24 May 2013

Confessions of a Bag Lady


Hello, my name is Wendy..and I buy bags...because they are glitzy, glamorous, feel nice, are vintage and occasionally they are useful!  Yes, OK they can sometimes make you feel like Audrey going to Breakfast at Tiffany's, a girly, girl, you know what I mean.

It has to be said that often I cannot fit my glasses, wallet, lipstick, tissues, hairbrush, hand cream, notebook, keys and other necessary items in, so if the glasses don't fit I ask someone else to read the menu for me at dinner.  Put plenty of lipstick on before you go, two layers tissued between each  layer so that it lasts.  Yes, it has happened, my husband understands completely and is my reader of blackboard menus! 


My vintage bags are sourced from opp shops and are priceless literally!  There is an assortment of evening bags containing pearls and beads which you just have to touch, even the silk linings are intact.  These will go with any outfit.  I often wonder what the women were like who owned them, were they the fancy flappers of the twenties or a well to do lady in the thirties and forties.  How many lipsticks did they fit in these bags?  They are so compact that I think they must have just had enough room for a hankie or two and a train ticket! Phyllis Fiarotta in her book on Nostalgia Crafts states that ladies required only a pair of opera glasses and a compact to " powder their noses,"  hence the small size of the bags!


I am a child of the sixties and seventies so flower power took over and made me love this raffia daisy bag, so cute and very Gidget like!  Would look great with a sixties straight shift dress.  The fifties raffia tote made me want to put on my teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini and head to the beach!  (I'm anything but teeny weeny!).  Loved the raffia flowers which add some dimension.   

How to manage a multitude of bags?  What do you find when you empty one only to fill up another?  Loose change hidden in the seams that makes you feel a little richer than you thought you were.  The receipt from that pair of trousers you bought, didn't have time to try on and haven't been able to exchange.  Your favorite lip gloss in the color that goes with everything.   A mini tube of hand cream that has lost it's lid and is on everything!  Spring cleaning of the handbag is essential to clear clutter and allow for the new and bigger bag - that will hold your glasses when you go out!

A  little handmade something to add to the mix!   The seventies was a groovy time with lots of hessian and felt craft projects made during this era.  Rosemary McLeod in her book "Thrift to Fantasy" states that prior to this in the thirties and forties,  felt was also readily available and used to make workbags, scissor cases and needle-cases for organized ladies to store their knit and crochet work in progress.  These were often decorated in applique designs of houses and flowers.  There are many gorgeous designs to peruse in her book.  I have a thing about felt, especially woolly felt which I had to use to make my Spring Lamb knitting bag.  It was so much fun trying to work out how big to make it and how to attach the head, because I wanted him to look real!   The end result is nearly the size of a baby lamb complete with tail and a cute as face!  Can I say he is "life size!"  

Raspberries and cream was a winter make in a vintage style using soft crimson and cream felt and accented with a false flap front trimmed with yo yos, buttons and ric-rac, three of my favorite embellishments.  Tulip time was inspired by the bright colors of tulips and a lady who ran a tulip farm not far away from my grandparents house in Victoria.  She was a native of the Netherlands and even had windmill in her front garden and made pancakes to die for.  It was the prettiest sight to drive past her property and to see the colorful tulips waving in the wind.   

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