Double Zip Wallet

We celebrated Christmas with my in-laws at Thanksgiving and my mother-in-law surprised me with a stack of new sewing books.

One of the books was Handmade Style by Anna Graham (aka: Noodlehead – you might remember several of her bag designs I’ve made previously like the Super Tote and Envelope Clutch wallets here, here, and here). She is my very favorite bag designer – her patterns are so thoughtful which make for incredibly useful purses and wallets.

This book has been on my wish list for a while so I was over-the-moon to finally have it. I have been carrying the book around with me non-stop since Thanksgiving, marking all my favorites with sticky notes.

After a few semi-unsuccessful garment sewing adventures, I wanted to end my winter break on a happy note so I decided to make myself a new bag (since my sewing experience began with bags / bags are one-size-fits-all, I figured this would be a safe zone to retreat to).

I inventoried my zipper stash to help with deciding which bag to make. The Double Zip Wallet won!

Double Zip Wallet

Since this project kind of stemmed from my avoidance of finishing the Veronika skirt {free pattern from Megan Nielsen} I’d cut [but was too intimidated by the idea of my first zipper installation / was scared I’d have yet another semi-unsuccessful garment to add to the pile], it seemed fitting for me to use the scraps for the wallet.

doublezip1

I picked up this gorgeous floral print corduroy from Hobby Lobby after my friend Amber recommended it to me at our quilt guild holiday party {I can’t seem to find it online anywhere 😦 }.

I had some of this bright pink upholstery fabric lying around and it coordinated great with the floral corduroy so I used it for the interior. I also love how the mustard color zippers link the print as well.

doublezip2

Excuse the bandaid – this bag was totally worth the 1 small seam-ripper injury 😉

The construction of this wallet was unlike any bag I’ve made. Even constructing the card slots was slightly different. It was a nice opportunity to grow my bag-making skill set.

All-in-all, the construction was quite neat! I re-read the instructions several times before starting each step to be extra careful since this was my first attempt at this project (and because I wanted to avoid adding to the semi-unsuccessful pile!). I particularly like how the zippers turned out – there was no puckering in the corners like I usually have with my zipper pouches.

But I did accidentally attached the card slots upside down (the card slots are supposed to be on the bottom with the bill flap at the top, but mine are backwards).

doublezip3

I like the bias binding that is attached to the top of the bill flap (bottom of the picture above). I feel like it helps to hold the flap a little more securely. Being the perfectionist that I am, it bothers me that the flap is not lined (you can see the fusible interfacing I used on the underside. This is likely not a problem for most since I added the interfacing on my own volition because I like sturdy card slots 🙂 ). Next time I am going to try to make the card slot piece longer so that I can fold it at the top to make it “lined”. I may also attempt to add an extra row of card slots.

Having two fairly large zipper pouches in one wallet is fabulous! Between the card slots and bill flap, I had all the space I needed to hold my usual wallet fillers. Both zipper pouches are empty right now because I’m still debating what I want to house in each. I’m leaning towards lip balm and such in one and loose change in the other.

Originally I thought the Rainbow Clutch would be my favorite wallet from the book, but it’s going to be hard to beat the Double Zip Wallet!

doublezip4

Up next on my “to make” list

I can’t wait to make a Market Bag – I’m debating between using some of my Liberty of London or Cath Kidston stash as the accent fabric.

market bag

Market Bag via Noodlhead {click for source}

I’m thinking the Zip Top Tote might make a nice everyday work bag [but you know my love for my Super Tote for work!].

zip top tote

Denim Zip Top Tote via Noodlehead {click for source}

I also ordered button studs so that I could make Anna’s latest design – the Carkai Gatherer Crossbody Bag {free pattern!}. I can’t wait to give that one a try!

carkai

Carkai Crossbody Bag via Noodlehead {click for source}

PS: If you want a sneak peek at the projects in Anna’s book Handmade Style, check out this beautiful post.

