Quilted Backpack

I wanted to make a new backpack, since the small travel one I made years ago was too small for carrying books and art supplies.

I visualized how big I wanted my new backpack to be and thought through each piece of the backpack. I wanted two pockets, and I thought about each side and compartment; the back, the front, the bottom, the top, where the zippers would go, the straps, the order in which I’d have to assemble the outside then the lining, and how I’d put the lining in.

I drew a picture of what I wanted it to look like from several angles, so I could visually think about each piece of fabric.

I calculated the size of every single piece of the backpack and wrote out a list. I cut the pattern parts out of paper and labeled them, then constructed the quilted fabric for the backpack’s outer shell.

Once I had all the outer fabric sewn together and cut out, I constructed the outer shell of the backpack followed by the lining, inner pockets, and zipper. I’m pleased with the final result!

Wine Journal

I’ve gone to a few wine tastings lately, and had a great time trying to figure out the ‘compositions’ of the wines. Clearly, I’m no expert! I made a leather bound wine journal for my dad a couple years ago, and I figured I could make use of one as well.

Here’s a close up of one of the pages.

Here’s what I whipped up this afternoon!

I printed off the pages on regular printer paper. When I first designed them, I aligned the content to be printed front and back so it could be folded nicely down the middle for one entry per page. I like the idea of leather covers, plus, leather is the only thing I had handy.

I lined up the folded edges of each set of pages and used a saw to cut even holes.

I used a heavy duty needle to make holes down the center of the leather.

I’ve stitched a couple of books together before, and it’s kinda fun. I attached the top two holes of each set of pages to the cover, then secured the bottom holes.

It’s got a nice feel to it, but the cover was too floppy.

I glued a stiff card paper to the front and back covers. This makes the little journal feel like a real book, it’s very nice! I stamped the inside just for fun.

The stiffened cover helps the leather lay flat. It’s a little plain, but cute. At some point, I want to learn to emboss and use gold and silver foil for decoration.

I like the result! Now I’ll be extra prepared for my next wine tasting.

Raccoon-proof plant cage

In the start of July, I finally moved my succulent plants outside to soak up the summer sun. I built them a little outdoor table and found a spot where they get the perfect balance of sun and protection from the heat.


The Problem

There’s a family of at least 8 raccoons that enjoys wreaking havoc in the yard at night. They love digging up potted plants and knocking over everything that’s not secured to the ground. The rascals savaged my poor succulents twice, ripping them out of the planter box, dumping their pots, and chewing on their delicate leaves. I thought I could solve the problem by moving the table closer to the house, but the raccoons were undeterred.


The Plan

My family and I have had success keeping squirrels and raccoons out of our strawberry patch with a chicken-wire cage. I designed a simple wooden structure with a door to which I would staple the chicken-wire.


The Result

The cage works! While it’s not the most beautiful thing to look at, it has done a wonderful job of keeping critters away from the plants.

I lock the door because raccoons are smart, and would probably figure out how to use a latch if they were determined.

I hung a shade to shield the the plants from the intense afternoon sun.

As you can see, they’re loving it! And safe from curious animals.