Monday, December 27, 2010

more sewing practice

I also whipped together a couple of wine bags. This was fun because I had to make a lining. It took me about 45 minutes to understand what the instructions were telling me to do. I only hope that the bags get reused over and over. This makes me what to sew some produce bags for the grocery store. I just need to find the right kind of fabric.

Ruffles and more ruffles

For my next sewing goal I wanted to learn how to make ruffles. This goal tied in well with the fact that I also wanted to give me sister something to wear while she bakes. (Note: She has recently started baking and decorating some awesome cakes..mmmmm.)

So I signed up for an ruffled apron class at Sew Crafty. And this is the final project (not ironed I know).  It was fun and I had a good time making it. Plus, it looked cute on my sister.

Next task- baby quilts!  I have three friends expecting this spring......whew.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time to finally relax

I had meant to post this a month ago-- but never finished my revisions.  Now I have been on yet another trip-- a return to the California wine country. Except this time matt and I travelled for a day excursion to Mendocino valley-- the land of wonderful Pino grapes. We drank some great wine, saw lots of beautiful moss, and managed to bring back 12 bottles of varied and delicious California wines....mmmmm

This is the original post I had intended to write:
'After I returned from the Ryan Chouest I had a week and a half before I had to get myself ready to go out into the field for a BP subsurface and wells course in the Bookcliffs and Moab, Utah. This was a great 2 weeks, but it completely wore me out. Not to mention that I immediately traveled to Austin, TX for the Austin City Limits festival the day after I returned home. Suffice to say I am glad to be home and am looking forward to a little r&r and enjoyment of the Houston fall.

Here are some pics of the my SS&W class and the lovely rocks we visited in Utah and Colorado. It was great to finally get into the field again and see some rocks and think depositional environments and paleogeography. That is definitely my favorite part about geology, the fact that the rocks exposed tell a story about the way the world looked millions and millions of years ago.'

Now maybe I can finally relax and enjoy the fall in Houston.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ode to the chefs

Today is my last day onboard the Ryan Chouest. It has been a great trip and I have really learned a lot of interesting life skills that I never thought I would be any good at. So after 2 weeks of being a communicator, organizer, decision-maker, I am happy to say that I am looking forward to returning to my quiet house and my quiet desk where I spend time on my microscope. I really loved this experience and have learned a lot about work at sea and the research that is currently going on the gulf. I have found great respect for these types of jobs. The jobs last from 2-6 weeks of being at sea. Once at sea the work is hard- shifts last for 12-18 hours. Sleep is a precious things. The other amazing thing is that everyday everyone intereacts with on another-- crews are often thrown together and immediately they must learn the ropes and get the job done without any conflict. It is truly team work.

Ole cook, Steve and I in the kitchen.
Today I want to spend a little time thanking the cooks (even though they may have caused me to gain 5 -10 pounds). These two guys worked in the kitchen non-stop, made 4 full meals a day, kept the kitchen in tiptop shape and since there was no dishwasher always cleaned the dishes. I will show an array of meal pictures and you will see how hearty the meals were.

Fried chicken, fried okra, and mashed potatoes

Crawfish etoufee, mashed sweet potatoes, and beans

Chicken fried steak, mac n' cheese, and peas

Boiled shrimp and peeled shrimp in butter

A well fed crew makes a happy ship!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Battle at sea

Last night was the ultimate battle at sea. The were thrusters engaged, instrumentation pushed to the limits, and all hands on deck. Well, ok, so it was not quite that exciting. I was quietly sitting in my office pod when I got a radio call from the bridge from Cpt. Bill, "Rebecca, are needed in the bridge."  Uh oh. I thought maybe he had some concern about the remaining route, but it really had to do with the circumstances surrounding the ascent on the site locality we were targeting. At the same time that we arrived at this previously identified seep site we were racing a smaller research vessell to the same locality.
WHOI research vessell in same area when we returned in the morning.
So we did some investigation into the ship name and determined it was the Oceanas and realize that they were after the same seep. One of the C and C technology survey guys found a link on the internet that explained that the Oceanas was commissioned by NOAA and NSF and that the onboard scientists were from WHOI. So I started joking with our scientists onboard that it was the battle of the research institutes: WHOI vs. CSIRO. The Captain established contact with the boat after about 15 minutes discussion and we relayed information. They had just recently deployed a buoy with a sensor array into the water (move #1) and then they informed us that they were going to be in the area for 36 hours (move #2). So we told them we would get back to them about our plan-- commando mission- don't relay your plans! In the end we decided to do several 'clover leaf' patterns around the suspected seep (~2.5 hours) and then head south returning to the area we left about 5 hours ago to try once again to relocate potential seeps. So through the night we left the site, cruised south, and then right at dawn slowly returned to the original site and quickly slipped into position while the Oceanas was distracted. Check mate! Then we sat there for about 6 hours and dropped two CTD casts. All and all it was a pretty funny event. You sure do have to be cut throat in the science and ship biz.
CTD retrieval with WHOI ship awaiting locality

