January 30, 2011

Momma's Got a Brand New Bag

It's amazing how even part-time work cuts into blogging time.  Free Computer Smileys Fortunately, I Love my job with a capital L. If I had made a list of all the things I wanted in a job, it would fit that list perfectly. Sadly, there's just less time to visit everyone out there in bloggy land and I haven't been able to focus on posting anything recently.

My favorite cousin was in town and we spent some time together, eating (Cheesecake Factory), shopping, eating (Charleston's), visiting, eating (Pizza Picasso's) and ...


getting pedicures with the Granddaughter, too.  So much fun. Oh, I dearly loves me a pedicure!

My cousin and her hubby come from coooooold weather, so I knitted them each a hat to take home with them ...


Low-Sew Boutique: 25 Quick & Clever Projects Using Ready-MadesAnd I've done a tiny bit of sewing. Bought this cool book "Low-Sew Boutique" written by Cheryl Weiderspahn on a Walmart clearance rack for $3. The idea is to make things like tote bags and handbags from other things that are already made like rugs, place mats, oven mitts and potholders. I think this is called upcycling and it's such a terrific idea.

I went to Anna's Linens and got a place mat on the clearance rack for $1.39 and a couple of linen napkins that looked good with it for $1.99 each. Then on to JoAnn's where I got wooden purse handles for $5.99. (The handles would have been less if I'd had a coupon but I already used it for yarn.) The Place Mat Purse shown in "Low-Sew Boutique" actually uses a potholder for an outer pocket but I couldn't find one that I liked so I decided to go ahead and wing it, making several pockets from the napkins. Here is the picture shown in the book ...


Here is what I bought and a few pictures of the process ...


The great thing about using place mats is they're already backed, which creates the lining for your purse and they're usually made of pretty sturdy fabric (if my kids were any indication of how well place mats can hold up under constant use and abuse). This particular place mat caught my eye because it has my youngest daughter's favorite colors in it and it's just so darn cheerful! I did have a magnetic catch (in the little baggie upper left) that I was going to use, but not only did the purse not need it, I really don't know where I would have put it. I added A LOT of pockets to this thing, inside and out, because I believe you can never have enough pockets to hold all your crap.

Here I've folded the place mat in half and marked the fold with pins ...


I started cutting and folding pockets, just making them up as I went along ...


I decided to put double pockets on the outside of each side of the bag ...


I also put a huge double pocket on the inside of the bag and stitched individual pockets for cell phone and sunglasses ...


The book calls for handles with removable rods, but I couldn't find any so I just went with some cute oval wood ones by Everything Mary and jimmy-rigged how they were attached ...


And here's the finished bag ...


I love it and, more importantly, YD loved it. She came to the house while I was running an errand and saw it hanging on the cupboard. She told me she'd noticed the colors were her favorites and was hoping it was for her. Yay!

There are other great ideas in this book like luggage tags, eyeglass cases, sleep masks and a curling iron caddy, but my next project will be a large tote bag made of woven rugs, like this ...


or this ...


Are those cool bags or what???

The Gift of Rain: A NovelAnd I've been reading. I read for 4 straight hours in bed this morning (starting at 5:30 a.m.) with a pot of coffee and finished my book for book club next Wednesday. Our February selection was "The Gift of Rain" by Tan Twan Eng and it was so good! I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, especially war time and this is set during World War II, but the author did such a wonderful job with the characters and the story just sucked me in and kept me turning pages. It is the tragic tale of Philip Hutton, the son of a British father and Chinese mother, who lives on the island of Penang which becomes occupied by the Japanese during the war. Great story (432 pages) with so much fabulous history and culture mixed in. I would highly recommend it.

And can you believe January is nearly over? Already! Hope it was a great month for everyone!!!

11 comments:

Elizabeth @ Southern Comfort said...

I completely understand about life getting in the way of blogging. I'm having the same problem right now. I just love the purse/bag, and you're right, you can never have too many pockets!

Dazee Dreamer said...

love, love, loved the bag. so cool.

and there is nothing better than going with the girls for a pedicure. aaaahhhh.

I'm really glad that there is only one more day of January. can you see the relief on my face.

Tightwad Mom said...

Love your cute hats, love your pedicure, and love, love, LOVE the idea of making bags out of place mats and other household sundries!
Your craftiness amazes me!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Love the bag you made. You are so talented! Those hats you knitted are wonderful. Love the toes! I am so impressed with all that you do and you found time to read!

Baby Sister said...

I love pedicures...they are soooo nice. And the hats and the bag are adorable!! I wish you lived around the corner so I could pay you to make me things...cause I would totally go for a hat AND bag like that...

Pepsi Breath said...

I swear you got a higher percentage of Mom's crafty gene than I did. Bag and hats are all super!

I've only had one pedicure (not until age 40!) and loved it. Hope I don't have to wait another 40 years for the next one.

So glad you have joined that small club of people who totally loved their job. You deserve it and they are lucky to have you!

blueviolet said...

You did it so quickly too! I love how it looks!

Loren said...

OMG that bag is darling!! I LOVE your hats tooo! I am patiently waiting on your Etsy Store :)

I did a little sewing for the first time EVER IN MY LIFE :O) this weekend... It was sooo much fun!!

Soo glad you are enjoying your job! I can only imagine how much the Love you!!

I am with you ~ I am not big on Historical fiction but love it when you find one that is good!! Sounds like this one is !!

Flying Giggles and Lollipops said...

I love the bag! I wish I could sew, maybe I can find some time to start learning.

It is wonderful to have hours to read, it is so relaxing, such a great stress reliever.

BTW, love Cheesecake Factory....yum!

Joann Mannix said...

I love your bag so much better than the one in the book. It is super, super cute.

I also love that fringey last bag. Love it. You have such a talent. The hats are awesome. I'm so jealous of your abilities, since I can't even sew a button.

And yes, there is nothing better than a pedicure.

Snowcatcher said...

That's really a great idea, using a placemat to make a purse. I think I remember a phase when that was popular when I was in middle school. But they didn't have such cool placemats, then!