March 11, 2014

ATTN: My blog has moved!

After a short hiatus, my blog has moved under my Fruit From My Hands name.  It is available at so join me over there.


September 20, 2012


I'd like to take a commercial break before returning to my regularly scheduled blogposts of "fruits of my hands" and share an intriguing idea suggested by a friend's blogpost.  Cari, over at The Printed Peach, created a very ambitious list of things that she wanted to have accomplished by a certain age.  Cari sparked an idea in me.  I've struggled lately with knowing what direction to take next, what project to start, what skill to learn, what mountain to climb.  I was particularly impressed by her "strikethroughs".  Do I have anything that I can cross off my list?  Have I accomplished anything in my life?

The answers were indeed in the list!  Understand that I will turn 50 in a couple of years and have several more years on Cari, so don't judge either of us. I remembered being 21 and started my list there.  Some things are from that time in my life and some are from last week.  Laugh along with me as I celebrate with myself.

50 things by 50
  1. Fall in love
  2. Get married 
  3. Get a full-time job with benefits
  4. Have a baby
  5. Buy a car
  6. Buy a house
  7. Visit a Europe.
  8. Fly in a plane
  9. Learn to ride a motorcycle
  10. Get my motorcycle license
  11. Learn to sew
  12. Learn to quilt
  13. Learn to crochet
  14. Learn to tat
  15. Learn to make baskets
  16. Learn calligraphy
  17. Wear jeans (again) 
  18. Buy clothes off the rack (again)
  19. Wear cowboy boots (again)
  20. Line dance
  21. Get my concealed weapon permit
  22. Shoot a bow
  23. Visit Florida
  24. Visit California
  25. Visit the Biltmore
  26. Visit Alaska
  27. Meet a celebrity
  28. Compete in a 5k
  29. Learn photoshop
  30. Create my own brand
  31. Develop the perfect logo
  32. Make my own label
  33. Be a successful blogger
  34. Design the perfect line of purses
  35. Write and market my own sewing patterns
  36. Write a sewing book
  37. Read a e-book
  38. See a broadway show
  39. Go to the opera
  40. Zipline
  41. Have a sewing/crafting/design studio
  42. Have my own business selling homemade dog treats
  43. Grow a garden. 
  44. Buy & wear fancy lingerie in some color other than beige, black, white, or grey from Victoria Secret 
  45. Own a designer leather bag
  46. Learn to swim
  47. Play a mandolin
  48. Ride amusement park rides
  49. Find the perfect "lost art" and learn it from a master craftsman to carry on the tradition.
  50. Assist Max in creating his food product business and give tours through his factory.

Thanks, Cari.  That was fun and you've helped me think about a lot of things.  If I died tomorrow, I won't have left too many things undone.  And the only thing preventing me from completing the list is my lack of time or focus to sit down and do what matters to me.

September 14, 2012

Truck Trash Bag

I've wanted to make a trash bag for my vehicle for many years and never found the time.  I've toyed around with many design ideas without ever really settling on one that spoke to me.  During some browsing on Pinterest, I discovered a tutorial from A Ditchin' Time Quilts.  There is nothing that sparks my creativity more than seeing someone else's design and realizing that is not how I would do it.  After a few days of thinking through the process, I created this little Bulldog bag.

Again, I should have taken photos through the entire design process but know.  This bag's dimensions were based on the little bags that are given out at the dentist's know the one they use for free toothbrush, free sample of toothpaste and appointment card?  Those dentist sample bags have been my trash bag for years simply because they are a heavier grade of plastic and have a neat little circle handle cut out of the bag that easily fits over door handles or cigarette lighters.

The bulldog fabric was leftover from some sleep pants that I made my husband.  Shhhh, he wasn't too keen on my taking a photo or blogging about THOSE.  But strangely enough, the colors matched the interior of my truck.  This bag handle fits securely over my power jack cover button.  I used a short length of aquarium air hose in the casing at the top to hold the mouth of the bag open.  Although it is not present, I use a grocery store plastic bag inside this bag so that the trash can be taken out easily and will not allow liquids to leak out. A fresh plastic bag is easy to replaced since there are millions of them in every corner of our planet.

September 11, 2012

Jeans iPad cover

 This should be a tutorial.  I realize that now, but in the excitement of designing and tweaking and drafting and trimming, I really did not take the time to think of taking photos for each step.  Suffice it to say I bought myself an iPad.  I tell myself and my husband that it was so that I could be more mobile in my job and get more work done but I really think it was because I wanted to design a really cool tablet cover.  I've seen so many different designs. I have so many different ideas.  I can see the search for the perfect tablet cover could be almost as consuming as the search for the perfect purse.

So here is to trying to write tutorials and designing patterns.  I have the skills, I have the resources, I have the knowledge.  I lack the ability to find the time.  From now on, I need to make the time.

Notice the blog is stark white.  I removed the "trimmings" a few days ago.  I'm rethinking my brand.  I need to come up with something original and unique.  It is coming.  I feel it.  I have some doodles down on paper, like that really helps me in the digital world, but I still draw better with a pencil and paper. The universe is full of such a vast array of colors and we don't do anything any justice if we use black and white.

So, good (colorful) things to come!

