Monday, May 1, 2017

R2CA Blog Hop Theme and Judging

Today begins a bi-monthly meander around the web visiting some amazing quilters and sewists in the handbag-makers world.  The trip is inspired by the 2018 Road to California Bag Challenge and we’ve asked each to share some of their favorite tips for bag making and embellishment with us. We hope these tips expand your bag making skills and offer new creative insights.

At various stops along the way, you’ll have the chance to win some fun bag-making supplies, from stabilizers and fabrics to bag hardware and zippers. All you have to do is follow the instructions of each participating blogger for your chance to win.

For your chance to win a prize in this blog, please see the instructions at the bottom.

Thanks for playing along and for joining us on this journey. patterns (left to right): Carry On! Travel Bag, Bowl Me Over, Every Day Every Way, Bowl Me Over, Ultimate Travel Bag
Contest entrants are competing for $1200 in cash prizes and merchandise. As part of these awards, will be providing a $200 Gift Certificate to the person who, in the opinion of the three judges, best interprets the theme of the " On the Road" contest.

How will you interpret that theme? Will you make a big travel bag for carrying everything you need for a weekend away? Maybe you’d prefer to make a garment bag with lots of pockets for all your accessories?

Will you use fabrics depicting sights and sounds seen when you are “On the Road”?

How about an organizer to put on the car seat to hold all your toddler’s toys and snacks?  If you’re a parent to a small one, your idea of “On the Road” might be pushing a baby in a stroller through the park or zoo. Patterns: Ultimate Travel Bag, Going Place Garment Bag, Road Trip, Backseat Babysitter
However you choose to interpret the theme, we look forward to seeing your creations!

Today also begins your creative process in the 2018 Road to California Bag Challenge. We hope this post will inspire you to plan the process of making an amazing bag. Will your bag be the winning entry in 2018?

To start the process, let's talk about creativity itself. 

Many major thinkers of today agree that there are four major stages in the creative process: preparation, incubation, insight, and evaluation.(Source) For the purposes of this post we are going to also include a fifth stage: elaboration. (Source)  Let's delve into these now!

The Creative Process

Creative ideas and even ideas themselves don't appear out of thin air. Quite the contrary! 

Great ideas build on relationships that the creator recognizes in the world and then rearranges to make something new. 

Along the course of this blog tour, you will see lots of fun ideas:

May 15: Sew Sweetness will use an innovative new material. 
June 5: StudioKat will share ideas on great bag exteriors. 
July 1: will show a variety of ways to use zippers. 
July 15: A Quilting Life will adapt patterns to include patchwork pieces. 
August 1: Emmaline Bags will put bag hardware on full display. 
August 15: will go through creating handles and straps.
September 1: Renaissance Ribbons will create texture and color with ribbon.
And finally, will close with a must-see binding tutorial.

Don't forget to visit your local quilt shop or hunt through your stash along the way to make sure you have your color and pattern library in mind, too!

Use all these resources to come up with new ideas and innovate on the bag you are making. Your final project will be stunning and unique to you! Pattern: Netbook Computer Carriers Patterns: Bon Voyage, Get Out of Town, and Fetch Your Sketch
Okay, so you have done your reading, looking, thinking, and organizing. Now just enjoy the spring/summer (fall/winter in the southern hemisphere).

Get out there and look at nature. Take a bath. Have a nice dinner. Go for a drive or take a trip. Get on the road. You'll find more inspiration out there and you'll discover needs you didn't think about at first.

Boom! You've hit on it and you know what you're going to do. This may happen while sitting in early morning traffic, strolling through a park, changing a baby's diaper, or just as you lay down for the night. It might also happen while you are halfway through with your first idea and now you have two projects to create. No worries. You hit on it! You know what to do. So get to it!

Side note: If insight does come to you while taking a bath, you are among good company. Pattern: Changing Station Pattern: Got Your Back

Yeah, we know. It actually isn't that simple. So you have a great idea for a bag that looks like an ostrich and can walk by itself. It would be a great companion on your upcoming trip, but just how do you attach those feathers... let alone make it walk? Time to start the creative process once again.

During evaluation, it might also be helpful to know the criteria that the judges will use. This can help you focus your ideas on a category you might want to win and help you keep in mind some of the qualities we have identified as important. Don't let this criteria rule your creative process, as the ultimate goal should be making a bag YOU are proud of, not one that meets a criteria. Still, it may prove helpful in focusing your ideas.

"On the Road": the 2018 Road to California Bag Challenge Judging Rubric -- click here.

Finally, you come to hard core elaboration. We add this step because at the end of the day we are truly making something. We aren't just coming up with ideas, but instead turning that idea into a physical reality. Get to your sewing room. Cut that cloth, sew those pieces, prick your fingers, and pick those stitches.