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What I’m Lovin’ in December

christmas

I hope you are reading this post while snuggled under your favorite blanket in front of a warm fire with hot cocoa in hand. {Or at least I hope you’re channeling that image}

I wanted to pop in to share a light-hearted read with you: the list of what I’m lovin’ this month!

resliced by Jordan (1)

Because of all the time I was able to spend sitting on my couch thinking of all the things I love, most of this post contains moments from my wisdom-tooth-recovery at the beginning of the month {It was a slow recovery, but I’m feeling better now!}.

1. Leaf Lookin’

I love when fall transitions to winter and the grounds become covered in the most beautiful blanket of leaves…and the sky becomes a little more visible through the trees. It’s just magnificent!

blue ridge mtn

This year the Hubs and I spent Thanksgiving at his grandfather’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The drive there was absolutely amazing! The photo above is from Popcorn Overlook. I wish I could bottle it up and send all of you a piece, but for now you’ll just have to enjoy the picture 😉

2. The Great British Sewing Bee sewing book

Having my wisdom teeth removed really zapped my energy. I was hoping to have enough energy to sew some while I was at home resting (thinking my only compromise would be a pair of chipmunk cheeks). No such luck.

Since I didn’t have the energy to sew, I gathered up all my sewing books – including one of my newest gifted from my mother-in-law: The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe – and did some sewing-related reading.

sewing bee

The Hubs kept me stocked on Frosties which really helped with healing 😉

The book is stuffed with tutorials for closet staples. It even included five full-size patterns which is exciting! One of them is a pair of men’s trousers which the Hubs is super excited about – he is quite tall and has the opposite problem I do: he struggles with finding clothing long enough. After plugging along with my Moji pants, I’m feeling more confident that maybe one day I could make him some pants! We’ll see…

3. Iris Apfel

iris 2

While stuck at home recovering from my wisdom teeth removal, I realized that I’m not a great television watcher and had no idea what to watch (after binge’ing on Friends…again…because it’s the only show I could think of).

My friend Markessce gave me lots of great recommendations – including Iris which he recommended because she reminds him of me.

iris

{Click the image to see more quotes from Iris}

loved the documentary! Iris is absolutely fabulous and so witty! If you haven’t watched the documentary on Netflix – add it to your list! {You can watch the trailer here & read 11 inspiring quotes from Iris here}

4. Knitting

knitting

Over the days I spent recovering from my wisdom teeth, I picked my knitting needles back up and finished the ear warmer I’d been working on. I took a knitting class over the summer, but I didn’t catch on as quickly as I’d hoped and struggled a little during the class. I went home and started searching the internet for help. I ran across Good Knit Kisses on YouTube and found her videos super helpful!

Then I started searching for beginner knitting projects. I thought I’d try to make some dish cloths because I heard they were easy, but then I ran across this ear warmer that looked even easier [and way cuter!]. I am kind of smitten with it and wore it to the Indie Craft Parade Holiday Market with my sister {cuz why not wear your handmade goodies to a handmade fair?!}.

ear warmer

Next up: I want to learn how to use circular needles so I can make this infinity scarf!

If you like to knit, follow my Knitting Pinterest Board!

5. Being a quilt guild member

A few months ago, I joined the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild. It has been such fun! I have enjoyed getting to know all the ladies and being a part of a group that loves sewing as much as I do.

At the guild’s holiday party, we decided to do a gift exchange. The rule was that everyone had to make something smaller than 18 inches to exchange. We played by the white elephant rules – there was lots of “oooh-ing” and “ahhh-ing” and gift stealing 😉

I mean – look at this gorgeous array of handmade presents!

quilt guild

Clockwise from the top left: a set of 3 vinyl-front WIP bags on top of their draw-string gift bag, an open-wide pouch (pattern also from Noodlehead), a zip-top pouch & Tula Pink fat eighth, my envelope clutch, patchy mug rug and large zip-top pouch.

