Monday, February 29, 2016

I'm just a bag lady at heart

A small confession of bag obsession
I don't know when it began, this obsession with bags...I remember years ago making little 5 minute zipper bags to go inside my bags telling everyone that my bags had bags! I mean, it's just so much fun to have things organized in bags - no more digging around in the bottom of your purse or suitcase to find something - you know you put it in a bag so all you have a to do is find that right bag!

Several years ago I had this obsession with Vera Bradly. I have always admired her bags, they were and are so well made, so well thought out, but there never was a fabric that I fell in love with...until THAT year...and boy oh boy did I have a field day buying all sorts of bags in"my" was like a Treasure Hunt, especially once I figured out the sales and discounts...I acquired almost everything in the collection from purses, to cosmetic bags, to carry on bag, duffle bags, a bag for my curling iron, even a backpack years later when I found one at an outlet...loved and still love my Vera Bradly...ah but there's one flaw with my collection...

While it looks really good on a rolling cart going into a hotel to have  two huge travel bags, a duffle bag and a market tote all "matchy matchy" by the time you get down to the bags within the bags they all look alike! I mean, which bag did I put what in!!!

So over the years I have been collecting bag patterns....every year at Houston Market and Festival I purchase more from my favorite designers....thinking that one day I would start making bags....well I think my ship has come in!

Actually it's a ship that motivated this obsession with sewing bags this year - let me explain...

In April I will be teaching again on a quilting cruise sponsored by my local quilt shop and I thought it would just be so grand if I would have some new bags for travel!

So I started with a Project Bag (Patterns by Annie) made from an orphan block from last year's cruise...I made this at a guild sew in last November.

Project Bag made at Island Quilters Guild Sew-In

The back is the "orphan block," a blazing star, and the front is actually  vinyl in the lime green area so you can see your project inside. I really really really need to make more of these as I do have lots of ongoing projects. It's so wonderful to just grab the bag already packed when I go to the monthly sew-ins.

I really appreciate "By Annie" patterns as they are so well written. Zippers and vinyl are easy with her instructions... So quick and easy that in the same weekend I made her Appliqué to Go bag with a slight variation of adding a center pocket. I use this as my Binding kit - Superior Threads in a rainbow of colors so there is always the right one when I want to sit down and do some hand-sewn binding...the center bag holds my scissors, needles, etc.

Applique to Go bag made at Island Quilters Guild Sew-In

And then I discovered Craftsy!  Oh my! I highly recommend the Zip It Up Class by Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs.  I enjoyed making her Run Around Bag, Nikita Bag and Bendy Bag...which lead to my addiction to Sweetpea Pods and Fobio Key Fob - a real hit for Christmas!

Zip It Up Class Project
Zip It Up Class Project
Zip It Up Class Project

Sweetpea Pods are great for holding Wonder Clips 
Sweetpea Pods for Christmas Gifts
Sweetpea Pod and Fobio Key Fob
Lazy Girl Designs
"Matchy matchy is fun"

Yep, I've kinda gone off the deep in with making bags this year...seriously, when I shared with a friend that I had covered one of my grocery bags with fabric to make it prettier the reply was "I always ask them to double bag my groceries to make up for the lady in front of me who brought recyclable  bags -  someone has to look out for the plastic manufacturers!"  I have since tried my hand at making my own...didn't get a chance to check it out because I gave it to my mom...but I really like the Stow-Away bag pattern I found on Craftsy and plan on making several more.

This is what you do when you change grocery stores
and still want to use the competitors bags

Stow-away bag by

But I think the craziest thing I did was make a bag out of a candy was such a sacrifice to have to take care of all the candy inside so I could put vinyl over the wrapper and add a zipper....tough job but I was up to the task!

Pretty cool that this was the 150 Anniversary for my favorite Valentine candy
The bag will "live on" as a memento!

Have to admit it was fun even if it was a little crazy! And I totally enjoyed giving out individually wrapped candies from my bag on Valentine's Day at church

As if that wasn't enough I went on a quilt retreat...I had all good intentions of piecing a quilt - and I actually did - but the bags took over! Here's what I came home with....

The Duffle Bag Pattern by Cindy Taylor Oats 

The Project Bag (small) made from leftover quilted fabric
 Patterns by Annie

I added a pillow case to match a previous made quilt
"Matchy Matchy" is still fun!

I also finished up a fun "Patterns by Annie" pattern called Open Wide The pattern has three sizes, this was the medium one. I think I will make the other two in the near future - it was just so rewarding and there are so many things you can do with this bag.

Open Wide! Patterns by Annie

Prior to going on retreat I quilted fabric to make a purse pattern but decided I still needed a little more practice on my techniques (stay tuned for that one!) so instead  I just used the scraps to make  the Stash & Dash, also a Patterns by Annie pattern

See, I still use my longarm even though it has been hijacked
by quilting fabric with Soft and Stable for future bags as of late
Stash and Dash with an added zipper wristlet
influenced by my Fobio Key Fobs (Lazy Girl Designs)
Back side of Stash and Dash with a vinyl pocket that I have
no idea what to use it for...
Inside of Stash and Dash
with Sew Fine #50 Superior Threads

In addition the last day of the retreat one of my fellow quilting friends showed me a bag she had from a department store with the challenge "I bet you could figure out how to make this"....yep, I gave it the good ole "I'll try"  besides, what else was I going to do with the leftover quilted fabric?!!!!?

Original "Store Bought" Bag
Copy Cat Bag with added Fobio wristlet

And just to prove to you that I did piece a quilt's called Stereo by Jaybird Designs

Stereo by Jaybird Designs
Auditioning border fabric

If I do say so myself, I think it was a very successful bag making experience for the week...

Bag Lady Booty

But wait! There's more!  That's what I said when I took my bags for "show and tell" at the Island Quilter's Guild meeting in February. I had all my bags inside the duffle bag and warned everyone that I had a Mary Poppins bag - it was bottomless!!

I do have a couple of other bags I have made in the past few days that I will save to share another day... I just thought this being "Leap Day" Feb 29, 2016 that it would be a good day to LEAP back into blogging!  I hope there is still an audience, if not that's okay too as blogging is sorta a public diary and I enjoy taking a walk down memory lane every now and then...

until next time, take time to do something you enjoy - life is too short not to have fun and share love.

1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us
Sweetheart Table Topper Tutorial by Jaybird Quilts 

karen O in TX
THE Quilt Rambler


Anonymous said...

Good to know you are still around. Was pleasantly surprised to see this pop-up in my blog reader. Jeanie in MO

Denise in PA said...

Good to hear from you again! Loving all of your bags! While I'm still a quilter first, I've been dabbling in bags a bit the past couple of years!

Island-Quilter said...

I'm so glad to see you back in the writers seat. I enjoy your blog.

Karen E. Overton said...

Thanks for the encouragement ladies - glad you are still with me on this journey!