Thursday, April 29

Winning a handbag, sharing the JOY!

You may have noticed that on my sidebar, there is a button that says "I won a handbag at April Cornell". I learned about April's blog and giveaway from Pat Sloan when she posted about it in her Quilt Mash Up group (go here for her blog). She posted the link to April's blog and said "wouldn't it be fun if someone in the group won!?!" Well, yes it would, and yes I did! I could hardly believe it when I received the e-mail titled....."April Cornell Handbag Giveaway Winner!" I replied with thanks to April's e-mail and then followed that up with thanks to Pat for sending me to April's blog. :-) Then I went to April's website and chose a bag. It was not easy as there were so many to chose from but I selected the Madeline bag that you see here............
I had to do some work to earn my chance for this bag. Yes, there was a question that April posed to entrants and it required thinking! She asked if we had a "Magic Purse, a bag where all of your life is stored?" As a matter of fact, like so many women, the answer is yes! :-) And then she asked, "Tell me what is in your magic purse that tells your tale?" Well, I was in luck because only days before I had cleaned my purse and had written down the entire contents of what was in it. I did it for "a purpose" which I'll tell you about in a minute...but first......here is what I wrote in my answer to her questions........
"My purse isn't very large but I manage to fill it with everything I need and then some. :-) Here's what was in it last week. I cleaned my purse then because it was too full of stuff!! As I did it, I wrote down everything that was in it. That comes in handy for this little giveaway but I had reason for doing it that has to do with a volunteer project coming up in April. In the meantime, I am happy to share what was in my purse. :-) There were 2 tubes of lipstick, a toothbrush and toothpaste from an airline kit, chapstick, emergency earrings (I hate it if I forget to put in pierced earrings), a little bag with nailfile and clippers and cover stick with a mirror and another little case with dental floss and glasses cleaner. There is a watch necklace from my Grandma that needs a battery (been in my purse for a year) and 2 AA batteries (not sure why?). Next there were five ink pens, my favorite mechanical pencil and a fine line permanent marker, my personal checkbook, my business checkbook, business card holder (empty!), post-it pad, mini calculator, glue stick, tiny bottle of Tacky glue, a Magic rub eraser, and my petite Stanley tape measure (comes in very handy on trips to Menards for supplies). One of the purse pockets held a pile of receipts and out-of-date coupons at least an inch thick and another large pocket contained the last church bulletin, the women's guild program booklet, a brochure for donating to the food shelf, a brochure on a quilt appraiser, and an envelope with some of my poems and favorite hymns in case I forget them when doing a program or solo. At the bottom was a 1/2 pack of gum, 1/2 pack of cough drops, a tin of mints and a container of aspirin, Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Oh, and there was a comb, too. I got a headache just looking at all that stuff. So that is what WAS in my purse. I cleaned, sorted and tossed what wasn't needed and put back only 2/3rds of what I just listed. Feels so good when you have a clean purse. I kind of have a "thing" for purses and would love to win your handbag! "
April said that she enjoyed reading this list of what was in my purse and could see me as I unpacked it all. In our e-mail exchange, I told her about a purse donation project that I'd done in the past and that I wanted to share about again. I asked if she would mind if I combined winning her handbag with info on my volunteer project. No problem, plus she said she would send an additional bag to donate to the project. This is the Market bag she sent...........
Sooooooooo, what is the project? I call it "Bags with a Purpose". In 2004, with help from my friends (both quilters and non-quilters) we collected handbags and totebags to donate to the local women's shelter and that's where the idea for this project was born. Why do this? It's simple........think about it........if you had to leave your house in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, what is one of the most important things a woman needs? Her purse. It contains all the important "stuff" she wants to have at her disposal at a moment's notice. Her driver's license is there and money and credit cards and keys and more. Without it, you are lost. But what if you are separated from your purse? When you scramble out of the house due to fire or flood or crisis, sometimes you just go and don't worry about what was left behind. My husband and I lived in Biloxi, Mississippi when Hurricane Camille struck and I remember that we took just a few important items as we left our beachside apartment complex........and my purse was one of them! When watching the footage of Hurricane Katrina, I remember seeing a couple holding hands as they walked through waist-high water. Hanging around the woman's neck was her purse! I thought ..... "this shows how important a purse can be!" After a disaster, if you have your purse, you have identification and can prove who you are and where you live. Without it, things take so much longer. So, if you find yourself in a "must leave" situation, be sure to grab your purse!
Now, with all that said, here is where you can help. You may have a purse in your closet that you've never used. Take it out and then fill it with the things you wouldn't want to be without in an emergency. That list I made when I cleaned my purse, helped remind me what should go in the bags. The items in the photo below are examples of what one might put in a bag.........
Now, if there is no purse in your closet, look for a good buy on clearance the next time you are out shopping.....or stitch up a cute totebag with lots of pockets! Then take the purse or totebag to a nearby women's shelter, homeless shelter, etc. You will feel really good knowing that someone else will benefit from just a few moments of your time and a little expense. They say "actions speak louder than words" so ........ I started this post by telling you I had won that handbag at April's blog. It's a lovely handbag but after thinking on it a bit, I realized someone else might really enjoy it. I have a handbag, several, in fact, so I didn't want to be greedy. I asked April if it would be okay if I gave the Madeline bag to the shelter and I would keep the Market bag instead. She said whatever I chose to do would be just fine. Someone who is really in need will really love to recieve that bag and all the items that I have filled it with!
I have a definite purpose for that Market bag.........it will be my bag that I'll be using to shop for items that will go in the purses/totebags that I'll donate. I've challenged myself and plan to donate a filled bag once a month (I have two locations where I will deliver my donations). The Market bag will remind me of April's generosity in her giveaway and that I must keep on........sharing the Joy!
I hope you will consider doing this project......even if you only do it once! Sometimes just one thing is all it takes to make a difference in someone else's life! Get your friends involved and you could deliver several purses to a shelter or relief center. If you want to share a purse and have no location nearby that will take your donations, you can send them to me as I have more than a couple of sites that will welcome them. Just send me an e-mail (click on the About Me on the Sidebar for my e-mail address). And for those who live near-by, just drop them off or give to me the next time we meet. :-) Edit: I've been asked if bags can be sent along with some cash to purchase items to fill them and, yes, that would be lovely. :-) Also, for privacy reasons, I did not name the two places that I will be taking the purses to but if you wish to know, e-mail me privately.
One last little note........In addition to cleaning my purse that day, I also decided to sort the purses that were on my closet shelf. I set a couple of them aside that I've never used and will donate those, too. But, there are some that I just can't part with because of sentimental value. I told myself no one would want them anyway. Then I realized that many of them are now what we call "vintage". LOL! This is my oldest purse that has that "sentimental value". My husband brought it to me after a trip to the Philippines (military) in 1970. I may never carry it again but I see it and I remember good times. We were fortunate when we left our apartment prior to Hurricane Camille. Not everyone is.
In 2008, several of my friends nearby and my blog readers overwhelmed me with their generosity when you all donated totebags and quilts and more for Iowa flood victims (go here to see a summary of all that was donated) . I hope you don't mind that I am again asking you to help a cause. I always believe that it never hurts to ask for help.
Here's hoping you all have a great day!
Sandi
P.S. I chose to share about this project in April because it is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Don't you think that it's interesting that the purse I won that inspired this post was given to me by someone named April?!!! And not only that but I learned a couple of days ago, that it was April's birthday this week (she's celebrating here ). Happy Birthday, April!