For my gift to exchange, I made a tried-and-true envelope clutch {pattern by Noodlehead}.

envelope clutch 2

A few weeks ago I snagged a bag of Liberty of London scraps from Mad for Fabric on Instagram. The scraps are so small that they can’t really be pieced together so I used a glue stick to place them where I wanted them on a piece of batting then zig-zag stitched between them construct the flap. The method worked out pretty well.

My new friend Francine stole the bag when it was her turn – and lucky Francine…you can’t steal the gift more than once!

6. Crafty Feast

As usual, my sister and I had a blast shopping at Crafty Feast!

crafty feast

In the photobooth before the doors opened (yes, we got there early!)

We took over the Cola Indie Maker’s Instagram account to live post the event. I made sure to tag vendors in the posts so browse what we found and follow the shops! We discovered a lot of great new shops and loved seeing our local favorites 🙂

7. Supporting Friends & Makers

The holidays can be a frivolous time. It’s easy to find yourself mindlessly stocking up on meaningless gifts or putting your Amazon Prime subscription to good use (I’m not judging! #BeenThereDoneThat).

I think it’s really important to support handmade businesses as often as you can. As someone who has owned a handmade business, I know exactly what that sale means. It means the world: your purchase tells that artist “I believe in you!” / “Keep going!” / “Your skills are worth sharing!”

The president of my quilt guild has the cutest Etsy shop. When I saw that she would be at Crafty Feast, I started stalking her shop and asking her constantly about the bags she was making (we both love Noodlehead patterns). She’s mega-talented and super-duper sweet and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of her adorable bags!

I wanted all.the.bags, but settled on this ahh-dorable zip pouch (because who doesn’t need another zip pouch?!):

roar haus

The fabric made me swoon and the gold accents made me feel so fancy! I love it. It’s already been in my purse non-stop since I bought it – holding my favorite homemade lip balm {I’ll share the recipe soon!} and other little essentials.

Every time I pull this pouch out of my purse I’m reminded of Amber and how sweet and encouraging she is. Always air on the side of buying it when it comes to handmade businesses (unless, of course, that money was earmarked for your electric bill because you can’t enjoy it if you can’t see it! 😉 ). These makers appreciate your purchase more than you know! And if you’re going to buy “stuff,” it should be stuff that’s going to bring you joy.

{Visit Roar Haus on Etsy to see what Amber’s been making. If you’re looking for more handmade businesses to support, read my re-cap of Vintage Charlotte last year with links to several of my favorite shops or browse the Cola Indie Maker’s Instagram page to see all the awesome shops we found at Craft Feast – just click the shop names tagged in the post to check out their shops.}

Merry Christmas!

tree

I’d love to tell you this is my tree {HA!}, but it’s actually just a beautiful nautical-themed tree my sister and I fell in love with in a shop in Greenville.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with warm memories and lots of snuggles!

Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.

Spring Break, Part 1

One of the perks of working for a school district is that we also get to be off for spring break. Just when the year is starting to speed up, we get a much needed break 🙂 How thoughtful.

While we work in different districts, my sister and I have the same spring break this year (yay!). Our mission was to get together a few days with the mission of sewing clothing.

Day 1

Katie has been wanting a Canny tunic for a while. The pattern is a quick sew (with only 2 pieces) so I offered for us to make it together. We kicked off our week by converting the Canny tunic to a dress!

canny dress

My sister in the Canny as a dress.

Stay tuned – I’ll be blogging about how you can turn the Canny tunic into a dress on AddieK’s blog soon!

I gave my sister some recommendations for my favorite sites to order fabric from and let her pick which to order. She chose a burgundy and black chevron pont de roma knit fabric from Girl Charlee. It’s no surprise that my sister ordered chevron (she loves chevron) and it’s definitely no surprise that she ordered garnet and black (go Gamecocks!).

I have not worked with pont de roma before, but my-oh-my this fabric was so stinkin’ soft I just wanted to pet it! It has a beautiful, easy drape. It’s sturdy, but has a good stretch. For the deal she got on the fabric, I had low expectations, but wow – it was dreamy. Girl Charlee is my go-to for knit fabric – great quality and great prices.

