Clutch Experiment – Part 2

Remember last Friday when I revealed the clutch experiment I’ve been working on? This week, I tried out another one. I used a project from this book as my inspiration, and made this patchwork of fabrics from the Poppy collection.

Then I cut out the design I sketched, and assembled it. Check this out – piping, chain, et al!

I remembered a suggestion my mom told me recently about using lighter fabrics for the lining so you can see inside your bag in dim light. The outer patchwork pieces are lined with batting and interfacing, but I also used interfacing on the lining, which makes this clutch quite sturdy.

Isn’t that fun? I am still tweaking my design on this one. I want the corners of the flap to be rounder. I put a magnetic snap in the center of the flap, underneath that blue gem, but I also had to add a snap on both corners  to hold the flap down neatly. To fix that on the next one, I will put a magnetic snap on each corner.

Next up for my clutch experiment, those Sugar Snap fabrics I showed you earlier this week with a tweaked clutch design pattern!

Simple Tote Tutorial

I have always wanted post more tutorials here. I tend to make a lot of one-of-a-kind things because when I come across something that inspires me, I study it to figure out how to make it, and then just start cutting, forgetting to document what I did.

Every store I go into has it’s own version of a reusable tote, from the grocery store to the book store to the pet store. Lots of people are making their own tote bags because most of those store versions are so generic, stiff and just kinda ugly. I got a boring black tote bag from a swimwear store last summer that I used as a model for my latest tote bag obsession.

I thought it would be fun to share my version of a girly tote bag. I used single pieces of fabrics, but you could do so much with this size, from stripes of jelly rolls strips to a patchwork block framed in linen fabric.


One half yard fabric for outside and one strap (additional fabric required if you want the straps to match)

One half yard fabric for lining and the second strap


Cut two pieces 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall from the outside fabric and from the lining fabric.

Cut two strips of fabric 5 inches wide by 24 inches long for the strap.

Sewing the Bag Pieces

Lay the two outside fabrics right sides together and sew together with a 1/4-inch seam. Turn right side out.

Lay the two lining fabrics right sides together and sew together with a 1/4-inch seam, leaving a two-inch opening in the center bottom of the lining. Leave the lining inside out.


Fold one of the strap fabrics in half, wrong sides together and press. Open and fold raw edges toward center fold and press.

Fold in half again so all raw edges are tucked inside, and press.

Top-stitch on each side, about 1/8-inch from folds. Measure the straps to gauge the length. Mine came to about 23 inches long, which was fine for me.

Attaching Straps

Measure 2.5 inches in from the left edge of the outside bag, and pin one end of the strap, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang. Do the same on the right side and pin the other end of that strap, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang, and pin, making sure the strap is not twisted. Baste in place using a 1/8-inch seam.

Optional: Making a Flat Bottom

To prepare the corners for a flat bottom, pinch a corner so the seams line up, making the corner look like a triangle. Measure 1 inch from one side of the triangle to the center seam, and draw a line all the way across. Stitch on that line, which will give you a 2-inch bottom.

Snip off the corner, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat for the remaining corners.

Assembling the Bag

Insert the outside bag (which should be RSO) into the lining bag (which should be inside out), smoothing the layers together and making sure the handles are neatly tucked in between the two bags. Pin, pin, pin. Sew the two layers together with a 1/4-inch seam.

Pull the outside bag through that hole in the bottom of the lining fabric to pull the two bags right side out.

Smooth out the two bags so it looks like one long piece.

Tuck the lining inside the outside of the bag. Press along the top, and pin pin pin.

Top stitch the top of the bag to hold the layers together and give it a nice finish. I switched to pink thread here, just for fun. Then I decided to add some pink rick-rack over that top stitching for that extra little touch.

Whipstitch the opening in the lining fabric closed.

Put your stuff inside and show it off!

If you want to print the directions without the pictures (which can use up so much toner!),email me at and I will send you a shortened version. If I can figure out how to attach a link to a pdf, I will add that here.

EDIT: the shortened instructions are here, thanks to Sandi who shared the easy instructions for adding a pdf to this post!

Enjoy your stylish new tote!

A Christmas Nightlight Tutorial

I am having a hard time getting any creative projects done during this holiday season, in between work, shoveling, baking and wrapping presents. I do have a Christmas nightlight tutorial to share with you today.

