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Now y’all know I really enjoy a great thrift store find, right? It’s true- and what defines a “great” thrift store find doesn’t always equal its monetary value. Sometimes it’s just how much I simply love it- and let me tell you- this skirt was love at first sight!

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Just seeing the print made me happy. I didn’t know why at the time, it just did. But I didn’t buy it. Well, not THAT day.

I didn’t buy it because it wasn’t my size, and happy as it made me to meet such fun on a hangar, it’s just silly to buy something I will never wear.

Or is it?

A few days later it dawned on me: THIS is why I loved the skirt: it reminded me of my 1960’s era Yellow Submarine lunchbox (with matching Thermos, thankyouverymuch!)

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The pink is THE pink.
The orange is THE orange.
The yellow is THE yellow.
The teal? Oh yeah. It’s THE teal!
And that’s why, fit or not, I needed to go back and rescue that skirt from the size 10 thrift store rack!
So I did.
And it made me HAPPY

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Happy

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HAPPY!

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And you know what I did next?
I cut it up.

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Oh yes I did.
And I made THIS out of it:

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Here’s another shot of my Happy Yellow Submarine purse: (I’ll tell you about that wall in the background a little later.)

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Did someone just say, “SQUEEEEEEE!”?
Oh, sorry, yes, that was me. I’m still pretty happy over this whole skirt-doesn’t-fit-but-I-bought-it-and-made-a-stinkin’-PURSE-out-of-it thing.
If you wanna try to make one, here’s the recipe:
Shop the fabric – not the sizes- in the thrift stores. (Note: I also shop the buttons & lace parts of thrifty clothes!)
Bring it home. (You don’t have to wait for pleasant childhood memories to lure you back to the thrift store, where *GASP* someone may have bought it!)
Cut it as you wish. I cut the fabric about 1/2″ longer than the depth I wanted in the purse. I also cut a strip to serve as the shoulder strap and I cut the flounce off the bottom. If you happen to have a “flouncy” bottom on your skirt, just cut about 1/2″ above the ruffle so you can sew it back on later.
Once everything was cut, I took a deep breath. As much as I love the fabric, I didn’t want to be disappointed if my project didn’t work out! I decided that I could enjoy the fabric as a little pillow for the car, or maybe a scarf, or at the minimum, a pin cushion for my sewing table.
Once I figured out all-is-not-lost, I began sewing.
I happened to have some webbing in my stash, and it was just the right length for a shoulder strap.

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I had to trim the fabric down a bit. Let me just mention that I really winged this whole thing- there was no “exact” measuring and when I cut the fabric, it was often uneven. This wasn’t a big deal since I was going to be happy regardless. (See car pillow, scarf, pin cushion above.)

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I top-stitched and poof! We have a shoulder strap.

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I needed a closure of some sort so I dug these out of my hardware stash:

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And sewed them inside what used to be the waistband. I used a scrap of ribbon for added support. Oh, and that metal doohickey that goes on the back of the magnet? Yeah, I lost one. It’s probably in the carpet somewhere, but I was too busy being HAPPY to stop, drop and search, so I forged ahead!
Next, I actually had to UNDO this because my magnet was not strong enough to connect with fabric covering it.

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It was time to add the shoulder strap. I decided I wanted the zipper on the side and since it’s nylon, I could sew over it. This would keep it closed.

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I added the ruffle – flounce just below what was the waistband but is now the top edge of my purse. I simply sewed up the bottom of the bag and VOILA! Momma’s got a brand new bag!
Happy? Oh yeah. It’s got happy written all over it!

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Here it is in a different pose:

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And here it is at church: (we went to Saturday night service. We love the option of Saturday church!)

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A few notes: this was simply a fun project. I didn’t sweat out stuff like accurate cutting or seams or fancy, clean finishes. I wasn’t sure any of it would work out but since it did, I’ll enjoy using such a fun bag!
Note also that the fabric puddles- it’s a poly blend and very slinky so the bag doesn’t have stability. I’ll use a zipper bag inside to keep the little stuff from spilling out.
Final note: that wall. Talk about things that make you happy?! My daughter and son-in-law faux-finished this for me as a Mother’s Day gift several years ago. I blogged about it HERE
Thanks for stopping by! God bless, thrift on and be happy!
Kathy Bo

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Crafting typically brightens up the world of not only those who create sweet handmade items, but also those who receive such treasures.

