Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fate or The Angel vs. the Hound of Hades

I call this special creature "Angel of Heaven" but her earthly name is Penelope. She tells me that she is very delicate and upsets easily.
This strong looking fellow name is George Bernard Shaw or as the SPCA called him "Bruiser". I immediately changed it to a respectable name, one I would not be embarrassed in public to announce. Later, like one day after he came home with me,I found out that is a sweet darling of a dog. His main, major problem is that he likes to be with me. I say "problem" because he is always looking for me. When he knows where I am, he will relax and go to sleep.
My dogs are outside dogs and my cats are inside cats. Never the twain should meet!
However, sometimes, me as Fate intervenes. As this morning, ahem!!!
I walk my dogs because it is fun to go out with them and they love it. I cannot walk both because then I am outweighed almost double. They are big dogs and if they both decide to take the lead and I am holding the leash, I would have to go with them. If I walk one at a time, then it is fine, I am in control.
This morning my house door did not close all the way and I did not check it. I feel very bad about that and I promise to try harder.
When I was walking Frida, Mr Shaw pushed the door open and began to look for me. I was not there but the cats were. Oh, woe is me. Poor Angel of Heaven is terrified of dogs and she immediately disappears and so does Chester. I get back and realize my very big mistake. I get Shaw out of the house and start to look for the cats. Chester comes out right away but it took a lot of pleading and apologizing on my part for Penelope to appear. She was so upset that she wouldn't eat. I promised her Fancy Feast and that I would never, never let that happen again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If I Were "Little" Now

If I were little now I would want to be just like this little girl. But fate being what it is, I would still end up being in awe of Jessica. She is the cutest doll of a child!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Clutch Bag How-To

Here is my latest clutch bag. And my first tutorial. This clutch is made with green Mohair and some small cotton and lace flowers. I used a purse frame that measure 8 1/2" long with 2 1/2" legs. You may be able to find a frame at a craft store or on the internet. The formula for the pattern is to make it 1/2 again as long, so that would be 14" long. This frame required a piece of fabric measuring 14" (this includes the 1/2" seam). If the legs are longer, then you must add the difference. Measure the inside leg, across the top, and down the other leg to get the total width necessary for the fabric..

Before I cut the fabric, I made a pattern. I chose to round off the corners for this purse because I thought it looked more graceful.

I chose this fabric because I enjoy the color and the complimentary satin lining.

I laid the pattern out and when I cut the lining, I cut the lining 1/4" smaller. I always use an interfacing to give the purse a little more body. I used white felt here.

I pinned both fabric and interfacing together and carefully sewed, leaving about 1 1/2" from the top. Then I basted the top.
All of the above was the simple part. Now here comes the part that no one would talk to me about unless I bought a purse kit. So after trial and error, I came up with the following procedure;
The purse frame alone will not hold your fabric securely enough. You will need two pieces of wire (approx. 20 gauge) the total inside length of your frame. In my case that totaled 14" each. (That includes the length, 8 1/2" and the two 2 1/2" legs.)

To bend the wire, I cut a piece of board the inside length of the frame to use as a bending guide. I carefully bent the wire over the piece of wood and hammered the corners gently. This can all be done without the wood, but care must be taken with the bending. Do a very precise rounded bend so the wire (with the fabric attached, see step #) goes up into the corners and it fits acurately.

Note: If you are hand bending, check each corner so that the fit snugly. If they aren't the right bend or length, the fabric of your purse may pull out or be seen in your final product.
What I found useful is to put the wire inside of the channel to see if it fit well. Then
sew the purse fabric and the lining to the piece of wire. The type of wire I used has the strength of very light wire hanger. You will sew the whole top piece to the wire. Sew around the corners. It will all become apparent why you have the bend. Look at the photo at the top and you can see that there is a graceful poof at the corner.
Now, you have about 1 1/4" of unsewn fabric. Turn it inside and carefully sew. These are the corners of the bag.

I purchased these bottles for the Contact glue that is now used on the wire and the inside of the purse frame. This has to be done very carefully. The reason you put it on both sides is that when the two pieces are put together it becomes joined. With the fabric on a piece of wire, it becomes manageable.
When you put the pieces together you must push the sewed wire in to the frame with a small blade screwdriver and then carefully crimp the corners, at the end of the frame and right next to the latch.
There are crimping tools that can be purchased on the internet but what I found worked better than the crimping tool was a Vise-Grip. Do not purchase a straight mouth but one that looks open in the middle. Then put a piece of cork on each side of the jaw to protect the finish on the frame..
Adjust the Vise-Grip so that it will hardly depress the frame.

At this point you can finish the purse by decorating the bag. You can put buttons, a small brooch that you like to look at, or small flowers. I chose the flowers.

Note: Hot glue can replace the contact cement. If I didn't cover your questions, put a question on the comments.( feel free to leave one under comments and I will answer it.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Grounds

This purse is one of those ideas that seem simple enough but when I got to the execution of it, it was anything but rapid.
First, I had to cut all the pieces the exact width and then sew them together and finally make bias tape of this very long length of fabric. Now, I wish that I had measured it because it would be fun to know how long. I did make it harder on myself because of the spiral. But the idea was most pleasing to me.
Somehow, I get myself into these hard ideas where each step takes a deep breath and a rethinking of my path. That is why it took so long. I would gt to a certain point and then have to walk the dogs so I could clear my head to see how to proceed.
The purse is completely silk. How I love to work with silk. The lining is silk as well. I was ale to use silk because my darling niece gave me this stack of samples that her friend had given her. Lucky me. I reveled in the silk and actually wanted to horde it. How rich am I - oh, I have oodles of sample silk! Now the oodles is down to a respectable level.

This lovely carving is an antique piece of White Jadeite. The gentleman that sold it to me said that it was a dragon "very good luck".
The bamboo handle was purchased on Etsy with a bundle of bamboo handles. Out of eight pieces, this was the best. The best construction and the best color. Oh well, Goodwill will get the others.
Below, you can see this Pumpkin Spice silk lining. The color is so perfect that I think I can smell the pie in the oven.
Happy Thanksgiving for getting to the completion of this purse.

The measurements are 9" x 9" x 5". It is not a small purse and that is why it took so long. I think that if I make another with the same idea, it will be smaller.

Who Eats Broccoli?

Mr Chester says broccoli is a mighty fine food.
I had cooked too much broccoli one night and I left some in the steamer. Chester, as is his wont, jumped upon the counter and checked out the pan. He took a small piece and jumped down to his eating place. As I watched, he ate that small piece of broccoli.
About a week later, I cooked more broccoli. I figured that if I had made to much, then the next night it will go into a salad. Then I looked at the pan and said to myself "this is going to be a test".
I put a small piece into his bowl. He ate it and then I gave him another and he ate that!!!
All that I can glean from this experience is that he is a most unusual cat and he is a treasure!

Friday, May 7, 2010


I have just realized that the real way to become younger is to work at what you love. I find that when I am working, I forget how old I am and just become the "real" me. I am without age and I could be as old as the history of artistry or just a new born babe.
Then, I will have to use the bathroom and by chance I will glimpse my face in the mirror. It is a shock to see the gray hair and the wrinkles. It is hard to align the two experiences. When I am working I am "ageless" but according to my driver's license I am a Medicare recipient.
The thing I learned from this experience is to work. Then I will not feel "old" and I will be productive and have fun the same time.
Well, back to my rejuvenation!