The Pepper Tote :: Turned instead of Bound

the-peper-tote-1 I made another version of the Pepper tote {a free pattern you can find here!} over the last couple of weeks. This time I used hexagons with a 1 1/4″ side {so they are 2 1/2″ in diameter, point to point}. I actually used glue basting for the very first time, which I’m excited worked very well!

the-peper-tote-2Here’s a closer look at the top portion, will you believe this is the first regular tote bag I’ve turned instead of bound? The only disappointment for me was that this took off some of the top height, and therefore made the shape a little more boxed than the original. But, it was a much speedier finish!

the-Pepper-toteHere’s the full finish. I loved the way the yellow stood out on the Black Yarn Dyed Essex Linen, and then the bright Folk Song fabrics were bright and stood out for the hexagons as well. Interestingly, I hadn’t planned on making the bright yellow handles, I  was going to go with a low volume text print. I had bought the yellow as a bolt end from Sew Lux during my last order, so it was just sitting on my cutting table {aka, my dining room table!}. When I went to grab the text for the handles, I just knew I needed this bright yellow instead and there was exactly enough to finish it, with a little scrap leftover.

the-pepper-tote-3Here are the two styles of the Pepper tote side by side. This finishing option is included in the free pattern, so I had wanted to make one up like this for everyone to see. It always surprises me how different a bag can look when different fabrics are used. Also, the smaller hexagons add a different dimension to the bag.

Back to my comment above about glue basting hexagons {instead of using thread}, is anyone else familiar with this technique? I could not believe how easy it was! I’d love to hear your tips or thoughts on using glue.

A Sophie Beach Bag Progress

Because the weather is getting much nicer, I thought it would be the right time for me to make my own Sophie beach bag, (if you want to purchase a pattern it is available in our shop). I think the “Milk Sugar & Flower by Elea Lutz”  is so cute that I thought I should use it for my new bag. I am also using a Moda Crossweave for the solid, it is sort of greenish gray! I think it goes perfectly with this fabric!


I quilted straight rows along the lines of the pin wheels without having to quilt each pin wheel individually. It is really simple and goes much faster. Not all my seams lined up perfectly but I am okay with that.


This is the whole outside of the bag completely sewn together. I am still working on quilting it, I am going to sew some lines on each panel vertically. That will give it the quilted look as well as hold the layers together. I forgot to mention that I used fusible fleece for this bag. Super easy to work with. It just requires a damp pressing cloth and then hold for 15 sec. Quick and easy.


These two last prints are what I will be using for the lining and the handles. The white for the lining and the green  for the handles. I don’t want to use something too light for the handles as they get a lot of use. Plus I think those little kitties and bunnies and flowers are so cute!!

Thank you for coming to see what I am sewing these days!! Trying to stay focused is getting a little more difficult since it is mostly sunny outside. I should finish this up so the next time I have an opportunity to go on a little trip it is all ready to take with me. Enjoy your day!!

Magnetic Planner Bookmark {Tutorial} & Book Suggestion Request

Magnetic-Planner-BookmarkYou know I love my planner, it keeps me organized {which seems more and more important these days} and it is a fun visual record of my family’s life too. Although I have a few different planners with different purposes, my go-to for everyday planning is my Erin Condren planner. The one thing that disappoints me though, is that it is spiral bound and I can’t clip cute cards and things into it easily. However, I recently made a magnetic planner bookmark for a swap, so I’ve made another for my planner, so I can use and enjoy a bit of fabric every day!

magnetic-bookmarkHere you can see how there is a little flap that folds over the top of the page to keep the bookmark in place. Let’s get started:


  • Small Sew-in Magnetic Snap {if you haven’t used Sew-in magnets before, read about them in my previous post}
  • (4) 2 1/2″ squares of fabric for patchwork
  • (1) 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ rectangle of fabric for back
  • (1) 2″ x 4″ rectangle of fabric for flap
  • (1) 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ rectangle of interfacing {I used Pellon® 931TD Fusible Midweight}
  • Coordinating Thread

Read all directions before beginning. All seam allowances are 1/4″.

magnetic-bookmark-1Fold the 2″ x 4″ rectangle in half to 2″ square and sew along the two sides, perpendicular to the fold. Clip corners, then turn right side out. Slip the sew in magnet into the flap, then sew 1/8″ and 1/4″ from the edges, catching the plastic part of the magnet in the stitching {always be careful not to hit the magnet with the sewing machine needle…yes, I have done this before!}. Set flap aside.

magnetic-bookmark-2Double checking polarity, center the second magnet 1/2″ from one short end of wrong side of the 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ backing rectangle. Sew the magnet in place.

Sew the four 2 1/2″ squares together to make one 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ rectangle. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the patchwork piece. Then, sew stay stitching 1/8″ from the long edge to reinforce the seams before turning.

magnetic-bookmark-3Place the magnetic flap on the back of the bookmark. Then place the back of the bookmark, right sides together, and sew around the edge, leaving a 2 1/2″ opening along the side with the stay stitching.

magnetic-bookmark-4Turn right side out and top stitch 1/8″ from the edge, this sews the opening used for turning closed. I also stitched 1/4″ from the edge and 1/8″ from each patchwork seam, just for decoration.

