Make A Handbag That Is Uniquely You.

Make A Handbag That Is Uniquely You.

Michael_story_packageA moment in time. Our life is just a bleep in a never-ending universe. We all hope and wish our fingerprints leave an impression on this Earth. Hidden within your bag creation is the making of a legacy. Multiple hours of craftsmanship and thousands of stitches are passionately drawn together to the revelation of a life worth cherishing. Someday someone is going to open the protective pouch and take a peak into a life worth preserving. It’s a labor of love.

Imagine that special day. Carrying over your shoulder a bag that means the whole world to you. More than the stuff carry, it’s your identity. It speaks about your soul. Reserved for special occasions, that’s what your bag is – a time capsule into the future and a glimpse of your life today to share with others.

I shared with you my son Michael’s story. This bag uses a photograph as the main design. I also created a bag for my dog Josie. Her bag has artwork hand painted and hand embroidered. You can see her story here.

Like I said before the bag can be your life story, your child’s, husband, boyfriend, or pet. It can also be created for your grandmother, mother, sister and girlfriends. 

I would love to hear how you would create a legacy bag. Leave a comment below. Do you think a time capsule is a great idea? What would you put inside the bag?

Using A Photograph To Create A Memory Handbag

Using A Photograph To Create A Memory Handbag

So the biggest problem with telling a story is where to begin. I’ll give you an example here with a story about my son Michael when he was a baby.


My inspiration came from this photo I love of Michael when he was in preschool. I picked a photo here to show it could be done using a photo or the story can be told with art, which you will see later.

There are several ways I could approach the story. I could list facts from when he was a baby like full name, birth date, height, weight, hair and eyes colors, date started to walk, first words, favorite stuffed animal, etc.

Or I could pick an event.

I decided to go with an event because it’s a story that I don’t want to forget. Plus it will be fun to watch his future wife and kid(s) reaction to the story someday.

Here’s Michael’s Story.

Michael Adam Lengyel a sweet, quiet boy who had his own way of communicating with the world. He’s smart, conscientious and sensitive. Carefully observing his world, taking mental notes in his imagination. He understood far more than he could verbally express. One evening during dinner Michael started shaking, his eyes tense, his fist clenched. Just a minute or less then it stopped. Startled by his actions we weren’t sure what just happened. Then it was bath time. As the water streamed into the tub, Michael was sitting in the water hands reaching towards the spout and BAMM! He’s doing it AGAIN! Tensing up, shaking! This time we called the doctor. We rush to his office and after examining Michael the doctor told us to take him to All Children’s Hospital for a CAT scan, watch him carefully and report back if anything happens over the weekend. Come Sunday, Michael is watching his favorite Disney Sing-A-Long Christmas video, and there is a scene where a penguin jumps into the water and bounces out freezing. Michael starts mimicking the penguin – shaking, tensing just like he did before! He’s been acting out what he was watching on TV, not having a seizure! After much relief and laughter we realized we got ourselves a little actor.

Now onto the artistic side of the bag creation. If you are not sure what you want your bag to look like that’s OK I will work with you to find out what you like, your lifestyle and personality. From there I will work up a sketch to show you for approval. The materials I used are organic cotton and linen, with hand fabric painting, dying and/or embroidery added to make up the design.


For this bag, I started with the photograph and scanned it on my computer. In Photoshop adjustments are made to the image so it has some nice contrast. Then I inverted the image to make a film negative and print it onto a film transparency. I lay the canvas fabric on a table and roll Lumi Inkodye over the material until its completely covered with a light damp coating. I place the film transparency on top of the fabric and a piece of thin glass on top of that. Placed it in the sun for 12 minutes and the sun develops the dyes leaving a print of the image on the fabric. After its done developing it is placed in hot water with Inkowash to remove any residual dye from the material. That’s how this print is made for the front of the bag.


The side panel on the front of the bag showcase Michael’s initials. Each letter was applied with Ultrasuede® appliqué and then hand embroidered using an outline bean stitch. The back panel of the bag has his birth date hand embroidered on it along with the Significant Journey logo finished off with two Swarovski® crystal rhinestones.

