Thursday, 26 November 2009

Nifty Footwork!

As you may have realised from reading my blog and visiting my website, I like to recycle where possible. I hate throwing anything away that may be of use, so I try to utilise items in other ways, such as making my handbags.

About three years ago, I went to a summer wedding and bought a new pair of pale green, fabric shoes to go with my outfit. Being England in the summer, needless to say it rained! My pale green shoes ended up caked in mud as the wedding reception was in a marquee in a field. Despite my best efforts to clean them, my shoes still had mud stains and were relegated to the back of the wardrobe for the next three years!

Whilst the shoes weren't particularly expensive, I couldn't quite bring myself to throw them out as they were perfectly wearable - just grubby. I couldn't even donate them to a charity shop for sale as they weren't in good enough condition. A few weeks ago, it suddenly struck me that I could dye them and try to cover the mud stains.

I bought a packet of black dye which was suitable for leather and fabric shoes. It could also be used to dye belts, handbags and anything other accessories you wanted to change the colour of. I was a bit cautious but thought I really had nothing to lose other than the £5 cost of the dye and a pair of shoes that were ruined anyway.

The kit came with an abrasive pad for roughing up the surface of leather before dyeing. As the shoes were fabric I didn't need to do that bit. There was also a small brush for applying the dye, so I just went for it and merrily painted it onto the shoes. It was actually much easier than I thought it would be. The dye soaked into the fabric really well and spread right up to the edges of the soles, so I didn't even need a steady hand. Even the straps were quite easy to do.

Having left the shoes to dry out over night, I was really pleased with the result. My pale green shoes were now transformed into a wearable pair of black ones. The dye is really even and, according to the instructions is completely colour fast, so it won't run in the rain! I am yet to try the shoes out but with the festive season fast approaching I am sure I will find a reason to wear them soon. The shoes certainly won't be in the back of the wardrobe anymore, that's for sure.

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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christmas Ideas and Postal Dates

I don't think any of us need reminding that Christmas is fast approaching! If you haven't already finished your Christmas shopping why not take another look at what From Rags To Bags has in stock. There is really something for everyone ....

Why not treat someone to a new handbag, or even a vintage one for that matter.

The cotton shoppers make a really useful gift at an affordable price. New butterfly bags and cupcake bags have recently been added at only £6 each.

Teenagers love handbag charms, whilst younger children love the beanbag frogs and juggling bags. Learning to juggle can keep them quiet for hours on Christmas Day.

If you are looking for something more practical, then why not take a look at large variety of lavender, rose and lemon verbena scent bags at only £3 each or the door stops, at only £10 each, some of which are hot off the sewing machine!

Please note the last guaranteed postal dates for Inland and Airmail services ....

International Airmail - 4th December
Europe Airmail - 10th December
UK only - 21st December

Full details can be found at

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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Welsh Tapestry Handbags

I am always on the lookout for vintage handbags to add to stock. It never ceases to amaze me how many are still in circulation, there is truly something for everyone. I tend to only stock handbags I like and am probably a bit on the fussy side. One style of handbag which has intrigued me for a while is Welsh Tapestry. Last week I was lucky enough to finally come across one in my local town - absolutely nowhere near Wales!

Welsh Tapestry, as the name suggests, is a traditional woolen cloth similar in texture to tweed. It was and still is produced by Welsh wool mills using a double weaving process which entails weaving two cloths together. Unlike tapestry pictures which spring to mind, Welsh Tapestry uses geometric designs. The double weaving process means that the pattern is the same on both sides of the cloth.

It was during the 1950's that the trade in Welsh Tapestry items really took off, with the increasing tourist trade. The cloth was used for a variety of small household items which were perfect as tourist mementos. As well as handbags and purses, Welsh Tapestry was used for placemats, drinks coasters, tea cosies, bookmarks, jackets and naturally blankets. With the tourist market being the main target group, it is hardly surprising that a vintage Welsh Tapestry handbag turned up in my town. It was no doubt bought and loved following a happy holiday in Wales.

The colours and designs of the geometric patterns vary greatly, with designs no doubt being attributed to certain woolen mills and areas of Wales. A collector would possibly know at a glance which mill produced a certain pattern - a bit like Scottish Tartan belonging to certain Clans.

I have no idea where my handbag started out, the label just reads "Real Welsh Tapestry All Wool". The perfect condition of the cloth after all these years is testament to the quality of the fabric though. I would certainly consider buying some new Welsh Tapestry items in the future, as they are still being produced for sale today. This just goes to show how desirable Welsh Tapestry still is after all these years.

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New Charms in Stock!

Having completely sold out of all of my handbag charms last week, I have had to quickly make up some more for the website.

All of the charms are unique and are made using beads reclaimed from broken up jewellery as well as some new beads and handmade beads. Some of the handmade beads are ceramic and glazed with dry glazes but most are beads I have made from fimo.

Hopefully the new charms will be popular as the previous ones. More will be added to stock shortly - when I have time to make them!

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