Things I Also Make – tie bags

These have to be some of the coolest things I make – in my opinion. It’s a little shoulder bag made with two men’s ties. Just two ties. Yes, men’s ties. Not cut up or anything, just sewn together. They seem amazingly complicated, even when you hold them in your hands and look at them, but they are pretty simple to make.

Confession: I ran across these on someone else’s Etsy shop… from Finland or Switzerland or something. I was fascinated and immediately went to find two ties to experiment with. Actually, I think the hardest part about this bag is finding two ties that I think go together well. That’s probably why I’ve made so few of these.

They are super fun and I hope to make more this summer.


Things I Also Make – tote/bag with many lives

This particular item has gone through three transformations.

First it was a “wine tote.” I saw these all made up, with empty bottles, displayed at my local quilt shop. I loved them! I thought it was such a great idea and really dressed up a gift bottle of wine. I whipped up a bunch of them.

But the idea didn’t seem to catch on at sales. People seemed to think it would be weird to give a reusable bag as a gift. What would the recipient do with the wine tote? Would they re-gift it? Or would it get tossed in a corner?

So I changed tactics and started calling them “gift bags.” This happened after a friend told me about packing the tote full of little gifts for Christmas. Of course! This reusable bag could be used as a gift bag for anything that would fit in it: wine, fancy pasta, socks, whatever.

They’re all decorated with a cool button.

But… the idea of resuable gift wrapping still hasn’t caught on with many people.  (Or maybe it’s because I only ever had about 10 of these around… not enough options??)

The most recent incarnation is my favorite, and I think it will stick. It happened like this: My husband and I often go out for walks and it gets pretty warm around here in the summer. So we like to carry some water with us. This gets to be a pain because often I found myself carrying the water. The thought of the ever-unpopular “wine tote / gift bag” and the need to more easily carry water on walks clashed together in my mind one fateful day. I grabbed a long strip of fabric and safety-pinned it to the gift bags. Voila! The “water bottle totes” were born.

I converted several of the totes to water bottle totes and then adjusted the pattern for new ones. These have done much better and frankly, they make a lot more sense. More people are carrying around drink bottles than are gifting bottles of wine. =)

But still, I wouldn’t be surprised if some other adjustment, addition, or change is made to this item down the road.

To Market! To Market!

It’s late notice, but I WILL be at the Midtown Farmers Market tomorrow, July 23. They had space to squeeze me in, so I’ll be heading over there bright and early – even though the forecast isn’t much different than last week! Hot and muggy and humid, with the pleasant addition of possible severe thunderstorms. Well: don’t you believe it! Positive thinking now!

Come on and join me at the market. I’ve got several new market bags: one chicken bag and a couple adorable dinosaur bags. I’ve also got several tie bags. It’s a shoulder bag made out of two men’s ties. That’s it. You have to see it to understand.

See you at the market!

Farmers Market this Saturday

I’ll be at the Midtown Farmers Market this Saturday, July 2. It looks like it will be a glorious day, the beginning of a three-day weekend for most people. I hope I’ll see you there!

I’ve got a bunch of new potholders, new tea cozies (including the always-popular elephant cozy), three new toaster cozies, and I’m hoping (hoping! hoping!) to have a couple new shopping bags – one with chickens and one with bikes.

Come on by and say hi!

Fun with recycling, part 1

I started making reusable shopping bags last winter when I was raising some funds to go on a trip. I kept making them for sale at the farmers market. I’ve had some success with them despite the fact that they aren’t cheap. (I can’t compete with 99-cent bags from Target!) But they are fully lined, have pockets, they’re sturdy, and they’re unique (and you aren’t acting as a walking billboard for some store!).

After making these for several months I started making smaller kid-sized ones. Might as well get kids into using re-usable shopping bags at an early age. And they need those smaller bags. I’ve seen more than a few kids helping with the groceries and dragging bags along the ground because the bags are so big!

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about recycling. Most of these bags have been made with new material and I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this more recycled. I got some great curtain scraps from a friend last year and made a couple bags out of those. A month or so ago another friend gave me a huge pile of old drapes from her house. They are very sturdy, almost like canvas, and the only sign of wearing is that parts of them are faded by the sun. I thought these would make great bags. And then somehow (I don’t know where these flashes come from) I thought it would be fun to line these with shirts!

I had gotten a small collection of men’s and women’s shirts from a bulk thrift store a year or two ago. I reasoned they would be great for fabric since people wouldn’t use them for clothes (due to holes or other problems). I sewed the fronts together, removed the buttons, and sewed the shirt together into the shape I needed for the bags. Sleeves and collars became pockets on the inside and outside.

this was a smaller fitted one, so you can see the fitted part and where the arms would be going out. This is the inside of the bag…

And here’s the outside, with a bit of sleeve for the pocket.

Yes, I would have given this shirt to the thrift store too!

This pocket is part collar and part sleeve

In the end I think they turned out very well. These won’t be turning up on my etsy page just yet. I’m going to an Earth Fair in Kansas City in April. There is a group down there putting together some tables of crafts and things made with recycled materials, etc. So the bags will be there, and if there are any left they’ll be up on etsy soon after.