Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simple Leather Wallet

I have always had an eye for leather purses and wallets, really of all shapes and sizes. Inspired by a friend of a friends handmade leather wallet and her claims of how easy and simple it was to sew together. I promptly took a trip to the local leather shop, Leatherwise, to see what inexpensive scraps I could find to create something on my own.  I found myself in heaven. Leather Wise carries all types of leather and the selection of scraps was just what I needed.

Stitching together the wallet after pre 'poking' holes with the Awl

I ended up taking home two squares of leather and choose to begin with a very simple wallet. I needed to purchase a few tools for proper assembling including an Awl-to pre 'poke' holes in the leather, and a setter-to attach the front snap. I already had a large sewing needle and thick thread.

Finished product, top wallet lined with cotton print
 To add a pop of color my mom gave me the idea of lining the interior of one of the wallets with a cotton fabric. 
I am extremely happy with how these turned out and have plans for several more leather pieces, including a larger purse. These simple wallets have been very handy, to cary cash at the farmer's market and as a chic checkbook holder.

Close up of interior

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gourmet Dining

So far the month of July has been filled with amazing gourmet food from several amazing restaurants around the bay area. I have been feeling like a spoiled piglet but have embraced each meal and enjoyed every experience. My taste buds have definitely become accustomed to these decadent meals, and my standard homemade quinoa salad last night did not taste as good a usual.... 
Phillip, Me, and Mom, left to right, top to bottom, anticipating tacos and beer, tacos and beer and zinnias from my backyard garden
 July 1, 2013 began with a trip to Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery where we enjoyed there Monday Happy Hour with $1.00 off beers. We selected the SCMB IPA and Wilder Wheat to pair with Fish Tacos delivered from Kelly's French Bakery around the corner, hands down the best fish tacos I have ever experienced. Enjoyed in the small beer garden of SCMB, with the smell of the fresh ocean air of Santa Cruz, CA.  
Close up of double scoop in house waffle cone, mint chip and green tea, bottom to top
Later that week I landed at my all time favorite dessert shop The Penny Ice Cremery, where we indulged in a double scoop of Fresh Mint Chip and Green Tea. The Penny Ice specializes in high end, gourmet, small batch ice cream with ingredients from local farms. The mint chip contained actual pieces of fresh mint leaves and the green tea was absolutely to die for. They also are the only ice cream shop to be license  to pasteurize all their own milk. 

Goods, Me, Phillip, left to right, sitting on a bench in front of the Cheese Board Collective rationing
 On a spur of the moment trip to Berkeley we decided to go all out. Beginning the day with a stop at the The Cheese Board Collective where we sampled Rosemary Foccacia, Sourdough Baguette, Wisconsin Blue Cheese, Corn-Cherry Scone, Ginger Cookie, & Chocolate Chip Cookie and coffee from Philz Coffee. I was quite excited to try all of our tasty treats and got a bit territorial wile rationing the goods. 
Artsy menu, drinks, pizza and filet mignon, left to right
Chez Panisse Cafe had one reservation for 9:45 p.m. and we didn't think twice in booking the reservation. We would have loved to eat in the restaurant, obviously, but decided to start with the cafe and to stick with something of budget.....ha...... the average meal in the cafe is $30-$50 per person. 

We started with drinks around 9:15 at the bar selecting a Farmhouse Ale and a Napa Valley Zinfandel both made especially for Chez Panisse. Dinner began with a Corn Zucchini Blossom soup and a Squab (pigeon!) Beet Salad and followed with a Fennel Sausage Pizza and the most perfect filet mignon and potato crisps. This meal was worth every minute and bit and I hope someday for some special occasion I get to go back and eat downstairs!
 I hope you enjoyed this post and I encourage all you foodies and non foodies to check out these great spots, every dollar is worth every bit! Here are some links to other delicious spots I recommend checking out and stay tuned for more eatery reviews... this has been quite fun.

Buttery Bakery- Sandwiches, breads and pastries are all amazing. Santa Cruz, CA
Gayles Bakery- Cakes and pastries. Santa Cruz, CA
Chaam Berkeley- Thai everything is excellent. Berkeley, CA
Lillian's Italian Kitchen- Pesto and Prawns, Lasagna, Polenta. Santa Cruz, CA