Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Giving Back Is The New Chic

Our Story
Now those gorgeous purse purchases that make you feel so good also help others to feel good

Feedprojects is a wonderful endeavor that sells glorious Bags and Accessories. The proceeds of those sales go to feeding children who would otherwise go hungry in areas of the world.  Everything you buy shows clearly the number of meals you've provided.  My tally is up to 75 so far.

Just look at these pretty purses, that are also practical while fun, but most importantly our Handbag Habit is doing good in the world thanks to founder Lauren Bush.

Metallic Mudcloth Harriet Tote Front View100 School Meals
Black Gorilla Pouch Front View25 School Meals

Blair Mini Leather Bag in Brick Front View50 Meals for New Yorkers

After her travels around the world as a World Food Programme Honorary Spokesperson, Lauren founded FEED in 2007 with the simple idea of creating products that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way. Read her story about Feedprojects

Then go visit the Bags and help feed children around the world.  On this website 'tis the season for giving, all year.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

John Met Betty

John Met Betty
What an amazing discovery I've made! I discovered this purse designer when featured at Esse Purse Museum, Little Rock Arkansas (where purses tie to Women's History, if you haven't visited, plan a visit. You'll be so glad you went - see my blog entries about my visit.)  Anyway it took Esse Museum to introduce me to an incredible purse designer right here in my Pacific Northwest backyard.
Meet Jillian Darnell, creative and outstanding artisan who designs and creates these beautiful and eco-friendly purses. I was so thrilled to meet her in "pursen" and be ensconsed amongst her creations. Her purses are the softest leather combined with vintage fabrics. Not everyone can get to one of her shows in the PNW, so be sure to visit her online at
Jillian Darnell has been designing one of a kind vegan leather bags, totes and clutches for over 10 years. Originally from Toronto Canada, she studied fine arts at The University of Waterloo and Fashion Design at George Brown College in Toronto. Her interest in design and leatherwork began while working in the leather industry in Acton Ontario. Jillian now resides on Bainbridge Island in Washington State with her husband, two boxers and two cats. All handbags are created with eco-friendly faux leathers and new and vintage fabrics from start to finish by Jillian in her home studio.

Just hanging out, admiring the shoulder bags. Not only good looking, some organization inside, and such pretty linings.

Do you love the unique name of the company as much as I do?  Here's the fun story behind the name - direct from the designer herself
John Met Betty is named after my grandparents John & Betty Thompson, who shared a flair for style, a storybook romance and a love for the PNW. Jillian's grandparents John & Betty met and married in Vancouver BC, they had their first date riding bikes in Stanley Park. Growing up in Ontario, Canada, I often heard stories about their lives out west, picture books of the west coast lined my grandparents coffee table. It was serendipitous that my husband and I ended up out here 10 years ago, it feels like fate in many ways. With my family history in the PNW and  a love equal to what my grandparents had for this magical place, I felt it was fitting to name my company after them.

Are you a crossbody fan? Check out these lovelies. And here's an awesome twist on it, for those of us in rainy and snowy climates the vintage material is protected with a waterproof exterior. How clever and as you can see it doesn't detract at all from the style.

Well, for all big bag girls, here you go. Not only are these Totes fashionable and have a secure snap closure, they are even expandable for those days you're carrying extra. That front is a nice, big exterior pocket too for ipad, phone, glasses, anything else you need quick access to because it's nice and roomy and is secured with an impressively strong magnetic.

Gorgeous clutches, wristlets. I admit that although I usually favor big bags, it was actually these temptresses that first drew me to learn more about John Met Betty
Again, beautiful leather, and just look at those intriguing splashes of vintage material. That leather trim is confidently held down with a magnetic as well.  Don't you just love a kiss clasp?

Here's my clutch purchase for now, although it was so hard for me to choose.  I'm enjoying carrying it as a wristlet, and after buying it just last night I'm already getting lots of compliments from people.  I'll be back shopping online for the holidays

What a great idea for glasses cases. I already regret that I didn't buy that French Bulldog design while I was there.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Celebrating National Handbag Day with Whiting & Davis

All the best to you on National Handbag Day!
October 10, 2017

Celebrating the national holiday this year after an outing at Antique stores in the beautiful town of Snohomish and found old time glamorous purses by Whiting and Davis. This is the oldest handbag company in the US. It's remained so artistic throughout the decades and is still creating beautiful purses and jewelry, scarves, clothing, wallets, belts, and much more in Massachusetts.

