Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm in the Spotlight!

This week I'm being featured in the Spotlight on lillyella's blog! Make sure to check out the interview and enter for a chance to win a West End Clutch in the color of your choice!

On a side note, sorry I've been absent from the blog lately. Usually I blog while eating lunch at work, and I've been so busy that I work straight through my lunch! Then I come home and sew all evening. It's good to be busy though, so I'm not complaining.

Make sure to check out the new items I have in my shop!

Whew it's been so long I almost forgot how to code links in html. I've got to update more often! I'll try to post again later in the week. More shop updates to come later!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Shows!

Just to let you all know, I'm going to be participating in the I Heart Handmade summer virtual craft show! It starts June 19th (that's next Friday!) and runs through July 11th! The best part is it's a virtual show, so anyone can shop for my bags and items from across the country in the comfort of their own home. Make sure to check it out, there's sure to be a ton of great sellers participating!

For those of you who are local to the Cleveland area, I will also be vending (in person) at the Coventry Street Arts Fairs this summer. The first one is coming up on June 18th, which is next Thursday! The show runs from 6pm-9pm and the booths will be set up right out in the middle of Coventry Rd. between Mayfield Rd. and Euclid Heights Blvd. There will be bands, vendors, outdoor dining, sidewalk sales, street performers and more! I used to live right off of Coventry when I went to Case, and it's definitely a very cool area full of culture, great food, and entertainment. So whether this is your first time checking out everything the Coventry area has to offer or you're a regular visitor, make sure to stop by the london purple booth! I will be set up near the entrance to Hampshire Rd. and will be debuting some new summer styles!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mmm mmm mmm!

That's all I have to say is mmmmmmmmmmmm! Today I was feeling particularly domestic, so I decided to do some baking! I really really love to bake. I may not like to cook, but I can be housewife-ly in other ways!

I finally baked the oatmeal raisin cookies Tom has been asking for since like, Christmas. (By the way, for ease of typing I've decided to start calling the boyfriend Tom. This is not his name, although it's sort of a running joke because people often mistake his name for Tom, so he gets to keep some anonymity. Back to cookies.) I don't know why it took me so long to bake them, they're not particularly difficult and we've had the ingredients. He's already eaten like 3 of them in the past couple hours so they must be tasty!

I thought this might be a good opportunity to bake some bread too, since the oven was warm and that's the only place I can really put the dough to rise. This is something I've been dying to do for a couple weeks now. My great grandma used to bake bread all the time, so I got a couple of her recipes and made a loaf of white bread. Didn't it turn out great?!

I kind of took a chance on it turning out edible and didn't get any bread at the store, but it tastes delicious! The only thing is I didn't let it cool completely before slicing it so it's a bit crumbly, but no big deal! Next time I think I will knead it longer too, that makes it denser. Right now it reminds me of biscuits (which are delicious as well!) I can't wait to eat sandwiches this week now!

So it was really a great day for me, I woke up early to bake and while everything was in the oven I put some sewing time in. And the sewing will continue after dinner! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as well!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sewing machine month!

It's Sewing Machine Month over at Sew, Mama, Sew! so I thought I'd answer their questions and show you all what equipment I use to create all my bags! This is my *awesome* machine!

Now for the questions...

What brand and model do you have?

A Kenmore Model 50, according to the manual. It even has a zigzag stitch! I also use a Singer Confidence 7463 sometimes, but I prefer my trusty old Kenmore.

How long have you had it?

It has been in my possession since June 2007. Before that it was my grandmother's and my great-grandmother's before that! I've had my Singer since January 2009.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

I have no idea...maybe $35 back in the day? Who knows. The Singer was $199.99 (on sale!)

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

Mostly I sew handbags for london purple (duh). When I get a chance, I like to make clothes for myself, which often end up in the scrap bin, and little things for around the house. This summer I intend to make a lap quilt (eek! a quilt!) and some wedding gifts for a friend. I know this machine has created some beautiful heirloom quilts and clothing when it belonged to my grandmother, including some Princess Jasmine Halloween costumes for me and my sister!

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

I sew just about every day. Sometimes my machine and I need a break! I am getting nervous, my tension has been wonky lately and I sincerely hope it's not about to wear out, I can't imagine using anything else! I try to keep it oiled and lint-free as often as I can.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

Hmm it doesn't have a name, maybe I'll ask my grandma if she ever named it! I love my machine more than words can express. I started crying one day when my needle got stuck in the bobbin and I couldn't move it either way, I thought it was done for! Sobbing, I called my grandma and she talked me through it...that was a day I hope to never repeat! It's so much more than a great sewing machine, it's like a family heirloom to me. Now the Singer, I hate. It does not sew well. I would be devastated if I had to use it as my #1 machine.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

It can sew through 80 billion layers of fabric with no problems! There is so much raw power there. It's also simple to use, and I know it so well I can work very quickly. I like that reverse is a lever instead of a button. I can drop my feed dogs and the presser foot tension adjuster is amazing. The one thing I like about the Singer is the automatic buttonholer. That's why I bought it, really. The stitch functions are nice but I never use them...and I guess the bobbin winder is pretty speedy. And it's purple...

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

I think most of my frustration is with a machine that's aging pretty quickly due to lots of use. Sometimes my thread pops out of the bobbin for no reason...which causes lots of unpicking because I don't notice when it happens! The Singer drives me nuts because it can't sew through more than a couple layers of fabric without freaking out!

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

My great story would be where it came from I guess! It's amazing that it has created so many wonderful things and it's still going strong.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

I would definitely recommend it, but I doubt there are many around anymore!

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

I think you have to make sure it can handle the types of projects you do (i.e. they make special machines for quilters, industrial machines are great for heavy duty fabrics, etc.). Otherwise you won't be happy with it at all.

