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The 2018 Bag

 

The 2018 Art Bag

It was time for a new bag. I wanted one with lots of color, lots of fun things. The great thing about making something for myself was I didn’t have to think about pleasing anyone. There was freedom to put in anything I wanted without having to explain how or why. I knew what I wanted inside the bag, too. Pockets for cards and cash so I could do away with worrying about the size of my wallet, maybe something to hold a pen too.

When you stop to consider all the things that have to be in a bag, it makes the whole process a bit daunting. I’ve been listening to audiobook versions of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series and in one of them, Anita says something about how it takes no less than 10 minutes (or was it 15?) for a woman to go through her bag when she’s looking for something.

Brings to mind an incident with my dad. He had had his stroke and was using a cane but offered to hold my bag so I could lift my toddler out of the van. My dad almost toppled sideways when I handed him the bag. In fairness, I had a toddler. That means carrying almost half of the nursery in the bag and then some.

Well, the toddler’s taller than I am now and cooks lunch. ¬†Anything in the bag now is mainly for myself. The only communal item that goes in is the hand cleaner. So unless they were for traveling, the bags I’ve been using have gotten smaller.

A friend of mine once called the bags I made “happy bags” because of the colors I tend to use. I love color. My favorite is actually white which is supposed to be the presence of all colors. However, I do tend to keep reaching out for oranges when I’m painting. Then when I’ve got the orange down, I feel like I just have to have a few pinks in as well. Then the pinks tend to call in other colors. You get it, right?

Anyway, the new bag. I went on Pinterest and did the Google image search before deciding on a shape I wanted to try. When I was ready, it was just a matter of preparing the substrate. In this case, it was leftover canvas that I primed with gesso.

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Then I traced the pattern onto the primed canvas. I knew I wanted to sew the bag the way I did the stuffed figures I’d made for the Christmas Fair. Since the bag was small, I didn’t want to worry about having to turn it inside out and all that. I trimmed the canvas allowing a quarter inch excess from the traced edges.

The next bits were the best. I painted, glued, stamped and sewed to my heart’s content. My collage didn’t really have an actual theme or story. I just picked up what looked like it belonged. I used Mod Podge to glue papers down though I did sew on the ticket from the Met just in case.

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It took me a while to decide on the strap. I didn’t want to spend unnecessarily. I wanted to use up whatever I had in my stash. I had enough of the cotton woven strap you see in the picture. I was hoping I had one in a darker color but I’d used those up.

Then I decided to add embroidery and bits of fabric to the strap. I sewed a strip of ribbon that must have come with a gift on the back of the strap to hide my knots. I was quite pleased with myself and even more pleased that the serendipitous ribbon was the right length !

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I sewed up the lining as planned and added a kind of strap to hold the bag closed. I didn’t want to insert magnets mainly because I was lazy. I just embroidered on the leftover piece of strap and made a heart from Paperclay. The cords you see were made using a Kumihimo loom and embroidery thread.

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If you already sew and you’d like to make a bag of your own, I made a PDF of the bag pattern. The strap is about 45 inches long without the inch and half allowance on each end (I’m about 5’6″ and the strap is meant to cross the body). The hanging strap that keeps the bag closed is about 6 inches with 2 inches extra for folding under.

I may do a step by step in the future but this is all I can do for now. Here’s the link to the pattern:

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If you do decided to give it a try, send me pictures of your work! If you have questions or need help with your bag, send me an email!

 

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#creativelive · #dowhatyoulove · #karichapin · art · crafts · decisions · illustrations · Macy's · taking stock · work

Flight

2014 is turning out to be quite a ride. This must be the year when, in my old age, I have to decide what I really and truly want to be when I grow up.  Focus, focus, focus! I keep telling myself that specially when I find myself illustrating one day then wanting to try out making a doll the next, then discovering a whole new way to do art two days after. Whenever I see a technique or style or craft that gets me all excited, I feel that I just have to try my hand at it.

It harks back to my childhood when I used to always take things apart to see how they worked. I inspected my dolls’ clothing to see how they were sewn and one of the first things I used to do whenever I had a new doll was to see if it had underpants. It might sound crazy but it was important to me that they weren’t painted on or skipped altogether just because the doll came in pants.

So yesterday, while I was working on my Butt In Chair entry for the day, this craziness I put myself in kept popping in my head. If you happen to follow me on Instagram (under my paperwitheverything profile), you’ll see that I ended up taking off just to get away from it all. I went to the mall, found that some things had changed since I’d been there, and then got myself a flourless chocolate cookie and coffee.

Yesterday was the last of the 3-day class with Kari Chapin on CreateLive. It was all about having a handmade business so most of the attendees were artists, designers, and crafters. I skipped the last day because of the need to get away and take stock of things. I needed to be where I wouldn’t pick up a pencil or fabric. I didn’t even bring my iPad so I wouldn’t start sketching.

Now this is not an easy thing for me to do given how my mind flits from one thing to another but sometimes when I’m in a different environment, I can actually focus. So I did.

In the end (and after I found myself in a part of Macy’s I’d never been to before where I walked away with a couple of baby clothes for my granddaughter, Sophie), it was all a matter of making the surface design, illustration, and writing work with one another. I couldn’t seem to walk away from any of them so I might as well put all them together to work for me.

I also had to face up to the fact that I needed a dependable income to support this endeavor and that I’d have to just squirrel away hours that I can dedicate to losing myself in all that can be magical and wonderful–at least to me. So I applied at retail stores. I’m not sure I’m even employable but well, a job means income. Maybe I can bring some magic in whatever work environment I wind up in. Whatever it is, it’s something to do while the right agent or publisher hasn’t yet discovered how fabulous I am.

I wrote that with a straight face too.

Meanwhile, my Butt In Chair entry will be a bit delayed today because of this post. Besides, yesterday’s entry was brewing in my story-telling lobe all day yesterday and resulted in this sketch over breakfast. He’s not the main character, though. Those are still just bits and pieces that haven’t resolved themselves just yet.

All in all, it was a good Wednesday. I’m not sure if I can say that about 2014 when it’s all done but getting away and taking stock makes things a bit more manageable. I even got home in time for the Modern Family reruns.