Archive for October, 2007

Consider this my ribbon cutting ceremony

After a lot of hard work, I can proudly say that Fat Orange Cat: The Boutique is now officially open! Please visit and let me know what you think.

I’m going to have a glass of wine now. Or three.


October 31, 2007 at 10:00 pm 5 comments

Circles and pumpkins

My parents visited last weekend, and we had a lovely time. We spent Saturday in Clearwater and St. Petersburg. Sunday, we had a delicious brunch at a cafe in Hyde Park called Circles. The restaurant is in an old house with hardwood floors and lots of windows. It’s bright and eclectic and cozy, and the food was amazing.

After brunch, we did some window shopping in Old Hyde Park Village, which boasts one of my favorite and most inspirational stores in the entire universe — Anthropologie.

Pumpkins were on display and for sale in the village square, and all the stores were decorated for autumn and Halloween. I love, love, LOVE this time of year.

After my parents left, I talked Alex into taking on the role of photographer for The Boutique so that I could “model” my bags. I think it’s important to show them in relation to the human body.

The above bag is deceivingly small, and I don’t think giving its dimensions is enough. Personally, when I’m buying something online, I want to know as much about it as possible, including how it will look on me, rather than just sitting on a table or hanging from a hook.

How long is the strap? Where will it fall on my arm or my hip?

Sunday evening, I started making an apron that I ended up being very unhappy with. Sometimes I’m too close to a project to be unbiased about it. But I showed it to Alex, and he agreed that it wasn’t my best work. So I put it to the side and made a new one tonight (and started a second) that I’m very happy with. I’ll post some photos tomorrow, when the lighting is better.

Things are on track. Fat Orange Cat: The Boutique will be open November 1!

October 29, 2007 at 9:41 pm 1 comment

Another day sneaks away

I promise, promise, promise that The Boutique will be open by November 1. I have a few more things that I want to finish making before I go live with it. I also have to write descriptions for all my items and figure out pricing and shipping. I started to think about all the little details and got a bit overwhelmed and panicky. So I made a “to do” list (which always calms me), and I realized I have everything under control.

Then I remembered the three special (non-Etsy) orders I have pending, not to mention all the Christmas presents I want to make, and I started getting overwhelmed and panicky again. Oy. Calm down. You can do this.

I’m convinced Nola thinks she’s helping me by positioning her chubby little self smack dab in the middle of my work table. That’s what I get for putting it in front of the window, I suppose. 


My parents are in town visiting my sister and me this weekend, so another potential sewing day floated away today. Don’t get me wrong — I adore my family and love spending time with them. My point is that it’s difficult to open The Boutique because life keeps getting in the way. Hence the panicking.

They’re heading home tomorrow after brunch, so I’ll have all afternoon to sew.

I made a new bag for The Boutique. This is the third bag in this style — which I’m calling the Luna Satchel — that I’ve made, and I love it so much that I want to make one for myself.

I almost kept this one but have decided to make another one after November 1 as a gift to myself for actually opening the damn shop!

It’s lined in a beautiful Asian fabric. I’ve fallen in love with this color combination.

October 27, 2007 at 9:31 pm 2 comments

Apron or art

Last Christmas, I made aprons for two of my best friends. M wears hers all the time, but the one I made for C hangs from a hook in her kitchen.

I was very particular about picking fabrics for her apron. Her kitchen is decorated in black and red, and she and her husband adorn their Christmas tree each year with red heart ornaments.

I made the apron out of cotton fabric, and it’s durable and machine-washable, so I was really hoping she would use it. But she says she’s afraid that she’ll get it dirty or ruin it.

I would love if she decided to use it, but to be honest, I’m rather honored that she’s chosen to display it like a piece of art instead. It’s interesting how differently people treat handmade items.

She also has a fragile, worn, very old quilt that her grandmother made. It’s so thin and delicate that it seems like it could crumble, but it’s actually held up quite well over the years.

