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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Not on AIG or Goldman Sachs: Help me find a new tote bag:

I was going to write something called "AIG and Me" concerning the email I sent the firm a few days ago. However, I get upset even thinking about all that stuff. And then several pieces I read said that the true beneficiary of the AIG bailout was Goldman Sachs, not the recipients of the bonuses. That got me even more dispirited. I think we're all getting a glimpse of business as usual on Wall Street, with more than a glimpse of the fantastic sums the princes and princesses "earned." Better to know than not to know, I suppose.

So from the world of high finance to the world of the utterly frivolous. I found a draft of a post I started a while back when I was thinking about buying a new tote bag.

Here's the post. Reader feedback solicited.

My faithful readers know that I am in the market for a tote bag. Those who know the real me (that is, my immediate family and others of my acquaintance) know that I am overly indecisive and that this decision may take a ridiculous amount of time, replete with agony upon agony. On the plus side, I so overthink everything that I am never afflicted with cognitive dissonance, a consequence of too-hasty purchases.

The name of this blog comes from a tote bag. Or rather, a tote bag monogram. One I never bought. After the demise of a much-loved totebag, a Target number bought for $11.00 that was a Kate Spade knockoff (dark gray “wool,” nice rectangular shape), I started thinking about its successor.

For a while, I contemplated the classic LL Bean canvas tote. Every now and again, one or another color goes on sale. I have one of these, a gift from an architectural firm that did some pictures for us and overcharged us dreadfully. The architect must have forgotten our rage and his subsequent reduction of the bill by 50%. We get a yearly gift from the firm—notecards, a calendar, and the tote bag, monogrammed with the company name. No pics—I refuse to give this firm any publicity. Anyway, as everyone knows, the heavy canvas tote, originally designed for carrying ice, is indestructible. One of my colleagues has several of the extra larges, which are color coded for her courses. They are 25 years old!

I have the LL Bean credit card, which allows for free shipping and free monogramming. That’s why I have it. Since I am entitled to free monogramming, I wanted it. Besides, that adds to the preppy look of the ultimate preppy bag. Problem: I have terrible initials. Even if I take my husband’s last name, I still have terrible initials. And I didn’t want my first name on it (TMI) or my last name (TMI). So I asked Dr Z, she of the color and proportion talent. She said “Frugal Scholar,” just like that. I ditched the tote bag, but kept the name! thanks, Dr. Z! (She has no recollection of coming up with the name).

What am I carrying my books in? Well, either the LL Bean bag with the hated architect’s logo OR one of the dreadful totes given for free by textbook publishers. The ones I have are very ugly. I saw a nice one at a conference: Penguin books makes one in BLACK with an adorable orange penguin on it. I asked for one, but it was a popular item, and all had been given away.

Is there a tote bag that will provide instant upgrade? Within reason, folks. Keep an eye out.


The Fabric Bolt said...

Make one! The book WEEKEND SEWING by Heather Ross has a nice one. If you have an Ikea near you, you can get some great canvas fabric inexpensively. Search the web for the book title or the author and you will find some examples.

The Fabric Bolt said...

Here is a link:

Duchesse said...

I like Fabric Bolt's idea, if you have a machine that will allow you to use industrial weight fabric, thread and findings, otherwise it will be too flimsy for your gear. Someone made one for me, it's cute but I can only 'tote' a magazine in it!

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I got a fantastic buy on a distressed leather one at a consignment shop.
$7.99.......Italina Leather....
Yeah, be jealous :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Bev Marshall said...

Since my initials are BM, I never monogram anything. I have many tote bags, okay 8. I get them at book fairs for free or a small donation. My favorites are three with Tennessee Williams photos on them and two with my book jacket covers on them which my aunt gave me. What's great about canvas is you can wash them . . . not that I ever do.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Fabric: I can't even sew on a button!

@Duchesse: I want you to suggest an ICONIC, but still frugal, tote bag for me. Please!

@Reggie: I was thinking I would (gasp!) buy something new, but now you've got my thrift store competitive juices flowing....

@Bev--Your initials are worse than mine. I am so honored you stopped by! Note: Bev is the famous author I wrote about in a previous post.