Shoes and purses are like wine and cheese. When paired correctly they are harmonious. When paired incorrectly there is total discord. Dissonance makes me anxious. Therefore, I must make certain that my purses compliment my Birkenstocks. By doing so, not only do I find harmony between my purse and shoe choice, I also pay my respects to the artistry of each pair of Birks. There is only one brand of handbags that can truly match the quality and flair of my beautiful Birkenstocks. That brand is Harveys California. Harveys makes the most incredible seatbelt handbags.
You read that correctly. Handbags made of SEATBELTS!!! Per their webpage, “It all started in a tiny garage with husband and wife, Dana & Melanie Harvey. While restoring their classic car, Dana came up with the idea to make Melanie a matching handbag with the leftover seatbelts. Everyone loved hers so much they decided to make more for you.”
Here is the Instagram TV video that I made to promote my blog. To illustrate the loveliness of these handbags.
The Harveys began creating, designing, and manufacturing their seatbelt handbags in Southern California in 1997. This was before the internet and social media. But, since I lived in Santa Barbara at the time, I had the good fortune to learn about these amazing bags early in their infancy, through word of mouth. However, since I was a college student, I did not have the funds to purchase a seatbelt bag for several years.
I drooled over these bags for over a decade before I finally “splurged”. Let me tell you, a Harveys Seatbelt Handbag is worth every single penny!! Like Birkenstocks, a Harveys bag is extremely durable, they are available in various styles and colors, and they can be repaired. Though I doubt that you will need to repair a Harveys bag, since they are nearly indestructible.
In fact, the Harveys slogan is that their bags are “guaranteed tough”. Additional features, as noted on the Harveys wiki page, is that these bags are “Durable, fade resistant automotive grade seatbelts and YKK zippers are sewn on industrial sewing machines (the kind used to sew horse saddles) with NASA grade nylon 69 thread.” It is hard to believe that such a durable bag is also vegan!! A Harveys bag will last a lifetime. You will probably only ever need to buy one.
But, what fun would that be?! Once you buy your first Harveys bag, you will soon want another. If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you will have noticed that I occasionally post pictures of my Birkenstocks alongside one of my beautiful Harveys bags. Yes, I have more than one. How many do I have? Not enough!!
Sometimes I feel like I can never have enough Harveys bags. Like Birkenstocks, Harveys surprises customers with limited edition releases. Plus, they have a partnership with Disney and make the most adorable Disney themed seatbelt items. Harveys just released their first Disney Pixar Toy Story collection. This Harveys release was out of this world and in such high demand that customers trying to purchase these items literally crashed their webpage!
If you are not a Disney fan (who doesn’t love Disney though?), don’t fret, Harveys has got you covered with other, always changing, one of a kind designs. Birkenstocks don’t just make sandals and Harveys doesn’t just make handbags. Harveys also has other goodies. Like wallets, key chains, lanyards, dog collars and leashes, coin purses, as well as some other non-seatbelt accessories. Harveys is not just for women, they have a line of items for men too! Harveys has so many wonderful items and everything is made right here in California!!
I am a California girl, born and raised. And one of the things that I love the most about the Harveys brand is that their items are created, designed, and manufactured in California. Plus all of their materials are made in the USA. This is a double whammy of goodness, like champagne and strawberries. Every time I purchase a new Harveys bag, I feel like I am buying “locally” and am proud to support a small California business.
One of the most ingenious marketing tools that Harveys has implemented, is a stack of miniature business cards that come in every new bag. That’s right, Harveys tucks these darling little cards into every purse so that wearers can pass them out when others inquire about the bag. And, believe me, you will get compliments every single day that you wear a Harveys purse!! These unique bags are conversation starters. For example, I get asked questions about my seatbelt bags at the grocery store, at soccer games, walking my dog, on airplanes, even waiting in line in a public restroom!!
While I often get compliments on my Birkenstocks, I have never been complimented on a pair of sandals in a public restroom. Honestly, if I did, I’d be a little weirded out by it.
To some, pairing exquisite leather Birkenstocks with a seatbelt bag might seem a little weird. But, there is nothing better than a Harveys Seatbelt bag to match the uniqueness of my rare Birks. Just as Birkenstocks make different models of sandals to meet everyone’s needs, Harveys Seatbelt Handbags create various silhouettes to match everyone’s personality. In my humble opinion, the seatbelt bag actually helps elevate the elegance of my Birkenstocks. Plus, it is fun to mix and match various Harveys designs with styles of Birkenstocks.