September 16, 2011

My Bag Is So Bright, Ya Gotta Wear Shades

As promised, this is the confidence-builder project number 2: my orange Harley bag.  I have been trying to find a tackle twill hoodie to make a bag for myself.  I've calculated, sketched, planned and searched trying to find an appropriate hoodie and a final prototype. I'm finicky about my bags so this has not been an easy chore.  But, once I saw this bright, hazard orange and black Harley hoodie at a local Harley Davidson dealer, I knew it was the prefect one for me.  This photo does not truly capture the color of this bag.  It is bright hazard orange, the type of orange that you see on state road construction worker, the same color as traffic cones.  But I like orange so that is fine.  The photo is purposefully dark so that the reflective stripes show.  The hoodie was trimmed in Scotchlite reflective material and I've tried to retain as much of that as possible.  Notice the stripes on the sleeves were trim for the pockets which are the sleeve cuffs.  The lining fabric was another fabulous find.  I'm sure it was originally meant to be a open-weave fabric design but at first glance, it looked like diamond plate to me and that was more than perfect for this bag.

What cannot be seen from this angle is a large embroidered Harley Davidson on the back of the back.  It came from the back of the hoodie, not a problem I've had with the previous hoodies.  So, I simply moved the kangaroo pocket to the front which is where I wanted the pocket.  This bag is so roomy, it holds my Slate in the laptop pocket inside and even has enough room for the accompanying bluetooth keyboard. One of the cuff pockets on the end is large enough to hold my two-part power cord while the other will hold my phone.

And another design touch is to keep the labels and the care tags and re-attach them inside on the lining.

Ahhh, I'm finally happy!  I have a bag for me and my toys.  But, now, there are more hoodies to convert into diaper bags and messenger bags and that is just the beginning.  I have my design pencil out making notes on other pocket options.

Long live hoodies!

September 12, 2011

Meaningful Distraction

So, what to do?  My current quilt project is literally kicking my butt.  It is for a client and I'm having the worst time with it.  It went together flawlessly and now, way too many months later, my mother's health has deteriorated and my projects are piling up.  My sewing machine is soooo NOT even trying to be agreeable.  Quilting it has turned into a nightmare.  I have the feeling I have lost my sewing touch.  All my years of expertise and skill could not be found in my sewing studio.  My heart was breaking over my new machine and my inability to use it.  I finally had a fit.  I mean a throw-down, knock-out fit and decided to seize the situation in my grubby little hands and wrestle it to the ground.   I've been around enough years to know that when I'm struggling with a project, I need to lay it down and come back to it.  So, that being decided, I grabbed up a couple of quickies that would inspire confidence in myself once again.

Thus, you see above, one of the fruits of the wrestling match.  I have an ASUS Eee Slate at work.  My Slate is a lovely little device that I have grown fonder of as the days wear on.  The problem is a cover for it.  The accompanying sleeve is nothing but institutional, generic black and vinyl.  And because of its new cutting-edge design, there are no commercial covers, not that I'd buy one.  I'm not the type to be average.  The Slate is a PC alternative to an iPad but it is different in that it is not the same size so even those covers or carriers won't work.  So, the creative juices have been flowing and an idea blossomed.

I purchased these two place mats at a local Pier One store.  I hadn't been in one in years and suddenly, these place mats caught my eye.  Yes, the ones you put on your table under your dinner plate kind.  Once, very expensive, they were now on clearance for 77¢.  They had a lovely paisley on one side with coordinating stripes on the other.  The large white button is actually a piece of jewelry found in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby.  The colors are lovely and unique.

One design problem:  I can make a cover for my Slate but it loses battery power rather quickly so I can't take it very far without needing the power cord so I needed a pocket for the large power converter and the associated cords. And this is what I came up with.  It is hard to see in this photo, but a zipper was inserted in the fold on the top place mat and then the place mat was folded and stitched down to create a pocket that barely holds all my accessories.
I really need to spend some time writing this project up.  I've not seen any other sleeve patterns with a similar pocket.  And I don't know how people take their gadgets with out pockets.

Yay!  I carried it in to work today and it looks like part of my mojo is back.  This is the first of my 2 confidence-building projects from the weekend.  Stay tuned for number 2.  It will blind you!

July 8, 2011

Another Twist on Murray State

I'm so behind on my projects.  Work is consuming my life. But, I managed to slip in a couple of days off to get some sewing started.  And lo and behold, I actually got something finished.  Here is another bag.......identical to the others but for a different use.  This one is a co-worker's messenger bag.  She specifically wanted all the same pockets as the diaper bag.  She supplied the shirt (a bargain find at Walgreen's) and she supplied the lining fabric.  I had not thought of using a black-based fabric but the brightness of the peace signs made up for it.  A tip I read once suggested always using white-based lining fabrics in your bags to help you see when you are digging for those keys or flash drives.  And, an added bonus for this one is all of the peace signs face in the same direction!  It hadn't occurred to me that it was a directional print until I started cutting.  But luck was with me this time and I got them all in the same direction.  Yay!

Now, I have a hoodie squirreled away for myself that I think will make an excellent messenger but I want some small zippered pockets on the front......Mmmmm, must get out the design paper and do some preliminary sketches.  As soon as I finish a couple more projects.