The “Almost” Birthday Gift

handbagI used to have trouble picking out gifts for friends and family. I never knew what to get them and ended up getting something totally safe, like a book or a journal. Although they are nice and practical, they were often impersonal and very generic.

My mother, always the wise one, suggested a gift for others should always be something that I actually would like and use myself. The chances are, she said, if I like it, my friends will enjoy it too. Since then, I’ve been pretty much right on target when it comes to gifts, and my friends and family seem to enjoy what they get on their special days — or at least they’re pretending it well!

(On the side note, my mother, despite her own advice, gives us the most random gifts, ever.  Two Christmases ago, I received a nose-hair clipper from her.  Perhaps someone was in a need of a personal grooming set …?)

My friend’s birthday is coming up next week and I decided to make her a shoulder bag that she can use for work and play. Using my mother’s advice, I selected the fabric, shape and size that I too would love and tackled the project as if I were making a bag for myself. But THAT was the problem because after I finished it, I fell so madly in love with the bag that I decided to keep for myself.

(I promise, I’ll make my friend another one before next week!)

Should Bag
Fabric used: Amy Butler Daily Chain Demo Rosey Navy (Perhaps I should just change my blog title to, “Another project I made using Amy Butler’s fabric”!).  For lining:  Black and white floral fabric from JoAnn’s.
Pattern: My own
Recipient: Me. muhahaha 🙂

Advertisements

Mini Messenger Bag

messenger-bagHere’s a little something that I’ve been working on for the last several days – a messenger bag using Amy Butler’s Nigella Twill Passion Vine Grey fabric that I purchased the other day. This is my own design and I didn’t use any pattern, but the inspiration came from the Kate Spade messenger bag that I’ve been using for many, many years (I must have purchased the bag circa 2002 and it’s still in good shape) and the tote bag, also by Kate Spade (purchased circa 2004). I love the sturdiness of these bags and I tried to replicate it here using the Peltex fusible stabilizer for its shape.

messenger-bag-interior3I still have to work on a few things, like attaching the shoulder straps and clean little things here and there, but I’m happy with how it turned out thus far. I used Joel Dewberry’s Ginseng Wildflower for the lining and I love it!

I must say that my boyfriend is the most patient and understanding person … like, ever. During the construction of the bag, my sewing machine acted up a bit. Frustrated, I got really moody and snappy, but he just allowed me to deal with the frustration the only way I know how. I’m always really amazed at how well he’s able to handle my biotchiness! I love you, honey 🙂

By the way, is it just me or is spring really in the air now? I usually don’t feel festive when spring rolls around (probably because I was never into pastel colors) but for some reason, I’m really excited to be working with vibrant, floral, spring-y fabrics this year!

Happy Etsy Purchase: Jenna Lou Designs

mabel-messenger

I’ve never been so smitten by a fabric as much as I am with this adorable one by Estuko Furuya for Eshino collections. I love everything about the design, from the pink and blue colors to the cute little animals that live in this vibrant fabric world!

When I found this messenger bag made out of this fabric on Jenna Lou Design’s Esty shop, I had to have it, and have it immediately! I’m usually not the one to impulse shop but this was an exception. In the matter of seconds, the bag was in my shopping bag and the rest is … a blur. Oh, and I bought a wallet too. How can you buy a bag without a coordinating wallet, right?

Now that I have this lovely Mabel Messenger bag in my possession, I go everywhere with it. And I can’t rave enough on how functional, well designed and wonderfully constructed it is! I’m so happy with the purchase and I give two thumbs way up for Jenna Lou! 🙂

Two-Fold Wallet

two-fold-walletAfter several failed attempts and many yardage of wasted fabrics later, I was able to finally produce the handmade wallet that I’m happy with for my sister’s birthday present! And I finished it in a nick of time because the party is only 12 hours away! It’s already past 2:00 a.m. and I know I should be going to sleep, but Titanic is on television and I can’t turn it off, even though I own the movie and have watched it more times than I can remember. I know I’m going to regret this when I have to wake up in few hours to make gazillion cupcakes for the party but oh well, I simply can’t resist the ultimate chic flick!

The fabric that I ordered last week finally arrived this afternoon and inside the box was a yard of Peltex II Two Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer, which, hands down, is my greatest craft discovery thus far. I was first introduced to this product while reading Amy Butler’s In Stitches, where most of her patterns called for a material called, “timtex.” After some research, it turned out that Timex has been discontinued but has been replaced by a similar product called Peltex. Since I’ve never used Timtex before, I can’t really compare the two but I can say that I’m happy with Peltex and how this material single-handedly gives the finished product a very polished look.

two-fold-wallet-closedFor the wallet, I used the Fresh Aire Sprigs Green fabric by B.J. Lantz, which I absolutely, absolutely adore! It’s so appropriate for spring and although my sister has a more eclectic taste, I think she’ll really like this subtle, mature design. For this one, I decided to make it two-fold, instead of three like the one I made before. I was initially going to make it three-fold, but I changed my mind after realizing that having the extra side might make the wallet too bulky (especially with the firm stabilizer). I really loved the flap for the magnetic snaps because this allows the wallet to be filled up with credit cards (six total slots), cash, checkbook and a pen without worrying about everything flying out!

I can’t wait to give it to my sister and see what she says! I hope she likes it! Oh, and inside will be a gift certificate to Trader Joe’s (our yearly ritual — yeps, we’re practical people), which I knoooow she’ll like!