#dowhatyoulove · #handmade · #wearableart · collage · Deco Art Fabric paint · fabric · Gelli Plate · inks · mixed media · New Project · painting · paper · patterns · projects · sharing techniques · Uncategorized

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.


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.


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 !


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.


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:


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!


challenges · Illustration · inks · Inktober · Instagram · sketchbook · sketches


Just when I thought I was all done with challenges, Inktober came along. I  have to say that one of the best things about being part of a group (or a tribe) on Facebook is the sharing of resources, fun links, competitions, and events to keep you working on your art. Even better, challenges like Inktober force you to work in a medium that you might not necessarily use a lot.

I had begun filling up a new sketchbook with random illustrations when I got wind of Inktober. It was serendipitous in the sense that I’m not always brimming with ideas and blank pages can oftentimes overwhelm. Design briefs and deadlines make things easier. Of course it’s not as if Inktober provided ideas. It just removed having to decide what medium to use. I still had no theme or specific guide.
But here’s what it did and is still doing for me: it forces me to take some time off my schedule to sit and lay down lines. Then I post my work on Instagram because there has to be some accountability. I’m sure no one is waiting and eagerly keeping an eye on their Instagram feed to see what I will be posting next but I pretend it’s that way. Keeps me going!
Very often I get to sit with my sketchpad after dinner when I’ve plopped down on the Yogibo in front of the television. Sometimes whatever is on might give me an idea for an illustration but that’s rare. Given that most of the shows I watch are either sitcoms or thrillers, that’s probably a good thing. As an aside, there’s really not much that’s worth watching so if all else fails, I turn to my video collection and put on a musical. Or a lame horror movie on Netflix.
Moving along–here are the entries so far.
I happened to be working on designs for a line of products so I was still in a draw-the-veggies mode.

When I settle down with my sketchpad, I usually have my iPad with me as well. I was going through some home decor magazines on the Issuu app so this is what I came up with.

I must have been thinking about creating a design I can develop for fabric when I did this.

I like drawing little people. I’m going to color her later on.

This came from seeing Trick or Treat themed ads on the TV.

I think I decided to let go of the cutesy thing for a bit.

I always celebrate the coming of Fall. Also reminded me that I hadn’t changed my profile pic on Facebook to reflect that. 

Because I forgot to water my plants.

I was watching an episode of Gotham when she came to mind.
That’s it so far. If you do care to see what else will make it to the pages of my sketchbook, you can follow me on Instagram here. And if you happen to be participating, let me know so I can follow your work as well!