Friday, November 27, 2009

Old Bag, New Tricks!

Here's another oldie from the past, but with gift-giving time coming up, I thought this might give you some ideas.

As you may know, I make Hooch Bags that make a perfect little something for that saucy, someone special in your life. Basically, they're vintage bags filled with funny money, a nip of booze, a vintage surprise and candy cigarettes making for a naughty-but-nice gift. It's like a party in a handbag -- all concealed in pretty wrappings

This is one of the first bags I made last year out of a 1960s satin, beaded clutch in perfect condition that I ran across at a Housing Works thrift shop. And since my best gal pal Bevy Smith's birthday was coming up, it seemed predestined for her.

About the same time as finding the bag, I was dumfounded to discover a heap of vintage shopping bags in the recycling pile. I gasped when I spied among them a Bonwit Teller bag from the famous department store that closed its doors in 1990. Now this bag held special significance for me, since it reminded me of the stories Bevy shared with me about her parents purchasing school clothes for her and her siblings at Bonwit Teller and the warm memories she holds for a department store that only lives in memory.

From there, everything started to fall magically into place. I took the beaded bag and filled it with miniature bottles of rum and vodka and nestled them among bills of faux dough. Bevy's own Hooch Bag had finally started to materialize! Enough money in the world couldn’t buy Bevy the jewels she deserves, so I settled instead on the gloriously photographed book, Alchemy: A Passion for Jewels by Temple St. Clair, the inimitable jewelry designer, and wrapped it up in lavender tissue. The crowning moment came when I propped a vintage fan from the 1960s honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. and Bobby Kennedy inside a bed of silk violets that I bought in Manhattan’s floral district, all peering out of the top of the shopping bag.

If you'd like me to make a Hooch Bag for a special occasion or even a holiday gift, email me at and I'll give you all the details.

And remember, on Monday, November 30th, my first ever mystery giveaway begins at The Elegant Thrifter. I'll be giving clues all week long, reveal the prize on Friday, December 4, and finally announce the winner on December 7. I hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful moment shared with family and friends!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hellooo Valerie!

Oh my! Valerie is off the chain!

When I went about creating a hostess gift for Cheryl Maedor of Gardenhouse who hosted a fab event in West Palm Beach last week for The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details, all I had to do was open my wardrobe trunk full of
vintage handbags for another Hooch Bag creation!

She looks all innocent and proper from the exterior -- her chic Parisian frame crafted especially for Saks Fifth Avenue back in the day. And why, she is even sporting a vintage Pierre Cardin scarf. But release her dainty clasp -- and woaaaah -- you discover she's a party gal packed with on-the-go margaritas, maraschino cherries, a TGI Fridays cocktail shaker, packs of candy cigarettes and a cordial glass to boot.

When it gets messy, she has a rain bonnet from Simmons Funeral Home in Kansas City, Kansas; if it's too hot, she's got a fan; and if she's looking for a travel destination, there's a 1940s brochure about Ponte Verdra on the Florida Coast.

Let's just say this daring lady is ready for anything!

If you'd like a Hooch Bag for a gift or special occasion, send me an email at

The holidays are on their way!