Travelling with Fountain Pens and Ink

Posted January 8, 2016 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Writing and Journalling

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I have my inks packed in a 9 L plastic storage box which measures about 13.5 L x 8.5 W x 5 H inches. I couldn’t find a tote bag that fit it and still kept the ink upright.

In desperation, I looked at hardware stores and eventually found something perfect at Canadian Tire for $29.99 CAD. It’s imported by Kuny’s Leather Mfg. Ltd. from Alberta and is part of their Tool Works line. Instead of leather it’s made of polyester fabric and has reinforced webbing for the handles and shoulder strap. It also has a metal frame inside the fabric and a zipper.


It fits the plastic box neatly, and will be easy to carry my bottles of ink in and out of the car for travelling. Plus, it’s protective and cushioned by pockets inside and out, so it provides added safety for moving my collection of fountain pen inks. Once the inks are transported this useful bag can be used for tools or many other things.


Yeah, everybody needs a bigmouth…bag. ;-)







I Resurrect a Pen Roll

Posted December 27, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Sewing, Writing and Journalling

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I originally sewed two of these rolls to use for taking art supplies in the field. One was for wet and one for dry media. I found them a bit awkward to keep clean, so I switched to plastic cases, and these rolls have been sitting in my fabric cupboard unused for over two years.


I will be travelling next month and living in motels for a while when we move across the country, and the movers won’t take liquids, so I am taking my fountain pens and fountain pen ink with me in the car. I will be able to protect my supplies and use them for corresponding!

I packed five boxes yesterday and was feeling tired and didn’t sleep well, so today I spent an hour gently organizing my inks and pens. I have some packages of puppy training pads that I bought for using with the kitty litter box and generally protecting motel rooms. So I used two to line a plastic box and then nestled all my ink bottles in there. The pads turn to gel if they get wet and seal in liquid, just in case my ink spills or something.

Then I resurrected the moss green corduroy roll and converted it to a fountain pen roll. It folds in half and then rolls up and ties securely, and provides some padding and protection.


Sitting pretty with six fountain pens, two for drawing with waterproof Noodler’s inks, plus a ballpoint pen that I use for addressing envelopes.


It brings new meaning to the phrase “Ready to roll.”





Handmade Quilted Case for Laptop

Posted December 22, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Quilting, Sewing

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Once again I used Jenya’s tutorial for this.

I added some ease but probably didn’t need to as this turned out a bit roomier than I had planned. I was using a slightly thicker 80/20 cotton/polyester batting and larger seams of 1 cm, so wanted to be sure it didn’t turn out too small. However, Jenya’s formula for plugging in your own dimensions is excellent so I didn’t really need to add ease.


This was quilted in straight lines using the walking foot on my Pfaff sewing machine; about 20 cm apart. I quilted the front and back pieces and the flap, and used an 11-inch strip of Velcro to close it. I also added some heavy sew-in interfacing to those three pieces as well since this 15-inch laptop is heavier than a smaller device.


I have a backpack with a section for carrying a laptop, and it has a bit of foam in it but I wanted a quilted case for extra padding and security.

This has got to be the most useful tutorial and customizable pattern I have ever used.



Handmade Quilted Case for Garmin GPS

Posted December 20, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Quilting, Sewing

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This was again done with the tutorial for an electronics case from Jenya on the While she was sleeping blog. It was quite easy to modify the measurements for a device like this which is thicker than a phone, about one-inch thick.

This time I decided to quilt the lining with cotton quilt batting and leave the outer main fabric plain. I quilted the front and back and the flap with lines every half inch or a bit more, and then put the case together as normal with Velcro for the fastener.




Here he is all snuggled into his new case.


I used a celestial fabric because the device is a navigator, and I am calling my device “William Clark” after the famous member of the Lewis & Clark expedition in early 19th century America. He has been one of my heroes for years.

The moon is smiling favourably on our upcoming journey to our new home across the country to the wilds of the west coast.



Baby Quilt and Padded Phone Case

Posted December 19, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Quilting, Sewing

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I finished the baby quilt I have been making for the last couple of years. I had some leftover blocks from cutting the Disappearing 9-Patch pattern I used for this quilt, so took four of them and made an unquilted 18-inch pillow, and then used the last block for an accent in a matching tote bag.


