A long, long time ago, my best friend began dating a woman I didn’t know.

“I don’t think you’ll get along,” he said, when I pressed him for details and an introduction.

Eventually, my dear friend Kevin introduced me to Sara. Much to his surprise, we did get along. Over the years we’ve held each others’ hands and heads, stood up at each others’ weddings, washed each others’ dirty laundry, helped prepare for several (early) babies, and laughed a lot. My friendship with Sara by no means eclipses my original friendship with Kevin. It deepens and strengthens it, and has a full life of its own. And I feel so very blessed now to count this amazing woman as one of my closest, most trusted friends.

Earlier this summer, Lovely Sara celebrated a birthday, exactly 2 months after mine. I never forget her special day, but this year, as in most years, my gift arrived late. Not for poor memory, apathy, or lack of inspiration. No, in truth, I’ve been planning for this day for months. But how to celebrate this woman who has been so much to me? How to honor her as a hardworking mom, a caring friend, a dedicated reader? How to tell her that I know how tough it sometimes is, that I feel her sacrifices?

I decided early on that I’d make Sara a bag, as what mom doesn’t need another tote method? The problem was, I just couldn’t decide which bag to make. I narrowed it down to either Melissa’s Shoulder Bag from TinyHappy, or the aptly named Library Tote from Anna at Noodlehead. After oscillating back and forth for weeks, I finally decided (better late than never) to make both. Here’s how they turned out:

Library Tote:

I found some awesome used books to fill them with. Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping is probably my favorite book of all time. Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle is an awesome, timeless, fun read. (Countryside & Small Stock Journal is mine, and only for show, though I bet Sara has it also 🙂

They arrived late, for which I still feel bad, but she says she loves them. And that makes it all worthwhile.

Happy Belated Birthday, Sara Dear!