But there comes a time when making something is the only thing you can do to offer support and comfort.

The situation is that I’m close enough to a neighbor family that I (along with many, many others) was devastated by the loss of their precious newborn child. But like many neighbors, not so close that I was “needed” for hands-on during their darkest hours.

It’s one of those times that privacy, rest and quiet are the greatest needs. Primal needs. The last thing they needed was to have a parade of folks in and out of their home asking what they could do. We did all we could; the ones who babysit kept the toddler. The ones who walk dogs walked their dogs. The rest of us joined those helpers by praying.

When I was asked to make a card to share on behalf of the neighborhood, I put my whole heart into it, because finally, FINALLY, I could “do” something “hands-on” for this precious young couple.

Powerless. That’s how we all felt- and still feel. There are no words. And so amidst the days of constant prayer and an unbelievable amount of tears, I went into my studio and sat down.

The young mommy loves bright colors, so I tried – really tried- but nothing came together. Likewise, a stoic sympathy card would not express what we as a community felt because just days before, we would have hoped to send cards of congratulations on the birth of this sweet little one.

No, it needed to be soft. Gentle. Not sympathy. It needed to offer support for this little family who desperately hung on to hope and their unwavering faith in God throughout every moment.

And so I made this.

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Psalm 42:8 is stamped on the front. It offers encouragement and said just what I felt it needed to say. “By day The Lord directs His love. At night His song is with me.”

The colors are soft and quiet. Respectful. Gentle.

I was finishing up the card when I received a text.

Do I have room at my house for family members who are flying in for the service?

Of course I do.

As I was making an envelope to go with the card I thought of the guest room, meals, comforts for weary travelers. Suddenly I have a lot to do.

Hug your kids.

God bless you and yours.

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Certain Security

Posted: September 16, 2009 – 12:15am

People are worried about their finances these days. Saving for the future is a big deal. Working hard to have savings, checking balances, watching stock exchange reports, it’s all part of the everyday. Economic turns in the past many months prove that many of the most solvent planners have lost big time.

When young people marry and start their lives together, love is enough to see them through. Nearly 33 years ago my husband John and I set up our household with mom and dad’s sofa, a delightfully decorative Spanish L-shaped monstrosity that had some sort of gold corduroy fabric covering its cushions. The black wood was striking against the faded gold fabric that had somewhat survived through many years of four kids jumping on it and adults napping upon its former luxuriousness.

But we were grateful for having something to sit on, and love saw us through.

Our cars were old. One was a 1966 Plymouth Fury. It was a land shark, which might be cool to have now but back then it was like driving that Spanish sofa monstrosity along city streets. The other was a 1968 Grand Prix. He and I bought this when we were dating. It cost $850 and we combined our measly paychecks to make payments for nine whole months. I spent a lot of frightening moments as I had to pour gasoline straight into the carburetor. More than once a flame shot up as I started the vehicle. Putting gas into the engine was a prerequisite for driving, as it often wouldn’t start without it.

Just as we were thankful for the ugly sofa we were also grateful for having something to drive because we were kids in love and we didn’t care. And even though I was stranded more than once along the highway, love was enough to see us through those times.

When we began buying “nice” things, we could only afford the kind of stuff you have to put together yourself. A book of instructions would be spread out on the floor with parts strewn about. We would help one another with each step until the project was complete. It was part of the whole “love” thing, and we enjoyed going through it together.

Economics are a fact of life, no doubt. But money shouldn’t define us. It shouldn’t matter if we have the latest and greatest of things. They will all end up in a heap at the dump one of these days. None of the “things” that we slave for are eternal. There’s not one electronic or metal or plastic or paper that is going to be there when all is said and done, and there certainly isn’t a human that will be there when all is said and done.

