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"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right and pray for the people who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living." Amen


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

September is Natioanl "Read a New Book a Month"

How about making a "Story Sack" for an adult. Since we need to read at least one new book this month to be "hip" on this tradition of national things to do.....I thought it would be great to to make up this "Story Sack" to help us get into the mood to read.

You're asking, what is a 'Story Sack'? It's simply a bag or sack of some sort, which contains a story book along with related craft ideas, games, and other fun activities.

Why would you want to make one? What better way to get you interested in reading than by getting you involved with a good craft project that connects you to your new book/series. Imagine the fun of not only reading about the characters in the book you choose to read, but maybe making related crafts, playing a related game, or decorating your "Story Sack" to go along with your new book.

My idea is a pattern for a tote bag to go along with your new book, nothing complicated just a simple tote, but the enbellishments are what will get you excited.

You will start off with one embelishment related to the title ...like if the title says on the beach then maybe you might make a little shell out of felt or a string of beads to hang from one of the handles..... or if your title or intro tells you it is about a mystery around food then maybe you can crochet or knit a banana or cupcake and attach it to your tote, or even felt it or embroider it....then as you continue to read you will add new items to your tote bag....each item relating to the story....but remember if this is a series you might want to limit your embellishments to 3-4 a book depending on how many books are in the series....think of the fun Harry Potter's books would be? Ohhh the ideas and inspirations are endless.... Plus you can add little items inside your bag, like crossword puzzles or games that might help you stay in tune with your tote..or just your next crafting addition to work on when your not reading...

Some ideas of series:

You could also think about trying out a new "series" of books like; Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, or Robert Jordan's newest series of fantasy, or how about Maggie Sefton's series on "Knitting" murders. There are a lot of authors out there that have a ton of series with crafts included in the books. JoAnn Fluke has wonderful murder mystery books that include recipes to scrumpious bakery items.... yum yum...Harry Potter, The Mitford series, Nora Roberts series,The Charlaine Harris murder series, the list is endless. Just go to local library or book store and browse till you find book 1 in a series that intrigues you!!

"The Killer Pancake": with recipes by Diane Mott Davison "A nice fluffy quick read, loaded with mouth-watering recipes. While nice to read a series in order, you can pretty much read any of this series in any order."

"The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle" by Joann Carl "One of those light "cute" mysteries that's in fashion these days. It includes chocolate trivia. A nice read for a day when you just want something quick and fluffy to delve into."

"The Main Corpse" by Diane mMott Davison "This book was very good. It had a lot of suspense and kept me guessing until the very end. A highly recommended read for those who want to think. Plus there are recipes scattered throughout the book"

"Aunt Dimity's Death" by Nancy Atherton "Atherton's first mystery in a series of 11 books so far, it combines a strong sense of traditional English fare with an insistent gothic spirit. Suffering from her recent divorce, her mother's death, and an erratic income, Lori Shepherd receives notice from a prestigious Boston law firm that she must travel to England in order to meet the requirements of a will. While visiting her benefactor's "haunted" cottage with lawyer friend Bill, she uncovers important clues relating to a World War II mystery" [I read this book and loved it....]

I chose a classis mythiogical series called "Journey to the West". It was written during the Ming Dynasty based on traditional folktales. Consisting of 100 chapters, this fantasy relates the adventures of a Tang Dynasty (618-907) priest Sanzang and his three disciples, Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand, as they travel west in search of Buddhist Sutra. " So my tote bag has monkeys as it's design on it and I will add embellishments as I read on.

To make your tote: [check out here]
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the outside of your tote to go with your book's theme. [I chose a monkey theme, in fleese to go with my new series ]
  • 1/2 yd for the lining any color
  • handles [can be plastic or straps, or made of fabric]trims as desired
  • something to put in the bag with your book


  1. Lay out your fabric and cut two rectangular pieces depending upon how big you want your tote bag to be.
  2. For a regular tote bag, the appropriate measurement is 12x14 inches, 14x16 inches or for a larger bag try 19x22 inches rectangles.
  3. Set aside the left-over material for later use. This can be used for the straps of your bag.
  4. Place the first rectangular piece of cloth on a flat surface. The shorter sides of the rectangle will make the top and bottom of the tote bag.
  5. Fold one inch from the top edge of your fabric and secure it with straight pins.
  6. Iron the fold, so that it remains in place.
  7. Sew on your sewing machine straight across the edge.
  8. Take the second rectangular piece of cloth and repeat the above steps.

