Tuesday, February 17, 2015

a Tote for Laura

My weekend wasn't so much about sewing as about other things.... like the Great Leaf Rake of 2015.  (Yes, I realize that it's almost spring.  We usually have our massive rake in January, when all the leaves are finally down.  February is just a wee bit later than that, right?)  This year all four of us raked for hours, filling a total of FIVE full size truck loads with compacted, kid-trampled leaves.  Thank goodness we can just dump them in our forest to handily decompose.

Cinder Pup + Liam

Would you like to meet our newest arrival?  Eleni's still biding her time, but Cinder Pup joined our family last week!  She's a little lab mix with a sweet, quiet disposition.  Watching her tramp around the yard certainly lightened the leaf-raking mood.  That and our traditional after-rake milkshakes.  Yum!

a tote for Laura

In between things, I did get some sewing done. Or at least started.  I made this scrappy tote for a very special friend.

a tote for Laura

The project started with improv blocks pieced from scrap, using all shades of green and highlights of cream.

a tote for Laura

These I joined up to make two large slabs, each about 20" x 13".  In between them I pieced a 6" wide cut of heavy canvas for the bag base.

After backing with fusible fleece and a very close quilting, I boxed the corners a generous 3" to make a roomy tote.  The Essex linen lining is also backed with fusible fleece, to give this bag a sturdy body.

a tote for Laura

Last of all, I basted and sewed on these leather straps.  Seems like lately I use Roxanne's glue baste for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  It's so strong, it really does hold the straps in place nicely while I sew them down!

a tote for Laura

That green pocket was installed onto the bag lining before assembling the bag, a la my tutorial.  Easy peasy. I  know someday I should learn drop-in zipper pockets, but this kind always does it for me, so I've been complacent.

a tote for Laura

a tote for Laura

Yesterday I had just enough time to put the finishing touches on the bag before my friend Laura arrived.  I just love gifting something homemade to someone who "gets it," you know?  I think she really liked it!  She is indeed truly loved.

Happy Birthday, Laura!

24 comments:

  1. Aww, what a cutie!
    I love the tote and I really need to try those leather handles.
    I was wondering this morning how you were feeling....

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    1. I meant to share that my leather handles are real leather from this Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/cocosheaven?ref=l2-shopheader-name She's great!

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  2. The leather straps definitely add a lovely touch

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  3. Gorgeous bag, have to try one of those. The puppy is just so cute.

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  4. What a lovely bag and cute addition to your family. I like the sound of the traditional milkshake after raking!

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    1. Right? It definitely helps us have the attitudes to push through our marathon rake!

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  5. Such a cute puppy - they are so hard to resist. :-)
    Love the Laura tote!! Lucky Laura.

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  6. this is beautiful.....just the kind of bag i am wanting to make for myself

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  7. A lovely bag. Leather handles take it a step up. Very sophisticated. Where do you get your leather? Tandy? And do you buy a big hunk of it? Have you ever thought of using rivets to apply the handles? I've looked into it and it is a little complicated--you have to figure out the depth of the shank for each use and then use the right-sized shank. It does give a very professional look but getting the right-sized shank is a big issue. When leather handles are added to leather--the width of the layers is easy to calculate because the leather thickness is known.
    I've also seen snaps used to attach handles and while it looks good from the outside, a snap that doesn't snap to anything looks a little sloppy.
    I would like to know if any of your readers has any experience and/or advice.

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    1. Thanks, Sandra! I buy the leather handles already cut as handles from Cocosheaven: https://www.etsy.com/shop/cocosheaven?ref=l2-shopheader-name. I do love the look of rivets, but haven't tried them yet. Using the machine has been such an easy application! Would love to learn rivets sometime though.

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  8. Rosemary B here:
    Biding time is okay. Eleni is going to come soon.
    I hope you are warm and cozy. Raking as a family is soo fun. We used to do that too, except we would put them in CANS and jump in the can to flatten the leaves so we would fit more.
    Then our trash guys pick up the leaves on Mondays. Life in the Suburbs of No Va.
    I love the bag you made. It is classy. I like that.
    Welcome Cinders. What does Susan think of this wild invasion. Poor thing. She will need her very own paradise room/area where no one can reach her. Someplace she can observe safely Miles and Pierro spend most of the winter over the cabinets in the kitchen. There is a heat vent up there..... and beach towels, and an old kitten bed, and toys. They can see everything, and no one will try to squeeze them
    I am glad you are still making and doing. I am sure all of you are getting crazy excited.

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    1. and your sweet little fella is so happy to be holding the new puppy
      I love this photo

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  9. Ahh, hope for more puppy pictures in the future.....

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  10. that little puppy is sooo cute! looks like a great friend for your son!

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  11. What a wonderful day! Beautiful puppy and puppy holder :) I wonder if you used a special needle with the handles? I've seen that my local store sells leather by the meter but I haven't dared try it. Now I'd like to take the leap! You bag looks just right for a special friend.

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    1. I do have a leather needle, but I didn't bother putting it on this time and they sewed on just fine, without any fuss. It's probably good to use a leather needle though?

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  12. This is a beautiful project! What a lucky lady!

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  13. What a fun purse?!? So many pretty prints to look at. Greetings from Germany!

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  14. This might just be my favorite tote bag ever. Lucky Laura :-)

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  15. Sweet puppy ~ I love Labs ~ they are the sweetest of dogs!
    I did some leaf raking this past weekend too ~ I live across the street from a very old cemetery that's full of trees and all the leaves seem to end up in my yard! I should rake as they come, but there's too much sewing to do!
    I love love love that bag! Taking a class on putting together a bag with leather handles and you've given me great inspiration on my very own fabric to bring!

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  16. Cinder Pup looks very comfortable in her new home :) Love the addition of the leather straps to the bag you made (I saw in the comments that you added the shop where you got them from - thank you!) ... it's wonderful that something so lovely can be made from scraps of fabric.

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  17. Cinder Pup is such a sweet name! I just saw on my blog you left a comment about Aria making a blanket for her. (for some reason it didn't come through in my email?) As ever, your stories give me patience and inspiration. Soon, soon, with time and growing up and small steps, my very keen and frustrated (he has such high expectations and no room for failure!) 6 yr old will have confidence and success. Thank you!

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