And…later on that evening, I spoke on a “What are they doing now?” career panel hosted by USC’s Arnold School of Public Health. This was my second time speaking on the panel – the first time, the room was so full there were students standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the back. The program has really grown since I graduated! (And obviously the students are still just as curious as we were about what on Earth to do with your degree in public health.)

I love looking out at the wide-eyed, bushy-tailed students – they’re so full of motivation to save the world, but yet scared to death about what the future holds (and for these students, they obviously want to hear it holds a j-o-b). I was one of the first 10 or so students to enroll in the undergrad [public health] program at USC so I always feel like a dinosaur when I talk to current students. Nonetheless, I am so honored and so humbled to be asked to speak on such a panel 🙂

Day 2

I had been intermittently working on my second Noodlehead Envelope Clutch (remember my first?!) since the weekend. While my sister cut pieces for the Canny dress on Monday, I snagged a few minutes to add a few more stitches. I took my time to get all the details right. I even added 6 additional card pockets to the interior (opposite of the zipper & 3 card slots). I wanted it to be a functional wallet that I could throw inside my Noodlehead Super Tote (remember my Super Tote?!) during the work week and pull out as a grab-and-go bag for the weekend and running errands.

My finished Envelope Clutch!

My finished Envelope Clutch!

I know, you’re probably going all heart-eyes over the fabric aren’t you?! I picked up this stunning print while in England over the holidays. I fell madly in love with Cath Kidston while we were there. On Christmas, Jeremy’s Aunt received a London Buses bag from her cousin and my mouth started watering. The print was so whimsical and as Jeremy’s Aunt started telling us all about Cath Kidston’s themed stores (where everything – from wallets to notebooks to luggage – is covered in these novelty patterns), I knew we had to visit the Newcastle location.

The store was such a delight. I wanted to move in and stay there forever, but my Hubs hates to shop (especially for fabric) so I beelined for the corner where they had the fabric stash and picked one to take home with me. While I really liked the oilcloth selection, I decided to go with one of the cotton prints (more of a canvas/home decor weight) because it was familiar and knew I could use it for multiple projects.

envelope clutch 2

How perfect is that sweet little butterfly?!

For the interior and wrist strap (PS: this is my favorite wrist strap tutorial), I used a shimmery gold home decor fabric I had lying around. I wanted to make pink piping for the exterior of the bag, but decided to forgo because I became impatient (le sigh…must get that under control). The pink fabric used for the inside of the zipper pocket and for the card slots was from a pair of medical scrub pants. It matched the fabric perfectly!

envelope clutch 3

I wish you could see how perfectly shimmery the interior is – these pictures don’t do it justice.

I can’t speak highly enough of Noodlehead patterns. Anna is pure genius. The details of the bags may take a bit longer than what you’re used to (if you’re used to sewing basic bags), but they are so worth it! In the end you’ll have a bag that you never get tired of because it is so stinkin’ functional (which is what has happened with my Super Tote which just underwent its first washing because I literally use it daily for work)!

I’ve been eyeballing Anna’s recently released Caravan Tote & Pouch. The bag has a lot of little details that are specifically handy for knitters. While I’m not a knitter, Jeremy’s grandmother is – and while we were in England she was working on knitting my third(!) sweater! To say I love her might be an understatement so obviously I’d like to make her a Caravan Tote.

Stay Tuned

Coming later this week, I’ll share with you the rest of the projects I’m working on! I’m hoping to stay on this super-productive-sewing-kick for the rest of the week! 😉

Melly Sews Favorite Purse {and mine too!}

In July I visited Baltimore for work. The trip snuck up on me and backed right up to our annual trip to Asheville.

As usual, I had about a bajillion sewing projects running through my head that I was determined to make before leaving. At the top of the list was Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse. I knew this would be the perfect travel bag – it has ample pockets and is larger than my usual cross-body pattern.

And so, I spent the Friday evening before leaving for Baltimore cutting out and taping the paper pattern pieces followed by cutting the fabric. Since I wasn’t going to sew until Saturday, I pinned the paper pattern pieces to the fabric pieces so I could easily locate pieces for construction.

