The Official Blog for Hound and Handbag Gift Company

The Five Essential Pounds that You Should Always Have in Your Purse

While shopping with my grandmother, I came across a little book called “Stuff Every Woman Should Know.” by Alanna Kalb. It’s a great little volume with some very useful things,including how to conduct the Heimlich Maneuver to how to change a flat tire.

The other thing I liked about it was its down-to earth fashion advice. And of course, what to carry in your purse caught my eye.

It’s a common sense thing right? Well, with women’s lives becoming increasingly busy, we put everything in our bags from the receipt from Starbucks to a half-dead calculator and cleaning out our bag is the last thing we think about.

Until your back and shoulders remind you that it’s time.Or your purse strap breaks. Whichever comes first.

So, here are essentials for everyday survival, barring wallet,keys and phone. I’ve added some thoughts too.

  • Tissues
  • Cosmetic bag with only the essentials. Since I don’t wear makeup, I usually just carry a mirror, folding comb and lip balm
  • Hand cream (in a ziplock bag)
  • A mini Swiss army knife, or equivalent. My mini knife has come in handy for many things. Especially getting toys out of packages. Just ask my nieces and nephews.
  • Band Aids
  • Aspirin
  • Stain removal stick or pen
  • Matches or lighter
  • Pepper spray.  Just don’t mix it up with your breath freshener. Maybe that’s why the list included mints instead.
  • Travel sewing kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Breath mints
  • Pen and notepad: Have a good quality pen that doesn’t leak, or keep it upright or in a pen loop if your purse has one.
  • Nail clippers. the original list had nail file, but I think this is more helpful;plus a file is already on the clippers.
  • Baby wipes. Great for removing yucky things  that land on you. I’m not kidding.

I would add to that a small LED flashlight. They are essential for things like when power outages happen in a public place. Or it’s dark and you drop your keys.

Another thing that I found was tweezers. Good quality ones that can get our splinters are ideal.

And with this book being only 6 inches long, 3 3/4 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick, it can easily go with you!


The Museum of Bags and Purses: Can You say Purse Envy?

It’s the stuff a girl can only dream about. Imagine having at your fingertips 4000 handbags and purses, all so different, all so beautifully crafted,it makes you hands just want to open and close the clasps and peer inside to the mysteries within.

This is not a myth. Just ask the lady who’s living the dream. Meet Hendrikje Ivo, the founder and organizer extrordinaire of the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam.

Ms. Ivo is an antique dealer and over the course of her career gathered the aformentioned 4000 bags. But no mere designer label hording for her, no sir. These bags are gems of exquisite craftsmanship, whimsy and history.

The museum hosts bags from the 16th century, and all the way to the present with a Judith Lieber “Cupcake” bag from the Sex in the City Movie. For an accessory that has been around for nearly half a millenium, that’s pretty impressive.

Originally, Hendrikje and her husband Heinz opened the museum in their home. Four years ago, they moved into a historic house and have room enough for all the bags, a cafe and gift shop.

Visit their website  And at the same time, raise a glass to the Ms. Ivo who has made sure that we remember the purse was a part of history, and not just plain old arm candy.

Cupcake Evening Bag

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a marvelous Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

As 2010 leaves us and we gear up for another year, it’s always an interesting time of reflection and anticipation.

Hound and Handbag Gift Company has reached a point now where I feel “all grown up”. I have become a Bronze Powerseller, and I have to tell you it feels great.

Anyhow, the other aspect of growth is the change in the products that will be here.

Starting this year, I will be bringing in more handmade items for the dachshund collection.  HHGC will always honor the dachshund in all its quirkiness.

Also there are some new suppliers for the kawaii items and Bento lunchboxes.  So I will have more new items in for those. There will be more of a focus on the boxes and storage themselves as opposed to the bento accessories.

There will be a new section on jewelry and handbags.

Also I intend to run more auctions.

