Make Your Own Travel Accessory!

Traveling… Do you travel for business? (If so, then does everyone then think that you are having fun, rather than working?) Do you carry on, or check your bag? Traveling is getting more difficult if you are riding in economy. Packing must be more compact and better organized.

Having just returned from Art & Soul in Portland Oregon, where Artistic Artifacts is the onsite store, I had to deal with a jumble of wires and power cords for various computers, receipt printer, camera, Kindle, etc. There has to be a better way!

And there is! Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution brought out her beautifully made charger/cord organizer. I quickly decided we should post her tutorial on how you can make one too! Special thanks to Havel’s (the best scissors made) and Liz Kettle (the best roomie).

Remember that Liz will be visiting Artistic Artifacts next month and teaching several of her favorite classes with us as part of our celebration of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) 25th Anniversary Conference taking place May 1-4 in Alexandria, VA. We have created a robust week-long schedule of fiber and surface design classes and events, open to all! Travel in for SAQA, or our classes, or both — and bring your new charger organizer with you!

Finished charger and cord organizer, rolled and tied

Fully Charged Organizer

By Liz Kettle

Do you ever get to your vacation spot or business conference and realize you left a critical charger cord at home? Ugh! This has happened to me too many times. There are a few charger organizers on the market but they weren’t perfect and they were just a tad too boring in design. So, I did what any creative maker of stuff would do and designed a charger organizer that fit my unique charger needs! Best of all, it is a quick project and I had it ready to go for my next trip.

Multi-Purpose Cloth™ by Roc-lon®, (aka MPC), is a white non-woven canvas that is perfect for this project because it doesn’t fray, is sturdy and just heavy enough to give the organizer body. I use it for all sorts of bags, totes, placemats etc. You can buy MPC from Artistic Artifacts.

Heavy canvas or felt may be substituted but will give a different look and feel. Canvas will ravel so all the edges will need to be stitched tightly.

Charger/Cord Organizer Tutorial

You will need the following supplies for Charger/Cord Organizer:

  • Multi-Purpose Cloth ~ 16" x 12½"
  • Decorative fabrics ~ 2 pieces 16" x 12½" (I used a Japanese linen print)
  • 4 feet of 1" wide ribbon or twill tape for closure
  • 14" of double folded seam tape
  • Plastic for pockets (medium thickness)
  • ¼" wide elastic ~ 14" length
  • Mistyfuse or other fusible web
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Havel’s Teflon scissors
  • Sewing Machine

To design and sew your organizer, follow these steps:

fabric layered with Mistyfuse

1) Using your rotary cutter and mat, cut the MPC, Mistyfuse and fabrics 16" x 12½". Layer the MPC, the Mistyfuse and the outer decorative fabric. Follow manufacturer’s directions to fuse together.

fabric fused on both sides

2) Repeat with the inner decorative fabric layer to cover both sides of the MPC. Set this aside for now.

fusing seam tape

3) Cut a piece of Mistyfuse ½" wide x 14". Place this inside the folds of the unfolded seam tape. Use a non-stick craft sheet and iron the tape to fuse the inner folds flat.

fused seam tape with elastic

4) Pin in the 14" of ¼" wide elastic to the back side of the seam tape.

elastic pinned evenly to seam tape

5) Pin the elastic evenly around the tape while stretching to fit. When you are finished it will look like the above photo.

sewing elastic to seam tape

6) Use a zigzag stitch to stitch the elastic to the seam tape.

sewn seam tape curling up from the elastic

7) When you have finished sewing, the seam tape will curl up, as shown in the above photo.

marking the plastic for cutting

8a) Use a permanent marker and a ruler to mark the plastic.

cutting the plastic with teflon scissors

8b) Use Teflon scissors to cut a piece 20" x 5".

chargers and cords in place to determine pocket size

9) To personalize your organizer, place the specific charging cords and devices on the base of your organizer. Place the plastic over these. Begin on one end and pin the plastic to the edge. Then smooth the plastic between the cords to allow for the depth of the pocket and pin the bottom and top of the plastic onto the base fabric. Trim off the extra plastic with your Teflon coated scissors.

marking organizer pocket placement

10) Remove the charging devices and mark the pin placement on the plastic on the bottom edge so you can realign it later. Mark the fabric as well or measure and record on a piece of paper. Remove the pins and plastic.

sewing the elasticized seam tape to the plastic

11) Place the seam tape along the top edge of the plastic, stretching to fit and stitch in place with a zigzag stitch.

repinning pocket placement

12) Place the plastic back on the fabric and re-pin the plastic in place along the sides and bottom. Create small pleats or folds along the bottom edge of the plastic to make the pocket depth needed for the cords. Pin these in place. Stitch along the side and bottom edges with a straight stitch.

Using a teflon foot makes sewing plastic easier

Note: If stitching on the plastic is difficult, use a Teflon foot, or simply stick a piece of tape on the bottom of your foot. This will help reduce drag from the plastic.

sewing up the pockets

13) Stitch the pockets from the bottom of the plastic up to the seam tape covered edge using a straight stitch. Stitch back and forth a couple times at the top to reinforce the top edge.

