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1  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Go Ask Alice Micro Messenger on: April 25, 2010 11:49:45 AM
I finished this last night. First bag I've made in quite a while. It is one of my micro messengers, coming in at 9" wide x 6.5 tall.





The flap is made with a fusible inkjet transfer of a painting by my friend Gina. It was placed onto Pellon 808 Craft fuse interfacing and then I sewed strips around in a log cabin style. Please see my flip and sew patchwork tutorial for full instructions on how to do this. Link below. It's decorated with some beads, charms and an odd button.

http://www.solsistershandbags.com/2009/01/tutorial-flip-and-sew-patchwork-and.html
2  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Framed abstract art quilts on: February 07, 2010 12:19:50 PM
I used to be a quilter.. well I still am, but these days I mostly make handbags. Why? Because they get done! We all know the horror that is a sewing room full of UFOs. Anyway, I've always used my quilting skills in my bags. Lately, I've been feeling the urge to quilt again, but don't want to add to my UFOs.. so I've made a few framed quilts. The beauty of a quilt combined with the done-in-a-night joy of getting to use up all those fantastic beads, yarns and button I keep accumulating.

Here are my first three.

Experimental Ophelia is a set of two.

The backgrounds are made of various batiks and hand dyed or hand painted fabrics in brown, blue and tan with a tiny bit of green. The only exception is that nice dark chocolate brown which was very expensive suede that Victor had me make a table cloth out of. The final effect looks very "world traveled" and almost antique, yet still chic.

Each quilt is about 6" wide x 14" high. The beads are czech glass bronze rondelles that look like tiny drops of liquid, large & small denim dyed shell discs that match the solid hand dyed blue fabric, real  freshwater pearl flats in iridescent cream and a single small abalone disc.





The one I finished last night is called Shanira (African for warmed by the sun) and is part of my handbag team's Growing Hope Challenge. Our team is making items based on the theme of growth to raise money for our team Kiva fund.




I am drawn deeply to the fires of creation and the warm glow of friendship and family. The circles in my quilt are representative of the centers and anchors in our lives, the things who make us what we are and ground us. The winding threads are the unexpected connections that allow us to grow and change through learning.

The quilt is decorated with many small seed beads and tiny chips of rock. It also has flat squares of stone with a gorgeous rich orange, yellow and red marbling.

The fabrics are a mix of commercial, hand dyed and hand painted. The hand dyed came from my friend and fellow etsy seller Karen of Ruby Mountain Dyeworks and the hand painted orange is from another friend and etsy seller, Molly of Monkey Shine Design.

Shanira measures 9.5" square and is in a 13" square deep bronze chocolate frame.

These are both made using a base of fusible interfacing with a flip-and-sew patchwork method. The beading is all done by hand. There is no glass in front of the quilts so the dimensional quality comes out.

I've found these to be q wonderful way to explore art quilting without a huge commitment. I comb the discount stores for the frames and try to recycle ones from 2nd hand stores as well.
3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Borneo Lime greenand blue changing directions bag on: December 05, 2009 09:03:17 AM


So I was making up zip pouches for my sister and did these batik patchwork side panels using up scraps from my bin. The panels were really attractive and they told me they wanted to be a bag. I have a whole bunch of gorgeous hand-dyed fabric from my friend Karen at Ruby Mountain Dyeworkshttp://www.etsy.com/shop/rubymountaindyeworks. There was a SMASHING lime green in there that became the body of the bag. Then I went all embellishment happy... with beads and charms and this neat flat yarn I got on clearance at Big Lots. I'm not sure what it's called, but it looks great couched onto there.


I also used some handmade ceramic charms from two other etsy artists. The edges of the bag top were raw edged patch worked, so they will fray with use. I was going to make it reversible... so that the bag could flap to either side, but I got lazy on the beading ... so it just goes the one way. There's no closure on the bag.. just the flap over. So it's basically a tall tube that flaps over. with the handle on the back side. It is meant to be across the body.



a little more info is on my blog http://www.solsistershandbags.com/2009/12/i-sewed-something.html
4  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Queen Candy Cane - Craftster Challenge #44 on: November 04, 2009 09:08:44 PM
Her Majesty, Queen Candy Cane of Christmas Isle, dropped by our house to help with the gardening. I believe we'll be planting peppermint .... by royal decree, of course!



This started with a white lace dress my mom made for my daughter's 5th grade graduation earlier this year. Now where else is an 11-year old going to wear a plain white lace dress? The teacher insisted the dress be PLAIN white and of course, we couldn't find anything at the store.