Do you have a dream machine?

This is my dream machine! Let's hope it lasts forever *crosses fingers*!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I can has kitteh?!

I've been a little absent from my sewing machine lately, mostly because we got a new kitteh! His name is Daniel Striped Tiger (any fans of Mr. Rogers out there???) and he is the cutest but whiniest kitten in the entire world. Who can sew when there's a teeny little fuzzball giving me those big sad eyes and mewing at me to play?

He's pretty small but he has extra big paws! That must be one of his tiger traits. But he's a tame tiger, just like his namesake. He just started getting along with the other cat (who is 3 years old and pretty mean in general) so I'm happy we don't need to separate them anymore!
I think we should put a caption on the picture below (icanhascheezburger style) that says "Escape". It does look like he's trying to hit the button, doesn't it?
And because I didn't want the baby to feel left out:

She did an awesome job helping me water my plants. And the rest of the patio. =D

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I got to meet Amy Butler!

Ok it is horrendous that I have not blogged since May 5th. I guess two in a row just wiped me out or something. Actually, this month has been a whirlwind of activity and practically none of it involved sewing. Business trips to Texas (8 planes in 5 days, whew!), so busy at work I barely check my work email, spring cleaning and planting, etc etc. I did make two bags so far, both new designs! I only have pictures of one of them. Currently still looking for a name though, I'm open to suggestions!

What do you think of this cute summer handbag? The straps are long enough to go over your shoulder, and it is so functional with a zipper pocket and slide pockets on the inside and a zipper pocket on the outside! This is a first for me, and it has been a highly requested feature so I think it will go over well! This Jessica Jones fabric is so amazing! Definitely one of my favorite prints, especially in these fun colors.

One of the other reasons I lost some sewing time is I got to attend Quilt Market! It was so great, I found a lot of supplies that I can get wholesale. Sewing machine needles, zippers, and even duck cloth! Since I'm so smalltime, I can't buy all of my duck cloth wholesale or else I'd end up with no money and a ton of fabric, but I did get a bolt of black. If more colors are as highly requested that perhaps I could order more!

And the best part about Quilt Market was...I got to meet Amy Butler!!! She's so nice, there were a lot of people coming up to her and she chatted with everyone. She even autographed my brochure! This summer she has another new line coming out called Love, and it includes quilting and home decor weight fabric. I didn't get to see any of the designs, but I'm very excited! This must be what people feel like when they meet celebrities.

That's my exciting news for now. The other bag I made is a travel bag and it turned out too small so there is still some work that needs to be done on that. Hopefully more new designs are coming soon! I have some orders to fill for the next week or so. But for now, I'm off to a barbecue. Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crafting Food

Blogging two days in a row? Why, that's unheard of! However, I felt inspired after reading this article on today.

The article is about the cost effectiveness of making your own staple foods vs. buying them from the store. It has some really interesting results. I know one way to save money and eat healthier is to grow your own vegetables. It does take time and effort for sure, but it's so rewarding to pick a tomato from your garden and slice it up to put on a sandwich, or make your own salsa. There is some initial investment, maybe in some gardening equipment like a hoe and a trowel, good soil if yours is eh, and a little fertilizer. And of course seeds!

I've found that the amount of time per day isn't much. Maybe if it's dry set up the sprinkler for an hour or two, if your plants are growing slow hoe in some fertilizer, and of course it will take some time to pick all the delicious veggies you grow! Here are some tips if you're new to gardening.

However, if you grow enough, you might even have enough to last through fall and winter, or longer if you or someone you know has canning equipment. That equals months of not purchasing produce from the grocery store, all for minimal capital investment! Another benefit goes to the environment. Think of all the pesticides that are not being used, fossil fuel that isn't being wasted on transporting produce halfway across the world, and soil that isn't being depleted of its nutrients by growing the same crops year after year.

I grew up around homemade and homegrown foods, well somewhat anyways. Particularly from my paternal grandmother, who is the most frugal person I know, and so she grows most of her own food. Green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, and green and hot peppers all come from her garden every year and are either eaten fresh or canned. She used to have an apple tree too, and so homemade applesauce and apple pies were our favorite late summer treats. It died a few years ago (RIP apple tree), but last October we picked apples from a local orchard, and I made a pie! Not to brag, but it was the most delicious pie EVER. I highly encourage homemade pie making, and if anyone asks I could provide a recipe!

I have many fond memories of rolling out pie dough, stringing beans, and shucking corn fresh off the stalk for dinner that evening. I encourage everyone to start their own garden this summer, even if it's just a couple tomato plants, to help in these tough economic times and also promote the handmade lifestyle (which also applies to food!). If you have kids it will be great to use as a teaching tool and a fun activity to share with them, and maybe the older ones can even take a little responsibility for some of the plants.

All of this gardening is done in her backyard in the city too, so you don't have to live on a farm to enjoy homegrown food! Plant a garden and craft your own food with your family this summer!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm all a-Twitter!

I've officially joined Twitter! It seems like it is easy and fast to update, so I hope I will keep up with this more than I have my blog. *feels guilty* Check it out at!

In bag news, I just have one more custom order to make and then I'm onto new stuff! I've slowed down my production a little bit in order to spend some more time with family and keep my sanity. I think I had promised new bags by the end of last week and that didn't work out. I definitely promise them this week though!

I'm going to be out of town for work next Sun/Mon and Weds/Thurs and I need a new travel bag to double as a carry-on, so I will definitely be making the prototype by the end of the week! It will be a large zippered tote with a cool rounded bottom that I tried to do on a purse once (before I got good at making purses!) and I thought I'd give it another try. There are going to be some outside zippered pockets and cool stitching details. The prototype will be a bright turquoise canvas with Amy Butler's Ripple Stripe in Green as the lining. I haven't decided if I'm doing accents on the exterior with the lining fabric.The turquoise canvas is the fourth from the top. Isn't it great! These canvases are some of the new colors I'll be using for messenger bags and also for new summer styles. I love these bright colors, they make me think of the beach! Photos of the prototype will definitely be up by the weekend, keep an eye out!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yay summer!

