panda bag

Morning all! Thought I’d share another present that I made for Christmas. I’ll take a break from the presents for awhile then, but I do have some more to share – need to get photo editing!

My beautiful niece (featured here) absolutely loves Pandas. She’s almost three years old, and already has a large collection of panda teddy bears – like 8 of them!

I thought it would be fun to make something panda, that isn’t a stuffed animal – I like useful projects. So after a number of web searches, here’s what I came up with:


Isn’t it cute? I didn’t get a picture of her with it, because it took a while for her to warm up to it – Christmas was mostly about the presents that could immediately be played with, but eventually, she decided she liked it!

I made it out of inexpensive cotton broadcloth, and added the eyes and nose applique style. I almost didn’t stuff the ears, but I’m sure you’ll agree, stuffing them was definitely the way to go!


This was another project that I couldn’t find a pattern for, so I found a panda clipart file that I liked, and traced the eyes, nose and ears to get a nice shape. I used a bit of trial and error to get the bag right, but now it’s just perfect for holding a few toys.

If I can find the pattern pieces, I may be able to share the pattern, if anyone is interested – ask and we’ll see what I can do!





mani the whale

Hello again! Thanks for reading today – makes me feel great, knowing that someone actually wants to read what I’ve written.

Anyway…  I’ve been sewing. And loving it! I must tell you all about my new sewing machine sometime. Remind me if I forget. But this is about some sewing I did before Christmas.

I can’t remember whose blog said it, but someone said that it’s always hard sharing sewing projects around Christmas, because so many of the presents are gifts, and obviously you don’t want people to know what you’ve got them… And this year, I decided that I was going to make presents for my niece and nephews, rather than buying them – much more fun for me, and hopefully, something a bit more special for them. This is one of those projects, and I can finally share it, because Christmas has passed.

A while ago my SIL was talking about a denim whale she saw on Pinterest that she loved and hoped someone would make for her kids. I filed the idea away, because I had NO idea what to make for my ten-month old nephew. I wanted to make him something, but something that would last, not a toy for a ten-month old.

So here it is:

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I roughly (as usual) used a pattern that another blogger had provided (Thanks Lacey from ‘all my friends are flowers’!) I couldn’t print the pattern, because my computer wasn’t working, so I traced it on my ipad, so the size isn’t the same, and I wanted the front to have a bit more texture, so I broke the pattern up a bit. I also added some stitching to the fins and tail to give them a bit more 3d shape. But the pattern worked great, and I’m super happy with the result!

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I ended up not having any jeans that could be cut up (having just moved across the world), so I ended up going to the thrift store to find the cheapest ones possible – why not? Randomly, the cheapest jeans were a pair of light denim Armani jeans, and thus, Mani the Whale was born.

The only really tricky part of Mani was the top-stitching to give him a lip. I (stupidly) decided that if I was going to top stitch the lip, that was a good place to close him as well, so I didn’t have to try to hide stitches elsewhere. WRONG! It took so, so, so many pins to hold the stuffing back enough to get him into my machine… There was some blood. Mine, not Mani’s. And I had to enlist a helper (thanks hubby) to help feed him through the machine.

But he’s done, and he’s amazing. And, most importantly, loved by his new family!




applique tote bags

Hey, it’s me again. I know, I know – it’s been ages.

But I’m back…

And, very exciting, this is my 100th blog post. Only took me three years to get here. Let’s celebrate.


Okay, that’s enough!

I’m very excited about some of the projects I’m going to share with you. In fact, I’m going to write 5 (!) posts today. Which is obviously because I’m dying to share things with you, rather than because I know otherwise it will be ages before I blog again.

So, today’s project to share: personalised tote bags.

When I was leaving my job in the UK, I decided I wanted to do something special for the amazing ladies that I was working with. One thing, as a teacher, that I never have enough of is tote bags. I am (was) forever carrying work back and forth, and there’s nothing as nice as a cute bag to carry things in. So I thought I would make my three colleagues (my year group team) matching personalised tote bags. First, I found out the favourite animal of each of them, then I created these:


The bags are 100% cotton and are fully lined, with French seams (luxury!), and I even managed to get my bluedaisyz labels into them.

I cut out each of their favourite animals, then cut it out on cotton poplin ironed onto medium interfacing. Then I attached them to the front of each bag.


As a final challenge to myself, I figured out how to sew the handles on with the box and cross, making sure I didn’t go over my seams twice – tricky! Didn’t get a closeup picture of that, though.


Anyway, I’m please with how they turned out. Even had some other friends wanting me to make one for them, as well! I made one for me, too (needed to do a trial bag), but didn’t take pics of it, for some reason. It has an elephant on it, as well, but it’s a different, more cartoon-y elephant. I think it’s cute.

By the way, if anyone was wondering – dolphins are horrible to sew around – too many intricate shapes.

What do you think? What would go on the front of your bag?