So, making the best of money already spent, I added the sheer glittery candy cane underskirt right to the original lining in the dress. We had originally planned to be Snow princess but didn't find sheer snow fabric ... so switched gears.



We made the scepter out of a cardboard tube and part of the reel some of the garland came wound on. It was covered in tin foil, tape, and the attacked with hot glue and a huge number of pipe cleaners, glittery snowflakes, Christmas garland, plastic peppermints, two holiday peppermint sprigs and silver bells, plus pipe cleaner candy canes on top.



The crown is a base of red and white craft foam that suffered a similar treatment with glitter glue and stick-on foam candy canes, 3D pipe cleaner candy canes, star garland and more plastic peppermints. I even used some odd white eyelash yarn around the base for a little snowy feel.

The treat bag was in my Christmas box from last year. A few stick-on foam candy canes and some glitter glue to write with finished that up.

Her stole and cape is just more translucent fabric with glittery green, red, and silver dots. The big candy cane on the front was a foam kit that took about 5 minutes to glue and attach to the dress with a few stitches.

Thermal red shirt and gloves plus white long johns, awesome candy cane knee socks and silver shoes were purchased from Target or Walmart. All can be worn again after Halloween.

Minus the articles that can be worn again, this cost about $80 plus time. Had I shopped at the dollar store for the Christmas decorations instead of Hancock's and Michael's it would have come in even cheaper. The most expensive thing was those lengths of sheer fabric.
5  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Queen Candy Cane on: November 04, 2009 08:51:20 PM
Her Majesty, Queen Candy Cane of Christmas Isle, dropped by our house to help with the gardening. I believe we'll be planting peppermint .... by royal decree, of course!



This started with a white lace dress my mom made for my daughter's 5th grade graduation earlier this year. Now where else is an 11-year old going to wear a plain white lace dress? The teacher insisted the dress be PLAIN white and of course, we couldn't find anything at the store.

So, making the best of money already spent, I added the sheer glittery candy cane underskirt right to the original lining in the dress. We had originally planned to be Snow princess but didn't find sheer snow fabric ... so switched gears.



We made the scepter out of a cardboard tube and part of the reel some of the garland came wound on. It was covered in tin foil, tape, and the attacked with hot glue and a huge number of pipe cleaners, glittery snowflakes, Christmas garland, plastic peppermints, two holiday peppermint sprigs and silver bells, plus pipe cleaner candy canes on top.



The crown is a base of red and white craft foam that suffered a similar treatment with glitter glue and stick-on foam candy canes, 3D pipe cleaner candy canes, star garland and more plastic peppermints. I even used some odd white eyelash yarn around the base for a little snowy feel.

The treat bag was in my Christmas box from last year. A few stick-on foam candy canes and some glitter glue to write with finished that up.

Her stole and cape is just more translucent fabric with glittery green, red, and silver dots. The big candy cane on the front was a foam kit that took about 5 minutes to glue and attach to the dress with a few stitches.

Thermal red shirt and gloves plus white long johns, awesome candy cane knee socks and silver shoes were purchased from Target or Walmart. All can be worn again after Halloween.

Minus the articles that can be worn again, this cost about $80 plus time. Had I shopped at the dollar store for the Christmas decorations instead of Hancock's and Michael's it would have come in even cheaper. The most expensive thing was those lengths of sheer fabric.
6  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Tabitha - a prototype bag design on: August 03, 2009 09:36:48 AM
I am working on this new bag design. I saw something like it by a big name purse company in a very expensive department store last week. I didn't care for the leather version ... or the color ... or mostly, the GIANT price tag, but I loved the shape and the zipper pockets.

So here's the prototype for the new design. It's about 7" wide by 9" high although, I am considering increasing the overall size and making the bag wider at the base. Also, a longer strap.





This front pocket is the cool thing. It's actually a lined zip pouch that is attached to the bag. So you get the zip pocket to secure your train pass or iPod and then you get another pocket behind it where it attaches to the main bag. Plus the top is zipped, so it's a pocket lover's dream in a small size. Lovely teal hand dyed fabric is from my new friend Karen at Ruby Mountain Dye works. This fabric is so vivdly colored and huge pleasure to work with. The deco feathers have been hanging in my stash for many years now and finally get to have a life! I believe the bag I saw had the zip pocket inset into the lining of the main bag rather than being a pouch as I have done, but I think I like this better as you get that bonus pocket.

What do you all think of the design?

