Refreshed – new handles for Sandra

There are few things I love more than knowing that a bag that I have made has been well-loved and well-used. My bags are made of fabric, and while I pride myself on craftsmanship and functionality, it’s just a fact that fabric does not last forever. My dear friend Sandra came to me with a bag that I had given to her probably about eight years ago. The handles were completely broken. The sight of those broken handles distressed me, but I also felt pleased that she had used so much that the handles had worned out.
Now Sandra lives green, she always looks for ways to save and re-use. I love that instead of tossing the bag out, she brought it back to it’s maker, and said, “The rest of the bag is still in perfectly good shape. Is there any way to replace the handles?” Argh, repairs and alterations, the two things I dislike using my sewing skills for. But because it’s Sandra and one of my bags, of course, I will think of some way to replace the handles.

I went through my hand-dyed fabric stash and was pleased to find a piece that would work perfectly with the purse. I removed the old handles. Instead of sticking the new ones between the layers, I sewed them on the outside.

Now I’ve been inspired to “refresh” my own bags with worn-out handles!

Sandra cooking on the left, our friend, Audrey in the middle, and me on the right.

Sandra cooking on the left, our friend, Audrey in the middle, and me on the right.


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!

California girl becomes a Longhorn with upcycled t-shirt

In November, 2011, my husband, daughter, parents, and I visited Austin, Texas on a “significant birthdays” celebration trip. We spent some time walking around the University of Texas. We were swept up in the Longhorn spirit, and my husband, Michael, bought this t-shirt.
Before this visit, the state of Texas had never been on our radar, and Michael and I were somewhat surprised when our daughter Hanna, now 18, expressed an interest in applying to UT, Austin. Well, through her hard work and an amazing offer, Hanna is actually going to be a Longhorn this fall!

A few days ago, Michael announced that his Texas shirt had become “short and wide” after a few washings and was donating it to the recycle pile. Of course, upcycling this t-shirt for Hanna was the obivious course of action.

Hanna and I selected New Look Pattern 6814 for the re-make.
So here is Hanna’s first, of hopefully many, Longhorn t-shirts!

This post was shared on Sew Country Chick.