Sometime in the summer, the Babykid, the Big Guy and I took a trip to a the quilt shop in Charm. The Babykid came upon a big basket of pretty little fat quarters, all folded up and looking all eye-candy there on the end of an aisle. Stealthily, she selected one... and then two... and then three, and she carried them all around with her until my mission had been accomplished. (This would have been the Madrona Morning Glory outing.)
I suppose it's important to mention that two of the fabrics she had selected were actually lovely, very pretty coordinate prints to the one I had selected (complete coincidence, promise), and one was an ocean scene. Dolphins. Very happy looking dolphins.
Who am I to judge? I'm certainly not going to stand there and tell a kid she can't have the dolphin fabric if that's the one, in her heart of hearts, that she wants--and anyway, even if I did say that (and gently highlight the winning qualities of the other 2 fat quarters she had been carrying around), there's no changing her mind. And anyway, why should her mind be changed? My tiny kid likes fabric! So we settled on the dolphins.
No fat quarter has been loved more, let me tell you. We talked about what her plans for the fat quarter were, and for a few weeks she used it as a blanket for a variety of her toys. And then I mentioned something about minky.
Yes friends, I volunteered to make a tiny minky blanket from the dolphin fat quarter.
The astonishing thing here is not that I told my kid I'd make her something, nor that said thing was going to be out of the most ridiculous fabric in the house. It is that I have 1) never made anything with minky, and 2) more or less gave up on making blankets YEARS ago.
Sometime in junior high, a friend of mine taught me how to sew. From her lessons, I figured out how to cut and piece 4 or 5 inch squares. For the next several years, a little handmade blanket would be my go-to gift for friends leaving for college or families expecting babies. Fast forward to my mid 20s, when the Big Guy came along.
I left my teaching job then to stay home with our little man. (He never actually was that little... 8.5 pounds, thankyouverymuch, though that's a story for another day). I decided, once life consisted of more than sleeping and feeding and changing diapers, that I needed something creative to do. So I made a few blankets, with intentions of selling them at craft shows. (I also enrolled in grad school--again, another story.)
Three or four blankets into it, I had the very important--even life-changing revelation--that I LIVE IN AMISH COUNTRY. Everyone around here makes better blankets than I could ever dream of making, and I had no choice other than to be pretty okay with that. I decided I'd make purses instead. After a couple really important years of fumbling around and crying over the sewing machine and generally figuring things out, SOMP became something close to what it is today.
I build a pretty awesome bag, but I'm not much of a blanket maker. But let me tell you: the Babykid loves this thing so much that it has gone to school and to bed with her all of last week. It had lunch with her today (and tried to steal her cheese quesadilla). So it's worth the awkwardly pointy corners and the ridiculous happy dolphins and the residual minky fluff stuck to everything, I suppose.
Last Thursday I made a super summery custom large tote for a writer friend of mine, Ginny. She picked my favorite fabric of the season, Alexander Henry's Avedun and Anemone. I added a snap flap to the front--a nice touch, especially with this print. Ginny and I had a wonderful time catching up, thrift shopping, and beading in Medina.
Yesterday, since I am fresh out of zippers that match (never fear, 200 are on their way soon--and let me tell you, if you need zippers, Jennie of Zipit is the woman to talk to!), I made 2 more large totes: another Avedun and Anemone and a Cherry Blossom (photos soon). To top off a morning of sewing, I had lunch with my dear friend Cathy at the Pine Tree Barn: holy delicious chicken wrap, Batman.
The most exciting news for the last 2 weeks (the most exciting SOMP news, anyhow) is that SOMP will soon be featured on Heartsy--an awesome promotional endeavor! Shoppers will be able to purchase vouchers good toward any item in my Etsy shop. I will keep you posted on the date. And if you're unfamiliar with Heartsy, as I was until maybe 3 weeks ago, it is a super cool site dedicated to providing deep discounts on handmade items of every stripe. Currently I'm stocking up inventory for that event as well as my biggest craft show of the year, the Summer Market.
Also exciting here at SOMP is my new pencil bag design. I have been tossing around this design for probably a year or more, and tried a version of it in EVA plastic, to no avail (not yet, anyway). About a week ago, I was pleased that the latest version of this idea went from mostly concept to prototype in under half an hour. My son wandered into the workshop. "Want to see what Mommy made?" I asked, and held out the pencil bag--a black and pink floral / polka dot fabric combo with a clip at the top. "Ooooh," he said, and emphatically, "thank you!" And that was that. He wore it to the playground and hauled it to the sitter's. I know for a fact that it holds at least a dozen pencils. He loves the thing, and I love that he does.
Thursday is Sewing Day. The kids go off the sitter's house to play, and I have full clearance to spend the whole day stitching. It feels ridiculously indulgent, as many good things do (dessert, grad school, etc.), but it's fabulous.
It's hard to gague productivity on Sewing Day, short of breaking out the stopwatch--a move that seems over-vigilant and definitely not in line with the whole guiding philosophy of Seat Of My Pants, which is to fly by the seat of my pants. So we'll just go with this: yesterday was a good day. I made 6 Clutches, two Grandes, a couple Mini Fobs, and a Zippy Classic. (It seems like there were about 4 hours of just contemplating fabrics, but I think I'm imagining that.)
by the Seat Of My Pants...
the stories behind the bags and beyond.