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Reader Challenge: Show us your early bloomers

In early spring, it’s always uplifting to see buds on trees or shrubs and flowers poking up in the garden. Once we see them, many of us can’t resist taking a few photos.

Now we want to see some of those photos you have taken recently as you wait for your garden to be in full bloom.

Email your photo to A phone number is helpful. We plan to have readers vote for their favorite photo.

A few details: If we publish the photo online, we would like to include your name. We will not print your phone number or street name, but we would like to indicate the town, village or city where you live.

There is a deadline: We need the photos by 6 p.m. April 8. And you can expect to see more Reader Challenges in the future.

In case you missed the winner of our last Reader Challenge: spring handbags

Readers voted this beach-y bag their No. 1 choice in our last Reader Challenge: spring handbags. (Photo courtesy Kathy Curatolo)

The handbag above received 50 percent of the votes in our latest Reader Challenge. This was the chance for purse-lovers to submit photos of their spring handbags – and have readers vote for their favorite.

The purse belongs to Clarence resident Kathy Curatolo.

“Whenever I carry this bag, people literally stop me no matter where I am and say, ‘I love that bag,’ “ said Curatolo in a phone interview.

Its story: More than 20 years ago, Curatolo went to lunch with a woman, now deceased, and admired the shell-embellished bag she was carrying.

“The next day she called me on the phone and said, ‘Kathy, can you please come over? I have something I want to bequeath to you.’ When I got to the house, she gave me the purse,” Curatolo said.

The woman told her she bought the bag at an estate sale in the 1960s.

The purse is wicker and may have been spray-painted and decorated with shells by a former owner. “It looks to me like somebody lined the inside with green burlap and that same green is on the outside,” said Curatolo, who believes the bag came from Miami.

“It just has so much sentimental value to me. I adore it, and I adore the woman who gave it to me,” said Curatolo.

“I edit my closet all the time but I will never, ever, ever get rid of this bag. I love it,” she said.

Thank you to all the readers who participated.

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