I WISH EVERYONE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

Charcoal Faux Suede Bag

Charcoal Faux Suede Bag

Upcycled Jean Bag Made With Worn Out Jeans

Upcycled Jean Bag Made With Worn Out Jeans

Red, Black, and White Crazy Quilted Bag

Red, Black, and White Crazy Quilted Bag

Blue and Beige Crazy Quilted Bag

Blue and Beige Crazy Quilted Bag

Black and Silver Crazy Quilted Bag

Black and Silver Crazy Quilted Bag

It has been over a year since I have posted on this blog. I have been incredibly busy, which is a blessing since I have had my share of health problems along with the usual Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis problems. A lot of these problems started after the first of the year and are still continuing. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel since I’m in pain therapy at one of the best pain clinics in the state of Ohio.

My shop on Etsy has taken off and has kept me so busy that I have not had any real time off since last Christmas! I’m going to slow down as much as possible next month so I can get some much needed sewing and quilting done. I’m also hoping I will be out of pain by then (fingers crossed).

I’m always adding new pieces of jewelry and I hope you will take the time to stop by and check out my shop. If you find something you would like, just mention that you read this blog and I will give you a special discount. My Etsy shop is located at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BevmarDesigns

Once I build up my jewelry collection, I’m planning on adding some of my original handmade bags and quilted items. You will see some of the bags I have made in the past 10 years at the top of this blog.

Quilted Bags That I Have Created!

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My first crazy quilted bag using my embroidery machine!

I have been creating and making my own bags for 10+ years. I love the creativity that is involved!

This process starts with choosing fabrics. I LOVE fabric shopping, whether it’s online or in a fabric store! When shopping for fabrics and depending on what is on hand in the color theme I want, that is when I decide what design I want to create for my bag. After I start piecing the bag, that’s when I choose trims and threads to add that extra sparkle and beauty to the bag. I have a large plastic container filled with trims that I use specifically for bags and wearable art. I also have over 400 spools of thread–thread in different colors for sewing my bag together and specialty threads for embellishment, decorative stitching and embroidery.

When crazy quilting a bag, I love to design and add certain embellishments as I go along. I’m more creative that way!

All of the bags I create, whether or not the bag is for me or someone else, I make a sturdy lining out of corduroy. I know, some of you are thinking “corduroy?” but it’s what I have been using for years and the lining in my older bags has held up after using the bag for over 10 years! I always hated it when my lining ripped when I used to buy bags. Now, I do not have that problem!

The second thing I insist on is having lots of pockets in the lining of my bags! I HATE trying to find something in my bag when it is all at the bottom. How frustrating! Both inside walls have pockets along the entire width of the bag. I also include an attached cosmetic bag. I carry several tubes of lipstick and other items that are in my cosmetic bag. It is so wonderful to reach into my bag and find what I want right away!

I create and give my hairdresser a new bag every year for Christmas instead of a tip! I have been doing this for around 10 years. She loves the bags I design for her! She has been one of my clients ordering bags from me and she has sent me a couple of other people who have become clients as well.

Last year for Christmas, she wanted a primary color bag. I designed a bag with light blue faux suede and each design on the bag was a different primary color (see the charcoal bag with the Avant Garden designs next to last photo). That’s when I decided I wanted a bag like hers but I wanted all of my Avant Garden designs to be the same color. I also created bags for my mom and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day. They both wanted denim blue and their Avant Garden designs are all the same color. I have faux suede in several colors to make bags–winter white, cream, light blue, charcoal, burgundy, forest green, and black.

The reason I am writing this blog about bags is I want to know what others think about the bags I have created. I’m thinking about putting them in my shop on etsy and I need to know if they are what women are looking for in a bag. I need honest input because when I ask my family, especially my mom and mother-in-law, they all love what I do. That does not mean that everyone else feels the same way or that I will sell these bags in my shop! Please be honest without being unkind.

2011 Quilted Reversible Jacket

2011 Quilted Reversible Jacket

In 2005, I entered the first of seven Hoffman Challenges. My mom, who loves my sewing, encouraged me to do this and I was eager to take on a new challenge. Here is a little history of what a Hoffman Challenge is:

Started in 1988, the Hoffman Challenge has grown to be a premiere traveling quilt, clothing, and doll collection. Currently, twelve collections travel coast-to-coast within the USA and to several Canadian locations. The Challenge started with 94 enthusiastic quilters, and in some years, the number of entries has grown to more than 700. In addition to the three quilt categories (pieced, appliqué and mixed technique), new categories include clothing (wearable art), accessories, and dolls. While the majority of the entries come from the United States, a wide variety of international entries are received. Each year, the top entries are grouped into traveling collections and visit quilt and fiber shows, seminars, quilt shops and quilt-and doll-makers guilds nationwide and in Canada.

This is a very prestigious competition and one I was honored to be associated with. The Hoffman Challenge entries must create a quilt, doll, accessory, or clothing item with a minimum of 1 to 2 yards of the challenge fabric picked for that year by Hoffman Fabrics of California. You are allowed to use any other fabric along with the challenge fabric, does not have to be Hoffman, in your item.

Each entrant has around 6 months to complete whatever they are entering once the challenge fabric hits the quilt shops. Once you fill out an entry form, pay your entry fee, and then mail your entry to the curator, you play the waiting game until they decide the winners and items that are worthy for traveling. As soon as they pick the winners, they are posted online and can be checked to see if you are one of the lucky winners. For the items that travel, you eventually get a letter telling you your item gets to travel around the country and Canada for a year! Along with the letter, you receive a Hoffman Challenge pin for that year and next year’s entry form.

You are judged first by the visual impact of what you have created. They also look for sewing and/or quilting techniques, choice of fabrics and fabric colors and how your choice of fabric and colors impacts the challenge fabric. Everything is judged, right down to your choice of embellishments.

In 2005, I entered a purse since I was just recovering from a major surgery. My entry in 2006 was a vest. The rest of my entries, from 2007 through 2011 were jackets (my last entry is in the photo).

I spent quite a bit of time coming up with what I wanted to create since that is something they are looking for–originality. Then after purchasing your challenge fabric, choosing fabrics with colors that are pleasing and eye catching with the challenge fabric. After that process is done, there is the decision of how to embellish my jacket, what type of buttons and button closures to use, and so on.

It always took me time to create in my mind what I wanted my item to look like, before cutting fabric and sewing my item together. Once I got going, the process went much faster but still took about a total of 2 months to complete my project.

I never won anything for any of my Hoffman Challenges but my items always traveled for a year before I got them back in the mail (not every item gets to travel). It was always a thrill to see one of my items at a sewing and/or quilt show!

I no longer enter the challenge because I’ve done all I ever wanted to do, except win a prize. It takes up so much of my time and money, since these beautiful jackets are not cheap to make (this jacket cost about $75.00 to make).

Black Crystal Jewelry @ Etsy

Black Crystal Jewelry @ Etsy

For the month of June, in honor of my daughter’s birthday, I am offering a 20% Off Thank You Coupon after you make a minimum purchase of $25.00 from my shop on Etsy.

My shop offers handmade quilts and jewelry, and never been used sewing patterns. Here is the web address:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/BevmarDesigns