Magnetic-Planner-Bookmark-2I love quick and easy projects, and I hope you do too! I think this bookmark would be great in a planner or a school notebook, or with thinner interfacing, maybe even a regular book. And it won’t slip out either.

Oh, and on the subject of books, I was talking with my mom about reading more, so I’d love some book suggestions. I really enjoy classics like those written by Jane Austen, but appreciate well-written modern fiction as well. So, if you’ve read something lately or have a favorite standby, I’d love to hear it! Reading is a love I’d like to share with my children too, so I should spend more time reading myself, so they see me doing it, not just reading books to them!

Bags for Quilters: Sew-In Magnets

snaps-1If you’ve ever made one of our bags, you’ll likely have seen the requirement for sew-in magnetic snaps. These are my very favorite bag closure. I love them because they’re easy to use, both when it comes to putting together the bag, and when using the bag itself.

snaps-2There are two kinds readily available: the ones pictured at the top I bought from Tantalizing Stitches {my favorite hardware shop in the US}, they come in a variety of sizes. I generally use the smaller ones for wallets and notebook covers, and the larger for bags. The one in the photo directly above is from JoAnn Fabrics and comes at a much higher price {I typically buy them when the notions are on sale, or I need one right away}, however, if you are just making one bag, it isn’t much different than paying shipping for a less expensive magnet.

snaps-3When using them at the top of a bag {which is where I most often use them}, I sew the magnet into a piece of flannel {interfacing or a scrap of fabric would work too} to keep it secure. And, if you don’t have a magnetic snap made for bag making, you could use this method to sew a regular magnet into a bag as well, just make sure you choose something strong enough to hold through a couple layers of fabric!

snaps-4Here’s a picture of a magnet on the outside of the bag {this is the Louisa bag} to show you where I position them, then I just slip this piece between the body and the lining and it is held in place by the seam. Slip one of these on each side of the top of your bag and you have an instant closure, this is a great addition to a simple tote, like the Pepper tote {a free pattern!}.

snaps-5 If the magnet is not at the top of the bag outside {like the Felicity bag}I just sew through it on the lining side to keep it in place, as you can see here. You can sew the bag only to the interfacing and flannel, to make it truly invisible, or, use a coordinating thread like I’ve done here.

snaps-6Finally, if a pattern calls for a Sew-In snap, it can also be replaced with a regular Magnetic Snap like these. Personally, I just love the ease of the sew-in type and worry that the metal might rip my fabric or rust if washed too often {yes…I’ve had hardware rust on my bags before, guess that’s the result of too much washing – such is life with little kids!}.

I’ve got one more planned bags for quilters post, but if there’s anything else you’d like to know, please leave a comment so I can cover it before I wrap up the series! I hope you’ve learned a little something and, if you’ve never made a bag before, are encourage to try! I really love getting to use all the amazing fabric out there for more than just household items. I think bags are a great spot between garments and quilts. Have a happy weekend!

P.S. Lydia colored on my usual linen board with a red, non-washable crayon…and I haven’t taken the time to make a new one. So, I hope you enjoy the Anna Maria Horner Folk Song that I used for my backgrounds. It was sitting on my cutting table and is so pretty I couldn’t help but grab it when I was taking these photos. I’ll have it made into something fun soon {sneak peek on Instagram!}.

Simple Scrappy Sampler :: Quick & Easy Block Tool by C&T Publishing

Simple-Scrappy-Sampler-16-blocksAs things start winding up in the spring {we’re no longer trapped in our house by cold and snow, yay!}, I’ve decided it’s time to take a little break from the Simple Scrappy Sampler. I may make up a block or two here and there, but I have some other projects that have been pushed to the back burner and need to get completed. However, if you would like to keep up your block making, I have a fabulous resource to share with you, the Quick & Easy Block Tool by C&T Publishing.

While I’ve been using Electric Quilt 7 for most of my blocks, I recently discovered this app through friends on Instagram and it is great for any block that is divisible by 4. It includes 5 sizes for each block. Blocks divisible by 4 have 4″, 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″. Blocks divisible by 3 have 3″, 6″, 9″, 12″ and 15″ {which don’t work for this 8″ quilt, so I am still running those blocks through EQ7}.

IMG_1153Here’s a screen shot I took of the app from my iPad, this is for the Broken Dishes block we did a couple weeks ago. Now, I don’t always assemble my blocks the same way, but it is still useful to find blocks and not have to run back and forth to the computer, I can just have the iPad at my sewing table.


I’ve been hesitant to share this tool because I know not everyone who reads blogs uses a smart phone or tablet. However, when I looked it up this morning, I was delighted to find that this is available as an e-book and paper book too! So, it really is a handy and affordable resource for nearly everyone.

I think this is one of my new favorite resources! Have you had a quilting resource or tool find recently that you’d like to share? I’m always looking for amazing new things!