The New Year is starting off with a bang! And don’t forget for those who celebrate, Chinese New Year’s is early, February 3. Happy Year of the Rabbit!

Can’t Wrap This!

A fun little rap about Christmas wrap!

Lest We Forget:Remember Our Veterans

I’m third generation Chinese, and I am married to a man who’s family is of Swedish decent. I own a business…or two. I’m a Christian. I have the privilege to say what I want,go where I want and dress how I want. I can vote.

In short I have a lot of freedom.

Whatever your faith,your political view,gender preference or if you prefer stripes over polka dots, if you see a solider or veteran on the street,stop and thank them.

It was because of their sacrifice so long ago, generations ago, that we can do what we please.

I saw this sign in front of a store, and I think that it sums up what the veterans gave us, and what we should remember.

Would the Real Olympic Red Mitten Stand Up?

I was communicating with a lovely American lady who had recently bought a pair of the Olympic Red Mittens off of my Ebay Store. She had traveled to Vancouver and had actually been to some of the events. In the course of things however,she lost her  red mittens she had bought in Canada .

During our communication she had said that the mittens she was seeing on  Ebay looked  different and were still being labeled as “official Olympic merchandise” and “official mitten of the Olympics”.   Which mitten was the right mitten?

Here is the story.

Most of the original red mittens were sold out by the end of March,early April. It was very difficult to find any pairs in any size. Around September, the mittens were re-released,this time bearing a different tag;no mascots on the tag this time. However, these were the same ones that were out in February: solid red with the white maple leaf on one side and the Olympic Rings on the other.

During this time, The Hudson’s Bay Company released another design that was supposed to “carry on” when these gloves sold out. It was a red mitten still, with one half of a fleece maple leaf that was made whole when the wearer’s hands were brought together.

No one is lying,per se when they say that this is “official Olympic merchandise”. As long as it bears the hologram,that is true. However, to say that it is the Official Olympic Red Mitten, then yes ,it is not true when the design was only introduced in the fall of 2010.

So if you’re still looking for the mittens, remember this design:

The Original Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Red Mitten

is the original, and will always be the quintessential mitten for the Vancouver Winter Games. And quite honestly, I do like this design if you have small hands!

Buying Vintage Handbags

Following up on last Friday’s post about vintage bags, I thought I’d share some things I learned about them over the years.

  • If the bag is going to be used for everyday, you’ll need to give it a thorough inspection. Check for holes, or tears. If the material is vinyl, see if there are any cracks or brittle spots.
  • Check the handles for any signs of wear or loose stitching.
  • Check all fasteners and zippers. A zipper may be replaceable and still look rather new,but if you’re not fussy, than no worries.
  • Sometimes a vintage bag may carry an odor just from being in storage. Quite often an airing out of a few days is all you’ll need. Put a bit of baking soda wadded up in a paper towel inside the compartment to absorb odor. If there is a smell like cigarette smoke or formaldehyde (usually in lucite or Bakelite bags), you may have to pass up on the bag altogether. The smell of formaldehyde in a lucite bag means that it has not been stored properly, or is an inferior bag.
  • Know your history to a degree; you don’t want to be swindled. I was told by a flea market vendor that my gold lame box bag was from the 1920’s. Box bags were not in vogue until 20-30 years later. Luckily the bag was cheap and I got it anyway. However, it could easily have gone the other way.

This also serves you well if you know the history of the company or designer. For example, Bonnie Cashin was with the Coach Company from  1962-1975 .  She was responsible for launching the handbag division and many of her  elements Coach keeps on their bags today. However if someone tries to sell you a Coach bag saying it was from the Cashin era(say,1987)  and you know it wasn’t you’ll come away with your money intact. This is especially helpful for shopping online.

  • Ask if the people in the store if the leather on  a vintage bag can be treated with modern leather care products.
  • Older bags were not designed for ergonomics (actually very few bags are). So make sure you can carry it well and comfortably.
  • And  above all, make sure you love the bag enough to give it its second life.

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