Laptop case for one of California’s greenest ladies

This summer my family and I had the good fortune of joining my college buddy Karen and her family at a historic beachfront cabin on Lake Tahoe for three glorious days. Another one of their guests was Karen’s sister-in-law, Liz Varnhagen, who, along with her husband, is dedicated to leaving the smallest footprint possible on this planet. Liz and her husband, Steve, have actually been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as some of the state’s greenest people.

Liz’s birthday was coming up and Karen was lamenting to me that it was difficult to buy gifts for Liz because she gets annoyed if she is given something “new.” I suggested to Karen “Why don’t you commission me to make laptop case out of recycled t-shirts?” (I had noticed that Liz was using well-worn bubble wrap to protect her laptop.) Karen thought that was a brilliant idea, especially because she could give me some t-shirts of Liz’s late mother, and that would make the case even more special.

Here are the t-shirts Karen sent me.
Here is the laptop case that I made.
I vowed to myself that I would put nothing new on it. The front pocket is taken from the lining of a purse my daughter put in the goodwill pile.
The straps are from a backpack I found in my daughter’s closet. (She just left for college, so I figure anything is fair game.)
Here’s the inside.
And here we all are enjoying a great dinner the porch of the historic cabin!


Grungy t-shirts become beautiful little bag

I’m currently working on my inventory for my Summer’s Coming Open House. I thought a little bag made from tie-dyed, recycled T-shirt yarn would be a great addition to my collection. I had quite a stash of dyed pieces made from very worn, white T-shirts donated to me by my son.

My project started like this.



In progress, it looked like this.



Finished, it looks like this.



It’s has a silk lining.



Now my son’s upcycled T-shirts sit happily on my happily on my daughter’s hip!


Hip enough for Hanna

I’ve still been having lots of fun dyeing old white t-shirts and thought I’d design a little shoulder satchel that both teenagers and adults might like. So here is my 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ satchel that is made from three layers of hand-dyed, recycled, t-shirt fabric.


The bag is lined with a solid teal, recycled fabric and it has a velcro closure. The 52″ strap is a 1/4″ genuine leather lace from Tandy Leather Factory.


It hits the hip perfectly when worned diagonally on the shoulder.


This mini satchel can be purchased on Etsy.

Recycled Satchel Trio

Once again I struck gold cleaning out my son’s closet. I found three “Mission Inn Run”ย t-shirts, 2006 to 2008. This was the perfect find since I am participating in the Pop-Up Orange Boutique at the Riverside Art Museum, November 1 – 9, 2012. Riversiders love anything Riverside, and these t-shirts have illustrations of the Mission Inn rendered by local artists, a different image every year. First, I immersed the grungy white t-shirts in a “Tangerine” dye bath and then made the purses.

The satchels are 7″ x 7″ with a 1 1/2″ depth and a 50″ strap. It looks great on my tall, slender friend, Jane.

The bags are fully lined with recycled, tie-dyed old white t-shirts (again from my son!).

Come to the Pop-Up Boutique at the museum and check them out, November 1 -9

small satchel of recycled flower t-shirts

I had two ill-fitting, long sleeved, flower print t-shirts that I bought a few years ago from an un-named discount store. As I decided I wasn’t going to wear them anymore, these t-shirts were definitely in need of repurposing. I thought a small satchel would be cute with the flower print.

The purse is fully lined with the contrasting t-shirt fabric. It’s trimmed with a hand-done blanket stitch. The dimensions are 8″ x 8″ x 1 1/2″.

This is a fun, sturdy bag for days when you want to travel light!

This purse is available for purchase on etsy.

Purse made from O.C. thrift store find

My son, Jasper, came home from college in Orange County at the end of May and a few weeks later moved out again. Left behind in his room was a pile of thrift store clothes that he had collected as costumes for various collegiate events throughout the year. I put most of the items in our Goodwill pile and kept a few for my projects.

I decided to over-dyed this white men’s shirt with blue and orange stripes. As I was working with it I began to notice the fine craftsmanship and the beautiful, smooth feel of the cotton fabric. So I decided to google the brand “Faconnable”. I discovered that it is a exclusive French brand and that most shirts retail for about $150!

Here is the purse I made.

I lined it with an orchid color hand-dyed fabric. It has two interior pockets.

This purse is available for purchase on Etsy.

that 70’s bag

I thought I’d share a hobo bag that I made with a 70’s style t-shirt. My dear friend, Jane, purchased it about a year ago and it quickly became one of her favorites. It was temporarily in my possession again to do a little repair, so I took some photos.

It is completely lined with another recycled t-shirt. It has two interior pockets and a tie closure. This bag is very hardy – before I returned it to Jane, I put it through the washer and dryer.

This bag hangs perfectly on Jane’s tall, slim frame.