Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Buy It - Fix It - Use It

In September, after an amazing salad experience in Astoria, I decided to get the Food Network and learn to cook better only it was competitions as opposed to how-to. Since I couldn't cancel the channel, I changed it to HGTV which has been an interesting eye opener and I may change that to the DIY channel because one of the shows I enjoy is Buy It Fix It Sell It. Some of the stuff is way off the wall but the show is teaching me to think differently and to see potential in "garbage".

When I saw this purse in Ashland, I loved almost everything about it including the size, the weight, the shape, and the price - $32.00 - although you have to wonder who is making money with a retail amount like that. I get a giggle that it's vegan although I'm not. The thing I hated was the lock. It's like a schoolgirl's diary and - IMHO - silly on a grown woman. I decided to buy it, fix it, use it.

There are two magnetic snaps on the left and right insides of the flap. The lock didn't actually do anything and was attached to the flap only at the sides. I removed it by taking out four stitches at each end and then....

... opened up part of the flap at the front so I could get inside to remove the prongs holding the clasp to the flap. That left a rectangular shaped impression with an indent in the middle and four puncture holes at the sides. I covered that with a favourite button from my stash.

To make sure I could get the eight layers of pearl cotton thread through the buttonhole, I tested it first because...

... when I actually went to sew it on, I applied glue to the bottom of the button. The thread came up from the middle, through the buttonhole, and back down and then I tied a knot on the inside and put a weight on the button until it dried in place.

I think the finished purse is much more attractive and sophisticated - more age appropriate - than the one I started with and I'm really glad I was able to see the potential.

The chapter I'm reading in Free Play is called The Power of Limits. The author writes: You can often do better art on a low budget than on a high one. I don't recommend poverty as a modus operandi; you need the materials to create, and there is no evidence that being well fed or able to enjoy life damages the creative process. But necessity forces us to improvise with the material at hand, calling up resourcefulness and inventiveness that might not be possible to someone who can purchase ready made solutions. 

There have been three different times - one complete year and two extensive projects - when I have limited myself to only the supplies that I have on hand. The complete year had a profound and ongoing impact that lead to the other two projects and has affected every area of my life and particularly how I think and create. I've come to believe in the positive aspects of limits and the way they make you think through the project at hand. This purse is one example.

Years ago, I never would have bought the purse because it wasn't "perfect" and now - with the impact of those previous experiences - I could see past its seeming imperfections to what it could become. I like the confidence that gives you to explore. Any project can have limitations and will teach you something valuable no matter the results.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a new, reasonably priced, and now attractive, purse and a use for one of my favourite buttons


  1. I like what you did to the new purse!
    I had been putting off buying a new purse because my favourite brand (Fiorelli) only does 'vegan leather'. But the bag I already had from them has held up very well over several years, and it's not the cheap nasty vaguely sticky to the touch stuff that 'pleather' used to be. So I went to Bentley's and it turned out that the store near my office is closing, so all the bags were 50% off. So I got a black winter purse, and a white summer purse. And then I found the matching wallet for the white purse, so I had to get that too. 6 year old me is very pleased that I am now a fancy grown up lady with a matching wallet and bag!

    1. Thank you. Me too. Too bad the Bentley's is closing - stores closing always make me concerned - but how fabulous that you benefited.

  2. Your version is much nicer. To me, it shows off the elegant shape of the bag, as compared to the trivializing effect of the first ornament. Good work!

    1. Exactly. I though the lines were lost in that lock. Goes to show how much impact the finishing elements can have on our work.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.