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HEARTSTRING HANGERS

Have you ever noticed that some subjects just hang on your heartstrings and “grab” you every time?  One of those for me is Babies — love love love babies.

A favorite baby — granddaughter Bailey — ended up in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) when she was born due to respiratory issues.  She required some special care, but soon became the gorgeous child we all know and love and is now enrolled in BYU for her first semester!  (Proud of you, Bailey!).

Baby BaileyHealthy growing-up going-to-Winter-Formal Bailey

 

That’s where our family discovered March of Dimes.  March of Dimes has a  NICU Family Support program which provides information, comfort and support to families during NICU hospitalizations.  This is just one of MOD’s programs in their mission to reduce the rate of birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Just last week, I was chatting with one of our nice, nice customers (we’re blessed with lots of those!) who helped a foster child through an illness that was treatable with a drug discovered through March of Dimes research programs.   Currently, March of Dimes has research programs to look at the impact of alcohol and drug abuse on prematurity, as well as educational programs to help mothers with prenatal care.  Truly a contribution to babies.

Well now, in my observation, March of Dimes is not a very public, highly self-promoting, or flashy organization.  They work from behind the scenes to make a difference in the world.  And they do it through contributions from heartstring throbbers like me and you.  Please consider supporting the Greeley March for Babies to be held April 29, 2017, at  Bittersweet Park in Greeley.   Check it out here.  Actually, any support anywhere for MOD is GREAT!  However, this particular walk happens to be organized by son, Jeff Goodall, who volunteered so much that he now works full time for March of Dimes.

AND   ….     AND ….   !!!  ….  I will GIVE to anyone who raises $1000. or more for the Greeley walk a FREE BAG of their choice from MKI Bags collection on our website.   Sign up now, put your team together, and I’ll see you there!

 

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CELEBRATE KINDNESS

I’m always delighted by witnessing a sweet, nice thing that a person has done for someone else.  It lifts my spirits.  I try to write it down, not only so I can remember it, but also feeling that recording the thoughts will amplify and preserve the energy embedded in that act of kindness.  So here’s a story for you.

I have a nephew, Ben, a young family man in his 30’s who is devoted to his great-grandparents, my mother and father.  Mom, now 95 years old, has fallen at home and not been able to get herself up again.  Dad, now 99 years old, is unable to lift her, but can hand her the telephone.  She calls Ben.  Over Ben comes and helps the old folks.  Then he leaves little sticky-notes with his telephone number at eye-level to anyone on the floor. stickynoteSo there is a sticky-note near the TV and another sticky-note in the bedroom.  They are unbelievably cute.  It touches my heart.

P.S.  I have covered Ben’s number when I took the picture.  I think he would be embarrassed if any of you actually called him.

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All Things Change

ALL THINGS CHANGE!   And that includes fabrics!  Because we value our customers, we want them to know when their favorite Tapestry is going bye-bye.  Because we value our customers, we want them to know when we have found another gorgeous Tapestry to add to their color choices.flowers and brocade remaining

In 2015, we were no longer able to obtain the Tapestries we call “Brocade” and “Flowers.”  Examples of bags with those fabrics are pictured here.  We are now at the end of the rolls of those fabrics, and we have limited numbers of bags made up with these two Tapestries.  But after they are gone … well, they are gone.

If your heart desires a bag in this color, this is your opportunity.  Brocade and Flowers are NOT on the website, but you can telephone us 303 421 2919 and we’ll be happy to review with you the colors and styles that remain.

I am personally sorry to see these go.  They are nice, beautiful fabrics and lots of people have enjoyed them.  On the other hand, I am enjoying looking for a fabric that goes with green.  I’ll keep you posted!

 

 

 

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The Battle of Wounded Knee

Those of you who visited us at a Craft Event last fall could not help but notice that the BAGMAN — my husband, best friend and partner — was having trouble with his knees and not getting around very well.  Chances are he was sitting!  Our last show was December 1 and he had total knee replacement surgery on the right knee on December 4.  For two weeks after the surgery, it was a battle!!  Now, two months later, he is walking around well and about 90% recovered (thank Heavens!!).

Continue reading The Battle of Wounded Knee

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Too Much Money!!!

As most of you know, we have a lot of fun with the people who come into our booth at Fairs and Festivals.  We laugh and joke with them and enjoy their banter back at us!

