Fun on the Fourth

Picnics, parades, fireworks…that’s how most folks spend their Independence Day.  Me…I sew.

But today, I sewed for myself.  That counts for relaxation and recreation, right?

With our trip coming up, I’ve been thinking about making a purse to bring with me that’s small enough to comfortably carry around all day, but big enough to hold everything that I just can’t do without.  Plus  I wanted something trendy and summery.

May I introduce…”The Tourister!”

I am SO happy with how this bag came out!  It doesn’t always work out that my first attempt at a new design comes out exactly as I planned.  I usually have a tweak or two that I want to make the ‘next time.’  Not so with this purse; I’m as pleased as can be with it!

There is one thing I’ll do differently next time, and the only reason I didn’t do it this time is that I couldn’t find the right hardware; I’ll probably have to order it.  Anyway, what I would like to do is make the strap so that it’s adjustable.  I designed the purse to be worn cross body, so the strap is just a smidgen too long to be worn as a shoulder bag.  If it were adjustable, it could be worn either way.

I made this purse for myself, but I’ve got more fabric, so I’ve listed the style for sale in my Etsy shop.  Maybe someone will decide they need a new purse for their vacation this summer!  🙂

Going Abroad

You may remember me mentioning a trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands that we’re getting ready for (if not, you’re welcome to check out the blog we started for the purpose of documenting the trip).  And a trip abroad means digging out the passport.

I’ve been meaning to make passport covers for quite some time, but didn’t get around to it until now.  Pretty much the entire mission team chimed in when I asked if anyone wanted one.  So I’ve spent the last couple of days choosing fabrics, planning my design, and finally constructing 10 of them.

Now we’re stylin’!

Have you got any travel plans for the summer?

Stretching the Skills

Well, I’m not quite finished with the lobster bags for The Salty Lobster shop, but I thought I’d stop by and show you the last couple of projects I finished.  I have to say, they have been great learning experiences for me, both in technique and in patience!

The first is a long-over-due camera bag that I’ve been promising my daughter since February…yes, I was procrastinating!  But, after finally buckling down and getting to it, I’m pretty happy with the results:

She wanted a “pretty” camera bag, instead of the standard black nylon that is so typical for commercial camera bags.  This one, with its bright floral pattern, padded inside compartments, multiple pockets, inside and out, soft-structured body, handbag straps, adjustable shoulder strap, and a zippered opening, is much more to her liking.  She had a photo shoot at a road race a couple of days after the bag was finished, so she took it on its maiden voyage and came back quite satisfied with its performance.  Glad she likes it! 🙂

And then I got a special order for the new handbag I made recently.  After working with the customer to find just the right colors, I sat down on Monday and made this lovely bag:

This design certainly pushes my skill to the max, but the effort is well worth it.  I love how crisp and feminine this bag looks, with its well-defined structure and pretty curves.  It’s definitely one of my favorites so far…even it it does take forever to put together!

But today is lobster bag day.  I’ll post pictures when I’m finished, but here’s a peek at the appliqué I designed from the shop’s logo:

When it’s all finished, the lobster will have two long, skinny antenna, too.

Well, off to sew!  Tell me what you’re up to today…

Lobster and Raccoon…Must Be Maine!

So, I’ve got some pretty exciting news…

HMDDesigns can now be found in Freeport, Maine, right across the street from L.L. Bean!

Through a friend of mine, I connected with a couple who are opening a new artisan gift shop….seriously, right across from the front steps of L.L. Bean (talk about location!).  They loved my bright, cheerful items and kids bags, and made a large, initial purchase with potential for repeat orders….assuming my things sell…which they will, right?  Maybe?  Hopefully?

Anyway, the shop is called The Salty Lobster, and will be opening next Friday.  The really cool thing is that they also have a marine touch tank where they will be displaying unique lobsters found by local lobstermen, so the kids can check out the cool crustaceans while mom and dad shop.  Neat, huh!?  The shop is actually named for a famous blue lobster named Salty.