Then sometime between June 15 and October 1, 2017, submit your images to the Road to California Bag Challenge committee and prepare for a wonderful show!

Free Tutorial: Make a Fetch Your Sketch Eraser

PBS Video on Creativity:
Delve deeper into creativity:
We loved researching this post and thought that the following video was educational.

Check it out from PBS.

PBS Video on Creativity:

Win A Fun Fabric Pack!
Share your thoughts on how you approach the creative process by commenting below.
We'll pick our two favorite comments
and award the writers with a fun prize!

Fat Quarter Fabric Pack
Girls Night Out*
by Terri Degenkolb
from Windham Fabrics

*This fabric won't be in stores until July, 2017, but Windham Fabrics graciously provided two Fat Quarter packs for prizes. We've loved making samples for Market using this line and know you'll enjoy playing with it, too!

Winners will be picked on May 15, 2017, from comments posted through May 14, 2017, and will be notified by email. Be sure your comment or blogger profile includes a valid email address.

Girls Night Out by Terri Degenkolb - Windham Fabrics

The On the Road Challenge is sponsored by Road to California and Soft and Stable®. The challenge will open June 15, 2017. That is when the official rules, regulations, and conditions along with the entry form will be available online at Road to California and’s websites.

This blog is part of the "On the Road" Bag Challenge blog hop. To see previous and upcoming posts, we suggest visiting the starting blog to find links. Click here to see the full list.

While there is no limit to the number of entries a person may submit, there is a fee per entry: $10 for an online entry and $15 if the entry is mailed in. All entry packets must be received by October 1, 2017. Winning entries and additional entries selected for display will be notified by December 1, 2017.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Introducing the 2018 Bag Challenge Blog Hop

We are super excited to be sponsoring the 2018 Bag Challenge at the Road to California Quilt Show. This challenge will feature new rules, new winning categories, new awards, and a fun new theme "On the Road."

To see a full introduction to the "On the Road Challenge", please read Road to California's announcement on their blog.

This year, the Road to California team has removed the requirement to use a specific fabric, giving you the option to use everything from quilting cottons to cork to ribbon and beyond! Our blog hop was inspired by this new freedom and our purpose is to use it to introduce readers to new materials, new techniques, and fun ideas.

In addition to great information, there will be a chance to win some fun bag-making supplies at most blog stops. Details for winning each prize will be on each blogger's post. Be sure read the blogs early so that you can win some swag!

To get the prize-giving process started right, readers of this blog have the opportunity to win one of four $20 shopping credits to

To win you must:

Be one of the first four people to comment on this blog stating what type of bag you might enter in the challenge and something special that you might use in the bag. 


Share this blog on your Facebook and ensure that we ( are included as a mention.

Schedule of Blog Posts

April 1, 2017
Announcing the 2018 Road to California Bag Challenge
by Road to California

April 15, 2017
Introducing the 2018 Bag Challenge Blog Hop
Prize: Four $20 shopping credits to 

May 1, 2017
2018 On the Road Bag Challenge:  Introducing the Theme & Judging
Prize: Fabric Pack from Windham Fabrics

May 15, 2017
Sewing with Cork Fabric Video Tutorial
by Sew Sweetness


June 5, 2017
What makes a Bag Exterior Compelling?
by StudioKat
Prize: $40 Shopping Spree at

June 15, 2017
First Day to Submit & Full Announcement of Rules
by Road to California

July 1, 2017
Zipper and Pocket Techniques
Two prizes: Zippers by the Yard with Multicolored Pulls (one white, one black)

July 15, 2017
Adapting Patchwork to Patterns
by A Quilting Life
Prize: Creekside Fabric Pack by Sheri and Chelsi for Moda Fabrics

August 1, 2017
Bag & Wallet Closures - Tips, Tricks and Options
by Emmaline Bags
Prize: Two $40 Gift Certificates for shopping at ($40 Canadian Dollars)

August 15, 2017
Handles, Straps and Hardware: Tips and Techniques
Prizes: Two 1.5" Carrying Strap Kits with Nickel or Antique Brass Hardware ($25 value each)

September 1, 2017
Prize: Designer Ribbon Pack by Tula Pink (Slow & Steady Collection)

September 15, 2017
Finishing With Binding!
Prize: ByAnnie's Stiletto and Pressing Tool

October 1, 2017
Close of Entry Period Celebration
by Road to California

The On the Road Challenge is sponsored by Road to California and Soft and Stable®. The challenge will open June 15, 2017. That is when the official rules, regulations, and conditions along with the entry form will be available online at Road to California and’s websites.

While there is no limit to the number of entries a person may submit, there is a fee per entry: $10 for an online entry and $15 if the entry is mailed in. All entry packets must be received by October 1, 2017. Winning entries and additional entries selected for display will be notified by December 1, 2017.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Paper Obsessed Blog Tour

Greetings, all!

