Tuesday, March 31, 2020

April Purse Fool

A Fool And Her Purse Are Soon Parted 

Okay Katherine, here's my April Fools' day meditation - 
There is nothing more precious than self-trust. 

The lady raccoon pictured looks like she could have been 
punk'd back in 1582 in France when the April 1st taunting day
started. France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian
that starts the year on January 1st. People who kept celebrating 
new year's April 1st became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

Those April Fools were taunted with paper fish stuck on their backs
and were called poisson d’avril (April fish) meaning they were 
too gullible, like an easily hooked fish.

This picture caught a raccoon d'avril

MJ, here's my Spring/1st of April handbag. Isn't it gorgeous and shiny? The metallic glitter artwork is butterflies! What better way to celebrate the season. Many designers have glitter purses in their collections, including Kate Spade, Coach, Neiman Marcus, and others. Perhaps that's an idea for my Katherine Watson line. And look at the handy kiss clasp opening on the metallic hardware strip along the top. It keeps everything secure inside. Not a shoulder bag, obviously it's designed to be carried in your hand.

Cool Katherine. Not everyone celebrates April Fools Day and spring has sprung.

April Fools! You're a poisson d'avril MJ. This is a mini bag.Now you can see it's real size.

You got me! I'll just laugh, breath deep, and go back to my meditation on the joy of self-trust as I guard against any other deceptions by you. The micro and mini bags date from long before today. From the early to mid 1900's, women carried around small purses called ‘reticules’. They were carried by the wealthy as a status symbol because they were small, elegant and held very little.

As far as the contemporary mini/micro bags, it was at Fendi’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection that Karl Lagerfeld first introduced the phenomenon. His take was structured and embellished, accompanied by fluffy oversized key chains. Chanel played with size in their Resort 2020 show, where tiny bags were hanging from gold-chained belts on the waists of top models. Not anything I've seen in downtown Bayside, at least not yet.

Here's some other mini bags. The one in the back left corner is handmade in Hawaii. The other two in the back are fun creations from Lori Greiner. Inside each they even have a secure zip pocket.

What was that black, furry creature I saw hanging in the corner of that other picture? Was that your cute cat Purrada?

Not hardly. That's a Diane K creation.

This is a cousin of the contemporary mini/micro bag. It's a wristlet. You can see from the ring at the top, this is meant to be worn like a bracelet.It's a sateen inside, contrasting from the fluffy outside.

Seems like wristlets are much harder to steal. And with the length you can carry more than just a mint, which is all I can imagine fits in some mini bags. 

The beaded, pretty clasp at the top closes with a snap. It's looped around the bottom of the bracelet ring and sewn on tight so you can open the clasp and reach inside.
 I can see now that's a purse and not Purrada, she never wears beaded jewelry. You fooled me again Katherine. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice . . . .

Happy April Fools, Everyone! We really mean that! Stay safe, and one last picture for you to meditate on,

Raccoons d'Avril

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Thank You Medical Workers - Doctor Satchel Bags

Thank You Medical Workers, you are saving our lives. We appreciate especially in this terrible time, the risks that you take, your great sacrifices, and your sincere commitment to help people. The heroic efforts of those in your field through history is celebrated by many, including those of us in the fashion industry. As international purse designer in the new mystery book Kat Out of the Bag, I know the doctor satchel handbag design well. It's a beautiful structure, and so practical. Here you can see one example, including its handle, one on each side. And you can also see the double zipper dangling from the top. Striking, yet understated hardware.

Oh yeah, you can take it from me, Moonjava, Katherine's Purse-onality Museum historian, the doctor satchel bag was copied from something known as the Gladstone bag.

Here's a picture of a Gladstone bag made from ox leather. Hinged luggage was first developed in the mid 19th century. The Gladstone bag is a British patent registered by Edward Cole. The catchy Gladstone name came from a UK budget minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), who used a red one to carry his paperwork around. And so, his budget briefcase was called the Gladstone bag. He was later the four time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as if his bag wasn't fame enough. By the end of the 19th century, the practical advantages of the Gladstone bag were noted by doctors who began using them to carry their medical tools.

MJ, you're right about practical uses. Here's a close up of the side view. You can see the stylish tapering to the top, and how the zippers give you such a very wide opening so you can easily access what;s inside, yet nothing will spill out. In this example the side measures 8" across at its widest point.

