Bags For Carrying On

Our family will soon take our first long airplane trip since having children. Oh, we’ve done short hops, but an hour on an airplane is just enough time to enjoy the take-off, be distracted by the snack, and then start the landing. And anyway, Ryan tends to demonstrate his superior travelling skills by falling asleep.

This will be a six-hour stint, though, and even supposing that the kids are willing to watch a movie (not at all certain, especially for Ryan) or take a nap (also uncertain, especially for Nathan) that still leaves a lot of airplane time. Dave is unworried by this prospect. I am… well, I won’t say that I’m worried, only that I’d like to be prepared. To that end I’ve stocked up on some travel games, snacks, fresh notepads and pens, stickers, that sort of thing.

And of course, in the midst of considering what to take, my mind immediately jumped to the obvious things I could make: individual kid-sized carry-on bags.



Normally my instinct when it comes to bags is to wing it, but in this case I broke down and bought an actual pattern, which I think was a good move, because I’m pretty happy with how they came out. I let each of the kids choose a main fabric from my stash, and since I love all those fabrics in the first place, I naturally love their choices. The bags are surprisingly roomy (I cut down the original pattern to make them 7″ x 10″ x 13″), but still small enough to fit under a seat, or (theoretically) be carried by a small child. Whether they will actually carry them is another question.


As icing on the cake, the need to quilt the pieces before assembling the bag gave me an excellent opportunity to practice free-motion quilting, which is one of the skills I’ve been interested in delving into more deeply. With variegated thread, no less. Those bits alone I had to go display to Dave.

None of this bag awesomeness will have any impact on the kids’ experience of a six-hour flight, of course. I don’t care; I’ve already enjoyed the heck out of making them, and if nothing else, I’ll enjoy looking at them on the airplane.




I know that around the country, millions of people are getting lots of snow — more than they would normally expect or want. I know that it can be an annoying thing to work around. But here it is still an unusual and fleeting occurrence, and my heart — well-trained by the promise of missing school for a day as well as by the simple loveliness of it — lifts whenever flakes drift out of the sky. And if the snow is persistent enough to bury my garden? That’s just joy.


My excuse currently is that I have small children. This is an entirely false excuse, mind you; I would love the snow just as much if I were alone. But it’s more socially acceptable for young children to get excited about snow, so I focus the conversation on them and casually fail to mention my solitary ventures out for snowy walks. (I love tilting my head back during a good snowfall, letting the flakes brush my face as they spin dizzyingly out of the sky. I don’t even mind the occasional snowflake-in-the-eye.)


If anything, my children are not quite as insanely excited about snow as I am, no doubt because they lack the “missing-school” portion of the excitement, which to this day creates a sense of almost agonizing hope in me. But they still think it’s pretty cool, and after scrabbling together some semblance of warm clothes, most of which they put on only under protest, they did get out to explore the whiteness. Nathan liked destroying pristine whiteness — Dave and I believe that one of the fundamental hallmarks of humanity is the instinctive thought “How can I mess with that?” upon seeing anything beautiful or well-functioning.


Ryan’s exploration was more oriented toward his taste buds. He liked eating snow, a lot, which led to a long and detailed conversation about which snow I considered clean enough for consumption, and which snow or ice (like that found in tire tracks) I’d really rather he didn’t sample. I don’t know that he agreed with my analysis, but he mostly tried to humor me.

The snow lasted only a few days before melting completely away. It’s now mid-50’s out there, intermittently sunny and with sudden gusts of delightfully emphatic wind. Some of my crocuses are poking tentative edges of color out, as though debating whether they should commit.

I love this too. But I’m really glad we had the snow.