One of my standard remarks is about the weight of a lady’s purse.  I tell her that, if her purse is too heavy it must be because she carries Too Much Money, and all she needs to do is spend some of that and she will be just fine.  And, also, she could use a wonderful tapestry/fabric purse which start out light-weight, then, when she loads it with money, it’s not such an issue!

Of course, I get all sorts of answers!  Mostly, people smile and say, “Yeah, I wish it were money!”  or “Money, ha!  It’s all the junk I carry!”  Occasionally, someone goes along with the program and tells me, “Well, that must be it!”  or “You’re right!  I hadn’t thought of that!”

But, this summer I had a lady say, with a serious straight-face, “Oh, Idohave a lot of money …  it’s a burden, actually.”  I laughed, but later wondered if she really was joking with me….. ??

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Not Your Mother’s Size!

Now I have to share with you my very favorite story.  We meet many wonderful people when we have our booth up at events, and we enjoy their sense of humor and have fun with them.  So, we have multiple stories.  But this is the BEST!

Many years ago, I had the booth up at a County Fair in the small town of Calhan, Colorado, in the southeastern part of Colorado.  Back then, our product line was mostly aimed at the Rodeo and Horse People.

We didn’t have many purses, but made a lot of rodeo gear bags, bags for horse tack, etc.  Among them was a Hay Bag, which people use to feed their horses.  You put the hay in the top and the horse eats out of the hole in the front.  This is particularly good when you travel as you can hang the bag on the side of the trailer and keep the hay off the ground.  Some horses are very sensitive to breathing in dust off the ground.

MKI Country Catalog from years ago!

Here’s a picture of an old catalog showing the Hay Bag at the lower right.

So, there I am in my booth in Calhan and in walks a middle-aged couple, who look to me like local farm folk.  The lady is real nice, with a smile, and the man is no-smile, stocky, strong, browned by the sun, arms folded in front, no-nonsense.  He reminds me of my old German uncles — hard-working, salt-of-the-earth type folk.

The lady is looking at our bags and spots the Hay Bag!  “Look, Dear,” she says, “a feed bag!”  He looks.  “Nay,” he says, “you don’t need that.  It’s not your Mother’s size.”

I couldn’t believe it!   And I looked at him and there he was with a cute little onery grin!

It’s been years since we’ve been there, but I’ve never forgotten this story and his dry sense of humor!

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Wardrobe Malfunction – A Broken Purse Horror Story

Why You Want to Buy a Quality Bag:  When you buy a cheap, not-well-made purse, the seam bursts open when you are shopping.  When the seam of your bag bursts open, your car keys fall out and you lose them.  When you lose your car keys, you stand in the parking lot unable to get into your car.  When you are unable to open your car door, it inevitably rains and then pours.  When it pours and the wind howls, a tornedo forms and the tornedo sirens go off.  When the tornedo sirens go off, you seek the closest shelter.  When you seek the closest shelter, you dive into a muddy ditch and wait for the tornedo to pass.  Don’t dive into a muddy ditch to avoid a tornedo, BUY A QUALITY BAG!

Here’s what it takes to make a sturdy handbag:

1.  Heavy-Weight, Industrial Sewing Machines.  We have two Juki DU-141 Walking Foot machines, as well as a Brother Industrial 5-Thread Serger.  I also have a home machine — a real nice Bernina — but it’s just too PUNY in relation to the Juki.  I use the home machine for household mending … it never touches my bags.

2.  Good Quality, Heavy-Weight Materials.

 I buy only 1000-denier nylon Cordura to use as the base of most of our bags.  “Cordura” is a Dupont Corporation product and is much better than “microfiber” or other knock-offs.  It’s strong, holds its shape and wears and washes well.

Most accent fabrics/tapestries are not a strong as the nylon Cordura, so wherever we use the tapestry we line it to give it extra strength.  Also, some tapestries are a looser weave than others, so we serge the edges of those so it will not fray or run.

Aztec Tapestry with edges serged to add more stability

I sew only with Number 69 nylon thread.  It’s strong stuff and you cannot break it with just your hands.

After researching the break strengths of the buckles, etc. I chose a supplier who is (unfortunately) more-expensive but sells better-quality hardware.   And you’ll notice that our webbing is stiff when it’s new.  There is a light-weight and a heavy-weight version of most webbing and the heavy-weight is stiff when it’s new.

I use only YKK zippers, mostly #5.  Again, I researched brands and weights of zippers and these are the best that are made.

