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Inspired by Mary Frances

Back in January I introduced you to my friend Mary Frances – well really, to her amazing purses. I’d found them onboard ship on our cruise and just HAD to bring a couple home to live with me.

My Granddaughter, Bea (the fancy one!) was with me as I unpacked the purses, and I wish you could have seen how her face lit up. I’m sure it was similar to how mine looked when I first saw them! And, truth be told, I KNEW when I bought them she would love them, but there are limits to how much I will spend on a purse for a child (no, really!) and this FAR exceeded that amount.

But there are few limits to how far I’ll go to try and come up with something similar, and so the internet search began, to no avail. I found nothing even close.

So what’s a Gaga to do?

Well, THIS Gaga starts creating. I’m pretty sure Mary Frances wouldn’t mind, especially if it cultivates a new young customer down the road. This is the one I used for my inspiration.


First, we had to come up with a base purse. Finding one with a hard shell that wasn’t too awfully expensive, was looking like it wasn’t going to happen, so we got a soft-sided one. I had some reservations, but I could imagine how it might work. What I DIDN’T want to happen was waiting so long for just the right thing to come along that the thrill would be gone and the project die.

Then we began collecting little beads, trim, fabric and sparklies that might work. I couldn’t find any beaded flowers, and REALLY wasn’t up for making my own, but I was able to find quite a few little treasures. I didn’t worry about how they would all fit together, because she’s a fancy girl, so if we didn’t use them for this project, there would be others. I had in my mind a purple brocade (and thought I might be dreaming) and there it was! Woohoo! It was coming together nicely.



Then we stumbled upon a hard-sided purse that was just right – right size, right color! It was a cocktail bag and on clearance after the holidays for a reasonable price, so bye bye soft purse. We’ll use you for something some day or donate you. No big.


The icing on the cake was finding a jeweled queen bee! Bea’s icon is – you guessed it! – a bee, and one wearing a crown with lots of bling couldn’t “bee” any more perfect!

The next hurdle was finding the time. Day after day was going by with no time for a special project like this.

So when it came time to head for Maui, I tossed it in the bag, hoping we would have enough down time to at least get it started.

Enter wet weather and we were stuck inside more than we expected to be…it turned out to be good for something. We finally had some time.

Step one was to cut a scrap of the brocade fabric and glue it down, followed by adding the lavender trim. Then it was time to get the bee glued in place securely enough to hold up. Plan A depended on the glue being strong enough to bond the metal bee to the fabric. Plan B would mean ditching the bee and going for just the flowers, which wouldn’t be TERRIBLE, but not perfect. So we slathered on the glue, positioned the bee, and put a heavy box on top of it. Bee’s job was to keep checking to see when the white glue turned clear. Then we would know it was through drying and could check to see if it stuck.

It took HOURS (although to Be a it felt more like days – weeks even!) And then the big test. She turned the purse this way and that and swung it around. Yep. It looked like it was going to hold.


I think it’s pretty cute just like it is, but she has her heart set on lots and lots of beads (like Gaga’s) so we’ll keep going. This is one of those things where gaudy is good. I was going to stop here for the day, but I was kind of anxious to see what the gems would look like…


Then I got to wondering how difficult the little beads would be to glue on, so I started, then had a hard time stopping. It is kinda addicting in a sick and twisted sorta way. But then my eyes started tweaking, my fingers were covered in dry glue, and it was taking too long to get each bead on, so I forced myself to take a break.


It’s going to take awhile because that whole silver area needs to get covered…

I have a whole new appreciation for why the purses are as expensive as they are! But at the same time (like I said – sick and twisted) she doesn’t make a purse in the colors I want and I’m starting to fantasize about making one for me, too.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress.


About tatterednworn

I am a woman who has committed to living a creative life.

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