I had bought the pattern when Melly was running a killer sale for Memorial Day weekend (you should sign up for her newsletter so you can get in on those and see all the free patterns & tutorials she offers – and check out her blog).

I was feeling a little intimidated with all the zippers involved with constructing the Favorite Purse, but I’ve been practicing with simple zipper clutches lately (here’s my favorite tutorial!) and was feeling more confident.

Melly includes great instructions in her pattern with lots of helpful pictures.

I even learned how to make my own bias tape which was very exciting after I had looked at fabric shops to see if I could find a cute package of patterned bias tape a few weeks ago (in an effort to save time) and was super bummed to discover only solid colors 😦 I knew I wanted the main fabric to be solid for versatility, but wanted the bias tape to add a little pizzazz. So, I taught myself! It was much easier than I thought.

I’m really excited at how my bag turned out AND how it perfectly matches my Noodle Head Super Tote (which I used as my carry on bag).

favpurse

matching handmade bags for the WIN!

One thing to note about my version of the Favorite Purse is that I excluded the oval shaped side tabs. I had originally cut out the pieces and fully intended to add them (because they looked so cute!), but attaching the bias tape around the curved edges almost killed me. I had little time to spare so I just nixed them from my design (since they weren’t essential) and it turned out okay! 🙂

I also added a magnetic clasp to the front pocket (behind my label on the interior). I did not add a magnetic clasp to the back pocket (which looks the same as the front without a label) because it would be lying flat against me so would likely stay shut (and it did). I appreciated the back pocket not having a clasp because it actually made it more convenient for holding my plane tickets.

My zippers are a bit mismatched because I decided late Friday night that I’d spend the whole day Saturday constructing the purse. I knew if I went to the craft store for matching zippers in the morning, I’d be there for hours buying all sorts of other things and lose precious construction time. {I needed to be up early Sunday morning to drive to Charlotte to catch my flight. And I still hadn’t packed. Time was of the essence.}

The black zipper at the top is from The Zipper Shop on Etsy, the interior zipper (I used a 6 inch zipper and added fabric zipper tabs on each end so it fit the area I’d cut in the interior to attach) is from The Zipper Stop on Etsy, and the light blue zipper that you see on the front is a vintage zipper I picked up at an estate sale (never underestimate the goodies you can find at a garage or estate sale!).

On similar note, I recently ordered zippers from The Zipper Shop on Etsy. I love the selection and the quality of these zippers. The shop is located in North Carolina which also makes me happy (we Carolinas like to stick together 😉 #GeographyJoke) and the shop owner is super fast with shipping!

I just ordered these beauties and can’t wait to use them!

zipper

[Click the image to be taken to these zippers on Etsy]

I skipped making my own removable strap. Thanks to my obsession with vintage purses and the fact that many of them have removable straps (and my friend Emily who brings me straps she finds while thrifting!), I had a few on hand so I knew one was sure to work. I had a shorter leather luggage strap that Emily found a few months ago that worked perfect (thanks Emily!)! Since the bag is a good bit deeper than my usual cross-body bags + I’m a good bit shorter than the average person, this shorter strap was a life saver (because I couldn’t find an adjustable strap in my stash to match!).

Excluding the time it took to cut out and piece together the paper pieces (which wasn’t too bad) and cut the fabric pieces, the bag took a full day to construct (if you eliminate my coffee reheating breaks and a dinner break [yes, I forgot about lunch], it was probably close to 6-ish hours). That being said, it was totally worth it! I know I am going to get a lot of use out of this bag – it’s by far my most useful yet (because of all the pockets and the depth! It’s got the storage of a shoulder bag, but the comfortable wear and functionality of a cross-body bag…win!).

From the airport to the streets of the Inner Harbor (shopping, dining, sight seeing and wandering), this bag was perfect. It easily held all my necessities and even a few small souvenirs. It kept my plane tickets, room key, conference badge and other essentials organized and easily accessible so I wasn’t awkwardly digging around trying to find something when I needed it.

