Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sweater Purse 5.0

Happy Easter!  Even though this is not an Easter inspired project, it is a project that I did back in February.  Guess what it is?  Yes, another Sweater Purse!  You will never escape this project!  Well, maybe once this year is over, then I will move on to a new obsession for 2012!  Anyway, this is a purse that came from the same J. Crew sweater as my last Sweater Purse.  I took that sweater and some odds and ends that I thought may spice up the purse a bit and went to work.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

I have Santana featuring Michelle Branch's song Game of Love in my head when I was typing this.  I love that song! 

I had made this purse for my friend that I went to The Melting Pot for in one of my previous posts.  Her favorite color is purple, when I thought it was blue.  So, I had to dig around for the purple tulle you see above.  I also had bought a box-o-ties from an estate sale a while back, not sure what I was going to use them for, but when they are only $1, you gotta go for it!  So, I will use one of them for this purse.

First, I cut out a rectangle section of sweater, utilizing the side seam.

I have scaled down my sweater purse size from what I did over Christmas, because I thought it would be easier to handle, but it takes just as much time.  But, scaling it down has allowed me to make more than one purse from a sweater.

Next, I sewed the side seam and the bottom seam.

Upside Down Purse!

I actually flipped the material upside-down so the ribbing that is normally at the bottom of the sweater will be the top of the purse.  I then cut out a section of purple lining to match my purple tulle.  Those purple items were remnants from a dress I made to attend the Sex and the City II movie with my Ladies.  It was a fun night and I wore the dress at least one additional time since, so it was worth it.

Drinking Cosmos before we left the hotel room!!

Anyway, back to the purse.  Always save remnants, you never know when you will need them.  Here is the cut section of the lining:

They should make a no-fray lining-I'd buy it!

I folded it and inserted it into the sweater purse to get a good fit.  I pinned it and then sewed the lining like I did the purse.  I put that aside and tried to come up with some creative idea to do with the tulle.  I already made a rosette for the last one, so not that.  I knew that the tulle would not make a good I was stumped.  I finally decided to bunch it up going around the circumference of the purse.  I then realized that I would need to unstitch a little of one of the side seams so that I could tuck it in to secure it good.


I pinned the tulle to the inside of the purse at the seam I unstitched, then periodically scrunched the tulle together with purple thread and anchored to the purse.  I did the same on the other side.  Then turned it inside-out and sewed up the side seam again.

I pinned before I scrunched.

Once I was happy with that I took the lining and folded down the top until it lined up with the purse.  I then iron the lining at that fold, wrong sides together.

Fold and Press.

Then I inserted the lining in the purse and pinned it in place.  Now comes the tie.  I ironed the tie a million times and used startch, but could not get all of the wrinkles out.  I measured a decent length of the tie for a handle/shoulder strap so that it would fit right under the armpit when worn on the shoulder.  I then measured a "closure", using the tie bottom/front (where the V is in the tie) so that would be the closure front.  I pinned those to the purse between the purse and the lining.  

Tie ends-strap and closure.

I then sewed the lining to the purse with a zig-zag stitch along the top edge ensuring that I sewed through the tie handle and closure end.  Since the edge was finished already, no more needed to be done.

Finally coming together.

Once I sewed the lining in, the purse was complete!

Black-tie Purse!

With each purse I do, I like them even more!  See how I scrunched the tulle at the right places so the tie closure could be threaded though?  Nice, touch, if I do say so myself! 

From the top

While I was on a break, thinking of what to do, my cat Julie decided to warm up the purse before I got started.

Roo-girl!  I can't walk away for a minute! 

How can you be mad at a fuzzy face like that!  So, Sheri, if you find some white cat hairs on the sweater, this is why!  I figured she would not mind too much, she has a cat of her own (fellow cat-owners know you can never get away from cat hair)!

I do have more Sweater Purses in my queue to blog about, so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Books - First Quarter

As I said in my Craftolutions post, #8, I am going to read 17 books this year.  I'm off to a steady start, but February was a slow reading month for me. I recently had to travel for work, so I read an entire book on the planes (going and coming back), so that put me back on schedule.

Well, here is my list so far and how I rate each book (5 thumbs up is the best):

                                                1. This book I got as a Christmas present.  This is the first non-fiction book I have read in a very long time.  It is about how this one woman decided that living a simpler life would be more fufilling.  She still had a 9-5 job, but when she got home she turned into a homemaker.  She has funny accounts of the highs and lows of learning how to raise chickens so she can have fresh eggs, learning how to be a beekeeper to have fresh honey, raised rabbits for their fur, grew her own garden of veggies, and she even has a couple of husky dogs that she would sled with and also make them into pack dogs (trained them to haul bundles on their sides like a donkey).  This is a story and a resource for where to get info so you, too, can live a simpler life.  She is very down-to-Earth and you end the book wishing you could raise chickens!  I rate it 4 thumbs up.