1417201321305I’m not going to go into the whole making of the bag here but there is one secret material hidden inside the bag. This secret material could possibly mean a whole lot to you. You see I put recycled blue jean material inside the bag. This jean material can come from you. It could be your favorite blue jeans and any loved-ones jeans. Why is that important you ask? Well it serves two purposes –

1. Structurally it gives the bag its body and weight and

2. A piece of you or a loved one is inside the bag.



Now the story is printed on the lining fabric. It is repeated all over inside the bag. But also included with the bag is a laminated 2 x 3.5 inch card with the story printed on it so you can easily pull it out of the bag and share the story with others.


In my next blog post I will show you the completed bag and how you can get one made for yourself. What are your thoughts on a legacy bag? How would you like to see your life’s story featured on a bag? Do you have a favorite bag style? Leave a comment below and tell me what kind of bag you would like to have.

Have You Ever Thought About Leaving A Legacy?

Have You Ever Thought About Leaving A Legacy?

I know what you’re thinking… A legacy?

If you’re like me you might think about it or you might not be giving it much thought. Every day you go through a series of steps that takes you on this journey called life. And that journey transforms into your Life Story.

OK, so how is that leaving a legacy you ask. Well chances are your life is impacting people, your husband, children, parents, significant other, co-workers, and friends… you could even be changing society. Those little impressions on a daily basis touch lives and whether you realize it or not you are leaving a legacy.

But future generations will never know how those little impressions grew into the life they now see unless you tell your story, your children’s story or your love story.

So write your story. But how you ask. The best way is to keep a journal. Every day just write something. What you are grateful for, your joys, your fears, your prayers, your dreams and your miracles. And when you look back you’ll see your story.

How do you preserve your story in a unique way? That’s where I come in.

I’ve been telling stories through my art for over 30 years, I illustrated over 60 romance novel covers for Berkley Publishing in New York City and also licensed some of my designs for the home embroidery market. I can take your story and create a handbag that is unique to you. It’s a co-creation process where story and art come together. This handbag isn’t meant for everyday use (although it can be used that way) it’s made to be a collectible piece of art. Not a meaningless dust collector but exquisitely customized to your style. A one-of-a-kind bag designed to persevere the test of time.

In my next blog post I will explain how I do that by telling a story of my son when he was a baby. You see the story can be of anyone, at any age, even your pet’s story.

In the meantime you can download this pdf that provides you with different questions and ideas to get you thinking about your story. What about you? Got a great story you would like to share, leave a comment below and tell me what story you think would be great for a bag.

Tell Your Child’s Story

Tell Your Child’s Story

This is my son, Michael at 3 years old. I took this photo and adjusted it in photoshop then used Inkodyes and fabric paint to print it on fabric. The photo is inverted in photoshop as a negative and printed onto a film transparency. The inkodye is applied to the fabric and the film transparency is laid on top. Then the whole piece is placed out in the sun to develop for 14 minutes, leaving this beautiful vintage look on the fabric. I painted the teal color using fabric paint to give it an old fashioned hand painted photo look. I am going to turn this into a tote bag with Michael’s baby story written inside the bag’s lining. When I finish the bag I will post photos to show. This makes a beautiful keepsake of your child’s life, hope you agree.

Bleeding Hearts…

Bleeding Hearts…

Here is the final artwork from last weeks post. The fabric is hand painted and hand embroidered with added rhinestones embellishments. Inside the zippered heart is the word “heal”. I can see this panel being finished off as a tote bag with red side panels and black bottom and handles. If you are interested in having this design as your own personal bag contact me for more information.

Teachers Are…

Teachers Are…

These two designs are celebrating those who teach. Teachers are not just those who work in the field professionally but anyone who shows someone else a new way of seeing the world. Could be academic, philosophy or how to create things. If you are a teacher I hope you like these representations and would love to hear how you see yourself.