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R.Kay Design: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Want To Have A Molly Handbag Sew Along?

I've had some people interested in doing a Molly sew-along so I thought it would be nice to do it for National Sewing Month in September. Since I work full-time and not only have to do the sewing but also write the posts to go along with each step, I'll need to take it slowly.

So, here's the schedule. Oh, and over there to the left, in the pic, that's going to be the fabric I use. I think I'll call her "Uptown Molly"!

  • Weekend of Sept 3rd - 4th:    Cut out all fabrics and interfaces. Fuse interfacing to all pieces.
  • Weekend of Sept 10th - 11th:    Sew exterior and strap.
  • Weekend of Sept 17th -18th:    Sew lining. Join exterior and lining. Finish.

All the posts will be grouped together under the category at the top labeled "Sew-Alongs". Feel free to comment and ask questions on any post. I've also set-up a Flicker Group called - Molly Handbag Sew Along - where you can upload photos to show off your beautiful creations or show detail for a question you have. Feel free to upload any photo pertaining to the sew-along you need to upload.

Be sure to download your free copy of Molly by signing up for my mailing list in the right-hand column or follow this link to enter your info. I'm really excited to get started this weekend and hope we have a lot of fun sewing our Molly Handbags together.

Until later ~


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Questions About Molly Handbag Pattern

I just finished adding the Molly Handbag Pattern to my blog as a free gift for signing up for my new mailing list. See the sign-up form over to the right? If you haven't signed-up, when you do, you will receive the pattern for free.

Anyway, inevitably there will be some questions about construction. I'm sure I missed something somewhere. So I'm making this post so you will have a place to ask questions. Just post your question below, I will get an email, and just as soon as I can, I will answer here on this page.

Remember, I work a full-time job during the day, so I may not get to answer until the evening. But I will get to it, please be patient.

I'd also like to hear from you with any other comments, good or bad. Just post. This is your page.

Thank you to everyone who has and will download Molly. I so enjoyed making her and hope you will as well.

Until later ~



Setting-Up A Mailing List

Anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Facebook or Twitter knows that I've been planning to give away my Molly Handbag pattern for free when its finally ready for the world. Well, it's finally ready so now I have to set-up a mechanism to make it available for download. I have decided to create an R. Kay Design mailing list and as a gift for giving me your email address and allowing me to send you emails (which I will not abuse, I promise), I'll give you Molly for free.

Anyway, last night I started to work on setting up the sign-up form and all the pages and emails that go hand-in-hand with collecting email addresses for a mailing list. Believe it or not, it's not totally simple. Well, it's not hard either, but it is a lot of work. I thought I'd write about the process in case some of my readers are interested in doing something similar. And next week, I'll post about why I made this decision and the benefits a business gains by having a mailing list.

I decided to use Aweber for my mailing list management provider. The reasons I decided to use them are:
  1. I used Aweber before on other websites and I have an account
  2. Well known and well respected mailing list management provider
  3. Good instructions on how to set-up a list with videos, templates, etc.
  4. Affordable and expandable
After looking at Aweber's system I determined that I need to create the following:
  1. A form to enter the subscriber's name and email that sells the list and free gift (Molly!)
  2. A web page to land on after the name is entered
  3. An email that the subscriber will receive after entering name/email where there will be a link to click to confirm subscription
  4. A web page to land on after the link from the email is clicked that has a link to the download and instructions for how to download and extract the zip file
  5. An email that the subscriber will receive after the confirmation link is clicked that also has the download link.
So far I have the sign-up form done and it works. I also have the page in # 2 done. Nothing's on the site yet since none of the other pages are done. Hopefully later today everything will be in place. I'm so excited! Can't wait to get all this detail done so people can start working on their very own Molly Handbags.

Till later ~


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Molly Handbag Dressed in Leather

I have a good friend that loves to sew as much as I do. We work together in our day jobs and whenever we talk during the day it's always about sewing, decorating our houses, and kittys. But sewing is always top of the list. She was the person who inspired me to start sewing again, so anyone who reads this blog, buys one of my items on Etsy, or downloads one of my patterns, has her to thank.

When I finished the Molly Handbag Pattern, I showed it to her. I didn't really want to bother her by asking her to critique or test it, but she seemed interested in seeing it, so I gave her a copy. Immediately she gave me ideas that will make it and all my future patterns better. Her first suggestion was to include a cover with a photo of the finished product so that immediately the person using it would know what they were making. I already knew that I was going to design a cover to use for advertising it but didn't even consider adding it to the pattern PDF file. It was a great suggestion, so now it's added as part of the PDF.

Her other suggestion was to move the print to the right just a bit so if someone wanted to put it in a binder, they wouldn't punch holes in the pictures and text. Another great suggestion, but it was too late for Molly, it would just take too long to redo the layout. But I will definitely incorporate a left-side binding margin in my next pattern.

After her initial look at the pattern, she started thinking about making one. She's a very creative person and has tons of ideas for enhancing the basic pattern. She's thinking about using leather handles, leather corners, and making the coordinating top band out of leather. What a fabulous make-over for Molly! I think adding a strip of leather piping just under the ruffle would be beautiful as well.

