My Star Wars Bag is Amazing

I mean, it’s super awesome.

Mistakes: I’ve made a few. But then again, too few to mention. Well, not really. I mean, there’s the piping that is very imperfect in parts – but it was the first time I ever made piping and I did it!! And it’s Star Wars piping. So that awesomeness pretty much negates any mistakes, right? Right. Also, there are places where it looks like this and that is amazing to me:


And my modifications for the strap worked out OK, but not perfect. Fortunately: that can easily be corrected if I want to go back and twiddle with it.

But overall: man, it’s an awesome bag. And it’s BIG. I can fit all of my work stuff (laptop, cables, iPad, expandable file folder, etc, etc) along with my lunch and a sweater and it’s still got room. And the little pocket panel on the front makes it so handy to store things without losing them right away (which I am want to do).


And really: you can’t beat the fabric. It’s so deliciously nerdy! But what’s great, is it’s almost totally serious and normal looking on the outside (except for those darn too wide piping parts!), but then you open it up and you can see that it’s lighthearted and geeky. Just like me ;)


I didn’t grab good pictures with my camera right after I finished the bag and now I’ve been using it for almost a month(!) and I’ve started to get it dirty, so I figured I’d just go ahead and post my pictures I snagged the day that I finished it. My husband’s palindrome birthday is this week, and he’s requested that I make him a new laptop bag, so I get to do this whole thing all over again. I’m looking forward to correcting my mistakes and making an even better (constructed) bag this time!

Star Wars Messenger Bag Planning

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....(or actually: Right now, in my craft room…)

Star Wars Messenger Bag!I’m embarking on a new adventure: sewing a bag using a pattern! I’ve sewn quite a few bags in my limited sewing experience – bags are the thing I’ve sewn the most out of anything – but I’ve never bothered with a pattern. I’ve always just followed online tutorials. My favorite has been the Convertible Stroller Bag from Make It and Love It, which I’ve made about 4 times since I began sewing. ANYWAY, so now for the first time I’m going to use a purchased pattern to make a bag for myself. I picked up the pattern at Joann’s this past weekend during their $0.99 McCall’s Pattern sale. It’s M5824 – a laptop bag and case:

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And since character fabric was on sale for 40% off at Joann’s, I figured there was no better fabric to use for my new adventure than some Star Wars fabric:


I originally was going to do the bag in navy blue with the comic book Star Wars fabric for the front of the flap and the starships in space fabric for the inside contrast pieces, but I decided to narrow it down to just the starships in space fabric and the navy blue canvas.


I also decided that I’m going to do the entire outside of the bag in the navy blue, and only use the contrast fabric on the inside. I was inspired by my friend, Carrie’s Harry Potter umbrella: it looks like a plain black umbrella from the outside, but open it up and you see stars (so it looks like it’s enchanted like the ceiling in the great hall at Hogwarts). I figured that my bag would be even more amazing if from the outside it looked pretty plain, but when you opened it up you’d see it in all of its geeky glory.

I do have one cool idea in mind for the outside flap, though… See that Millennium Falcon on the starship fabric? I’ve got plans for that…

And speaking of planning:


Here’s what my work table in my craft room looks like right now. I’ve read the reviews on Pattern Review about the pattern and they definitely weren’t all rave reviews. From those reviews, I’ve learned that many of the individual pattern pieces aren’t labeled clearly (or at all!), so I made sure to label them before I cut them out. A few of the reviews mentioned that the side pocket was a bit outdated for today’s smart phones, so I’m going to attempt simple slide in pockets for both sides of the bag. I also learned that the strap directions are confusing, the strap comes out oddly puffy, and that making the strap adjustable using D-rings wasn’t the greatest idea. I decided to forgo making the strap out of the bag fabric and bought webbing to use instead. And since I inadvertently bought it about a half a yard shorter than I meant to, I’m going to leave out the adjustable length feature. I bought swivel hooks to use to attach the strap to the bag which will add back in a couple of inches to the length and will also make it so the strap twists easily to maneuver what is going to be a large bag on and off my shoulder more easily.