I received this nightlight from my friend Tami in Colorado a few years ago. We use it so much that I finally had to replace the lights this past weekend. I thought it would be fun to show you how to make one for yourself.

First, the supplies:

5 inch rose bowl

1 bag potpourri

1 strand of 35 lights – clear or multi-color

1 crochet doily, about 7-9 inches in diameter

1 ribbon, about 18 inches long

Next, put a small handful of potpourri in the bottom of the bowl.

Place about 5 lights inside the bowl, layering them over the potpourri.

Repeat these layers of potpourri and lights until all the lights are inside the bowl. If you have extra potpourri, gently press it into the bowl. You don’t want to break any of the lights, but you can break the potpourri since it’s just leaves and dried berries.

Place the doily over the top of the bowl, leaving the end of the light strand hanging out the back.

Wrap the ribbon around the rim of the bowl, tying it into a pretty bow.

Pull the edges of the doily down so the top fits nice and snug.

Find the right corner for your nightlight, plug it in and enjoy.

The slight heat from the lights will bring out the potpourri fragrance. The flavor I used was cinnamon, which adds such a nice subtle scent to a room. Hope you try today’s tutorial for your Christmas decorating!

Mid-Week Progress

You know how we are always making lists of things to do to keep us focused? I was getting worried about my lack of progress this week on my to do list because of TV show distractions, songs and podcasts on iTunes to check out, and just general hanging out.

Then I remembered how quickly these wonky star blocks come together, so I managed to piece together a red version (which is technically more of a raspberry color) similar to my green star.

red wonky star blockJust needs to be sandwiched and quilted. I think this will look cool with my green mini quilt for the holiday season.

green wonky star mini

I do have the strips of fabric cut to make a table runner using Anina’s tutorial for Fall, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

fabric strips for table runnerThe best part of my mid-week progress is fixing these gloves. I know, it’s not very exciting, but I’ve never darned anything before, so I just winged it.

hole in my glovesThey are just basic gloves I bought for probably $10.00 at a department store several years ago, but they are fleece lined, making them warmer and more wind resistant than basic knit gloves. So I’m happy to be able to wear them again.

glove is fixed!

Well, now I actually feel like I’ve made some progress this week. Hope you are making progress too!

Laptop Bag

Do you remember the laptop bag I made last year? (see picture below for a refresher) It was a fun project that turned out quite well. My sister like it so much that I gave it to her this summer.

Laptop Bag in AB fabrics(I added canvas handles after taking that photo.)

That meant I needed to make a new bag for my own laptop.

holding the laptop bag

I started making this patchwork project last summer with fabrics from the Drawing Room collection, but I set it aside because I didn’t know what size my new computer was going to be. (Yes, I have been dreaming about a new computer for a year.)

Laptop Bag in Drawing Room FabricsI finished making it this weekend, and my laptop fits in it perfectly.  (It measures about 13″ x 14.5″)

laptop in its new bagThe outside fabrics are upholstery weight, strip-pieced and quilted to batting to make it even more sturdy, and the inside is cotton fabric lining. I added an inside pocket with a zipper to hold the charger cord. I’ve never done a zippered pocket like that, so it was a good challenge for this prototype.

zippered pocket insideI also added simple ties to hold the bag closed.

tie closureI love this bag so much that I’m already making another one to list in the shop! I hope to add more laptop bags over the next month or two.

Open For Business!

I would like to introduce you to my new Etsy shop now open for business. Please stop by to check it out! (

Patchwork Trails Logo

I have been brainstorming and sketching ideas since spring, and spent the summer working on prototypes to list in the shop. I sketched the logo design several months ago, and I worked with a graphic designer to computerize it.

Patchwork Trails BANNER

I will be offering handmade patchwork gear for a day on the trails. I love to be outdoors, whether it’s hiking, skiing, kayaking, gardening or just hanging out in the backyard. That was my inspiration – the outdoors and the gear I use on my adventures.

My signature piece is the Stuff Sack.

