Personal reasons are keeping me away from the computer for most of this week, so I'm using the time to re-post some of my favorite topics from my former blog. This crafty project was originally posted at the peacoat papers in January 2009.
ALTERNATE TITLE: How I Made My GORGEOUS (Ruined) Purse Into a Passable Purse.
One of the last oh-so-intellectual reality shows I worked on shot for 32 days straight, 24 hours a day. It was, hands down, the hardest show I worked on in my television career. Not just because of the insane work schedule but...for reasons I will not list, lest I experience flashbacks and have a seizure right here at the computer.
When we were done shooting, I decided to reward myself with my very first Fancy Purse. One would think that I would go for a designer of more standing, perhaps opt for a classic goes-with-anything First Fancy Purse. And I thought about that. But I could not get this particular L.A.M.B. purse out of my mind. L.A.M.B. is designed by Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, for those of you who don't know. I decided to make my first big splurge on a handbag designed by a pop/rock star instead of going with something more traditional, doesn't that just sum it all up?
I did not regret the purchase. The thing was gorgeous. Supple tan leather and bright white suede, so dramatic! I carried it with pride all through the summer, and through the fall of my wedding. Which means I schlepped it through multiple airports and countries and indoors and outdoors and well, you all know where eight months on my arm might take you. When it came time to retire it for Winter (with full plans to bust it back out for Spring), I couldn't help but notice how FILTHY it had gotten. A couple of my better friends even, um, commented on it. (Here's the only picture I could find of me holding Fancy Purse. We were at a Gold party, do not think The Gorilla dresses like for just any night out.)
But this was not just stuff. I paid a ton of money for this purse, plus I loved it. I took it to the dry cleaners and to the shoe repair shop looking for a solution. I was met with pitiful looks and slow shaking of the head.
The shoe repair guy - to whom I bring practically everything - suggested I dye the suede a darker color. He wouldn't do it himself, mind you, because he was afraid that dyeing it in the same way they dye shoes would bleed and stain the leather. But he sold me a bottle of suede spray. Spray, like spray paint. I was skeptical. He wanted me to spray paint my purse? But a little internet searching later, I saw that people do indeed spray suede. I reasoned that the thing was too dirty to every carry again, I might as well try something. I mean, it's ruined either way, right?
Here are the before pictures. You cannot tell how absolutely ruined the purse is from these pictures, so don't think me a ninny about it.
I prepped it for the suede spray paint. (ahhh, now you can get a better grasp on the dirtiness I had been toting around).
Time to spray...I have a bad feeling about this:
Oh my, it was TERRIBLE! When I peeled the newspaper off, it was just gray and uneven and in general awful. Just not precise enough. It looked, well, spray-painted. I was done. I had to try a new tactic. So I went to the fabric store and bought actual fabric paint, safe for suede. At this point it was just a raging experiment. I plopped myself down on the couch with some old tivo'd Oprahs and set to work. (I started the painting on the front side of the purse. I had sprayed the back side stripe).
This went better. Not perfect, but better. Painting with a paintbrush
let me get deep into the suede, something the spray wasn't doing. Suede
is tricky, but at least I could see what I was doing.
I painted the middle stripe black, but decided to paint the outside stripes dark brown, just for the contrast. I got it all done except for the part around the "L" logo (as seen above). I couldn't get in close enough even with a fine paintbrush, because of the consistency of the paint. I thought I was stuck and reached for my last resort, that trick in every crafters back pocket: SHARPIE.
Yes, my friends, I Sharpie'd my First Fancy Purse. I'm worried it might fade gray or purple (as Sharpie tends to do) but for now it's holding. I'm not entirely pleased with the results, but it's passable. I don't think you would give it a double-take if you saw me at the mall. I took it out on my errands yesterday and felt fine about it.
I feel like in these pictures you see the mistakes even more than you do in real life. It passed The Gorilla's test (he himself is an artist and quite the perfectionist). Here are close-ups of the Sharpie'd "L" and just the suede in general. You'd have to be really close to notice.
So, there are ways to salvage your stuff. Sometimes it takes a little work. My First Fancy Purse is not officially my Errand Running Purse. The Gorilla bought me a new Fancy Purse for my birthday last year, but can a girl have too many?! Probably not.
UPDATE: I didn't really carry the purse that much after this. A few times total. After a little bit of time, it started to fade and then didn't look good in any way. And by that time I had moved on.
I still have it, though. I accept that purses come and purses go.