Bags to Have and the Stuff to Put in Them

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One bag doesn’t fit every occasion. Sometimes you require only small purse or wallet for those few basic essentials and other times you find you need a mammoth tote so you can be prepared for every situation. Whether you’re bag of choice is small, medium or large, following are a few of my recent favorite purses and bags along with a selection of some go to essentials to tuck inside.

Fabulous Handmade Bags and Purses for Women on Etsy1. Small Waxed Canvas Cross Over Bag from Cloth & Ink / 2. Medium Cosmetic Zip Pouch from MinneBITES / 3. Large Blue Floral Kallia Hobo Purse from milloo / 4. Large Mint Green Organic Cotton Canvas Satchel from Handmade Therapy / 5. Leather Black Cat Bag from Pelle Volare

Natural and Handmade Beauty Essentials for Your Purse1. Pink Folded Leather Coin Purse from La Lisette / 2. Vegan Peach Mango Lip Balm from The Gnarly Whale / 3. Patchouli Rose Perfume Oil from Scent By The Sea / 4. Coconut Shimmer Salve from Good 4 You  / 5. Natural Ruby Lip Tint from Phoenix Botanicals

Stylish and Fun Handmade Handbags, and Backpacks and Purses for Women on Etsy

1. Burgundy Zig Zag Leather Saddle Bag with Tassels from LaLisette / 2. Multi-color Chevron Stripe Backpack from BagyBags / 3. Handmade Watermelon Leather Bag from LaLiseette / 4. Red Herring Waxed Canvas Backpack from Wooly Bison / 5. Large Yellow Handbag from Hashibags

Must Have Items For Every Woman's Purse1. Fresh Lemon Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E from Pegasus Soaps / 2. Coral & Mint Travel Tissue Holder from Marine Parents / 3. Travel Comb with Mirror from Estee Lauder / 4.Nikon COOLPIX S3500 20.1 MP Digital Camera from Amazon / 5. Zen Green Tea & Mint Lotion Bar from The Pig and the Peacock

According to a recent survey on women’s favorite purse size, 22% of my readers said they preferred a small bag, 22% preferred a large bag and 22% said the size of bag they preferred to carry depended on the situation. 34% of readers chose a medium sized bag as their go to purse size.

As for must have essentials to keep inside, the majority of my readers had to have a lip gloss or lip balm and a lotion or cream at all times. Next up was mascara, a brush or comb and sunscreen. And a slim margin of readers always carried hand sanitizer, q-tips, lipstick, soap and perfume. What is your favorite bag size and what items do you always carry inside other than your wallet, ID and money?

The Cross Body Purse from MinneBITES

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Pink and Gray Handmade Cross Body Purse from MinneBITESFanny packs are convenient and useful, but even closing in on forty years of age, you won’t find me wearing one. Instead, during my vacation at Floyd Fest last week, I chose to instead sport the rather fabulous handmade cross body purse (pictured above) from MinneBITES.

The long strap of this well crafted, handmade purse fits securely across your chest so there’s no fear of losing it or having it snatched without a struggle. This makes it perfect for vacationing in unfamiliar areas, clubbing, the grocery store and even for stashing cash when selling at the farmer’s market or a craft fair. It’s small enough to not get in the way, but large enough to hold all of your essentials – cash, id, phone, lip balm – even a container of Altoids smalls – making it perfect for everyday use as well. I was able to easily stash my new Nikon COOLPIX Digital Camera that I bought for my trip to Floyd Fest safely inside. Plus, with the option of switching to a smaller strap (sold separately,) you can easily make this purse into a wristlet when it suits your needs.

For the grocery store, I like to keep my coupons in the front zipper pouch. Although I’ve gotten so I keep them in there all of the time because otherwise I’ll forget them. (I always want to kick myself when I forget that $5 off a $50 purchase from our local Kroger.) And, because they are in separate compartment they don’t get in the way of other essentials I may need out of this purse on a daily basis.

Handmade Back to School Shark Shaped Pencil Holder by MinneBITES

Additionally, if you follow MinneBITES on Facebook, you’ll find there are perks to being a fan. Aside from receiving notice of coupon codes and new additions, Mary also offers new bags to lucky test subjects at half price! Whenever she creates a new bag style she’s considering for MinneBITES, Mary announces it on her facebook page then puts one of the new bags up for sale at half price in exchange for your feedback later on. This is how I came to own my cross body purse from MinneBITES. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it on her facebook page, and I was quick to snatch it up through her shop on Etsy when she announced it’s availability.  In addition to being both functional and super, it’s very well made.

If this cross body bag isn’t quite your style, don’t fret. Mary sells a variety of cute and compact bags at MinneBITES including some pretty rockin’ pencil holders she creates for back to school in shapes like sharks (pictured above,) snails and ladybugs.

What’s your favorite everyday bag or purse to carry?

Things I Love Lately

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I’ve made lots of new discoveries of fabulous products lately. Here are just a handful of my many latest favorite that I thought deserved some love.
Limited Edition Birchbox - From the Garden

From the Garden Birchbox – Birchbox is a nifty site for those of us that love to try new products. You can get a monthly box subscription for just $10 a month that includes trial-sized samples from both well-known brands and emerging gems for everything from beauty products to home and garden. There’s currently a four week waiting list for the women’s monthly box and a two week waiting list for the men’s.However, in the meantime, you can browse their shop and even pick up their limited edition From the Garden Birchbox filled with seasonal picks. It’s an $89 value available for just $32. I purchased this exclusive box for myself and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I’m also on the waiting list.