This bag, for example measures 8" across at its widest point. Height is 7" and it's 13" across the front. Notice the side paneling that expands across the low zipper opening to prevent the contents from spilling out.

Just look at the light colored interior in this example, so you can easily spot what you're looking for among everything you're carrying in this very roomy interior.Roomy is the key Katherine. A Gladstone bag was really a small suitcase built over a rigid frame. It was designed to separate into two equal sections. The innovation it had was that unlike a suitcase, it was deeper than it was long. Gladstones were made of stiff leather and belted across the top. 

Here's a view of the one interior, zippered side pocket. The rest is all wide open spaces. As a purse, designers have made the doctor satchel a wonderful design that's stylish and easy to carry.

When doctors adopted the Gladstone, they filled it with what they needed when they made their house calls and when they went out on emergencies. Their bags were well worn with all the use of the hard working medics. As medicine changed, it was used less and less. Some doctors in the 20th century would stuff the smaller things they needed in their medical white coat pockets. But recently a different medical bag is being seen at times. Tools like pocket ultrasound machines, a 
PanOptic ophthalmoscope to check eyes including for abnormalities in arteries, and an ipad which helps in so many ways not only for the doctors but also to explain information to patients, and those are just a few examples. To carry the modern tools a doctor needs, many are now turning to new, modified messenger bags.

And here's our message to all you medical workers/heroes - Thank You!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Irish Tweeds and Celtic Purses

Top of the day, Celtic style 

Irish Tweed Bag  Celtic embroidery by Mucros Weavers Made in Ireland
As an international purse designer, I enjoy the diversity of designs and materials used in purse designs around the world. This week is a great time to savor the Celtic style, and that's no blarney. Today, the term Celtic generally refers to the languages and respective cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany, also known as the Celtic nations. The Irish tweeds are a most beautiful and durable wool. Here is an Irish Tweed Satchel Bag with Celtic Knot embroidery by Mucros Weavers, made in Ireland. Approx. dimension (14″ x 12″ x 5″).

MJ look at the amazing colors these tweeds have in store for us, a pink plaid . . .

Or a multi vernal plaid crossbody

Oh man Kat, your tweed crossbodies remind me of another Celtic purse in history that's so cool. The sporran shows how necessity is the mother of invention. Kilts have no pockets. Made from leather or fur, the sporran was a wallet. It hung front and center from an ornate belt buckle on a leather strap or a chain. Whenever it got in the way, it was shifted over to hang from the hip out of the way.

Day Sporran
Check out this one made completely of leather. Three tassles was a common ornament, the number three of course being significant. They were often hand tooled with Celtic knot, or thistle or other groovy design. They closed with a stud or hook

Niamh Tweed & Leather Bag - Rust Herringbone

Back to Irish tweed MJ, it doesn't always have to be a plaid. Here's a picture of a pretty Mucros Weavers of Ireland Niamh Tweed and Leather Bag in Rust Herringbone.

Image result for pictures of irish druid crane bags

Kat, I'll tell you that as a Flower Child, I've read all kinds of stories, including Irish myths. You'd appreciate the Druid Crane Purses I've learned about, a magical bag. Manannan mac Lir is a major sea god and guardian of the otherworld. He made his bag from the skin of a crane - those birds were the third most common domestic pet in Ireland. His bottomless bag was full of treasures - knife, King of Scotland's shears, another king's helmet, bones of a whale, all kinds of stuff. These Crane bags are also in stories of other Irish heroes. A Crane bag and what it carries is as unique as each person who carries one.

Still true MJ, each purse and it's contents reflect the purse-onality of the wearer. Here's one of my favorites when I'm wearin' of the green, whether St. Patrick's or another day. It's a sleek, beautiful, and functional tote by Iman. Just look at the spaciousness and organization of the interior!  Two easy access side spaces, split in the middle by a roomy, secure zippered pouch. There's even two slip pockets. And just look at those tassels. 

Happy St. Patrick's celebration everyone.

And Katherine, here's my Moonjava meditation, it's an Irish saying - May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Purse With A Story

Happy International Women's Day!
Let's Celebrate Every Day!