I was already considering making the entire handbag in leather but I think my friend's ideas would make Molly even prettier than if she were done in all leather. I've never sewn with leather and I have a lot to learn. Wrapping the corners in leather has me baffled right now as I haven't sat down to figure it out. Maybe my good friend will teach me how to do that. I really hope she goes forward with her ideas, and maybe, just maybe, she will let me post a photo when it's done. We'll see and I'll let you know.

Till later ~


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sew Along With Free Spirit Fabrics & Tula Pink

Did you know that the fabric designer, Tula Pink, is hosting a sew along for National Sewing Month in September? Here's a video of her inviting you to join.

Isn't she adorable? And so are her fabric designs. Join her and make one of those cute dresses or that fabulous skirt.

Here's where you can sign up:

Tula Pink Sew Along

Till later ~


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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Two Pattern Testers for Molly

I really wanted someone other than me to sew my Molly Handbag pattern before I put it out in the world. I spent a lot of time on it and think the instructions are good but how do I really know? What makes sense to me could be gobblity-goop to someone else. It's a little intimidating. So I took my need to the masses and posted a request for someone to test my pattern on Twitter. The next morning Sarah answered my request.

Sarah lives in the U,K. and her blog is called Tilly Mint Boutique. She's only been on Twitter for three weeks and is probably as surprised as me about how easy it is to forge relationships and business deals on Twitter. 

Sarah has already started blogging about her new project, check out her post Meet Molly.

Then this morning I was following some new people on Twitter and Bev just happened to be one of them. Noticing that I had followed her, she saw my tweet for a patten tester and emailed me. Bev is from Oklahoma City and has been sewing all her life. She writes for some of the big retail stores' websites. Her blog is called 44th Street Fabric and she has a fabric shop on Etsy at

Bev has some really cute quilts on her site and there's a sneak peek of some Tussie Mussie fabric that is to die for. And don't miss the Jennifer Jangles patterns, they are so cute! I could make some serious Christmas gifts with those.

Anyway, stay tuned as I'm not going to wait for the patten testers to finish their work, I'm going to post the pattern for give-away some time this week or next weekend. I'm so excited!!

Oh and P.S. - if you're not already following me on Twitter, as of this moment I am only 29 followers away from 1000! I'd love see 1000 this weekend and appreciate the follow.

Till later ~


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moving Blog to Wordpress - Part 1

I mentioned in an earlier post that I want to move this blog to Wordpress on it 's one domain. I've set-up Wordpress blogs before, it's rather easy, however, I feel this install is going to be a bit more difficult as I've never moved from Blogger to Wordpress, I've only started fresh with Wordpress.

I started the process today.  I have a hosting account with Westhost that allows unlimited domains. I've had it for a long time and have tried other websites that I eventually lost interest in (because they were about topics that I was not passionate about I'm sure). Anyway, the hosting account had been set-up under the domain name Awhile back, I missed the email telling me it was time to renew the name and I lost it. So I had no idea how to access my hosting - so the process began.

I called Westhost and they told me I could use the IP address to access the site. Great! I got to work. I set-up the new website space and uploaded Wordpress. When I tried to install it, I got an error that the database needed to be updated. That took an hour on Instant Messenger with the tech help person, Neil. He was great, but the first install didn't work. We had to uninstall and the reinstall before it worked. Finally, progress.

So that's as far as I've gotten. Wordpress is on the site that I'm accessing with an IP address instead of a domain name. I'll move the name after I've got everything copied to the new site.

Next step is to design the site layout. I'm going to use a theme called Headway. I purchased it several years ago with a developer's license so I'll just need to download the newest version and refresh my memory on how to use it. More on that after I get started.

So, it appears I'll be spending tomorrow night and most of the weekend getting this done. Once done, I'll set-up the sign-up box so my new Molly Handbag pattern can be downloaded. Remember, I'm giving it away!

Oh, that reminds me, is there anyone out there that wants to test the pattern and write a review on their blog? I'm willing to pay for the review. If you're interested, send me an email at nikkiraes at yahoo dot com and let's talk.

More later ~


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Molly Loud Flowers

I got to use my new sewing machine this weekend. It was so nice to have such a great machine. If you didn't see my post about getting the new machine, you can read about it in the last post, it's a Janome Memory Craft 6600 Pro.

This is the last time I'm going to make Molly. This run-through was to refresh my memory so I could make final corrections to the pattern. I proofed the pattern this weekend, and now after making the pattern again, I know where I need to add a little more instruction. I'm going to get that done this week and hopefully next weekend I'll be able to get it packaged up to give away.

If you follow this blog I guess you figured out that I changed the name. I'm still on the network but plan to move off to a Wordpress blog soon. I'm not sure what's involved and I'm praying it will be unnoticeable to my readers. When I figure it out, I'll keep notes so I can post about it, I'm sure some of you are wondering how to do that as well.

