Find jeans for your purse projects at yard sales and thrift stores, or ask friends, family and neighbors to save their old jeans for you. Look for jeans with interesting or flashy designs on the back pockets.....they will become the featured pockets on the front of your purse. Also, look for leather patches, tags and embroidery. I carefully remove the patches and place them on the purse where I want them, set the stitch length for the holes on the patch and sew them onto the purse.
Hunt for buttons and Bling at yard sales. Use your imagination. It gives you a good excuse to go!
For the Tote, look for women's bib overalls. They are usually found in the shorts section of thrift shops. I usually buy another pair of jeans that match the shorts/bib denims and use the legs to make the purse handles.
I use women's and children's jeans for all my purses. Men's denim jeans are too coarse and stiff. Also the pockets are typically too big to use.
Consider sewing a belt loop with a swivel hook on it on your purse (especially the Mini). I buy a colored key to match or compliment the purse design and attach it on the hook. Get the key cut for your house and you (or the child) will always have a house key available. You can also hang pendants or beads on the swivel hooks.