Moving!

We have decided to move to a condominium in St. Petersburg.  We want to walk to plays, restaurants, museums.  We want to sit on Beach Drive and people watch, attend weekly farmers markets, visit interesting shops and galleries.

We have targeted a certain location.  Sadly, the builder hasn’t even broken ground yet. Pre-selling begins in the fourth quarter of this year.  10% savings for buying early.  Yay that.  Then we will have a wait.  A very LONG wait.  The is builder The Kolter Group–they put up a forty-one story high rise at the corner of First Street and First Avenue.  The name of this beauty is ONE.  There are only a few units available.

That building has been five years in the making.

The one we’re told about will be shorter–twenty-one stories.  In my imagination, that means it will take half the time.  Our realtor Judy is skeptical.  Very skeptical.

None-the-less I am cleaning out!  Packing up junk piled around here and putting it in my Etsy shop.  Five years from now this place will echo.  Everything must GO.

Today’s project–craft supplies (mine) and mini size Toby Jugs (Jim’s).  He collected those funny looking little things for years–back before the internet made them easily available for next to no money.   We kept only two–‘arry and ‘arriette.

I’m too lazy to photograph them individually, so they are going (I hope sooner rather than later) as a “lot.”

Next, I’ll ask Jim to crawl into the attic and fish out all our old Avon Christmas plates and figurines.  But first I need to ask my daughter which she may want.  She has NO storage now, but that might change in the next few years while our new digs are being built.

Here are the beauties that are listed, packed and ready to ship!

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I kept the templates of tiny furniture pieces.  I’ll need them to figure out where to put our sofas, chairs, and tables in our NEW CONDO!

Other things I’ve done–crawled along the kitchen floor and re-stained the quarter round at the base of my cabinets.  Then I went outside and rubbed lemon oil all over the front door.  Yes, I know I’ll have to do those things again several times before we go.  I’m practicing getting ready to show this house!

St. Petersburg, here we come.

(Just don’t hold your breath.)

 

Sewing Lessons

Recently, when my Brother brand sewing machine finked out on me I discovered AA White Sewing Center in Holiday, Florida.

Co-owners Mike and Sherrie, a married couple, have owned the store for two years.  Mike quickly fixed my machine.  In the moments while I waited I struck up a conversation with Sherrie.  I told her what my sewing dilemmas were and learned she teaches classes.  So I set up a private lesson for the next week.

I spend my days’ sewing.  I decided it was high time to sort out how the heck to do it.

WOW!  She taught me how to sew my purse linings in with the machine, how to make a pattern template with thick plastic instead of using graph paper and several other neat little tricks.

Fast forward–I was given another commission.  This one is to turn a vintage beaded blazer, some ecru silk, handcrafted lace and a couple of baubles that look like pasties into an evening bag.

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This project is so far over my pay grade.  I immediately made an appointment for another private lesson.

While Sherrie and I sat quietly ripping out blazer seams I began asking her about life outside of AA White Sewing Center.  I learned she and Mike were Maryland High School sweethearts.  He refused to take Shop with all the other guys and insisted he should be allowed Home Ec.  He was such a rabble-rouser in class the teacher made him clean and oil all the sewing machines as his punishment.

They married shortly after graduation.  I don’t remember how they wended their way to Florida.  What I do know is Sherrie has done six triathlons.  She started running when her mom got sick with multiple myeloma.  Her first race was with Team in Training–a marathon–to fundraise for cancer research  I did that years ago.  So difficult.  I did NOT fall in love with exercise.

Sherrie did.  Last weekend she was in Texas where she swam in a lake for miles.  Then she ran to a changing tent, put on bike gear and rode her bicycle 112 miles.  Following that she changed again and ran a full 26.2-mile marathon!  She came in second place.

I got sweaty just imagining all that exercise.

Today I am actually wrestling myself away from the sewing machine.  Jim, who golfs every Tuesday and Thursday, will be home.  Our rainy season is beginning, no golf for him.  So we have a date!  Lunch, a movie, and a field trip to Whole Foods.  Tomorrow night is our monthly Game Night with our buddies.  They always make fabulous charcuterie platters. I’m planning to up my game.

Fed ex just delivered artwork by my two-year-old grandson, Tate.  An ass. (The artwork, not the grandson.)

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On the back, Mo wrote a sweet note.  She thanked me for not killing her during the two-year-old tantrum stage.  I don’t remember many Mo tantrums.  However, one spectacular moment comes to mind. I failed to call her “Brucie”–a name she adopted when she was three or four.  She also chewed out her pre-school teacher for the same mistake.  She sat on the top of the sliding board, head spinning on her neck Linda Blair style, and howled, “I AM NOT MAUREEN!!  CALL ME BRUCIE!”  The teacher may not have been amused, but I was.

