What’s More Fun Than A Bag of Monkeys?

Once in awhile, the perfect fabric presents itself just in time for the perfect project.

Enter, monkeys…dsc_4057

My daughter and her best friend have January birthdays two weeks apart.  Her friend loves monkeys and has a bright pink stuffed monkey that goes everywhere with her.  I came across this monkey fabric in my collection while working on another project, and I knew it was perfect for a quick birthday gift.

I decided on a tote bag.  I cut two pieces of the monkey fabric 14″ by 16″.  Because the print is directional, I seamed the pieces so that the monkeys would be facing the same direction on both sides of the bag.  I layered the print on top of two layers of Warm and Natural cotton batting and a solid pink for the lining, and machine-quilted the fabric in a diagonal 1 1/2″ grid pattern.


To personalize the bag, I used the block letter monogram function on my Bernina 150 to stitch her name, and “Happy 10th Birthday” on lengths of 1/2″ twill tape.  I stitched the twill tape onto strips of the pink cotton lining fabric and sewed them onto the quilted rectangles.

Then I made straps to match the monogrammed strips.  After that I finished the bag’s construction by stitching up the side seams, folding the top edge 2″ to the inside, and attaching the straps.


One last finishing touch was to square off the bottom of the bag, which, in addition to the two layers of batting, gives the bag shape and stability.

I hope my daughter’s friend likes her new tote bag!  Of course, my daughter has requested one for herself now, so my project list continues to grow!  She wants fabric with either horses or ice skates, neither of which I have in my stash, so I guess I need to go fabric shopping!

What a shame!


I enjoy projects that are both fun and functional.

Have you used your sewing skills to make something you needed lately?  Tell me about it in the comments…

Thanks for stopping by the Hollow…


Kristine Zerby

A Clean Start


My husband and I have four children, and, naturally, the six of us make a lot of laundry!  I like to streamline household chores as much as possible so that we all have time to do the things in life that we enjoy.

One problem in our home has been dealing with our towel laundry.  Because we use our towels multiple times before they get washed, everyone has to REMEMBER what towel they used the last time they bathed (which is almost every day for the six of us!)  For some reason, there are people who live here who have a hard time remembering what yesterday’s towel looked like, and because they don’t want to use anyone else’s towel (YUCK!), they grab a clean one out of the linen closet.  Which results in extra hot water and detergent usage, more work, and general crankiness from me.

About a year ago, I was blessed with the idea to “assign” people their own bath towels.  I wanted them all to be white, (think “SPA”), and I would monogram them so that each person would know at a glance which towel was theirs.  When Black Friday rolled around this year, I finally took the plunge and ordered twelve new bath towels from Kohl’s: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1728758/the-big-one-solid-bath-towel.jsp .  While they’re not the plushest, most luxurious towels available, the quality is good for the Black Friday price I paid, and so far they have washed well with minimal shrinkage to the woven bands on each end.


When the towels were fresh and ready to be used, I set about creating the monograms.  My idea was to program the block letters on my Bernina 150, and stitch our names on 1/2″ white twill tape, which I would then sew onto the woven bands of the towels.  I used this brand of twill tape: https://www.amazon.com/Medline-MDT221183-Polyester-Bleached-Length/dp/B005FGM5AC , that I got for pennies at our local fabric re-use store.

I decided not to sew directly onto the towels because I thought my stitches might get lost in the texture of the woven bands, and removing the stitches might cause damage to the raised threads of the woven design.  Stitching the letters onto the twill tape was a bit challenging, and I had to experiment with my machine’s settings to get the right look, but, overall I’m pleased with how this project turned out.


The names are subtle enough that they look like part of the decorative band, but everyone can easily see which towel is theirs.  I’m optimistic that this will eliminate a lot of unnecessary laundry, which will save us money, which is always a good thing!

Cost Breakdown:

Towels: $75.00 ($24.99 for 4, 3-piece sets of a wash cloth, hand towel, and bath towel; I bought 12, 3-piece sets; Black Friday 2016 prices).  I hesitate to include the cost of the towels, because we needed new towels anyway…I would NOT have purchased these just for this project!

Twill tape: almost free! (I purchased 5 or 6, 75-yd rolls plus many other items at our local fabric re-use store during a fill-a-bag for $3.00 sale.)

Thread: $0.00 (already had)

Time: 3-4 hours, including time experimenting with machine settings and perfecting my technique.

Aside from the cost of the towels, this project was almost FREE!  The time I spent was enjoyable, I think the finished towels are aesthetically pleasing, and I believe we’ll save money in the long run by cutting down on unnecessary laundry.

Have you used your sewing skills to bless someone recently?  Leave me a comment and tell me how!

Thanks again for stopping by the Hollow…


Kristine Zerby