I spent a lot of time studying the finished project photos on and I decided that I wanted to keep all the fun fabric on the inside. Since that will mean a difference in the cutting layout vs what the pattern says, I spent some time annotating a photo of the instruction sheet using Skitch on my iPad:



I’m pretty psyched for this bag. I’m a bit intimidated by it, but I bet it will turn out to be like most projects: the anticipation is worse than the actual work. I hope so, anyway!


Custom Cross Stitched Climber

The second part of my craft exchange gift from earlier this year was a cross-stitched climber that I designed. The girl who the gift was for is a beer lover and also a climber. I made the painted beer plaque for her using a custom-designed vinyl reverse stencil I made with my Silhouette, and, since I have Craft ADD, I decided to totally switch it up and do a cross-stitch design. I couldn’t find anything on Etsy that was exactly what I was looking for, but I did see a pretty cool climber t-shirt on Zazzle:


That inspired me to create my own cross-stitch design. I dug out the little graph paper journal I found on clearance at Target last year and tried my hand for the first time at creating my own cross-stitch design. I knew that I wanted to do something small (that could fit in a 4×6 frame), so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard. And it really wasn’t!


My first attempt was OK – but it wasn’t great. I thought I could do better. I googled rock climber and found this picture:


I liked the look of it and thought it shouldn’t be too hard to “8-bit-ify” into a cross-stitch design. I was surprised with how well I thought it turned out!


So, the second attempt was what I went with. I used an online calculator to figure out that my finished design would be 3″ wide by 4″ high – perfect! I went to work stitching and I was pretty happy with how it turned out!


It’s not perfect – I mean, none of my crafts are – but I think it’s pretty cute. I like the motion that I think I captured in the image – for reference, this is the rock climber photo I modeled my design after:

Painted Wood Beer Plaque

OK, so this is pretty much one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. And I gave it away.

Beer Reverse Stencil Wood Plaque

I mentioned in my Potter Pub Sign post that I had an idea to do a painted wood sign for a craft exchange. Well, this is the sign. It’s only the second thing that I’ve ever done with a reverse stencil technique, but I love it so very much. And I gave it away in the exchange! And the worst part: I did a ton of work tracing and editing the beer glass image in the Silhouette Studio software and somehow I didn’t save it. So I’m sure that I could recreate it to make one for myself, but it will definitely take some time and effort.

After I created the design, I cut it out of vinyl (the vinyl was everything that’s cream in the image) and applied it to the wood plaque that I’d painted a few coats of cream acrylic paint. After the vinyl was applied, I painted over the inside portions of the design with a few coats of gold acrylic paint, and the outside of the design with the a few coats of the cobalt blue. When everything was dry, I very carefully peeled off the vinyl design. Peeling it off was a little nerve-wracking, but weirdly pretty fun!


But seriously, how cool is this?! Pretty cool. The quote is one that is often misquoted as Ben Franklin’s (though he did write something very similar about wine), but is still a good one regardless. The cobalt blue, cream, and gold color combination is one of my favorites. I’m definitely pretty proud of this and I hope I can get my second attempt at it to turn out half as well as this one did!

Potter Pub Sign

So there are a few things I like a lot – and Harry Potter and pubs are two of them! I was participating in a craft exchange a few months back and one of the crafts I had in mind was a painted wooden sign that I’d make using vinyl cut with my Silhouette as a reverse stencil. It sounded like a good idea, but I’d never actually used that technique before, so I figured I should create something for myself first, just to prove that I could make something that way.

