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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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