They also offer free shipping on products from the current month’s box, free shipping on full size product orders of $50 or more, free returns within 90 days of purchase and free samples and gifts from their bonus shop.

Adagio Thai Chai Tea – It wasn’t that long ago that I purchase a 40 oz. glass pitcher from Adagio Teas along with some Mango Iced Tea pouches when they were offering a special bundle at a reduced price. You simply add one iced tea pouch to the pitcher, fill with cold water and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you have delicious iced tea with almost no work. This has now become my new favorite way to make tea especially since the fibro can make some of the simplest task one of the worst chores.However, you aren’t restricted to their iced tea pouches. You can use any tea you like. I’ve done with with other teas from Adagio that aren’t offered in the iced tea sized pouches as well as teas from other brands. If you buy the 40oz. (4 cup) glass pitcher, simply use four tea bags and allow to “steep” overnight removing the tea bags the following morning. For a plastic quart sized pitcher, use eight tea bags.

Love iced chai? I’m particularly fond of Adagio’s Thai Chai Tea (pictured.) I simply put four tea bags in my 40 oz. pitcher, fill with water and leave overnight. The following morning I fill my glass water bottle three fourths of the way with tea, add a dash of half and half, and a little bit of sugar, then shake. Then I take it with me to work for lunch!

I love that Adagio offers free shipping on orders of $49 or more or the option of low flat rate shipping of just $3.75 for all other orders. Shipping is always super quick and they also offer a rewards program where you can earn points toward free gift certificates.

Eco Friendly Reusable Snack & Sandwich Bag Set from Colorful House – If you’ve been looking for more ways to go green then I recommend the handmade reusable snack and sandwich bags from Colorful House. The color combinations of these cotton bags are modern and all grown up and the inner water resistant ripstop nylon shell keeps food fresh for lunch. Colorful House also sells super cute children’s stuffed toys – including stuffed Dachshunds! – and children’s room decor.

I also love the affordable unpaper cloth napkins from Little Green Nest.

Divide and Conquer Purse OrganizerDivide and Conquer sells an entire line of brilliant handmade purse organizers in all shapes and sizes to keep the purse digging to a minimum. I think these are especially brilliant for busy moms who carry everything for those “just in case” moments and fashionistas who like to have their beauty products handy at all times.

For more of my favorite finds, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

Handmade Bags + Purses for a Fashion Forward Fall

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I love when the seasons change and I especially love when summer slips into fall. Autumn is by far my favorite season of the year. It means new clothes and fun accessories. And to kick off my excitement for the impending fall season, I thought I’d share some fabulous handmade purses and bags that I think would make a serious compliment to your new seasonal wardrobe! Following are a few of my favorites for their exceptional design, style and function.

15 Fabulous DIY Purses for Fall

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Fall is creeping up. What better way to celebrate a seasonal change than to craft a new seasonal accessory? Here are a few of my favorite projects for making DIY purses for fall! This collection of 15 fabulous DIY purses and pouches are perfect for fall – or any season you happen to be falling for!

Cute Japanese Coin Purse from the Purl bee

Craft a cute coin purse from your fabric fall fabric! The Japanese Coin Purse tutorial from the Purl bee shows you how to make this handmade coin purse with ease. Plus it’s small enough you can make it with or without a sewing machine!

Reversible Purse from Martha Stewart

This DIY Reversible Purse from Martha Stewart will fit any season! Make it functional for two seasons by using a spring colored fabric on one side and an autumn patterned fabric on the other!

The Grandview Bag Tutorial from The Boy Trifecta

I love this ruffled purse for fall from The Boy Trifecta. It’s feminine and chic and would go perfectly with your favorite fall outfit. Or go simple with boot cut jeans, a turtleneck, and leather boots. The bag makes the outfit every time.

Art Supply Pouch Tutorial from Whip Up

These Art Supply Pouches from Whip Up make going back to school more stylish than ever. Craft your own for your kids or yourself for stylish craft supply organization that will make your friends jealous.

Plenty of Pockets Tote from Sew4Home

The perfect tote for fall with plenty of pockets, this Plenty of Pockets Tote from Sew4Home makes keeping up with your devices and reading material a snap! It’s terrific for the office or going back to school.

And a few other diy purse craft projects I’ve fallen in love with:

1. Simple Drawstring Coin Purse: A Tutorial

2. Fully Lined Zippered Pouch Box: Pattern and Tutorial

3. The Pleated Pouch Tutorial with Pattern

4. Tutorial: How to Sew a Zippered Pouch

5. Cut-Out Vinyl Pouch

6. Pop-Open Little Purse

7. Book Bag Craft

8. P.S. I Made This…Clutch with a Sharpie

9. DIY: Purse Organizer

10. DIY Color Block Purse

For more great DIY fashion accessory and clothing ideas you can make to wear or compliment your wardrobe, be sure to follow my Fashion Forward DIY Board on Pinterest!