Oh, and here I am taking shameless elevator selfies after arriving to Baltimore {I just had to get an “in action” shot so you could see how fabulous this bag is!}:

travel bags

Matching handmade bags & my weirdest wolf shirt make for great travel attire 😉

Interested in making your own version of Melly Sews‘ Favorite Purse? Find the pattern here.

What I’m Lovin’ in July

Guess what happened again?!

Yep, I’m late on July’s What I’m Lovin’ post, but I figured it’d be a good way to kick off August 😉

resliced by Jordan

Here’s my list of what I was lovin’ in July (and maybe still lovin’ in August! 😉 )

1. Inspiration from the ReFashionista! Did you see that awesome post from BuzzFeed about her?!

I had already heard about the ReFashionista from my dear friend Shanika and have been hoping to run into her around town (she’s from Columbia too!). We haven’t met in person yet, but I’m following her blog like we’re besties.

Promptly after reading the BuzzFeed post, I skipped on over to Facebook and signed up to receive notifications from the ReFashionista’s page.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Now every time she posts, I see the link and become immediately infatuated with the magic she performs on sad, deserted thrift wear. The other day she posted about a seersucker house dress refashion which has since sent me into a tizzy looking for an abandoned house dress.

refashionista

Mind blown. She’s a genius.

And this one! It’s a no sew refashion that involves her tying the sleeves around her waist — I mean, who thinks of this brilliance?! Oh yeah, the ReFashionista.

I think my favorite part about the ReFashionista’s blog is that she includes step-by-step instructions (usually with pictures) of how she performed the refashion. A girl who shares her tricks – now that’s what I love! 🙂

2. Supporting my local thrift store! This is a double whammy.

First, I love a good purge (remember that time I told you about my mission to live small?). I’ve been on a kick this summer of simplifying which apparently means reorganizing my fabric collection a billion times and going through my closet filling donation bags…over and over.

Second, I love dropping donations off at Revente’s Second Chances because the staff is always friendly and they always have the best stock! (AND their sales benefit the local Women’s Shelter! Win. Win. Win.)

Example: I have been riding around with 3 bags in my car that I’d been meaning to donate (aren’t we all guilty of this?!). On my lunch break this week I decided to swing by while I was out and alleviate my back seat. Well – some purple polka dots caught my eye and next thing I know I had found this Boden dress in perfect condition for only $15!

boden

Seriously. How precious is the collar?!

Keep an eye on my Instagram because you know I’ll post a picture when I wear it! 😉

{Confession: I didn’t even try it on because…$15 for a Boden, y’all! I figured I could pull some of my ReFashionista inspiration on it if I have to!}

3. The fact that running for even 5 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart attack. 

You’re doubting me aren’t you? Check out the very-dreamy Brian William’s clip from NBC Nightly News.

As a Public Health grad, I know that any physical exercise is healthy. BUT our standard was always 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Alas – we can all feel fine with the sub-half-hour gym visit after a long day at work (or is that just me?).

Looking for a quick run? Try this one from my friend Alex at Work Hard Eat Harder:

run

[Click the photo for more details on Work Hard Eat Harder]

 4. Matching handmade bags!

Keep an eye out for a post about my version of Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse (which may also be my favorite purse now!) that I sewed up just in time for Baltimore (also – more to come on that trip!). The cherry on top of this bag: it matches my Noodle Head Super Tote!

favpurse

Doesn’t every gal need a full set of matching bags? Up next: a wallet! 🙂

5. Rediscovering how much I love to read!

The Hubs started a new job a few weeks ago and has to be to work at 6:00am. In addition, I’m working our “summer schedule” at the school district meaning: a 10 hour days that start at 7:00 with Fridays off. I don’t have quite enough time to get by the gym before work like usual so that’s been rescheduled to after work (which makes for a very long day, but I’m not complaining because I rest up on Fridays and sew!). All that said, I’ve been trading morning news for some quiet reading time which has been so delightful.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog's head peace remained.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog’s head peace remained.