Katherine Watson here, of the mystery Kat Out of the Bag. An international purse designer and founder of the Purse-onality Museum, I can confirm that all purses tell a story.

I'm going to share a story by Jessica Leigh Hester about a purse that literally tells a story. It's an Italian purse made, likely in the 17th century, with a "trashed manuscript".  

Inspired by International Women's Day, let me show you what the world has carried around over time.

It's interesting that even long ago, trends spanned the globe.

Moonjava, what do you think? Purses are all through history. 

You're right on Kat. Take the 12th century, it's recorded purses were made from leather for the sole purpose of carrying money. But around the world purses have been made from materials available, making a beautiful variety. One example is basket purses. Your picture here is a contemporary bag by Baskets of Cambodia. In Africa they also had basket purses in the beautiful African prints that are so very vibrant and colorful.
This is an example of a Contemporary African print purse made with the ankara fabric

Yes Moonjava, and this contemporary basket bag is so light and easy to carry. The materials a bag is made from can be so intriguing, and also helpful to the purpose, as well as beautiful.

And look at how roomy the interior, including three side slip pockets and a zippered side pocket. All of this is kept securely with a full zippered top.
Well, Katherine, leap to the 16th century, the Renaissance, purses became adorned with ribbons, fringes, lace, bows, beads and decorative stones.
MJ, that reminds me of my beautiful beaded replica of a 16th century, Italian beaded purse, pictured here.

I admire the intricate beading, and I love the color!

It is cool, Kat. The originals and replicas both show skilled crafting.

And considering the style, it's actually quite roomy, with the beautiful silk lining, and even a little slip pocket. It was in the 16th century that we began to see velvets, brocades, and satin used.

Yes Kat, in 16th century Italy we saw the Cartella, a more spacious purse that included a knife pocket. That was also the period of the Brachetta which men wore over pants as a codpiece and it carried money and a handkerchief. Yes, men carried purses. They also carried hand bags. And the Renaissance invented the Borsada Matrimonio that was filled with money as a wedding gift. This was also a time when messenger bags became popular, catering to the needs of the Italian working classes, and also in other cultures around the world. Yes, messenger bags in history!
In the 17th century all the rage were small bags with drawstrings. These were made of silk, and sometimes of metal. The one in my collection is made of metal, yet surprisingly light to carry. In France this style was called reticules. In the United Kingdom they were called Indispensables. And for peasants and travelers, the drawstring style was the sack made from leather or fabrics and worn cross body.

This was also the beginning of swete bagges. These were bags filled with sweet smelling materials. 
In a time when personal hygiene was grim and grimy, swete bagges were stuffed with sweet-smelling herbs and spices, lavender or perfumed balls of cotton. In the long run, swete bagges were also stored with clothes and linens and used for aromatherapy.

Admire the space inside this vintage drawstring bag

Shall we tell them, MJ?

Go ahead Kat, you're bursting to tell

In my mystery Kat Out of the Bag a note is discovered hidden within the lining of a vintage bag. Amber who is in charge of the gift shop finds it. What she and her roguish boyfriend Michael discover is quite revealing. I analyze it along with the clues I find myself. What an exciting chase ensues!
Enjoy the following published story, and Happy International Women's Day! - Let's Celebrate Every Day!

How a Trashed Italian Manuscript Got Sewn Into a Sweet Silk Purse

Book waste can be beautiful.


It's got a bookish secret.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Mardi Gras Beads and Purses

Katherine Watson here and ready to celebrate Mardi Gras! This weekend's preview is in Langley, on Whidbey Island. It's the annual Langley Mystery Weekend. This is the 36th year of mysteries! And this year's mystery occurred during the rehearsal for the mardi gras parade! I'll be there to put my sleuthing skills to the test, and I'm certain I'll follow the clues and solve the mystery. I've already figured out which purse to carry that will best set off my mask and beads, while being very practical. It's a beaded, vintage white and floral, Lumured purse. This one is from the 1940's. Just look at this amazing beading! The company started making these purses in the 1940's, but really amped up production in the 1950's, and some in the 1960's. The amazing beading will set off my mardi gras beads.

