard, don't they?  This not-so-little Elf (aka Si, aka the other-half) is cooling his toes on Christmas morning after a hectic night before.

Somewhere online, there must be instructions for towel folding.  Every day on returning to our room we were suitably impressed by the cleaner's efforts.  There was some arguement between us as to what this is actually supposed to be.  Si says rabbit, I say dog.  The other makes were far easier to identity, I wish I'd taken a picture of the monkey hanging from the wardrobe - that was brilliant.

After a few days, we were so laid back we could barely move.  Luckily we didn't have to.  As "members" of the hotel (alternative title - still means time-share) we receive premier service.  Oh - what bliss it is!  A soft comfy bed on the pure white sand.  Butler service at very frequent intervals.... blink and your drink has been refilled.  And food delivered whenever you want it.  Honestly, it was getting to the point I thought I may have to have a catheter fitted, to save on the effort required to walk to the bathroom!

What did you do on your holiday?  Bugger all, basically - though we did leave the hotel twice.  Once for a fishing trip.  This turned out to be our own private little version of the Perfect Storm.  I'm pretty hefty, but the sea was so rough I was lifting off the boat and bouncing down again.  Holding on to the rail for dear life, it was like being on a Roller-coaster and I was laughing non-stop.  The couple that we went with however.....the poor girl spent 3 hours huddled on the floor hugging a fender.  Thank goodness Si caught a fish!  It's a barracuda apparently.  I don't think I've ever seen him happier than that afternoon - bless him.  I doubt there was a single person left in the hotel that was unaware he'd caught a fish, as he was bouncing around the bar with his phone.  Highly amusing.

Now then....  I'm a big fan of things being set on fire beside the table in a restaurant.  Since the first time I had Steak Diane cooked for me as a child, that thrill has never gone away.  Back in the day (going back a few years) when Crepe Suzettes were on the menu, I used to order them for the sheer thrill of watching them being made.  We'll quickly scroll over the fact that I don't actually like oranges at all, and always had to leave most of it.
 These preparations are nothing compared to the way a "Sexy Coffee" is prepared in the Italian Restaurant at the hotel.  Superb.... a real show.... I was absolutely smitten.  AND it tasted as good as it looked.  Be warned, the video is 6 minutes long if you want to give it a go.  I suggest moving the arrow along for the flame bits.  Quite lovely! 

I'd LOVE to have a go at this myself, but fear the fire-brigade would soon be involved if I did.  My last efforts at lighting Absynth in Prague ended up in a table on fire.  Quite frankly the waiter should have had more sense than to attempt showing me what to do.  It wasn't my idea.

After spending hours watching the pelicans, I wish we had them in our country - they are so lovely.  But.... not however.... as lovely as an Iguana.  I don't know what it is about these ugly little critters, but I think they are gorgeous.  It was lovely to see them in the wild, sunning themselves on the rocks.

By the end of the two weeks I can safely say I was teaked and tequila'd to the max.  Already looking forward to going again, though it might be prudent to finish paying for this trip first!  Hopefully next winter.  Now I'm home, I'm slathering on moisturiser by the bucket-load in order to preserve my tan.  Won't make a scrap of difference I know, as it will still fade away at the same speed it always does.

We ended our holiday with a "light snack" at the airport in Bubba Gumps.  Deary-me, but the portions are humungous!  This is probably Si's food heaven, but a little lost on me as I can't abide shrimp.  Lucky for me they do a cracking barbecue cheese-burger and a great beer. 

That's it for the boring holiday stuff.  I know there's nothing worse than trawling through someone elses holiday snaps - so I did only include a few!  Next time (if I can ever drag myself out of current lazy state) the blog will be back to normal and featuring crafty business.
Adios Amigos

Friday, 6 January 2012

A New Year - and New Makes

A Happy New Year to everyone.  May 2012 bring everything you wish for.
 Okay, so the title of this post is a bit mis-leading.  I haven't actually made anything yet...... but the intention is there!

I haven't made any resolutions.  It really would be pointless as I am totally useless at sticking to anything.  I am however determined to design (AND MAKE) and produce a pattern for at least one new item for each month of the year.  I suppose I could cheat a little by writing out patterns for last year's efforts? 


What......   I've got to do that as well?

Top of my list of new things to try is purse-making.  It's something I've never attempted, as the combination of me and glue tends to be a disaster.  However after seeing the beautiful purses made by Helena @microbionoar I'm inspired to have a go.  (Plus - I've found a wonderful source of cheap purse frames)
Check out Helena's fab shop HERE
I bought one of her lovely makes last year, and I love it.  A glass-case purse, it came on holiday with me and was large enough to hold sunglasses as well as little essentials such as lip-salve.  So useful, I simply have to attempt making some of my own as gifts for the family.

Next on the list is a fabric birdcage from one of the latest Tilda books.
Can you see the dear little make in the bottom of the picture?  Quite what I will do with the finished cage remains a mystery, but there is definitely one with my name on it in the pipeline.  I'm such a huge Tilda fan, and this is yet another wonderful book that has been added to my collection recently.  (was an absolute snip on Amazon a while back - think I paid £5.99).  They are without doubt, the prettiest sewing books I have in my collection, and never fail to cheer me up when looking through them.

Aside from these makes I have so many WIP's to finish.....  I'm rather ashamed to let on quite how many there are.  Let's see...

Farmers Wife Quilt - 8 squares done - only another 135 or so to go.  (Don't hold your breath).
See the button on the right hand side of blog for details.

Summer Sampler Series - Okay... so it's January..... it may be finished for this summer.  (If I haven't used up the fabric I need in other products - sneaky suspicion I may have).  Again - click on button in right hand column for more info.

My daughter's quilt - Another Tilda design featuring houses.  Currently under construction for almost 3 years.  (Why, oh why did I decide to hand-sew it?)  Poor Sophie will be in a double bed before it's finished.

My French knot embroidery of an Alium head.  Every single time I go to my sewing class, someone asks me if I've finished it.  I don't reply anymore, just smirk.  The hours I've put into that poxy little picture are beyond belief.  Don't think I can face doing any more.  Thousand upon thousand of the pesky little knots. 

What else I wonder?    Reducing the size of my fabric stash, rather than adding to it................

ha ha ha.  A pig will fly by first!