Thursday, June 23, 2016


Today I'm going to tell you a story about loss.

Over the past couple of weeks I've thought a lot about what I was going to share with you after unveiling the photos of our kitchen renovation.  There hasn't been much over the past year or so that has equaled the excitement we felt as we finished that enormous project.

Thank you for the kind comments and emails...I remember all of you.  I feel like I've returned once again to the company of an old friend.   I've been away from HOME for a long, long time.
I'm a fairly passionate person...but if you've read my postings over the past several years then you already know that.  You also know I love my family and my Mr. AGP Man, my La Chaumière de Briarwood (that's my home, remember?), my little Yorkie dog named Mollie (who is now 13 1/2 years old), old lace, tag sales...and well, just creating.  

It's in my blood.
Has been for as far back as I can remember.
A couple of years ago I fashioned several vintage style Tote Bags and offered them up for sale.  I sold a couple of the larger ones on Etsy and several of the smaller ones on my website.  The one remaining Bag, a smaller one, I showcased in my local booth.  I had it draped over a mannequin and if you look at the center photo in my header you can see how I had it displayed.

The Tote Bag wasn't very large...but it spurred a great deal of conversation among the shoppers who stopped into my booth.  Unlike my website I don't offer a lot of  handmade lace-based items to customers.  Those types of things sell OK for me locally...but, unless you know firsthand the cost of old trims and lace it's easy to misunderstand the the reasoning behind the asking price of an item.
To some people, lace is lace.
To the keen or trained eye the great vintage stuff can readily be identified.  And it's often costly.

Three weeks ago I was in my booth chatting with a very nice customer (who is now also a friend) when she commented that she was happy to see the Tote Bag had sold.  Immediate panic set in because I knew it wasn't on my sold items report from the store.  From that very moment I knew it my heart it had been shoplifted stolen ripped-off!  I tried to make small-talk with my friend, but my mind was racing.  After she left I did a fairly quick, but detailed, look around the entire store and proved my first suspicion...

The pretty vintage lace Tote Bag, the one that took me hours to create, was gone.
Now...I guess it's important to tell you here that I am very aware that part of selling in retail means accepting the fact there will be loss.  I've had small things taken over the years and I suppose if you add up the value of all of them together the final tally would be fairly substantial.  Years ago when I was in retail management I caught many, many MANY people stealing from the store.  The loss came primarily from young boys who were fascinated with early gaming cards (like Yugioh).  But, we also busted middle-aged women for lifting greeting cards (yeah, I know!) and tiny little stuff that honestly made no sense to me.  By far though, the most difficult loss to swallow was when it came from my employees.  I better understand today the mindset of most shoplifters.  Generally it's isn't about's about the thrill of taking something you don't have to pay for, getting away with a crime, or the false belief you are owed something.

Anyway...back to the missing Tote.

The store has security cameras and I have a couple of great ones pointing directly into my booth.  The eye-in-the-sky rarely disappoints...and we are dealing with it.

It's taken me a few weeks to get over accept this personal loss. house didn't burn down, my car wasn't stolen and no one I love was hurt. My body wasn't violated.

But, my heart was.
 Anger absolutely engulfed me and every time I thought about the work that went into making that petite little bag I was left feeling sick.  Honestly...I make things by hand because I love to create...the money I earn, although needed and appreciated, is not what drives me.  The actual hourly profit is so incredibly low (especially when making soft-goods) I've sometimes wondered over the years why I've continued.
When terrible things happen to us, whether it be something TRULY tragic or something fairly minor, our hearts ache.
Mine aches for fairness...justness...but mostly for healing.

Like I said...I've been pretty angry.
 This morning I picked up a piece of aging lace from an ever growing pile of vintage finds in order to begin again.  I wondered for a moment from whence all the laces, trims and bits of fabric came.  Were they fashioned by hard working hands? And how on earth did they find their way to me?  Most were discovered nestled amidst boxes filled with hoarded mementos, gathered or created over decades by the women who have gone before me.
Years of collecting led me to them. 

I suppose, not unlike the beauty found in the scraps of lace used to create my offerings, I've always believed it's possible for God to take the tiniest of scraps and unworthy pieces of my life and create something lovely from them if only I would allow Him to do so. 

And so, I did what I always do when discouraged and broken.  I returned to the embrace of the Master-Creator of EVERYTHING to trust Him to straighten the narrowed path I've found myself traveling make right again my journey... to soften my anger, quiet my spirit and restore my floundering faith in others.

 Someday, somewhere, I hope my lost Tote Bag will find it's way to a worthy person's hands...and in turn inspire them to continue on as I am continuing on...

To go where they are led.

Serve where they are called.

And once again be found.

Love to you...



Debby Ray said...

Aww, Rebecca, I can definitely understand how that must have made you feel...and I'm sure I probably would have felt just as strongly or even more so. I love the way you are using this experience to remind us all what is truly valuable...which is our peace and having our hearts right. All we can do is pray for that person who took your darling little bag and hope that they find the love of Jesus. It was good seeing your post today! Hugs!

