Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The Beverly Handbag Tutorial

Recently I shared this handbag with you on my blog. Today I am going to show you how to make the bag itself. I did not use a pattern when I made this bag, instead I just made it up as I went along.  So I made another bag in this style so that I could make a tutorial for you. Although I am not great at Tutorials, I do hope you enjoy.   I did not make the new one a collage bag because  I wanted to focus on the bag itself.  Here is the new handbag. 

To make this bag you will cut 8 pieces of fabric.  Here are the pieces and the sizes of each piece. 

Total of 8 Pieces
2 Pieces outside of bag 17.5 X 13.5 Inches
2 Pieces for inside of bag 17.5 X 13.5
2 Pieces for the handles 2.5 X 24.5 Inches
1 Piece for the pocket inside 10.5 X 7.5 Inches
1 Piece for Zipper Pocket (If desired) Size can vary depending on your zipper but I used  8 X 10 Inches

If you prefer to make your bag sturdy you can use fusible webbing to reinforce it.  

First I worked on the handles for the bag.  I simply stitched down each side and flip the tube right side out.  Then I ironed them and added the crochet trim I had picked.  I cut the handles to fit the trim.  

Then I worked on the pocket for the inside lining.  I iron the sides and bottom and then stitched around them.  I added my trim to the top side after using a zigzag stitch to keep it from unraveling.  You can simply fold it over and stitch it if you are not using any trim.  I stitched a line down the center to make two areas for my smart phone and iPod.  Then I sat this piece aside. 

Next I went to work on a zipper pocket.  This step is not necessary unless you just prefer a zipper pocket.  I am terrible with zippers so I have adopted a super easy zipper process.  I some really cute zippers that are decorative so that I do not have to hide them.  I simply stitch them on.  Cut the slit open and zigzag the fabric  Then I sew a piece of fabric behind the zipper and just like that I have a super easy zipper pocket.  Note: you can easily decorate the ends of the zipper by adding flowers, etc. 

Now it was time to work on the bag.  I stitched a zigzag stitch around all the remaining pieces.  This reinforces it and keeps the edges from unraveling.  Then I assembled all the pieces.  First the handles, placing them 7 inches apart and 3 1/4 Inches from the ends. Make sure that you attach them front side facing the outside fabric for the handbag.  Caution make sure the TOP of your pockets and Zipper are facing Up so that when you flip the fabric they are not upside down.  I have done this before and no one loves the seam ripper.  LOL  Do this for both sides. 

Then place the front side of the inside fabric faced down over the handles, like this:

Then stitch across the top of each side.  You will now have something that looks like this. 

Now it is time to put the bag together.  Open up your pieces and lay them flat.  Place right sides together and pin all the way around.  Be sure not to get your handle caught in any of the edges.  Then stitch all the way around except for an opening on bottom of the side with the inside lining pieces  This will be used to flip the bag right side out. 

Double check the bag to make sure all your  pieces are in the correct place then measure 2 X 2 inch sections on each corner and cut them out.  This will make the bottom for your bag. 

Once you have cut them out take each corner and pin it and stitch. Be sure to line up the seams along the bottom and sides of the bag.  It should look like this, although this wasn't my neatest work here.   

Then flip the bag...

It should now look like this:

I like to stitch around the top of the bag 1/4 inch from the edge.  This gives the bag a more professional look and add strength to it. 

You can leave it like this if you choose  It is a great bag this way but I like to pleat the ends. To do this simply fold half way to the handle from the center seams on both sides.  I did not take a very good photo of this step for you but here is what I do have.  I of course pinned it better before I stitched over the pleats. 

I think this photo makes it clearer. I pulled on it so you could see what I was doing. 

When the ends are pleated, your bag will look like this. 
Isn't it cute so far!

Again you could probably stop here but you know this girl had to add more.  So next I added my crochet trim around the bag.  I put the seam for the trim on the front center because I will cover it with a big flower to make the closure for the bag.  Note: that you could have added the trim earlier but I choose to wait to make sure I wanted the trim on the bag when I saw it all together.  Sometimes it is hard to know prior to building your bag.  I do love the trim and my bag is coming along. 