I’ve got a few summer books to recommend so keep an eye out for those posts soon!

6. Supporting my favorite non-profit with photos!

My very favorite local non-profit who tirelessly fights for women’s reproductive rights in South Carolina (oh heyyy TellThem!) invited me to participate in their photo-a-day challenge for August via Twitter. I’m always looking for an excuse to post more photos (I’m obsessed with Instagram) so obviously I’m in!

tellthem

I’d love it if you participated with me! You can read more about the challenge on TellThem’s blog, but here are the basics: post a photo that relates to the corresponding day’s theme (ie: August 1st we’ll all post something related to “celebration”), include the hashtag #SCrahrah and tag @TellThemSC in your post (find TellThem on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest).

*AND*

for the grand finale..

7. It’s my sister’s birthday month!!

kt

Words can’t describe my infatuation with my sister. She is EVERYTHING to me and I love love love her so much!

She’s not one for big birthday celebrations, but I’ve got some great crafting planned to make up for the fact that I was out of town for her birthday…again. Keep an eye out for that too – you bet I’ll share some pictures with you!

{Catch up on all What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts here}

What I’m lovin’ in May

Today is the first of a recurring series I’m calling “What I’m lovin’!”.

Here’s how it works: On the last Friday of every month, I’ll share a list of all the things I’m lovin’ during the month.

I’m so excited to share this month’s with you – it gave me motivation to look past the 90 degree heat and thick humidity that has engulfed Columbia to see all there is to love about May!

may

1. Colorful, fresh produce is in season!

Last month, my family and I filled my grandparent’s garden with tiny plants that have blossomed and are now bearing fruit and vegetables for us to enjoy!

squash

Little baby butternut squash plant

First zucchini of the season from the family garden!

First zucchini of the season from the family garden!

lettuce

Fresh lettuce from my front yard garden 🙂

 

2. Workouts from Work Hard Eat Harder!

It’s just a bonus that my newest blogger obsession also happens to be a high school classmate of mine (so it’s verified: she’s pretty stellar).

The first workout of hers I tried was the 20 minute Treadmill Blast – and as a runner who completed a half marathon a few months ago I tell you..this was tough! But it left me wanting more! I also tried her Egg-o-cado recipe and have been making it several times a week as a post-workout breakfast – quick, easy & delicious!

My favorite workout so far is the Total Body Circuit – tried it with the Hubs and he also loved it!

totalbodycircuit

 

I love the combination of a workout + a recipe in Alex’s posts. She also includes links to videos that demonstrate some of the moves which is really helpful for the uncoordinated, clueless people of the world like me! There’s also very little (if any) equipment required so you can try these high intensity workouts wherever you are!

 

3. The Etsy #CraftParty is just around the corner! I’m helping some fellow crafty friends {Shanika of Life is Pichey & Emily from Butterfly Vintage} plan the event in Columbia! We’re so excited about it!

banner

If you’re wondering what the world it is, check out Etsy’s website for details about this international event. If you’re local, mark your calendar for June 6th from 6-9pm & come craft with us on the patio of First Citizens Cafe on Main Street – a block from the State House! Be sure to follow Columbia’s Etsy Market Team on Facebook for the latest event details and for all things crafty in Columbia!

 

4. The fabric on my new Super Tote bag!

Not only is the fabric sweet, the pattern (from Noodlehead) is stellar – classic and oh-so-useful! 

supertote

 

5. Roses are bloomin’ all over!

You may have seen my post at the beginning of the month about my Coretta Scott King rose bush so you know how much I love roses! Well, I’m happy to say that my rose bush is doing ok in my flower bed out front! My Gammy would be so proud! 🙂

rose

 

6. My Magic Bullet I’m really putting some miles on that thing!

If you’re in the mood for a smoothie, check out my latest Tasty Tuesday post for an easy-peasy, healthy recipe to keep you cool in the summer heat!

magic bullet

AND it’s my anniversary month!

