Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fancy Schmancy Messenger Bag

Thanks for all of your kind comments regarding our trip to Playa del Carmen. The kids and I love traveling (King Thing kinda does but prefers spend his days holding the sand down in Norfolk) and hope to do more in the coming years. I still can't get over how blue the water is. I just close my eyes and imagine it over and over and over again.

So back to the real world. I can't complain. I believe that the mountains of SW Virginia are gorgeous in the spring and summer. Everything is so green and I love hearing the peaceful chirping of the buggies and froggies (as long as they keep their distance) at night. I'm sad that the summer is already half gone. As much as I love the fall, I'm cringing at the thought of cold weather - brrrrrr.

My sewing machine has been buzzing with activity since a dear friend (Thanks TM!) gave me the Simply Sublime Bags last week. I've enjoyed repurposing fiber and fabrics over the last few years and this book certainly feeds into that addiction. However, I initially had a tough time finding good materials to make some of the stuff from the book so I improvised using what I could find which was a $5 tablerunner at Ross. Scroll down if you want to see the Tute for the Fancy Schmancy Messenger Bag.

No need to worry. I HAVE been knitting, spinning and even dipping into the dyepot. I'll flash those pictures in another post.

Fancy Schmancy Messenger Bag Tutorial
Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (15)

I was inspired by the new Simply Sublime Bags book to make a messenger bag from a $5 tablerunner I scored on a recent shopping trip. I decided to photograph the process, in case I wanted to replicate it and am happy to share it with others who might want to make their own bag. The great thing about making this bag from a tablerunner is that its already lined. You could easily whip up a bag and use it the same day!

Please be kind with your comments as I'm still fumbling my way through sewing terms and techniques (I KNOW knitting but have never really understood all of the sewing jargon even though my crafty adventures began with sewing when I was four). If there are any glaring mistakes, please drop me a line at indigomuse AT verizon DOT net so that I can correct them for everyone's benefit. If you visit the Fancy Schmancy Messenger Bag Flickr set, I've added notes to many of the photos to help with the process. Finally, send me photos or links to your bags if you decide to make one using this tute. I'd love to see how they turn out. Enjoy!

1 90" x 14" tablerunner
Coordinating thread
Fray check (optional)
2 rectangular metal D-rings (optional)
Magnetic closure (optional)

1.) Cut runner in half and put one piece aside to be used for the straps (and perhaps make another little bag).

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (1) Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (2)

2.) Using 1/4" seam and RS facing, finish the cut edge.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (4)

3.) RS tog, fold fabric in half (measurement from bottom to finished edge is 11 1/2"). Pin sides together and using 1/2" seam, stitch closed, backtacking ends.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (5)

4.) Flatten corners of bottom to points (WS facing). Draw 2 1/2" line perpendicular to side seam and 1" from the corner point. Sew on line, backtacking ends.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (6)

5.) Turn bag RS out and fold edges of flap in 1/2". Whipstitch into place, taking care to stitch through the lining only.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (7)

6.) Cut 2 22" x 3 1/2" straps from other section of runner.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (3) Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (8)

7.) RS facing and using 1/2" seam, stitch two of the short ends together. Press open seam and top stitch on each side. Fold strip in half lengthwise. RS facing, pin sides together and sew the length of the strap using 1/2" seam. Backtack ends.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (9) Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (10)

8.) Turn tube inside out, press flat and top stitch edges using 1/2" seam. Serge or finish ends of tube with zigzag stitch and apply fray check (optional).

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (11) Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (12)

9.) Using remaining fabric, cut piece measuring 7" x 3 1/2". Fold in half lengthwise and stitch as for strap. Cut finished piece in half and finish edges with zigzag stitch and fray check (optional).

10.) Fold one of the short strap pieces in half (RS facing) over one side of a d-ring and sew to one side of bag top. Reinforce with by top stitching 1/8" from edge. Repeat with other side.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (13)

11.) Fold 2" section of one end of the strap (RS facing) over the other side of the d-ring and sew 1" from the folded end. Reinforce by top stitching 1/4" from edge. Repeat with other side, taking care not to twist the strap.

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (14)

12) Admire your finished bag!

Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (16) Making a messenger bag with a tablerunner (17)


* To give your bag more shape, turn runner inside out (before step 2) and cut fusible interfacing the shape of the runner. Iron onto WS of the fabric (not onto the liner) per manufacturer's directions and trim, if needed. Continue from step two.

* Omit steps 4 and 5 for a flat bag

* Omit steps 9 and 10 and simply sew the straps directly to the body of the bag.

* Add a magnetic closure or snap to your bag to secure flap.

***This pattern is for personal use and may not be used commercially without the express written permission of Tanya Brooks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Viva Playa del Carmen Mexico

Since May, we've not only been blessed with the opportunity to spend a good percentage of weekends on the beach in Norfolk but to spend tons of time with our best buds from college.

Best Buds at Mayan Palace Resort (3) Kids at Mayan Palace Resort (1)

We took our first family vacation together (all eight of us) to Costa Rica two years ago and decided to tempt fate again with a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico in June.

View of Mayan Palace Resort

View of the Mayan Palace Resort

It couldn't have gone any smoother. The flight in and out of Cancun was almost too easy. Playa del Carmen was a 30 minute scenic drive from the airport on some of the best paved roads I've been on in years (rivals most of those in the states or at least in the VA/DC area). Every driver we had during our stay went out of his way to make our trip enjoyable. We stayed at the Mayan Palace resort which boasts the largest pool in Latin America (it was ginormus).

Courtesy of Travelhero.com

Mayan Palace pool at night

The rooms were huge and included a well appointed kitchen so we cooked several meals during our week stay (a great cost saving when you have to feed eight people). We spent a good amount of our time on the beach and by the pool doing absolutely NOTHING.

MBD and Thing 2 in the Mayan Palace Pool

After frying to a crisp at the beginning of the week (that sun was brutal), we finally reserved a Palapa (cabana) to lounge under, perfect for naps after a hard day of doing nothing.

The boyz lounging in the Palapa

Mayan Palace Beach

The guys played golf and hit the beach, I hit the spa, the kids swam for hours and hours, Thing 1 hit the gym and we all ate yummy food. Our big adventure was to the ancient ruins of Tulum and downtown Playa del Carmen.

Main ruins at Tulum

Cliffs at ruins of Tulum

IM family at ruins in Tulum

Thing 1 standing on cliff at ruins of Tulum

The ruins and the view were breathtaking. And yes, there was some knitting. I made quite a bit of progress on my Morning Surf wrap that has officially visited three beaches and two countries in its short life.

Seafoam wrap with view of the Mayan Palace Resort beach (4)

I highly recommend that if you get a chance, visit the Mayan Riviera. Its easy enough to travel to (less than a two hour flight from Charlotte, NC), is clean and beautiful, the water is really THAT color blue, the roads and taxis are excellent, its easy to spend US dollars in most places and you can get by if you don't speak Spanish though it is most helpful if you do (poor King Thing was odd man out with the espanol and was occasionally challenged in communicating with the locals). The only downsides were the mosquitos at night (Autan saved us in a major way), the high humidity (didn't bother to curl my hair all week), having to take shuttles from our room to the pool and having to take taxis to get anywhere off premises. We're already planning another trip to perhaps Cancun or Acapulco if we can find more great deals on airline tickets. Viva Mexico!

Clicky for more pictures of our trip...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bored with my blog design

I'm sure you're probably more bored with it than I am. I actually loathe it at this point. I had a cool layout for a couple of years with autumn trees and leaves. And then when Blogger upgraded, it would no longer work with their new layout. I could fiddle with it but then I get sucked into the blog vortex and I just don't have that kind of time or energy these days. Anyone up for trading some handspun yarn, a handknit or a custom knit design for a blog redesign? PM me on Ravelry or send me an email at indigomuse AT verizon dot net (replace the "at" and "dot") and we'll chat. I don't need anything fancy just not so boring.

I have much to post about but not until the remnants of two near migraines subside (caught both of them with four ibuprofin before they had a chance to go full blown). My head is sore, my eyesight is off and for some reason caffeine triggered the second migraine on Sunday so I've had no coffee or anything caffinated for the last two days. Needless to say, Momma is NOT happy. I'm just thankful that the migraines didn't happen until the very end of almost two weeks of vacationing in Mexico and the beach in Norfolk with our best buds and our kids.