Katherine, let me, Moonjava enlighten with a little history. Mardi Gras actually started its story in medieval Europe.  And the practice of throwing beads was inspired by Renaissance festivals that took place before Lent, where revelers would toss things into the air to celebrate before the coming fast. In New Orleans, it started groovin' 300 years ago. Throwing favors out to celebrate started in the 1840's, and it was in the 1880's that glass beads got their start. As a proud flower child, I'm happy to report that the tradition of women flashing their breasts for beads began right after the hippie sixties - one of my favorite times in history.

The traditional colors of the beads are purple, green, and gold, which represent justice, faith, and power. Originally party goers would toss the beads to people who showed the colors' qualities. So ladies, know that you don't have to show anything more than your character to receive beads.

I'll keep that in mind MJ, in the meantime just look at the intricate, detailed beading on this purse. And although it looks like a straightforward pouch style, it's actually a two sided bag. That will give me plenty of room for all I normally carry on one side, and on the other side the clues I pick up along the way. The beaded handles are strong, yet flexible and very comfortable to carry either in the palm of my hand or on my arm.

The beading on the interior panel is very tight and strong, on a metal frame.

The beads actually shine a little in the right light, and the gold colored beads form the shape of small flowers are woven into the white.

Yes Katherine, the gold beaded flowers show your power in solving mysteries! And my meditation for Mardi Gras is - Let your heart speak to other's hearts

Monday, February 17, 2020

Bags, Basie, Ellington, & All That Jazz with Katherine Watson and MJ

The morning after a Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra celebration of the Battle Royal, when Count Basie and Duke Ellington Bands performed together in 1961. A sound-sational performance.

The '60's is MJ's adopted era - yes, she found herself and her name, Moonjava, in the appeal of the sexy sixties. As Purse Museum historian she'd tell you that The Count Meets the Duke album by American pianists, composers and bandleaders Duke Ellington and Count Basie with their combined Orchestras was recorded and released in 1961. If you listen to a stereo release of the album, Basie's band is featured on the left channel and Ellington's on the right. In the early ’60s, women coveted Hermès Kelly bags, Hermès Constance bags, or Chanel 2.55 bags. In 1961 women loved to carry the long, structured clutch handbags for evening events. I'm more of a hobo bag with fringe flower child.

What a thrilling performance by SRJO

Jazz calls for the sparkles of a beaded clutch, take it from Katherine Watson, amateur sleuth and international purse designer in fiction. This beautiful, contemporary clutch gets its glittery look from plastic specs that just pick up the light in such a pretty way, along with the glow of the sleek, silvery hardware.

And a slick, glittering back to the clutch that will sparkle in the lights at the concert hall, or in the moonlight of a clear night in the last echoes of a brilliant jazz concert.

And such a roomy interior considering the clutch style, not only in width but in length. And a handy pocket for your cards that you want to have easy slip access to. A beautiful evening that ended on a high note that echoed through the holiday weekend. Thanks SRJO!
And to see a real purse museum, plan a visit to Esse in Little Rock, Arkansas. 
                                                            ESSE Purse Museum & Store

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Valentine Puzzle Purse - Learn Its Mystery

Happy Valentines! What are you carrying Valentines weekend? Share a picture
Take it from me, Katherine Watson, novel amateur sleuth and international purse designer of Kat Out of the Bag mystery available in April, this is a sweet, frame bag to carry on Valentines weekend. Don't you love the hearts etched into the soft fabric? The handles and trim are patent leather with three eye-catching metallic hearts on the front. So romantic!

On the back, the convenience of a zip pocket to keep items handy. I use it for quick access to my cell

Inside, two small pockets on the front panel and a nice zip pocket on the back wall, and room enough for pocket, glasses case, and some small sundries in the interior

Substantial pull on the zipper that snaps into place on the side, above the etched hearts. Love it!
Dear Katherine, let Moonjava enlighten. As the historian at your Purse-onality museum for purses and women's history, I want to share the love and passion of Valentine Puzzle Purses. This is a picture of one dated 1826 and donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by a donor named only as Mrs. Richard Riddell in 1981. These were handmade, folded Valentines with the message of love revealed as they're unfolded. It all started in Victorian England, but also was gifted by Americans. Some of your bloggers may want to give it a try. You know meditation is my thing so here's mine for today - Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life

And to see a real purse museum, plan a visit to Esse in Little Rock, Arkansas. 
 ESSE Purse Museum & Store