sunday 101004

October 11, 2004

needle and thread and lots of digested Kool-Aid Jammers help Patricia Hughes create a juicy accessory. She transforms empty juice pouches into shiny, colorful purses.

Patricia admits that she sees the pouches as a valuable commodity now.

"We did drink a lot of them before and I threw them away," says Patricia, who considers grape her favorite flavor. She ranks cherry as the least tasty.

"I don't like cherry so I'll give it to the kids next door," she says.

With the purple, orange, green, red and blue juice containers, she also has made billfolds. Her younger sister quickly grabbed one as did her boyfriend.

"I can't believe he packs it," says Patricia's mother, Pearl Turpin.

Girlfriends in her youth group at New Hope Baptist Church in Moreland have been thirsty for the kitschy accessory.

"Everybody wants me to make them one. One of my friends, hers is purple and orange because that's her favorite colors," says 15-year-old Patricia, who carries hers when she goes to school at Danville High.


With demand so strong, Patricia, who got the idea for the purse in June after seeing her cousin from Campbellsville carry one, sits down in the living room floor with a stack of empties, their metallic sheen glistening in the warm fall sun. She has an order to fill for her manager at Finley's Fun Center, the skating rink where she serves in several capacities, including spinning the tunes.

To make a purse, she first enlarges the straw hole to allow more water to get into the bag, then she rinses out the sticky juice left in the bottom.

"Try to squeeze as much water out as you can. As you sew, most likely you have to put a towel under you because you get wet," she says.

Other types of juice may be used, but Patricia prefers the Jammers because they have a clear plastic side that makes them thicker. About 20 are needed to make a purse.

The next step is to take two different colored bags and pin or hold them together with the colored sides facing out. Sew the sides together. Measure how long the bottom needs to be based on the length of the sides and overlap a bag to make the length correct. Sew the bags for the bottom down the middle. Put the bottom on and then attach the sides and sew up the sides.

There are a few ways to make handles. One is to sew a seam down the middle of a folded handle and put one end on the outside and one end on the inside.

Patricia has made about three purses by hand and three purses on the sewing machine of her aunt, Harriet Turpin. It takes her about four hours to do the purses by hand but she can cut that time in half using a sewing machine.

Making purses is only one of Patricia's many creative outlets. She sleeps under a pastel-colored afghan that she crocheted herself.

"She just goes in her room and crochets," says her mother.

Patricia is working on a second afghan, but admits she can't pull herself away from the Kool-Aid craze.

"I haven't worked on it in a long time since I started making those."

She has extended her purse-making to include making one from a placemat and lining it with a frog print material. She also made a purse from a towel. One of her first creations was a rice bag that she would place in the microwave to heat and place on aches.

With Patricia downing the Kool-Aid in an effort to keep up production, her mother says she tries to do her part for the cause by keeping the cupboard stocked.

"If I go to the grocery store and I don't get them, she gets mad."

Patricia knows her next idea of making a tote bag will require a lot of consumption.

"I think it's going to take 40 to make one of those," she says.|10/4/04|***

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