Handbag Workshop by Anna M. Mazur – A Book Review

Handbag Workshop

Design and Sew the Perfect Bag
by Anna M. Mazur
Release Date: October 14, 2014

This book instructs the reader on several very varied and pretty purse styles. I learned a lot from the first time I got this book and merely flipped through it. When it comes to sewing, one of my main interest is purses and organizers. This book covers some very fashionable styles that when made with quality materials, look very stylish and fashionable.
Each style is pictured, with step by step instructions on how to construct the purse and get that look. Along the way, instructions on hardware, preparing and applying trim, grommets, snaps, zippers, and anything else that one might need to know in order to make a beautiful, stylish purse.

I don’t recall ever learning so much from a sewing book. The instructions are clear, simple, and easy to understand. I highly recommend this one, not only for those of us interested in making purses and organizers, but also for anyone looking to work with leather- a lot of these skills will translate to leather work and trim skills for costuming and Cos-play.

5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was provided an unfinished electronic galley copy for purposes of review via the publisher. This post does contain an affiliate link, however, Amazon has helped me arrange my account so that my payout can never be reached. I like the affiliate tools for the convenience only, it is never my intention to profit from my reviews of any item.

Creativity and Messiness – On Visiting a Messy, Artistic Household

I would consider everyone in my family to be extremely creative, and we have creative friends that are also artists.  In my family, we all paint, build, write, draw, sew,  ect.  Sometimes we work as a family on projects.

We really NEED a workshop, but haven’t been able to afford that luxury up to this point. We do have one room that is dedicated to sewing. It’s a total mess.

A lot of art projects happen at the kitchen table. Every couple of weeks I clean it off. It will have piles 2 feet high of ‘stuff’ on it. No one likes for it to be touched if there is an active project going on.

It makes me think about messiness and creativity. You see, I don’t know a single creative, artistic person that is not messy, or that minds a mess. I’m sure they do exist, but I don’t know any personally. I noticed this in college too – the art room would be a total mess, and when my family discusses it, all our art teachers’ offices looked like they’d been hit with bombs.

We all agree that we never mind a mess. That in fact, we THRIVE in messiness. Not nastiness, mind you – we don’t like filth, though perhaps stand even that better than some.

Why does our society favor neat, tidy homes, with little clutter? I will admit, they do look nice. But I wonder what they produce. We value our productiveness. How much learning, experimentation, and art really go on in a neat, tidy house?

I wouldn’t know, because I never had one. At one time I hired a team of housekeepers, but we found ourselves feeling like foreigners in our own home, and we were leaving instructions to leave our messes in project areas alone. Every week we gave instructions for more and more areas to be left alone. We soon figured this was not working for us.

There’s actually been several studies that consistently confirm that messy environments foster creativity.

What does this mean? Well, perhaps if you have a very artistic child, it might be worth keeping in mind these tendencies. I know that I CRINGE when I see “CLEAN HOUSE” (the TV show) come in and organize some artists’ materials. Other than that, I love the show, but when I see a messy art room all neat and organized, I think “Why would you DO that to an artist?” To me it’s like cutting the wings off a butterfly. Perhaps you should explore the possibility of ‘clean zones’ and ‘messy zones.’

For instance, my husband’s friend wins awards left and right for sculpture. His wife has thrown him out of the house more or less. He has a workshop, where he tends to stay, working or not. When you visit, he has to clean you off a chair, and you step over things to get to it. It’s not hoarding. If you look closely, you realize the open books on the floor are turned to pages he’s referencing, there are project bases drying or ready for build, a radio he’s been listening to, boxes of paints, or even cleaning supplies that are causing the mess. There are empty shelves all around, but he prefers stuff on the floor and table so he can see them and get to them.

I enjoy being able to go into his workshop- when he complains about the mess, I ask to see his latest projects. I know what wonderful little works of cuteness come out of it. I feel honored –  to see his abode is to see into a very busy, inspired mind.

