Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Real Farmers Market!

(A man plows his field behind four horses)

I've taken a couple days off of "work" to visit my mom in Tennessee. Today we went to a Mennonite community to visit their farm market. I have never been to a community like this, but have heard of them, of course. I wasn't really sure what to expect, although I had an idea of what we might see.

(Fields as far as you can see.)

The farm is about 40 minutes from my mom's house, all gorgeous country scenery. Just exactly what you picture when you think of Tennessee.

I knew we were getting close to the Mennonite community when we saw this house:

All logs and stone, very old fashioned looking. It was pretty cool. It wasn't very far down the road from our turn-off:
Needle Eye Lane! I want to live on a Needle Eye Lane! I had to jump out and take a picture, of course. Aren't you glad I did? Haha...

Anyway, we pulled down a narrow country lane and meandered back about a half mile until we came to the market. 

Inside were yellow watermelons, tomatoes of all varieties, red potatoes, baking and yellow potatoes, yams, beets, lettuce, sugar loaf cantaloupe etc etc etc. I took some pictures for you:

The white onions were HUGE! I'd say almost as big as a soccer ball. I grew onions once, they were barely bigger than a golf ball. Fail.

Beets, yummy!

Potatoes on one side, tomatoes on the other.

Patty Pan Squash-so good sautéed in butter and garlic!

Green beans

Big beautiful heads of lettuce. GIGANTIC!

The biggest zucchini I've ever seen.

We even bought four cinnamon rolls, hot out of the oven. We'll eat those for breakfast tomorrow. (I can't wait!) Roo wanted to go outside and pet the horses. On the way, we stopped to test out the water pump.
(Can you see the visitor in this picture?)

A few steps away was Tony, a very social and friendly horse owned by Eileen:

Roo desperately wanted to ride Tony. Lucky for her, Eileen had a delivery to make and offered to take Roo along.
(Very exciting stuff!)

Afterwards, we stopped by the animal barn to see what they had inside. We thought maybe we'd get to see a chicken or two.
Better yet, there were bunnies!

And puppies,

And ducklings,

And pigs.

It was the perfect way to spend the morning. I'm looking forward to coming back, maybe a little closer to fall when maybe they'll have pumpkins or yellow onions or sweet peas. Roo would like to go back and get that bunny!

Tomorrow it's back home and back to my sewing machine. After all, I have a whole slew of Potty Mouth Pouches to complete!

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Betsy Travel Bag Reveal

You've waited so patiently...I know I said "tomorrow" like, a week ago, but some cool stuff has happened and I had to take care of that first. Now that I've got it under wraps, here is The Betsy Travel Bag!

Now, you might remember from two or three posts ago that I made the pictured bag for my friend Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy, hence the name "The Betsy Travel Bag". She was so excited about receiving this bag that she immediately blogged about it. (This is the part where I have to explain that if I had actual, proper internet I would have linked to that particular post. But, since I am blogging from the otherwise awesome Blogger app from my phone, you'll just have to go sleuthing.) This is E's picture that she texted to me shortly after opening her package:
Essex linen handles, bottom, side pockets and corner accents, Melody Miller arrows in mint (E's favorite color at the moment) and LOTS of pockets.

The side pockets are the same on both sides: a zippered pocket, small pocket and a large pocket. 

The back of the bag has yet another pocket, this time it's one of those between-the-lining-and-the-exterior types; perfect for stashing your wallet, airline ticket, Sky Mall catalog, rental car agreement etc. 

The inside. Nice and roomy with only one large pocket (magazines maybe?) and a zippered pocket (laptop?). I purposely left it otherwise pocketless so the user could feel free to stuff it full without worry of having to pull out their unders in order to get to their keys, novel, gum etc. There is also a key fob on the inside! Now you know where to put your house keys when you're traveling! 

This bag isn't stiff or super heavily interfaced. I travel quite a bit and have to stuff my bag at my feet in a plane or squash it into an oddly shaped space in the trunk of a car. A crisp, squarish bag isn't so easily shoved into these kinds of scenarios. 

Finally, the front detail. Two accordian pockets with D-Ring strap closures for good looks. The carry handles and extra generous strap make shoulder carrying or toting along with your wheeled suitcase super easy. 

I'm really excited about this pattern. I am looking forward to finalizing the details and instructions and then watching all of you create something from it!

I love this detail!

Happy sewing!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sewvivor: schnitzel & boo

Sigh...oh, Cargo Duffle Bag by Noodlehead, I love you...


I teach sewing classes in Georgia at an awesome little studio in Atlanta called Fabricate, where our guild also happens to meet once a month. It was at the studio, at one of our guild meetings, that I first saw the Cargo Duffle. You've heard of love at first sight? Yeah, well, consider that to be true in this case. My friend Jenny made a gorgeous version in yellow and I was instantly smitten. So, I proposed to teach a class on how to make the bag. With every good class comes a good sample, yes? And since my husbands birthday was coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to kill two birds with one stone-so to speak. I would never kill an animal. Actually, I did accidentally run over a pigeon in Seattle once, but that's neither here nor there. And like I said, TOTAL accident...


Anyway, birthday present! I took myself on down to the fabric store and bought the necessary supplies to make the bag, mostly I just needed the canvas and some accent pieces. I bought some "fashion denim" (because nothing screams "HAUTE COUTURE!" like homemade jeans) and a bit of Cloud 9 organic quilting cotton herringbone print. The shoe fabric was something that already existed in my horde. Stash! I meant stash. Since my husband's favorite color is orange, I bought a spool of cream-to-yellow-to-orange variegated thread for the quilting.

