Journal Cover

journal-cover-closed

I was looking through my old photo albums the other day and realized that it was four yeas ago next month that I traveled to Europe! I had decided to go on the trip solo because I really needed to do some soul searching at that time in my life, and felt that the only way I could do that was to face fear, uncertainty, joy and all the world’s unknowns on my own. The trip was truly one of the most exciting and valuable journeys of my life.

Aside from stuffing my face with some of the best-tasting feasts in the world, I found joy in discovering cute little cafés in every city to relax and write for hours. Instead of hauling my PC everywhere, I wrote the old-fashioned way – with a journal and a pen. I carried the journal my friend gave me as a bon voyage gift and documented every taste, smell and sound that rushed into my soul.

journal-cover-no-cover1

It was then that I discovered Kraft refill journals from Barnes and Noble and their true awesomeness (my favorite is size 3, which is 5″ x 7″)! Their sturdy cardboard front and back covers keep the shape well and the smooth paper surface allows the pen to glide effortlessly. They are so amazing I haven’t used any other journals since. (Note: And the journal goes very well with pens from Muji, hands down the best writing utinsils in the world.)

The journal design is, however, pretty bare, without those fancy leather journal covers (they are, afterall, a refill). Since I’m not that big of a leather person, I decided to make one myself with a lovely fabric to jazz it up a bit!

The fabric I had ordered from Purl Soho arrived this week and decided to turn this lovely pink-and-blue animal print fabric into the cover. I’m so in love with this design that I was eager to turn it into something … anything!

journal-cover-side

This is relatively a quick and easy project but the challenge was, for me, to ensure that the cover fit the book perfectly. I have a tendency to want to make things slightly larger to give a little wiggle room but I resisted the urge this time and cut the fabric exactly to the dimensions that I had measured before starting the project. The effort paid off and the cover fit like a glove!

journal-cover-tag

(I put my label on the inside cover)

Journal Cover
Fabric: Magenta Menagerie Damask from Etsuko Furuya’s Eshino collections
Pattern: My own
Recipient: Secret

Advertisements

Pink Clutch Bag for Noelle’s Birthday

noelle-bag

After I “stole” the bag that was intended for my friend, Noelle, for her birthday the other day, I went back to the drawing board to design the perfect bag for her, and this time, I promised myself that I will not keep it, no matter how much I end up loving it.

I knew her favorite color was purple, but something told me that I should go slightly more subtle, so I turned to Joel Dewberry’s Manzanita Damask in Salmon to do the magic. The salmon pink was so perfect because it gave a classy feel without being overly girlie. I came up with the idea to make the purse into a clutch bag because I wanted this bag to be something different and totally out of her handbag comfort zone! In addition to the one inside the bag, I put two extra pockets on the back to avoid keys, cell phones and other little things disappearing in the bag black hole.

The fabric I used for the lining is Aviary Rose Green, also by Joel Dewberry (I absolutely LOVE this fabric!).

noelle-bag-opened

I must admit that I thought about keeping the clutch for myself (again), but I resisted the urge by quickly wrapping the bag in tissue papers and shoving it in the gift bag before the temptation got the best of me!

Clutch Bag
Fabric: Manzanita Damask Salmon by Joel Dewberry
Lining: Aviary Rose Green by Joel Dewberry
Recipient: Noelled

Memo Pad Cover

note-pad-opened

The shoulder bag I made the other day was feeling a bit lonely so I made this notepad cover with the same fabric to keep it company. This was inspired by one of my favorite Etsy sellers, Watermelon Wishes, who sells wonderfully practical items like tote bags and fabric organizers, and gives me so many great ideas for future projects!

note-pad-closed
(There’s a slot to put a pen and other things like receipts and coupons)

These memo pads remind me of my days as a journalism student, when I went through so many of these spiral memo pads taking notes and jotting down ideas for articles. Although I retired my reporter hat many years ago and the information I write down on them has changed from important quotes to grocery lists, I’m still a big fan of these little practical mini notebooks. Now I can carry them around with a cute little cover!

note-pad-cover

Fabric used: Amy Butler Daily Chain Demo Rosey Navy
Pattern: My own but idea inspired by Watermelon Wishes
Recipient: Me

Afternoon of Baking: Magnolia Chocolate Cupcakes

magnolia-chocolate-cupcakes

I spent the afternoon baking cupcakes for my friend’s birthday. I’ve been so consumed with my new craft obsessions that I’ve neglected baking for a long time, but as I stood by the kitchen counter and dusted off my pink Kitchenaid mixer, I realized how much I’ve missed it!

I’m a self-proclaimed cupcake addict (my boyfriend can attest to this – he rushes me to nearby cupcake shops frequently when I’m attacked with the withdrawal) and I can’t get enough of those little sweet morsels but today’s designer cupcakes alas Sprinkles and Dots, although excellent, can cost a fortune! That’s why I try to bake them at home as much as I can, especially for occasions like a friend’s birthday.

I used a recipe from a book, More from Magnolia, by Allysa Torey, owner of New York’s famous bakery. I selected Magnolia Chocolate Cupcakes with its Cream Cheese Icing. With pastel flower made out of fondant sitting pretty on top of each cupcake, they are as cute as the ones you find at hip cupcake shops! (I wrote about the day of baking on my other blog, here).

No dessert represents spring the way cupcakes do 🙂

magnolia-chocolate-cupcakes-2

By the way, I was able to make a total of 30 cupcakes from the batch (the recipe said two dozens but I was able to make more) so I was able to bake almost $113 worth of Magnolia Cupcakes ($3.75 x 30 = $112.50) for about $20 I spent on the ingredients! Maybe I should really think about going into a bakery business!

P.S. (April 6, 2009):   I’m happy to report that my friend, Noelle, enjoyed the cupcakes!  Hooray 🙂

cupcake-stand1

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 🙂

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! 🙂