campfire messenger bag

campfire messenger bag frontI’m sure it will come to no surprise to you when I say I’m a big fan of Anna’s patterns.  Her step by step explanations make what might be a nerve-wracking actually completely doable.  Things like strap extenders and snaps are actually kind of easy when broken down step by step.  Even the inset zipper went in like a breeze!

campfire messenger bag inside

I used a natural linen for the exterior and some of the sugar resist cotton I dyed last summer for the flap and binding.  It’s lined with Summersville which always makes me smile when I see it.

This pattern is part of the Bag of the Month Club.  There are some amazing patterns available.  You should definitely check them out.

campfire messenger bag side

I would say I’m looking forward to using this bag but I don’t think I’ll get to.  I used it one day, but lulu saw my things in it and wondered why I was using her bag.  She said that was fine for the day, but my time is up and I think it’s all hers now.  I really can’t blame her.

summer indigo

indigo brushed and dipped with sugar syrup resist

When I started this post I was going to link back to the tote I made with cotton I dyed last year with indigo.  Then I realized I never shared it here, only on instagram.

Luxe Tote in indigo and buckskin

It’s the Luxe Tote pattern.  The handles and corners are buckskin.  The tote went together quickly and I will be making another one at some point, I’m sure.

I also wanted to take another try at indigo dying.  I love the shibori technique of long running stitches pulled tight and knotted.  That was how I created the fabric that was used for the tote.  I did a couple of pieces like that again.

indigo string shibori

I love the random shapes created by the tightening of the stitches.

I used some wooden drawer knobs and rubber bands for these.

indigo round drawer knobs as resist

I can’t decide if I like the front or the back better with this pattern.   I also did a slow dip on a skein of wool.

indigo dyed yarn

I’m anxious to start knitting with this.

I won a copy of Visual Texture on Fabric a couple of years ago.  It’s filled with great DIY ways to create texture on fabrics, many with things you probably already have on hand.

indigo brushed with sugar syrup resist

I used the sugar syrup method for these.  I scattered a lot of syrup at first in an attempt to create layers of color.  The longer the syrup sets, the more it will resist in the dying process.  My syrup was also thin, so it spread a bit leaving shadow lines around the white patterns.  I let the syrup set on the fabric for about an hour the first round and then used an old paint brush to apply the indigo.  Once the indigo oxidized, I rinsed it and scattered more syrup, waited, and rinsed.  I kept going with this process until I was happy with the color.  It was difficult to get that true indigo with the brush application, so I did a quick dip in the vat on a couple of yards.

indigo brush and dip with sugar syrup resist

I love the richness of color that appears after the dip.  I’m looking forward to cutting into these for more totes and maybe even a quilt.

indigo with string shibori resist

sewing retreat with a side of iced mocha cheesecake

At the end of June, I had the chance to spend some quality sewing time with friends.  Holly, Jeni, Jacey, Anna, Faith and I met up in Wisconsin at the most amazing vacation house.

view from the loft of the chalet

charley harper poster

table in loft at chalet

We talked about everything, we ate giant pretzels and amazing belgian frites, we checked out Madison (including a chance to meet George), we dyed fabric, we even managed to fit in a whole lot of stitching.

I finished up a new york beauty that will soon be shipped off to someone special.

new york beauty quilt

I tried fabric dying for the first time.  We used an indigo kit and learned a lot about what works well and what doesn’t.  These are my pieces before the dye bath.

ready to dye

Here’s the top piece after dying.  I will most definitely be doing more with this technique.

indigo

It was fun to see what everyone was working on.  There were a lot of secret projects that I’m sure you will see popping up soon.

jeni's basket of strips

I brought along a cheesecake.  I didn’t want us to go without sweets while we were sewing in the middle of nowhere.

iced mocha cheesecake on plate

iced mocha cheesecake

crust

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 stick butter (softened at room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cheesecake filling

3 bricks (8oz. each) of cream cheese at room temp

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon coffee extract

ganache

1 1/4  cup heavy cream

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)

1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.

Mix crust ingredients in bowl of food processor until combined.  Use a straight sided glass or measuring cup to press crumb mixture along the bottom and up the side of a springform pan.  Chill crust while preparing the filling.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in bowl of food processor or mixer until creamy and smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg.  Add heavy cream, vanilla, and coffee extract and blend until smooth and creamy.

Wrap pan tightly in multiple layers of aluminum foil to make water tight for water bath.  Pour batter into prepared crust.  Place pan in larger pan (I use an oversized skillet) and pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes about half way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake 45-55 minutes,until almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together , but still have a lot of jiggle in the center.  You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage.  Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let it rest in the cooling oven for one hour.  This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently and reduce chances of it cracking on the top.  After one hour, removed the cheesecake from the oven and lift it carefully out of the water bath.  Let it finish cooling off on a rack on the counter.

Once cooled, cover with ganache.

To make the ganache, mix the espresso powder and cream and bring to a boil.. Pour cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sift for 45 seconds then begin to mix.  It will become creamy when fully incorporated.  Pour in center of cheesecake.  Allow ganache to cool, then cover and put in refrigerator to cool overnight.

top of iced mocha cheese cake on plateI was thrilled when Jeni mentioned she could bring along some of her homemade salted caramel sauce because this cheesecake is extra delicious topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

It was a blast of a weekend that flew by so quickly, so I can’t wait to do it again!

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