Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bless Our Troops Handbag

I made this handbag months ago and I'm finally getting around to listing it in my Etsy shop today. My mother bought this t-shirt for me to make into a tote years ago!
The last year I was living in Michigan, I moved back to my hometown, Muskegon. It was while living there, in a tiny one bedroom apartment about 10 miles from my parents, that I started my Etsy shop in August 2008. I started by selling simple totes made from unique thrifted t-shirts. My mom would go thrifting and find me find screen-printed t-shirts since I was mostly just making rectangular shaped totes. This was one of those shirts.
I especially love this handbag because of my family members that are serving in the military. My sister, Rachael has been in the United States Navy for over 4 years. She has deployed to three different ships, deployed to the Persian Gulf twice and to the Caribbean. Below is a picture of her (far left) during her last deployment with some friends she made on her ship.
While deployed, she works twelve hour shifts every day of the week! She slept on a bed that was 1-2" thick, and with two other beds beneath her, and three more stacked up a couple feet away, living quarters are less than ideal. Her deployments ranged from 3-7 months, stopping once a month or so to get off the ship for a couple days. Can you imagine that life? I sure can't.
Rachael and I right after she graduated from boot camp. November 2006. She looks so different with short hair! 
At her going-away party before she left Augusta in September 2010. I miss seeing her everyday.
Rachael is currently stationed in Pensacola, Florida as an instructor at "A School". It's the school people entering the Navy go to after boot camp to to learn how to do their job, in her case, in the intelligence field. She teaches, runs PT (physical training), and is involved in the student's everyday life. She's a stickler for rules and great at yelling at people. I can see her yelling at them until they cry. She can be pretty mean ha.
Here she is with her first graduating class at Pensacola, far right with the red stripes on her sleeve. She is such a proud teacher!
My brother-in-law, Dan, is a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marines Corps. He joined the Marine Corps right after high school and has been in for about 12 years. He is one of the youngest Gunnies in the Marines! Dan is a combat videographer and has been deployed to the middle east numerous times. 
Sarah and Dan have been friends since high school, they were even locker partners! They didn't start dating until they were in their 20s, and have been married since 2004. 
Sewing sidenote: my mom made her wedding gown and I made all the bridesmaids dresses.
Rachael's wearing green, I'm in pink. My brother, Mark, is bottom right.
Sarah and Dan have moved all around the world, from Virginia, to Japan, to New York. They currently live in Hawaii and absolutely love it! 

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