Her personal objects as a Life Map

After you’ve collected your photos and sparked your memories with the Life Imprints questions (https://thepursesproject.wordpress.com/category/recalling-memories-life-imprints/), NOW WHAT?
Adding personal objects belonging to your significant female can help to create a life map revealing more about her character, culture, career, passions, beliefs, etc.
Consider adding 3D objects and/or photocopied items such as:
personal items for purse
-Handwriting from documents, letters, cards, recipes, etc.
-Pieces of her favorite clothing or fashion accessories
-Pieces of home textiles such as bedding, tablecloths, doiles, lace sheers, etc.
-Jewelry or bits of broken jewelry
-Pages from her favorite book
-Keys to important places (home, vacation home, etc.)
-Awards, degrees, honors, etc.
-Pieces of her favorite game
-Her favorite song or poem
-Map of her favorite place, where she was born, etc.
-The container of her favorite cosmetic item (emptied of any remaining product that could melt or spill)
-Objects found in her purse (the contents of a woman’s purse are highly personal and can reveal much)
-Her favorite trinket or decorative item
-Her favorite flower or nature item (the scrapbook section of Michael’s has great 3D flowers)
-Travel mementoes
-Her favorite saying, mantra, etc.
The list could go on and on, but you get the idea–not just her life in pictures but the things she touched and treasured as a woman.
All these items can be attached to the purse by using Mod Podge (lighter items), gel mediums or the ever awesome E6000 (heavier items)Here are some things I collected for my grandmother’s purse

My collection of objects that represent my grandmother

My collection of objects that represent my grandmother


As you can see, there’s everything from old lace sheers, scrapbook paper, keys, trim, roses, etc. I didn’t pick any items carelessly and each one signifies something about her life. For instance, the keys on her purse signify her role as a landlord, the roses were her favorite color and flower, the typewriter keys (spelling out her name) remind me of the old typewriter I played on at her house, and the restaurant receipt points to her job as a waitress.

Here they are on the completed purse

My completed purse for The Purses Project (Jamie Howell)

My completed purse for The Purses Project (Jamie Howell)

A note about adding things you truly love and want to keep:
The objects that remain after someone has passed often bear new meaning and serve as relics. These are objects we want to preserve, pass down or simply keep for our own memories. Don’t include these lovely items on your purse, instead think how you could buy a reproduction, recreate a copy, photocopy or photograph it. I had a beautiful cameo that my grandmother gave me that I couldn’t find and if I could find it, not sure I wanted to give it up. As fate would have it, I was wandering the aisles at Michael’s and I found this great embellishment kit at Michael’s in the scrapbook section. It had buttons and a small cameo (missing from kit, but see it on the finished purse).

Embellishments found at Michael's A&C

Embellishments found at Michael’s A&C


Inside was almost an exact copy of the cameo my grandmother gave me! I have a little life mantra that goes like this: “Exactly what you need will be there exactly when you need it” and such was the case here. I attached this replica to the purse instead of the actual cameo and found it was a better size for the purse. As you begin your purse, keep your eyes open for the possibilities and let the process lead you where it may.
Detail of the cameo, dolies, and typewriter keys.

Detail of the cameo, dolies, and typewriter keys.

I welcome any suggestions or comments about this post. What would you add if you were making a purse?

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5 thoughts on “Her personal objects as a Life Map

  1. This is absolutely beautiful and would make an amazing gift. I can’t think of anything else I’d want to add, but if I was making one for my mom it would include a lot of references to music and her family (maybe a locket with pictures of us, sheet music for her favorite piece as an iron-on transfer, and purple- her favorite color). I definitely want to try it. Thanks for the great post.

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