Hooray for prototypes

Prototypes (aka “guinea pigs”) are often a necessary step in the design process. Personally, I find them to be extremely beneficial. Since I’m stubborn in wanting my denim pieces to be “all mine”, I avoid Googling for help or for patterns. I ponder matters, like edging a quilt or lining a reusable shopping bag, until I think I have a good idea. And then I go from there.

Sometimes I have success from start to finish, sometimes I get stuck and stay that way for ages. But I always learn what to do, or not to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not delusional. I’m well aware I’m not inventing something amazingly new and unique. Quilts, shopping bags, place mats, etc., already exist. I just like knowing I didn’t follow another designer’s steps.

Late last year, I began what was supposed to be a tote bag/purse of sorts, to be worn over one shoulder and rested on the opposite hip. My current purse is like that and I prefer such a style because it feels safer when I’m in the grocery store or walking through the mall. It would be more difficult for a thief to grab!

However, the design I had didn’t work out so well. My sewing machine wasn’t strong enough to go through the multiple layers of denim, batting and cotton. Until recently, the half completed bag sat on the sidelines. But now it’s done! And it’s a reusable shopping bag instead. With short handles. And wonky stitching up each side 🙂





Looks can be deceiving! This bag holds plenty of books, so it will do fine for groceries. I wouldn’t have chosen white lining though, for a shopping bag. It will be dirty in no time!

The value in what I learned will aid me in future projects. So even though this bag has it’s flaws, it served a great purpose as a prototype. Handles – check. Lining – check. Band around the top – check. Inside seams – do them differently next time!

I’m in need of a new purse, the zipper on mine is broken. With my constantly growing aversion to buying brand new items, I’m designing a purse in my mind. I can make one! Over the shoulder, snaps or flap? Pocket on the outside? Or inside. Plain denim? Or fabric sporting Winnie the Pooh?

SO many ideas. . . . . and only 2 hands and 24 hours in each day!


Another quilt completed

For me (a life long procrastinator), it’s odd to finish things! I’ve been trying very hard to turn over a new leaf (like every year) and complete my projects from beginning to end. Of course, I have a mountain of work to tackle. My sewing room (and my mind!) is cluttered with half accomplished items.

But if I’m ever going to make money at my craft, I need to get my act together. Passion for what I do isn’t enough. Organization and follow-through are also vital. Don’t misunderstand me, I have finished stuff in the past, it’s just more common not to. I get stuck on how to attach handles, or how to bind an edge, or I simply get bored and move on.

However, just this morning, I finished a second, experimental quilt. And when I was done, I had to stop and think, “Am I REALLY done? Or is there something I’m forgetting?”. It felt weird because I’m so accustomed to abandoning items mid-way in favor of newer, “more exciting” ideas.

This second, denim quilt began as another one for my dog, Charlotte. It quickly became too large so I changed it into a quilt for myself, with the intention of her being allowed to lay on it also. Normally she’s restricted to her own blanket(s). For those of you who have indoor dogs, you’re probably well aware of how many you can go through. I’ve always had blankets (or sheets) on my couch to keep the dogs off the actual upholstery. Certain fabrics and dog hair do NOT mix!

It’s one reason why I love denim. Dog hair can easily be shaken off of it. And it’s durable, also good for dogs.

I purposely designed this quilt to be long and narrow, for use on a couch. . . . it’s why I named my WordPress blog CouchQuilts. I don’t want my quilts to be stored away in a closet and most people have a couch. And most people lay on their couch from time to time. . . . do you see where I’m going with this? Simply put, I’d like for my quilts to be out and enjoyed.

Rather than posting pictures here, I’m going to do something insanely clever (ha ha! just kidding) and include a link to my Facebook page. It’s strictly for my denim, no other topics like I have on this blog. If you’re feeling adventurous, please go and have a look 🙂


If I’m not mistaken (and I very well may be!), you would go into ‘Photos’ and then ‘Albums’. Or my last post is ‘Dog Blanket Number 2’ and it will be right there at the top of my timeline? I haven’t had this FB page for long (hence the 9 likes :)) and I have plenty to learn!




It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon. I had a late lunch with my mom, sister and niece who just turned 18. Prior to her birthday, I’d considered making her a quilt but decided against it when I figured she wouldn’t appreciate it. However, I changed my mind. I’m going to involve her in the designing of it. I hate how everyone requests money or gift cards these days. I want my niece to have something full of love and effort, something special, not just cash spent on makeup or the latest fashion. She’ll have this quilt for years to come and she’ll remember having a hand in its creation.

