If you have been reading this you know that this blog is like the impromptu speeches I have given at Toastmasters. A challenge to myself that I don’t always succeed at, that meanders all over the place with no point. It’s purpose has been to explore my style and figure out what to do when I grow up.

Along the way I wondered if I wanted to be a personal stylist (I know pretty odd considering all those awkward photos of awkward outfits). I wondered if I could teach classes on finding your style (but that has already been done in a much better way than I could do it). Could I be a blogger that links to items I like and gets a small return? (Now we’re back to the awkward photos). For a while I experimented with a sewing blog thought. With patterns and instruction. Then I asked myself could I design women’s clothes and or patterns? Maybe but there is still a lot of learning that needs to happen there.
Then there is the question of the guilt over adding to the mounds of products we already produce and consume. I really couldn’t bring myself to add to it. Or else it was that secret fear that always lingers in the back of our heads of “I’m not good enough”.

I decided to go with the guilt. At last after a year plus of awkward writing and exploring I have decided to launch a line of up cycled and refashioned bike bags that are pretty enough to use everyday even if you don’t ride a bike. They would also work on a stroller handle or walker handle if life has taken you there. They can carry your bike equipment or your life equipment. They are designed to be easy on and easy off and bring joy to your life.

Most items are made from pound store purchases (rejects from even the thrift store) on their way to be turned into rags. I LOVE the challenge of looking at something that was once something else and turning it into a useful well loved item again. Everything gets thrown in the washer and dryer and put in a stack for future creations. It is a slow process that provides unique items.

What isn’t a pound store rescue is a remnant from a project in my life or someone else’s life. Buckles and webbing are new and I am exploring which options are most eco friendly. I recently purchased some past their prime leather coats that may provide handles or other bag pieces.

With this launch I am officially changing my blog page name to The Weekly Ride. Yet another way to walk my talk.
I’ve finally found my joy. I hope it brings you some as well.
What have you found to bring joy?

The bike bag

The bike bag

I have your typical bike bags (purchased for me by my husband) but I wanted something more- something with a little more style and that could be used on and off the bike, had a spot for maps and that didn’t require a trip to the fabric store.

I ended up with this.

The fabric came from some wool overcoats I bought at Goodwill a couple years ago. I was trying to felt wool by throwing it in a hot wash and dryer. A wool sweater felted very well but I haven’t yet done anything with it. The coats shrank and the fabric is not ravelly after the process. It was quite a time consuming process pulling the coat pieces apart.

Wool coat with pieces pulled apart

At the time I wasn’t sure what I would do with them but over the last few months I have decided to try bags. I made this red one from this stash.

Red bag from used wool coat

I loved the idea of using the coats button tab as my fastener because of both how it looked AND the fact that I hadn’t yet figured out the buttonholer on my machine.

As a side note in the future I will be looking at the Goodwill pound store outlet first because the actual coats were on the spendy side at $10 to $15 each.

This bag started out floppy and I wanted it stiffer because I believed that would result in a cuter bag both on and off the bike. I took an empty vinegar jug and cut out the end pieces in this stiff plastic. I then ended up also using vinyl as an inner liner with a thin blue decorative lining.. I am also hoping it will keep the inner contents a bit drier. Can’t wait to try it out. – not the wet part but the riding with it part.

What do you think? Would you use this bag? My husband’s answer was a resounding no but I bet he changes his mind when he sees it in action.


Pack bag

Pack bag

We are planning a short hiking trip in Iceland which means I need to take my beloved Deuter backpack on an airplane. When my daughter took her brand new one away to Europe the first plane trip destroyed the bottom. With that in mind I have had it on my list to create a canvas bag for my pack. I had some leftover canvas type fabric I used for Roman shades in our last house. I had already taken a lot of it and turned it into laundry size bags I had intended to use for carrying plant waste between client offices (but came up with a much lighter option).  I took one of the bags and pushed the pack in.

bag with pack in it. It was too short.

I took another one of the bags and sewed it to the first one. Now the entire unit was too long.

Bags sewn together are too long

So I cut off about 15″ and cut a hole for a zipper. I had a long separating zipper (probably 26″) in my zipper stash that was a perfect fit.  I added two straps that I made by folding a 4″ rectangle in so the sides met in the middle and then folding it in half to either side of the zipper. The photo below shows me adding a reinforcement piece to attach the straps to.

Adding straps

I put the pack in the bag and discovered it was still a little too long so I added one more strap with D rings that could hold the excess fabric if it is needed. I was too lazy to fully load my pack and test the canvas bag so I wanted to keep a little extra room in case it is needed.

This was a fun project for me as it is the first large bag I have tried to make. It required that I think about the stresses and strains of air travel as well as trying to make it easier for a baggage handler to move my pack around. I look forward to testing it out and will let you know if my beloved Deuter survived.

Have you made a large bag yet? Please share!

High Heels make me slow down

High Heels make me slow down

For years I would go to REI and pick up a pair of quasi hiking boots and those would be my daily shoes because they were supportive and comfortable. I am on my feet a lot going from place to place and always wanting to be prepared to take a walk at the drop of a hat. Since I already have a lot to lug around I didn’t bring a pair of so called cute shoes to put on at any point in the day.I had a list longer than the day. Taking a moment to consider how well the shoes went with anything I was wearing was unthinkable. Besides I was wearing blue jeans and my khaki uniform pants most days. Rushing around.Not evaluating what items on the agenda could be done by others or dropped totally.

Plus only having to buy one pair of shoes each year saved me A LOT of time and I didn’t have to worry about mistakes or comfort.

I kept putting myself aside, not taking the time to treat myself well. This shoe thing carried over into all the other areas of my life as well. Not taking the time to cook for myself once I became an empty nester OR the total opposite – spending all evening cooking (and drinking wine while preparing) and resenting my husband for never cooking. Letting my evening get taken up with an activity that I didn’t particularly like and ignoring the activities that would bring me joy. Denying myself.

I finally broke down and bought some heels – low heels but heels nonetheless. What I discovered is that they forced me to walk slower to slow down on my journey through the day and to occasionally kick my shoes off and sit down! What a joy!

Are you finding the time to slow down and take care of yourself and think about what brings you joy?

Reconciling your two halves

Reconciling your two halves

I have been “the plant lady” since 1981. Before that I dreamed of working in the fashion world. (I know right?) When I defaulted to plants I also dropped the idea that it mattered what I look like. Well I took that just a bit too far and am trying to turn the ship back to caring at least a little.
I still can’t drop the plants! I love wearing air plants. The picture shows a festucoides in my scarf pin. When I am not wearing them I can hang them on the wall as art. How versatile is that!
I do have to take care to not let them get too cold when I am out and about. I also need to remember to water them once a week by dunking them in a temperate water bath and then letting them drip dry.
So far I have only worn them on pins. I am looking for some other jewelry items like necklaces and earrings that can feature these unique plants.
What unique accessories do you include that say you are you? Share a picture!