Archive for January, 2009

Polka Dot Tote

I worked on this bag most of the afternoon, wrestling with it under the presser foot to tack the lining down inside the bag, but now it is done, and I like it.


The bag is made from a decorator cotton with a layer of  batting, and a lining of cream-colored canvas.  There are pockets all around the outside and even more pockets in the lining.  I used Simplicity 9949, but I enlarged the pattern so that the finished bag measures about 18″ wide and 14″ deep.


The smaller black and white bag I made for a Christmas present had one design flaw that I fixed with this version.  My daughter put her cell phone in one of the inner pockets and it fell down the long pocket to the center of the bottom of the bag, and she thought she had lost it.  With this version,  I put a line of stitching along the fold where the sides turn into the bottom, so the pockets stop where the bottom of the bag begins.  The straps are long enough so that they can be worn over the shoulder comfortably.

Now I am done sewing bags for awhile and will start sewing tops and aprons.

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Apple Oatmeal Cake


Sometimes I have oatmeal left over from breakfast, and it seems a shame to waste it.  This recipe uses up the leftovers and produces a really moist, delicious cake.   The cake is entirely whole grain, but disguises the fact.  The husband sometimes gets gift boxes at work from grateful clients, and this year we got one full dried fruit, jams, etc.  I used the dried apples in this cake.  I took a large handful and chopped them up into small pieces in the food processor and mixed it into the batter.  I have also used dried blueberries, mixed dried fruits, and apricots in the past.

Apple Oatmeal Cake

Grease a round cake pan, and it really helps to use greased parchment paper or waxed paper in the bottom.  Mine measures about 8 1/2 inches across.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup regular white sugar

1/4 cup shortening (I used a heart-healthy margarine)

1 egg or equivalent in egg substitute

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp salt

Chopped nuts

Dried fruits, chopped up if necessary

Beat the oatmeal, gradually add the sugars.  Cream with the shortening, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat some more.  In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients .  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.  Then I stir in about 3/4 cup of dried fruit, apples in this case and sometimes chopped nuts (about 1/2 cup).  Pour into a greased pan, decorate the top with pecan halves and a sprinkle of sugar (optional), and bake at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour.  It might be a little less or a little more, so keep an eye on it and test for doneness.  My oven is a little wacky.

You can vary the spices and what you add to the cake.

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The first tote bag is all done. 



I put in two inset pockets using some zippers I had in the zipper bin. 


To avoid having to use hand stitching to tack down the lining, I just sewed the corners of the outer fabric and the lining together at the same time.  You can just barely see the seam in the picture above.  I figure that when the purse is full of stuff, nobody is going to see that little seam, and it sure was easier to do it that way.

This purse is easy to sew.  I used a very heavy interfacing to keep the bag from being floppy.  I used to get my interfacings (usually Pellon brand) from the W@lmart, but my local store eliminated its fabric department (!!!).  I tried out the Duck & Cover W@lmart in the next town over (they once had a shooting in the parking lot, hence the nickname), and lo, they still had a fabric department.  Not knowing how long that situation will last,  I bought the whole bolt of heavy interfacing at $1.47/yard, compared to the $8 -$10/yd they wanted in the fabric store.   No more $1/yd table of fabrics at the  W@lmart anymore.  Bummer.

Next up is the polka dot tote, a larger version of the pocket tote with top zipper.

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First Projects of 2009

I decided to revisit the same pattern I used last year for my sister’s Christmas tote.  A has said she likes this pattern, so I am making it in a fruit print decorator cotton.



I am going to use natural wood handles and a yellow denim lining.

img_4011I also cut out a very large tote bag in blue.  The pattern will be the same one I used for M’s purse this last Christmas, except that I enlarged the pattern quite a bit. The finished tote will be about 18″ wide and 14″ tall.  This one will be lined with the cream-colored canvas.


A girl can’t have too many tote bags, in all sizes, colors,  and shapes.

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