Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lonely Visit to Southern California

I spent a few days in California visiting my Dad.  I’ve been in a pensive mood and he accommodated my need to walk along the Pacific Ocean.  Although I live only 8 miles from the Fort Lauderdale beach, I never see it, walk along it or put my feet in the sand.
Feeling a bit lost lately…

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Morning Sunshine

It's Day 3 of my four day weekend. 

Yesterday after straighten up the house and baking some Carrot & Banana Cookies for the Pup, I spent the rest of the day cutting fabric for some new items for the shop.

This morning I noticed the sun streaming in through the window of my studio...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stormy Weekend Projects

Well it's still raining. Last night it was reported that the worst was over, but it looks as if there is some flooding and the roads look treacherous. Since it was a weekend wash out, I kept myself busy sewing and doing a few things around the house.

Instead of working on those four totes, I decided I wanted to redesign my messenger bag this weekend.  So after working on a pattern and staring at the rain falling, I had the wild idea to waterproof the exterior fabric as well.  After cutting some gray hemp for the exterior and blue canvas for the inside, I coated the exterior fabric with my wax mixture. 

While the bag is still missing it's handles, (I think I am going to add a black leather strap), I thought I would share my progress so far.

I also played with my new toy, a Food Dehydrator. 

I love potatoes chips and apparently they love me, my abs and hips, therefore I am on a quest to eat better and slim down a bit.  I read that dehydrated zucchini slides are a great substitute for chips, therefore Saturday night I sliced four medium zucchini and coated one side with a salt, garlic, red pepper and onion power mix.

I let the machine run overnight and  fourteen hours later, I had zucchini chips.

One one vat of homemade hummus + one bag of zucchini chips = Yum!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Should Be Sewing (Project 65 Totes - Four More!)

My 65 Totes customer reached out to me the other day.  Apparently, there will be 69 women in attendance for Bid Day, therefore she needs another four more totes!

Unfortunately, Bid Day was the following day and obviously it will take me a few days.

So I should be sewing, working on the four totes, preparing for the holidays and working on new designs for the Fall and Winter, but no.   Instead, I am watching the bands of rain coming in as Tropical Storm Issac moves through the South and into the Gulf. 

(Photo : National Hurricane Center / Google Maps)
Tropical Storm Isaac Route, Path Map into Florida, USA

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sweet Words

Earlier this week my sister asked if I heard from the 65 totes customer as the totes would have arrived at their destination on Monday.


We nervously concluded that no news was good news and left it on that note.

I came home today to find a box of flowers on the kitchen counter.  From DH?  No, from my customer...

 Wow...such sweet words.... :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


It was a wonderful day in South Florida.

It's been two days since the 65 totes have shipped off and to celebrate the completion of the project, I took Laura and DH out to lunch along the Intercoastal.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 102 - Shipping Day

What a wonderful day!

It’s Shipping Day for my 65 Totes.  I lined the hallway with three very large boxes and after DH and I did one more count, they were sealed and ready to be carted off to UPS.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 99 - Home Stretch

I am in the home stretch of completing Project 65 Totes.

At this point there are still two phases left, closing the interior and top stitching.  DH took pity on me and while watching the Olympics he turned all the interiors in for me so I could begin stitching interior opening close.  

I was hoping to ship the bags out yesterday, but it appears I will be another day or two as I complete this phase and complete the top stitching as well. 

I couldn't help myself when I saw the pile in the living room, so I snapped a couple photos to share.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 90 - Tote #1

Now that the leather handles have been cut, I thought I would complete one tote first to ensure proper placement of the rivet holes.

One down, 64 more to go....

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 89 - Leather Handles

Before - 65 Straps of Leather
I pulled out the large box containing my order of leather straps.  The day I have been dreading has arrived - Leather Handles

 This next phase requires several time consuming steps, including: 
  • Measuring
  • Marking
  • End Punching
  • Hole Punching
  • Placement on Bag Exterior
  • Sewing Handles onto Bag Exterior
  • Riveting

So after a few of work, the straps have been cut into 130 handles and the ends rounded. Reviewing my list in comparison to my Project timeline, I doubt if I have allotted enough time. I guess we will see…

After – 130 Handle

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 86 - Piles

I started working on the interiors last week when Juki had a breakdown.

