12/16/2009 9:32:00 AM Custom tote bags are eco-friendly gifts
Rose Beseler custom makes embroidered canvas totes she calls Friendship Bags. She plans to send the "O" bag hanging above her to Oprah Winfrey as thanks for her inspiring television programs.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
Along with managing an automotive shop and working in her upholstery business, Rose Beseler also creates embroidered tote bags perfect for one friend to give another or to keep for oneself.
The durable, water-resistant canvas Friendship Bags are "boxed" at the bottom so they stand upright. Two laptops can fit into one bag.
"You can use and reuse them year round. They can be spot cleaned and air dried," Beseler said. "They are an eco-conscious replacement for plastic and paper bags at the grocery store."
The bags come in many different colors, and Beseler has several already embroidered in holiday and sport themes. She said a number of husbands who bring in their vehicles for work at Ultimate Automotive, see the bags and order special colors and designs for their wives. Quite a few women have stopped by and ordered bags for friends, for pets, or themselves as grocery, gym or book bags.
"You can personalize them with an initial," she said, adding that lining and bling - Swarovski crystals - costs a little more. Padded bags made from recycled leather, and including extra pockets and closures, will cost up to $150. But a basic, customized, embroidered tote is $25.
One of the first Friendship bags Beseler made has delicate flower tendrils and blossoms surrounding a large "O."
"I'm sending it to Oprah because she's been so inspirational for me and has helped so many other people. I'm sending a Friendship bag to say thank you."
Before Oprah shows the world her Friendship bag and creates a Friendship bag fever, stop by the front office of Ultimate Automotive Repair and Upholstery at 8737 Florentine Road to buy or order a bag now. Hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and the phone number is 928-775-7575.