Tag Archives: five sisters

Sew Busy: Embroidered Tote Bags

Sometimes when I start on a craft project, I have a hard time stopping. Pacing is not really my thing. A few weeks ago, Big Sis came down for a weekend and I dragged out a handful of embroidery ideas I’d found on Pinterest, along with a few fabrics to pair them to. Once we gathered the supplies to pull it all together, I became obsessed. Like nine bags in a week obsessed. Intervention, anyone?

Now I’m not crazy. There is a story behind my stitching. These lined shopping totes are intended for our annual Hoegarden Weekend, that magical time when the females in our family gather to shop, antique, play board games, cook, snack and break out the croquet mallets. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to, and who’s already claimed what.

The “How I Roll” Camper Bag
Camper Bag

Camper Bag close-up

Sister #3 has already laid claim to this one, sight unseen. She has a thing for campers and as soon as she heard it was in the works, she called dibs. I love the colors – so whimsical and fun.

The “Runs With Scissors” Bag
Runs With Scissors Bag

Runs With Scissors Bag Detail

I made this one with Mom in mind. As a life-long quilter and seamstress, it suits her to a T. She has spent a lifetime teaching the five of us every type of craft – from knitting to sewing to embroidery to, well you name it. Red is her color, and this fun bag will be perfect for transporting supplies back & forth to her Cozy Quilters meetings each Wednesday. Hope she likes it!

The “Make A Wish” Dandelion Bag
Dandelion Bag

Dandelion Bag close-up

This one is mine. I love the color & patterns in the print, but most of all I love the simplicity of it. I’m not letting this one go, no matter how hard they wish.

The “Nerdy Hooter” Tote
Owl Bag

Owl Close-Up

I didn’t name this one, my daughter did when she laid claim to this bag. She fell in love with this cute, sassy owl. The bag is lined in a cute owl print, as well. As a first grade teacher, her class will love it. And it’s large, which makes it perfect for bringing her work home each night.

The “Sleep Under the Stars” Bag
Camping Under the Stars Bag

Camping Under the Stars close-up

I made this one with our Baby Sister in mind. She’s always loved camping, and with her son in Boy Scouts, they get the chance to practice their camping skills often. I especially love the animal print. Check out their cute chevron tails! If The Baby wants this one, she’d better mark her territory quickly.

The “French Knot Flowers” Bag
French Knot Flowers Bag

French Knot Flowers Detail

So…many…knots! But I love how the flowers turned out. I like to think of them as firework flowers. As a button enthusiast, this one makes me happy. The bright colors of the bag and lining are so cheerful.

The “Bee Happy” Bag
Bee Happy Bag

Bee Happy Detail

Speaking of happy…this cute bee was one of the first bags I tackled. To make the wings stand out, I painted a thin layer of iridescent opal fabric paint before stitching on the details. Extra layers of thread on the bee body make it slightly 3-dimensional and the colorful floral print seemed a natural choice.

The “Don’t Bug Me” Bag
Chevron Bug Bag

Chevron Bug Bag close-up

Bees don’t have all the fun. This little chevron cutie is paired with a vine & flower print and was inspired by the tiny bugs in the print. The eyes are vintage gemstone buttons scored at an estate sale this summer. Too cute.

The “Let’s Get Swept Away” Bag
Swept Away Bag

Swept Away Close-Up

And last, but certainly not least, this adorable ‘swept away’ bag was made with my niece (K) in mind. Big Sis thought her baby would love it. There’s so much promise in the design, and so many opportunities in life to get swept up in. It’s not just a bag, it’s a motto. No pressure, K. You can choose another bag if it speaks to you (even though she’s blonde & adorable like you).

Swept Away Detail

I got totally swept up in this project, and I’m not quite done yet. Big Sis is working on her own embroidered front panel featuring a vintage bicycle, and once she’s done she’ll send it back so I can finish it to match the others. There are also plans to make small bags for our two littlest girls (both 5 years old). Four generations of crafty females in our family make me so proud to be a part of it.

What was the last craft project you got swept up in? -jeanne

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In Honor of Mother’s Day

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and in honor of my mother and families everywhere, I’m re-publishing my “Tale of Five Sisters” page. It’s a glimpse into my childhood with four sisters and a mother who is our touchstone and our heart. Here’s to her and to mothers everywhere. Thank you for all you do!

“A Tale of Five Sisters”

I have four sisters.  Yeah, I know.  I don’t know what my parents were thinking, either.  They look so young and innocent, don’t they?   

Mom & Dad on their wedding day

My Mom & Dad - Their Wedding Day

 Actually, we all blame Dad.  He had that “I Want A Boy” syndrome that drives women to drink.  After five daughters, though, even the old man had to give it up.  I don’t know how my parents survived it.  Well, Dad was in sales and the Bass Club of America, so he was away a lot when I was little.  In truth, I don’t know how Mom did it.  I’m not even sure how some of us girls survived it (especially the teen years).   

Growing up, we were naturally divided into two groups – the “big kids” and the “little kids.”  Sister #1 and I (yes, I am #2 – keep your comments to yourself, Peanut Gallery) were the big kids.    

"The Big Kids"

"The Big Kids" - NanaBread & Sister #1

 We were born 15 months apart, and grew up with that “we were friends first” bond that first siblings share.  Sister #3 came along almost 4 years later and started the “little kid” explosion.  Every 18 months or so, Mom gave birth to yet another girl.  We started to think she was in the “Baby of the Year” Club, like the Weekly Reader program, but for infants.  What can I say? Mom’s initials as a kid were M.O.M. – she should have seen this coming.    

Sisters 3, 4 & 5

"The Little Kids"

 She finally threw in the towel at 5 daughters, and who could blame her.  Not to be graphic, but do you realize how many feminine hygiene products that woman had to buy over the years?  It’s insane!  She should have invested in Kimberly Clark and Midol.  Dad invested in MGD (Miller Genuine Draft) and fishing gear.  That was his escape.  But we made it.  We all made it through.   

The Five of Us

 Years have passed now and we all have families of our own.  It amazes me that we all grew up in the same house with the same parents and yet we all are different and unique.  I like that about us.  We all have different interests and tastes.  We all had different experiences in school and participated in different activities.  We had separate interests and hobbies.  We played different sports or practiced different arts.  We picked completely different types of men as spouses (or no spouse at all).  We all raised our children differently.  And yet, we all click when we come together.  All those differences are like pieces of a worn, favorite puzzle.  All that diversity makes us all fit.  I still don’t know how my Mom pulled it off, but she raised five smart, independent, creative girls who love to laugh.  Sarcasm and humor are part of our DNA.  It’s our coping mechanism.   When we’re together, hilarity always ensues. 

Our Mother

 In closing, I’d like to say “thanks, Mom!”  You are our rock and our foundation.  You taught us to cook, clean, sew, do laundry and dishes, fish, dig a camp toilet, fend for ourselves, pay our bills and be fiercely independent.  You showed us how to use common sense to solve life’s challenges.  You taught us to love things like coupons, greenstamps, Tupperware, chocolate, fresh vegetables from a garden, homemade jelly, handmade quilts and antiques.  You also helped us find the humor in everyday life, and that’s really important.  Thanks for being honest with us when we screw up and cheering for us when we soar.    

For good or bad, you left an indelible mark on the world when you unleashed the five of us.  Sorry, world.  No take-backs!

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