Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vacation Crafts

While my other Maine post marinates, it reminds me that I was feeling pretty crafty right before we left for vacation. It's a pretty common syndrome for me - "what? leaving on vacation? then I must make myself this...and one of these...and I couldn't possibly get on the plane without this...", all these things usually being either something inspired from a magazine or online somewheres. Or sometimes it's just been rolling around in my head for ages and chooses 12 hours before takeoff to desperately need to come to fruition.

Usually I run out of time and the projects don't get done, like last year before the family reunion where I literally was trying to stay up all night making a hawaiian shirt for my father-in-law after packing and taking care of my mom who was traveling with us and staying the night. Suffice it to say, the shirt was literally in pieces when we left the next morning, and it was several more months before he received it (I'm so horrible about that!). I had, however, succeeded in making 3 luggage tags in colors appropriate to each of us traveling. And of course Andrew's got lost somewhere in airport luggage land.

But those other two luggage tags held up well, and this year I just replaced the loose snap on one and we were good to go. They even both made it back home, amazingly. I also took the opportunity to finally make myself a travel roll for all the cords and plugs and stuff that end up getting completely lost and tangled in the suitcase or my carry-on, and half the time I have no idea which cord goes to which device anyway.

So I took an idea from a magazine and of course had to make some adjustments to fit my needs. But I ended up being quite pleased with it, and surprised at how handy it was throughout the trip. It's pretty simple in that it's two sides of pockets and has a long strap to tie around the outside to close, but that also helps keep it adjustable to the varying sizes of cords and my ginormous camera battery recharger. I also added vinyl windows so I could write down what the pocket of cords went to - phone, camera, car stuff, etc.

And that was awesome. No digging around trying to match up ends of cords to their gadgets, especially with the iPod blinking battery life and Andrew in need of tunes for driving. OK, it's more like my iPhone blinking 1% battery life because I've been using it for GPS and navigating while trying to play my games and find any semblance of a signal I can. But I digress. It's handy having things labeled and close at hand!

There are a few adjustments I'd make to the design (of course), but overall I liked it. I'm considering making a small line of these in small, medium, and large - 1, 2, and 3 pockets wide. So then you could either have one for everything, or a few for individual gadgets. What do you guys think?

I also finished a case for Andrew's Kindle, which I'd been working on for a while and got waylaid since I was working with faux leather for the first time, and found it quite frustrating without the right tools. I figured out some ways to make it work for me, but let's just say I won't be trying double bias binding with it anymore (and if you don't know what that means, just envision lots of cursing and starting over). I'm pretty happy with the result overall, but not sure yet if I want to add these to the Etsy inventory. Perhaps I need a test run without the faux leather. I do like the faux leather gussets around the two sides and bottom, but that's more for aesthetics.

The trip also afforded me an opportunity to use my cell phone cases - except this time I used one for my cell phone and one for my iPod. Which was my brilliant idea at about 2am before we were leaving at 7am and I couldn't figure out what to pack my iPod in, even though I've been marketing my cases on Etsy as also holding MP3 players. Obviously my brain had already gone to sleep. I have to say, though, I was quite pleased with how well it worked. I hooked the strap around the top of my backpack carry-on so it was easily accessible and didn't fall all the way to the bottom as they always do, especially in tight quarters where you can't go digging through your whole backpack stowed under the seat in front of you and your head is hitting the back of that seat and you just get more and more frustrated...None of that. Easy peasy. And I'm sure that made Andrew happy, since anything keeping me from being grumpy on the plane is to be lauded.

So all-in-all, vacation was a crafting success. It's nice when things you've been thinking about for a while actually come to fruition - and are cute to look at and actually helpful!

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