2. This next book is from an author that I have read from several times.  Her books always start off a bit slow because she is building everyone's character but always has a strange twist at the end.  This book has a wedding that the guests are all alumni from the same private school, but they have not seen each other in 20 years, so it is like a reunion.  The wedding takes place at an inn that one of the alumni converted from a house.  Each character has a secret that is either revealed dring the story or at the the end, which is the twist.  It has the characters remembering their earlier years and either wishing they did things differently or glad they didn't.  She takes you into each character's mind and feel what hardship they bring to the inn with them.  I rate it 3.5 thumbs up.

3. This third book has been on my reading list for awhile.  I have read the entire Mayfair Witch series when I was in college but I had not read any of the Vampire series.  This book is part of both series where there is a Mayfair witch, Merrick, and a few of the Vampires, Lestat and Louis.  Merrick, I don't remember, was ever mentioned in the Mayfair series.  This book has her calling on someone from the spirit world, but it has a lot of character history that occurs by going into the past.  That part made the book boring to me because I was forgetting the point of the book, which was raising a spirit.  The end was the most interesting because the spirit was finally raised.  If you were a fan of either set of series, then this is a good book to read, but if you were not, then I would not recommend it.  These books were written way before the Twilight series and all the other vampire novels out these days.  So if you liked the Twilight stories then start reading either one of Anne Rice's series; they are more mature.  I rated this 3 thumbs up.

4. My final book for this first quarter is from one of my favorite authors.  This book has a man accused of double homicide and has been sentenced to the death penalty.  The double homicide takes away one of the main character's husband and daughter while she is pregnant with her second child.  The man (inmate) is on death row for 11 years and during this time the second daughter is on the waiting list for a heart transplant.  The inmate gets this idea that he must donate his heart to the young girl in order to make things right for what he has been accused of doing.  Jodi Picoult books have a way of making you like the "bad person" in her books because they are real and human too.  She has you think beyond social stigmas and stereotypes and makes you think of the morality of the matter at hand.  Does the woman want this heart for her daughter to live from the inmate?  No.  Does she need it?  Yes.  I won't ruin the story, but this was a fantastic book.  I rated this 5 thumbs up.

My next set of books, I want to fit in a classic, like something from Jane Austen.  I have a few of her books, I just have not started any of them yet.  I tried listening to one of them on an audiobook and they read with such a thick English accent that I could not even understand them!  So I returned the audiobook to the library.  I carpool to work most days so listening to an audiobook isn't practical anymore. 

I'm also not into those e-readers either.  For me, reading a book is about the actual book in your hand, not some computer that you read off the screen.  So, right now, I am boycotting e-books.  An audio book at least has someone reading the book to you in the way the book should be told in, so I feel like that is a good alternative to not have the phyical book in your hand.  Otherwise I like feeling each page, and carrying the actual book around with me.  Does anyone agree with me or do you like the e-readers?  I'm interested in knowing what is so great about giving up a paper book...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Afternoon Tea

My birthday continues for one more weekend!  I'm so lucky!

Actually, during the week my bowling team, the Odd Balls,  threw me a mini party on our Wednesday bowling night.  They had a carrot cake, caramel hershey kisses, seven layer mexican dip, crackers and mini hot dog weiners.  It was great!  They got me a teacup planter with pink impatiens and a Fire King hobnail milkglass planter that the kisses were in.

Love it!!

Vintage glassware; I could do a whole post on Fire King! 

Then this weekend, there was High Tea served in my honor at the Royal Tea Room in Tampa.  Myself and seven of my girlfriends gathered and sipped tea served with scones, finger sandwiches, savory pastries, mini cupcakes and fruit-filled chocolate cups. 

Yummy in my tummy!

There is an order that you are supposed to eat this delicious food in and it is from the bottom up.  First the tea was poured, which the first type was an apricot tea and then we chose a strawberry-chocolate tea.  Normally they only serve one tea type a day, but we insisted on the strawberry-chocolate tea too.  We pushed politey. :-)

We first ate a blueberry scone with jam and clotted cream.  From the second tier we ate cucumber sandwiches and a black bean quesadilla pastry pocket.  Finally, the top and third tier, were vanilla cupcakes with frosting and chocolate cups filled with a bit of kiwi, strawberry, blueberry and raspberry, anchored in the cup with a bit of whipped cream.  It was delicious!

The Tea Tables

It was a lovely time and after all of that tea and scrumpets, my friend that set-up the tea party had a cake for me to blow out candles that were teacups and a teapot!

Finishing touch!

Yes, they even sang to me!  We were the loudest group in the tea room, as if we wouldn't be.  We acted like we were the only ones in that place.  Where were our manners?!

The look of just being sung to!

After tea we headed to this deli called Datz, that is also a restaurant/bar where they have 20 plus beers on tap and wine galore!  Instead of having a beer or wine after all of that caffeine, I chose to have gelato!

Strawberry Gelato!

