Old becomes new: The author's bedazzled Gucci bag
My old/new Gucci bag
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - July 5, 2020 - 12:00am

When I wrote last week about coming close to death because of boredom during the quarantine, was I telling the truth? A friend texted and accused me of being a “faker.” Now I think she was right. Even if sometimes I spend the day playing games on my cellphone, this quarantine has not been entirely bad for my husband and me.

He watches TV all day. Sometimes I sit with him, cellphone in hand, playing either solitaire or sorting out balls or one of my word games and I find the programs he watches interesting.

He is tuned in to a wide variety of forensic series that tell of crimes, some of them solved after 20 years. Now we have the talent and gadgets to help detectives discover blood types then match them with the people who committed the crime. Twenty years ago, they did not have that. They explain why when they recover a bullet they can identify the gun it came from, because the markings created by every gun are different. First they find and study a bullet at a crime scene but there’s no gun around. Sometime in the search process, they finally find a gun thrown somewhere. They send the bullet and the gun to an expert who studies the markings in the chamber of the gun, fires a bullet of the same make and caliber as the one they found at the crime scene, and compares the markings. If they fit perfectly, then they know that that was the gun that fired the bullet that killed the victim.

It’s very interesting to me. I love forensic stories. My husband loves them too, because he is a retired lawyer and a devout Catholic. At the end of the day he exclaims that there are so many sinful people in the world who love to kill even their own parents, wives, children. I roll my eyes at that truth. Yes, it is terrible. I can see that even if he does this every day, the stuff he watches still fires him up. I think that’s wonderful for him.

And me? Am I bored to death really? I must admit, sometimes I am. But I often rummage through the containers of beads that I have in my workroom. Last week I found a string of antique clay beads just sitting there and a Gucci evening bag that is almost 50 years old, one of the remains of a previous life when I was with someone rich and infamous. I bought the bag at the Gucci store in Paris and have worn it once in a while since then. But this time I found it inside a big bag looking old and forlorn.

But one night I had a dream. Someone in my dream told me I could use the beads I had found and create a butterfly from my old glass stones, that it would still look fashionable and make people gasp when they saw it. So for a couple of afternoons I worked on it and look at how pretty it became… or so I think, anyway. The butterfly is made from old glass stones I bought in Quiapo maybe five years ago. I wired them together using copper wire that I think I bought, again, a long time ago and made into some jewelry that I recently took apart. I had to straighten out the wire but was surprised at how nice it looked. The little flat clay beads that you see in front are topped with fake pearls. And everything is glued together with Chinese glue I also bought in Quiapo about a year ago.

Okay, the bag looks old and the Gucci clasp doesn’t look shiny new, but if you are dressed in a glam black dress with one of my eccentric necklaces or earrings that I love to make — who would notice that the bag is almost 50 years old? Who would even notice that it’s a Gucci? They would say it’s a lovely, funky evening bag.

Now I love this little bag. Now I’m dying to bring it to a function or maybe to an expensive dinner. Now my problem is where do I find such an event? Maybe I can persuade my husband to take me to an expensive restaurant where we can dress to the nines. Who am I kidding? But at least I am happy that I made something from old things I just kept. I made my old evening bag look somewhat new, look like it offers a lot of fun. To me it looks priceless.

If not for this quarantine, I would not have undone jewelry and glued all sorts of things together to make another pretty thing for my wardrobe. There are many other little things I have made, too.

So, here’s another thing the quarantine has taught me: really, boredom isn’t so bad.

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