Artsy Frida Bag, more Safelight 2021

Ever make something you’re so proud of?? A year ago I made myself a Van Gogh cross body bag with some fabulous digital fabric. I’ve been so happy wearing this bag all year!!! The self-portrait of Van Gogh, the Starry Starry Night backing fabric plus the low-volume lining with Van Gogh’s journal entries. This bag went absolutely everywhere with me, but it has finally begun to show too much wear and tear. It was time for a new bag but first, I had to photograph it for posterity. While I could have made another Van Gogh bag, and I still may, I found a new pathway. Finding Frida Kahlo fabric immediately shifted my plans. But first…let us pay homage to the old bag.

Here’s a photo of the old Van Gogh bag…so sad that it’s being retired.

With Cinco d’Mayo this week, what better timing to play with all things Frida, right? I spent all week celebrating her with my residents!? I was able to give a lecture on her and run several art therapy groups based around some of her later still-life paintings. She was a proud Mexican, female artist who suffered with chronic pain throughout most of her life. There’s a lot I could say about her, but let’s not get me started. If you don’t know anything about her, I’ll just give you a few big facts.

1). Frida was married (twice) to artist Diego Rivera.

2). She had a unibrow, quirky personality and wore traditional Mexican garb.

3). She painted her reality which was honest, direct and sometimes brutally graphic.

4). She made over 60 self portraits, including some with her pet parrots and monkeys.

These wonderful Frida fabric selections inspired me to make this new bag. I wore it for the first time this week and couldn’t stop smiling. The purples and oranges came together for a much brighter bag than I wore before. Frida often added pins, knives and other pointed imagery to demonstrate her immense pain. Therefore, I added the little touch of straight-pin fabric to the inner pocket. I like this little touch, but you can’t beat that lining fabric with multiple Frida quotes. You’ll see a better snippet of the lining fabric in the below in this post.

When you bring an artsy bag into work, it definitely sparks conversation. I spent the last year talking about Van Gogh and it was fabulous. I love to teach a little here and there while sharing details of the bag. Now, I’m talking about the strong female icon artist and it is marvelous. Frida as a conversation piece is perfect to me. When our amazing physical therapist commented that she loves Frida and would love a bag, I went home with a plan. I whipped up this simple zippered tote for her. The photos were taken with an Iphone but you get the gist.

Does anyone else ever feel that it’s not fun to make things for money? I’ve now been asked to make 4 Frida cross body bags. How do I charge for a bag when it’s small, but there’s so much work involved? It has 3 zippers, other hardware, interfacing and more. I just don’t know how to ask someone for the amount of money it costs me to actually make the item? I would do it for no less than $50 a bag but that seems extreme!! I don’t want to resent my sewing therefore, you have to charge for the cost of fabric and hours to sew and prep. How do you all deal with this problem? I work full time as an art therapist and don’t have a side business for a reason. I am creative and all, but it’s much more enjoyable to sew for charity or for fun!

Speaking of charitable sewing, here are my last bags for Safelight 2021. Last week I posted photos of 4 bag sets that I made. You definitely get better the more that you make. I am zipping through these…pun intended! I’ve made ten bag sets, I think, and it’s now time to wrap it all up and send it to Carole. If you want to know more about Safelight 2021, please see my previous blog post and/or Carole’s own blog, Carole appreciates any help you can give. Sewing for charity is wonderful, even as it’s sad thinking about the recipients.

Carole asked for greeting cards for the shelter’s guests. I had fun making some with watercolor, glue, collage and stickers. I made a few cards with the residents at work, but we had the wrong size. I’ll give it a second try with them. Safelight is a good cause (for a domestic abuse shelter) and I feel grateful to play even a small part in helping someone get back on their feet. This is my sewing for the week. Despite the pollen in the air (we have green mist everywhere here), I hope you all had a blessed and sneeze-free week.

Linking to: Oh ScrapMidweek MakersConfessions of a Fabric AddictPeacock PartyFinished or not FridayBrag About Your GoodiesThank Goodness It’s Finished Friday.

6 responses to “Artsy Frida Bag, more Safelight 2021

  1. First off – the proper homage to Van Gogh is definitely necessary! that is an awesome bag – and I love your Frieda bag too – what a great way to teach a little art history along the way! Love it!!
    As far as charging – right? I struggle with that – I mean I long arm quilt for a living – but the piecing part… that’s my outlet – but then someone asks to make them a custom quilt, and I feel I can’t say no – but… I’m with you!


    • Alycia, I’m glad you agree with Van Gogh being worthy of praise. I am loving my Frida bag. Yes, the coworker who asked for 4 bags hasn’t asked me again. I’m hoping she will drop the issue because, I’m planning to say no anyways. I don’t have time or interest. The fun of creating is taken away when it becomes a business.


  2. In reference to not making things for money – Just Say No. A business is a business, and once you make one for one person for one price because they asked real nice – then everyone wants one and bad feelings will follow. Making one as a special gift makes you feel good. Figuring out how much they would have to be to pay you a decent (over minimum) wage, then making it stick: that’s not fun anymore. I love both of your bags, and they inspire me. So thank you for that. And thank you for your charitable work, it is much needed and much appreciated.


    • Cheryl, You’e so right. I would gladly make things and then sell them long before I would do custom work. I enjoy the creative process and having others choose the design…well there goes all the fun. I’m mailing the safelight items probably this Thursday. I am grateful to make things for charities. I get to learn and they get the goods…a win, win!


  3. Carole, I know but they were very, very large. It will give me another project to do with the memory unit again this week. I’ve got the bags ready and will try to send it in about a week.


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