I debated entitling this blog, Trying Something New or Doing Something New. Both those phrases are the truth. However, I went with the title above, because, well, that’s what happened: Everything Escalated.
This month I am trying to do something new for me. Remember my blog, Sewing Teaches Me About Life & Writing? It will, no doubt, come as a shock to you that I got carried away with sewing. What? Who, me? Yes, me.
As any person knows who sews, crafts, paints, re-finishes furniture (ahem), you wind up with remnants. I had two small cans of Varathane, each with a jolt (what is that?) of stain left in them. What to do? Find some small piece of wood….
Back to the latest RM-escalation. After making four travel/hiking vests, five robes, two sets of pjs, napkins and placemats, I had fabric leftovers. What did I make with that library books fabric? No memory, but I used the rest of it to make bookmarks. That was fun. I had leftover doodads and pieces of ribbon and yep—they made good decorations.
Jackie (why do my sisters start these things?) sent me a pattern for a small (4×6), lined, zippered bag. She had made me one of these bags years ago. I use it when I travel for my bedside doodads. So, I think to myself, that’s something new and I give it a whirl. Cute. I recall that my first pattern contained two bag patterns. The one I made, yech, was an epic failure of a design. But the other one, with handles, that looked interesting. Not a bad tote, not bad at all.
Who out there does not have a tin, or two, filled with buttons? I have a collection I’ve added to over the years. Wanting some that matched, I bought like eight bazillion of assorted buttons on Amazon. Every bag got a button—non-functioning, but in all manner of decoration. The bags became known as BoHo Button Bags. Because, why not?
Everything in Life Escalates
At least in my life. How about you? A few years ago, I decide to re-finish my* dining room table and chairs. That evolved into a re-do of Alex’s* kitchen table and chairs. Next thing, I’m in Montana and us sisters are re-finishing Jackie’s dining room set. Escalation. Sigh.
After making several of Jackie’s little bags, I thought, can’t I make any size bag using this method? So I did. Twelve by twelve, 9×9, 4×10—I got it all going on. Of course, I depleted the remnants I had on hand. Back to the fabric stores.
I decided to try the large tote—marvy, except no zipper, no outside pocket. Who are these designers? That’s like a robe with no pockets—who does that? Give me phone and tissue room! I created an outside zipper pocket for the front of the bag. Their strap was too short to be practical, so I lengthened it. Being really daring, I tried to make the tote a zipper bag. My first attempt was wonky, but the next was better.
The Stack of Bags Grew
Remember, everything escalates. I was having a lot of fun, but running out of places to store bags. We sure had a lot of color covering the living room tables.
Travel in Color Button Bags & Musings Travel Journals
I can become a bit compulsive about certain things—Sudoku perhaps, reading about WWII maybe. Habits that aren’t necessarily detrimental to me or others, but there you have it. I felt compelled to sew bags. Sewing was a good way to spend the end of winter and the start of a soggy spring. By June, though, I was tired of the explosion of fabric that was the dining room. Let’s not talk about the bags in the living room. Ahem.
What am I going to do with all these bags?
Everything Escalated into a Field of Dreams Moment
Not far away, in little McDonald, Pennsylvania, resides the wonderful Bedner’s Farm & Greenhouse. A girlfriend got me hooked (See? Addictive.) four years ago and I keep going back. The store is as varied as the Phipps Conservatory only with price tags. And the people who work there? They know about plants! There’s an entire section devoted to anti-deer plants! Of course in our yard, they eat everything—they just finished off our hydrangea bushes.
I subscribed to Bedner’s weekly newsletter. When the news of the day gets you down, find a good gardening newsletter to read. Uplifting! What appeared in my inbox one week but a newsletter saying they were launching Community Days. All locally created items, food, vino, and live music on Saturdays from 8:00-10:00.
Hmm, shall I?
I applied to be a vendor to sell travel journals and travel bags—as the BoHo Bags are called. Why not, right? What’s the worst that can happen when we throw something new out there? We can be told no. Well, gosh, I’ve lived through that happening before, haven’t I?
Imagine my delighted surprise when I had a phone call saying, your products sound intriguing, join us. Cool!
In a nod to this event being held by a greenhouse, I decided to get floral and plant covered fabric. That wasn’t quite enough, though. A couple of bags wound up with pots on the front of them, made from bias tape. That meant buying more bias tape. And oh yeah, I needed other ribbon colors, didn’t I?
Then, I had to figure out how to display the bags. Luckily, I have a good friend who has held multiple vendor events—tada to having shelving to loan me! And a folding table!
Oh, don’t forget the bags have to have prices on them. Aw, gee, how to price. No way I’m asking my sisters to Cricut me tags because that’s how this whole sewing thing starts. (I refer you to the sewing blog.)
Join Me at Bedner’s Greenhouse Community Days
Seventy-one bags later, I’m ready for my first Bedner’s Farm & Greenhouse Event, August 28th. Yes, I’ll add a note before this newsletter arrives in your inbox on 9/1. If you’re local, I’m there September 25th, October 30th, and December 4th. If I sell bags, I’ll add more dates. We went to one in July—any excuse to visit a greenhouse, right—and it was nicely done.
I’m excited about doing something new—selling products I made. Stepping outside my comfort zone, which has been difficult to do without travel in my life. Maybe embracing our compulsions isn’t such a bag thing, eh? Let life escalate around you and draw you, unsuspecting, into a new and unique experience.
What’s been escalating for you?
*When you get married after 50, you still say mine/yours.
Read, I’m an instigator
I’m so proud of you for branching out and being brave! It’s hard to put yourself out there sometimes. The bags are adorable and I think everyone will want one! Who can’t use a bag?? They are so colorful, I love them!
Thanks, other sister! The one who used to say to me: Walk away from the pattern, just walk away. HA! You two are great fun with this! And, yes, it is hard for us to put our art out into the world. Aren’t we lucky to have 5555 Market in Red Lodge & Jody to help us along?
As the little sister that sort of helped escalate this whole sewing thing, tee hee, I love the BoHo Button bags and have snagged a few for myself. Wonderful bags for shopping, using as a purse, traveling and putting your toiletries in and cords, phone charger and tablet cords, ear buds. I highly recommend checking these out!
Oh little mistress of understatement, how ye slay me! Yes, you sure did escalate the whole thing by starting it all. Thank you! That helped me survive a winter of lockdown, a spring of rain, a summer….
You’re a one-woman travel bag factory!
Bahaha! I am!
Sounds like it all worked out great! So glad you had fun! Sewing is one of the things I need to be doing. Lots of mending really, and then I have remnants and square that I can use for quilting … not that I’m very good at it 😉
My sister, Jackie is the ace at making quilts from remnants–that’s a ton of work! And I think if you have fun doing it–isn’t that what really counts? Thanks for reading!
This was so much fun to read, dear cousin. The escalation part is totally you! And, I agree, that stepping out of your comfort zone is good for the psyche. I’m glad it worked out so well.
Ha! Thanks for saying that, Nadine! Some escalations are just good for our souls–as is that doing the new!
Love all the beautiful colorful BoHo Button Bags! So happy for you to enjoy stepping out of your comfort. That’s inspiring!! Looking forward to September Community Days.
Thank you, my friend! I thought of how much fun you would have had being there!