You are most likely reading my blog because you are a Birkenstock wearer. Have I piqued your interest in the Harveys Seatbelt Handbags? Why not take a peek at their current line of bags and see if they have something that might match a pair of your Birkenstocks? Or better yet, if you are in Santa Ana, swing by their store. I stopped by last month, when I was in town, and had the good fortune of meeting Melanie Harvey!
Whether you stop by their store or visit their webpage, I bet you will be pleasantly surprised with their offerings. But, beware, like Birkenstocks, Harveys Seatbelt Bags can be mildly addictive.
So addictive in fact, that you might want to mesh your two worlds. What do I mean? Well…Harveys often asks their customers for suggestions for future ideas. I have officially submitted my request for Harveys to make a seatbelt bag with images of Birkenstock sandals. But, that has not happened yet. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to suggest that Birkenstock collaborate with Harveys and make a limited edition line of Birkenstocks with seatbelt uppers!! How about THAT idea???!!! Imagine the endless possibilities, designs, and colors.
What are your thoughts on Harveys Seatbelt Handbags? Do they play to your palate of style when it comes to matching your Birkenstocks? Do you find the pairing of a seatbelt bag and Birkenstocks to be as harmonious as I do? Send me a message and let me know. I would love to hear from you.
Want to learn how to acquire rare, unique Birkenstocks? Read this blog.
Not sure how to break-in your new Birkenstocks? Then check out this article.
Worried about counterfeit Birkenstocks? This post details ways to determine if your Birks are authentic.
It's almost Spring!! I cannot wait until the rain stops in the Bay Area and I can start wearing my Birkenstock sandals again.
Birkenstock has recently begun releasing some of their Spring/Summer 2019 collection. I quickly snatched up my very first pair for Spring. It might not be what you expect. Usually I go for the unique, shimmery uppers. Unfortunately, many of the new releases with the pretty designs have white soles. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am not a fan of Birks with white soles.
So, what did I buy? Let's just say that I "invested" in a pair of blue leather Mayaris. Any Birkenstock collector knows, that it is rare for Birkenstock to release leather Mayaris in a deep, rich color. Usually, leather Mayaris are only available either in black or in brown. While those colors are solid neutrals for most people.....for Gina Mama.....it is just not enough.
The moment that Birkenstock Attitudes got these blue Mayaris in stock, I bought them. Watch this video to see the deep, rich navy of the leather:
Here's a tip to any newbie to Birkenstocks, if you see a sandal that you like, buy it!! With seasonal and limited edition Birkenstocks, once they are gone they are G-O-N-E. You never know when, if at all, Birkenstock might produce the style, color, or model again.
These blue Mayaris were my first purchase this season, what will your first Birkenstock purchase be from this collection? Send me a message, I would love to hear from you.
Thank you Birkenstock Attitudes for your exceptional customer service! I wonder what my next purchase from you might be.....????
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If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know how much I love to recraft vintage Birkenstocks. I enjoy seeking out older styles/models of Birks, that have been retired by Birkenstock, and transforming them into something unique. For any true Birkenstock lover, finding such gems on Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, garage sales, a wonderful small business owner, or even at second hand store, is like hitting the jackpot.
I am not going to write another Do-It-Yourself blog. I have already done that. If you have no idea what I mean by recrafting, then please start by reading my post "Recrafting" or "Recrafts by Michelangelo". To learn how to paint your Birkenstocks, read my article titled "Bespoke Birkenstock". To find out how to customize your Birks with color cream, check out my blog "Birkenstock Diva".
Here is a sneak peak of what to expect in today's post:
I have been looking for a pair of Birkenstock Messina sandals for quite awhile. I found these on Poshmark and paid $21, including shipping. Here is what they looked like when they arrived:
I disassembled them at home, in my oven, so that I could customize them, before I sent them to Custom Made Birkenstocks for recrafting. Instructions on how to remove the Birkenstock uppers from the soles and footbeds are in the blog post, "Birkenstock Diva".
Once Birkenstocks are deconstructed, one can paint the leather evenly. Here is what the sandals looked like after they were taken apart.
I always use Angelus Direct leather paint when customizing my Birkenstocks. Angelus leather paint is top notch. The paint goes on smooth, dries evenly, and there is never evidence of brush strokes once the paint dries. Please note, that I find leather paint to be more time efficient, and a heck of a lot less messy, compared to dyeing leather. For this project, I chose the color Pearlescent Rose Gold as my base coat, and then added a single layer of matching glitterlites to provide a touch of shimmer. This picture below shows the final product.
This short video shows you how the glitterlites sparkle in the sun. I am thoroughly satisfied with my updated version of the Birkenstock Messina.
