Tote for Jetting Away

Leaving the USA for two months I am trying to minimize carry on luggage as I have two kids to keep an eye on at the airport too, so everything I carry has to be accounted for. I made this tote from the book Handmade Style by by Anna Graham from the sewing blog A friend of mine introduced me to the blog and this book is full of practical patterns that are super easy to follow. I increased the size of the pocket on the exterior as I wanted to use the width of the kimono fabric and I had to adjust the height of the bag to fit my 15″ laptop and it’s little padded pocket to keep it safe. At least it will make it easy to slip in and out when going through security! The zipped pocket on the outside can be used to store smaller devices like the iPad to keep the kiddos entertained. And the interior has pockets for the power supply, snacks and a water bottle. There is a longer strap with two handles as well, which I like the option of having. I love the colors and the combination of the kimono fabric and the linen interior, so let’s see how it travels.

A piece a week – A couple of totes, teacher gifts, silk scarves and some ceramics

This week was very fruitful considering with the extra holiday events that happened this week. The plan to get the teacher gifts ready in time every year in time never seems to happen!! So in between prepping for a show in San Francisco this weekend I helped the kids with completing the teachers xmas gifts!
Missy wanted to make a stuffed peacock as her teacher loves peacocks, so I left her in my sewing room with spare fabric and she came up with this peacock that I helped to appliqué on a pillow. I was so impressed the way the peacock was laid out on the carpet that it had to be created with design tweaks by my 6 year old as I was laying it out on the background. 
A beautiful purple peacock with its FabMo fabric tail – the purple is hand dyed, such a brilliant colour!
For my sons teacher he has been investigating her favorite animal so I could knit up an animal hat! I overheard on a field trip from our teacher that she collects animal hats. I found this cool looking doggie hat in a knitting book at the library called ‘Animal Hats‘. I have really enjoyed knitting this and I ended up making the eyes and nose out of felt and sewing them on. Hope she likes it! 
Puppy hat with felt detail
Now for a picture from my favorite BFF Siri and the incredible camera on that beautifully designed iPhone 6…
Here is Ms Bella 

I had to increase inventory for a holiday show at the Dogpatch Cafe and Gallery at San Francisco this weekend. So there was some fabric waiting in line to be made into totes and scarves. I had some lovely silk and velvet that was crying out to be made into something useful 🙂
Magnolia tote
Silk patch scarf

Silk patch scarf with paisley details

Such beautiful velvet

This velvet is stunning – a fancy lunch tote

Leaf tote made from linen

I have been taking ceramics class this year and I have thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of clay and creating directly with my hands – no need for my computer or a sewing machine to create. Work created directly through from your imagination to your hands transform clay into such an amazing art medium. I really have enjoyed making succulent pots, fruit bowls, ice cream bowls and now these leaves. I had an idea to make spoon rests from these so I am in the process of testing one out on my stovetop. The first one had yellow underglaze with melted glass beads in the center. After having a chat to my teacher about the glass beads I opted for different underglazes of color tones and rubbed back the glaze before a applying a super gloss – I was so happy with the result. The time this has taken me from the initial idea when the leaves started to fall at the end of October to now the end of December finally coming out of the kiln. One thing ceramics has taught me about art is that it is all about patience… What a beautiful lesson to learn!
Take one – a yellow underglaze with melted glass beads
Take two – a set of autumn leaves ready for some tea lights! 

A piece a Week – A Damask Upcycled Tote for my Crochet Pouf Project

This week has been crazy busy with the start of the week with a trip to San Francisco with my son’s 3rd Grade class for their storytelling and book writing field trip to 826 Valencia a writing center dedicated to supporting ages 6-18 with their writing skills. The kids had such a fun time collaborating together to create a story called ‘Food Fight on Planet Bakery’. Everyone had a character to work on and it was amazing to watch the story unfold before your eyes with help from the kids. The kids were given paper to complete their own ending for the story and this was sent up to the Captain to be ‘approved’ and read out to everyone. After the ‘approval’ the kids books are bound and given to their teacher to be given out back at school. We had lunch in the city and then had a play at the playground with this awesome merry go round / spiderweb structure that the kids just loved at the Mission Playground and Pool. It was a bit of a crazy thing to do after I had eaten but I could not resist as it looked like so much fun! At one stage it was so hard to get off that I felt my lunch coming up from my tummy :/ After this fun day in the city I had two other errands ahead of me till my evening finished at 8:15pm – whew!
The next day I did my ceramics class which balanced hump day Wednesday very well. I love playing with clay and we were learning about under glazing this week. This is my third week and it is such a fun thing to do as each week I am learning to relax with the clay and just play – I hope my pieces come out well after they are fired and glazed. I learn to appreciate how much work it is to make ceramic objects that I admire. 
Thursday it was Arts Focus day and volunteering at school teaching the kids sewing and lucky for me the afternoon was free for some creative tasks. I found this pattern from the book Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara and the fabric is from my last trip to FabMo straight out of a fabric sample book. It is so luxurious. I was so thankful to have some time to do some sewing this week as my usual work day was volunteering with the field trip. Lucky this project did not take much time and I did learn a new way to finish the base of a tote bag which I love! I am making a crochet pouf / foot stool for my lounge as a crochet practice project this year – I like to use the hook instead of the knitting needles sometimes. With ends of yarns from other projects it is coming together slowly.
Now to the weekend and it is relaxing with a hike with friends tomorrow…
Front of the tote with the yarn inside

Back side of the tote bag with batik handles

Trunk show goodies

We all had a lot of fun at the Diwali Trunk Show with the delicious food and goodies – here are some pics of the table of the new range of what I will have on offer at the FabMo Textile Art boutique happening Oct 27 2013 in Menlo Park. 
poppypeach bags with the infinity scarves in the background

Silky hair bands for the younger girls

Sewing away…

Since the kiddos went back to school I have been hard at work creating my range of goodies for the FabMo Textile Art Boutique on the 27th October! Anyhow for those of you that are not familiar with all the goodness FabMo do for the community here is the lowdown… FabMo (a non-profit) collect interior design fabric samples and other bits and pieces to distribute to the public once a month to purchase by the bagful! You are only limited to your imagination as to what you can make.

Talk about getting organised… Here are some pics of my Domestic Goddess range that includes aprons, cushions, pincushions, totes and bags – whew! There has been a lot of cutting and sewing going on in my little craft room.

A work in progress – this may have been a curtain in a previous life!

Here are a few of the bags and totes that I have made from cotton/linen samples and even a sample from Missoni, super special indeed.

The finished tote bag lined with cotton

A tote bag made from a stiff exterior fabric embellished with a pocket

A linen/cotton tote with Missoni fabric pocket detail

These bags are amazing – I could only make a couple as the raw silk was the size of a curtain length and these bags are quite large, perfect for the market.

Superstar raw silk bag with a gorgeous patterned pocket