Now you have to decide if you want the handles flat (as they are) or if you want to round them.  If you do want them rounded there are two ways you can do this.  One is to simply stitched the edges together and the other requires placing cording inside and stitching the edges together.  I personally like rounded without the cording.  The cording makes the handle firm and since I have Fibro I prefer a softer touch so I left it out.  Here is how you stitch it...

Slip Stitch
(The heart fabric you see is my nightgown) 

Once that is done it is time to HAVE FUN by adding all the cool stuff.  First I added a big flower, then a bow and other things.  Here is my new bag!!!

The long ribbon you see is attached to the inside back of the bag.  To close your bag wrap the ribbon around the big flower.  

Once you are happy with your bag and finished be sure to stitch up the inside lining where you left the opening to flip the bag right side out.  You can if you choose add something in the bottom (plastic, cardboard, etc.) to make it firm but I like my bag floppy.  

What do you think?

You are welcome to share this tutorial but I do ask that you please give me a link back.  This was a very time consuming project and I am super happy to share.   I am sure there are probably bags out there similar to this one but I assure you I designed this bag on my own based on my knowledge of making handbags.   I did not use any resources online what so ever, so I am naming this The Beverly Bag.  I so hope you enjoy my tutorial and if so please leave me a comment and share your bag with me.   I would SO love to see others 

NOTE:  This bag can be made taller by simply adding inches to the width of the fabric.   I like this size as it is perfect for me. 

I am so glad you stopped by today and happy sewing,


Tea Cottage Pretties

My Handbag was featured at

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Taking Tiffany For An Outing 

This past weekend my Tiffany and I decided it was time for an outing.  I am just getting over a bad Fibro flare up so it was time to have some fun.   We got dressed and headed out. Check out my sweet Tiffany and yes she wore the gloves.  Gotta love this girl!!!

We went to our favorite places.  I headed to Homestead Handcrafts and we found a really old book for Tiffany and I got a few things as well.  I found some nice hankies for $1.60 each, I love hankies. I also found this awesome old chest.  

Isn't it lovely...

You will probably be seeing my new chest in future post because it is a great piece for photo shoots. 

Next we headed to our favorite thrift shop.  However, when we got there the shop was gone.  Thanks to our trusty smart phones Tiffany looked them up and we called them and got directions.  We found them about 3 miles down the road and we were super excited.  The neat thing about this particular thrift shop is that they carry vintage items and clothing.  They have the nicest stuff. 

So we headed straight to the vintage clothing.  There were lots of pretty things but we did not find anything we loved in our size except I found a fabulous long winter coat.  I will need a coat in Korea, so I thought why not.  It is a J. Percy for Marvin Richards Lamb's Wool Coat With Fox Fur.  Now I am not a fur kind of girl usually but I figured this fur was on this coat rather I buy it or not and it is a thrift shop item.  So I tired it on and fell in love.  Here I am in my new coat.  We had been out for hours so I was a little tired looking. 

The back of the coat. 

While Tiffany and I were out on the town my June Bug was home working on her art.  June does her art on the iPad using all sorts of graphics programs.  She wants to be a computer graphics animator when she grows up.  Here is what she created, isn't it adorable!

The best part was that we had a fabulous day and my Eric took us all out to eat after Tiffany and I got back home. Our day could not have been any better.  I so love being married with children.  I am a very happy wife and mom......

See you in about two days when I will be posting my 
Beverly Handbag Tutorial.  


Tea Cottage Pretties

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

The current trend in cooking seems to be finding new and exciting recipes that are healthier but still delicious.  Growing up in North Carolina, I learned to cook what most folks call country food.  These foods tend to not be the healthiest of choices and as an adult I have tried to be a little more creative.  It is difficult for me at times because I have a hard time trying new things but as I get older it seems to get easier.  

This week I decided I wanted to make a Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Everyone seems to be making this specialty soup and so I thought why not me.  As usual I looked around at all sorts of recipes and I even found that you can buy chicken broth that is seasoned for this soup.  I however opted for my own creation including fresh items to use as seasonings.  

