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Since we’ve now given my mother-in-law her birthday gift, I can share the handmade portion:

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The two green yarns were reclaimed from sweaters, and the third is a variegated cotton.

I used the pattern for the Easy Peasy Crochet Bag.  Well, the pattern itself isn’t all that different from tons of other bags I’ve made: crochet a rectangle for the bottom, then crochet in rounds up the sides.  However, she always uses three yarns held together, which makes every bag quite unique, and she includes the picot edging and twisted cord handles, neither of which I’ve ever done on a bag before.

The lining is the piece de resistance, in my opinion, mostly due to its reclaimed nature and the fact that it was fate that kept it hidden in the back of the linen closet and therefore out of the donation bin several years ago when I took its entire sheet set to Goodwill.  It is the exact colors of the yarns.  Pillowcase Kismet.

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To sew the lining in, I followed Future Girl’s tutorial.  I’ve hand-sewn linings into bags before, but this explanation is so clear and simple, and it created a much nicer finish than I’ve had in the past.

(And I must say, while I was upset at first about the need to give up plarn crochet because of my hand/wrist pain, I am enjoying the process of working with actual, fibrous yarn soooooo much more!)

I’m a fan of The Purse Project, but I’ve never been on-the-ball enough to actually participate in her challenges.  Thanks to an extended deadline this time, though, I have one done!  This challenge was to “make a bag incorporating a personal photograph.”  I knew immediately which picture I wanted to use.  This is a photo of my great-grandmother, Faye Faye.  (Named Ethel, she hated her given name and so went by a doubling of her middle name, Faye.)  I didn’t know Faye Faye, but I’ve been feeling closer to her in the past couple of years, as I read through family history notes she wrote years ago.  I was scanning in a bunch of family photos for my parents recently and fell in love with this one.  The inscription on the back of the original says, “Faye Faye – Always Smiling.”

Faye Faye - Always Smiling

Faye Faye - Always Smiling

The challenging bit of this project was deciding what kind of purse to make.  I didn’t want to just print the photo on fabric and sew a bag.  I spent some time Googling and came across this duct tape purse.  Ooh, fun!  I had some more embellishment in mind, but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for.  Rather than settle, I decided to keep it simple.

My "Always Smiling" Purse

My "Always Smiling" Purse

Ignore the wonky flap, please.  I’m going to insert a snap, when the gas shortage is over and I can make a guilt-free trip to the craft store.  And if I can ever find the perfect embellishment…well, there’s plenty of room to add it then.

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Update!!
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Barb commented and suggested that I use an antique button as a closure.  It isn’t at all what I originally had in mind, but I love it.  I dug through the button stash and came up with four very distinct options.  I liked this simple one best.  I don’t think it’s antique, or even vintage.  It’s probably an oldish coat button.  But it’s perfect.  (Thanks, Barb!!)

Always Smiling - All buttoned up

Always Smiling - All buttoned up

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