Today was so beautiful, I hope this weather is here to stay! I have great ambitions for the landscaping/patio this summer. Last year we moved in to our house at the end of May, and we were so busy just trying to buy regular furniture that the outside of the house sort of got neglected. Well, I'm not much of a gardener anyways. Whatever the opposite of a green thumb is, that's what I've got! Must be a red thumb. I killed all of our flowers last year, including a beautiful hydrangea bush that I had high hopes for. We just bought a potted fern for the living room and I think it looks pretty nice, so let's cross our fingers it has better luck than the other plants!

The plan for the outside is:

-- buy two large flowers/bushes/trees for some big plastic pots we got 50% off at Jo-Ann's last weekend
-- plant more petunias on the path to the front door (last year's lot survived somehow, so I think I'll try it again!)
-- get a new hydrangea bush and get my green thumbed neighbor (with three large healthy hydrangeas) to help me plant it!
-- buy a dining set so we can actually enjoy our gorgeous covered patio
-- get some outdoor lights and torches so we can enjoy the patio at night as well
-- maybe get a hammock

If I could pick anything that I'd want on our patio, I'd pick this amazing Chesapeake Hanging Lounger from Pottery Barn.

How awesome is this? So much better than a hammock, it's like a big hanging couch! It looks so comfortable, but the price is definitely a deterrent. Like a true crafter, I've already been thinking about how to make one myself. (Or at least with the help of my dad!) Luckily our deck is built very sturdily, so I think it might actually be something that would work! We'd already have a hammock except the posts are at least 14 feet apart which seems awfully wide. Perhaps we can still look into it. I must have something to lounge on to read books and drink lemonade this summer! Even if it's just a hammock I'd be happy, but I can dream about having this wonderful lounger.

I hope to plant some more flowers around the house this summer too. I think I'll have to get my mom over to help! I love the idea of having a row of daisies in a mix of pretty colors. Does anyone have tips for low maintenance or perennial flowers we could plant? Something that's not easily killed perhaps? I'd love to hear suggestions and see pictures of your own gardens!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

End of the Weekend :(

Sunday evening is such a sad time. I always feel like I never got enough done over the weekend, and I know work is starting up in less than 12 hours and that my sewing time will seriously decrease. Looking back I did make quite a bit of progress on my custom orders, knocked out 11 bags last week and three more today!

We also visited the Shaker Square Farmer's Market on Saturday. I'm considering having a booth there and/or at the Crocker Park Market maybe once or twice a month. It was mostly produce, pastries, handmade soaps/candles, and I saw someone with accessories like jewelry, belts, headbands and a few bags. Still haven't decided if my items will fit anyone out there a regular attendee to either show?

We did buy some great food though! Organic eggs from free-range chickens and some homemade lime-cilantro hot sauce that is quite delicious. I was interested in some grass-fed beef but we got there towards the end of the show and they didn't have much of a selection left. Plus my grandpa has a cattle farm so we can get all the organic beef we want - for free! For some reason I always forget to ask though. There was a ton more great stuff though, even if I don't end up vending at this show, I'd love to go back and buy some more great food!

Well that's about it for news. So far my schedule has me finishing up custom orders by the end of the week. I've decided not to do any big shows in May so that I'm not scrambling to prepare. I have a couple business trips going on for work and there's no need to put myself into a stressful situation. I'm also going to limit the number of custom orders I take (just for May). This gives me the opportunity to build up an inventory of my summer line during the month, so that I can accept more custom orders later. Keep an eye out for my new designs beginning next week!

And because blog posts are boring without pictures:

Shopping carts committing suicide in the parking lot of my local Jo-Ann Fabrics. Perhaps they were tired of me overloading them with fabric.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Seems like I'm coming down with the flu so this will be short. I hope your holiday was relaxing and full of food, family and friends. I will leave you with some pictures of some delicious cupcakes I made and the baby enjoying her Easter basket treats!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is it summer yet?

As the snow on my front lawn melts, I'm already thinking about my summer line! I got some great fabrics in the other day that I plan on using for new prototypes. In the past I never really did seasonal lines, but I'm trying to be a bit more structured with color/pattern availability and introducing new styles. I will also phase out some of the less popular designs (although the names might be the same) and tweak some that I think could use a little adjusting.
The "themes" for this summer are function, florals, and fun colors! My plans include an all-purpose tote with simple color blocked style and a water resistant inner lining, which would make it perfect for a beach bag! I also would like to incorporate the new convertible cross-body style that seems to be sweeping the designer purse world. I'd like to update my large travel bag either by tweaking the Paddington or adding a whole new bag. promises...but I'm looking at some hardware options for rolling luggage! You'll never grab the wrong bag at the airport baggage claim again! As far as colors, I'd like to keep it to the bright canvases you may have seen appearing in my shop lately. This summer is all about big prints and bold colors so stand out with a london purple bag!

Some of the colors and prints I will be using this summer!

In general, my bags will be available in either print exterior with a plain lining or a fun solid exterior with a complimentary designer print lining. I think this will help to make my line look more cohesive, and also make it easier for me to create and post new bags more often. I still haven't decided if I will offer the same lining multiple times...any thoughts? I was thinking maybe if someone requested it, but otherwise I will try to switch it up so each bag retains some individuality.

