Be free-floating, allowing the situation to surround you, and be in it. Take in the full surroundings, including the temperature of the water.
This may bring incredible clarity, presence and focus. This is what is means to be a jellyfish.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Walking on Wednesday - Finding My Way Through a Coffee Bag

Opportunities arise when you least expect them. And sometimes they involve things you never thought you would  try. The key is to let go of your limits, to step outside the box. Sometimes it is finding your way through a coffee bag.
An opportunity presented itself at the beginning of this month that Raige never thought of. A coffee grinder had some coffee bags they wanted to see turned in to other things. They didn't want to just sell the bags, they wanted to give them to someone to inspire them to create, and then they wanted to showcase those creations in their coffee shop. 
Coffee bags. Burlap. This is a medium Raige had not explored before. 
The question to Raige was:
"So, are you a seamstress?"
"What??? Um, NO. I would certainly not call myself a seamstress. But I CAN sew a bit." 

Thank goodness Laura was as willing to take that leap of faith as Raige was. She gave me a bag, and thus began the journey through a coffee bag.

As with any project, there is much trial and error. The first coaster I made, well, I had to take apart and re-make. Crooked square and button too close to the edge means skewed and unraveling to the point of unacceptable.

Then, the Mug Rug, well, the square for the mug is a little small for a mug! And the snack side, well, it would hold the chocolate covered espresso beans the shop has...but only a few it looks like. 

Then there is the question, how much fray is too much fray?? If you know the answer to that - I would say you are in good shape.
The Christmas Stocking. It turned out great, I think. But let's just say it was the epitome of trial and error. Had to rip out the first stocking try and start over, one broken sewing machine needle, and the third cuff was the charm. I forgot about the hanger until I was congratulating myself of a job (finally) well done. But even as an afterthought, I love how it turned out.
The printing on the bag is pretty cool, so I wanted to showcase that. It was between a bag or a pillow cover. Would have been a pretty large bag, so pillow cover won. I am still contemplating painting the little Yin-Yang circle in the "C's", but think it left as it is may win out. It is burlap on one side and a silky fabric on the other. Great wood buttons to keep the pillow safe inside.
I still have to sew on the buttons, but I did manage to get some crochet in. It was perfect for the button holes. This would be perfect for a bench in the foyer, or that backyard gazebo. Yin-Yang Coffee, hmmm.

By the time I got to the pillow, I felt I was getting the hang of working with this textile. Sure, I got up from my work space with small pieces of burlap stuck to my sweater, and Eggbert my little pin cushion looks like he has seen better days, if you can spot him in a few of these pictures. But burlap is actually a nice thing to work with, the texture is great and the color is something you just can't get with other fabrics or mediums.
About time for a bottle of wine, no? YES, and bring it over in this wine bag. Just gotta decide if the handle is too long, and then hope the needle goes through that thick layer of folded burlap and fabric, and sew it on. 
Okay, that is not wine in there. Ahem. We don't happen to have any wine. See how versatile this bag is? Rum or wine, great gift bag. Maybe I will add another splash of red to the bag, or use that grape bunch stamp I have, we will see. I have until Friday to sort it out. 

It has been great to find my way through this coffee bag! I love being challenged, and getting back to sewing. I am also so excited for this great opportunity the Biltmore Coffee Traders have given Raige.

Have you had to take an unusual leap outside your comfort zone? And were you thankful you did? 

It was a direction I never imaged, but am so thankful I took that step outside of my comforting crochet, and back to exploring the wide world of sewing, some of which I have yet to discover. I have found my way through this coffee bag, and hope Laura, her husband, and Raige can continue to work together through many a coffee bag. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Wow! This is my favorite post yet. The items you made are WONDERFUL! I must admit the stocking is truly my favorite. I hope that they sell them out of the shop for you and make you a ton of money or in the least bit display them. Just beautiful!

  2. Super awesome items!
    And I love 'let go of your limits'.
    Wanitta :D

  3. Great job! Anyone who works with a sewing machine and doesn't draw blood is my idol!!!

  4. Wow, thank you all so much! And I never claimed I didn't draw any blood, lol. ;)

  5. Your projects turned out really great! Burlap is a strange medium to work with- but always worth it. :-)

  6. LOVE the texture and richness of those mats and the pillow, how ingenious!

  7. Way too cool!! I LOVE all of the items you made!! The crocheted loops for the buttons on the pillow takes the cake... PERFECT!!

  8. Thank you girls! It means so much to me that you like these things. It gives me more confidence for the meeting I have on Friday with the store owners. I am going to try to make a few more things before then, and will share those too.
    Thanks for your kind words.

  9. Love them all, but the stocking is my favorite! I totally believe in re-purposing and wish I was crafty. I can make beaded jewelry, but that's it.

    Back in school, during cavemen days, all us girls had to learn sewing, knitting, crocheting and all that. I loved it but the teacher pulled her hair out and did not believe me I did my own creations because they would be different from day to day.

    Somehow, no matter how I tried, my work was just not consistent... sometimes too loose, sometimes too tight ...and to be called a liar on top of it all!

    I really do love this earthy look of using coffee bags.

  10. Thank you Alexandra! It has been fun working with the coffee bags. I hope I can offer some things in my shop like this soon. And you should keep practicing, because I too was not very good at sewing, but the more I do the better it gets, and I am always learning. I love a challenge so that helps. :)

  11. Oh my gosh, these are incredible! I LOVE the mug rugs, the stocking AND the pillow cover! You did such a wonderful job! I have a feeling about's going to be the beginning of a new relationship for you!!

  12. What a nice community minded coffee place. We have one here, but they juset sell the bags. That was a great idea and I love all the creations. Excellent job! Now will they also sell these items for you? Just display them?

  13. Wow, great stuff! You did great even if you claim this was outside your comfort zone. I love the red fabric/burlap combination for the wine bag. I never tried sewing burlap but now that you say it's easy, I might try it. :)

  14. Judy, they will sell the stuff (hopefully!). They are making up gift baskets for Christmas and wanted something to go in them, and the rest will be for sale in their shop.

    Brigita, sewing burlap is really not bad, but does take some adjustments. Like anything, the more you do it the easier it gets. Only one broken needle so far isn't too bad, right? ;) and it was sort of an old needle.

  15. Very creative! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
    You may not be a "seamstress" but you are doing an amazing job!!
    I really think these items will sell!

  16. Very excellent. Well done on your creative leap :-)
    I do like the xmas stocking, it's kind of 'olde worlde'

  17. Very excellent. Well done on your creative leap :-)
    I do like the xmas stocking, it's kind of 'olde worlde'

  18. Brilliant! Love the article and your creations! Well done!

  19. I love them all and can't wait to see what else you make with the burlap! Great work!

  20. It took me time to learn all the comments, but I honestly loved the blog. It proved to be very advantageous to me and I’m positive to all of the followers here!


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