A Crazy Winter Tote:
When in Doubt Use Everything!!

Cherie M. Thompson 2007

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For a crazy winter tote the luxurious, texture of a velvet shirt, found in an op shop, five sizes too small for me, was the basis of my bag.

The decision use everything from the velvet fabric, men's necktie labels, denim fringed frills, buttons and braids and even tape measures made for a fun, tactile, project.

On the back of the bag the flowers are gold in real life!
I constructed a 15 x 12 inch piece of the velvet fabric for the back of the bag and made two handles 31 inches long. The body of the bag and the handles were all stiffened with a recycled department store shopping tote. 
Next step was creating a 15 x 12 inch block on a muslin background. From my stash came the remnants of a tape measure block, men's necktie labels I'd been sewing together for other projects, a section of a frayed, fringed, denim skirt, pieces of the gold velvet shirt, a combined floral and animal print synthetic fabric and a mesh, laced denim in typical crazy fashion, the block was a visual feast. 

The Block.

With the block completed, my choice to construct something out of the ordinary was easy. My hoard of found objects including very old Ukrainian watch faces, vintage tortoiseshell, mother of pearl, glass, and metal buttons as well as millefiori beads and hearts. Adding beaded Ozecraft dyed edging, along with a beautiful plastic orchid flowers in hues of burnished gold, browns and winter colours was perfect. The catch was a simple loop slipped over a huge, two inch, Bakelite button finished with tiny beads holding a Millefiori heart made vivid addition.  
The upper left side of the bag. Collecting old tape measures and over-locking each one, side by side, on a muslin backing, created the tape measure section. 
The upper right side of the bag shows the tie labels, machine stitched down each side on a muslin backing, then hand embellished with beaded feather stitch. To correspond with the swing and movement of the fringe on the lower edge a deconstructed, old tasseled 60's earring, found gold and Burgundy silk tassels, tortoiseshell chain, new tassels and old keys were added to jingle and jangle.  

The left side of the bag where the seams were finished with colour corresponding tape and tiny tortoise shell buttons. A section was stitched with a tacking stitch and tiny gold beads. Three beautiful glass butterflies complimented the denim on the opposite corner and the beautiful, old watch faces were secured with gold thread and beads.

The photo tells the story! The gold, tasselled, fringe only swings on part of the lower edge of the bag. One day I might find something to adorn the other side, then again, maybe not. I've christened this lavish, tactile, bag "A Measure of Time".

To create something crazily, similar, use any tote pattern. Allow your imagination to run wild, there are no rules in crazy quilting, only those you dream and design to come true.  Always remember, when in doubt use everything!!!

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