Monday, September 6, 2010

Coffee breaks

I think I have found my favorite thing on the boat. I only wish the previous days would have had weather like today's. Even though the seas are still pretty active (4-6 foot swells) the sun is shining brightly. I finally got to bed last night at 3:00 AM. Part of our goals yesterday was to relocate a previously documented 'seep' and do a clover leaf pattern around the seep to pinpoint the direction the plume was flowing. So at 12:00 we located the anomaly on the echo sounder and we proceeded to do this pattern across the seep until daylight. All these sweeps across the area provide us with an image at different angles which ultimately can be used to put together a 3-d idea of the plumes shape and location on the seafloor.

Morning coffee and morning view
When I woke up at around 8:30 AM this morning they had complted their cast over the seep and were heading to the next locality. The CTD and fluorometers did not read any PAH (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) at the seafloor and currently the methane sensor is not attached so we have not details on methane. We can try to deduce that the seep may be primarilty emitting methane gas by the readings from teh echo sounder, but there is no absolute certainty. Even the water samples collected will not be able to confirm this. So the 'seep' is still a little bit of a mystery.  After I did my morning rounds and e-mail check I brewed a cup of coffee. I then headed to the bow with a cup of coffee and sat there for about 30 minutes just looking out into the distance.  Hence, my new favorite thing to do on the boat. The ship noise is pretty much alleviated and all I hear is the wind and the waves crashing against the boat as we move forward.
Add caption

A sailor's poem

I will simply say that this has been a nice day. As always the gulf weather is unpredictable. In most of the daylight hours we spent either in the rain or under a grey sky. Just before sunset the sky began to clear. Even though I have yet to see the gulf waters lite up by the sun, I was able to witness some spectacular beauty. At around 6:00 PM you could capture a rainbow on the stearn and a sunset on the bow. Charlie, one of the CSIRO scientists, and I were flitting from the front and the back of the boat snapping photos and watching the waters slosh by as we moved away from the sunset.
I convinced Bob, our engineer, that even though he had seen a million gulf sunsets that everyone was unique and worth getting up to see. So he finally got up and went to check it out.
Beginning of sunset
Near the end
Afterwards Bob told me their is a sailors saying ' Red skies in mornin' sailors take warning, red skies at night sailors delight'.  Delight indeed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Science log 4- Mission CTD

Short summary.
We finnnnalllly left the port at 5:00 PM. The finishing touches on the deck started fairly early. In fact, the ship's first mate, Brian, peeked his head into my room at 7:45 AM to get me up because the port workers had arrived and their supervisor needed to speak to me about the exact jobs that needed to be completed. This just happened to be a morning I decided to hit the snooze button and sleep for 20 more minutes. Oh well.
Since they started the job so early I was certain they would have it done by 12:00-1:00 PM.  How wrong I was. The job probably finished at around 3:00 PM. By this time, all the crew is once again restless and about tired of waiting in the dock. I have started to notice that being out at sea is a sort of adrenaline rush. The longer you just sit in a sea-going vessell the madder and more eager to sail you become. I can't be sure, but just the fact that we are moving makes the ship seem less closed in. The whole sea becomes your home.

Right before we departed Cpt. Bill called a quick safety meeting to go over the new equipment and overall ship set-up. Everything was secured on deck and we finally set off. During the first hour the ship scientist and I finalized the map, with the help of our GIS specialist and the captain. This planned cruise route is specifically targeting several natural seeps in the gulf. It should be an interesting task to locate the exact position of the seep in order to drop the CTD over the ship, but possible with some practice. By the end of the cruise the staff and scientists should be experts at this. Especially with the combination of the echosounder, fluorometry, and documented coordinates.