More artwork by cute Tate.

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I’m back!

I’ve been buried in wool, thread, buttons and whimsy.  Just completed four commission pieces.  What fun!

The client, Rosalie.  Her mother worked in the NYC garment district and was a phenomenal seamstress.  Rosalie brought me a silver and black knit suit her mother was working on shortly before her death. Her mom would likely cringe at my stitchery.

I’ve been taking sewing lessons, so my skills have improved…sort of.  The three little purses below include mom’s knit and her jazzy buttons, Grandma’s “funeral sweater”–a black wool sweater she always wore to funerals, and cashmere Rosalie chose from my vast collection of shrunken sweaters.  One bag is for Rosalie, the others for her cousins.

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The bumblebees had to go on the back so as not to compete with the blingie buttons.

The big purse below includes the same stuff as the little ones, but I added shirred seams from the shoulders of the suit jacket.  That is the “wrong” side of the fabric.

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Again, bee needed to be hidden, so it’s on the pocket under the flap.

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The back of the bag gets really wild.  Rosalie gave me a blue cufflink that had been her dad’s.  He sounds like a marvelous dandy.  He put on a smoking jacket each evening after work!

Rosalie wanted me to incorporate some argyle from my collection.   This purse got pretty wild.

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Now, on to clean up my workspace and get back to coloring all the illustrations in Shel Silverstein’s “Falling Up.”  It’s a Christmas gift for grandkids. There are one-hundred-seventy-nine pages.  I’m on number twelve…

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Today as the cobwebs clear

I woke fifteen minutes ago from a horrible dream.  Between crawling from the feathers and shuffling to make coffee, the facts of the dream are nearly gone.

The bits I remember: I was living in a country where I had to make horrible life-threatening choices.  Do I protect the little dark-haired girl with the gold star on her sleeve?  If I do will I die?

What remains in the part of my brain where the dream was only minutes ago is a visceral fear.  A fear of what our country may be becoming.  Somehow, in my sleep, my brain began to chatter about the grim realities here.

I’m astonished by my fear.  As a rule, I’m a smiling (head in the sand) optimist.

School kids are marching out of classes to demand our NRA controlled government make changes in gun laws.

Our leader, the man in the Oval, states, “There were good people on BOTH sides” following a Nazi-led demonstration that ended with horrible violence.

He bullies, name calls, and is ugly and divisive.  He calls on Americans to embrace their amoral ignoble selves.

Change needs to happen, and soon.  Children should feel safe in their classrooms.  Decorum should prevail in the Oval Office.  Kindness matters.

I’ve been pounding the keys creating and deleting sentences for the last five minutes.  The coffee is thank goodness, beginning to kick in.  I’ve got to find the “and that’s good because…” regarding these things.

Okay, Alice.  You can do this.

The part about the students marching out is easy.  And that’s good because this uprising may actually move Americans toward insisting gun laws change.

As for the “and that’s good because” about the tyrant in the Oval?  I’m working on that part.  If any of my gentle readers can help me out I’d appreciate it.  There may be readers who think he’s good for Americans.  If so, please don’t chime in.  Go read some other blog.

Now, more coffee and back to my sewing machine.  My mind seeks tranquility.

 

 

 

What I’ve been up to

You know how it is when you haven’t talked to someone for a long while? There is so much to say it’s impossible to cover all the bases, so you just don’t bother to call?  That’s how this blog is for me.  Too long away from it.

But once again my fan grumbled, so here I is.

Fun stuff: We had a visit from my darling daughter Mo, her handsome husband Stephen and ADORABLE two-year-old Tate.  We went to the Lowry Park zoo with them, and then to Disney World.  Fun to see that place again through the eyes of a child.

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Jim opted out of It’s a Small World.  Smart move.  The song has been stuck in my head for over a week.

They traveled to the East Coast, played golf and went to a Mets game with Stephen’s parents, John and Jane.

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Late in the week, they all came back here.  We enjoyed dinner on the patio and had an interesting time getting to know their friend Matt.  He’s a scout for the Yankees.  Fascinating listening to his experiences.

Did you know a first-year major league ballplayer makes $520,000 a year?  Shoulda’ played baseball.  But no.  Instead, I make purses.

Speaking of purses, I continue to be obsessed.  Every day packages arrive from Ebay–sweaters to shrink and chop.  Neighbors have begun to bring me buttons, brooches, bags of wool.  I opened my Etsy shop yesterday.  beatricebeevintage.  There are presently nine items listed.  I have two more to drop in today.

Then I’m sitting down to start another.  Not much else is getting done around here.  And that’s fine by me.

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Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 12.14.56 PM copy.jpgScreen Shot 2018-03-09 at 2.10.52 PM copy.jpgThis is half of the vintage jewelry I’ve got awaiting new life.  The other side of this bag is equally loaded.

