The Most Novel Thing

This... isn't me. But feel free to imagine me looking off into the ocean, contemplating the joy of finished craft projects.
This… isn’t me. But feel free to imagine me looking off into the ocean, contemplating the joy of finished craft projects.

The most novel thing is a completely finished creative project, one that doesn’t need to be tweaked, polished, repaired, redesigned, altered, decorated, the rest of the series finished or have the arms finally attached.

And I have one.

Right now.


A finished creative project.

[cue the teen fangirl squee]

The Project

This project was The Perfect Purse. The requirements were simple. First, it had to be hand-held. This is really what got me into this mess of not having a perfect purse to begin with. When Craig the Acupuncturist pointed out that hoisting bags on my shoulders wasn’t helping with the Keep Sare Migraine Free Campaign, I put a screeching halt to the use of all my over-the-shoulder bags which included every single one of my purses. Happily, the regularity of my migraines disappeared! But so also did the organization of all the stuff I find useful to have with me, as I just slung it all into a tote bag. Not ideal.

The second requirement got chucked rather quickly. It had been the idea of an ideal interior with exchangeable exteriors. But three exteriors in I found one I really liked and when I was on the second design of the interior, I just sewed it directly to the exterior and really, I’m as happy as a clam.

The third requirement was size – I didn’t want a fancy tote bag, and in fact I didn’t even want something that I could fit my laptop into. Kindle, yes. Laptop, no. (The laptop bag is next, but I need to figure out what I really want out of a laptop bag, first. Also, what medium I plan to make it out of. And I also need to admit that this is just an interim laptop bag until I actually have enough discretionary income to buy the one I really want.)

What didn’t work.

I'm so not showing you pictures of what didn't work. Here, have a cat and some books, instead.
I’m so not showing you pictures of what didn’t work. Here, have a cat and some books, instead.

Well, the first interior, for one. It was most important to me that it have one main pocket big enough for my kindle plus other things, and lots of small interior side pockets to organize and contain all of the small things I carry. So, the configuration of the first interior wasn’t quite right and I realized only through trial and error just what size and shape of pockets I’d really prefer. I had some extra black raw silk lying about and so made the interior out of that – it was deliciously strong as interiors go, which was lovely. However, it was also black, so I couldn’t find anything. And the kicker for redesigning it was that when I finally created the exterior I loved… I’d created the exterior slightly too large for the interior. So, a redesign was in order.

Exteriors – number one was made out of all the scraps of leather I had. It was… interesting. But I’m not sure I’d want to carry it around. Number two was made out of scraps of a purple yoga mat that I had. (No, I didn’t cut up a  yoga mat expressly for this purpose, but a friend did for a halloween costume a few years back, and I grabbed some of the left over bits at the time.) But really, it looked better in my head than in reality, so I wasn’t really wild about carrying that around, either. Exterior number three, however, I adore.

What did work.

In reality, it's more green than yellow, as it seems to be in this picture... But the blue has all of those lovely dragonflies on it! Woot!
In reality, it’s more green than yellow, as it seems to be in this picture… But the blue has all of those lovely dragonflies on it! Woot!

The final interior was made out of scraps of happy-go-lucky quilting cotton in two of my favorite colors – the happiest blue I could find and likewise, the happiest green. It’s half and half with pockets of opposing colors. It’s bright enough that I can find everything I need in there, the pockets are all of the right shape (except one that could be slightly deeper, but it’s livable and I’m calling it done),  my business cards no longer fall out and I can always find my keys, which won’t scratch my phone.

Wooden handles and magnetic closure, care of JoAnn Fabrics.
Wooden handles and magnetic closure, care of JoAnn Fabrics.

The final exterior was made by crocheting hemp string, which gives it a straw bag look without having to know how to make a straw bag. I now have a very strong right forearm, by the way, and some stunning callouses in very odd places on my fingers. Sherlock Holmes would know without seeing the purse that I am a hardcore crafter. Or at least that I had a very challenging project.

The wooden handles, magnetic closure and dangling button/beads were obtained at JoAnn Fabrics. I’m wonderfully happy to have found some decorative teeth to go with the theme and the magnetic closure works well enough. The stain on the handles isn’t holding up very well, however, and is flaking and scratching off in places. Which means that very soon, my perfectly finished crafty project may need maintenance, which sort of annoys me on principle. I could do some scratch and dent rustification on the purse, but to tell you the truth, that was not the look I was hoping for. I could sand them down and refinish them, but the point of buying handles instead of making them myself was precisely to avoid this annoying step.

If you look closely, you can see the cobra's tongue in the bottom right corner. :)
If you look closely, you can see the cobra’s tongue in the bottom right corner. :)

The decoration on the final exterior was made by giant embroidery needle and colored raffia, along with some appropriately themed buttons, primarily done on the over-the-top flap that contains the magnetic closure for the purse. And you ask yourself, what in hell is that supposed to be? Well, the muzzle of a honey badger, of course. Eating a cobra. What else?

I considered making it the snout of a crocodile – I have Crocodile!Edward perpetually om-noming Bella The Little Pink Pig Eraser on my desk at work (perhaps another blog post for another time), but decided in the end that the Honey Badger is my Patronus. And now, also the decoration on my purse.


    • The teeth are so full of win I can’t even say. I think they really make it work, much like the circle and sabres in another finished craft project that I didn’t blog about, my Sabres hat and fingerless mittens.

      The project used the vintage versions of the team’s colors (gold and a faded, soft blue instead of the royal blue), and to the truly fabulous and absolutely warm hat involved, I created a knitted ‘patch’, and graphed out what the leaping buffalo essentially looked like, and knitted it into the patch as I went. No problem. Only the naysayers around me seriously rained on my parade because it did kind of look like a white blob. So, okay, I’ll grant them that. But weirdly and wonderfully, the logo emerged beautifully when I added with embroidery the crossed sabres that the buffalo leaps over and the circle that encompasses them all. Suddenly, it was a totally awesome, home-built, non-licensed fan gear that gets me compliments all round Buffalo, all winter long. That is, when Michael isn’t wearing it.

      I really need to finish his hat so he will stop wearing mine.

  1. Thanks. I rarely think to post my creative projects here (and here is the only place they’d be – I like too many different media to attempt active participation on a medium-centric forum), but I’m considering doing it more often, and perhaps pulling up a few previously finished projects. I made the most adorable armored polar bear a while ago for a friend.

    And thanks for the nom. :) Om, nom, nom….

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