We completed a test CTD cast at around 10:30 PM and are now headed for the first official site locality in the morning. I have not pulled my pictures off to show, but will soon get to that.

I will write more tomorrow after I have had a nice 6-7 hour nap (fingers crossed).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ship break

Port Fouchon, Louisiana
After arriving in Port Fouchon, Louisiana I have had a short hiatus on my blogging for two reasons. 1) The ship has been grounded in port for some 'minor' modifications and 2) I had to travel to New Orleans to meet with those in charge at the UAC.  Even though I have only been on this boat for a few days it was kinda hard for me to watch it change. This seems to be a pattern in the shipping industry, everything is dynamic or subject to high amounts of flux. It ranges from the weather to the sea conditions to the ship crew. Even those things change there is a constant that remains- the Captain and the overall skeleton of the ship.
So basically in the past 2 days the ship has gone through a dramatic transformation. This includes the addition of a CTD sensor. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature, and depth. It is a very important tool for determining the properties of sea water and can provide precise data on the variation of temperature, salinity, pH, and density. In addition, this CTD has a methane and dissolved oxygen sensor. As part of the research we will also attach the most sensitive fluorometer to measure the hydrocarbon concentrations at depth. This is very exciting because we can collect a wide range of data up to 1500 m depth!  Exciting work ahead. In order to get this peice of equipment on the ship there needed to be a few modifications. There was an addition of a large A-frame for the deployment and also two large winches that help in the deployment process. The ole ship literally had its deck cut off in pieces and the barrier cut to make way for the A-frame platform.

Construction on the ship at view of bridge

Side of ship that A-frame will be placed
During the majority of the construction I spent my time in meetings in New Orleans making plans for the next ship's mission in the gulf. This was lots of fun especially being in the heart of the UAC. The strangest observation I had during my time there was that the US Coast Guard seemed very limited in diversity not in a male/female sense. I am not sure why that caught my attention it was simply an observation. They are all so well dressed and formal in their activities, I felt quite bizarre as a 'civilian'. To be honest, even though I was on land for a while, I still had my sea legs and was itching to get back out to sea. Hopefully tomorrow morning it will happen. In the meantime I spent 2 evenings in New Orleans hanging out with a different friend each night. Friends I had not seen in a while. One friend, Jeff, is a friend from graduate school. He just got a position as a geology instructor for UNO and then my friend, Robert. Robert was an old high school friend. We had a good time re-living some of the experiences we had and then learning a little more about our life during the past 5 years. All and all, it was just lovely to stroll down Royal street and the remainer of the quarter while in good company and being in the completely lovely New Orleans evening weather.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mississippi River cruise

What to write......

Today I slept in late. I went to bed at around 1:00 and awoke at nearly 9:30, dragged myself to the shower, and arrived in my office pod by 10:15. During the night 2 more vertical casts were made and when I awoke we had just entered the southwest pass of the Mississippi River delta and were heading north to Venice. It was a slow trek upriver and I spend several moments simply looking at the surrounding delta scenery and watching the mighty Mississippi and all it's boat traffic drift by. This part of the day went slowly but as the day wore on things sped up. The trip up the river and back down is analogous to the kind of day I had. At the surface everything moved steady and smooth, with tini ripples undulating on the surface, but underneath the river water and all its bedload rushed quickly to the sea where it was swept away by the currents.

I checked in with all the ship scientists. The 3 vertical casts went fine overnight. Unfortunately the waves and swells throughout the night had continuously hit the container lab's A/C unit causing it to short out. In addition to this the shortage caused some problems with the underway pump. So by 9:00 AM the underway pump was useless and not collecting any useable data.  This all seemed relatively manageable, but based on the inability to collect data during the last 3 days due to weather we all were very disappointed. When we finally hit Venice, we found a place to deploy the vertical cast in ~20 meters of water. Our first data collecting point for the day.  Yippy. This was the one bright spot during the day. In the midst of this slow moving river trip I was running around making phone calls to homebase and then relaying info to the captain. We have a scheduled modification to the ship in Port Fouchon, where it will be outfitted with an A frame and additional equipment, namely a CTD sensor. The addition of the CTD will also require additional ship personnel. Currently the Ryan Chouest is able to fit 26 people, we currently have 23. After the CTD is added we will require an additional 3 personnel and possibly 2 more.

