Secret Project-projects half done etc

]I can finally share a project I have been working on during the last 6  or 8 weeks.  I was asked by Carole at From My Carolina Home ”  to be one of her pattern testers.  In January she sent me a pattern for a bag, and I made this tan and brown bag, using linen fabric for the body and quilters cotton for the yoke of the bag and lining.


finished bag

There is a nice large pocket on the inside; perfect for that big cell phone and the keys!  This picture was while it was still “in progress” and the lining is now “tacked down tightly”.

inside the bag

In the linen bag, I used a  Pellon #77 – Flex Foam Sew in Stabilizer to give the bag great shape.   You can get it at Hancock Fabric on the bolt or on line from Walmart . com.  It comes in a “fusible” too. Similar materials are Bosal In-R-Form Stabilizer or Annies Soft & Stable.

I sent Carole detailed remarks, and she made a few adjustments to the pattern; and I retested the pattern this past weekend.  I was working with “donated fabric” on this second one, that I bought from the 2nd Time Around stash for the quilt guild.


I decided to “divide” the pocket on this bag so my keys and phone were “separated” a bit, to keep from scratching the screen.

attaching the handles

The green and striped bag had cotton batting between the layers.  It will be interesting to see how it stands up to the linen bag.  I think the batting gives a “softer” bag, while the foam gives a bag that has more body.  On a project like this, I would use a fusible batting or foam, if you are quilting on a domestic machine.  That way, you don’t have to fuss with pins!  I spray basted the batting when I did the green & stripe bag.

It is a nice roomy bag, with good straps for going “over the shoulder” and a big pocket. Carole will be publishing this pattern soon.  Keep an eye on her blog, indicated above for  more info on this pattern.  I enjoyed being a pattern tester and she took my comments seriously.  I tend to be a visual learner and she modified her pattern instructions to ensure clear understanding.  Carole was generous with her thanks too.

UPDATE — I added a button closure and loop on both bags! 

Added a button and loop for closure. They button is a vintage one from hubby's grandma's button box.

Button closure

Finished bags

I tested 4 blocks of  a pattern once for Ebony Love .   I met at IQF Houston back in 2012. If you ever get a chance to take a class with her, you will LOVE her!  Ebony provided some of the fabric for the test, we added fabric, and after publication she sent the tester’s the “final” pattern.   She was fun to work with, and a great instructor.

On to projects “not quite done”

Last chat, well over a week ago about my Allietare had me 1/2 way there.  I “whined” about ripping out a whole row, while I enjoyed a glass of wine.  Well, life got busy, and although the ripping got finished, it sat on the kitchen table all week.  Yesterday, I took it back to the sewing room and laid it out again.  Because it is so big and I am needing to work with the entire section, I laid it out on the carpet in the sewing room.  When I went to “reattach” the pieces, I discovered I had rotated two of the set in end pieces….so more ripping.  Up and down from the floor, and after an hour or so, I managed to get those pieces adjusted to the proper direction.  I now have the 2 halves lined up and ready to pin and stitched.  Happily I am back up on the work table, as we are at the point where the pieces are lying “right sides together” and it nearly covers my work space.  Working on the diagonal takes SO much room.

Redistribution of hobby items –

As I mentioned, LIFE gets busy.  My hubby and several of his friends from the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club spent an afternoon dismantling and packing up a gentleman’s train layout.  The man, Bob,  lived in a very large home that was going on the market, and he was moving to another part of the state, into a much smaller property; with no space for his hobby.  He donated several thousand dollars worth of model railroad equipment to the Club, to include engines, cars, track, bridges, buildings, and tools too.  It was quite the bonus for the Club, but so very sad to see him “giving up” his hobby.  (I could not imagine not being able to sew.)  Bob was a regular visitor to the train club annual open houses, and was beyond generous!

The reason I mention this is because I think it is important to ” have a plan” for the “redistribution” of your hobby things .  It would have been a real shame if Bob’s  model railroad equipment ended up in a yard sale or dumped in a “charity bin” where the items would be undervalued.  By donating the items to a club/organization who values the items, the giver knows they will get used to the fullest extent of their value.  The model railroad club has a “second time around table” too, so items that don’t get used on the train layout will bring much needed revenue to the club accounts. It helps keep the rent paid, the lights on and the trains running; much the same way as the donated sewing items that I re-purpose support Ocean Waves Quilt Guild.   We get lots of calls from widows and family members trying to decide how to “get rid of” all that “train junk”.  Some over value the items thinking they are valuable antiques while others just don’t know where to begin.  I have seen the discussions on many of the quilting groups I belong to on Facebook where quilters “score” wonderful fabric as the “family members” clean out a quilters sewing room, and have undervalued what was in the room.  So, whether it is sewing items, or other hobby items, or a treasured item; make a plan.  I loved seeing Bob enjoying the faces of the “train guys” as they oohed and ahhed over his equipment and his generosity.  At least Bob knows it went to a place where it will get put to good use. Much of what he donated will be put on the train layout.  Items that don’t suit the particulars of the layout will go to the 2nd Time around and be sold.  Bob wanted us to make sure some items are giving away to youngsters as well. What a wonderful way to promote the hobby to the next generation.   I think everyone was blessed by his gift, and the blessings will continue to flow as we re-distribute some of these items.  So make a plan for the eventual “redistribution of your treasured hobby items”.  Make sure your family knows who to call to put it to best use.  And, let them know that those boxes, bins, drawers of fabrics, racks of thread and containers of projects are not JUNK for the yard sale.  ALWAYS call your local quilt guild first!  Many churches have sewing groups too!