I'm very excited about the prospect of creating new designs! I have been overcome by custom orders at the moment though so it will be at least late May before anything starts appearing in the shop. I hope to vend at Oddmall on May 9th, and start doing the Shaker Square and/or Crocker Park Farmer's Markets on weekends when I have some extra inventory and no Saturday plans! Keep an eye out for my craft fair plans and sneak peeks of new designs!

Friday, March 27, 2009

News + Fun Friday Links

I am sad to say I have seriously neglected blogging over the past week. Not just posting but reading as well. I think that might be why I haven't been motivated to sew for the past couple days, no crafty inspiration from my favorite blogs! Part of it might be the massive amount of crazy sewing I did last week in preparation for my show (which turned out to be a general waste of time) and the purse party I did (which went amazingly!).

Ok I guess the show wasn't that bad. People always take cards, although I wonder if they ever really look at my site after that. I usually don't go back to look online when I pick up cards at craft fairs, I'm sorry to say it. But, there were some great sellers next to us that offered some really good tips for wholesale options and upcoming shows! As my amazing assistant reminded me, you can't always judge a fair by the number of sales. It could be a total success as far as networking and advice, which could generate way more sales than you had on that day.

Plenty of new items came out of the mad sewing extravaganza that was last week. I've already posted the polka dot linen baskets and there are more on the way, and my sister made a ton of coasters similar to these (all by herself!) that I will put up some pictures of soon. A few mail holders, a ton of pillow cases, and some fabric wrapping paper round out the home decor items. New bags include 5 Kensingtons, 4 Sunburys, and 6 West end Clutches!

How cute is this hot pink clutch? The inside is an awesome green cotton with white polka dots. Reminds me of juicy watermelons :). Once I get some pictures snapped then I will post all of these amazing new items in the shop!

Onto what we've all been waiting for, the fun Friday links! I know I missed last week, but I barely stopped sewing all day. The boyfriend and I both took vacation that day and I was extremely upset with myself that I didn't hang out with him more. Well let's not dwell on the past, onto the links!

1. I've really been loving teapots lately. I think it's because I suddenly remembered my old tea kettle was lost in the move (as well as my copy of In Stitches...sad day) and I had to heat up my water in the microwave. So I've been shopping for a new kettle on Etsy. But are teapots only for water that's already hot? I found some great vintage enameled ones that I love, and also some handmade ceramic pots that are perfect for just one or two cups! I'm not sure if either of those can actually go on the stove. Can anyone help me out? Here are some of my favorites on Etsy though. Green is one of my top 3 colors right now :)

TEAPOT small leaf green vintage by Kalivoda

Chartreuse Teapot by utilemud

Teapot in Turqoise Green by sierraclayart

2. Although I really love decorating our house myself and finding unique ways to use ordinary objects, sometimes you just want a room straight out of a catalogue. Mostly, this happens to me with Ikea. But when the CB2 catalog came yesterday I could not put it down! I immediately fell in love with this outdoor sectional. If only I lived in a place where it didn't rain ALL THE TIME that would look great on our patio. Although I should be kind to Cleveland and let you all know that today it is sunny (after 2 days of chilly spring rain, and yes it definitely rained harder and colder every time I had to go outside).

3. An interesting quiz on portion control, and how portion sizes at restaurants and stores have become practically gargantuan over the past 20 years. Makes you wonder how anyone manages to stay slim and fit in this society! Of course taking the quiz totally made me want a big blueberry muffin. Go figure.

4. Ok I know I'm promoting someone who is already being promoted, but I absolutely love meganaumen's work! Someone's blog linked to it about a month ago and I fell in love with the pendant lamp but when I saw the price I decided not to even mention it to the boyfriend. She's now Etsy's featured seller and I have to look at her beautiful work every time I log in! Someday I hope...

And those are the links for this Friday! Hopefully this weekend I can get some photos snapped of my new items and put them in the shop!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pretty Linen Baskets

I just got the book Zakka Sewing by Therese Laskey and I love it! The first project I tried was super easy, the linen baskets. They rate it "two buttons" out of three on the difficulty scale, but I think experienced sewers would find it very simple. The most difficult part for me was figuring out the decorative stitches on my new machine, which I had never used before.

The baskets turned out so well that I made three! The actual pattern is for the smallest one, with the yellow polka dots. It turned out to be about a 4" cube. The green one is 6" and the blue is 8". Since I will be selling these at my next craft fair, I wanted to make them look unified in case someone wanted to buy the set, but not all exactly the same. I thought polka dots in different colors would be a fun pattern, and the decorative stitches are all the same style and color thread.

At my next craft fair I will be debuting some new items for the home (including the baskets!). Some of the other items are my fabric mail holder, patchwork coaster sets, and fabric "wrapping paper".

What is this show you ask? It's the Valley Forge High School 12th Annual PTSA Spring Craft Fair! Whew that's a mouthful. It's this Saturday, March 21st, from 9am-3pm at Valley Forge, my alma mater! Admission is free, so check it out if you're in the area! Ask me for directions if you need them!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bag of Luck Giveaway!

Instead of Friday Links, I'm promoting a giveaway I'm participating in as part of the Carried Away Etsy Team! Full rules are below, but basically you browse the member's shops hunting for hidden shamrocks or the phrase "bag of luck", and however many you find is how many entries you get for the various prizes. There are other ways to gain more entries, such as purchasing an item from one of the shops or promoting the giveaway via your blog or twitter!
Check it out and enter to win some fabulous prizes! I will be giving away a West End Clutch or a $25 gift certificate to my shop!

The Big Bag of Luck Giveaway
with Carried Away: The Etsy Bag Makers Team
GIVEAWAY RUNS March 13th - 23rd, 2009

Carried Away is celebrating the lucky season and the turning of Winter to Spring with a BIG BAG OF LUCK GIVEAWAY. Visit each of our participating SHAMROCK SHOPS to find the hidden Shamrocks (exactly like the image above) or the phrase "bag of luck" hidden somewhere in their listings. Email us your list and you're in!