So the captain and I had many discussions trying to figure out how we could figure out the boat capacity and sleeping arrangements. Not only that but I made calls to different contractors arranging people to come onto the boat and work on various issue such as sticky doors, shorted air compressors, etc. while the major contruction was taking place. Taking care of a ship in addition to pilotting the ship is a logistical nightmare. By 6:00 PM the captain and I had everything all worked and we were able to relax. All I can say is I have a new found respect to everyone who works on a ship. There are some many things that need to be taken care of, I know have a really solid idea of where the saying 'he runs a tight ship' comes from and it has a whole new meaning to me. In addition to 'everything is in ship shape'. The AB seamen all have their specific roles and jobs that they complete deligently everyday. The OB also follow a strict schedule. The cooks make meals for each crew shift. Breakfast at 5:30-6:30 AM, Lunch 11:30-12:30 PM, Dinner 5:30-6:30 PM, and then dinner for the night shift at 12:00-1:00 AM. So the two cooks are cleaning and cooking non-stop and the galley is never in disarray. They also do things like make banana bread from overripening bananas in between. The engineers are also impressive, constantly working in the engine room fixing anything that might arise or anything that may arise on the ship. This way of life is very intriguing, it has a stillness that drifts above the unlying chaos of the ship. Man constantly harnessing a floating beast that is being pulled and tugged upon by both the air and the sea. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

The long awaited second journey begins

I did not write anything yesterday because I was busy running around talking to Captain Bill, my bosses onshore, Coast Guard, and the ship scientists trying to determine when we should head back to the gulf for our second planned trip. As I mentioned before, the weather has been relatively rough. A low pressure in the gulf just south of Mobile Bay had generated a fair amount of storms. These storms were causing combined waves of 6-9 with the occassional 11 feet surges and winds were measured at 18-24 knots with gusts up to 30.
So a lot of discussion insued about the reliability of the instrumentation, the safety of deploying the vertical cast equipment, the ability to remove the noise from the echosounder data. Finally we decided to stay in port another night. In the meantime, the Captain and I plotted a course from Theodore to the south pass of the Mississippi delta, up to Venice, Louisiana, and back again to Port Fouchon. So it may end up that we have a little Mark Twain adventure, several hours of life on the mississippi. We are hoping that we can tow the array up river collecting water quality data. This will provide a better understand of the river's influence into the gulf. It is already well documented that the discharge of the Mississippi has created a growing 'deadzone' at the mouth of birdfoot delta and into the gulf for several years.

For the rest of the time my officemate, Curt, and I have been eating numberous amounts of starburst candies and hershey miniatures while just surfing the web and talking. So I thought I would provide a few pictures of the inside of the ship and some of the people on it.
Officemate, Curt

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Messages from home

Before I left home for this seafaring adventure I had been working on some curtains for the kitchen. I got these two great pictures on my phone. Matt had found a curtain rod. So now my kitchen has some mushroom curtains.  I do think they need some pressing and possible adjustments to look a little better, but not too shabby.

Science log 3- out to sea and back

We arrived at the deployment site at 5:30 AM. All hands we on deck and by 6:30 the wave glider was in the water and quickly moved on its eastward path. Throughout the course of the day the glider's speed was registered at 2.1 to 3.0 knots. This surprised just about everyone on-board the ship. The average, or expected speed, was between 1 to 2 knots.
So the deployment went smoothly. The retrieval, on the other hand did not. You may be asking, but why? Well the gulf is always full of surprises in weather, especially in the fall. So when we left the dock it was kinda overcast and then for the whole day yesterday it rained, either a drizzle or a deluge. The storm caused 4-8 foot swells and a very fluid boat, or what everyone called 'the rockin' ryan'. Luckily I took everyone's advice and started taking dramamine 2 days before deployment. I got kinda queasy at one time, basically the first time I tried sitting down on my computer to write the daily report. I took a video of the 'box' I call the office, but I can't seem to get my computer to play it. Maybe I can add it through another computer. The portable office is situated on the back deck very close to the deck edge. We had wave crashing into our window every 10 or so minutes and our chairs were rolling around, even with duck tape on them.
The day seemed to be going pretty slowly. Especially since I woke up at 5:30 and the peak excitement of the day happened at 6:30 am. However, at 4:00 pm, the CSIRO scientists came knocking at my office to inform me that the winch they used to deploy the vertical cast equipment had broken, or more specifically, there was a crack in the shaft coupling sleeve of the sprocket. Immediately I had to call the manufacturer and relay that we needed a replacement sprocket for us at port on Saturday. This call required a photograph due to my inability to properly describe all things mechanical. Based on the winch being out of commission we made a decision to go ahead and head back to port. On our way back in we decided to try to find the Wave glider and retrieve it. Finding that little sucker was tricky, especially since it had gotten dark and the storm had escalated (along with the size of the waves). So the wild goose chase continued and when we finally found it it took 2 hours to catch the glider and get it onto the deck. It was almost like the little robot had a mind of its own, always tacking when we got close to it. I felt like I was in a wild adventure with big seas, rain, and a pitching boat- a regular most dangerous catch. After the excitement of getting the wave glider on-board it was almost 9:30 pm. I had a few hours before my shift was up and we headed in to Theodore. The boat continued to pitch all night and I slept in till 9:00!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Science log 2- Setting sail

