Laptop Bag

Let me start the story of this project at the very beginning: My Husband takes his laptop almost every day with him to work but unfortunately his old laptop bag was slowly giving up life, especially its zipper was in bad condition. So he asked after my successful backpack project if I could sew him a bag for his laptop. I really wasn’t sure but after some head scratching I told him: sure, no problem! To be completely honest I had no idea how am I going to solve this problem because I’ve never done anything like it before. This was sometime last year, maybe in summer? I don’t even remember when exactly. Then nothing happened for weeks because I wasn’t going to pick the fabric alone and with his long working hours there wasn’t much time for us to go fabric shopping. Until one day there happened to be a Dutch fabric market in our town. My Husband spotted the poster of this event and we went all together on the weekend and bought two fabrics for this project.
But then again, I still had no idea how to start it, so we measured his laptop and made a sketch together with all the small details my Husband requested.
Once again I tossed the whole project aside because there were so many things that seemed to be more important and I thought this could wait. I promised my Husband it’ll be done by his birthday by the end of October… then by Christmas… then I didn’t promise anything because I clearly wasn’t sure when it’ll be done. By January I was very ashamed of the whole thing and at last I started working on it! Finally! I bought a nice matching gray fabric for the inner linen, D-rings, bottom-buttons (sorry, don’t know the proper name of it, if you do, please let me know) and I ordered the moving buckle for the straps.

Once I figured out the way how this project should come to life it didn’t take more than a couple of days to finish it. This long over due present was given to my Husband sometime in February and he loves it.

He says he appreciates it every single day because this laptop bag has everything from his wish list and is working well for him. Yeay! I am so happy that it turned out so well. It did take a very long time to come to live but after all it was all worth it!

The sliding buckle makes the strap adjustable and with the shoulder pad it is also very comfortable.

There is a separate and very cozy (made with batting) pocket for the laptop itself. The pocket has a strap with velcro on the top for more security and three pen pockets. On the opposite side, there is a larger pocket for valet etc.

The outer side of that pocket is decorated with a “Rolling Goat” which was also a special request from my Husband. It has a long story and goes back to his high school years. I think this is what makes the bag so personal for him.

The top of the bag closes with velcro and is sprayed on with waterproofing spray, this way the laptop is safe even on rainy days (from which we have a lot here in Aachen).

One more small addition was a hook for the keys on the inside. It was my idea to add and it works well with the other features.

This project was very scary for me at the beginning but I am proud of myself. Yes, it took an impossibly long time to figure out a way I can constract the bag but finally I finished it!
What do you think? Do you have something that you created and is used every day?

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Carnival Costumes

As the new year begins I have to start thinking about the kids’ carnival costumes. This has been like this ever since our oldest son started kindergarten which was three four carnivals ago (was it really four years ago? I can’t believe how time flies!). Some of you might remember his first costume: the frog. He had a stuffed frog back then (he still has it but the dragon took its first place about a year ago…); he started in the Frog Group in the kindergarten and in general, he was crazy about frogs. It was an easy choice for the costume.

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Then came the “firefighter phase” which still comes back from time to time. It was again quiet obvious what costume I had to make that year.

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Last year was the year of the knight costume. What I love about creating his costumes that he still plays with them (at least with those that still fit). He enjoys dressing up very much and he has a wonderful imagination.

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This year was a bit difficult in terms of decision making. Our oldest is caught up in the Star Wars world thanks to the other kids from his kindergarten group (and his father). He has not seen the movie(s) and if it’s up to me he will not watch it for a couple of more years. We are very strict about television watching: our kids are allowed to watch only ten minutes a day and 30 minutes if they are ill and have to stay at home. Anyway my son wanted to be Darth Vader but we said no. I offered him an astronaut costume as a compromise and he gladly accepted it.

Then I only had to create it. To be honest I wasn’t very thrilled about the idea to spend so much time with a costume and I checked out a couple of stores in the city center but once again I faced the same problem: all the costumes are made from polyester which my son is sensitive to. Not to even mention that in his size a full costume would have cost about 38-40 Euros…

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Finally I faced my newest challenge and started working. First I made the helm using a balloon as a base, old news paper and wall paper glue. It took five layers to make it sturdy enough. Then I cut the hole for the face and painted it.

Next I sewed the pants and finally the top. But I started with a store bought T-Shirt: I cut it up in the middle and added some velcro and a belt to the sides. I put a Hungarian flag on one sleeve and a very high collar (also with velcro). My son wanted to have white booths as well but instead I gave him my white socks and he loved them because then he was allowed to be in socks in the kindergarten for a whole day!

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One day before carnival a decision was made: let’s have rockets too! I wanted to just duct tape two bottles together and attach it to some strings but we ran out of tape. Of course something like this happens at the last minute. I had to came up with an other solution because he was standing beside me and waiting for his rockets to put on. You can imagine how excited he was the night before carnival! I couldn’t let him down! So I went through my stash and found a piece of fabric from last years knight costume: I taped the bottles with regular tape together, added shoulder straps from an old belt, then I covered the whole thing with that fabric and hand stitched it. The flames were made from paper- that was the easy part.

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My oldest son is very happy with his costume although the helmet will give up soon. But at least I made the costume itself one size bigger hoping that he can play dress up for a few more months.

But the story does not end here because our little one joined kindergarten this school year as well and he needed a costume too! Luckily it was also an easy choice because he goes to the mice group and he is crazy about them. So my Husband decided and I made the Mickey Mouse costume!

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For that I used an existing pair of black leggings. I bought a black and a red T-Shirt and used their fabric to make a smaller T-Shirt (because it is impossible to find a plane black T-Shirt in this small size!) and for the red shorts. I sewed two felt ears onto a cheap black hat and a felt tail onto the shorts. This costume was done quiet quickly and again, our little one loves it! Although he is just two years old and can only say “Micka Mouse” he got the idea and was very happy to wear the costume!

And for me it was a whole lot easier then his dragon costume last year! Do you remember it?

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Fortunately I had no time to sew a costume for myself and I came up with a better idea. I asked a friend if she could lend me her saree because she is from India and has many wonderful sarees. She was very kind and gave me this amazing dress:

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She also brought the matching accessories with her and gave me instructions how to put on this red beauty. It has been a dream for me for years to try on an original Indian saree and last week this dream has come true. Unfortunately the kids got sick (again) and we couldn’t make it to the party where we were invited to but I decided to have fun anyway so we put on our costumes with the kids and had a party at home.
What was your favorite carnival/Halloween costume so far? Mine definitely is this one. I might have to borrow it next year again!