Shopping for Mother….


After a month of nagging her, my mother finally sent me her Christmas wish list.   On it was a canvas tote bag to hang off a handle of her walker.    It’s  basically just to carry her wallet, car keys and a handkerchief and anything small she might buy like her meds.

Okay, that sounds easy so I thought I’d knock it off the list pretty quickly.  Further reading divulged that she has very particular (some might say peculiar) instructions and precise measurements for her bag.     It can’t hang too low or it will whack her knee;  it can’t be too short or it gets caught on her thigh;  it can’t have any width/depth because then it increases the distance between herself and the walker and disturbs her gait  – and God knows I do not want my Christmas pressie to be responsible in causing a fall!

So armed with all the measurements I hit .    A search for “canvas tote bag”  brought up  17,655 items!   If only I had that much time…

Sorting by measurement was not terribly successful as sellers don’t often list measurements in their tags – they use vague terms like “small” “medium”  “large”  with  many inches of variation in each category.  And then there was the confusing  issue of handles/straps – when someone notes that the handles are 26″ long sometimes that means end to end (or a 13″ drop)  and sometimes it means a 26″ drop and a few times I found sellers gave a measurement from the top of the handle to the bottom of the bag!  And then there are those annoying sellers who provide no measurements at all and ask you to “convo”  them for further information.

I sorted by the price range I was prepared to spend and still got too many choices  –  8,168 .    Who’d have thought buying a simple canvas bag would be so bloody hard.

I think I’ll go to another item on her list  – a string of beads.   This has no instruction other than they must fit over her head.  I suppose I’ll just wrap the tape-measure around my own head and then hit Etsy again…



25 responses

  1. I couldn’t help laughing at Mom. They are all priceless!
    I’ll bet you could check out some Etsy sites you like and then ask one of the artists to make you a bag of the exact correct measurements. Everyone I have dealt with on Etsy has been super friendly and happy to custom make things!

    • It is harder to buy for parents as they get older. I ask for lists and then almost feel annoyed when I have to spend a lot of time looking for the items they want 🙂 Dad was pretty easy – a long-sleeved t-shirt and a tea cosy style cap – done in 5 minutes!

  2. Poor Mom, I kind of know how she feels. I love cross-body bags, but too often the straps are too long and the purse whacks me in the butt when I walk, or it’s too short and I can’t sling it across my chest.

    Like Lauri said, many of the Etsy crafters would be happy to make a customized bag for you if you ask them. I had one make a sweater for my younger daughter, who’s very petite but still has the physique of a young woman. It not only fit perfectly, but it was soft and of a gorgeous purple color, her favorite.

    • I really like cross-body bags too (especially where I live as they are harder to be just whipped off the shoulder) but they never seem to “hang” right over my chest. I use them anyway but they don’t always feel comfortable.

      I’ve used Etsy to have jewelry pieces custom made for people and been very pleased with the results. I did send messages to a couple of “bag ladies” and I now have a few bags of the requested dimensions. I’m a happy shopper tonight!

    • Thank you for the suggestion – the word “caddy” always makes me think of something I’d hang in the shower 🙂 I got 31 results in that search but they are not really what she is wanting – they have some snazzy materials though.

  3. Not sure if your mother wants something designed specifically just for walker-hanging (as opposed to something she can easily remove from the walker and use like a “regular” tote) but there is actually a kind of tote thing called a walker tote If that might work, the Etsy selection is a little smaller:

    (My mother used to use a plastic basket which I think was designed for organizing a desk drawer, attached to the front of her walker like a bicycle basket. It was not at all elegant but it meant she could easily reach everything inside it.)

    Best wishes in your search!

    • Hi Hombody! Some in that link look quite smart but yes, she wants something that she can just pull off the handle and have as a handbag. Her walker has a sort of seat at the front so when she goes out to a restaurant/coffee shop she turns her walker around and sits in that rather than the restaurant chair. She is then not comfortable leaving her bag of “valuables” hanging off the back and out of reach.

      What a great idea your mother had. My mother loads up that seat section with her shopping bags and other stuff when out; and around the house she puts her glass of wine and dinner on that seat and wheels it off to where she wants to eat! Makes me laugh every time I see her do it but it works!

    • Isn’t it depressing to be looking at these types of things! I really liked your link because it includes “Walker’s Shortbread Scottish Biscuits” and I *love* them! I’m not much of a sewer – I don’t think anything I made could be seen out in public! 🙂

      • I’m actually a pretty good sewer but once got so bored of trying to sew a full length reversible cape that I paid a friend to do it. She said never again… it was apparently even worse that I had feared (but I still have it, some 25 years later!)

  4. So sweet of you to try to find her just what she wants, Emjay. However, it is my humble opine that when someone wants a very specific thing they need to get it themself, given they can go and get it. (is themself a word? Masha says No)
    PS I texted M’s sisters about their kitchens – I was in a shop and saw the most gorgeous botanical printed trays – one texted back she only has this amazingly posh designer stuff in pink and white for hers – and I had heard she has money issues! – and the other something completely unexpected, all red white and blue. I thought right! They get knitted gloves and scarves again this year! bought myself a set of the trays

  5. Maybe its possible to do by swapping the ends of the challenge? Get her a new walker, maybe one with cruise control, GPS locator, and a rocking FM radio? Then ask your Mom which of the three designer totes (that you know will fit) would she most like to have. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Christmas passed …. in both hemispheres | Aussieemjay's Blog

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