In 1892 Mr. Whiting designed the first mesh bag. Mr. Whiting began in the company as an errand boy in 1876. He worked his way into manhagement and eventually became a partner in 1886. By 1907 he was sole owner. The company started as a true cottage industry, hiring women to hand make the bags in their homes by linking together the tiny metal rings that made up the mesh. By 1912 demand was so high they were pushed to develop an automated mesh making machine.

The mesh bags are all made of metal and they have such a luxurious feel. They're so light to carry. Here you see a bag circa 1920, when a wormn didn't need to carry much in her handbag. These Flapper style purses sparkled and delighted on an evening out.

Here's a close up of the Art Deco clasp and frame. You can also see here the detail of the sewn mesh links. So sorry to see that the colors have faded with time, but you still see the suggestion of its original beauty. Inside the lining is a yellow, satin lining that is so sleek to the touch. Included is a petite interior pocket as well.

Speaking of sparkles, this is a real treasure. In the early days of production, most Whiting & Davis bags were made of sterling silver. This is a real silver tin mesh purse. As more bags were made by machine, they were able to experiment with other, cheaper metals.

This large, round, chain mail style, beautifully shaped pouch bag has an unbelievably smooth and soft feel to it and is incredibly light to carry. You hardly know you're holding anything in your hand or on your wrist with the double chain.

It was celebrity endorsements beginning in the 1920's that kept Whiting and Davis such coveted bags.

Here you can see how flexible the gold chain link is, actually puddling on the table, and turned inside out you can see the matching gold, silk lining.

Thank you Whiting and Davis!

And whatever you're carrying, Enjoy your National Handbag Day

Thursday, October 6, 2016

National Handbag Day Is 10/10/16

What are you carrying on National Handbag Day?  This year it's October 10th.

Some people say the purse you carry says something about your Pursonality

Designer bag - Stick to well known designer labels and prepared to spend all disposable income on bags. If possible, you'd collect all models of bage by your favorite designer. Don't care much about color, style, materials, or size. You're a champagne drinker, whenever corks are popping.

Clutch - Minimalist and a little fancy. You like things simple and clean but don't have so much on your plate that you need to be hands free. Holding a clutch makes you feel empowered and like you could be going on a hot date any minute. You're glamorously girly and love to wear flirty dresses, skirts and high heels. You like to finger the stem of your wine glass as you chat with your friends, or your date.

Novelty bag - Love collecting unusual and strange shapes and probably have a train, bird, house, fruit, etc. Don't want to be boring or "normal". Also look for bags covered in patterns, comic book characters, or other fanciful design. You like pretty drinks like Tequila Sunrise, Malibu Sunset, or Cake by the Ocean.

Impulse bag - Buy because you fell in love with the bag at first sight and have to have it. Don't care what it will go with or if its practical size, or what it will be used for. Can't live without it because so in love. Live life with your emotions on your sleeve, the sleeve on the arm with the bag. You also love passionate drinks like Sangria.

Hobo - Chill girl likes to go with the flow and needs an equally carefree bag to match your free spirit lifestyle. Friends would describe as boho chic. Inclined to live in a year round warm climate and only use umbrellas as decorations in your icy drinks.

Logo - Usually you have just one bag, or few bags, but you like to look fashionable so you want a prominent designer logo on show.  You probably bought it quite a while ago, probably in a sale, but you don't care if it's a design from an old collection or even if it's getting worn as long as the logo is still in good shape. You don't want to spend an exorbitant amount so you'll carry the old one until the next sale of logos. You like drinking Baileys and other name brand alcohol

Tote - You're prepared for anything, which is why you need a bag large enough to carry all your stuff.  You're the one who always has aspirin, bandaids, hair ties, and so on, and enough for everyone. You tend to be a planner and don't like to get stuck without something you might need. You like to drink tequila shots.

Oversized Tote - Busy career woman who's always on the go, so the need for the huge tote to lug around all your essentials from laptop to makeup bag, and sometimes change of clothes. Ready to take on the world and always comes prepared, but you often forget to stop and smell the roses. Remember to relax, it's good for your health. You drink wine, especially Pinot Grigio

Backpack - Super active and love to travel. You're always on the move so you need a big enough bag to hold a lot of stuff and has double-strapped shoulder support. Like the tote gal, you're usually prepared for most situations but you like more comfort. You're a beer and hard cider drinker

Arm Carry Bag - You're independent and fashionable. The arm carry bag fits in the crook of your arm, which pulls out a slightly sassy attitude, but it's because you're confident. You're up to date on the latest trends and like to be sophisticated. You drink daiquiris, martinis, sidecars, and moscow mules.

Shoulder Bag - Loved by downtown gals with cash, and by models. Usually worn with scarves. Drink Makers Mark bourbon and soda.