Now that Juki is back and purring, I made progress with the totes' interior this week...
Slip Pocket + Lining = Pile

Sewing corners
Interiors - Done!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 83 - Disaster Strikes - Juki Down

So looking at this photo, can you answer the following question:

What’s missing from this photo? 

Did you figure it out?
Well, it’s Juki, the muscle behind this operation.   

Yesterday I was moving along sewing the interior lining seams of the tote lining when disaster struck.  After changing the bobbin, the thread jammed and Juki came to an abrupt halt.  After an hour of vain attempts to resuscitate Juki, DH and I gave up.   

Luckily I have two other sewing machines so I continued on, but at a much slower pace.  So this morning DH took Juki to the repair shop so they can attempt to repair him.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 82 - It takes a Villiage

These are photos of my girlfriend Laura and DH helping me through various stages of Project 65 Totes.  Without them, this project would not have advanced as far as it has today.  

 All I can say is thank you guys….

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 78 Pockets – Good Enough to Eat

This is Emi. 

I’ve blogged about my puppy in other posts over the years, so some of you are already familiar with my spoiled pup.  Most of the time she is a sweetie by keeping me company so I don’t get lonely in my Studio. 

The other day I finished stamping my logo on the slip pockets and after they had dried, I left them on my sewing table. Tonight when I came home from work, a surprise was waiting for me.  Apparently, my little assistant discovered the pockets were good enough to eat. 

What’s the saying…one step forward, two steps back?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 75 - HM Mills Logo

I love Saturday mornings, it’s the first day of the weekend and I still have high hopes that I will accomplish everything on my Weekend To-Do List.  

I woke up early to stamp the tri-slip pockets with my logo and was still drinking my first cup of coffee when I finished.  As I was admiring my work, I decided to snap this photo as they lay drying on the kitchen island.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Hot Day

Took a day off from work as well as a day off from Project 65 Totes to spend the day with my sweetie.  DH and I took a day trip to the Florida Keys.  We slowly meandered our way down, did a little shopping, some sight seeing, had lunch on the water and walked along the old 7 mile bridge.

What a wonderful hot day....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 55 Around the Studio

Sorry it's been so long since I posted, but I have been busy. Thought I would share a few photos of the project so far:

Cutting Day - Pretty Fabric
Body of Tote

Cutting Day - Burlap Fabric - Tote Bottom

Cutting Day - Fusible Interface

Cutting Day - Bag Interior

Zipper Day

Zipper Day
Sewing Slip Pockets

Slip Pockets

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 33 - New Uses for a Kitchen Stool

I have discovered a new use the kitchen counter stools.  As the bolt of canvas fabric took too much room on the counter, I found the two stools worked great as bolt holders....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is Handmade?

On one of the venues I sell through, Etsy, there was a recent uproar regarding Resellers and the true Handmade Artisan.  There was a large outcry to boycott the resellers, to change our Store Avatars to a picture of the hands behind handmade.  I am too embarrassed by my hands, and the thought of having an avatar photo of my hands without a manicure, was too much, (oh the horror!).  

So these are the hands behind HM Mills.  The dark spot on my wrist is a burn I received from the iron, and what you can't see are all the pinpricks and scratches from pins.

The dialog back and forth got me thinking about my handmade business.  What is handmade, do I make the metal components for each bag, no but someone else makes them in a factory.  How about the fabric, do I weave the wonderful hemp or linens I used in my Messenger and Market bags, no someone else does that in a factory too.  To me, handmade is being an Artisan who starts with a flat one dimensional piece of fabric.  An Artisan who is choosey about the fabric and chooses based on durability.  An Artisan thinks about how she can make a Messenger Bag better, (i.e. large enough to hold a 17.3” laptop or pockets big enough to also carry an iPad, etc.).  An Artisan, cuts, folds, pinches, sews, presses, sometimes there is a little swearing and forces that wonderful piece fabric into a wonderful Messenger or Market bag.

And that is Handmade...