So what do we have? Ephesians 5: 5 says, “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” I love this because the Bible says “certainty.” I have not been to a single bank or retail store that can offer “certainty.” Money back guarantees? Sure, but certainty? I haven’t seen anyone to offer that, ever. We need to consider if we are immoral, impure or covetous. Do we idolize our “things” or other people??

Embracing immorality and impurity, being covetous or idolizing isn’t going to give us any eternal security of the biggest inheritance that is just waiting for us. What if we’ve already been these things? We have. We’re human. We ask and God will forgive us for it and we can move on. Toward Him.

Forgiveness will be given. A brand new life is promised. A few verses further in Ephesians tell us, “…you were formerly darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord; walk as children of light.”

Wow. We can toss out that tattered former life, the one we had to pour frightening things into just to keep it running. The one that was faded, ugly and worn and we can walk as children of light. Especially now, God’s love is enough to see us through. His promise is certain. He gives us eternal security.

He’s even given us a book of instructions. It’s all just part of that whole “love” thing that God offers. The difference is that His won’t fade or break down. It’s forever.

And it’s guaranteed.

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The long-awaited gift

(Photo: Savannah Morning News)

This past Father’s Day, The Boy and his wife Emily came to visit my husband John. His gift was a book they had selected special for him.

I was in the kitchen but they wanted me to be with him when he opened it. I sat down in my recliner. “No, mom,” The Boy urged, “Sit here, beside dad.” I got up and sat beside my husband on the sofa.

“OK,” Emily said. “You can open it.”

John isn’t what you might call an aggressive gift opener. He looked at the gift, turned the package over and began gently tearing it open. I thought the two kids were going to burst. I also thought it must be a really great book for so much anticipation on their behalf.

“Dad, open the card. The CARD!” Emily reached over and patted her excited husband’s arm. Gee whiz, The Boy was really into this whole gift-giving thing. Marriage was serving him well, indeed!

John opened the envelope and pulled out the card. The front of it said, simply, “Grandpa.” I didn’t notice. Besides, if I had, I wouldn’t have said anything. It wasn’t polite to point out that they’d picked the wrong type of card.

I once received a card congratulating me for a promotion I’d received at work. “Congradulations!” it said, complete with an illustration of a black graduate’s cap and gold tassel. I didn’t point that out either.

So John opened the card. “Read it with him, mom!” Obviously I wasn’t doing this right. It was dad’s card, not mine, so I was going to wait my turn.

I leaned a bit closer so I could read the handwritten note.

“For Father’s Day we wanted to give you something special so we made it ourselves: your first grandchild! Y’all are going to have a grandbaby in February.”

I have no idea what John did once he read the card. I was too busy bolting from the sofa, yelling and hugging the kids. I would later discover another note on the card. “To mom, even though it is Father’s day, this is your gift, too.”

We’ve spent the last few months eagerly anticipating the current ones, the time that we can actually see that we have a real grandbaby on the way. Our beautiful Emily is radiant and our son beaming. They promise as many children as God allows, and we cannot wait for the gifts our Lord has for our otherwise somewhat small family.

At some point, John says it was the evening of Father’s Day, I began enjoying a renewed interest in babies. I’ve held them, asked the moms tons of “baby” questions and even offered to babysit for a neighbor.

“We need the practice,” I assured John when he almost fell over. It is known by those closest to me that I don’t “do” babies. Well, maybe so, but I’ve never been a grandparent-in-training before, so it is time to make a change.

This week John and I have been invited to accompany The Boy and Emily to the ultrasound. The rule was placed before us: we are not allowed to exclaim if we think we know what it is because they don’t want to know. They want to be completely surprised at the time of delivery.

No problem. In the event Ninja Man can decipher the secret code, he and I will keep it secret. It won’t be easy and February might seem a long time from now, but it’s the least we can do for this precious couple who are experiencing one of the most blessed gifts of life and, in turn, making us grandparents for the first time.

Proverbs 23:25 says, “May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!” We can’t wait for that special day in February when we will receive this new blessing of God’s grace on our family. God is so good.

Kathy Bohannon is a Georgia Press Association award winner and regular contributor to Effingham Now. E-mail her at kathy@bohannonink.com.

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