You can earn additional entries by making a purchase from any Carried Away team shop or by promoting this giveaway via your blog, twitter or any other means that we can verify.

1 (One) Grand Prize winner. Participants must locate all 26 (twenty six) hidden shamrocks/phrases to qualify. Winner will receive their choice of 6 (six) prizes from the list below. Winner will also receive an actual Bag of Luck shopping tote, courtesy of team member Naughty Monkeys. Limit one entry per email address.

1 (One) First Place winner. Participants must locate at least 5 Shamrocks/phrases to qualify. Winner will receive their choice of 4 (Four) Prizes from the list below. Limit one entry per email address.

1 (One) Second Place winner. Participants must locate at least 3 shamrocks/phrases to qualify. Winner will receive their choice of 2 (Two) Prizes from the list below. Limit one entry per email address.

The 14 (Fourteen) Remaining Prizes:Earn one entry to win the the 14 remaining prizes by promoting our giveaway or finding at least one hidden Shamrock/phrase. The remaining prizes will be awarded singly by random number drawing from all entries that qualify as stated below. Prize won will be chosen randomly.

1) Submit the location of one or more Shamrocks/phrases to Make sure it is the URL of the listing, not the shop. Limit two entries per email address.

2) Twitter about this giveaway and post the URL in the Comments. Limit one entry per email address. While you're at it, follow the team on twitter.

3) Blog about this giveaway and post the URL in the comments below. Limit one entry per email address.

4) Sign up to follow our Carried Away Team blog. Both email and RSS feeds are available. Post in the comments below. Limit one entry per email address.

Rules of the Game

1) Visit one or all of the SHAMROCK SHOPS below and look for the lucky shamrock hidden in the listing (like the one above) or the phrase "bag of luck" in the item description. Make note of the ITEM URL, not the shop URL.

Find one shamrock/phrase for one entry.
Find at least FIVE to qualify for First Prize.
Find at least 3 to qualify for 2nd Prize.
FIND ALL 26 to qualify for the GRAND PRIZE.

2) Email your list of URL(s) for each Shamrock/phrase you found to Entries MUST INCLUDE your name, email address and mailing address. This information will not be shared. Entries lacking any/all requested information will be disqualified. The game runs from March 13th - 23rd, 2009. Winners for all prizes will be posted on our team blog by March 25th.3) Earn five additional entries for Grand Prize or First prize by making purchases from our team shops as noted below. YOU MUST send in the transaction URL/Paypal confirmation email to qualify. You can make as many purchases as you like and earn 5 extra entries for each purchase.

4) The included shipping is offered on the continent of the seller only. So, US sellers ship free to US only. European to Europe only. etc. Please keep this in mind as you redeem your prize.

5) The gift certificates have no cash value. Any balance remaining after the winner has selected the item must be spent or forfeited.


Earn FIVE ADDITIONAL ENTRIES TO THE GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY by making a purchase of at least $25 (twenty five dollars, including shipping) from any of the SHAMROCK SHOPS offering prizes in this giveaway.

1) You must email your payment receipt URL/or paypal confirmation email with your name, shipping address and email address to

2) You may make as many purchases as you like. Each one will award FIVE additional drawing entries.

EARN FIVE ADDITIONAL ENTRIES to the FIRST PLACE GIVEAWAY by making a purchase of at least $10 (ten including shipping) from ANY Carried Away team member's shop. A full list of shops is at the bottom of our team blog at

1) You must email your payment receipt URL/or paypal confirmation email with your name, shipping address and email address to

2) You may make as many purchases as you like. Each one will award FIVE additional drawing entries.


Visit these SHAMROCK SHOPS to find the hidden shamrock/phrases to enter the giveaway.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fabric Overload!

I keep getting news of all these new fabrics and I'm so excited! Brain...can'

Jessica Jones (my new favorite awesome designer!) is extending her Amusement Park Collection to include two more colorways and also a couple new designs! The original colorway is also coming back as "Candy" and will also be available in the new prints.

"Spa" colorway

"Earth" colorway

This fabric line has been picked up by Braemore, which means it should be available in stores! It's funny because I had just been saying how I was really hoping her fabric lines would take off because I love her designs and wanted to see more! And just a few hours later I saw that my wish came true, although I'm a bit behind on my blog reading because I think this was annouced a week ago. I'm so happy to be able to find it in stores! Not that I don't love ordering from jcaroline, but I don't want to wait for my fabric if I don't have to. If you'd like you can preorder though! Anyways, Go Jessica! I'm very excited for you!

My second piece of awesome fabric news is that cotton duck cloth, which I use for the Bloomsbury Messenger and its variations and accents on some other bags, now comes in a ton of new AWESOME colors! I saw them at the store last night, and when I inquired I heard they just came in last Thursday (nothing comes in at Jo-Ann Fabrics without me finding out within a week!). I thought they felt a bit thinner or less stiff than the original colors, but without sewing with them I can't be sure. They were definitely labeled duck cloth.

Well here are the colors as named by Jo-Ann or whoever: pastel pink, snap pink, fuschia, purple, yellow, grass, avocado, light blue, turquoise. I would really call the pinks baby pink, light pink and hot pink, and the purple could also be termed violet because it's a dark shade. I saw they also added some to the website that have been in stores for awhile.

These are all available on the Bloomsbury and my custom listing has been updated accordingly! I'm eager to start making some pink and purple messenger bags so please go ahead and order! Convo me if you're interested in the mini or the diaper bag, as those listings are not currently posted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Finally some progress!

Ok I lied about the Sunday shop update. But I did post three bags yesterday, and I will do two more tonight! The problem is just that I need to sleep at least a little bit. And apparently I don't do enough of that because I was waaaay too tired this morning.