  9. Next see handles below
  10. Now, take both the rectangular pieces. Lay one of them on a flat surface, and place the other piece on top of it.
  11. Secure the pieces to each other, using straight pins.
  12. To attach the two pieces sew them together. Be sure to leave a ½ inch seam on both the sides and bottom.
  13. Sew both sides and bottom of tote being sure to catch the handles of the fabric at the bottom edge, do not sew the top side, which will serve as your opening. [use a zig zag stitch on the hems to prevent raveling]
  14. Your tote is ready! Turn it inside out, so that the sewed edges are inside the bag, while the outside gets the finished look. [option to line]
  15. With your tote inside out, take one corner feel for your seams and move the fabric back and forth in your fingers to flatten it out
  16. Now sew about 2 ½” down from the top point, straight across and sew this about 2 times
  17. This will give you a bottom for your bag and more room.
  18. Press the bag smooth, with the iron.
  19. Your tote bag is ready to be used!

To add a Lining:

  1. Take the other 1/2 yard of material and cut 2 rectangles[the same size as you used for the outside
  2. sew up both sides and the bottom of the bag with right sides facing
  3. now put inside of finished bag and turn over top edge about 1/2" around
  4. match side seams and ease around pinning into place
  5. sew around top edge 1/2" seam around with matching thread


  1. Take your fabric (about 2 1/2 inch piece wide), folding it in half right sides together and sewing (with a 1/2 inch seam) all the way down, iron the seam open and use a wooden spoon or long piece of dowling to flip it right way around. The top and bottom will be sewn shut when the bag is sewn together.. [make 2]
  2. Make sure your two lengths of ribbon are the same size. Pin one end of one of the handle about 1/3 of the way in from the edge on one of the sides (we'll call this side A). Make sure you make it go all the way down to the bottom hem (which we haven't sewn yet) as this will make the bag a lot stronger.
  3. Making sure not to twist the handle, pin the other end of it ALSO ON SIDE A about 1/3 of the way in from the other edge. Pin it so the ends are both flush with the bottom hem.
  4. Make the handles as long as you want them
  5. Trim the handle a bit if the handle seems too big.
    OPTIONAL: You can use fusible (iron on) sewing tape to tape the handles to the bag before you stitch them for a bit of extra support
  6. Once you're happy with the length of the handle, start stitching it to the bag along the top hem, turn the bag and stitch the ribbon down the length of the TOP HEM (not all the way down the bag), turn the bag and stitch the it along the top hem, turn the bag and stitch all the way back up. You've made a rectangle of stitching that should match the stitching you made on the top hem.[if stitching by hand: Stitch back and forth 3 times along the same stitch line as you made on the top hem.]
  7. Now repeat the entire process on "Side B" of the bag so you have a handle on each side.


  • 1. Magnetic closure, button (and buttonhole or hook and loop tape)
  • 2. Lining
  • 3. You can use fusible fleece giving the bag a nice amount of body. And use interfacing to make your handles. Fuse the fusible fleece to the WRONG side of your outside fabric.

  • Nylon fabric is a favorite as it folds compactly and is resistant to water
  • I addded lace to the edgesw of mine and sewed on the outside of my bag around with a zig zag stitch 2 times around
  • I left the 3 inches at the top edge for a flip over
  • I also used fleese on the outside and a small corderoy for the inside lining
  • Have fun and be creative... :)

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of tying a craft into the series!! And since it seems you like mysteries, one series I've been enjoying lately is called The Dresden Files-- basically a combination of murder mysteries and fantasy books, solved by a very snarky wizard living in modern-day Chicago. Might be worth checking out.


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