My second, spectacular customization, revolves around the Birkenstock Jakarta. This beautiful sandal was released several years ago. I found this pair on Poshmark and paid about $40. Given the laser cut outs and the rarity of this Birkenstock, $40 is a steal! Granted, they looked very rough when they arrived. The metallic gold on the leather was peeling away, no surprise when it comes to Birkenstock metallic leathers. You just look at a shiny metallic Birkenstock and it scratches. Here is what the Birkenstocks looked like when I bought them.
As you can see, they looked extremely worn out. I was not sure that I wanted to keep them. I took a poll on Instagram and 80% of the pollers suggested that I resell them. One reader voted that I keep them and repaint them pewter. I was not sure that I wanted to go through the trouble of painting these, but her suggestion remained in the back of my mind. I listed them on eBay. For months, I had them for sale on eBay. Even at my rock bottom price, they would not sell!! I decided to show everyone what they were missing, and I painted them........pewter. Heck, I had already paid for them, mind as well customize them to Gina Mama standards.
As with the Messinas, I deconstructed the Jakartas in the oven, then I used nail polish remover and a cotton ball, to wipe off the remaining gold paint. The metallic paint came off easily. Once dry, I painted them flat black, added a top coat of pewter, and then brushed three layers pewter glitterlites. These babies were going to have so much sparkle, that you would see me coming from a mile away!!
Here is what the Jakartas looked like, once I pulled the straps off the footbeds, and removed the gold metallic finish:
This video showcases the sparkly goodness of the glitterlites, before the recraft.
Once again, I made all these changes using Angelus Direct paint. After my customization process at home, I shipped them off to Custom Made Birkenstocks, for the final recraft. With this pair of Jakartas, I had something special in mind. I wanted these rare sandals to have an exquisite leather lined footbed. Many of my favorite Birkenstocks have such footbeds. Wrapping the Jakarta's footbed in leather, turned these otherwise pretty Birks, into something très chic. Just look at the final product:
Meet Persian Velvet:
The final pair of Birkenstocks that I transformed, was a pair of Orange Persian Velvet Arizonas. I wanted these Orange Velvet Birkenstocks when they were first released. However, I chose to forgo them at the time because they were only released in narrow width.
A few months ago, Sandy, from Sandy's Birkenstock Boutique, mentioned that she had a pair of Brown Persian Velvet Arizonas in my size. The pair that Sandy had was new old stock!! She asked if I wanted to buy them before she listed them on eBay. I did not have to give this a second thought, I quickly answered "YES"! Since my foot shape changed, ever so slightly, after completing a round of 80 Day Obsession, I was confident that I would now be able to fit into a narrow width Arizona.
I loved the Brown Persian Velvet Arizonas so much, I knew that I had to find a pair of orange ones too. It took me several weeks, scouring the internet, before I finally found a pair. Here is what they looked like when I bought them on Poshmark:
They were the perfect orange. As a born and raised Bay Area girl, my heart belongs to the San Francisco Giants. These Arizonas were Giants orange!!
I shipped them off to Michelangelo, at Custom Made Birkenstocks, with no modifications. The only customization needed on my end, was a vision. My vision was "orange and black" (the San Francisco Giants colors). These velvet orange Arizonas needed to have an exquisite black leather footbed. I told Michelangelo what I wanted, and as the true artist that he is, he made it happen. The final customization with the leather lined footbed will make every Birkenstock lover drool. Check these out:
Words do not describe how much I treasure these orange Arizonas. They are be beautiful, dressy, and unique. I guarantee you that I will wear these every chance that I get. Especially come April, when baseball season begins!
It is truly amazing how a little imagination, quality leather paint, and an incredible cobbler, can truly transform any shabby looking pair of Birkenstocks. I have provided you the tips and techniques for making changes to your Birkenstocks. Now go out there and find a vintage pair that you *MUST* have and customize the heck out of them! I challenge you to take my DIY blogs and actually DO-IT-YOURSELF!! Post pictures of your customized Birkenstocks on my Facebook page. I can't wait to see how you have customized your Birkenstocks!!!
Some blogs don't need words, they just need a good video to tell a story. Here is the world premier release of my movie trailer, "Gina Mama's Big Buckle Gators". Press play and be sure you have your volume on for the full effect. Thank you to Birkenstock Attitudes for help with "costume design". I just love these Arizonas that I purchased from your store.
If this video made you giggle, then I did my job.
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Angelus Direct Glitterlites are Gina Mama’s “sole” mates!! Giltterlites can make your Birkenstocks gorgeous and glamorous. For a little less than $5.00, glitterlites can completely transform any of your Birkenstocks, even that old worn out pair in the back of your closet. All you need is a little creativity and imagination. What are Glitterlites? Well....you are just going to have to keep on reading to find out.