Say hi to Arnie! (Was I supposed to let the dog on the delicate antique quilt? Could you say no to that face?)

October 26, 2007 at 1:04 pm 2 comments

She’s no Nancy

These little guys caused me a lot of pain this weekend. Who knew crafting could be so dangerous?

I sliced my thumb open on a piece of sharp plastic while trying to shove a new spool of thread onto the spoke in my thread organizer. I jammed my seam ripper into my pointer finger. And, worst of all, I sewed these bags, hunched over my sewing machine for hours, when I should have been nursing my bad back. And the next day, I paid for it. I. Was. In. Pain. I spent Sunday cringing every time I moved.

Before moving to Tampa in January, I had regular appointments with Nancy, the world’s best massage therapist. I get horrible knots in my upper back, and visiting Nancy every six to eight weeks kept them at bay and severely decreased my back pain.

Nancy’s pressure was perfect. She knew where all my problem areas were. She talked just enough to make me feel comfortable while still allowing me to completely relax. I trusted her 100 percent. She has spoiled me for all other massage therapists.

Since moving to Tampa, I haven’t bothered finding a new massage therapist because I know nobody will compare to Nancy. But after spending three days barely able to turn my head, I made an appointment for earlier this evening with someone a friend recommended.

She did a really good job, and I actually do feel better. But the whole time, I kept thinking, “That’s not how Nancy does that,” and “Nancy usually dims the lights more than this,” and “She’s good, but she’s no Nancy.” 

I’ll make an appointment with Nancy next month, when I’m in town visiting my parents for Thanksgiving. I’ll have to tell her that I saw someone else, but I’ll also tell her “She wasn’t you.” She’ll understand.

These bags will be for sale in The Boutique very soon. Both bags are made of sturdy corduroy and lined in a contrasting cotton fabric. Each is about 14″ wide at its widest point.

A third bag is halfway done and will be completed when my back is feeling better. (Yes, I learned my lesson.)

October 22, 2007 at 7:30 pm 2 comments

Another day, another apron

I finished another reversible apron for The Boutique.

I was planning on making at least one more apron and a couple of bags this weekend, but I awoke this morning with a kink in my upper back that makes leaning over a sewing machine difficult.

I wish I could spend more time on The Boutique, but life gets in the way. I’m going to see if my muscles loosen up throughout the day, because I really, really want to work. Ah, life.

I love these fabrics together. I chose the green and cream fabric because it picks up the green of the leaves on the blue fabric. And those red polka dots go with just about everything.

October 20, 2007 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Mama don’t take my corduroy away

There have been hints of autumn here in the mornings.

There’s the slightest chill in the air that I get to experience for the three seconds it takes me to get from my front door to my car. It’s usually gone by 10 a.m., leaving us to deal with another hot, humid Tampa day, but it’s wonderful while it lasts.

I can’t remember the last time I wore a cozy sweater or a knit cap. I think one of the reasons I’ve been working with corduroy is because it reminds me of fabrics I would wear this time of year when I lived up north.

It reminds me of back-to-school shopping and electric blankets and turtlenecks and hot chocolate.

The above Toby Tote is made of ivory corduroy and lined in one of my favorite Alexander Henry fabrics. The handles are a contrasting pale aqua blue. The bag is smaller than the photos make it seem, so don’t be fooled! It measures approximately 8″ across, 7″ tall and 4″ wide and will be for sale very soon along with this Fiona Bag.

Made of black corduroy and lined in deep teal, this messenger bag is approximately 8″ wide, 11″ tall and 4″ deep with a lined flap.

The strap is 2″ thick by 47″ long and lined in the same black-and-white fabric found on the front of the flap.

Working with this fabric also reminds me of college, when I used to buy corduroy pants from the Salvation Army. I’d cut them into small squares to make patchy purses, and I’d cut out the pants’ back pockets and sew them into the liner of the bags. You know, back in the days when ironing, measuring and pinning was a “waste of time.”

October 17, 2007 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

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