I am a Planner

For those that know me, this confession of being a planner is nothing new. I like to be organized (sometimes almost to a fault) and ready for whatever is to come. Now truthfully, I am not in charge. God is, but I’d like to think that I am running right behind Him with my pen and notebook in hand not missing a directive or detail.

Sewing for others during the spring is always a lighter list for me than during the mad rush of orders in the fall and winter. It’s the season that I like to kind of take a break, breathe, reflect on the past winter and see what new ideas can come to me. It’s as if my creative side starts waking up just like the spring flowers start appearing outside and the yard start turning green. And I plan.

Plans are in place to finish the last bedroom window covering here at the Inn. One room at a time, the Inn has taken the shape of a lived in home! Thank you Jessica and Marty!

In the next couple weeks, we are invited to two family members’ milestones of a confirmation and a graduation. Satt Cat Bags will be personalizing gifts for these special ladies. They can’t be that old already, but my plans and the supplies are coming together nicely.

A dear friend was moved by the Team Verna post that I did showing how a sweet lady’s blouses were transformed to Memory Pillows and Memory Bears. Plans are in motion to work on a Team Julie to honor a very dear woman who recently passed away.

I have just ordered fabric for the 2022 Satt Cat Bags thank-you gift. That gift plan started coming together in my head as I realized that we were finally coming out of the Covid isolation of the past two years. And with working on the plans for these gifts, I am also planning a donation to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) with a percentage of sales from the fiscal year. Covid has taken a mental toll on just about everyone, so I am moved to do what I can to help an organization provide that positive light to those struggling in the darkness.

There is also information being gathered by a client for me to make a wedding pillow for her great niece’s wedding. Clearly, I want to make it personal for a very special time in a couple’s lives, so while the family is scoping out those details for me, I am also planning.

But the biggest plan that I have on my upcoming list will be The Move of one of our kidlet families to another state. It’s one thing to move as we did almost two years ago basically across a metropolitan area, but their move will include 2 adults, 3 wee boys, one senior cat, one young dog, two turtles and the proverbial partridge in a pear tree! This is the family that uses about 16 (Satt Cat Bags) bags just to come for a visit or go on a vacation. Stay tuned as these plans get coordinated because nana and papa will be a base house for wee boys during this process. I have my pen and notebook close at hand cause lists are already being created…..with God driving that truck!

Start your Spring!

I was feeling nostalgic this week and went back and looked at some of the past Satt Cat Bags newsletters. I wrote newsletters prior to this blog, and if you would like some entertainment, they are all still accessible in a drop down on the website at www.sattcatbags.com. It is interesting to note how many items that I was making back in the day are still popular today! I guess that’s called classic, right?

Anyway, besides lately making bunny bags of all sizes and shapes,

I have also been making nana blankies and mini nana blankies. What is so sweet about these two particular orders is that the mini nana blankie is for a new wee baby, but the bigger nana blankie is for the older sibling. What a cute idea! Congratulations to both families!

I also got a pleading call from Grandson #5 this past month. He was having a “pre-sleepover” with his little friends for his birthday and wanted mini nana blankies as a treat for all four of them. The theme was a Loki Party for which I honestly had to get a clarification of what a Loki is since I am not up on my fictional characters. Loki, as I was told, is a “God of Mischief”. Once I heard that, let’s just say that the theme was appropriately selected for this child and nana made it happen. My boys do have a priority!

I also have been working on some areas on the lower level here at the Satt Cat Inn. With the dormitory having a Route 66 presence everywhere, it only made sense to continue that fun theme with both new pillows and pillowcases for the boys. With a working stoplight in their room, they just had to have checkered flag pillowcases!

You also might notice that the Bicentennial License Plate from 1976 was actually my dad’s and yes, we have it hanging in the dormitory. Dad would love it…and all our boys.

Start your engines, boys! It’s Spring!!

Color in the Spring

I know that here in the Midwest we are still in the grips of winter. Granted it’s been a very mild winter, but it is still winter nonetheless. We all tend to hanker down by the fire and enjoy the tranquility of a cup of tea or glass of wine while the color void, white and grey tones of winter are outside.

As we enter into March, we here at the Satt Cat Inn are thinking of car trips on back roads through gorgeous rural scenery or anticipating what color bulbs will bloom into flowers soon in our new gardens. My sewing can also bloom with bright colors this time of year too! Thanking a teacher or coach is not just for those winter holidays. I have also made thank you treat bags in the spring with a favorite theme for that special person. Why not spread that gratitude beyond the winter holiday season!?