I really did not need to eat this and this did put me over the edge, but it was soooo good.  We hung out just for a bit and then we all went our separate ways for the rest of the evening (by this time it was after 5pm).  But, we took one last pic before we left:

The Ladies of the Tea Party (at the bar) hehe

It did seem a bit incongruent to attend a tea party and then go and have a beer!  But, it was a great time; one that I would love to do again.

To end the evening festivities, one of gals and I went thrift store shopping.  Yes, even more incongruency going on, but I enjoy thrift store shopping for cool glassware and odds and ends.  My motto is you just never know what you are going to find!  That is what I enjoy the most, seeing something new each time I go.

I do believe that that was my last birthday party of the year.  I do still have lots more Cheesecake Factory carrotcake cheesecake in the freezer, so I can still celebrate anytime!  Thank you to everyone who helped me ring in my 35th year!  Let's do it again next April!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Birthday Weekend 1.0

This weekend was my birthday and even though I did not "craft" anything, I am writing to celebrate myself and my great family and friends (this will span a few posts).  I'm not one of those people who cry and get sad over being another year older.  I think of my birthdays as I had another year of adventures (good and bad ones), learning experiences and, hopefully those resulting in me being a bit wiser than I was one year ago. 

This birthday, I gathered some of my peeps and went deep sea fishing.  I planned it last minute and unfortunately, there were some friends that could not make it but wanted to.  The ones that could go, I can confidently say, had a great time!  I am not really into fishing that much, but I had gone on this half-day fishing tour in the past with Kj and we had a great time.  Here is us from 2007:

Fishing, back in the day

They had a fish pool where whoever caught the biggest fish by weight, won a ticket to return on another tour for free: and guess who won it!  Yup, we did!  I remember eating fish filets the size of nuggets that evening!

Well, not much has changed since 2007 by way of the boat, so I felt very comfortable and was ready to go and catch something!  We did a half-day deep sea fishing tour on The Flying Fish Fleet out of Sarasota's Marina Jack. 

So, there was six of us in my group and although I don't have a pic of all of us, here is Vince, Gen and I:

Ready for some fishing!

So, with the half day, you really only get about an hour and a half of fishing time.  It goes by so fast, when the captain tells you to reel up and secure your pole, everyone goes, "Ohhh, already!?"  I know Gen was a bit skeptical about this fishing tour but she admitted afterwards that she had a good time.

My First Catch

Here is my first catch, I really have no clue what it was.  But they told us that we would catch grunts, red grouper & perch (there are more, but I couldn't remember when I was typing).  Most of the fish were keepers, even though they seemed really small.  Gen was the first to catch a fish and it was a red grouper!  But, it had to be at least 20" long for it to be a keeper and although her's seemed large, it was not 20". 

The spot that we settled in seemed to have a ton of king makcrel swimming around.  One guy caught one with his standard rod, reel & filament line.  So, since he caught that on his own, he basically won the fish pool.  Darn!  So, there were others that also caught this fish (the mate, Tom, used a spear/hook thing to grab it while you are reeling it in.  Otherwise, the king fish has these nasty looking teeth that cut regular filament and hense, gets away). 

Since I was the Birthday Girl, Tom gave me a special rig that had wire rather than filament for fishing line (looked like thick filament, but what do I know about fishing...nothing).  So, he explained that since the king fish were aparently biting, I could try catching one with a more appropriate rig.  Cool!  I got the instruction and about when I thought that it was a no-go, I got a bite!  So, Tom ran over to help me hold the pole while I feverishly tried to reel the thing in.  He had to help hold the pole high so I could go over everyone's head to get to the back so he could spear it. 

My proud catch!

I'll freely admit: catching that was COOL!  I would totally consider doing a longer/specialized tour to catch fun stuff like that in the future. 

So, here is our fish bounty from Saturday:

There were at least 15 fish!

This catch was from Vince, Gen and I put together.  Each person or grouping had their own hook in the ice chest on the boat.  Again, this was a great time and I would and will do this again.  My sister and possibly Kj may visit me this summer, so we very well may be going again in a few months.  They also offer a night tour during the summer, so maybe that could be a possibility. 

The Captain and Mate, Tom, can filet the fish at the dock, if you want.  We had them do that for us, then Vince rinsed them and separated the king filets from the other "nugget" ones when we got home.  Also, Vince kept a few fish whole so he could do whatever Filipino's do with whole fish (fry the whole thing and eat the head and all)!

On Sunday, Vince marinated the king filets in Italian dressing and grilled it, skin down, while the other filets were floured and pan fried.

King Mackrel on the grill
Fried fish filets

In addition to the fish dinner, we had my birthday cake.  Vince got me a carrotcake cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.

My mouth was watering just looking at it!

I had such a great time on the fishing tour with my friends and family and again had a wonderful meal with family.  I am greatful to have all of these people in my life!

Next weekend there will be High Tea served for a continuation of my birthday celebration.  I am very much looking forward to this and will keep you posted on that too!