Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Official!

We are Colorado homeowners! We are at a 10 day ministry conference in Ft. Collins, Colorado right now, but as soon as we get back, we can't wait to move in! We are so excited that the papers are signed and it's official...and we are anxious to get settled in our new Denver home.

More photos to come...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day Trip to Salado

Before we moved, we took a day trip to Salado, Texas. It's a small town full of charming shops, friendly locals and quaint cafes. I love wandering through the shops, looking for ideas for our home. I'd been wanting to head to Salado all spring, so my sweet hubby came along for a day the weekend before my birthday.

We had lunch at a cafe in Salado Square, and enjoyed coffee from the The Strawberry Patch gourmet specialty shop while we looked through the shops. We LOVE the Salado blend and bought a bag of fresh ground decaf to take home. (You can order their coffee online and it's fabulous!)

The huge rose bushes were bursting with beautiful blooms along the paths to the bridge.

My favorite shop of the day was Charlotte's. Her collection of home decor fit my style to a T. Don't miss Charlotte's if you stop in Salado...the store is tucked down a side street.

Another great shop is Horsefeathers. The house itself is a vintage treasure with beautiful moldings and a charming kitchen, but it is chock full of treasures for your home.
We had a fun day despite the rain. If you ever find yourself traveling through central Texas, Salado is a delightful stop for some coffee, antiques and local charm!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Towel Purse Tutorial

My mom had seen some bags made from towels while she was out shopping and thought they were cute. When we came across these super cute beach towels at TJ Maxx, we knew the pattern would be perfect to make our own towel purses! Because they are made from towels, they are as easy to clean as throwing them in with a load of laundry. They are perfect for running errands, taking to the pool or beach, or really any use you'd have for a large bag.

They were easy to make, so I thought I'd share a simple tutorial.

Supplies you'll need:
a large towel (beach towels work great!)
1-2 paper grocery sacks
scissors to cut your fabric
sewing machine
thread to coordinate with your towel

The beach towel we used was more like a sheet! It was so large that we easily cut two purses out of one towl. First, I cut the towel in half lengthwise. If you were using a smaller towel you could skip that step.

Fold it in half as shown above. Cut the folded edge so that you have 2 pieces.

I created my own pattern using a paper grocery bag. I cut the grocery sack open to be one large flat piece and laid the grocery sack on my fabric to make sure it fit within my piece of towel. I actually taped two grocery sacks together to make a large enough piece of paper. I traced around another purse that I wanted to copy the shape of, modifying it just a little bit. I folded my grocery sack in half lengthwise, tracing half the bag, then cut out my pattern. See the finished pattern below.

(You could also free hand draw a bag shape; fold your grocery bag in half lengthwise, drawing the shape you want on one half of the bag, then cutting your drawn line while the bag is folded in half, then unfolding.)

You can make your bag any shape you want!

Take one of the towel pieces, and lay it flat on the table right side facing up. Set the other piece aside. Pin your pattern to the towel, and cut around the pattern, leaving a 1/2 inch of fabric all the way around.

Next, cut the circle out of the middle for the strap, also cutting a 1/2 inch out from the pattern.

Remove the pins and the pattern from your cut piece of fabric. Lay the second piece of towel flat on the table, placing the cut piece on top, right side down. Be sure that the right sides are facing each other and the side that you want inside your bag (in my case the plain side) on the cut piece is facing up.

You don't need to pin because the texture of the towels will hold the pieces together. Use the first cut piece as your pattern to cut out your bottom piece. Don't forget that you don't need to leave the extra 1/2 inch around the edge this step! Cut the bottom piece to match the top piece.

After both pieces are cut, pin the outside edge together. (See photo below.) Make sure that the plain sides are facing out, with the right/patterned sides facing each other!

(Unfortunately, because my thread was cream colored, you cannot see my stitching in photographs, so there are no photographs for the rest of the sewing steps.)

Sew a seam around the outside edge of the bag, 1/2 inch in from the edge. I used a straight stitch, but you could also use a zigzag if you'd like. After sewing around the entire outside edge once, I sewed back and forth across the bottom 1/3 of the bag another time to reinforce the seam, using a zigzag stitch and following just above the first seam. Since the bottom of the bag holds most of the weight, it's a good idea to reinforce the bottom seam!

Remove the pins and flip the bag right side out. Now you need to sew the hole on each piece separately for the strap. Fold the raw edge in 1/2 inch (plain side to plain side) and pin. If you want to hide the raw edge you can double fold it, tucking the raw edge inside. Sew a seam about 1/4 inch in from the edge, going all the way around one circle. Repeat on the cut out hole on the other side.

I then folded the two strap pieces together and sewed them together to make the strap. Do not sew the bottom of the hole closed as this is the opening of your purse! Start about 3 inches up the strap from the bag opening, sew a seam up and around the top of the strap, stopping 3 inches above the bag opening on the other side.

I left my opening without a closure, but you could easily sew a velcro closure to the inside of your bag in the middle of the opening.

Here is my finished bag! It took less than 2 hours from start to finish. I think I will modify the shape to have a wider opening on my next bag, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Let me know if you make your own towel purse!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Artful 4th of July Weekend

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! Denver has a full calendar of free events and celebrations around the city, and we had a great time getting out and enjoying the arts this weekend!

On the 4th, we headed downtown to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. My friend Heidi was in town from Montana, so we enjoyed chatting and catching up on life while we wandered around all of the booths with creative art from artists across the US. Tru also enjoyed some delicious dishes from the Culinary Gallery.

There were so many talented artists with interesting and unique work. I was especially drawn to several mixed media artists and their intriguing art pieces. I could stare at their work and continually find new details combined with such surprising and storylike qualities.

Some of my favorites were Gena Ollendieck who created fabulous 3-D hand bound albums using found items and vintage in dimensional collages on the one-of-a-kind leather covers;
Credit: "Go Ahead. Open It." Copyright Gena Ollendieck

Richard Curtner who uses magazine pages to create intricate still life collage art;
Credit: "Messages Remaining" Copyright Richard Curtner

Lynn Wipple uses bits of history, old books and memorabilia that fascinates her to create vintage mixed media art;
Credit: "Look" Copyright Lynn Whipple

Truman loves photography and found several photographers with original styles, but Audrey Heller was a favorite of us both. Her insightful & playful photography uses tiny models to create visual puns;
Credit: "Ultramarin" Copyright Audrey Heller

On Sunday, we headed to Red Rocks Amphitheatre for Symphony on the Rocks by the Denver Orchestra. We had a fabulous evening enjoying many recognizable works in my absolute favorite venue.

Red Rocks has amazing natural acoustics and it's beauty creates such a memorable atmosphere for a concert. I love listening to live music in the midst of God's magnificent creation, and what music could be better in this spot than that of a full symphony! It was a cool evening that even required jackets and the perfect night to enjoy an outdoor concert.

We had a wonderful weekend! What did you do to celebrate the 4th?