Stuff Sacks

Use these unique Sacks to carry your stuff! Bring a snack on the hiking trail, protect your camera from sand while at the beach, store your camping utensils, or pack your camp slippers in your backpack. Also great for gathering treasures you find along the trail, fallen leaves, pinecones, acorns, a piece of sea glass, or a unique fossil. Sizes will include Small at 12″ high with a 5″ base, Medium at 12″ high with a 7″ base, and Large at 12″ high with a 9″ base, big enough to fit a pair of men’s shoes.

Next up are my Checkerboard Sets. These Checkerboards are the standard 8 squares by 8 squares and come with 24 chips and a postcard to remind you of the rules of the game.

Checkerboard set in Park Slope

Neatly tucks into a lined drawstring bag. Dimensions on the checkerboard are 16.5″ square, and the drawstring bag is 11.5″ square with a smaller 6″ drawstring bag to hold your checkers.

Checkerboard set tucks into bag

Here come the Techie Bags.

Techie Bag in Hello Betty

Use these Techie bags to carry your camera, phone or music player, with an inside pocket to hold an extra memory card or a charger cord.

Inside of Techie Bag in Hello Betty

You can’t tell me you would go hiking without your camera or phone! Zipper closure and a handle for easy carrying. Dimensions are 9″ wide x 8″ tall x 1″ deep with a 15″ handle.

Next up are Chair Pads.

Chair Pad in Blue Good Folks

Chair Pads could be handy to soften the hard seats on a picnic table at the park or the stadium seats at a game.

Rolled up chair pad

Rolls up with ties for easy carrying. This chair pad measures 17″ square.

Finally, check out my Patchwork Mat!

The Mat in Good Folks

This Patchwork Mat is great for portable napping after a day of hiking or swimming at the beach. A family of four could sit on this Mat for concerts in the park or fireworks (my sister tried it). Can also be used as yoga mat. Talk about versatile, you could even use this mat as a table runner!

The Mat all rolled up

Rolls up with ties for easy carrying. (book and snacks not included) Dimensions are 26″ wide by 66″ long.

I have four more new products in the works, so stay tuned for more on those updates.

Everything is functional and versatile, with a modern yet whimsical style. Great for any trail you take in life.

For now, everything is made out of the designer fabrics I have in my stash. I will definitely accept custom orders if you want a different color scheme. My long-term goal with this adventure is to design my own fabric to make this entire collection out of. The ideas just won’t fit in my head anymore!

My Zigzag Quilt Along Has Morphed

I love the button for the zig-zag quilt along, don’t you? I wish I knew how to create these adorable buttons!

It seems like I am always at least a week behind when participating in these quilt-alongs. No worries, though. I finally finished cutting my fabrics, and started sewing the squares into triangles the other day.

squares for my zigzag quilt

But then these squares started calling me (not literally) to piece them into a different patchwork project. You see, I have been diligently working on a line of handmade patchwork products for my up-and-coming etsy shop. I should be focusing on making inventory right now.

Dance With Me patchwork

I still haven’t even quilted my strip-pieced quilt top from the first quilt-along. That one is basted and ready to go, patiently waiting for me to focus, or to finish my inventory marathon.  Stay tuned – I will share more on that soon.

Second Round of 9-Patch Blocks

Thanks go out to Anina for brightening my day with a package from the Three-By-Three Swap.  I like this second batch of 9-patch blocks even better than the first!  I don’t recognize most of the fabrics here, which is refreshing and gives this project a nice variety.

second round of 9-patches

I sent my third round of blocks a couple weeks ago, so I anticipate getting the third package from Anina. Then I will be ready to assemble this cooperative project with white sashing. Isn’t it fun to have others contribute their style and do some of the work for you? Thank you fellow swappers!

Ready for That Picnic

I finally finished quilting my picnic tablecloth, remember the one with those fabulous fabrics I got from Jennifer Paganelli?

picnic tablecloth is finished

After stitching in the ditch around the entire top, I used some artist tape for a guide to sew a square on the inside of each fabric square.

quilting the tablecloth

I used blue thread to match the Bella solid blue backing.

tablecloth-blue backing

I love how all the colors really seem to glow on this quilt!

picnic anyone?

I layered the front, the back and a piece of flannel instead of batting so I could use it on our table without too much bulk.

new tableclothI don’t think I will have the nerve to use this on the table when we serve spaghetti or sloppy joes, but it sure does brighten up the room!