Satchel - More serious, you take your job seriously too. Definitely not a high maintenance gal, you do appreciate the finer things in life and you have a classic sense of style that you convey through your impeccable power-woman wardrobe. You like to drink Mojitos, gin and tonic, white russian, Jack on the rocks.

Crossbody - Less is more type of gal. Appreciate the simple things in life and skip the 24/7 glam makeup thing. Just need wallet and phone and ready for anything. You like adventurous, and well-crafted drinks like Bacon Cherry Creek, peach margaritas, jello shots

60% of women own more than 10 bags and 3% of women have at least 25 bags.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Collector's Compacts

Lovely 1940s compact from Judith Works' private collection, author of Coins in the Fountain A Memoir of Rome   (Recommended Read!), and friend.  I especially love all the detail on the ladies' dress and the poodle's bow. The interior on this compact for carrying all the essentials is intact.

From Judith Works collection, a compact again from the 1940s.  The delicate scrollwork is fascinating, and notice the finger loop

From Judith Works collection, the bloom hasn't faded from this compact dated in the 1920s.  Its original interior organization was removed at some time so it could be used later by the owner as a cigarette case.  Thank you so much Judith for a glimpse into your beautiful collection!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Vintage Compacts at White River Museum

From the 1940's and 1950's these matching accessories are designed to be carried in a middle size, over the arm handbag from the 1940's or 1950's, like the Evans bag in the picture from the White River museum Bags exhibit earlier this year.  The matched accessories include a powder compact for blush that's leak proof and has a soft velour puff.  Also a one piece pop up lipstick holder, cigarette case, lighter, and comb.  The full set like this, including the purse in 1940 would have been priced at $41.50 + tax.

The Evans Case Company of North Attleboro, MA manufactured American compacts between 1920 and 1960.  The company started by making brass buttons.  As competition in the button business increased, they branched into other items such as picture frames and neck chains for US Navy dog tags.  With the end of WWI, they were looking for other items again.  That's when they started making compacts.  These were a big hit and they could barely keep up with sales demand.

Another option of the time is a compact designed to have all the accessories within it.  Then you carry just the single compact in your mid-size purse.  This one has a pretty gold metal finish.

Here's a real sparkler, rhinestone set.  One of the challenges in collecting vintage is that over time these separate, small accessories get separated and misplaced.  It's more valuable and exciting when you find a collection intact.

Another gold plated intact compact

Pretty compact with faux sapphires.

For when you don't want to carry a big purse.  Instead a holder for converting a pretty, gold plated compact into a sort of wristlet

A collection of "dance bags" by Briggs.  These began as especially fashionable in the 1920's.  Some brands of dance bags, not pictured here, had a metal circle at the top of the extended chain which was a "finger loop".  Inside, the necessities of a compact.

More examples of dance bags

Sparkling evening bag, and notice the intricate filigree at the top of the frame

1920's wallet to carry either on its own, or inside a larger compact or purse

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Antique Purses at White River (Part 2)

This enamel mesh is very flexible and soft to the touch. It's shiny surface and cheery colors are so alluring. Look at the detail on the frame that really adds to the styling. And of course, the popular kiss clasp.

This delicate purse is from 1910 is on the early side of the art deco design. This displayed bag is currently under repair and originally included a small lavendar sachet. The antique purses so often included a small accessory within when purchased, could be a sachet, or a compact, or a small mirror. Over time these pretty accessories were often separated from their original purse, or misplaced, or lost.
This very small bag is from 1905. Remember these purses are primarily for decoration, and for just the ladies' absolute necessities when away from home.

One of my favorites, no subtlety in the gold here, and crowned with a shining, clear, faceted clasp embellished with smaller, sparkling round clear glass. This is one of the early bags with no kiss clasp, and it's a little roomier than many from the era.

The metal mesh in this case is not enameled, instead the orange lining from the bag is seen through the mesh. The corners and edges are a little reinforced, and notice the six dangling metal pearl shapes at the bottom. The silver colored metal frame and large silver color kiss clasp complement the mesh and highlight the colorful orange lining.

What a dreamy, dynamic, midnight blue beaded bag. It's a French metal beaded purse with brass frame. The intricate beading is thickly layered for an extravagant effect.

And here's the matching coin purse with the twist lid.  This was included inside the bag for the original purchase.

This bag engenders feelings of Great Gatsby for me, although it's decidedly prior to that era. The intricate beading is best described simply as art. Look at the details on the frame as well, including the gem stones.

Unbelievably beautiful scrolled frame work on this bag, and again the layered, draping beadwork. In person the shiny brightness of the yellow beads is delightful.