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Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Fun and a Thrifted Twist

It’s birthday season in our home, which means beginning in January we have one birthday a month until June when there is two celebrations.  This year will be different since I am expecting in early May, so we’ll have two in May and two in June.  I am completely anxious for spring!!

Much like Christmas (and my Handmade Holiday series), birthday time around here means homemade or purposeful gifts.

My youngest boy is so wanting to be like his older brother, so I decided to give him a messenger bag just like his brother’s…

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces…with all the fixings to go bird watching – a favorite pastime in my family.

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesI will never deny that I am a thrifty person and this project is not exception. After all, Thomas Edison said it best, “The scope of thrift is limitless.”  My kind of man.

All the materials for this bag came from second-hand purchases or were made at home, (minus the velcro & thread).  Just time and creativity were all that were needed.

The basic pattern idea came from One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric! I changed it to suit my liking and redesigned it a bit to meet the needs I had in mind. There are also scads of ideas on Pinterest.

I like boxed-corner bags for their ability to open wide and stand on their own when using a sturdy fabric.

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesI found all the fabric at Goodwill ($1 a yard minus my 20% off coupon = cheap!)and it was brand new denim, pinstripe blue, and sort of stretch cotton canvas for the lining – all found at different times.  Never miss an opportunity to peruse the aisles of fabric for great finds!

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

See how it sits up all by itself so that my toddler-turned-big-boy can reach in for his equipment.  I added a cut of thin foam to line the base which adds to the sturdiness.

Now for the fun bird graphic.  Did you know there is no need to buy the expensive inkjet fabric sheets and that you can make your own?

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesSee the tutorial here at Infarrantly Creative.

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesWith the idea of giving my little guy a bird-watching bag, I wanted to add that theme to the outside, but definitely my style is vintage, so off to my all-time favorite graphics site, The Graphics Fairy for this adorable yellow bird image.

Vintage Yellow Bird Graphic Clip Art by The Graphics Fairy via Prodigal Pieces
Just follow the instructions for printing, cut out the graphic (I used pinking shears), and stitch on the awesome image.
DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesOne last tidbit.  I never throw anything that purpose away and it always pays off.  I couldn’t find, for the life of me, a sliding adjustable clip for the strap at JoAnns or ANYWHERE!  I didn’t have time to order it online, so I went to my stash of deconstructed purses, which includes all sort of hardware, and found exactly what I needed.  A cast-off dog collar I found in my yard.
DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesYou see, my neighbor has an escape artist husky dog that chews out of the collar in a matter of hours and left this one in my yard.  It had the exact hardware I needed – bingo!! I love it when things work out like that.
Here’s my little guy’s gift in it’s entirety:
  • Messenger Bag
  • Canvas Sun Hat – found new at thrift store – 80 cents
  • Binoculars – $10 at Walmart
  • Journal – $1 at dollar store
  • Vintage Audubon Bird Call – $1 + shipping on ebay (I love these little things!)
  • Audubon Plush Bird – from JoAnn with 40% off coupon

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

I’m not sure which he liked more out of the set, but he can’t wait to take it out and put it to use…just like his big brother.

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

DIY Messenger Bag with Graphics Fairy Applique by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Got questions?  I’d love to help you if you need it!

~ DISCLOSURE: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that I might make a few cents if you purchase an item I have recommended. Your price will still be the same, but the seller might pay me a tiny percentage.
Some more stitching eye candy for you!
Handmade Feedsack, Linen, and Leather Purse by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesVintage Chair Gets Feed Sack Makeover by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Shabby Little Makeover ~ Upcycled Nightstand

Thrift stores, the most veritable potpourri of possibilities there are.  I love them! Sure, one could easily walk in and say it’s a bunch of junk, but it takes a more creative eye to see the potential just oozing everywhere. Enter my $3 shabby, thrifty find.  A small stack of drawers labeled by the employees as a nightstand.  I knew better.  This was half of an antique vanity that still had purpose even without the rest of it.  (see that routed edge in the upper side where the table piece would have rested)

A $3 thrifted side of a vanity becomes a sweet shabby chic piece with wallpaper and The Graphics Fairy by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

All this little shabby lovely needed was some dressing up!

I filled that ridge with wood filler and sanded it smooth with my sander.  I also added a piece of wood corner round to recreate the surface edge that had been cut out to receive the mirror. Last, I used my favorite Dremel tool to rebuild it.

You can also see the veneer was lifting at the bottom of the side, which easily is repaired by taking a utility knife making a straight slit, gently lift and add some wood glue, clamp, and let dry.

Now, I could have just painted and been done, but I wanted to add a touch of pizazz. Have you seen the textured paintable wallpaper that looks like pressed tin?

I love that stuff and have used it to do our ceilings, our kitchen, and even in this tea cart makeover.  It is so versatile and can be painted copper, zinc, any metallic finish or leave as is.
Another one of my favorite things to do is hand paint, so I wanted to give it a try on a smaller piece of furniture with a pretty detailed graphic.
 I used this image from Karen at The Graphics Fairy (if you haven’t been to her site yet, you are so missing out!) and some charcoal gray paint to dress up the top.
Patisserie French Graphic from The Graphics Fairy via Prodigal Pieces
Here she is…my shabby little makeover.
A $3 thrifted side of a vanity becomes a sweet shabby chic piece with wallpaper and The Graphics Fairy by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
I first tried using a Modge Podge method with a homemade version and it worked, but wasn’t quite dark enough, so I used the same method I used in my pallet clock and repurposed painted sign tutorial.
My go-to method is oil pastels for the varied colors, but you can also use chalk. You could even use graphite paper or transfer paper too.  I just used what I had on hand.  Ihave used the pastels for very large graphics as well as small and I use Photoshop to enlarge it.
For extra durability, I used a layer of wallpaper paste and placed two pieces of scrap wallpaper on the sides.
A $3 thrifted side of a vanity becomes a sweet shabby chic piece with wallpaper and The Graphics Fairy by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
 A couple coats of white homemade chalk paint, some distressing, and a couple coats of wax.
A $3 thrifted side of a vanity becomes a sweet shabby chic piece with wallpaper and The Graphics Fairy by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
 Once this little beauty was listed in my shop, it sold within 3 hours. Yippee!!
Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com
A $3 thrifted side of a vanity becomes a sweet shabby chic piece with wallpaper and The Graphics Fairy by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
One more look…
A $3 thrifted side of a vanity becomes a sweet shabby chic piece with wallpaper and The Graphics Fairy by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
So next time you’re in a thrift store or garage sale, even, don’t do a quick look, but take your time and have fun reinventing items in your head.  What could that certain item be in another form?  Have fun!
Do pin and share to see past the shabby and see the potential that lies. ♥
A $3 thrifted side of a vanity becomes a sweet shabby chic piece with wallpaper and The Graphics Fairy by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

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More makeover fun like this shabby chic makeover:

Antique Stereo Repurposed Into Sewing Cabinet by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesOutdated Upholstered Chair gets Linen & Rose French Makeover by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com

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