That’s the way I’d prefer to be treated. When visitors focus on what we’ve been doing, instead of not doing (cleaning) it helps put me at ease, and gives me a chance to shift my mindset from ‘worried about the mess because visitors are here’ to pride and joy in the visit. We’ve designed and built some beautiful large homes. Our home is adorned with original paintings and photographs. We’ve got paper sculptures, costumes, handmade clothes, and little fairy houses being painted and built. The books you see out probably have not been released yet; perhaps pick one up and ask about it.

I would SO rather visitors focus on what we’re making than the big pile of mess.  And please, whatever you do, don’t touch the oil painting on the table. It’s probably wet.


Chip Gilleland “Starry Night Dragon”

Chip Gilleland - Ice Wolves (Shown unfinished)

Chip Gilleland – Ice Wolves (Shown unfinished)


Sage Gilleland – The Gunner (CosPlay, handmade costume)

Connected- by Kristi A. Gilleland

Connected- by Kristi A. Gilleland

Hot In-store Coupon for CVS – $3 off $15


Print a $3 off $15 coupon for CVS. Doesn’t expire until 6-30-2014!

I love shopping at CVS. I buy all kinds of stuff there! I roll over my Extrabucks. I’ve got 10 now, so this will go with that nicely!

Using coupons and rolling over any Extrabucks you earn are great tricks to use when shopping at CVS.

Freebies Round-up & Fun stuff

Chick's Candy Store, Pitt Street, New York by Walter Rosemblum 1938

A 1938 Photo by Walter Rosenblum “Chick’s Candy Store.” It was taken on Pitt St., In NYC, NY.

Free Nivea lotion samples

Recipe! Homemade Taco Seasoning

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Suave Natural Infusions Sample (I like the way this smells – it’s the best Suave yet, in my opinion.)

Free 1 year Martha Stewart Living Magazine Subscription

Free 26 weeks Wall Street Journal (Free coupons on Saturday)

Free 1 year Golf Digest

Various Turkey Hill Coupons – Tea & Ice Cream

Proctor and Gamble Sample Box – sign up for several free samples once per quarter

Free Neti pot

Enter to Win a Diamond Candles $100 Giveway

Free Beginner’s Photoshop Class from Adobe

From HGTV, a new Youtube Channel, Homemade All sorts of misc. content for DYI.

How to be Irresistible (Agent Provocateur) – A Book Review

How to be Irresistible (Agent Provocateur)
the art of seduction
-by Dorcas Pelling

When I first got this book, I took it seriously. I was going to learn the art of seduction.  Maybe, somehow, in my nearly 50 years, I’d missed something vital. Maybe, just maybe, I could find some little bit of whammy to throw at my husband to get him acting all nervous and giddy again.

I started reading the book. My inner dialogue went like this:
“Ok…..ok….hmmmm…..ok….ok…..hmmm…..DO WHAT?….WHAT THE &*#@*!”

From the everyday, oh, ho-hum, to the dangerous advice like ‘Don’t just give him your number – Write your number on your thong and slip it in his pocket.’ (paraphrased)

Only then did I realize that this book is just plain funny . I laughed the rest of the way though it.  Then after I’ve finished it, I reflect- with a bit of insecurity- that maybe the joke is on me – I hope it’s a comedy. Surely it’s a comedy.  Yes, it must be.  I hope.

Well, in any event, my thong wearing days are over. My husband is more likely to respond to tonight’s menu than my phone number, which is also his for many years now. Still, I somehow don’t think writing tonight’s dinner menu on my granny panties will get any sort of reaction that I might find complimentary.

I do think this book might be a wonderful present for someone recently divorced or thrown back into the dating scene that needs a bit of cheering up. It certainly made me smile.

Disclosure: I was provided a time limited e-copy for purposes of review via the publisher. This post does contain an affiliate link, however, Amazon has helped me arrange my account so that my payout can never be reached. I like the affiliate tools for the convenience only, it is never my intention to profit from my reviews of any item.

3 stars