The tote bag came from a great free pattern, Quilted Tote Bag, at Craftsy by Lindsay Conner. I modified the size to make it bigger and quilted it using a vertical wave. Then I added two interior pockets, a magnetic snap, and a piece of illustration board in a fabric sleeve to provide stability at the bottom, and I made the straps a bit longer so it would go over-the-shoulder.


For the pillow I used a basic tutorial from the Sew Mama Sew blog for the cover, but interlined it with plain cream-coloured cotton to hide the patchwork seams. After sewing it together I zigzagged the edges together before turning so it could be washed safely without fraying.

I got everything finished and delivered one week before the baby arrived. I was so pleased that I persevered and got it done in a timely manner. I am way out of practice with machine quilting, so did the quilt fairly simply, using medium stippling over the busy patchwork and doing the border with a leaf design in the corners and then side-to-side squiggles on the lengths. I forgot to take a picture of the back to show the quilting.

I recently had to buy an unlocked cell phone for travelling, and I couldn’t find a case for it, so I made my own padded case. This was done using an excellent tutorial from Jenya on the While she was sleeping blog. Her custom measurements worked perfectly, and I modified it by making the flap a bit longer to provide extra padding. I also substituted Velcro for the button and elastic closure.


I liked sewing this so much that I’m going to use the tutorial again for making a case for my portable Garmin GPS device. This time I’m going to machine quilt over the fabric and batting to provide more stability over the larger area.

Once again I find myself thanking someone for generously providing free instructions with lots of pictures. It was great of Jenya to post such a wonderful tutorial and I appreciate it.



Kim Mclean’s Lollypop Trees Quilt Pattern

Posted October 30, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Quilting

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Many of the current books on appliqué use fancy batiks and prints to emulate a watercolour painting for appliqué flowers. I prefer blobby flowers done from scraps. The last time I tackled a floral appliqué quilt was a Baltimore Album style, but in my own freeform design, 23 years ago for a 50th anniversary gift.

I have liked this Kim Mclean pattern called Lollypop Trees for years. Kim sells her patterns through Kaffe Fassett’s Glorious Color web site. I looked in Canada for the pattern and there is one seller offering it for $40 CAD plus shipping and tax. This pattern would cost me $51 CAD. Whoa, that’s quite a price for a pattern. However, it would take me hours of work to draw this up myself, so after thinking about it I used some upcoming Christmas money to buy it.


I’ve done conventional flower appliqués several times but I like to do flower blocks and this seemed charmingly different, plus the size is huge. There is nothing better than huge blobby flowers.

I have so many neat little scraps of fabric that would look great in this. The original quilt and most of the quilts worked up from the pattern use Kaffe Fassett fabric, which is great if you have the money, but I don’t. Upon telling my sister about this, she sent me a bundle of ten Liberty of London fabrics she bought on a recent trip. They are perfect for mixing into this, and I bought four different white on white fabrics for the backgrounds.


A good project for winter, and not too hard on the hands and chronic pain in my arms and back.



Planning to Sew a Simple Afternoon Blouse

Posted October 5, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Sewing

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I just bought the PDF pattern for The Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren, and Fabricland had a sale on with craft or quilting cotton for $6 per meter. I bought enough for 3 blouses (1.6 meters each) and a couple of buttons and some thread.

There are two versions of this blouse, one with a straight accent and one with a round accent. I plan to make the straight one first, but one of the others will have the rounded accent.


I’m getting frustrated and down with winter coming on and our house not selling, so I wanted to do something simple to keep busy and I could use some new tops.

These prints are a bit different for me. The middle one is a beautiful dark green with grey swirls, and the others are brighter fuchsia and pale aqua. I’m going to make a muslin first out of plain broadcloth to make sure the fit is right, and then I’ll get going in the good fabrics.

The PDF pattern has 31 pages to print out and tape together. That might take me a while and then I’ll probably trace a size off on tracing paper to use for my test blouse. I’m between two sizes so will have to grade the pattern.


It’s cheered me up quite a bit to have a happy project making something for myself. Normally I wouldn’t fiddle around taping PDF patterns for clothing, as the pieces are generally too numerous to tape, but this was such a cute blouse I decided I could handle it.

And several hours later, I got the patterns taped together and then traced them off while my fabric was prewashing. So I’m ready to go.







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