2 totes; 4 generations in the making

June 4, 2015 Posted by Tracey - No Comments

Generation One: Gramma Burbidge
Many years ago, Gramma Burbidge, who resided in Nova Scotia, made her only trip back to her homeland – Scotland. On her return trip to NS, she proudly wore a beautiful new cape in authentic tartan of the family clan.
Gramma Burbidge is no longer with us but her fabulous cape is. She passed it on to her daughter-in-law, Peggy who held on to it for many years.

Generation Two: Peggy
Peggy had married into the Burbidge family and had two wonderfully amazing children, Brandi and Wade. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out but Peggy managed to hang to three things…her babies and Grandma Burbidge’s cape. Peggy later met my Dad and they married, integrating our families together. We had many happy years as a family unit but then sadly we ‘un-integrated’. (Don’t worry, Peggy later meets her soul mate.) She moves to Yellowknife where her career takes her on many interesting journey’s including serving on the Yellowknife city council. As a councilor, she is given a cummerbund and tie for special occasions made with a rare and much sought after Yellowknife tartan.

Generation Three: Tracey and Brandi
Flash forward a couple of decades and us kids have all grown up. I’ve always been a corporate suit / glamour girl but now in my mid-forties, an entrepreneur who wears flip flops and no makeup. Rather than spend any more time trying to tame my incredibly-unruly-high-maintenance-hair, I channel my creativity into designing tote bags.
I haven’t seen Brandi in years but we stay in touch so I know she has beauty and brains. She has a thirst for knowledge, the most amazing long straight dark hair, and a beautiful glamour girl daughter, Kylie.

Generation Four: Kylie
Kylie, whom I hope to meet one day, was born on Peggy’s birthday in Yellowknife and adores the Yellowknife tartan. She’s a wise old soul who is having fun in this lifetime by adding bling to pretty much everything – stark contrast to her Mom, Brandi, who is more of a minimalist when it comes to sparkly things. Kylie does have a serious side though, especially when it comes to owls.

The totes:
This is where the totes come in…Peggy sends the tartan cape and the tartan cummerbund & tie to me to turn them into Tribute Totes for Brandi and Kylie. This means so much to me and to Peggy that we constantly weep exchanging messages about these totes!

I’m sure you can understand that there is so much love and care that goes into a Tribute Tote as I am using a piece of someone’s clothing …taking it apart in order to reconstruct something fabulous and functional.
For Kylie’s tote, I wanted to keep the cummerbund intact because of its small size and bright green and orange colour scheme. But, of course, I had to add some bling….including a sparkly-eyed owl. For her coordinating dust cover and the tote lining I used a fun orange polka dot print. Her personalized zipper pull says, “Owl-ys have fun”.
Brandi’s tote was a bit more emotional for me since I’ve known her for so long and she is my step-sister. Plus there was enough fabric from the cape that I could use it for the entire tote. Remembering her minimalist style, I re-purposed the collar into a flower and used the cape’s three metal clasps to adorn the flower. The lining in the tote is the lining from the cape. Brandi’s coordinating dust cover is black with a bit of the tartan on the front. Her personalized zipper pull says: ‘A Nighean Mar a Mathair’ which is gaelic for Like Mother, Like Daughter.

The Delivery:
The totes were to be mailed back to Peggy so she could give them as gifts…Brandi for her birthday in July and Kylie for Christmas. Peggy couldn’t decide if she wanted to see a picture of them or wait until she got them in the mail. In the end, she decided to wait. Well, her reaction brought me to tears:

“Oh my heart!! Tracey I am in tears!!! Bawling like a baby!!! Love, love, LOVE them both. I didn’t even see the tags inside until 10 minutes after and by then I could hardly read the words…but by the end of Kylie’s I am just a puddle. Oh my heart…made from my heart string, for my heart strings. Could this be a more perfect gift!!! I am not sure I can bare to wait two more weeks to give them these treasures. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Oh lord…I am sobbing again! The owl, the circle for the circle of life and the heart for how much I love that young woman….perfect, perfect, perfect. And using those clasps on Brandi’s! Just enough ‘bling’ ….oh Tracey. You are so gifted. You nailed them both and I love you even more for it! XOXO”

Turns out Peggy couldn’t wait until July let alone Christmas so she delivered them in April. The day she left Yellowknife to travel would have been my late Mom’s birthday.

(In the photo: Brandi, Ron (Peggy’s soulmate), and Kylie. I think Ron wants in on the tote action!)