Thursday, February 20, 2014

All I Want is Home (Shaped Purse) Somewhere (1970's Craft Purses)

Good morning!

We are inching towards the weekend on this Thursday work day...did you fellow Nashvillians hear that Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel is in town? THIS IS NOT GOOD NEWS. The cold and the warm weather fronts are threatening to mix it up later today, to the point that we're in a severe weather warning riiiight about the time I get out of the library downtown. Nerts to that, I say. I parked in the garage here (as opposed to the free lot in LP Field) as an extra precaution, but I'm sure we'll make it one way or the other. If my house doesn't get blown away to Oz, that is!

Speaking of houses, I've been looking at the CUTEST purses on Etsy and Ebay lately. I was originally trying to find a needlepoint pattern for this purse, which, though sold, is possibly the most darling thing I have ever seen in lo, these twenty-eight years on planet earth:

Could you DIE it's so cute?
As I continued combing through listings with the search terms "vintage house purse", I saw about a dozen OTHER purses, these done in a much more doable for me painted and decoupaged style, that are just the kind of real estate I'm in the market for. Want to see what I saw?

Funky Little Hand Made "House" Purse

What's neat about THIS purse, for example, is that I'm sure it looks exactly like the house the girl who made it lived in at that time in the seventies'. Look at the little shingles on the roof, the cross hatched windows, and the sliding glass doors in the back that would have gone out onto a patio. These whimsical little creations inspire in me the same thrill miniature doll house furniture would have twenty years ago-- but look! It has a semi-practical application! I can haul around my lipstick and gloves and cell phone and bank card in it!

Purse Vintage Wood Box Purse House 1970s
I love how representative of the seventies' fiercely proto DIY craft scene these purses are. While my mom wasn't much interested crafts (she was more of a baker), almost everybody I knew in high school had a mom with a teenage past that included making macrame purses, ceramic cookie jars, painted panels of nature landscapes... if there was even an inkling of artistic temperament in these women, they put on a Joni Mitchell record and set about the business of hand-crafting some great, hand tooled leather purse or needle-pointed thicket of thistles. "Oh, that?" they'd say, as me and my gal friends ooh'd or aah'd over some seventies', fringed and embroidered jacket in a photo album, "I made that. I used to embroider stuff for people all the time." At a time in the late nineties' when embroidered jeans were as hot as they were exactly thirty years earlier, they might as well have said they could effortless conjure spirits or play Rachmaninoff-- if you are secretly gifted at this, why wouldn't you be doing it all day, all the time, 24/7?!  Us: "WHERE IS THAT JACKET NOW?!" They: "Oh, it got torn or thrown away or given away, I'm sure, that was a hundred years ago." Le sigh.

Vintage Wooden House Purse - Folkart House Hand Bag - 1970's Wooden House Purse - Folkart Box Purse
Another thing brought to mind was how neat, in a pre-social media world, it would be to make one of these crazy things and take it to school on Monday morning like "Yeah, Tina and I were over at Jessie's house and we all decided to make these decoupaged purses in the shape of our actual houses. How long did it take us? Ahhh, about five Joni Mitchell records. Maybe a little longer." [Time was computed in the seventies' in Joni Mitchell record lengths]. That the idea had to come from a magazine or another one you saw, and that the volition to do it would have nothing to do with how many likes you would get when it was done, is such a dear thought to me.

Check out the little blue bird of happiness above the window on this "Happy House", the floral accents, and that the house itself is winking at you from the west side of the structure.

Vintage Novelty Happy House Log Cabin Wooden Handmade Purse
Vintage Wooden Dollhouse Purse
The one above is heavily shellac'd, but look how well it's stood up as a result of that. I noticed some on Etsy, which I just didn't share in this post, that were probably brought into being by the less artistically accomplished of those seventies' girl artists-- it was funny looking at one or two like, "Huh? Is that a window or part of the tree?" I bet that's what mine would look like! I would start out with these grand aspirations and end up with one of those houses that looks condemned in the lower end of the Zillow search scale.

Look at the pine tree looming over the roof in this one! The girl that made this one was actually VERY TALENTED:
Vintage Wood Box Purse of House
The 3D door and window boxes and plant on this one are especially nice touches, not to mention the formerly-a-necklace? bird and nest over the door:
Whimsical Hand Painted Wood House Handbag c 1970

Simple, but professional:

And one of the best/weirdest ones-- while I saw several that were shaped like buildings-other-than-houses (a general store, a one room school house, other appropriately vintage and sentimental settings), this one just slew me. "The American Opinion Bookstore"-- this artist made a bookstore specializing in politics, complete with their sweet ride parked out back of the building! Click the link to see the other two sides, this purse really is BURSTING with personality (PURSEsonality? Oooooh, so bad...).
Well! I have to wrap up a few things before I meet a friend down here for lunch (grape leaves, watch out! We're coming for you!), but let's talk! Do you have any purses like this in your collection? Have you made or known someone who made one of these back in the day? Which one are you ready to put a down payment on if it's available for immediate occupancy? I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)

Have a great Thursday, pray that the tornadoes don't blow us off the map, and God willing, I'll see you tomorrow for Photo Friday! Take care til then.


  1. Yes, Jim was in out town last week and it was not good at all!

  2. I never knew these kinds of purses existed! Maybe I could afford to live in one of these starter homes? lol :)

  3. I didnt know these existed either. One more thing to obsess over

  4. A few weeks back a friend sent me a picture of one of these purses and said, "This is pretty wacky tacky, right?" Wouldn't you know it, I just happen to have an unfinished-wood birdhouse kit in my crafty stash and thought that it certainly needed to be turned into a purse. Now we just have to see if my skills are up to the challenge!

  5. Stay safe! What a winter we've had. I adore this collection - how fun. I think I'm partial to the Happy House :-).

  6. Who doesn't want a purse that looks like their very own house, I ask you?? Love these!



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