(zipper gusset)

Isn't that thread fabulous?? It's technically machine embroidery thread, but I don't always like to follow the rules (except for in contests, of course, winky wink) and I like to think that I am pretty logical, so I used it anyway. It's only for decoration, right? I didn't use it to stitch the seams together, that might have catastrophic results! 

(bottom accent and close up of the back)

Every piece of this bag that asked for quilting has a different design quilted into it. 

(bottom gusset)

Even the handles were quilted.


I really love how this bag turned out, and what is more important is that my husband did too. He's trying to plan a trip just so he can use it, ha ha!

I'm pretty excited to enter this project in to the Family Ever After Sewvivor Contest, I have two projects planned out for the nautical part and the quilted bag part of the competition, it would be so awesome to give life to them!

Best of luck to all entrants! This is going to be a heck of a lot of fun!


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Drop Dead Gorgeous Betsy Travel Bag

It all started with a little announcement on IG about my then upcoming Cargo Duffle class at Fabricate Studios in Atlanta. 

Come take my class, I said, It'll be cool! I expected comments of the "I wish I lived closer!" variety, but I did not expect this one:

I knew that a trade pretty much had to happen. My friend Elizabeth is so incredibly talented. You know her as Don't Call Me Betsy on the webs, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc. she's also an author, pattern designer, Craftsy teacher and all-around awesome person. A trade? As in I would own an Elizabeth Dackson quilt?? Well heck yeah, when do we start??

Apparently the answer to that was "immediately." The very next day, our designated hashtag "#theswapofepicproportions" was under way. I started seeing sneak peeks (because that was the rule. Only sneak peeks allowed, and we had to go off the others likes and favorites) like this one:


The colors! I told her that my favorites are pink, gray, yellow and black. I'm feminine but I have an edgy side, I don't like to conform, I like to be different. Want to see what she made for me? Of course you do!
(my photo above)
Is that not epic??? I mean really? It's gorgeous! Funny, the name of it is Drop Dead Gorgeous. A perfect name!
We each were so inspired by the other that our creations have become sewing patterns. You can buy the pattern for this quilt by hopping on over to E's Big Cartel Shop (

(Her photo above)

I am in awe that I get to own this creation of hers, it is so beautiful. I think owning something made from a pattern that was invented for me feels better than having someone name their baby after me. I really love it, Elizabeth. Thank you!!

Tomorrow I'll show you what I made for her. In the spirit of the epic swap, here's a sneak peek:
Unless, of course, you're on IG with me then maybe you've already seen it? 

Happy swapping!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

WIP: Chaise Lounge Re-Do

My friend Katy is the editor of a brand new quilting magazine called "Quilt Now" and, as you can imagine, having such an awesome job comes with some pretty sweet perks. For example, one of my most favorite companies in the fabric industry, Renaissance Ribbons, contacted her and said (in my imagination, at least) "Hey Katy, we want to send you some ribbon because you're way flipping cool and we think you'd like it!" To which she replied, "Ok, but you should contact my friend Kristi because she loves ribbon and she could do something really fab with it!" And you know what? They did. 

One day I opened up my email and there was one from Renaissance Ribbons explaining the above conversation and a request that I could use some of their ribbons on a project. "Katy mentioned you had an idea for a chair..." After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I wrote back accepting their offer and warning them that the chair would indeed be fabulous, but it would also come with a price tag. It was going to need A LOT of ribbon. Their response? "We do love fabulous, what do you need?" 

What do I need...indeed! What do I need? Well, for starters, I need a chair. A chaise lounge chair, to be exact, and preferably Victorian. How hard can that be to find? After about 2 months of searching high and low and visiting every antique shop between here and my mother's house I finally found one. Granted, it was just the frame and it was in really rough shape, but I found it.

Mr. Cool, Roo and I headed out to pick it up. I knew I had to have it. This chaise was perfect and it was going to be mine! 

When we got to the store, the owner was surprised that we had driven all that way just for that item. It had been sitting in her shop for months, she didn't think she'd ever sell it! But, she said, she thought it would eventually, that it was just waiting for the right person.
(Loaded and cramped and trying not to think of spiders!)

The chaise had been pulled from the depths of an old ramshackle barn. It had dry rot in some places, tons of extra nails, a few layers of paint where there should never have been paint...but in my mind's eye, I could picture it refinished and it was gorgeous.

Today, I finally had a good chunk of time to coordinate with my friend Drew's schedule. (Drew is a master woodworker and one of my best friends.) I loaded the chaise back up onto the MINI and headed his way.

He told me I had to wear jeans and real shoes, so I did. It's Georgia in July. It's 94° and muggy because it rained yesterday. Wouldn't you know it? He stuck me right out in the sunshine to work:
(Hotter than a pig on a spit!)

I didn't really mind, though. I was finally working on this project that had been a dream for so long. Yay!

Drew glued some pieces back together, showed me how to use the, ahem, "Ball Sander" and then pretty much walked away. I spent the next four hours sanding with the drill/ball sander and by hand, and using the air pressure thingy to blow the dust and cobwebs away and then finally using a clear satin coat to seal it.


I have one more coat of sealant to add and then we have to add the bendable plywood, cushion and then finally the cover. I'm so excited!

Eventually, this box of goodies will become the fabric for the chaise. What do you think?
Happy Creating!