14) Stitch around all the sides with a zigzag stitch. I like to use a multicolored thread, such as Star Thread, and stitch around the edge multiple times to blend the thread colors. You can also use a satin stitch around the edge for a more finished edge.

15) Fold the wrapping ribbon or twill tape in half and place the fold on the middle of the top edge of the organizer on the outside. Stitch the ribbon securely with a zigzag stitch. I usually stitch it 2-4 times.

Charger/Cord Organizer by Liz Kettle

16) Place your charging devices and cords back in the plastic pockets.

rolling up your new organizer

17) Roll the organizer up from the bottom edge and wrap the ribbon around to tie. Trim ribbon as necessary.

You are now ready to travel anywhere fully charged!

About Liz:
Liz Kettle is a mixed media and textile artist living in Colorado. Liz is author of First Time Beading on Fabric and she is co-author of two books, Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond and Threads: The Basics and Beyond. Liz loves teaching and sharing the joy of making stuff in her articles, classes and workshops. Visit her blog and website,, where you can join the fun in her free on-line book studies.

Artistic Artifacts On the Road!

The Portland, Oregon edition of Art & Soul is underway! After a full day exhibiting at an art therapy conference (see below) Judy hopped on a crack of dawn flight this past Saturday morning to the West Coast. We’re hoping she slept on the plane, as these creative retreats keep you busy!

Art & Soul is taking place April 7th through the 13th at the beautiful visit The Red Lion Hotel on the River. While online registration is closed, those local to the Portland and surrounding Pacific Northwest area can still register in-person at the hotel…so if you find that your schedule has freed up and you can squeeze in a class or two, there’s still time to indulge!

Fabric book class participants at Art & Soul Portland 2014; image courtesy Art & Soul Facebook page

Image above courtesy of Art & Soul Facebook page.

And even if you are not attending the retreat, you can visit the Red Lion on the River to shop at Artistic Artifacts on-site store! As always, Judy has a huge supply of new products and vintage/found treasure available for your fiber and mixed media art, and she’d love to meet you to say hello.

Plus a Vendor Night takes place on Saturday, April 12 from 6:00-9:00 pm. This event is free for all attendees but is also open to the general public with a $10 admission fee. More than 20 vendors will offer finished artwork, supplies, vintage findings, jewelry, ephemera and more.

Art Therapy Conference

Art therapy conference signs

Mindfulness, Compassion & the Arts in Therapy: from Neuroscience to Clinical Practice and the Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute both took place on April 4-6, 2014 in Alexandria, VA. Artistic Artifacts was thrilled to have been invited to take part as a vendor!

This event was a continuing education opportunity for play therapists as well as those of of many disciplines: Art, Music, Dance/Movement, Poetry, Drama and Movement, plus arts educators, psychologists, social workers, counselors and more in the medical, clinical and academic community.

Of course, those dedicated to the idea of how the arts can heal are artists themselves, so we received a very warm welcome in response to our tables of fiber and mixed media supplies, as well as our demonstrations and make and take activity (supplies pictured below).

Supplies for making collage and mixed media ATCs
Diane Herbort demonstrating hand stitching

Special thanks go out to our volunteer friends from Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) who helped us out in so many ways throughout the weekend — we couldn’t have done it without them!

  • Diane Herbort (pictured right), who intrigued attendees with her beautiful hand stitching and embroidery with Tentakalum fibers
  • Carol Hamilton and Chris Vinh demonstrating monoprinting on a Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate
  • Carmen Goyette showing off many options on using recycled materials (food boxes, dryer sheets, etc.) in mixed media, and
  • Jocelyn Corderot, Joan Grandy, Kelsey Grandy, Theresa Koenig and Suzanne Langsdorf guiding the creation of ATCs (artist trading cards).

We bought in a wealth of tools and material to create ATCs: rubber stamps, inkpads, paints, book text, washi tape, tissue paper, fabric, trims, art and inspirational quotes and more. And our starting pile was continually refreshed with beautiful monoprints from the Gel Printing Plate demo (example below) using paints, found textures, stencils, wooden printing blocks and more.

Monoprint created on a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate

Many of the attendees took advantage of this opportunity to have a creative break in between the academic sessions, and it was really rewarding to hear their appreciation and enthusiasm. Pictured below are a few of the ATCs created by Artistic Artifacts staff and volunteers while guiding the participants.

ATCs created at Mindfulness, Compassion & the Arts in Therapy: from Neuroscience to Clinical Practice and the Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute

Below, two monoprints created featuring the TCW356 SallyCarley stencil.

Monoprints created during Gel Printing Plate demos

P.S. While at the hotel, Diane Herbort took an intriquing photo for her website. She has been posting weekly inspiration photos — and writing wonderful prose about each — for a number of years now. Check them out!