Jun 24, 2014

Personalizing a tote bag!

My Oma (grandma) gave me this funky tote bag for Christmas last year. Even though it looked cool as it was, I decided it could use a little personalization!

Here's what I came up with:

     The first thing I did was to sew on some patches that I've been saving. I got the Nederland patch on our trip to the Netherlands a few years ago. I bought it at the Keukenhof gift-shop. The second patch is from my ballet studio; my teacher gave them to each of the students one year for Christmas. 

     Another idea was to glue a bottle-cap onto the button. The cap fit exactly over the existing button which was perfect!

      The bottle-cap I used was one my oldest brother gave me. He had a bottle-cap collection when he was little, and he got this one in Indonesia - one of the places my family lived before I was born. 

     Also, I took off the original loop that hooked over the button and replaced it with this friendship bracelet my bestie made for me ages ago.

     Another thing I did was to add this chain and to clip all sorts of mementos onto it. There's a random coin that my brother gave me when I was little (I think it's from Estonia?); my half of a friendship necklace; dog tags from Joy, a dog I had when I was little; a clipping of ribbon from my last pair of Pointe shoes that I wore as Sleeping Beauty; and a chunk of rock covered in layers of spray paint. 

     When my brother went off to college years ago, there was a boulder on campus that people were allowed to spray paint. It was called The Rock. Original, I know. :) The Rock would be repainted quite frequently - decorated for events and who-knows-what. One time when my brother came home for a visit, he brought me this piece that had fallen off of it and showed almost an inch of spray paint layers! Probably the coolest piece of junk I've ever had. ;)

     I also added some pins to the strap of the bag. The alligator pin is from a set of two vintage scatter pins that belonged to my great grandma. I have both, but only attached one to the bag; I like to wear the other one sometimes. They're so quirky! 
     The other pin is one we got at my other brother's first craft show. (He's a wood turner and sells wooden bowls, pens, jewelry, etc.) Plus, I thought "Creative Kid" was a pretty appropriate title for myself. ;) 

     And finally, one of my favorite changes that I made to this bag was the Shakespeare quote I embroidered on the strap.

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." 

This is one of my favorite quotes; I like to think it describes me. ;)

     I love that my tote is full of stories now. Some history of the lives that led up to mine, stories of people I care about, places I've been, things I've done, memories made. It kinda makes it feel like I'm carrying around a piece of art, or a library, or a mini-museum.

     Do you think you'd ever want to personalize a bag like this?


  1. Wow, that's so great. Love it. :)

  2. Love the adjustments you made! That "creative kid" badge is awesome.

  3. Waw, this is just so personal! It must be amazing to drag all these memories with you everywhere you take the bag :) And wow, your family lived in Indonesia. Your family is sew ceeeewl! ;-) No, but really, that's amazing!

  4. How lovely! I love the meaningfulness behind everything. The quote was such a clever idea, too!

  5. This is fantastic! I love how you can carry your mementos everywhere you go!

    Anna x

  6. Dude, that is way awesome! I love all the additions you made... and that quote? = perfect.

  7. AWESOME. Now I want to personalize a bag! :P

    1. By the way, I nominated you: http://artsypeacock.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-sunshine-award.html

  8. You are carrying around more than a piece of art, you are carrying YOUR piece of art, the one in which you can find the most of you. ;) As always, unique.


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