Well these 5 Charing Cross Slings were complete as of Saturday and my photographer came over Sunday to take these beautiful photos of them!

You can see more about them and maybe even purchase one at my etsy shop here. I can't seem to pick a favorite because I spent time on each one so I love them all! But if I had to pick a best seller I'm totally calling that brown and aqua plaid one in the front. It is so stylish!

In other news, we got a ton of other work done Sunday as well! Instead of dragging my entire fabric collection to shows and purse parties (which is really becoming a problem because it never stops growing!), I will have a swatch book with samples of all my fabrics! Soo much easier right? And each time I buy a new fabric I can just snip a little swatch and add it to the book. This will also be a great help for inventory tracking and also taking custom orders. I don't have to get confused when I have written "black and white fabric with flowers" then I look at my stash and I have 3 of them!

I was thinking I can assign each swatch a number, then maintain a spreadsheet with inventory levels, designer info, pricing and reorder instructions. AND I can link it to photos of the fabric just in case I forget what Amy Butler's Wallflower in Mustard looks like (yeah right). How dorky is that, right? I love Excel too much.

So anyways we're almost done with all of my patterned quilting cotton (not doing solid cottons) and now there's only canvas, corduroy, and duck fabric. Thank goodness I have less of those at least!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fun Friday Links

So I know I missed last week's link roundup. A mini business trip meant I was not at my computer until after 10:30pm, and with the car issues there was no time for internet browsing. But we're back this week with 5 fun links on this glorious springlike Friday!

1. I'm sure children all over the country are rejoicing at this article on the most beneficial amount of homework - none!

2. Via Craftster's Tute Tuesday feature, I found this tasty looking daisy cupcakes tutorial! These would be great to share on Easter, I love the little ladybugs on there!

3. My niece's birthday is coming up on Monday, so I was wondering who else was born on her birthday and I found this site! Plug in your birthdate to see who else shares your special day. Haylie is lucky enough to have the same birthday as Chingy and L'il Bow Wow. I have always known that Bruce Springsteen and I share a birthday but apparently Jason Alexander is on the list as well. Can you guess my birthday?

4. With the upcoming time change, I was curious about the origins of Daylight Savings Time. Because I'm such a dork I found it fascinating and decided to share this article with you!

5. As a lover of both handmade glass items and Amy Butler, I find myself totally in love with these magnets!

And there you have it! Now for some shop news - I am slowly but surely working on a future shop update. Currently 5 new (and awesome!) Charing Cross Slings only need the lining attached and final topstitching. Pictures/item listings coming Sunday! Also 5 Kensingtons are about halfway I'd say. I've just got 4 more custom orders to do and then I can fully concentrate on building inventory...until my two purse parties and one craft fair this month!

Whew March is going to be intense, and April for that matter since I will be finishing the custom orders from March! I have a big list of things to do and bags to make before these events and not enough time on my calendar, so let's hope for motivation and efficiency in the coming weeks shall we?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scrappy projects!

How cute are these "scrapbooks"? This project is from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. What a great book, by the way. I love almost every project in there, although this is the first I have made. It's definitely my favorite book to flip through!

I ordered 15 of these Moleskine books so there are more to come! I love reusing scraps and I sort mine by color, so it's easy for me to select fabrics! Monochromatic looks are definitely my favorite, although I thought the purple/brown came out nicely too. I used brown thread for all of them.

I think I will do a trial run at my next craft fair on March 21st, then possibly add them to the shop for April! One detail I haven't had a chance to add yet is to stamp "diary" or "journal" at the top. I just haven't found that perfect alphabet stamp set yet! It would be cool to personalize them as well!

Each book measures 5" wide by 8 1/4" high, and it has 80 pages. Perfect for a diary or journal, day planner, or sketchbook for crafty projects! These particular ones are ruled. I think I will order some blank ones next time as well. I will sell them individually and offer a special for sets of 3. What do you think?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The face of evil?

Does this look evil to you? Mostly, it isn't. It's just a regular 2000 Focus ZX3 (hatchback) in a pleasant shade of autumn orange. Very spacious, handles nicely, and it's a stick shift, my favorite! There was a minor issue with the ignition last year (if you call $400 minor) but I've had it for about a year and a half with no huge problems...until the other day.

Friday night, it just stopped shifting. Not cool when you're flying down the road at 50 miles an hour. I was close to home so I continued to drive, stuck in 4th gear, running red lights because I was afraid to stop! Of course the time came when cars were crossing so I had to stop and so as if replacing the transmission isn't enough, I'm sure I burned up the clutch trying to come out of a dead stop in 4th gear. We shall find out the full extent of the damage sometime tomorrow.
If only I had one of these...

Taken at the car show today. Ohhh Camaro. You know, I've longed for one since I was 10 years old but after sitting in it, I was a little disappointed. Maybe because we sat in the cheapest model but the interior was not as nice as I expected. I will have to test drive the SS before I can decide!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So many unfinished projects in the shop right now...I feel bad for those 10 half sewn bags. They just get pushed aside when new ideas and custom orders come in. Please hang on just a few days longer, you will be completed soon I promise!

What was preventing me from working on those bags? Two awesome but intense messenger bags I shipped out yesterday, a Chelsea tote (which will be wrapped up tonight) and a new design, the Sunbury Messenger! I am VERY excited for the Sunbury, I posted it in the shop last night and I think it's already had quite a few views! I can't wait to create more in different colors/fabrics. Doesn't it remind you of spring?

And this lining makes me think of leaves beginning to fill out the bare branches of winter for some reason, even though it's not trees or leaves. Must be the color.