I picked up this naked ornate-looking wood sign at Michael’s and a few bottles of acrylic craft paint. I thought it would make the perfect pub sign. Since my husband and I are big Harry Potter fans, I thought it’d be fun to do a Potter-themed pub sign. I downloaded a Gryffindor lion design from the Silhouette store (which is no longer there, otherwise I’d link to it…), and asked the girls from my craft group for some ideas on Potter sounding pub names. Someone suggested “The House Cup” and I thought it was perfect! I used a Harry Potter font (probably Wizard school) for the pub name, and cut everything out using indoor vinyl on my Sil.

A few coats of paint and some peeling later, and I had an awesome new Harry Potter-esque pub sign:

Gryffindor Pub SignIsn’t it just, like, the greatest thing ever?! I hung it in our dining room, across from the wine cabinet and wine glass shelves that we use as a bar area. It fits right in with our other beer and liquor related art and it makes me smile every time I see it in the room!


Quick & Easy Teacher Appreciation Gifts: Monogrammed Tumblers!


I have a confession to make: I totally did not do anything for Max’s teachers in 2013. Or 2012. I didn’t know it was a thing in 2012 – and I was a little busy trying to navigate new mommyhood and returning to work and breastfeeding and pumping and staring at/smelling my baby. I DID know that it was Teacher Appreciation Week last year, but Max was transitioning to a new room and I totally just flaked. So this year I felt like I had some making up to do – which meant that baked goods or Dunkin’ gift cards seemed like not quite enough. BUT since I wanted to make sure to do something for the teachers in his infant room from last year, I knew that I couldn’t spend too much.

Inspiration struck me at Target (as it so often does)! I was cruising through the dollar spot when I found reusable plastic tumblers in one of the $3 bins. PERFECT! I’d seen pins using those tumblers and giving one with a bag of tea and writing something cutesy like, “You’re a TEA-riffic teacher!” on a gift tag. I knew that I had some permanent vinyl in my stash at home that would coordinate with the Spring-y color palette of the tumblers and I figured I’d monogram them and throw some drink mix packets inside. Easy, right?

And actually, for once, it was that easy! I found a monogram design that was super adorable: a scalloped edge circle with a letter in the middle. The super smart thing that made me go for that design out of the many I saw in the Silhouette design store was that the letter in the middle was a stencil – so I wouldn’t have to deal with small insides of letters to make a letter A, for instance, make sense. I cut the designs out of permanent vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo, and then applied to the cups using lint roller sheets as transfer paper. Working with the small width of the lint roller was a lot easier than working with my 12″ wide roll of transfer paper! The lint roller sheets were super sticky, though, so it’s something to be aware of if you’re trying it out as transfer paper for the first time.


I did have a few parts of the design that bubbled up on me when I tried to get them perfectly smooth on the cup. I try and work out the air bubble to the nearest edge of the design, but when that doesn’t work, I use a pin to poke a teeny tiny hole in the bubbled up part. After the vinyl was applied, I filled the inside of the cups with pretty tissue paper and a few drink mix packets. I loved the way they turned out, but I had no idea how I’d package them up for the teachers!

I figured I’d do a gift tag that I could cut with my Silhouette and attach it to the cup with twine. I saw one of my friends used an incredibly cute Silhouette sketch design for her teacher gift tags – a set of three apples. I figured that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I did the same! I used the new Advanced cut features in the Silhouette software to denote that anything colored in Green would be done using a sketch pen, and anything in red would be an actual cut line. The cut by line color really made my life easier!

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After my gift tags were “sketched” and cut, I attached them to the cups using some pretty striped bakers twine (also a Target dollar spot score!). Because of my dollar spot finds and my healthy craft materials stash at home, this project ended up costing me a little bit over $4 for each teacher. I’m really happy with the way that these turned out and excited to bring them into school with Max in the morning!

Feeling Pinspired!

This was originally posted on my personal blog earlier this year; I’ve added a few notes about some of these projects as I’ve moved the post over.  And I’m not at the job that held me hostage anymore – which is good – but that means less of an excuse to stay home and get some things done around the house.  My craft room has slipped back into another unfortunate state of mess…  Continue reading