Super Tote Front

I am in love with the Super Tote I made this weekend. Seriously, this bag has typewriter fabric, linen with pleats, piping, and is mega sized…it couldn’t be better. In L-O-V-E.

Super Tote Side

The pattern can be purchased here from noodlehead, and it’s so well written. The only problems that I personally had came with my own refusal to want to follow directions and to do things my own way. There were a few times that I wanted to get ahead of myself and skip steps, but when I would just slow down and read everything, the pattern worked out perfectly.

I had ordered the Melody Miller typewriters last year to make pouches with, but I hadn’t realized just how large the print was. I tucked it away, and when I found this pattern, I knew it had a use. I made the front pocket, as well as the backside of the bag with it. The sides are just a medium weight linen, and I like how it crinkles, especially at the pleat. I made my own piping as well. I figured that would give me a lot of trouble, but overall, it was one of the easier parts of the whole project.

Super Tote Top

The toughest part by far was putting in the zipper. I’m not sure if my main sewing machine just needs servicing (I know that it does), but I really struggled to make the stitching look neat both around the zipper itself, as well as on the zipper tabs. My Brother machine had terrible, messy stitches and I couldn’t keep the tension correct. I switched over to my Husqvarna, and things got a lot better. That little machine gives me its own share of problems, but it really helped me out with this zipper problem.

Super Tote Inside

It took me about two days to finish, but had I not had so many machine issues, I imagine that I could have finished it in one full day if I committed myself to completing it in one shot. I really need breaks during projects like this though, so I don’t let myself become frustrated.

I’m really happy with the end result! In fact, I’ve already packed it full of my things, so I know it’s going to get a lot of use this summer!

Quilted Notebook Cover

Earlier this week I had a request to make one of my patchwork journal covers that I sell in my Etsy shop to fit a standard spiral composition notebook. I was excited to get started on a variation of what I normally make, and thought it would be fun to share how I made it with all of you.

It should be noted that this isn’t a real step by step pattern, but rather more of a loose idea of what I did to make it. If something isn’t clear though, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to clarify!

Quilted Notebook Cover

What will you need?
*6 strips of pretty quilting cottons, measuring at least 7 1/2″ wide x 2 3/4″ tall.
*1 piece of medium weight linen, measuring at least 13″ wide x 12″ tall
*1 piece of a quilting cotton as the lining, measuring at least 17 3/4″ wide x 11 1/2″ tall
* 2 pieces of matching quilting cottons measuring at least 8″ wide x 11 1/2″ tall (these are the pockets. You’ll want them to match.)
*2 pieces of heavyweight fusible interfacing measuring 17 3/4 ” wide x 11 1/2″ tall
*a nice cup of tea and some good music to move to while you work. (optional, I suppose.)


1.) I ended up using 6 different strips of fabric to make the patchwork on the cover. Since most of the time I’m using scraps for this step, I don’t specifically measure everything. For us, however, you’re going to need the strips to be at least 7 1/2″ wide, and when sewn together, they will need to be at least 11 1/2″ tall. I used:
*2, 2 1/4″ tall strips
*3, 2 1/2″ tall strips
*1, 2 3/4″ tall strips


2.) Sew them together with a 1/4″ seam allowance and press the seams nice and open.


3.) You’ll next want to trim down the sides of the patchwork, so that it measures 7 1/2″ wide. At this point, it still doesn’t matter too much how tall it is, as long as it’s at least 11 1/2″ tall.

4.) Make sure your cut of linen is free of wrinkles and very flat. I typically spritz my linen with a spray bottle of water and iron, and then spray lightly with spray starch and iron again. (Starching will help to keep the fibers from shifting so much when working with it.)


5.) Cut a clean, straight line along one of the 12″ edges. Pin the left side of the patchwork to the linen. Sew 1/4″ from the edge. Press the seams open.
6.) Here’s where you’re going to start getting more accurate with your measurements. Fuse one of the interfacings to the back of the front panel, making sure that the right edge of the interfacing lines up with the right side of the patchwork. The panel will probably be larger than the interfacing, but this will give you the opportunity to shift the linen on the interfacing so that the warp and weft is as straight as possible.
7.) Flip the panel over and trim along the lines of the interfacing.


8.) It’s time to quilt! Since there’s only two layers, the patchwork and the interfacing it’s not completely “quilting,” but this will give it the look of being quilted. It’s up to you on how you’d like to decorate it. For these notebooks, I typically do a zig-zag line through the patchwork just onto the edge where the linen meets. It’s up to you as to how you want yours to look.


9.) Fuse the second interfacing to the wrong side of the lining panel.
10.) For both of the pockets, fold wrong sides together hot dog style (I work with kids, sorry) and press. This will make the pockets measure 4″ wide x 11 1/2″ tall. (I tend to cut them a little taller; more like 12″, just to make sure they don’t get missed when I sew it all together. The excess will get trimmed off later.)
11.) Place the front panel right side up and place each of the pockets with the long, raw edges aligned along the sides of the panel. Place the lining right side down on top of the front and pockets and pin along the right and left sides. Sew both sides, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
12.) If there’s excess fabric from the pockets, trim along the top and bottom. Pin both sides. Sew all the way across the bottom. Sew the top, leaving about 2″ open along the top, away from both edges.