And since I got off topic talking about my blog, just so you know, I really hate the logo I'm using, it needs work. So if you hate it too, it's okay. LOL Hopefully you won't have to look at it for too long. It's top of my list - work on logo.

Anyway, I hope everyone had as good a weekend as I did. Look for Molly Loud Flowers on Etsy this week and the FREE pattern next. If you're interested in a Molly sew-along for National Sewing Month (September 1-30), let me know in the comments section. Oh, but wait, that means I'd have to make Molly again! That's okay, I think I might want to try her out in leather (now my machine will be able to handle it)! So, if you're up for it, so am I, just let me know.

Till later ~


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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Should I Change The Name of This Blog?

I just found are really good resource for bloggers new and old (people who have been blogging for a long time, not old people). It's called Business2Blogger at There I read in a couple of different articles that bloggers should use an easy to remember name and it should be a regular name, like, not with blogspot in it.

I used to own the domain name at one time a while back. I made it up, it's a combo of my two daughter's middle names, one Nicole and the other Rae. I had a website there for a while and then later after I took down the website, I was going to keep it for the email and access to my web hosting account. I just liked it because it was mine, I'd had it since 2003, and it was my daughters' names. But, to my regret, I forgot about it and missed seeing the renewal notice. I accidentally lost it because I didn't renew. Boo! I was mad at myself for letting that happen, but it happened and there was nothing I could do about it.

Anyway, when I started this blog I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. Since NikkiRae's was available under blogspot, I went ahead and used it, but why? It doesn't represent anything other than the story above and even after talking to one of my daughters about it, she thought I should dump it.

That day, after the convo with my daughter, I went home and registered That's my name and I'm the designer, seamstress, person doing all this writing...

So, do you think I should change the name of my blog? The Blogger platform will let me change it and it will even forward everything to that domain name, it says in the Blogger set-up that I shouldn't lose any followers. What do you think? Should I change it to

Please let me know what you think. Your opinions are important to me.


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Monday, August 8, 2011

OMG My New Sewing Machine is FAB-U-LOUS!

My hubby and I are back from the Ozarks but still have a couple of days off from work. We were sitting around with nothing to do today, r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g, when I thought I'd just ask, "Do you want to go look at new sewing machines with me? I need to take mine in for service and we can just see how much a better machine would cost."

Surprise! Surprise! He said, "Sure." So off we went to Sewing and Vacuum Warehouse! Honestly, I didn't think we were going to buy, I really didn't. <wink> <wink>

When we got there the lady started to look at the Janome I purchased at Hancock for $250. I was sewing along one day and hit a pin harder than a jackhammer, ever since, it just didn't sound right even though it sewed just fine. This machine has been very good to me, actually, until now, it's the best sewing machine I've ever owned. It's priced great and is perfect for home and craft sewing.

She didn't find anything wrong with my machine except that the needle-threader was out of alignment. She replaced the end piece and called it fixed. Then I asked her to show me a Janome that was heavy enough to sew leather. I really want to be able to make a leather purse.

We started with the Janome DC2010 priced at $500. It was nice. It sewed denim well and through quite a few layers. However, after sewing a flat felled seam like those you find on a pair of jeans, and then trying to sew a hem at the end of the seam, like you would it you were hemming a pair of jeans, the needle broke right as I was going over the flat felled seam. Boo. I wanted a machine that would move through that like butter.

So...we moved up to the Memory Craft 6600. There were other machines in between the DC2010 and the Memory Craft 6600 but they had the same motor as the DC2010. So I would have gotten the same result. OMG, what a wonderful machine. I bought it. That's when I was glad my hubby was with me, as it wasn't cheap at $1350. He loves me, so I got it.

This machine sewed through the flat felled seam just like butter. It's heavy at 27lbs but I don't plan on moving it much. It sews like what I would think an industrial machine feels like. It has tons of decorative stitches but best of all, especially since I make purses, it has a built in walking foot. I think Janome calls it the Accufeed System.

For those who don't know what a walking foot is, basically it feeds the fabric from the top and bottom. The walking foot feeds the top and the feed dogs feed the bottom. That stops the bunching of the top fabric at the end or at a pin. Do you ever have multi-layers and no matter how many pins you use, the pieces still don't stay lined up? A walking foot will stop that. I always use it when sewing purses, especially when joining the exterior and interior pieces when you really want everything to line up nicely.

Way Cool - Perfect Rolled Hem
I just spent a couple hours going through all the stitches, I even tried using the rolled hem foot. I have never ever been able to get the rolled hem foot to work - on this machine, it works. So cool.

Anyway, watch out, I'm really going to be spending some time behind the sewing machine now! I promised hubby I'd make some new cushions for our patio chairs, I have to pay for this thing some how.

If you want to comment about how much you love your Janome Memory Craft 6600 or if you're considering a purchase and want to ask questions, just leave a comment. If I don't know the answer, I'll figure it out.

P.S. I'm still working on my Molly Pattern. Since I was away on vacation for a week it set me back a bit. But I did make an important decision about the pattern, I'm not going to sell it, I'm going to give it away! So be sure to check back often, I'll post here when it's ready.

Till later ~


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