Of course, kids love colors and the brighter the better. Toy bags, pillowcases, activity bags and special friend sleeping bags or a mini nana blankie all seem to be more vibrant when that spring sunshine comes into the bedroom or playroom.

Of course, bunny bags are popular now with their bright linings for both kids and adults. Bunny bags can be filled with everything from Easter candy to a jar of trail mix, nuts or even a jar of hot fudge sauce! And of course, there are also mini wine bunny bags that are filled with…well, a mini wine bottle…although I have adjusted the pattern for a small milk bottle for kiddos too! (Chocolate preferred.) Add a bunny face, name or both and don’t forget the tail!

And what happens when all those bunny bags are together? Baby bunny bags! They have multiplied in my sewing room into a fluffle or colony. I prefer fluffle which is such a great name for a group of bunnies! Baby bunny bags are sized a bit bigger than a snack cup, are great for treats and can be filled with candies and a bit of Easter grass or even a full sized decorated egg. Fun and colorful! Spring is coming and I can’t wait. As spring opens up for all of us, please enjoy the vibrancy of all of those colors. I plan to!

Team Verna

A few weeks ago, I did not know Verna. I did not even know who Verna was. But now I feel that I know Verna and am sorry that I never had the pleasure of meeting her.

Verna passed away at the end of 2019 at the age of 96. Just before this past Christmas, Verna’s daughter-in-law came to me with a big bag of her blouses. Each one of those 11 blouses was special to 11 members of Verna’s family. Maybe there was a picture of Verna in a particular blouse with them, maybe what she wore to one of their birthday parties or activities had special meaning. Whatever the reason, I had 11 blouses each with a tag of a family member’s name on it and a lot of questions. Some were made from cotton, some were made from a polyester blend and one was even a sweater. What to do? What to do!?

I needed more information so I contacted the said daughter-in-law and learned all about Verna so that I could bring some personality to the request of converting those blouses into Memory Bears and Memory Pillows. Without personality, those items were just recycled fabric.

Verna had worked for a high end department store for over 25 years and loved it retiring at the age of 79. (That explained all the colors and variety of those blouses!) She loved her chocolates from a local 114-year old confectionery. She loved her family and not just her precious kids, grandkids or great grandkids. Verna also included her nieces, nephews and close family friends in her practice of sending all of them birthday cards with a dollar bill inside. ALL of them! She was a devout Christian lady who loved music and scarves. With all this information, I felt ready to start cutting and sewing and piecing together all those good memories.

Little by little, each one of those bears and pillows came together with that personality that I was wanting to convey. I embroidered those favorite chocolates on the back of each pillow.

Each bear was created with individual neckwear and some sported her favorite look of a scarf.

I was able to acquire mini shopping bags from Verna’s favorite store for each bear. And since I had a mini shopping bag to work with, I made mini birthday cards for each with a penny inside, kind of a mini version of that special dollar bill from Verna that so many had received.

Thank you Verna! What a legacy that we can all live by – joyfully work at a job that you are happy doing well into your 70’s; faithfully remember all those close to you with a birthday card and dollar bill; proudly wear bright colors, happily eat chocolates and daily live your Christian faith. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to create Team Verna for a very special lady.

Girls are in the Lead

Over the past month in the mad rush of sewing those Christmas orders, I have made quite a few items for some special little ones. It’s no secret that sewing for children is a favorite of mine, but after that last item was delivered, I noticed that most of those orders were for little girls! Two of those girls were holiday newborns, and there is not a better Christmas gift than a new baby!

Many of my clients are grandparents that have a tradition of some sort that I have had the privilege to sew. It might be a personalized nana blankie for the birth of a new grandchild or there might be a collection of Easter bunny bags representing each of their grandchildren so that new grandbaby clearly needs to have its own personal item. One grandmother contacted me that she had two new grandbabies during this past year and needed two new mini mitten pairs to add to the mini mittens of her other grandchildren. This family’s mini mittens all have first initials, but I have also made them with an embroidered name, and all have the traditional snowflake on the “non-personalized” side. Another grandmother does the same tradition only with the regular mitten bags and needed one by Christmas to add to her other mitten bags. And one auntie had to have a sweet pink snowball ornament for her new great niece. Great family traditions!

Two more new babies (both girls, btw) arrived very recently. Those requests from the respective families were for mini nana blankies. Even with the same design, these blankies have very different looks. Mini nana blankies work for newborns because of the size of the blankie, and work equally as well for toddlers since they can safely carry it without dragging it through…everything or even tripping over it.