13.) Trim your corners to a scant 1/8″ and flip that bad boy right side out through its opening at the top! Make sure the corners get pressed all the way out, but be careful using sharp pointed tools that you don’t press through the corner (I’ve done that before. It’s not cool.)
14.) Press the cover nice and flat and without wrinkles. Slip stitch the opening at the top of the cover closed.


15.) There you have a finished notebook cover! Slide in your notebook and go to town filling up your notebook.

Or, maybe I should title this post, why I’ve lost my mind.


About a week ago, I started making paper pieced hexagons. It’s not really anything new; I’ve been sewing them onto bags that I make for several years now, but something must have broken in my brain because I couldn’t stop.

“I must make all the mini, half inch hexagons, and then join them into a fabulous quilt!”

Hexagon Blocks

So here’s my progress after about a week. It turns out that it takes a LOT of little hexagons to make a quilt. Even if I made it just big enough for my feet.

Hexies in a Row

And honestly, I knew that. I just thought it would be an awesome project to tote around all summer and help me to use up the scraps I’ve been hoarding keeping for projects such as this. (Oh the scraps. I’ve got too many, but I can’t bear to part with them. I’ll write about them soon.)

I’m a pretty quick handsewer, and I’m pretty neat too, but I’m surprising myself at how slow going they are. I figured I could whip out a few blocks out each evening, but to paper piece the hexies, then to sew the three rounds per block have taken more time than I thought it would. I just haven’t thought any of this out. The one thing that is helping me though, are the pre-cut hexagon papers that I purchased. I picked up a small package of them from Paper Pieces at an American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show last summer, but I blew through them quickly. I ordered a bulk pack of 1500 1/2″ pre-cuts and they’re so nice. Before, I always just made a template and then traced and cut out the hexagons myself. These are beyond awesome.

It looks like I've made more this way

This is the summer project that I started that will take me until I receive my AARP card to even come close to finishing it. In the back of my mind, I keep telling myself, “you know, if you hand piece this whole thing, you’re going to have to hand quilt it too.”

Nevermind. Push the finish date back until I’m 80 instead.

art-o-matic toledo, april 2013

I do a lot of craft and art shows each year. So far this spring, I’ve had three shows in three states:Michigan (my home state), Ohio and Indiana. Some shows are really, really good, and some shows are, well…not so good.

Last week I drove over 4 hours to Indianapolis, Indiana for a show called INDIEana Handicraft Exchange. I felt really good about it, and worked myself silly to get ready for it.

finished pouches

And so, it just turned out to not be such a good show. I base my success on so much more than just the money that I make. Sure, I love having a show that helps me pay bills and buy more supplies to be able to keep sewing, but it’s also about meeting people, passing out my business cards, getting feedback (more than just the negative feedback, too) and whether or not I had a good time. It seems like a loose way of determining if the show was good or not, but all of these things really do matter.

INDIEana handicraft exchange june 2013

I like to think that I put a lot of work and effort into all of what I do. I try very hard to make quality pieces that have great craftsmanship and aren’t shoddy. I may not be a great artist, but I do my best to make unique, exciting pieces that you won’t see at the other tables. But most importantly, I try really hard to make only the things that I like. I am very appreciative to have found an audience among the people that I’ve met and sold my silly bags and pouches to, but if I’m not happy with what I’m making, then I’m just not going to make it. Plain and simple. It’s not worth my time.

I’ve come to not be surprised when people either scoff at my prices or try to wheel and deal with me. I’ve also come to trust myself on this matter and stay firm on my prices. I know the work I’ve put into what I make, and in my heart of hearts, I know it’s worth (and is sometimes worth more than) what I price them for. People who come to shows looking for Wal-mart prices won’t find it at my table, and I don’t feel bad about it. (You shouldn’t either.)

hexie wristlet

But it’s the people who give unsolicited “criticism” about what’s on my table that really gets to me. Back around the holidays, I had someone ask if “I had anything that wasn’t so childish.” Nope lady, I’m a kid at heart and it shows. I like silly patterns with frogs and robots and squirrels. In Indianapolis, I had uninvited feedback from another woman who told me that “you’d make a lot more sales if you used more solids.” She told me that my workmanship was “nice, but a lot of people don’t like these patterns mixed together.” She then went to to pick up pieces that seemed to work for her, and compare them to the pieces that she didn’t like. Her criticism went on for a solid five minutes. I didn’t know what to say back to her. It was like a cartoon moment where my jaw was hanging open, and I couldn’t find the words to tell her how I really didn’t care what she thought! I make what I LIKE, and furthermore, no one has the right to tell me that my sales could be better! I’m doing just fine, thankyouverymuch. I just wish I could have told her that.

But on the flip-side of this, I really do love doing shows. I have made so many friends and met wonderful people who appreciate what and how I make what I do. But please just remember, if you’re at a craft show or art festival this summer and you like what the craftspeople are making, tell them, or better yet, buy something from them. And if you don’t like what they do, it’s not your job to tell them! Wait until you get back in the car to talk smack about those crazy folks!