Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Up For Lost Time

I have so many things to blog about and so many excuses for why I haven't done so. But there's no time for that now. First things first. A while back, I mentioned that I had the honor of being invited to participate in a swap making these adorable little gathered clutch bags.

The swap was being organized as we were planning our relocation from Moçambique back to Pittsburgh. The coordinator, Penny, very graciously agreed to let me send mine late due to the dynamics of an overseas move, waiting on our household goods, house hunting, getting settled in, etc. I had no idea just how long I'd end up taking to finish my end of the deal, and I'm quite ashamed at how long it's been. I certainly don't deserve the patience that was shown me, especially since Anna finished the one she made for me right away and had it awaiting my arrival at my parents' house.

I was excited and nervous to learn that Penny would be the recipient of the clutch that I was to make. She's quite a well-rounded gal, and I labored over the details. At one point, I was torn between just sending her a finished product in a semi-timely manner, and finding the final item that would complete the idea that was forming in my head. I'm so thankful that Penny is really a laid-back kind of person who assured me (several times) that she didn't mind waiting until I was really ready.

My friendship with Penny began with a giveaway that she held almost two years ago, when she asked readers to name her new espresso maker. I won with "Stella", and the beautiful items that Penny sent adorn my kitchen today. So, since Penny and I share a love of good coffee, I definitely wanted to somehow incorporate that into the details of her clutch - hence, the burlap. Penny has done some pretty amazing work with burlap, which made me a bit nervous. She's totally a professional! I managed to score a coffee bag from our favorite cafe in Moz. The beans had been imported from Malawi. I was pretty excited about including an element from our African experience.

I bought this zipper pull from a local gift shop in Maputo while shopping for beads to bring back to Craig's cousin who makes jewelry. I knew that I must also include this, adding to the African element.

If you peruse Penny's site, you'll find that she really does a great job of choosing cheerful fabrics with vibrant colors. I love this fabric that I used to make a nursing cover for a friend recently, so I thought it would be perfect for this project, as well.

Penny and her husband are outdoor enthusiasts. I wanted to include something that appeals to that part of her nature. I decided that a carabiner was the perfect hardware for attaching the wrist strap. It's rather hard to locate "biners" on our side of Pittsburgh, so I'm pretty thankful that REI has recently come to town. They've changed a bit since we originally purchased our own camping gear, so it was interesting to find that they now come in a double-sided "S" shape.

When I had the clutch fully assembled, I realized that I had forgotten to sew the divider inside. So, I took it apart and added the missing piece. Penny is definitely worth the effort!

On one of my very few fabric shopping excursions in Moçambique, I came across this print that just cracked me up. It's so fitting, considering the crime rate in South Africa. I couldn't pass this up. I thought I'd include this as the credit card pocket, just for fun.

It was Penny's tutorial that inspired the tags that I now include in my sewing projects. Naturally, I added one to her clutch.

I'm hoping that by the time she reads this post, she'll already have received her package in the mail from me. I waited a few extra days before posting this so that she'd see it in person first. I really hope she likes it! I had a blast making it for her. Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to do another swap and finish on time. I don't foresee any relocations in our near future, so I have no excuse.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I love how much time and thought you put into making her the perfect pouch. You are such a jem.

  2. I second what Aunt Terri said! I really really like that clutch. You are very fortunate that I was not there during the process because I might have confiscated that one too! ;) Love you guys! Excellent job, E'ma!