While on a visit to my grandmother's house one summer, I wandered into a department store that was closing down. They were practically giving things away. I spotted 2 straw "chip and dip" baskets. I was excited because I had been looking for woven straw in the same width strips, to make a handbag like one I had seen in a magazine.
My idea was to rip out the stitching, so I would have one long strip. I took it home and ripped out the outer chip portion and was left with the little dip bowl in the center. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but for some reason I kept it intact. It moved with me to Atlanta, and then Kuwait. Fast forward about 15 years later. I needed to make a purse to match a party dress of my daughter's. I decided to use the dip bowl basket as the base for a purse. I made little felt appliques by tracing the shapes of the flowers that were printed on the dress, to use as a pattern. I cut them out of felt and then embellished them with embroidery, sequins, and beads. I stitched them onto the basket before creating the top of the bag, so it would be easier to hold onto and see what I was doing. Next, I made a buttonhole stitch around the top edge of the basket. I was then free to crochet around the top of the basket. I made the handle out of two layers of felt to complement the flower appliques. I happened to have a little multicolored novelty yarn from a yarn exchange, which added the finishing touch to the handle and the top edge of the bag.
So the moral of the story is, sometimes you buy something with one project in mind, and it turns out it is better suited for another! By the way, I still have the roll of woven straw from the chip portion of the basket. It never became the magazine purse. It is still waiting to find out its fate!