The design is very functional as well, which is the purpose of a bag right? Messengers are great for all seasons really, but in the winter the strap often gets caught up in your hood so spring is a better time to carry one I think. I love having a flap to close my bag because there's less to fumble with when you're in a hurry but it still keeps your stuff inside, and I put a little swivel hook/D-ring combo on there as a latch too. The strap also shortens enough for it to be worn as a purse too, which is very convenient. And of course, I included a zipper pocket inside.

I can't wait to make more of these. The green fabric I used is a very nice woven upholstery fabric in dark green, and I also have some of the same fabric in a deep red. I think I will pair it with either light grey duck cloth or golden yellow canvas...what do you think? Sophisticated red/grey or Gryffindor support with red/gold?

Once the messenger bags have arrived at their destinations, I will post pics! They are actually both diaper bags. One has a matching laptop sleeve and padded strap cover (I will now be offering both of those as optional accessories, I loved them so much!) and the other I called the Bloomsbury Diaper Bag X-treme because it's several inches bigger on all sides and has tons of additional pockets, a swivel hook inside for your keys, and purse feet! I willl also be upgrading the standard diaper bag to include some of those options as well. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fun Friday Links

I've decided to start doing some sort of link round-up on Fridays. Hopefully I can keep up and post every week! The links I choose might be news that I found interesting, crafty projects from around the interwebs, random humor or anything else I decide to put on here!

1. Why monkeys freak me out.

2. Beautiful pendant jewelry from RoughEdges on Etsy. I love pendants! They can come in such different styles that you'll always have one to match your outfit or mood. She has a buy 3 get 1 free sale going on right now too! But can I pick just four?

3. So this is why I can't get to work on time!

4. Craftster user Urban Threads posted this beautiful embroidered pillow! I love the birdcage deisgn and am extremely jealous of her embroidery skills. I didn't even notice at first but one of the birds is singing!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ok let's recap

So now we are (over) a month and a half into 2009. Where do I stand with my goals? Where do you stand with yours? I'll go first.

1. Be healthier. Well I have to say I have exercised more frequently than in '08 but it's still not where I want to be. I think I've actually gained weight. This is mostly due to a batch of fudge that I made and finished off in record time. We work out together now, which makes it more fun too. We did succeed in abstaining from fast food during all of January so we celebrated Feb 1st by eating McDonald's. It wasn't very good actually, I think the habit has been broken!

2. Quit biting my nails. No progress on this yet, although I haven't been trying. In fact I think I've been doing worse lately. Maybe I should try some of that horrible tasting polish you can buy?

3. Using my day planner. Yay a goal I can say I've actually been working towards! I use it both to track the things I accomplish at work and things for londonpurple like purse parties, etc. Sometimes I do get behind and have to go back and fill in, which it can be tough to remember, but overall I'm doing pretty well!

4. Guest room --> Office. Unfortunately both areas are even worse than before. My method of transforming the guest room so far has just involved dumping everything on the chair or desk. There's boxes, shipping labels and tissue paper piled high on every available surface. I'd love to get this one done soon though.

5. >30 bag inventory. Currently there are 20 bags in my shop, I think the highest I've gotten so far is 23 or 24. I do have 5 bags in progress that got pushed aside when custom orders came in, and a couple prototypes in the works. Hopefully I can finish up the custom ones this week and get back to work. I'm also trying to stock for 2 purse parties and a craft fair in March (more to come on this...).

6. Shortening TAT for custom orders. I think I've gotten better on this but I've still got quite a bit of room for improvement! My BazBiz orders took a loooong time. Currently I've got 2 diaper bags and 1 Chelsea to work on. The first diaper bag really should have been done already but with Valentine's I didn't get much done over the weekend and I am a bit short on supplies, which halted progress last night. Still waiting on fabrics for the other 2 bags actually, hopefully they'll be waiting when I get home tonight! A quick trip to J0-Ann's is in order for this evening (is that even possible?) and then I can get to work.

Overall not a good place to be. Perhaps I should turn these into S.M.A.R.T. goals to help me get motivated?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chelsea Handbag Revamped

Another new design! For some reason I can't stop creating, even though I should finish the bags I have already started sewing for my shop. On Saturday the boyfriend and I were shopping at the mall and I just had to duck into the Coach store. Not that I would ever buy a Coach purse (since I have my own designer handbags!) but I like to keep up on current trends.

This visit encouraged me to make the decision to move into the realm of zippered handbags. It's not really that they're any harder since I do zippers on all my bags, but they take more time and it's easier to have 50 snap sets on hand than 50 zippers in different sizes and colors. But, it's a coveted feature that has been requested many times so I thought it was time to offer something where the zipper comes standard.

Now that you know the background, onto the new bag! This is just a prototype, so this particular bag is not for sale. Once I perfect it, it will definitely be going into production though! I am reincarnating the Chelsea Handbag with this new look. Although the old version sold, I wasn't very happy with it. I like the new one much better! The general structure is based on this bag that I fell in love with at the store.

I really enjoyed the seaming detail on the front and also the shape. It has a deep square bottom that flattens out at the top because of the zipper. And doesn't this Jessica Jones fabric look great on a bag this shape? I also like the idea of framing my logo in a plain complimentary fabric, it really stands out now. It totally came about accidentally too because I had made a center mark in pen (oops!) and needed to cover it up!
The lining is Purple Stars by Prints Charming, from their Two Young Street collection. It is the softest fabric I have ever touched in my entire life! They must use very high quality cotton. I actually found myself running my hand over it while digging for my keys yesterday (even with a pocket especially for them I still just toss them in!) before I realized what I was doing.

