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The graphic below was the label I created for my table gifts for the Southwest Mini Roundup held in Amarillo TX in April, 2006. (It folded in half.)

I first heard of Route 66 when I was a child, listening to Nat King Cole on the radio, telling us to Get Our Kicks on Route 66, a song written by Bobby Troup.

If you ever plan to motor west,
travel my way, take the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

It winds from Chicago to LA,
more than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route six-six.

 

Now you go through Saint Louis
Joplin, Missouri,
and Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Then there was a television series when I was a teenager, where Tod and Buz in their red Corvette got their kicks on that famous road.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
when you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

Eventually my young husband and I drove part of that route ourselves in the 49 Ford that his father had given him when he was a senior in high school. In later years, we had an uncle and aunt who lived in Tucumcari, NM, and I was always fascinated by the neon signs of the motels and tourist places that lined the main drag. Alas, the interstate by-pass has left Tucumcari's main drag practically abandoned, now, although we drove through on our way home from Amarillo anyway, just for old time's sake.




In the old days, before air conditioning and all the modern coolers, people hung canvas water bags in front of the car radiator. This helped prevent the radiator's overheating and also kept drinking water cool. My dad had one and I still remember the thrill of getting to take a swig of water from that cool bag when I was all tired, hot, sweaty and windburned from the open car windows!

I was pleased when the 2006 SW Mini Roundup in Amarillo had as its theme, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, and decided to make mini versions of those old radiator water bags as my table gifts.

MAKING THE DESERT WATER BAG

I did an internet search for old water bags, most of which were wrinkled and all askew. I eventually found one that was almost full-on and using PaintShopPro with much cutting, pasting and tweaking, designed my bag to fold at the bottom to create identical fronts and backs.

In stage one, the bags have been glued. I used clamps to hold the seams while drying, then cut away excess to form a small seam line.

After considerable searching through my stash, I came up with the old dependable earring back to use as the water spout.

 

Since I decided to make my bag look as if it were still being used, with tweezers I poked a very small amount of quilt batting into the bottom to help hold its shape. I would not use the stuffing if I wanted it to be all wrinkly and discarded.

First coating the corner of the bag with tacky glue, I let the paper sit for a minute to soften slightly to make it more malleable. Then I added another light coat of tacky and a tiny drop of super glue on the spout and molded around it on the outer edge first. When that had dried, I trimmed away the excess of the seam at a slight angle to make it look right. Then I glued the top of the bag over the spot, pressing with my fingernails and a toothpick over and around the spout as tightly as possible and left it to dry.

Once the spout was firmly glued in place, I then ran a line of glue across the entire top to close the "seam." When it was dry, I trimmed away a tiny bit on the right side to make it match the spout side.

 

This is the cord for the handle; not sure what it is called since I am not a needleworker. It is slightly heavier than embroidery thread. I am also using a large needle.

I have a yardstick glued to the front edge of my worktable. Laying my bag against it, I used a pencil to mark the spots for my handle, with one side right up against the spout, then measuring so the other side would be spaced equidistant.

Using two strands of the cord, I tied a knot, put a drop of glue on it to hold, and threaded the other end through a large needle. I put a drop of glue at the first hole, pulled the cord through leaving a longish tail, then trimmed the excess from the knot.

Here I am poking the hole at the pencil mark on the right side to make it easier to pull the thread through from the back.

 

Here I am measuring against my yardstick to be sure the handle is the length I want. Then I tied my second knot, adding a drop of glue to hold it firm. When it was dry I snipped away the excess. To make the knots lay flat, I added glue behind them as needed and pressed them down against the bag until I was satisfied.

You may notice here that the bag still has a bright pinkish look. It's time to grunge it up for more realism.

 

Here is the bag after I have sponged on a stain to make it look more used. I suggest you practice on the back of the printie first until you are satisfied, then do the front.

 

Here are my finished bags, ready to take to Amarillo. They were very well received, by the way.

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NOTE: If you would like to make your own water bag, a kit is available for $3.00, plus postage. I use PayPal. If you are interested, contact me at Jayceenep@aol.com, specifying that you want the Desert Water Bag Kit.

 

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