J is for juggling

You know how some people wish that life was more like a musical, where everyone spontaneously bursts into song?  Ridiculous.  But what if life were more like a circus?  What would that be like?  Cotton candy being sold on street corners, elephants carrying people to work, and if you’re like me and imagining it more like the Cirque du Soleil, we would all be crazy flexible and would fly from building to building using flowing strips of fabric.  Imagine that.  But I’m pretty sure we all have an “inner circus clown” that we keep hidden.  Let’s let it out!

I have to give a shout out to Denyse Schmidt and her book “Quilts,” (http://www.dsquilts.com/paper_goods.asp) because she gives some pretty awesome instructions on how to make juggling bean-bags.  While I’m in this paragraph, I’ll tell a funny story about that (some of you might have already heard this in person this week, so you get to hear this thrilling story again!)  I was on the phone with my mom (who was on a quilt-teaching trip in Sisters, Oregon, this becomes relevant in a minute) and I was telling her how I was making juggling lentil-bags, and she said, “Oh how funny! Where did you get that idea? “ And I said that I had found this really cool book the other day in Berkeley by this woman Denyse Schmidt, and she said, “No way, I’m teaching with Denyse Schmidt right now in Sisters!”  Ha ha, small world.

But back to the project.  I decided to honor the letter “J” by machine appliqué-ing on each bag.  There’s three, so the first one, naturally, is for Juggling.  The second one goes for my sister, Jessi.  And the last one, for my favorite Spanglish word for “yes,” Jes. I chose my fabric for a double-sided, contrasting look:  Food on one side, fun on the other.  I even managed to sneak some more artichoke fabric in there!  The oranges can be in honor my former city of Valencia, and the cherries, for my home state of Meechigan.  But I have to say, my favorite part was making the paper cone and pouring in the lentils!  Strangely satisfying and addictive, sort of like watching sand in an hourglass.

But wait, the fun really came when I had finished production. I can’t remember when I “learned to juggle” (as I claimed earlier in the day yesterday), but it became pretty clear as I began to “try them out,” that I hadn’t really made a serious commitment to mastering it back in the 6th grade.  It’s a good thing I decided to seal the bags with a sturdy machine stitch instead of the recommended hand slip-stitch, because those bad boys were experiencing some major ground collisions.

On a scale of 1-10, this activity gets a 10 for fun.  An actual final product that you can play with, not just something that looks pretty and hangs on the wall.  Who knows, maybe now I will spontaneously burst out juggling from now on.  And, I am pretty sure it’s helping my hand-eye coordination.

I didn't reverse the image before copying, so they came out as "i's" the first time. Oops!

The sewing action.

2/3 cup per bag. Notice the "space issue" I have in my room.

Dried lentils in the cone.

The fun side!

The edible side.

Recommended juggling music- Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, The Big Guns.  (and I dare you to juggle through the entire song.)

**Thanks to the ultimate crafter-nator, Suze C, for the alphabet tea towel shown above!

4 Thoughts on “J is for juggling

  1. Wow, The juggling bags are great! I can’t wait to have Denyse read the blog- she was so impressed that someone was making the juggling bags!!!!!
    Have fun with Stella in Philli….
    Mom

  2. This is an awe inspiring and amazing blog. You are incredible Nickels. I have full blown admiration for you and your craftage. You rock the creative socks off the virtual – and actual crafting world. Go you!

    LOVE this blog.

  3. Claire on July 12, 2010 at 3:08 PM said:

    How fun! I’d love to learn how to do this – will you teach a class? Perhaps at our next crafternoon? The purple juggler is especially lovely. 🙂

  4. Hi there and thanks for posting the juggling blocks project from my book! I loved meeting your mom (the hi-tech teacher) and getting to hang out with her a bit.

    I like juggling to Trini Lopez – you can probably dig up his music online somewhere. It’s very vintage but perfect for juggling!

    Have a great summer!
    Denyse

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