One momma contacted me to make Memory Bears from her kiddos’ crib sheets. It’s always fun to bring personality to those bears! These two bears have the birthdate and name of the child on each bear’s feet making the memories of the past even more personal. I was also asked to make “padded” regular nana blankies from the hospital receiving blankets of these two children. Again, more personal memories refurbished and preserved.

I have written more than once of the difference between fun or functionality of sewing for babies, but either way, it is just so fun to sew for some very special clients. And BTW, in out family with five grandsons, boys are in the lead!

Sewing for NAMI

Shopping. Money. Baking. Addictions. Technology. Deadlines. Covid. STRESS! We all deal with it, but do we try to handle everything on our own OR do we truly need that professional to help sort out life in our heads? And as we are all aware, the holidays can tend to magnify all of the above.

With the above paragraph in mind, my charity for this new Satt Cat Bags year is . . .((drum roll please!)) . . . the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I have walked in the past to support this cause, but will be making a monetary donation to NAMI next fall based on a percent of sales for this fiscal year. Many people struggle to deal with their depression, anxieties, disorders or addictions which may now be compounded because of this infamous two year pandemic AND the holiday season. Yikes!!

So keep me sewing, people! I have been busy currently filling Christmas orders ((some items being the pictures in this post)) with some exciting projects possibly coming to fruition in 2022. Sewing may be my therapy, but for those of you that don’t have an outlet or need help, please seek out the pros and know that I am supporting you via thread and needle. I do care. May you be sharing them with people that you love and people that love you!

Merry Christmas from Satt Cat Bags and Henry, the resident cat!

Where are the elves?

A few years ago we had a grandson who wished that he could work for Santa when he was a grown-up. We all had a good laugh as we questioned which department he would excel at while living at the North Pole. Would he be in toy design? We do have our share of engineers in the family to help him. How about inventory and logistics? His dad is in finance and accounting and could easily guide him. Or shipping the toys? He does like geography. Maybe building and creating the toys? His nana is pretty creative after all! In our discussions, we realized that there are many departments that all work for Santa.

Well I could use some of those elves now. With the success of this past Open House, (thank you very much to all that came and ordered items), I am a bit busy….and loving every bit of it! The obvious is sewing the items, but prior to that task, I create a design sheet for each order to assure that I have the visual of the item and a list of supplies needed. Supplies are then acquired by either a scavenger hunt trip, ordering online or even from the magic closet. The next step would be to embroider the item if that is in the plan and finally THEN the item is sewn. How fun would it be to have an elf to do the supply acquisition or the packaging of the final item or the record keeping or even just to bring me a cookie or two?

So until those elves show up, I are busy working away to get everyone their Christmas items by Christmas, and planning ahead for those items that are not for Christmas. Some items are routine based and in the plans of my Design Book:

Some items whether in the Design Book or not have been for animal lovers:

Not to mention, those elves (whenever they arrive) could even help with distributing the thank-you gifts for the clients of this past anniversary year. Those will be going out through this next month.

OR hand out the thank-you treat bags for the pandemic heroes which is this year’s charitable contribution from Satt Cat Bags. That group needs a big thank-you from everyone.

We all need elves in our lives whether to help us with our work or to appreciate the work that we do.

Success and Challenge Accepted!

We’ve all planned for a big event. Maybe a surprise birthday party, maybe a retirement party or on a much bigger scale – a wedding. No matter how long the planning and preparing takes, the event itself is over so quickly. Such was the 10 year celebration, Satt Cat Bags Fall into Christmas Open House. People followed the paw prints up the driveway and browsed and ordered and just genuinely enjoyed the afternoon! So fun! And it was over in just three hours!

Even though it was only two short weeks ago, I have already organized the orders that were made, ordered fabrics that are being custom created, been shopping for supplies and started sewing (thank you very much!). Two years ago, the Open House was a Christmas in July Open House with the key word being July. This one was in September, SO I have two less months this year to sew those items for Christmas. I do like a challenge and accept it! (And PS – the cubby shelving unit that I use to sort orders was made from the piano that I had as a child. Son #1 refurbished the wood and then designed and built this shelving unit. I LOVE it. When I first saw it, I was speechless – something that doesn’t happen often! Note the sounding board on the back of it.)

Some of the items ordered were: ornaments and tote bags:

wine bags (including mini ones) and teacher gift bags:

sport backpacks and pillows:

And a couple items that I haven’t made before! Clearly this is another challenge accepted so stay tuned on this topic.