More pics and more about the design is on my blog at http://www.solsistershandbags.com/2009/08/working-out-new-bag-design-opinions.html.
7  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Verano Verde Micro Messenger bag on: August 02, 2009 05:33:37 PM
I just a did a trade with Karen from Ruby Mountain Dye Works. Heaps of her luscious hand dyed fabric in exchange for two bags. She got one from my shop but asked to have another made from fabric she sent. Verano Verde is the result. I picked out the frog accent and found out after that she LOVES frog. How nice is it when your ESP works?







more pics and blah blah blah on my blog http://www.solsistershandbags.com/2009/08/custom-handbag-order-finished.html
8  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Scraps of Freedom Americana Market Tote on: July 11, 2009 01:54:20 PM





Scraps of Freedom Americana Market Tote was made for my bagmaking team challenge (more info below)

Roomy at a generous 16" wide by 14" high, it features a large inside zip pocket, a divided regular pocket for your cell phones or digital cameras and a key hook to keep your keys from migrating all the way to the bottom of the bag. The bag sits comfortably under your shoulder and expands to hold a LOT of stuff. The bottom is double interfaced, but not stiff, to make it easy to roll the bag up and pack it for weekend getaways.

It was made from McCall's pattern # M5790. It also uses my flip and sew patchwork technique tutorial http://www.solsistershandbags.com/2009/01/tutorial-flip-and-sew-patchwork-and.html

In America's early tradition of waste-not, want-not and pioneer quilting from whatever fabric was on hand, the surface of the bag has been crazy patched over in mostly red and blue scraps. America's ever blooming optimisim is recognized through a hint of sunny yellow in the Hibicus flowers on fabric brought back from Hawaii by my mom. This reference to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii is also is a quiet tribute to America's fighting men and women from World War II.

The "star" feature of the bag is of course, the bold white-on-white raw edge folded origami stars, made by my 11 year old daughter. The stars symbolize our fighting spirit. No matter how ragged we get, we still keep going. The stars will fray a bit with washing.

The bag is finished off with American flag tabs connecting dark navy batik shoulder straps with gunmetal D-rings. Lined in a light blue fabric with streamers of white dots as seen on the bottom of the bag.
___________________ __________

Carried Awayhttp://www.carriedawayteam.blogspot.com, my handbag making team, is hosting a challenge this summer to make bags that represent the idea of "freedom". The bags can take any form or be any color, but most seem to be coming in red,white and blue.

The bags will be sold in our team shop and the proceeds go to send care packages to our adopted marine, Jennifer, through herobox.org .

HeroBox is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides custom support to our heroes overseas. Their mission is to provide items that deployed American soldiers need and want while they are away from home defending our freedom. A HeroBox is a care package that has been customized to a soldiers specific request. The troops have certain needs and wants depending on their sex, location, and a variety of other factors. The typical care package that a soldier receives isn't always influenced by those needs and wants. The goal is to make sure that each HeroBox is directly influenced by the soldier.
9  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Read all about it - handpainted clutch on: May 20, 2009 09:40:53 AM
Words all over the surface to express how much I love this bag! Super simple clutch from a free Kwik Sew pattern http://www.google.com/search?q=Kwik+Sew+pattern+5001&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a is dressed up with hand painted fabric, lampwork beads and hand dyed fabric.





There's more details on my blog http://www.solsistershandbags.com/2009/05/soliloquy-brings-question.htmlfor those who are interested.
10  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Pricinig dilemma? on: May 20, 2009 09:37:07 AM





My newest clutch is an effort of 4 artisans. The fabric is handpainted, the trim fabrics are hand dyed, the lampwork beads came from two different artisans ... all one of a kind fabulous!

It was made from a free Kwik sew pattern http://www.google.com/search?q=Kwik+Sew+pattern+5001&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-aand took about 2 hours to complete.

I love how it turned out, but  I am facing a dilemma, one that many makers of handmade goods face. The old question of pricing fairly to you and your customers. With this new bag, my friend Carin says I am not charging enough for bags like this. Because I really believe in making beautiful things that are still affordable, I would list a clutch like this for $25- $40. She suggested I charge $300. On the one hand, I want the bags to be affordable but on the other... she is right. It is one of a kind and that should command a fair price for the uniqueness along with my skill in making it. So I settled on $75. Too high? Too low? I could really use some feedback from other buyers and makers of handmade.

Can you all give me some advice?

http://www.solsistershandbags.com/2009/05/soliloquy-brings-question.html
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