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Since this photo was taken I’ve finished this little number. The black wool was neighbor Rosalies grannies “funeral” sweater.

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Now, back to the sewing machine.  My handy dandy little “Brother” brand.  Jim thought I’d never use it.  Ha!

 

 

 

Elvis. The Beach Boys. Valentines Day. And further adventures with wool.

We spent last week so far out of our comfort zone.  Our zone involves lots of evenings on the sofa watching Lorelai Gilmore and her Stars Hollow escapades.  Will she marry Luke?  Where will Rory end up? (Actually, I know the answers because I looked up a synopsis on Google.  My bad).

But this week we abandoned the Gilmores and–DRUM ROLL PLEASE–went out at night!

We have friends who do cool stuff.  They haul us along.  It’s great.  The first experience was to see an Elvis impersonator.  Brandon Bennett.  He was terrific!  Now that I’m mostly deaf music doesn’t hold too much appeal.  However, if it’s music I recognize from my youth, I can fill in the blanks.  We were by far the youngest in the audience.  Pretty funny.

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Then two nights later we went to see The Beach Boys.  Only two of the original “boys” were in the group.  Mike Love and Al Jardine.  They were joined by John Stamos who was fantastic on drums.  Mike Love must be in his late seventies, but he was up there rocking for over two hours.  Again, the crowd was old. But not as ancient as the Elvis fans.

Valentine’s day began with the hunt for cards.  We hide the cards in plain sight.  Mine were by the sink, on the computer, and next to the coffee pot. In our house, it’s always three cards per person.  Jim goes big and pays full freight at the grocery store.  I shop Dollar Tree.  Bronson even got a card for Jimmy, so Jim got four cards.  Whoo Hooo.

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Then, at about ten a.m. the doorbell rang.  There was neighbor Rusty with a dozen yellow roses for me!

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Cards and roses?  What could make the day better?  Here’s what–Lynda invited us to come for dinner!  She’s a great cook.  Delicious food, excellent company.  We sat on their patio and gabbed long after dinner was done.

We were out after dark on three school nights.  Very adventurous of us.

My days continue to be consumed with sewing.  A few images of the latest creations.

 

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The front 

 

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The back.  Reversible!  Fancy, eh?

 

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Lined with leopard print. Edgy.

 

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The pink waffle weave wool used to be a Nicole Miller coat.  I’m a cannibal.  Shrinking and slicing and dicing.

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This is the project I should be doing.  I’ve been asked to paint six tiles to give as small gifts for the home-owners who are generous enough to open their homes for the annual Anna Maria Island house-walk.  The image I’ve chosen is the City Pier.  It’s a local landmark.  Sadly, the pier got destroyed by Irma.

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I keep procrastinating because I can’t stop sewing.  OCD prevails.

My second little bag is almost done!

I just need to attach a shoulder strap.  Even managed to line this bag with black cotton, which is WAY above my pay grade.  The first lining was far too small, but I figured it out.

 

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Front of purse

 

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The back.  I’ve ordered tags that say “Crafted by Beatrice Bee.”  They will get ironed into each item.

 

 

Yesterday I went to the thrift shop and bought scads of 100% wool coats at half price.  A Nicole Miller pale pink waffle weave.  A gorgeous winter white cashmere.  Black, red, camel hair, bright green.  They have all been boiled and are now drying on chairs by the pool.  Next step to chop them apart.  The black wool one will provide a shoulder strap for this pink, black and yellow bag.  I’ve saved all the linings to use for inside my purses.

I also shrunk the doll hair. Kind of a failure.

 

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Neighbor Lynda saw these and thought they looked like dog doo.  I guess they kinda’ do.

 

The shrunken heads are now pincushions.

 

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Voodoo dolls!

Today I went to Walmart and purchased a couple of sets of plastic drawers for all the wool I’ve collected.  Now, back to the sewing room to complete my third piece.  Also lined!  Under that button is a pocket to fit a cell phone.  Tomorrow, when the black wool is dry, this will get a shoulder strap.

 

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This used to be a man’s vest.

 

 

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The back.

 

 

 

Adventures with wool continue.

Today I’ll be working on my second kooky purse. It is a commission piece. I was asked for black with bright funky colors. Since I have not a clue what I’m doing, I priced it right.

I spent much of yesterday making little roses out of hot pink cashmere sweater seams. Today the process continues. I’ve decided to decorate both front and back. Yay, a “reversible-versatile-pursible.”

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But before I resume, I have a mad scientist experiment in the works. You may remember that last year, for twenty minutes, I decided to reinvent myself as a doll maker? So, I chose to buy art- supplies-I didn’t-need-with-money-I didn’t-have. I hopped online and purchased cool fibers for doll hair. Mohair, Alpaca, Tibetan wool.