What are you lovin’ about May?

 

 

Noodlehead Super Tote

Last week I fell in love with the functionality of Noodlehead’s Super Tote pattern & bought it. Best purchase of the week!

My sister has been asking me to make her a “teacher bag” for the longest time. I knew a “teacher bag” meant lots of space and lots of pockets so I’d been putting it off…until Sew Caroline’s Super Tote in progress on Instagram caught my eye. Now that looked like a bag big enough to function as a teacher bag, travel bag, conference tote, beach bag, diaper bag, cat carrier–oh, the possibilities!

So, I did what any trained researcher (#DataDiva) does and started stalking Noodlehead on all social media platforms (including browsing the #SuperTote hashtag on Instagram to see how other people’s version of the bag turned out). Upon my research I discovered this pattern would be well worth the $8 and moved forward with making this my next project.

It was nice to give my brain a rest from designing and just follow someone else’s pattern. I have been struggling with zippers and I really liked this bag’s recessed zipper — it might be my new solution to zipper-top bags!

I’m a very slow, methodical artist (but I heard that “Slow Design” is a real thing now so I’m in luck) so this bag took me two weekends to complete. I was also being very diligent about following the pattern (and taking breaks to reheat my coffee).

I started with cutting the pattern pieces and taping them together while watching TV with my Mom on Mother’s Day (I can’t sit still for very long so this was my best compromise to “relaxing together”).

Tip: Pin the paper pattern pieces to the cut fabric pieces to keep track of which pieces are what. This will save you time later when you’re shuffling around fabric pieces trying to figure out which one is the back exterior vs the front pocket.

I have a fabric hoarding problem that worked in my favor for this — I had enough fabric lying around to make a pairing that made me swoon!

fabric

The floral pattern fabric on the left is a vintage scrap from Butterfly Vintage. It matched perfectly with some mint upholstery fabric I picked up at Fabric 101‘s warehouse sale this past winter (I think I got a flat of almost 3 yards for $5! If you’re local to Columbia, keep up with them on Facebook so you’ll know when their next sale will be so you can stock up). The brown pattern fabric on the right is also from Fabric 101. I had intended to make curtains out of it for my kitchen, but as most of my fabric does, it became a bag instead.

label

Have you seen my new labels?! I’m slightly obsessed. A friend (and local machinist) makes them by etching my logo into metal scraps. Since the labels are metal now (instead of cloth), I have to hand stitch each one. They’re well worth the effort because they’re so chic!

Also obsessed with how perfect the mint accented the floral pattern! I decided to buy brown piping instead of attempting to make my own. Perhaps next time I’ll give it a try, but the store bought stuff gave the top of the front pocket a professional feel 🙂 I also used a magnetic clasp to hold the front pocket shut. The magnetic clasp and lining of the front pocket were optional, but I recommend both.

I had a hard time capturing pictures of the inside of my bag so you may want to refer back to Noodlehead’s post for better interior pictures of the pattern.

Here’s a shot of the inside of my Super Tote:

inside1

I used some light-weight pink cotton scraps for the interior pockets.

One thing that wasn’t clear in the pattern was whether top of the pocket fabric (over the elastic) should be laying flat or if it should be cinched. I stitched mine flat at first and went back and cinched it. I think the cinching was supposed to be implied, but I’m not great at reading between the lines 😉

super tote inside

See the pleats on the side? I love the feminine touch it gives the bag!

super tote pleated side

Until my dogs evolve to having opposable thumbs, I settle for the Hubs as my informal photographer. That being said, my photographer made sure to include my wolf shirt… (yes, I am way too old to own a wolf shirt from a tween clothing shop, but whatever. Sometimes you just need a wolf shirt).

super tote1I hope you like the bag! This pattern would make the perfect summer project! If sewing isn’t your thing, I am planning to make more to add to resliced’s shop on Etsy. If you’re interested in placing a custom order, you can do so on this page – we can work together to pick out colors and patterns for your Super Tote.