13 comments:

Kaye said...

Sandi you absolutely amaze and inspire us with your goodness and generousity. I am going to send you 2 bags that I made, that hopefully will help your cause.

Pat said...

This is a very good project. In this area, the location of such shelters is kept highly secret (for the protection of the women who go there....many of whom are abuse victims). I will work on pulling a few bags as I have some I don't use and getting them to you. I am wondering if it would make more sense to send you money for you to fill the bags....or do you prefer us to fill them and send them already filled?

joanne lendaro said...

Great post!

Crispy said...

You have a BIG heart my friend. I will fill a bag or two for our local shelter on Friday :0)

Crispy

Maggey and Jim said...

What a great idea.. will check with local shelter and see what they need.Thanks for being such a generous,giving person,
Maggey

Barb said...

What an execellent idea....I have so many totes that I can't possibly use them all.....maybe there is somewhere in Amerika Samoa that I can do that...we will see...if not, I will save them for my return home in Novembere. Thanks what a wonderful post.

Needled Mom said...

This is such a fabulous idea, Sandi. We never think about how valuable our purses are until we sort through them.

We were living in Pensacola for Camille. What a terrifying ordeal that was!!!!

Congratulations on winning the tote and sharing the idea with all of us.

Lori Holt said...

how wonderful.
good for you...:)
x
lori

Owl Lady said...

Thank you for a great idea, simple yet useful. Shelter locations are kept secret here, but our police department could probably connect me with a post office box or drop-off point. I don't think that I have any new purses, but it wouldn't take long to make some. Helping someone else to feel better will make us feel better too.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I have a lot of bags. I really should do this. I love your idea of filling a bag to go with things you would need for a dash out the door thing. Great great ideas.

Inch Worm Fabrics said...

What a wonderful gesture, I am sure who ever receives this will truly love it.

Beth said...

What a wonderful idea. I like to make bags, so if I don't have one ready, I will make one and fill it up.

nicoledemana said...

WOW what an amazing woman you are so caring and inspiring here in the uk I'm not sure where my local shelter is but the hospital is just down the road and they have a premie ward so I will fill some bags for the babies unit keep up the great work thanks for the idea got to go and find some premie knit now lol xxxx

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