Thursday, October 18, 2007

more Japanesey goodness

My friend Caleb saw the birdy tote I made and complimented me on it. Lorne told him I made it, and he asked if I could make something similar for his girlfriend Swati. We emailed back and forth, and eventually settled on the colors and fabric for the bag.

If this looks familiar, it's because I used the red/blue/gold version of this fabric on Heidi's tote. I'm becoming a superfan of the Japanese fabric. Tia's rose tote fabric is from the same designer. The colors are really nice, it holds its shape well. It's lovely.

Yet another pocket design...but I'm settling. Soon. Before tote bag mass production week. I swear.

Also, I spazzed out while making this. I completely forgot to do a little cutout on the vinyl, one of the things Caleb really liked on my bag and specifically asked for on Swati's. So I showed him the pictures above and he said, so very politely, "So, is it still possible to do a cutout?" Then I slapped my forehead. I told him of course, and then sat down to figure out if I should rip the entire bag apart, remake it, or try to cut on to the finished bag.

I opted for cutting the finished bag. After I did this, I freaked out. What was I thinking? There's no way I'll be able to hold the fabric in place under the vinyl, and how will I get a needle in there without sewing the lining to the back of the vinyl? HOW WILL I DO THIS??? Upon me freaking out and throwing things, Lorne suggested I get an upholstery needle. WHAT THE HELL IS AN UPHOLSTERY NEEDLE LORNE?!!?!?!

As you can see, it's curved. So I could stick the needle in the front and poke it back out the front without it ever going through the lining. Thank you Lorney for saving the day (and thank you for putting up with your hormonal, mood-swinging wife). Once I got going with this, it worked pretty well. Not as well as making the cutout before the bag is assembled, but better than taking the entire thing apart and starting over.

Caleb liked it when he came to pick it up a few days ago (enough to model it for us...I'll upload those pictures later and share), but more importantly, Swati likes it. She sent me an excited text message after she got it. Hooray!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

short update

Before I mailed Tia's tote out, I took a much better picture of it than the ones below. Hooray daylight!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

blue peonies tote

This is one of the first non-ordered bags I've had the chance to complete in a little while. I'm not usually a pretty flowers and pastels sort of girl - I like bold, bright colors - but I really liked this fabric. The flowers are large enough that they don't really work well as an inner lining, so I decided to use it on a tote bag.

hanging from our curtain rod

I'm still experimenting with the pockets for these bags. I'll settle on one actual design in the next few weeks. This one has one large pocket and one smaller, rectangular pocket. As you can see, the stripes on the pockets are horizontal, while the rest of the lining is vertical. I feel this will help you dig through the pockets with more ease. Or maybe I just liked how it looked.


I have a pink version of this fabric, which I will make into a pink peonies tote soon. The parts that are gray on the blue one are brown on the pink one, so I'm waiting for the chocolate brown vinyl I ordered to arrive before I start it.

Also, I'm putting my nose to the grindstone and building inventory up for Penguinbot over the next few weeks. This week is coin purse week, next week is knit bag week, and the following week is tote bag week. Knit bag week might go quickly, since I have most everything knit up and cut out may turn into vinyl clutch week halfway through. Though I still need to carve out the handles for the knit clutches, so maybe it won't. I'll keep you posted.

hanging out on the storage dresser

P.S. I applied to be a vendor in a rather large craft fair last night, and the fabulous Dr. Lorney put up a gallery on the Penguinbot website so the craft fair people could look at things I've done. If you'd like to poke around Penguinbot to see what there is to see, feel free. The mailing list feature doesn't work yet, so don't spend hours trying to sign up. YOU CAN'T YET. When there is more inventory in my finished projects drawer, we'll likely launch the site and the gallery will turn into the shop.

Monday, October 15, 2007

kid stuff

My niece, Emma, turns three at the end of the month, and she's outgrown her crib. She already has a big girl bed at home, but now she's getting one at my mom's house too. My mom let me know that the room will have Sesame Street sheets (and maybe bedding, I can't remember). So I went on a search for some Sesame Street fabric. The only place I found it was on Ebay.

Sesame Street pillow

I can't really handle Elmo...he drives me up the wall. (I prefer Grover, who sadly isn't on this fabric. Poor Grover.) And even worse is Zoe, the orange thing with the little bows - she just whines all the time. But at least I didn't have to listen to Elmo or Zoe while sewing this.

Elmo purse

I didn't see me using this fabric for much else after Emma's birthday, and I had some more Sesame Street fabric after I cut out the pillow pieces, so I made Emma an Elmo purse.

Elmo purse innards

I didn't get too fancy with the lining on this. I doubt Emma is going to miss extras like pockets. She's 3, what could she possibly have to carry? But I did add a little snap so the bag will stay closed if she puts something heavy in it that makes it lose its shape.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

world's worst photographer strikes again

I think my problem might be that I take all my pictures when I finish sewing something, later at night, when there is only weird artificial apartment light. I finished Tia's tote bag last night and was really happy with how it turned out. Then I looked at the pictures. It looks so much darker than it does in person.

The red roses are really much brighter than they is the vinyl.

This one is a little better at showing the roses.

The lining picture did turn out well though, and you can see the vinyl color better on that inch of strap. One out of three isn't bad is it? Oh wait, yes it is. I need to not work during the day so I can take better pictures.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

chianti clutch

Alishan asked if I could make a clutch similar to the one I made for Nicole, but a little darker.

So the yarn color on this one is called chianti. Oh wine. I'm going to miss you for the next nine months.

Somehow when I was cutting out the fabric for the innards, I cut two of them. Why? I have no idea. I've been making this bag/variations on this bag for about year now, but this is the first time I've done something so off. At least I just have an extra and didn't cut it half-sized or something instead. I'm going to blame little Hobo for sucking the smart out of my brains. (Hobo is our embryo...our friends are planning on teaching it the hobo ways, and I've eaten a lot of beef stew since finding out I was pregnant.)

I really need to learn about taking better pictures. These look sad compared to Kyle's pictures below.

I'm sorry if this blog seems a little disjointed. Again, I blame Hobo.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

two things

Thing the First: Kyle took some awesome pictures today and sent them to me. I thought I'd pimp them out here, because I'm amazed at how much better his pictures make my things look. He does have a photography degree and all.

Heidi's bag

Heidis' bag detail

blue arrow bag

blue arrow bag with fancy background

green clutch

green clutch detail

Thing the Second: Upon finding out that I'm pregnant, I immediately bought a pregnancy encyclopedia thing, and this:

Aside from the cute knit bear on the front, it has some good nursery and sweater patterns, including a cupcake hat and scarf and knit cupcakes. As soon as I saw those I knew this book was meant to be mine.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

hey there, cupcake

Bethany and I are kindred spirits. She crochets, I knit, she wants a sewing machine, I was obsessed with getting one until I got mine, we both like baseball, she used to drive a dark blue New Beetle and I currently drive a dark blue New Beetle, we love beer...we both like soup...

cupcake bag!

Most importantly, however, we both love cupcakes. When she asked for a red bag I didn't think at all about how that would affect my plan to use a bit of red vinyl for a cherry at the top...until I had everything cut out. Red vinyl cherry on red vinyl bag = cherry disappears. So I found a red button. Viola!

cupcake bag innards

Bethany and I both like talking, and not talking. We could not talk for hours, and still find things to not talk about.

cupcake close-up

Maybe I shouldn't have told you about the button/cherry not being planned. Maybe now you'll realize that I just sort of make this up as I go. Well, I made that all was totally intentional. I planned it from the start.