Overall, The 10 year Anniversary Satt Cat Bags Open House was fun, enlightening and will keep me busy (something that the Old Guy encourages). I want to sincerely thank everyone who came, everyone who helped me in any way and especially those that have encouraged and supported me for the past 10 years. What a ride!

……GO!!

I can’t believe that just one short month ago I was at “Get Ready, Get Set…..”, and now I am at “GO!” Getting ready for the Open House on September 18th has not been a simple plan of preparation since we made the decision to have it in one of the garages during Covid time. The car lift will need to be moved and the garage is not to look completely like a garage, but with more of a boutique-ish, non-garage sale feel…at least in my perfect mind. We’ll see how it goes in reality. And that’s just the location! I’m also gathering which samples are going to be displayed by either making them, going to the magic closet that holds my magic bin of stuff or even “re-calling” some items from past clients. It’s going to be fun (and entertaining) however it turns out!

In current Satt Cat Bags mode, this past month I have happily sewn pillowcases for some new college students, mini wine bags for Easter (any holiday can be sewn anytime btw), a nana blankie for a wee one, a golf themed tote to hold water bottles and a bag to hold an heirloom rosary. Oh and a college laundry bag, ornaments and other items that will be shown at the Open House.

BUT sewing this past month was highlighted by the completion of the real estate bags that I mentioned last month. These were made for a realtor who presents her clients with a gift bag filled with goodies at the house closing. The community there also has recently adopted a bag “ordinance” charging people for bags used when purchasing items from any business. She wanted her clients (a/k/a new residents) to have a bag then that they could use as they shopped in their new town with her signature, plexiglass bottomed “real estate” bag. Brilliant marketing on her part, and I wish her well in her sales!

Of course, the pattern testing that I have been doing for an online business does not slow down just because I’m having an Open House. I know, crazy huh?! Here are the items that I made this month in order to critique the instructions. Fabric selection is our choice for each item using the instructions sent; so of course, I had to make something for Halloween. Some patterns this month required more red ink than others!

As we head to fall (a great season), I’m also trying to get things here at the Inn ready for this most colorful time of year as well. With our new front patio now finished, we ordered good old fashioned rockers, and I finished the pillows the same day the fabric arrived! Some things (like fabric) just can’t wait. All of you are invited to set a spell with me here with your beverage of choice.

Clearly, it is busy here as usual, but I wouldn’t want it any other way and yes…..GO! I hope to see you at the Open House! And remember, just follow the paw prints.

Get Ready, Get Set…..

Get Ready, Get Set, okay I can’t say GO just yet. That will be next time since I am preparing for the Open House on September 18th. For those that were at the first Open House two years ago, there will be similarity, but there will also be quite of bit that is different. The most obvious is that the Inn is at a different location, but to be Covid mindful, we will be in one of the The Old Guy’s garages. Now that garage is not your normal garage. In fact, this garage is probably about the size of our first apartment and in some ways, even better! BUT with doors open for the outdoor air, I’m just trying to be respectful of those that might be hesitant to the world that we have all lived in for the past 18 months and all those anxieties that it brings. Believe me, I get it since I’m one of those people.

Of course, I’m also still sewing for Satt Cat Bags so this past month, pillowcases were done for some wee ones which is always a favorite project for me! I especially like the “Hen Party” fabric since this wee one loves her chickens on their property. I also like this wedding pillow for a couple that enjoys simple lines and minimal colors, and the prize bags are for an upcoming family reunion in Missouri.

I’m also knee-deep into a project for a realtor to give to her clients. I have just acquired all the supplies that are required to make all the bags, and have already made a prototype in a different print to finalize sizing and design. Here is the prototype and the supplies, but you won’t believe the “real” ones when they are done so stay tuned for that final look. Obviously some assembly required.

And yes, the pattern testing is still going on for the Embroidery Designs team. Here is what that group has been working on this month. It has been very interesting as I work with people from New York, Pennsylvania and other places around the country to finalize the look and instructions that our leader prefers.

I can also laugh (or at least smile) that I also have fabric waiting for me to make another valance here at the Inn. That line will end eventually when I run out of windows, but it has been fun and I’m not out of windows yet.

So I won’t say GO right now, but am looking foward to the Open House, continually sewing for Satt Cat Bags, testing patterns for another company and sewing the window treatments here at the new Satt Cat Inn. And being #1 Nana to 5 boys, we have been able to have them here in the past month as well. Yes it’s quiet with nothing going on ((insert sarcasm here)), but I’ll see you in September! Just follow the paw prints!