Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who, me?

Tweed Owl Purse

Whenever I see that Anne Frank quotation, you know, the one that says,  "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart," I wonder at the mind that can be exposed to the worst in humankind and still see only the best.

We decide to believe, or doubt, every time we talk to someone. I tend to believe in everyone. Someone cuts in line, and looks to be in a hurry. I cut them some slack. Someone tells me that they are sick, or lost their job, or have a sick kid or a bad marriage so they can't do something that was promised. I always believe them. Someone is driving erratically. I say, "They must be taking their wife to the hospital to deliver a baby." My husband says, "There is no hospital around here."

In order to participate in swapping, I think you need to have some version of my Pollyanna world view. If you assume the worst, you won't want to trade with others for fear of receiving worse than what you got. But I have been trading books online for about two years and recently started trading a few crafts. I enjoy sending things to people. I like to imagine them opening the package and being surprised with the condition of the book or the quality of the craft. When I saw this owl purse on Craftster, I knew that it would be perfect for my partner in a crafting swap I had joined. My daughter and I stopped at a thrift store to pick up a wool jacket, then I washed it with lots of soap, in HOT water. I made a pattern for myself based on the original pictures, then I cut out the pieces and got to work sewing it together. I used a super stiff interfacing and was pleased with the results. But because the purse was so stiff, after the turning process I found that the lining had stretched, leaving extra material to deal with during the final top stitch. Once the project was completed, there was some bunching along the inside edge of the lining, so I included a little apology with the package.

When my partner received the purse, she sent me a generous response and said that she hadn't even seen the flaws. She thought that the bunching was on purpose. A sort of pleat, I suppose.

I choose to believe in people. It is a conscious choice; I am not stupid enough to believe that every crazy driver is on their way to become a new parent. But I always give people the benefit of the doubt. In my life, this kind of way of looking at life has led me to make new friends. It has helped me to stay optimistic during hard times. But it has also led me to trust people who perhaps do not deserve my trust. It has led me to forgive and forget things that would be best left remembered. And it has landed me in a tough situation or two. But here I am, nearly forty, fighting the prospect of becoming jaded. Seeking light is a worldview worth striving for; I want to be the kind of person who looks at bunched up top stitching and sees pleats instead of flaws.


  1. I have been called "Little Sally Sunshine" by others for trying to have a positive outlook! That quote is one of my favorites too. Beautifully written post.

  2. Thanks. I'm glad I'm not the only one out here!

  3. I love your owlpurse as well as your outlook on life. Yes, there are people and things in life not deserving of trust, but like you I stive to look beyond the flaws. :)

  4. do you have this pattern to share? You did fabulous job, I'd love to make one.

  5. @quiescent: If you click on the link above (where it says "owl purse") it will take you to the original purse. She has pictures of the cut fabric before assembly--they are easy shapes to reproduce (basically an egg shape with a chunk taken out of the top). I cut a piece of regular copy paper to mimic the shape, then used that as a pattern. You'll need two in tweed and two in liner fabric. You'll also need a set of strips 4"Xaprox.24"(the distance from the tip of one ear, down the side and then back up to the second ear) and another set of strips 4"X36" (or whichever length you desire for the strap). I am not a very experienced seamstress (do people still use that word?) and I still managed to figure it out from the instructions on the page I linked to above. If you give it a try and you get stuck, feel free to send me an email and I'll be glad to try to walk you through it. Good luck!

  6. A lovely post, thank you for sharing! I have sewn a few owl bags and found your sweet purse thru craftgawker just now. There is nothing better than happening upon a real person amidst all this crazy craftblog business. I'm pleased to be your newest follower.
    Excited to see your future posts,
    Rikka J.
    Ricochet and Away!


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