I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Heather Givans of Crimson Tate to share her new line of fabrics, Paper Obsessed from Windham fabrics.

Special thanks to Eric Lubrick for all photos used.

I love paper and stamps . . . and blues and whites and grays sprinkled with a bit of yellow and red. . . and a brand new notebook with crisp, clean lined pages. 

There is something about getting REAL mail plastered with lots of fun stamps that makes me weak in the knees! 

So, my heart started going pitter-pat as soon as I saw Heather's designs for Paper Obsessed! I couldn't wait to use those crisp, clean colors and too-fun designs in a project. 

I was especially thrilled to see the paper airlines, the stamps featuring Heather's "eyeglass-girl-logo", and even a few succulents on the "stamps". I LOVED Heather's Succulents line of fabrics so this brought back lots of sweet memories!

Our samples of Paper Obsessed arrived just as we were releasing our new pattern, Open Wide! Time was limited as we were headed to Market and these were small projects that would allow us to use LOTS of the fun fabrics. So what to make with these awesome fabrics was an easy decision!

Quick and fun to make, these handy zippered bags in three sizes open wide for easy access to all your supplies. 

We used a variety of the fun fabrics to make the set of bags and added fun colors of handbag zippers for a little pop of color on each. 

And, of course, we used ByAnnie's Soft and Stable when quilting the fabric so that the bags really stand up and hold their shape.

The bags feature two inner mesh pockets to keep things organized and easy to view. Binding on the easy-to-install zipper finishes the upper edges and forms a handle and grab tab.

Perfect for travel, you can slip these classy bags in your suitcase — or use them to maximize the space on your vanity.

Our friends at Windham Fabrics will be giving away fabric at every stop on the tour, so you've got lots of chances to win.

We've also partnered with them to provide a kit so that one lucky winner can make their own Open Wide! bag. 

The kit will include everything needed to make an Open Wide! bag in your choice of size (small, medium, or large): 
To enter this post's drawing, please comment on this post telling us how you would use your Open Wide! bag. Tell us, too, what color of mesh, zipper, and fold-over elastic you'd like. If you are the lucky winner, we'll make a customized kit just for you! We'll pick a winner at the end of the blog tour on July 26. Hope you win!

Be sure to check out all stops on this blog tour to see the amazing projects made by Heather and her friends. From awesome quilts to fun wearables, you are sure to find something that you'd love to make today. 

Again, to be entered to win, just follow the instructions on each blog post. It's SO easy! 

So what are you going to make with Paper Obsessed? Any fun patterns come to mind? 

Let me know . . . leave your comment below!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Inspired by Bonnie Christine & Adobe Illustrator #1

If you seek you shall find. Serendipity is an incredible thing.

While at Spring Quilt Market Casey (Instagram @caseyunrein) and Brooke (Instragram - @brooke.elayyne) set off to talk to designers about fabric and the design process. They walked around several booths, somewhat nervous and unsure about how to start a conversation. After five minutes of wandering an Open Wide caught their attention. Sensing that they had a friend in the booth, they approached the professional and kind looking woman that was there.

Casey cordially said, "Hello my name is Casey & this is Brooke. Brooke is an aspiring fabric designer and we were looking to get some input from professionals in the industry."

With that simple beginning the three embarked on a conversation that lasted nearly an hour as the Spring Market crowds swirled around them. It turns out that the professional and kind looking woman was none other than Bonnie Christine (writer of Going Home to Roost & designer for Art Gallery fabric). Bonnie is a surface designer who not only is an incredibly creative spirit, she is also an inspiring and giving artist who shares her skills and experiences with others whenever she can. She has taught design in many spaces and recently partnered with Creative Live to offer a comprehensive surface design course. Check it out here: Design Surface Patterns From Scratch with Bonnie Christine

Since returning from Spring market Casey & Brooke have been watching the online course. Attached here are several of our first designs made.

These are 2 patterns Brooke is currently working on showing clouds and moon phases. I am looking forward to seeing where she goes from here.

By: @Brooke.elayyne
By: @caseyunrein

What do you think?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Roman Mosaics

Traveling is such a great way to open your eyes to the world and see new (or old) things in a new light.

Casey, Gloria and Liam have been in Spain for the past few weeks celebrating the holidays with their Spanish family and, while there, they have been visiting a few ancient Roman ruins from the region of Madrid.

Most notably, they visited the Parque Arquelogico de Carranque, which is located a short distance from Madrid. The ancient Roman villa has a number of truly stunning mosaics.

These mosaics got us interested in viewing more and we found some really amazing designs -- perhaps even some great MODERN QUILT designs!

We hope these inspire you as much as they do us, and you can add Roman art to your list of quilt inspirations.