During that time, we sold our house and moved back to Napa to be closer to our immediate family.
As with any change, there are challenges that can be stressful, meaningful and enjoyable. I think we hit all three. It's now been a couple years since the move. I've acclimated and settled, our latest adopted dog seems to be doing well and finally adjusting to new parents and a new location.
When we first moved into our new location, a retirement park, I tried to get others motivated to start an Arts/Crafts group. But only a few of us lingered past the first couple of meetings and it seemed a huge waste of time and effort, so we decided to close down the group.
I then looked for something I could do by myself, that I'd enjoy and not procrastinate about, like some of my knitting projects which are called wips (works in progress). Though that term makes it sound like they are actually worked on, whereas wips are usually packed away for several years before either being picked up again or frogged (ripped out) completely to re-purpose the yarn for something else (or more likely because you really need the needles that were packed away with the wip).
When I was a young'un, I was taught to knit by my aunt and I also learned how to sew by hand and do limited needlework and tons of crafts.
When I attended the local middle school, which at that time in Napa was called Jr High, I took Home Economics classes and learned to sew on an actual new machine with a foot petal . My mother's was a knee controlled old Singer and did not have a reverse function.
I did well sewing and my parents purchased a new Singer not only for me to sew my own clothes but clothes for my mother as well. I sewed almost all of my clothes when I was a senior in high school and even sewed my gown for prom and several fancy dresses for my mother to attend functions with her social group.
After I got my first real job, I saved up and purchased my first multi-functional machine and then was able to do zig-zagging. I had hit the big time!
Throughout my marriage and the years of raising children and helping with grand-children, I always found the time to whip something up when needed, but I never really had the time to enjoy sewing anymore. More recently, my sons and grandchildren have come to me for something specifically tailored or altered for them, and recently I altered (in 4 places) a sequined gown for my grand-daughter's friend.
Several years ago, I ordered lots of material from Craftsy, thinking I would make some quilts. But quilts are such a big undertaking and seriously I know myself too well to know how that will end up (a wip). So a few years back I took some of the colorful material and made big bags for my grand-daughters.
That was a lot of fun, and soon after that my oldest son asked if I could make a carry-bag for his poker table.
In the back of my mind was the idea of making more bags, but I just didn't have the time with a sick dog.
Then came our move and now in the past year I've been crafting handbags. Once my youngest grand-daughter heard, she asked if I could take her existing backpack and make a new one out of different material. She chose a grey ombre pattern with green lining. Hey, it's her bag.
So I took it apart, salvaged the hardware, tried to re-create the pattern, but had an issue with the side zippers so I had to do something else (which I didn't like, but she did, so...)
Then I faced the grommet challenge. I'd never worked with them before, but I watched a youtube demo and figured OK I can do that. Went to my local yardage store which of course did not have any chrome grommets, only brass ones. Went to a few local hardware stores and same thing. Crapola! I now had to order grommets. The backpack was completely done and now I had to wait another week and a half just for grommets.
But finally they arrived and I practiced and measured several times, because there was no going back if I messed up.
The deconstruction and reconstruction took me a couple stressful weeks. It was all new territory for me. But it turned a lightbulb on over my head.
I could reuse hardware and some pleather from old purses.
I was now experienced in both grommets and magnetic snaps, buckles and adjustable strapping. The world was my oyster and I was ready to shuck!
Family and friends have given me old handbags, I've picked up old ones from consignments and thrift stores. I've even used quality material from used garments. I mostly use new material and recycled hardware, but every once in awhile there may be a purse made of totally recycled or totally new materials. I don't try to use a little of each. I try to make the best combination of materials possible that is pleasing to my eye. I've given several away and taken a couple orders and now I'm working to build up a supply to sell in mid-November.
View some of my bags on my handmades blog.
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