In a previous blog, Birkenstock Diva, I showed you how I completely transformed a pair of pink rivet Birkenstocks.
They turned into this:
Well, guess what? I had another pair of pink Gizehs, just like the ones above. Since I like all of my Birkenstocks to be unique, it took me few months to decide how I wanted to customize them.
Call me crazy, but this time, I took on the task of making ALL of the changes myself. I removed the soles and resoled them myself — at home! I applied the same steps, as I outlined in the Birkenstock Diva blog, to remove the soles. However, this time, I took extra precaution to prevent the toe post from melting. If the toe post melted, my back up plan was to send them to Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks for a total recraft. With a lot patience and a bit of luck, the toe posts did not melt!
After the soles were removed, I used Tarrago color cream to stain the uppers. By staining the leather prior to adhering on new soles, I was able to apply the color uniformly. This meant no gaps of pink peeking through where the footbed and sole connect.
Once the stain was dry, I carefully colored the white toe post black. I tried paint, but the paint chipped off. I tossed the paint aside and pulled out my secret weapon, a Mr. Sharpie. Mr. Sharpie worked like a champ and easily colored the white toe post black, to match the new black soles.
The final step was to glue on the black soles to the footbed. I used Barge All Purpose Cement Glue to adhere the soles to the footbed.
Clamps and rubber bands were used to apply pressure and help with adhesion. I let the glue dry for 24 hours and then I removed all the apparatuses.
The Gizehs looked so beautiful in red. The red made the rivets “pop”. Now, you would think that I would be satisfied just with this gorgeous red. But, I was not!! Something was missing.
The red was too dull and too matte for my liking. I needed some pizazz. But, what was missing?! Sparkle, shine, and shimmer…THAT was what these babies needed.
Where would I find a bottle of pizazz that included sparkle, shine, and shimmer? Allow me to introduce you to Giltterlites in Ruby Red.
This bottle contains one fluid ounce of pure magic. A bottle of Ruby Red Angelus Direct Glitterlites can turn any boring, dull pair of shoes into something charismatic. When I say Ruby Red, imagine Dorothy’s shoes from the Wizard of OZ.
We are not in Kansas anymore after applying Ruby Red Glitterlites to Birkenstocks. The red glitterlites transform any Birkenstock into something elegant and artistic. Think the Land of Oz magical. Ruby Red Glitterlites encompass all that greatness and uniqueness, into a little, one ounce bottle of leather paint.
My Birkenstocks went from this:
I love the Ruby Red Glitterlites so much that I used the same bottle of paint, to transform two other pairs of Birkenstocks!
The pair of Arizonas below was recrafted by Michelangelo at Custom Made Birkenstocks. I had purchased them on Poshmark for $20. I initially thought that I wanted the Arizonas to be black with black glitterlites. But, that was not satisfying enough for me. I decided to aim for that Stardust look that Birkenstock created a few years back. Only I wanted red “stardust” on black, something that Birkenstock has yet to produce (hint, hint).
This is what I created:
I love these and get numerous compliments every time that I wear them!! Interestingly, the final product turned out to be a mix between the Stardust effect and the new Iride Red that Birkenstock has released for Fall/Winter 2018.
Finally....my “Piece de Resistance”...are my brown Temaras. I bought the Temaras in black and really loved the look and the feel of the crisscross straps. I loved them so much, that I could not live without the brown ones too…..but, I never wore the brown. They were a little too dull for Gina Mama.
So, what’s a Birkenstock Diva to do?! Pull out some red leather paint and the bottle red glitterlites — that’s what!
For this customization, I followed the steps that I outlined in my blog, Bespoke Birkenstock. I primed the Temaras with one layer of white paint. Then I added two coats of chili pepper red paint from Angelus Direct. Finally, I applied three coats of Ruby Red glitterlites. And the final result were these spectacular Ruby Red Sparkly Temaras!!!
When I wear these Temaras, or any of my other customized Birkenstocks with red glitterlites, I feel like I am walking in a magical land. Like Dorothy, walking in the Land of Oz, in her Ruby Red slippers.
There is something to be said about having a unique pair Birkenstocks. Birkenstocks that no one else has and that no one else can get. It kind of makes me feel like a Diva.
But, I am no Diva at all. I am just a hard working woman/mom/wife with a creative edge. If my head gets too far up in the clouds with my artistic side, all I have to do is click my heels together three times and say, “there is no place like home”. This will transport me right back to reality. Right back home.
There is no place like home. And there is nothing like wearing a pair of customized Birkenstocks.
NOTE: For more suggestions on how to customize or paint Birkenstocks, click here.