Leather Initialed Tote

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I love problem solving. There’s something so thrilling to me about finding a solution by repurposing and combining other items. Lately, I’ve found myself in need of a giant bag. Whenever I get home, it takes me three trips to the car to unload everything I couldn’t grab the first or second time. Or when I’m meeting a client and have to bring three bags with me, a purse, computer bag and a second purse to hold my paper samples and portfolio. I got lucky the other day and thought about this problem while I was in a place to do something about it. Usually I’m in the car on the way to work, in the shower or crawling into bed. You know, you always think about the need to do list when you’re in no way able to do anything about it.

So I find myself in Target the other day and everything is on sale, endorphins are at a high and I throw this bag into my cart after browsing the swimsuits and head straight to the toddler clothing without thinking twice. It was exactly what I needed, simple and unpretentious. I literally wanted a bag to dump everything inside of, a la Mary Poppins.

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Armed with the right sized bag, I wanted a little extra pizzazz. I was recently in West Elm shopping for a leather sofa (not mine, sad face) and had some leather swatches from the trek. I almost threw them away, but WHO THROWS AWAY LEATHER. Certainly not me. These samples are free, by the way. I thought about a few different things, ultimately deciding on a single letter G. Then I turned to my good friend Helvetica and printed it out exactly as large as the swatch. It helps to have a design program. I default to InDesign, always. Can I just take a moment and proclaim my obsession for fonts? I can’t go to MyFonts without buying something. I seriously want ALL the fonts.

UntitledI had two free samples from West Elm and flipped over the one I ended up using. In retrospect, I might’ve used the smoother one for this if I were to do it again, I think I like the contrast between the fabric and leather better. Who really cares anyway. Moving on.
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Once the paper letter was cut out, I laid it on the leather to create my outline. I used a sharpie that wasn’t too far off from the leather so if my cut wasn’t precise there wouldn’t be black marks on the leather I would have to keep trimming down. I also used a ruler and exacto knife for the straight edges. Worked better for me that way.
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I got it all cut then cleaned the edges to get ready to apply it.

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I used my favorite adhesive, Super 77 and put a thick coat on the back of the letter. The only thing I don’t like about that spray adhesive is how it gets all over my fingers. This coming from the girl who accidentally superglued her knees together and spent ten minutes freaking out about getting it undone. I mean, I always wanted to be a mermaid, who didn’t, just not like that.

My tips for spray adhesive are nothing new, have an adequate surface underneath, overspray happens and it’s hard to get that tacky out, make sure it’s in a well ventilated area, and do a test spray. The glue tends to build up on the nozzle from previous use and what I think will spray straight on isn’t always the case; so says the side of my face. How boring glue is, sorry.

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Here it is all done! The glue keeps it on pretty tight and haven’t had any problems with it yet.

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So there it is, the bag that says, “Why yes, I made it out of the car with all the diapers, socks, shoes, hot wheels, coffee cups, phone, loose papers and fast food bags all in one trip.” Now if only this bag would vacuum my car. That would be heaven.

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