After lunch, I showed her a “frog” quilt (and matching pillow) I’ve almost completed.


I told her if she had old jeans or t-shirts she wanted to donate, I could incorporate them into her quilt in order to make it unique to her. There was plenty of nodding and several ‘uh huh’s but I’m not sure she really understands, or is all that excited about, the concept. My next move will be to invite her to my home so she can explore the myriad of fabrics and denims I have. She can also see the Montreal Canadiens quilt I’m working on for her dad.


Sometimes it helps a person have vision, and can spark an interest, if they can physically look at, and touch, the raw materials used. Plus, it will be a chance to visit with one another 🙂

I’m really looking forward to this particular sewing project.

Writing a post is easy. Titling it is the hard part.

After at least a week with no sign of Mr. and Mrs. Robin, I had hoped they’d realized the folly of their ways and moved elsewhere. But 15 minutes ago I spotted Mrs. Robin settling into the poorly chosen location of their nest. Darn. Now I have to worry all over again. And I have to resurrect the barricade to keep my dogs away from that particular tree. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have concern for little things like a baby bird’s safety. Or a toad’s well-being. Or even sucking a spider up with the vacuum (I did that the other day before I saw it and I felt bad, lol). I suppose I am odd (let’s go with that word) but I can’t help it. I am who I am.

I was out by 5:08 this morning for a LONG overdue walk with my dogs. I very quickly remembered why I detest the pavement and ended up hiking in the bush although I knew the dogs would end up quite dirty. And they did. A good rinse (or three!) with the watering can from my garden took care of that! I’ll try to go again tomorrow as my sister has challenged me to achieve 30 days in a row. I know that’s not going to happen but I’d be satisfied with 20 or more. Out of 30. Not in a row. I’m being realistic here.

I keep thinking it’s Monday but it’s Tuesday. On my agenda for today is cooking and baking (all vegan and yummy) for my sister. Her husband will pick it up later as he works nearby. In the organic gardening department, I need to transplant my pea shoots so they have somewhere to “vine up”. I think I’ll pot them and put them on my deck. I’ve ditched completion of my owl shopping bag for an Oscar the Grouch shopping bag because I do believe I have a better idea for finishing it off! I will also resume production of the Montreal Canadiens denim quilt for my brother. I decided not to make my niece anything. She simply won’t appreciate the value in a handmade item and that makes any effort uber massively unappealing.

I wish everyone a happy and successful week! 🙂

Merry Monday!

Leroy, never far away, is lying directly behind my chair at this moment. I typically hate disturbing my dogs so I’ll add a new post instead. It’s crazy how uncomfortable or inconvenienced we make ourselves for our beloved pets! I’ll always do it though. I figure their lives are decidedly much shorter than ours, why not spoil them? All too soon they’ll be gone.

I’ve accomplished something this morning! I’ve been sewing the Montreal Canadiens denim quilt. I have an apple crisp in the oven to take to my sister later. I’ve also begun barricading off the section of yard around the willow tree Mr. and Mrs. Robin are nesting in. Earlier, I could tell Charlotte was watching Mrs. Robin quite intently as her head was clearly bobbing up and down while she rearranged the nest. I don’t want my dogs bothering them.

I’m probably going to put the MC quilt aside as I realized my niece’s 18th birthday is only 18 days away! I’ve had an idea for making her a denim quilt too, perhaps with her name appliqued on it. Or that might be kind of dorky. Won’t she be excited!? 18 and getting a quilt 🙂 She graduates on June 12th however. . . . so maybe the quilt would be better for then. I’ll have to ponder the issue. I can make her a shelf for her birthday. Also very exciting for an 18 year old! I don’t think young people appreciate the thought and effort behind handmade gifts. They want money, lol.

Okay, Leroy is gone, Charlotte is sort of in his place but I can move my chair. Both my sewing machines are working well now. It’s my iron that’s causing grief and that I can not fix. It’s the wiring. If I jiggle the cord enough, it will function, mostly. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Why is that phrase so true? I can find the silver lining though. An iron is much easier to replace than a sewing machine!

Enough chattering, I’m going outside to uncover my seedlings. Many are now showing. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!