Quilting groups –

Speaking of sewing groups…..I have been enjoying getting a new quilting bee off the ground, having met twice with these newest members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild.  Our group has grown, and now we are going to be meeting at a community center so we will be able to sew and work on projects and techniques together. We were at capacity meeting in my home, so gathering in a bigger space is helpful.  Getting things organized has taken a little bit of time, but I think it will be a fun group to work with.  They named themselves the QUEEN BEES, so now every fabric I find with Bees or Beehives is drawing my eye!  Two of the ladies made nametags between our first and second meeting.  I have a little “scrap” of beehive fabric I gathered from the OWQG 2nd Time around donations.  Putting my thinking cap on for a name tag!

I have another group of quilters I coordinate at my church.  We are making quilts for our graduating high school seniors, and met on Saturday morning. I had two rows left to join to my graduates quilt, and got it ready during our group sewing. Because I coordinate, my sewing time is interrupted during our gatherings, so I put 80% of it together on Friday night.  That way I could be available for the many questions and the learning that takes place when we get together.   On Sunday, we had 5 quilts out in the Narthex of the church, waiting to be signed by the congregation.  We ask them to write messages of love and faith on the quilts, even if they don’t know the student. I am so pleased to be working on this project for the last 8 years. This year we had 2 “new” ladies join us for sewing.  What a good time we have in the basement of the church parsonage working together.  Each quilt is so very different.  The unifying item is a photo I print on fabric of the church, and the Bible verses I stitch out on my embroidery machine.  I just want to mention where I downloaded those from-   Designs by JuJu .  These are available in 5×7 or 4×4 in mulitple formats and are FREE.  On the website, she notes “ It is my desire that these verses will bless your heart as they have mine.” 

It’s quilt guild “week” for me, with our guild meeting on Monday, where I am setting up the Second Time Around tables and making sales before and after the meeting.  I had lots of great helpers this month.  Today and Thursday will be committee meetings and board meetings, so not much time for my own sewing.  I also have  a crock pot of soup going for our church “Lenten Soup Suppers”.  I found a recipe for  Olive Garden Style Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana   !  I had to double the recipe, as serving for 6 just doesn’t cut it at a church gathering!

What are you working on today?



7 thoughts on “Secret Project-projects half done etc

    • Ok; well; here is the report. I felt it was a little SALTY….I used the “better than bullion” chicken base for my soup stock and did not add any salt. Either the bullion was too salty or the Italian sausage was. I doubled the recipe which filled the crock pot. I should have “cubed” the russet potatoes, but cut as directed, and they were still not finished after 8 hours on low, so I took 1/2 the crock pot and put it in a kettle to boil on the stove, and took the crock & put it in the microwave for about 15 minutes. That help, plus I cut the potatoes up a bit more. It did not thicken up much, with all that cream going in. I would say overall that it was a great soup, and would be easy to do on the stove in a stock pot. The house smelled great while it was cooking. Note: I prepped the sausage the night before after I was finished with dinner along with the “better than bullion”. It only took a few minutes to get the potatoes, onion & garlic into the crock pot in the morning. I really chopped up the baby kale into small pieces. I think you could put much more in. Other than “salty” it had a great flavor and I would suggest it for your kale this week. 🙂


  1. Love those bags! What a lot of fun being able to test sew. I’ve had a talk with the hubby about where I’d like my craft supplies to go. When I moved my stuff over here to NC from Austraia, I had to let a lot of things go (not the good craft stuff, tho lol), He is a metal and stained glass artist and has a huge basement full of all kinds of equipment and machinery and I know what to do with his stuff, too. That was really generous of the gentleman to donate to the club, but I’m sure he knows it is going to a good home. Making quilts for the high school grauduates is such an amazing thing to do. Your post has really made me smile today. I’m looking forward to seeing your progress on the Allietare quilt. I’ve not taken part in one of Bonnie’s mysteries, but I always enjoy reading about what quilters have made.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sue – Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to comment. Glad you have a plan! I remember finding another person who crocheted and giving her 3 or 4 bags (55 gallon bags) of yarn when my mother passed on. It was good to know it would go to someone who appreciated and would USE it. This is my 2nd Bonnie Hunter mystery. I decided “controlled” scrappy would work best for me. I’ve done a couple other quilts that she has designed, and know ahead of time how the colors will work together I was a little more wild with the scrappy. I love the pattern, but I went NUTS with the headless geese! Her 1/4″ and mine don’t agree and I had lots of trouble with that step. I will have a photo of the 2 halves joined together tomorrow on my morning post!


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