I am extremely happy to report that my soup turned out fabulous, so I knew I had to share it with my friends in Blogland.  My recipe makes a very large pot for about 8 people but you reduce the amount of chicken, beans and broth to make it for less people. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup


6 Boneless Chicken Breast
1 Large Onion
2 Large Jalapenos
1 Cup Carrots
1 (14.5 oz) Can Diced Tomatoes
1 (32 oz) Large Chicken Broth
1 (15 oz) Can of Corn 
1 Can Green Chili (10 oz)  (Usually used for chicken enchiladas)
3 Cans of Beans (15 oz)  (I used Ranch Style Pintos but you can use Black Beans or whatever you like)
1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

Tortilla Chips
Shredded Cheese

Cook your chicken until it can be easily shredded or cut into tender chunks. You can boil it in water or grill it if you prefer. 

Cut the chicken up and place in a large pot on stove. 
Add Chicken Broth
Dice the Onion, Jalapenos and Carrots and place them in the pot
Add The other ingredients: Canned Tomatoes, Corn, Green Chili and Beans with their juices
Squeeze the juice of one whole Lime into the pot 
Salt and Pepper
(If you prefer you can also add Cilantro at this point.  I personally do not have a taste for cilantro so I left it out) 

Bring to a Boil and then reduce heat. 
Cook for 45 minutes on Medium.  

Place some in a bowl and cover top with Shredded Cheese 
Crumble Chips over Cheese
I put a spoon full of Salsa on the Chips

Then serve it up and listen to your dinner quest sing your praises.  Really, it is that good!!!!



Tea Cottage Pretties

A special thank you to my new followers.
I am tickled to have you along...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


When Fairy Tales Don't Come True
(My Fibro Soapbox Continues)

I wish that I could tell you that it was a magical evening filled with all the stuff of fairy tales, that I felt like a princess being escorted by her prince.  I wish I could tell you that I loved my dress and I felt beautiful and well pulled together.  I wish I could tell you that my Fibro was in check and I felt like a million bucks but sadly I can't tell you any of these things.  Instead I can only recount how Fibro once again overshadowed my life and took from me what might have been a fabulous evening. 

We had our Sweetheart Ball on the 13th of February.  I had so been looking forward to the ball and I thought I had planned very well for the ball.  All the planning in the world could not stand up to my Fibro.   I woke up the morning of the ball and I knew I was in trouble.  I felt terrible and I was in the throes of a major fibro flare up.  I was in pain allover and I mean from head to toe.  I was extremely weak and nauseous.  I knew I had to get dressed and make it to the ball and then get through it all.  

So that afternoon I got cleaned up and then dressed.  Once I had my dress on, I realized that I did not like my dress at all.  It wasn't that I did not like it; it was that it did not fit me right and in my effort to wear something I thought was age and event appropriate, I had totally picked the wrong dress.  I felt I looked frumpy and old in the dress and it did nothing for me what so ever.  The worst time to realize that you have the wrong dress is when you are getting ready to go to the Ball. 

My husband was so very sweet; he complimented me and was so good to me all night.  He was telling me how pretty I looked and how much he loved me and all I could think was I am so sick and I look like I am sick.  I kept thinking how on earth could he ever be proud of me.  Could he not see I was so very very sick and I looked terrible? 

We arrived and the venue was so nice.  It was an old train station that has been converted into a beautiful and artsy ballroom, etc.  We joined in on the social hour and he introduced me to many of his coworkers and their spouses.  Everyone was so nice and we all smiled (even I smiled) and talked.  My husband kept telling me how much he loved taking me out and showing me off.  He was so happy to have me there, so I put on my best face and I tried to be social and delightful. 

Inside I was dying, everything was starting to hurt even more and I felt I was melting.  I would have a hot flash and my hair and makeup would just melt away.  My pain level was reaching the intolerable point and I had to keep talking to myself.  Finally it was time to go through the receiving line and then find our seats.  The only thing that got me through the receiving line was I knew I would finally get to go sit down.  Maybe just maybe I would find some relief once we found our seats. 

Then the unthinkable happened, we were to be seated upstairs.  Not just upstairs but up this grand oversized staircase that even a healthy person might struggle to climb.  The handrails were made of solid chunky wood and there was essentially nothing to hold on to in order to balance and step up the stairs.  Then when we arrived at the top there were more steps both to the left and the right.  We chose the stairs on the left and as it happened, we need to go up the ones on the right.  So back down again and then back up.  We searched for our table and we found it however, it was full and our placeholders were not on the table.  We started searching and it took 30 minutes to find our names on some place cards several tables away. 

