Monday, November 28, 2011

My Favorite Sewing Project Ever: Walker Bags

I have a new sewing project that's ongoing and very near-and-dear to my heart.  Walker bags.

Every time I say or write "walker bags", I think of this guy.  We all know how epic he is.  Can you believe that he is 71 years old nowadays?  A few years down the road Walker may be needing his very own walker bag.  Or perhaps a few decades down the road; after all, he is Chuck Norris.

Some of you may be wondering what exactly a walker bag is.  Basically, it's a bag that is attached to the top bar of a walker.  Quite the description, I know.  These bags are useful for a few reasons:

  1. To stow away essential items like Kleenex (new or used), cookies, an extra pair of reading glasses, word searches, peppermints, hot pink lipstick, etc.
  2. To be able to clearly recognize your own walker (walker mix-ups are a huge problem in many elderly communities).
  3. To walk with flair.
A couple of times a week I visit a lovely group of elderly people in a nearby Assisted Living.  They are wonderful.  When I first started visiting this particular place, I spotted a few residents who were walking without flair (and repeatedly heard the common question, "Which walker is mine?").  Solution: walker bags.  This is an easy sewing project AND a great way to connect with the elderly.  

Before making the bag, I talked with the resident and got the necessary info (their favorite color, what they like to carry around with them, and of course their life story because that's always fascinating).  Sewing the bag is super easy and fast; some great tutorials can be found online.  Find the one that would best suit the person's needs and tweak it as needed.   Voile.   

Without further adieu, here is the recipient of my very first walker bag, Gigi.

This woman is spunky and no-nonsense.  She now has her walker bag filled with all the essentials and that makes me so happy.

Gigi's walker bag.
Here's another one, more compact...

Cathy, one of the sweetest and most intelligent people I know.
I've made a couple more and can't wait to do even more of these!  However, in the future, I'd like to sweeten the deal by delivering the waker bag filled with the recipient's favorite goodies.   This ongoing sewing project warms my heart unlike any other.   I learn so much from these people and always walk away rejuvenated.  

And, really, I do have so much to learn.  One of my best friends, Kristy, and I have plans to move in together when we're old ladies and relive The Golden Girls.  She is Dorothy Zbornak and I am Rose Nylund. Her sister Wendy is Sophia.  We're still looking for our Blanche.  Any takers?

Thank you for being a friend...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Couple of Sewing Fails

It is my dream to one day sew a dress.  And I will wear that homemade dress to some fancy event, like a wedding or Christmas party or the like.  Maybe just around my house on a lazy Sunday.  Who knows?

Earlier this year, around prom season, I was looking around the internet at different "Make Your Own Prom Dress" competitions and was floored at the talent these young gals had (like this go, girl!).    I have a sneaking suspicion that if I tried to sew my own prom dress in high school, it would have turned out something like this (if I was lucky):

I'm slowly working my way up to this dream.  First, I made my little sis a nightgown that looked more like a muumuu.  My next "sew my own clothes" project was a peasant tank top.  I got the free pattern from, and rushed through it because I really like instant gratification.  The outcome was fairly instant, but not so much gratifying...

What's so wrong with this one, you ask?  Wait for it...

Boom.  Side view.  Makes me look like I'm 7 months pregnant.  Yikes.

I took a little vacation from sewing my own clothes.  Until a couple of weeks ago.  I figured, "What's the harm in whipping up a quick pair of pajama shorts?"  After all, we all had to sew a pair of pajama shorts in 8th grade Home Ec.  And those turned out okay...if you have an asymmetrical butt.  So, I followed an old pattern that Grandma Alice gave me, and went with size medium.

Two thumbs down.
Balloon shorts.  A good breeze and I would've been up in the clouds.  And it has twisted elastic in the waistband.  My husband got a good laugh out of them, though, so not all was lost.  I did try to take them in a bit, which helped slightly.  But pajamas are all about comfort, right?  

Speaking of comfort...

Dear Santa Claus, please swing by Walgreens and pick me up a Forever Lazy and I will be Forever Grateful.  Love, Ree

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trash to Treasure (or How Badly I Wish I Was On American Pickers)

My brother Adam recently flew home to Illinois from California.  This is always a real treat because  A) I love my brother and B) we enjoy doing a lot of the same things together.   This trip, Adam and I headed to the next farm town over to go thrift store shopping (and to make a quick stop at Rural King...that place always smells the same).  There is something so wonderful about rummaging through piles of junk and finding things that are a real treasure to you, usually for mere pocket change.

Sadly, I was off to a bit of a rough start at the big thrift store.  I was about to own up to the fact that I would go home empty-handed when I struck gold.  Guess what was for sale in between rows of sheets, dish towels and nasty old comforters....FABRIC!  I don't know why I never thought of looking for fabric at thrift stores before, but it's there.  Woo!  What's really great about thrift store fabric is that it's vintage...REAL vintage.  So tonight, after dropping Adam off at the airport, I got right to work on a sewing project using my new fabric.  I found this thick, mustard yellow damask fabric from the 60s or 70s (a good yard-and-a-half for fifty cents!), and I had a pattern for a bag that would be the perfect match.  Here's the end result...

The cute floral fabric on the inside is from Grandma Alice's collection...thanks, Grandma!
I love my new bag!  I can't wait to tote various things around in it, or possibly just use it as my everyday purse.  Here are some potential candidates for "items to be toted"...

Candy (of course), my current reading material, and a fun/challenging card game
Or there's always Slam.
One other really cool thing I found was this wooden candy bowl from the 1950s (very "space age", isn't it?).

All in all, it was a great trip.  Adam made it home with a few new-to-him shirts to remind him of the midwest and a retro puffy vest.  As an added bonus, Adam also found some copper wire in the inside pockets of the vest when we got home.  Hmmm....

Probably one of my favorite moments from this trip, though, was getting dressed up in costumes and going trick-or-treating on Halloween with all of my siblings for the first time ever.  Thank you, choice residents of Hillsboro, who gave me candy instead of weird looks when I rang your doorbell with my wand.  I'm 27, I'm in a costume, and I want your candy.  Thank you.

Luke (15) as Mail/Male Model, Karli (9) as Fat Elvis, Me (27) as Professor Umbridge, Adam (26) as Vampire Clown