Krista said...

Rebecca, I'm a fairly new reader and I rarely comment, but I felt compelled today to leave a comment. Your blog is beautiful, your kitchen is beautiful and your hand-made bag was beautiful. Your style appeals to me totally. I'm so sorry some selfish, unkind person stole the bag from your booth. How sad! I can only imagine how violated you felt that something so personal that you worked so hard on was taken from you. The other thing I wanted to are such a pretty woman! Has anyone ever told you that you really look alot like Joy Philbin, Regis Philbin's wife. In my eyes, you could be her twin! Anyway, I enjoy your blog. Blessings to you!

Rebecca Nelson said...

Krista...I am so glad you decided to post a comment for me today. Sometimes we never know just what our words mean to another person... Everything you said spoke right into my heart. I'm still sad over the loss of the Tote Bag~ I probably always will be. But, I'm grateful the loss was something that can be closely re-created if I opt to ever do so... People lose things every day that can't be replaced...true keepsakes and sometimes lives.

I have been told I resemble Joy Philbin. When I was younger I was told I looked like Karen Valentine (dating myself here!). The funniest one was Fran Dresher when she played The Nanny. My response to that one was "I wish I had her $".

Thank you for your kindness, compliments and for taking the time to write. I'm still smiling!


Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Rebecca,
Yes I do know that stinging pain.
Giving crochet lessons to children at the Teaching Museum in Atlanta, a woman stole my bridal handkerchief... Not only did I crochet some seven hours in order to create such fine lace but the sentimental value was far more!
There's nothing what we can do; only trusting our final Judge that he will even out all good and evil in this world.
Lovely photos and I'm so sorry for your loss.

ShirleyC said...

Even though I don't blog much anymore, I've always loved reading yours. I'm so sorry about the tote. I understand the hurt even though it's not a tragedy, it is a loss of something that you valued.

If you put the new one in your booth, be sure to attach it to the mannequin so it can't be easily "lifted". Shame on them.

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

As a first time visitor, I enjoyed reading your post and feel for you. As artists and crafters, we hold such personal value to what we create and when someone doesn't respect or appreciate the hard work and devotion we have put into it, it is tough to understand! I hope that the person who took the bag treasures it - it was a lovely piece. Years ago, I caught someone swiping an item off the my table at a craft show - as I followed her and asked for it back, I stared her straight in the eye and said "If you liked this so much, and couldn't have afforded to pay for it, I would have gladly given it to you" - she handed it back to me, head down and left the function hall.......hopefully with a lesson learned! I hope your new bag has better luck!

Theresa said...

Oh that's sad:( I remember after my Mama passed away, I had my purse stolen at the beach. It had pictures of my Mama and some other personal items in it:(. Sad that people take things that don't belong to them. Hope you find who stole it.

Mari said...

My heart goes out to you sweet Rebecca, how horrible it must feel to have someone just walk away with that beautiful tote you so lovingly created, may God forgive them....I truly hope you find out who took it......


RachelD said...

Oh, My Dear!!

The work of one's hands, especially such dedicated, painstaking, heart-invested work---that's akin to FAMILY. And loss of such precious labor and time can be more than a gentle dolor. I'm so very sorry you had such a wrenching experience, after the joy and the beauty of the creating.

I, too, hope she finds her way to a WORTHY, caring home where demeanour and morals and character are worthy of HER beauty and refinement.

A pox on all their houses.


PS have been expecting electrician for three days to finish up this absolutely LAST thing on the kitchen. I've had cords and big power-units full of plugs hanging off the left-hand counter and out of the sink cabinet right onto my feet for a YEAR!! Tomorrow is promised for the magic day.

Ann said...

Dear Rebecca, welcome back to blogging! Love your new kitchen, so many special touches. Sorry about the handmade bag missing from your booth. I have a booth and sometimes items go missing and a few of them find their way back. Although we have a security system, somehow things still go missing. Some dealers put up signs with "Thou Shalt not Steal" but not sure if that helps. Is it possible for you to have a locked case in your booth for those special items?

Bill and Mary Glidden said...

Rebecca as I read this it made me think of something that happened while we were doing food boxes last week. One of the helpers helped themselves to another helpers sugarless pie. I thought I had seen something fishy going on and when L came in asking where her pie was I went to the persons car and said I think you have a pie that is not yours and of course found it and gave it to L. I am praying as to how to approach the pie snatcher. I am not upset but deeply saddened that so many live like orphans instead of in the abundant life of Children of God that He desires for them. I have asked for eyes to see them AS HE sees them- deeply loved, longing for relationship with them, desiring to bring them back to their intended purpose- glorifying Him. I am so thankful that He has brought us into the fold and that we can rest in Him= I pray that beautiful piece they stole will be used to bring them somehow to the beautiful life that is only in Jesus.

bee blessed

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