Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bag Lady

Just call me the Bag Lady.  I have become fascinated with sewing various shapes and forms of bags, totes and purses.  It started with the Sonoma Swing Bag and Drawstring Lunch Bags I wrote about last month.  

Then I moved on to the Hexi Tote from Sleepy Owl Studio.  I love this finished bag - so many different fabrics, so many pockets!  If I make another one, I will make two slight changes.  One, I will make the bottom circular instead of hexagonal.  I know, it ruins the name, but it would be much simpler and the hexi adds nothing as far as looks or convenience.  Secondly, I would research the grommets a little better - or at all.  I didn't know you had to have special grommet-installing tools - and, in my own defense, it wasn't mentioned on the grommet package, as would seem logical.  Dave came up with some creative substitutes and we got them put in - but they aren't as neat as they should/could be.

Similar to the Hexi bag is the Bucket Bag from Elvie Studio.   This version has stiff sides so it stands up on it's own.  The person who pinned it on Pinterest commented that it would make a great "gift basket", and I agree. Fill it with some favorite bath products; a paperback book, tea cup and tea bags; or sewing supplies - add a little tissue and you have a beautiful gift.  Both the hexi bag and the bucket bag are great ways to show off a border print.

Amanda requested a bag to transport her yoga mat to class, so I tried the Nigella Yoga Bag from Amy Butler Design.  It's a simple, lined tube with wide strap for comfort on the shoulder, and an outside pocket for keys, phone, etc.

The fabric doesn't show well in the picture, but I want you to see my great find - purple (Amanda's favorite color) batik with elephants (her favorite design).

Amanda also requested a bag for carrying clothes, shoes and shower supplies, since she often goes to class after work.  She selected the Updated Classic Duffle.  I forgot to get a picture of her finished bag, but the pattern features a wonderful simplified method for installing a zipper in a lined bag.  You can see the original at All Things That Are Good.

I have an entire Pinterest board of bag patterns I still want to try, so stay tuned.  Yesterday I visited an upholstery store to see about recovering a couple chairs and, lo and behold, there's a fabric store in the same building.  Who would have guessed?  Of course a few fabrics followed me home, so I imagine you'll see these in upcoming projects: 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Best Laid Plans . . .

It's been a month since I "retired" and wrote about the free time I now have to craft and read and pursue other leisure activities.  Sometimes things don't go according to plan. The month has been hectic and enjoyable, but there hasn't been as much time for leisure activities - including blogging - as I pictured.

Feeding a crew of 7 or 8 construction workers takes more time than I imagined.  I take meals to the job site three or four days/week, depending on where they are working.  I have an organized system for menu planning and shopping, and I try to spend one day preparing as many items as can be made in advance and frozen.  The available options then go up on the menu board in the kitchen so I can easily see what's in the freezer and what I need to prepare last minute.  

The hitch to this plan is that things change rapidly in the construction business, depending on weather.  I rarely know more than a day in advance where, or if, I will be delivering, so I have to adapt quickly.  The plan is to take the portable grill and serve burgers and brats, but the wind is blowing and I would be serving grit-burgers.  It's raining at the planned job site, so we're moving to site B which requires more driving time.  No time to make a salad that requires a lot of peeling and chopping.  I need a quick dump-together option.  

Then there is loading and clean-up!  I keep a folding table, a small trash can/liners, and totes containing the necessities (hand soap, paper plates,etc.) in the back of my SUV.  But each day, I load food, a pitcher of lemonade, serving utensils, and condiments.  And what gets loaded has to be unloaded, leftovers stored and everything washed. Thank heaven for the dishwasher or I would be out of this business.  Even with automated help, there are still pots, pans and large serving pieces that have to be done by hand.  I try to limit how much disposable stuff we are using and throwing away every day, but I gave in and went to disposable pans for main dishes and desserts. 

With the drive time and serving time, it takes a large chunk of my day, but the guys are so appreciative, that it's worth it.  After several days on a distant site where they ate fast-food burgers every day, two employees requested, "Let's move to a project closer to home where Tami will feed us."  No matter what I offer, it is always received with enthusiasm and gratitude.

Maybe I can blog from the job site.