 

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This little lady has Tibetan wool tresses.  I named her “Mariposa”.  She was adopted out. Now she spends her days sitting in a hair salon, watching women pay big bucks for locks her color.

 

However, since I have the attention span of a fruit fly, I moved on. I exiled the fibers to a box in the corner of my shoe closet. For months they lived there next to a small styrofoam bowl containing three incomplete scary shrunken doll heads.

 

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The blue-eyed head used be atop Mariposa’s neck.  But it was so tiny she looked like a pitiful Zika baby.  I decapitated her and started over.

 

This morning I fished out the hair wool, stuffed it into knee-high pantyhose and tossed it into the washer on “steam cycle” along with the brown wool sweater I scored yesterday.

Prior to Super Bowl Jim tried on that rarely used pullover. It’s a Nordstrom purchase from his days as a regular customer there. Back then, each time Jim walked into the men’s department, Louis Salesguy vaulted across the service counter to wait on him. Jim loved him some Nordstrom’s. Louis loved him some Jim.

Sadly for Jim, the sweater was too small. When he stepped into the kitchen and saw the gleam in my eye, he knew that pullover was going to be way tinier before the week was over.

“Into the washer with you,” I howled!

I also tossed in two random wool squares I worked on during Super Bowl. While (sort of) watching the game, Erika, Lynda’s darling German mom, taught me a new more efficient way to knit. Last night when I woke at 3 a.m. I practiced until finally, happily, sleep overcame me.

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Ah! The steam cycle just ended. Time to shove the wool research experiment into the dryer. Then off to play in my “studio,” aka mixed-use-messy-guestroom.

For your viewing pleasure here are a few more shrunken heads.  I didn’t craft these.

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Another day, another strange purse.

The second purse completed!

I’ve been sending “What do I do now?” thoughts into the Universe, and as always the Universe delivered!  I have been invited to show/sell my funky little handbags at the Anna Maria Island Community Center during their annual Housewalk.  So between now and March of 2019 I’ll be chopping up shrunken woolies and combining them with all the random junk I’ve collected over the years.

This little purse is a combination of a navy Nordstrom wool sweater Jim donated to my cause. The blue denim bits are pieces of a scarf I began fourteen years ago for my son. But I screwed up the casting off part (my knitting skills leave something to be desired). It’s been living in a plastic baggie all this time.

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The yellow parts came from a thrift store cashmere sweater. $2.99 and dammit I’m worth it.  It used to be an extra large; now it would fit an American Girl doll. Beads are part of my stash from when I decided to make jewelry. Buttons are my passion. These three lived with the navy blues in my button drawers.

All my items get a bumblebee, as I stated before. Next, I plan to purchase tags the say handcrafted by Alice Jay Tate. I’m off and running, again! New year, new Alice.

Money from this little venture is ear-marked: twenty-five percent to a cause near and dear to my heart, twenty-five percent for my grandson’s college fund, and the rest for greedy Alice. Yay! I’ll probably spend it on more thrift store junk to shrinky dink.

I learned that every other Wednesday the Dunedin Main Street Thrift store sells all clothing half price.  You know where I’ll be twice a month.

 

What’s on my drawing board

New Year, new creative passion. I am having a blast buying wool sweaters, skirts, and coats then tossing them into a hot washer and dryer and turning them into wee-teeny shrunken doll size clothing.

I plan to chop them apart and turn them into wacky purses. This is a great thing because I can incorporate the mountains of other art supplies I’ve accumulated over the years. I have jars of beads, piles of fabric, an ocean of buttons, and an extremely patient husband who supports whatever wild imaginative flight of fancy that strikes my interest.

Yesterdays finds–

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The first weird purse includes a vintage handkerchief that was part of my former Etsy inventory, a wool scarf I began years ago for my son but screwed up casting off, random blue beads dug outta’ my bead hoard, a navy wool sweater Jim donated to the cause, and a silver bumblebee charm because all my artwork gets a bumblebee.

 

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You can kinda’ sorta’ see the bee on the upper right near the strap.

 

Why the bee? Because I once read scientists cannot explain how a fat fuzzy bumblebee can keep itself aloft with such small wings. It’s impossible. Every time I complete a creative venture I feel as if I’ve overcome my own impossible odds.

Now, on to iron my miniature cashmere sweaters, hack them apart and begin making more whimsical handbags.

And I have to give this house a lick and promise in preparation for book club tonight.  We are discussing Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers. Good read. I have to skim it again today. I’ve read several other books since then. My gray matter can only retain teaspoons of information these days. The joys of getting old.

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Elderly is good because people expect weird and sketchy from the aged.  I’ve got heaps of weird and sketchy.

Somewhat related blog posts:

Knit Wit

I’m Back!

Wonderful to be Weird

The War of Art