3.  Going the Extra Mile with Sewing Techniques.  I double-sew all the zippers, triple-sew all the intersections and bind all the seams.  I back-tack often at the beginning of a seam so there is no chance of coming un-sewn (I’ve worn the paint off the back pedal!)  If I run out of bobbin thread when top-stitching, I take out the entire seam and start again so that the top stitching is one complete line and there is no danger of coming undone.  I have been sewing since high school when I took sewing lessons from a professional seamstress so I’ve had many many years to develop my skills.

We do all the work ourselves and can be sure of our quality that way.

4.  Sturdiness Built Into the Design.  Several of our patterns call for straps that are sewn down the side as opposed to fitting into a top seam where they might pull out.  Our three Totes even have the straps sewn all the way around the bottom!

SO … BUY A QUALITY MKI BAG.  Warning:  Make sure you like the color …  you’ll have it a looong time!

 

 

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SIZE MATTERS — for Sewing Equipment, that is!

Many people have asked me what type of sewing machine I use.  In order to obtain the sturdy construction that I require on our bags, I use heavy-duty industrial machinery — the kind that will sew through your finger if you let it — and heavy-weight nylon thread.

Industrial sewing machine for Tapestry purses

My main sewing machine is an Industrial Juki DU-141 Walking Foot.  The walking foot moves the top layer of fabric while the feed dogs at the bottom push the bottom fabric. This prevents wrinking, bunching, stretching and all sorts of nasty seam stuff.  (Is this TMI — too much information?)

I also have a second Juki DU-141 that is set up with a binder attachment.  It’s probably overkill, but we bind all the seams in our purses.  This makes a nice finished interior with no zipper ends sticking out to snag anything and no possibility of fraying.  I like it that way!
Probably one of my major accomplishments in life is that I taught my husband how to use the machine with the binder attachment and now he does all the binding.  It only took me two years!  Really, though, the machines are not that easy to learn.  They have a power foot pedal that will run away with you unless you are gentle with it!  My husband is better with tractors and engines.  The words “machine” and “gentle” are not used in the same sentence in his language.
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Shelby, Mhelby, Ahelby, Bhelby – a cute story

When 5-year-old granddaughter Shelby was learning her letters and their sounds, she hadn’t yet grasped the concept of sounding out individual letters to make a word.  But she did know that her name had the letters S-h-e-l-b-y.  She also knew that Mommy’s name started with an “M”, that sister Avery’s name started with an “A”, and that sister Bailey’s name started with a “B”.  So one day she made name plates from scrap foam in Grandpa’s shop.

name plates
Shelby’s name plates

She wrote the letters that made up a name – S-h-e-l-b-y — and then wrote other “names” starting with M or A or B.  She thought that all names have the same ending letters — h-e-l-b-y and that only the first letter changed!

Is that cute or what?!!
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Three Ways to Maintain Suitcase Sanity

In general, I am a stay-at-home kind of person.  Most people love to travel, take cruises, tour and go places, but not me!  So the prospect of a road trip from Colorado to Houston left me cold.  A different motel almost every night … hauling my bags and the dog in and out … wondering where I put this or that … no, thanks.  But, the opportunity to visit family won in the end and away I went — with my husband driving and the dog in the back seat.

I did manage to keep sanity in my travel bag by using two Packing Cubes and one Packing Tube to organize my stuff.  It eliminated my rummaging through the bag looking for lost items.  Nothing was lost!!

packing aids
Three Stress-saver Packing Aids

The first Packing Cube is stuffed with lingerie…ten days worth.  I always knew where the clean undies were and I found that very comforting.

I put rolled-up  socks in the Packing Tube.  It was easy to find the color I needed.
The second Packing Cube kept my robe, nightie and bedside items.  This was incredibly handy!  I had my alarm clock, mini flashlight, lotions and aspirin all in the same bag.  Best of all, it was separate from other things and it was all there when I needed it!
Traveling for me is disconcerting, to say the least.  However, being organized saved my sanity.  And now that we are home again, I admit that I really really enjoyed the trip.  It’s a good exercise to expand out of my normal comfort zone and experience not only the joy of being with family, but the beauty of the scenery and the kindness of strangers.  I’ve now viewed the Gulf,  petted a stringray, and got introduced to a seawall at Galveston.  Not the typical experience for a Colorado farmgirl!