Last week I made five patchwork bags and listed one on Etsy. They are game/dice/toy/travel bags. The first patchwork bag I ever made was for Peanut back when he was one (the picture on the bottom). As we prepared for a trip, it became clear that he would absolutely need a special bag to carry his plastic nesting cups for vacation. Notice the trend? I might also have been looking for an excuse to do some patchwork sewing, because it fascinates me. That bag is still in use and still makes me smile. While working on this blog post, I realized depth of my affection for this particular style of bag and instead of holding back and being polite, I decided to let loose and tell you all the things I think are amazing about them!
A little bag for a small child is wonderful for its simplicity and endless possibilities. A bag that children can open and close themselves is a great object. These bags are great for travel. Their small size limits how much the kids can bring with them. If it doesn’t fit in the bag, then it doesn’t leave the house. Once out and about, toddlers love opening and closing the bags to take individual toys out. In the car or on a plane or in a restaurant, a little bag of special toys can provide endless entertainment. A bag can be a cave or a bed or a field, becoming part of play once it’s not holding toys. A bag full of peg people can become it’s own world.
Older children always seem to have a collection of little things to take along. Whether it’s acorns in the forest or the latest supermarket collectable toy, gathering seems to be a hallmark of 4-6 year-olds. A personal bag gives them a way to take their collection with them and imposes limits on how much they can take. It’s also a great way to take games on visits or trips. Games in boxes are bulky and the box itself isn’t always very sturdy. A card game or dice game in a bag is easy to carry and easy to identify.
The color and pattern combining that makes up patchwork allows for endless possibilities. There’s nothing more fascinating than to see how a piece of fabric can be transformed by its neighbors. Making patchwork pieces is an experience in endless variation. For this bag, I sat down one day while Pumpkin was coloring and started trying to figure out just how many combinations there would be for a nine patch piece. The answer is mathematical, of course, but working it out through coloring was fun. I imposed a couple rules because I was trying to figure out a good process for making multiple bags. The results were fascinating. Patchwork or quilt sewing is about the magic of the process as much as the beauty of the finished piece.
I’ve made a lot of drawstring bags over the years, always looking for a favorite method. I like a lined bag for anything the kids are going to use. Exposed seams on the inside are always a weak point and a lined bag has the added element of a surprise when you open it up. I’ve combined a couple different methods to come up with the one I used for these bags. Extra stitching around the string openings gives added strength there. Top stitching at the top of the bag keeps the lining in place and gives a pretty ruffled effect when the bag is closed. These bags can be opened and closed time and time again without wearing thin or wearing out!
So there’s my little drawstring bag obsession in a nutshell. With the Herfstmarkt at Peanut’s school coming up on 1 November, game bags in beautiful fall colors were just the thing to make. I’ll bring along my small collection of vintage games as well. A bag and a game would make a terrific Sinterklaas or Christmas gift. The bags are 9cm x 21cm (7.5in x 8.25in) and made of 100% cotton. There’s one listed on Etsy now, in case you can’t wait until the market or won’t be able to attend.
A quick look at my Flickr feed revealed a surprising fact. I haven’t been blogging about my products! That’s complete silliness, because look at the groovy stuff I’ll be taking to the Open Dag at de Lindenberg in Nijmegen on Sunday! The bibs are lovely and that wool card holder – let me tell you about the wool card holder.
Here are some recent additions to my Etsy shop. The bib is made with fabric from Lotta Jansdotter’s Glimma collection. I love the neutral taupe and the mustard yellow. This combination is really beautiful and a great cheerful neutral. The covered notebooks come in three different interior colors: green, red, and yellow. They come with a notebook and when that’s full, you can replace it with either a Moleskine Volant or a Clairefontaine 9×14 notebook. Both are great choices.
If you don’t get a chance to buy one on-line, I will also have these with me at the FeelGoodMarket on 16 March in Eindhoven!
This morning we said good-bye to Grandma and Grandpa. They have been visiting for a couple weeks. The littles have had a grand time basking in all the attention and love and I’ve gotten to do a whole lot of sewing and got time to get my Etsy shop up and open. It seems that Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed themselves as well – they keep talking about coming back! We call that a win for everyone. And, you wonder, what have I been making?
My first market experience has given me my first real feedback on what products and colors are going to work at this particular market. While part of me wishes that my story will be the one of the girl who hit the ground running, in reality, I expect it will take a year or longer to really figure out what I want to make (lots of) and what you lovely folk want to own. So, with that in mind, I’ve a couple plans for the next round (December 22 at the Linden Market – coming?).
On Sunday, 1 December EarthAppleStudio will be making her market debut at the Lindenmarket in Nijmegen. I’ll be at the Lindenberg (right downtown) from 12:00 until 17:00 helping turn this work space into a lively, inspiring market. Will you?
This came about when Marieke offered to share her market table with me. She takes pictures and prints them on plywood. The effect is stunning! Have a look at her Pinterest page. She’s the pro and I’m going to see if I can keep up just a wee little bit.
Over the past couple years, the number of cards I’ve been carrying around has multiplied. Not only are there bank cards, library and museum cards for me and kids, but nearly every store I go into has some kind of tracking, I mean loyalty, program they want to give me a card for. It’s exasperating and my poor wallet can’t handle it. My aesthetic senses were groaning at the little zipper bag I’ve been using for cards as well. I know, you remember my ode to zipper bags and can’t believe I just wrote that, right? Well, a solution was in order.
Let’s pause a moment to appreciate the joy of zipper bags. Obviously, one needs to have them in every possible size and material. Some soft, some a bit sturdier, at least one waterproof, translucent is nice as well to save the deep digging. I use them for everything: pencils, travel bags (at least one each for toiletries, medicines & bandaids, chargers and cords, underwear and socks, office supplies, passports and documents, cards and cash), makeup, office supplies, coupons, and the list goes on and on. So as far as I’m concerned, you can’t have too many! Making many is another issue all together.
I have a little confession to make. I love keeping an agenda. One is the fact that without one I’d be a complete wreck. The mom who doesn’t know what time to pick up her kids? That’s me. An agenda (a nice big one) gives me a place to write down appointments, but also household reminders (change sheets), meal plans, and things to do. Unfortunately, most journals fall into two categories: fun/useless/expensive or boring/useful/affordable. My solution was to buy a good useful journal and pretty it up, you can see my first agenda cover on my other blog. Over the years, my agenda needs have expanded, so now I’m making a desk size, and you can have one, too!
After all that fabric buying and inspiration, this week I finally got started on making. I’ve had a couple of ideas percolating for a while now. In the past, I’ve thought mainly in terms of individual pieces. Usually those pieces corresponded with my needs. As in – oh, I need a bag. Hey, why not design and make one?! Now, I’m trying to think in terms of a product line. That means, not just a single bag, but a series that works together. When the realization came to me it was scary. Now that I’ve started working, it’s fantastic. There’s no need to stop with one piece, I can just keep going on to the next one!