One of Liquid Robotic's Wave gliders
Last night at around 9:00 we finally moved out of the Theodore dock, down Mobile Bay, and into the great expanse of the gulf. This first leg of the cruise will last 2 days, Thursday night to Saturday evening. The main purpose of this short cruise is to release the wave glider into the gulf. The wave glider is an autonomous ocean vehicle, created by a company called Liquid Robotics, and commonly described as a robot. This robot is slightly different from most in that it is uses solar energy generated by the solar panels ontop of the 'surfboard' body to power the electronics and has no motor, but is powered by waves.
The glider converts wave motion into forward thrust, thus propelling itself forward. It can travel from .5 to 2 knots depending on the roughness of the sea. The amazing thing about this piece of equipment is that it can be released into the ocean, travel long distances, and collect an array of data, ranging from weather and water temperature, water quality, marine mammal vocalizations, and even take pictures. The plan is to deploy the wave glider early in the morning and then check on it on Saturday on the way back into port. At the same time, vertical cast will occur continuing the collection of water quality data.

So after going to bed (at 12:45), I set my alarm for 5:30 in order to get up and watch the deployment. So I crawled out of bed, ate some bisquit and gravy and a to-order omellette (I swear I will gain weight with this sedentary ship life and hearty ship food), and stepped onto the deck. [Safety moment: When on the slippery deck, we must wear a life jacket, hard hat, and steel toe boots].
Once the sun finally peeked over the horizon and the rain began to drizzle we set to work deploying the glider. It was quite successful and we all watched in excitment as it moved quickly away.
All and all, I think it was a succesful deployment. Now to take a nap before my 12:00 shift.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ship science log- Day 1

I have decided to change the focus of my blog from the recent craft documentation to a log of the the activities I am going to participate in during the next 2 weeks. I will be the representative for a science vessel that has been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico for the relief efforts after the spill. I have to admit I feel slightly overwhelmed with all the responsibilities I have to take-over. My colleague and friend, Lawrence, has been doing this on and off for a total of 6 weeks so he has the drill pretty down pat. I, on the otherhand, am truely unexperienced, but hope to gain some experience over these next 2 weeks.
I arrived on the Ryan Chouest on Tuesday evening at 6:00. The ship was commissioned in 1996, it has been traveling and working in the gulf ever since. There are 24 people total on the ship- a captain, first mate, several deck hands, two cooks, four geotechnician running the echo sonar, four scientists from CSIRO, a GSI expert, and myself. It is a dynamic crew and the ship captain runs the activities on the ship very well.

Tuesday I simply arrived on the ship, meet everyone, and then made a late night supply run at wal-mart and lowe's. So for the rest of the blog I will write a little science log so that everyone can keep up with what is going on and get an understanding of ship life.

This ship has been used for this particular mission for about 3 months. The primary purpose is to monitor the detection of hydrocarbons at varying senistivities at surface depths to depths of ~100-130 m. The current instrument platform has an array of sensors that together detect and differeientate hydrocarbons in marine environments. So far the team has surveyed over 7000 nm in the Gulf. Below is a map of the previous ship cruises that have occurred during the past 3 months.
During my portion of the cruise we will also be deploying a relatively new technology, called wave gliders. These wave gliders also detect hydrocarbon values in addition to CTD information. The deployment should begin late Thursday afternoon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Biking in the heights

I like the urban biking options in Houston. This trail runs from the far northern part of the heights and then goes towards downtown. I am not sure when they will extend it all the way downtown or if they will, but I sure hope they do. It is nice to have the little urban biking adventure. We could see sky scrapers and turtles and fish and lots of trash all wrapped in one.

