Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Mystery of MabelMary and Nancy Drew

The youngest of four, I owned the lead role in hand-me-downs. 

Oftentimes, I didn't have a choice; my mother made me wear those dreaded secondhand outfits. Used books, however, were a totally different story - no pun intended. 

As a tanned, freckled-face kid, I spent my summers in The Hamptons, with Noyac Bay and Long Beach as my outdoor toy-chests. When it poured, thundered, or a not-so-merry weatherman hinted at a nor'easter - all water-related activities were nixed - at least temporarily. That's when my back-up plan involving my sister's Nancy Drew Mysteries kicked in.

On bad weather days, when the rain splattered noisily on the windows, I curled up on cushion-covered wicker chairs and read Nancy Drew. The Whispering Statue; The Secret of The Old Clock; The Hidden Staircase; plus oh, so many others - kept me company till I returned to mermaid status. 

My pal,  Wikipeida, explains it best: "Nancy Drew is a fictional (amateur sleuth) character in a mystery fiction series... The character first appeared in the year 1930; the books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene." 

Considering that Nancy's been around since the '30's, anyone reading this post will understand my surprise when just a few years ago, my eldest granddaughter told me she had read her first Nancy Drew! Since then, my two other girls started doing the same, and not only are they dedicated followers, but practicing sleuths, as well. When their birthdays came up, and they expressed interest in a detective bag that could hold their sleuthing material, I researched. To my delight and amazement I found:

MabelMary is owned by Karen, a mum with 4 young children. She lives in sunny Perth, Western Australia. When Karen created MabelMary, she chose the brand name, "MabelMary," in honor of her grandmother, who loved to sew and knit. The old-fashioned name reflects the vintage style and quality MabelMary aims for. Karen offers unique handmade items, often reflecting that vintage influence.

MabelMary's best-selling item is the Nancy Drew Detective Bag. This is a unique bag, designed by Karen, based on the bag used in the Nancy Drew movie. It was originally made at the request of Karen's daughter, who became entranced by the movie and longed for a bag like Nancy Drew. Unable to find a bag that even resembled Nancy Drew's, her daughter simply said "Why don't you make one?" And thus, the creation of MabelMary's Nancy Drew Detective Bag! 

It took several attempts and the merging of various bag patterns to arrive at the final exterior design, with four different interior patterns available. The bags are entirely made, from start to finish, by Karen, including the binding (bag) and piping (clue-book). Most of the bag is sewn on machine, but the final stage is sewn by hand. The entire process takes several hours, depending on the number of interruptions from young children...Of course, Nancy Drew's love of anything old-fashioned fits nicely with the MabelMary brand.

Similarly, while re-watching the Nancy Drew movie, Karen's daughter asked for a clue-book and headband like Nancy Drew's, so Karen designed and created these items too.

The Nancy Drew Detective Bag is great fun. Children become fascinated by it and the potential it contains, even those who have never seen the Nancy Drew movie, or read the books.

For more Nancy Drew and other handmade items, visit MabelMary's shop at Etsy.

The Mystery of  MabelMary and Nancy Drew is now solved!


  1. What a great idea! I would have loved something like this when I was a little girl.

  2. Good to know for future reference. Will check it out.