Finally I can sit down; I am so exhausted and worn out by this time.  We had already gone through the formal part of the ball by the time we found our table so it was time to eat.  The food was fabulous and I mean really fabulous.  If I had not been so very sick I would have really enjoyed the food.  We ate and talked with friends and took a few photos and luckily for me my husband asked me if I wanted to go home.  I told him yes I was ready.  I climbed back down those stairs and made it outside.  I took off my shoes and relaxed a little.  We walked back to our truck and drove home.  I took that dress off and wondered who I could give it too, so that I never have to look at it again.

I will always have Fibro and there isn't a lot I can do about it.  You would think by now I would be used to having a flare up at the worst possible time.  I guess because this was the Ball and it was so important to me, I suffered a major meltdown, not only physical but emotionally.  I was so very upset that I lay in bed beside my husband and cried into the wee hours of the morning.  Of course this did not help my headache much but I had to get it all out. 

I did learn a few things from this experience.  I have a certain style and I love pretty dresses.  The next ball I attend I will wear what I love and not what I think is appropriate.  If I can feel good about what I am wearing then that is half the battle.  The other thing I learned is I cannot wear high heeled shoes for very long.  Next time I will wear pretty shoes that are comfortable.  I won't try to be something I am not because that ends up not feeling so very good in the end.

As I write this I am still in the middle of a bad Fibro flare.  I am still heartbroken over the ball and I still hate my dress.  I think I will donate it if I can find the right way to do so.  It was an expensive dress and it is so well made.  It just needs a new home with the right person.  As for me I will stick with the dresses I love because in the end it is me that I have to take care of and please. 

My fairy tale may not have come true however, the part about they lived happily ever after, well let's just say I am thankful for my wonderful husband and our life. 

Hanging in there until this flare up has calmed down. 


Tea Cottage Pretties

A special thank you to my dear husband for being such a gentleman and being so good to me. 

I love you sweetheart...

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Vintage Crochet Plus Inspiration Equals A Handbag

Note: Tutorial Coming Soon

I visited one of my favorite spots last week and I found this beautiful old crochet doily.  I was holding it and I saw a handbag, so there was my inspiration for my next project. 

NOTE: Tutorial Coming Soon!!!

I stitched a backing on the doily so that I could make a pocket out of it and I then started working on my collage.  I did not have a plan I just started adding things that I had on hand.  I also decided to use some graphics from
The Graphics Fairy.  

I also made a smaller collage for the back of the handbag. 

Then I went to work on the handbag.  I started by making a simple rectangular bag and added handles. 

Inside I made a zipper compartment and pockets. 

Then I went to work on the bag to shape it.  I gave it a bottom by mitering the corners.  I made the handles round by stitching the sides together.  I also gave it a cute shape by putting some pleats on the sides.  I then added all sorts of bows, ribbons and glass buttons.  

Enjoy the photos


Some of the details



Vintage Glass Buttons

Rhinestone Crown

Images Used

All images are from The Graphics Fairy.  Please do not save them from my blog.  Click on each one and it will take you to the link at The Graphics Fairy.  

I added Eric and Beverly to this card. 

I added Beverly to this card. 

When I finished with my new handbag I took it out for it's first of many outings.  We went to Hobby Lobby and WOW did my bag ever get a lot of attention.  Quite a few people had to stop and talk to me about it. I think I made a pretty awesome Lace Collage Handbag.....

Featured On

The Graphics Fairy

Thank you ever so kindly Karen!

I wanted to share a few of my other finds from the day I found the crochet doily.  

I found a fabulous vintage ladies hat. 

A lovely vintage brooch

And while at Hobby Lobby, I found these lovelies...

  A beautiful pillow, caddy and music box. 

The music box. 


Such a lovely music box. 

I had so much fun designing and making my new handbag.  I did not use a pattern nor did I start with a plan.  I love when I can just let my creativity flow freely and when the end results turns out like this, I am a happy girl.  

Hope everyone had a beautiful Valentine's Day.  Thank you each and everyone of you for visiting my blog and sharing with me.  My friends in blogland are the best.  Thank you and welcome to all my new followers.  I a tickled pink to have you along for my journey. 


Tea Cottage Pretties


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