Impromptu baby bib

So I had some scraps leftover from my pajama pants and a neighbor who had a little baby boy recently. Put those two together, with the fact that I didn't feel like knitting anything, and I decided to sew a little bib. It was fun. I got the pattern from on-line, bought some flannel for the backing and made a little bib.  I now need to attach the snap closure.

Sew III- Pajama pants

I took third sewing class. I made a pair of pajama pants with pockets!  It was pretty fun and was a two part class. I feel a little more confident at my ability to make something from a pattern, but still not confident enough to do it by myself. I met a nice woman in my class and think we will be pretty good friends. It is always nice to drink wine with someone and talk about something other than work and geology. I think she and I will try to make some projects together to improve our skills and confidence.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sewing class #2

Today I took my third sewing class at sew crafty. ( I must stress what a great little place this is and so conveniently located! This class was to make their tote bag. This is normally offered as a large class, but in the second class I met a nice woman, Angie, who suggested that maybe we take the class together as a 2 hour private lesson. This was a great idea. It saved us each $5 and also gave us a chance to get to know each other better while having more one on one time with the instructor.
After 2 hours I managed to make a tote bag. Now Matt is joking with me that I am now going to make tote bags for everyone in my book club.  Probably not, but I will make one for my ravelry yarn swap that is coming up. What fun!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

New bookclub member, delicious cake maker!

The latest bookclub meeting was quite a success I would say. Even though we had a low turnout, we had some pleasant conversation and yummy food! The highlight being Heather R.'s delicious sauerkraut and sausage and meeting our newest member, Kellie. I will have to get Heather's recipe and post it. Along with meeting a charming woman, she also was kind enough to bring a theme cake to the meeting.

Kellie and her mom own a little business called Kreative Kountry Designs ( They make custom cookies, cakes, candles, and embroidering.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book club

I have a lot of friends who like to read, in fact, most of my friends are avid readers sometimes consuming books like someone would consume a chocolate bar. After some conversations with a few of these friends, we decided starting a book club would be a great way to meet new people and also have a little social time with a nice group of ladies. In February we started a little book club. This included 4 of us- 2 geologists, one geographer, and one educator. It was a little meeting at my house, but we quickly realized it was a nice event. The first book we read was 'City of Refuge' by Tom Piazza. This was a great first book because we all had some interesting insight to bring to the discussion.
We all have pretty busy schedules so it took us until April to get to the next meeting. For the next one we read, 'Let the Great World Spin' by Colum McCann. We also added 2 new readers to the group! It is growing and getting more organized. This month we have read 'Oh Pioneers!' by Willa Cather. Our meeting is this Sunday and I think it will be great to see what a group of strong, highly independent women thought of Alexandra, the main character. It seems so rare to see a strong woman being highlighted in an early American novel. I think at this meeting we will try to get a little better organized, by making a list of books we want to read and setting a monthly rotating date. I think with 5-6 people we can do this and not be too worried when someone misses a meeting.

So in the midst of getting things organized (and me trying to practice sewing), I decided to make everyone a clutch. The cool thing I discovered is that a book fits perfectly within the clutch. So I decided to make everyone one, put inside it a bookmark and a pencil, and say 'happy reading'.
Since I am new to this sewing things, I should say, this is an easy first project and quite a lot of fun. I just wanted to share the steps and hop that others like me can learn to that sewing is not so scary afterall!

1/2 yard fabric
1/2 yard fusible interfacing (heavy duty- like Pellon)

1. Cut 2 rectangles (any size, I used ~12 by 20.5 inches) and place them right sides together. Iron straight. Then pin down all four sides, keeping a small hope on one of the short sides to enable to stuffing of the interfaceing. Cut the interfacing ~3/4 inch shorter.

2. Sew 5/8 seam on all sides,remember to leave that 3-4 inch opening.

3. Using the opened hole, turn the project right side out and iron flat. Roll the interfacing and insert it into the project. Flatten it out and iron.

4. Now take the project over and stitch a straight seam across the short side with the hole (~3/8 seam allowance)

5. Then fold the short edge up to create the pocket and stich down the left and right sides.

6. Finally, take to ironing board and iron the flap down, and the back. Over time the clutch will flatten out.

In the end you have a colorful array of bookclub clutches.