I can't decide if it's a small or large handbag. I think Goldilocks would say it's just right. My stuff fills it up nicely but there's not a lot of extra room. The measurements are:

15.5" wide at the top, 12" wide at the bottom.
10" tall
4" deep
16" straps

The straps are actually too short to put over my shoulder, so it's just a handbag. The Prototype II that is currently under construction has longer straps. Pictures of the new one will be posted soon! It's made out of the best imitation leather I've ever seen. Hopefully this item will appear in my shop soon!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Ok so I really can no longer justify buying new clothes and accessories, especially frivolous ones. Why? I work in a chemical plant. I wear jeans and a t-shirt to work then change into a uniform. Or, I just wear my casual clothes to work and pray they don't get dirty. So I own a pair of black dress pants, grey dress pants, short black heels and high black heels just in case I have to go on a business trip and it's worked just fine for almost 2 years.

Well then I went to Target and I saw these shoes:

Photo courtesy of

They're pink! And sooo pretty. I agonized over them for several minutes while the boyfriend gave me impatient looks and remarked about how I would never wear them because I never wear heels. Finally I put them back and went over to a different shoe aisle (by the way we did not go to the store to buy shoes). I picked out a sensible yet sexy pair of pointy black heels because my high ones are no longer in style and they are scuffed (which is true) and my short ones are too short for all of my dress pants. These are real justifications! :)

So then I put both pairs in the cart, just in case I wanted the pink ones after all, and of course I did so I left Target with two new pairs of heels! Since it was so warm on Sunday, I decided to wear them for the rest of the day. They hurt my feet and looked a little strange with my Columbia ski jacket, but I'm still happy that I bought them!

Although it's February I'm adding a new resolution to the list: wear my new pink heels so the boyfriend has no reason to gloat.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tutorial for Fabric Mail Sorter

Yesterday my hanging mail holder design, posted here on Craftster, made it onto the CRAFT magazine blog! Since I’ve gotten several requests for a tutorial here goes! I actually made two organizers last night, one just like the original (brown/purple) and one smaller (tan) for those who are short on horizontal wall space. There is no extra space between the edge of the pocket and the binding. The instructions for the modification are in parentheses. Let me know if you have any difficulties or need clarification!

First the materials needed:

1 yard fabric for the body and outside of the pockets – can be cotton, linen, or even canvas would be ok
½ yard fabric for the pocket lining and binding – should be quilting cotton or similar weight
½ yard Pellon 70 or other ultra heavy weight interfacing
½ yard Pellon 987F or other lightweight fusible fleece or fusible interfacing
1/3 yard Pellon 40, 50, or other lightweight interfacing
65 inches of bias binding, if not making your own
Extra-large grommet and setting tools
Thread to match backing fabric
1. Make your pattern piece. I find it easiest to make a paper pattern and cut from that. Follow the photo below. Also, make this all one piece of paper, I accidentally cut mine! Draw a horizontal line where the pieces would separate though. **If you do not have a serger, add a seam allowance on the bottom and the angled sides.**

2. Cut out your fabric. From the lining fabric, cut about 65” worth of binding. If you’re not sure how to do this try this tutorial. There may be better ones but this is pretty good. Also cut 3 pocket pieces. If you are only making this once, you can now cut the pocket pattern on the line you drew, otherwise fold. From the main fabric cut 2 pieces for the backing that measure 20” high by 14” wide (for the small organizer 20” high by 11.5” wide). Also cut 3 pieces from the small pocket pattern you just cut.

3. Cut your interfacing. Cut a piece of Pellon 70 and Pellon 987F the same size as the backing. Cut 3 small pocket pieces of Pellon 987F and Pellon 40.

4. Fuse your interfacing. Fuse the Pellon 987F to the backing and the front of the pocket pieces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to do this. TIP: If you are using cotton as your main fabric and you see it bubbling after you fuse, rip off the interfacing and fuse from the front, keeping your iron moving and gliding it slowly across. This time it won’t bubble. Make sure no fleece is exposed to where your iron could touch it though! Also, this goes against ALL the manufacturer’s recommendations so beware. But it works for me.

5. Assemble the pockets. Layer the pocket like this: Pellon 40, front of pocket right side up, lining wrong side up, matching raw edges at the top. The sides of the lining will hang over a bit, just center it. Sew a ½” seam. Next spread the fabrics apart and press the seam towards the lining.

Serger Instructions: Fold the lining over the top so that wrong sides are together and match the raw edges on the bottom. With the lining side up, serge the raw edges starting on the right side, this way if the fabric stretches it will just roll right into the lining band at the top.

Non-Serger: With right sides together, match raw edges at the bottom and press from the bottom up so that you get a lining band at the top. With the lining side up, start from the right and sew the sides and bottom. Leave about 2 inches on the bottom edge to turn, then turn right side out and press flat. (for the small organizer, just stitch the bottom edge)

Repeat for rest of pockets. Turn under about 1/2” toward the lining on the sides and bottom of each pocket and press.

6. Put it all together! Line up the interfaced backing right side up over the Pellon 70. Pin in the center of each side to stabilize it while you sew. Start with the bottom pocket. Center the pocket on the backing (for the small organizer it will fit perfectly) and line up the folded bottom edge about 1.5” from the bottom . Pin or hold in place and starting a few stitches away from the sides, topstitch it right onto the backing about ¼” from the folded edge. Now line up the side of the pocket parallel to the edge of the backing, folding under the pressed edge and tucking it into the space you left unstitched. Stitch it in place like you did the bottom edge and repeat on the other side. (for the small organizer you don’t need to fold, the edge can just be basted into place) Repeat for the other two pockets, spacing them 1.5” from the top of the previous pocket.

7. Finish it! Almost there, this is the last step! Line up the other backing piece and pin in place. Starting at the bottom, attach the binding using your preferred method. Now find the center point at the top, between the top of the pocket and the binding. Attach your grommet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Now you’re done! Enjoy your mail sorter! Here are the finished photos of mine (sorry I was lazy so no grommets!)