Wanna know what else is cool?  I get to design a Salty Lobster appliqué to put on some of my kids book bags and totes!  Here’s a picture I took of their poster so I could design the appliqué:

I’ll be sure to show you pictures of the bags once they’re made.

But I promised you raccoon, too, didn’t I?

Hubby woke up last night to find a little guy stuck in our trash can.  Not sure what we wanted to do with him, hubby secured him in the can until the morning.  When we got up, we decided to just let him go, but not before we got some pictures, of course!

I guess Rascal was after the Little Caesar’s Pizza we had for dinner last night…too bad we ate it all!  He was looking rather timid when we first opened the lid.

Isn’t he cute!?  I know, I know, wild animals may look cute, but should be treated with cautious wisdom…we were careful, I promise.  We didn’t even try to pet him or anything.  But he IS cute.

He wouldn’t come out while we were still watching him; he decided to sit back and wait us out, instead.  We gave him a little boost by tipping the can up a bit so that he slid out.  Then he took off under one of the cars and disappeared from there.  Guess we’ll have to start strapping down our trash can lid.

Just a Little Something New…

I’ve been working hard at building the inventory in my Etsy shop recently, and, about three weeks ago I thought it was time to take a little break and make something for myself.  So I dug through my binder of patterns and decided to make this bag.

It’s an Amy Butler bag pattern from her book,  Amy Butler’s Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags.  It was labeled with a difficulty level of “Advanced,” and they weren’t kidding!  It took me about 9 hours to make this bag, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

My dear hubby, although supportive, doesn’t often get terribly excited about my creations, but ever since I finished this one, he’s been on my case to get it listed in my Etsy shop…so, now it is.

I’ve even got a few “matchy-matchies,” as a friend of mine likes to put it…

Mini-notepad cover, handy for those quick notes

Cell-phone wristlet with pocket, a great grab-n-go purse.

And, for anyone who’s counting, these new listings bring me up to 74 items in my shop…only 26 more to meet my end-of-summer goal!

Making NomMon

I realized the other day that I had some news I forgot to share…HMDDesigns can now be found in a sweet little artisan gift shop in Seattle, called Cake Spy Shop!

Yay! We love cupcakes!

One of my brothers lives out in the Seattle area, and he’s my biggest promoter.  I guess he stopped by the shop one day and thought my wares would fit right in.  He suggested the owners contact me, and now you can find my mustache wallets and NomMon bibs in their shop!

Speaking of which…they just sold the last of the bibs and I’ve had to make more to restock, so I thought it might be fun to share with you what actually goes into the making of a NomMon (TM) product.  By the way, if you don’t know the story of NomMon, you can read about it here.

First, every NomMon begins life as a piece of medium weight denim and goes through a rigorous washing/drying/cutting process.  Then each piece is screen printed by hand using the not-so-latest printing processes.

While the paint is drying, the next step begins…cutting the face pieces.  Each NomMon face has 5 individual pieces, two eyes, a tongue, and upper and lower chompers.  A special adhesive film is applied to the back of the fabric, then, using a hand-made template, I trace each shape onto the adhesive film’s paper backing and cut each feature out by hand.

Then I pull out my trusty iron, heat-set the screen printing, and adhere the facial features.

Next comes the boring part…stitching the edges of ALL the face pieces!  The adhesive is great for keeping the parts in place, but it won’t stand up to repeated washings and wearings, so I stitches them ALL down…it’s a drag, but it’s kinda important.

“Only 5 more pairs of teeth to go…O.K., I can do this…OOOOH, chocolate!”

Tags are stitched to the backing, front and back pieces are pinned together, and then stitched in place…

A little turning, a little top stitching, a little Velcro, and a quick press with the iron, and the bibs are ready to go!

That’s a lot of work for something that’s going to get covered in food!  Oh well, that’s what NomMon’s best at…chomping food! 🙂

In case you’re wondering…NomMon (TM) shows up on pot holders and aprons, too!