Lina and Vi: October 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Burlap DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

Hi friends! Things are busy over here as I'm sewing a few burlap pillow backups as we get close to the start of holiday shopping season. Despite all of the beautiful decorations, delicious family dinners, and glittery dresses, the holidays can be a pretty stressful time as we try to find the perfect gift, make a dish everyone will enjoy, and balance everything on our to-do lists. I find myself particularly struggling with finding the right gift. You know what I mean, the absolutely perfect gift.  When you think you have something in mind, and then you talk yourself out of it, and then you have another idea and then you find five new reasons why that is not the right present. Yep, that's me. Am I alone here? Maybe, but I'm pretty sure there are some of you who go through these same dilemmas each year as we try to find something that feels thoughtful yet practical.

One thing that I always come back to is making a gift for someone. Spending the time to craft something by hand is incredibly thoughtful and really speaks to the care and time that the person put into it.  I've heard all of the reasons why we talk ourselves out of it time and time again - not enough time, too many other obligations, not crafty (what does that even mean?!), and so on.

Well I'm here today to share a few DIY ideas as you start thinking about those upcoming holiday gift ideas. Remember that handmade is more than just the gift, it's the time and effort spent to make that which is so invaluable.

So for all of you 'non-crafters' out there, give one of the projects below a try! They range from simple to intermediate and don't require a lot of supplies or time. Swap the burlap for another fabric and add your own touch. That's exactly what makes handmade so special - every item is unique. And if you're looking for something that you don't think you can make yourself, visit Etsy and support those who are creating handmade goods. You'll feel great knowing that you supported the handmade community and your gift will stand out from the crowd.


1. Monogrammed burlap flag - great as a hostess gift or new homeowner!

2.  Faux sherpa dog blanket - can't forget those furry friends this Christmas!

3. Stenciled burlap accent pillow - customize it with a city or state or add Mr. & Mrs. for those newlyweds celebrating their first Christmas together!

4. Tea towel - an incredibly easy way to handmade something for the cook in your family!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Amsterdam Burlap Clutch

Amsterdam burlap clutch - Lina and Vi

Since I've been back from our recent trip to Charleston,  I've been busy sewing away! I finished a custom burlap zipper pouch for a customer looking to match an existing purse, and it turned out fantastic! I also wrapped up a brand new clutch purse for the Lina and Vi Etsy shop. Please welcome the Amsterdam clutch as the newest member of the Grounds collection!

As you can see, I'm still on that faux brown leather kick right now. The exterior burlap features industrial printed text, most of which is either cut off or illegible, with the exception of the Amsterdam print on one side. The bottom of the clutch is accented with the vinyl fabric and a beige top-stitching, which it gives it a very polished look, similar to the Charleston bag I shared last week.  I really love the faux leather look against the burlap. It keeps the entire look very warm and natural, while still offering a bit of sophistication.

On the interior of the Amsterdam clutch, you will find beige canvas fabric that provides the structure to keep the shape of the clutch. The clutch secures shut with an ivory metal tooth YKK zipper and is held by a small beige wrist strap. This is a medium sized clutch, measuring 13" x 8", so it's large enough to hold a small wallet, keys, cell phone, mirror, your friend's phone, your friend's ID.... when you carry this clutch, your friends will be asking you to carry their items too!

Amsterdam burlap clutch - Lina and Vi

Amsterdam burlap clutch - Lina and Vi

Amsterdam burlap clutch - Lina and Vi

Amsterdam burlap clutch - Lina and Vi

Amsterdam burlap clutch - Lina and Vi

This bag is very similar to the Pink + Brown Burlap Clutch I sewed in August, just slightly longer and with different burlap print on the outside.  I think the original and this latest rendition both turned out great, and I'm excited to make the Amsterdam clutch available for purchase in our Etsy shop now.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Holiday Gift Sets + Avon Cosmetics

Lina and Vi burlap pouch plus Avon cosmetics

It's true. We are now less than two weeks away from Halloween which means that the holiday season is kicking into high gear next month.  It's hard for me to believe it as it feels like this year has gone by both incredibly fast and terribly slow at times. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but there are certain parts of this past year that dragged while the last few months have seemed to fly by at record pace.

If you are a reader from the metro Detroit area, I'm here today to share information on an exclusive holiday offering. You may have remember that we partnered with Avon a few months ago for a giveaway, and this month, we're partnering again to offer holiday gift sets! These new sets feature a Lina and Vi burlap zipper pouch stuffed with your customized colors of select Avon cosmetics.

Here's the deal:

1) Pick your Lina and Vi zipper pouch option

2) Pick your lipgloss
3) Pick your eyeshadow
4) Pick your nail polish

These holiday gift sets are $18 and are available for a limited time to customers in the metro Detroit area only. Contact Danielle's AVON (via Facebook message) to place your order by 10/21! 

To keep up with giveaways, products, and even more updates, remember to 'Like' Lina and Vi on Facebook.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Charleston Detour + New Personal Burlap Bag

Charleston Burlap Tote Bag - handmade Plymouth MI - Lina and Vi

Hello! It's been a bit since I've last updated and a lot has happened! I just returned from a mini vacation to Charleston, SC where my husband and I spent a few days wandering the city and the beaches, celebrating our anniversary.  The weather turned out to be beautiful every day, with only a few drips of rain on our first day there. We were a bit stressed last week, not really sure if we were going to be able to make the trip due to the flooding that occurred in the state earlier in the week. We were lucky because Charleston was mostly flood free.   It is a charming city with a lot of history and great food. It's a good mix of both historical/educational and shopping/culture. I highly recommend a short visit if you haven't been there.

Since I knew that we were going to be heading on vacation, I wanted to sew a new burlap bag that would allow me to keep all of our travel documents, umbrella, tablet, and other items with me as we moved around.  Travel takes a lot of coordination, and I like to keep everything in one place - in a file folder in my bag where it's easy to reach.

I retired the burlap cross-body bag I made for our trip to Philadelphia in the summer for this new, large burlap tote bag you see here. The bottom of the tote is a deep chocolate faux leather fabric and the straps are the same brown leather straps that I used on my old bags here and here. I have used them many times, and they are still in great shape! They do take a bit of time to sew onto the bag as I have to sew them by hand and with thick, black thread. It's totally worth the time as they really make this bag polished.

Charleston Burlap Tote Bag - handmade Plymouth MI - Lina and Vi

Charleston Burlap Tote Bag - handmade Plymouth MI - Lina and Vi

For the inside of the burlap tote, I used a green and white plaid fabric that I had in my stash. It's a soft, woven fabric that works well with the deep brown and fits with the autumn season as we transition to a darker palette. There is a zipper pocket and two flat pockets in the bag, which are super helpful when reaching for my cell or car keys on the go.

I don't have a specific name for this bag, so let's call it the Charleston burlap tote for good measure and for happy memories that I have made in that city.  If you're looking for a similar bag, check out what's available in our Etsy shop now or contact me at linaandvi at gmail dot com for a custom bag!

I hope you're enjoying your week!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

10 Tips for Requesting Custom Orders on Etsy

10 Tips for Custom Orders on Etsy

Hello! I hope you're having a great week. Back in September, I mentioned how I had been working on several custom orders for customers looking for specific burlap items. Although this wasn't the first round of custom orders I have worked with, I started thinking about the custom ordering process and how to make it more streamlined for both me and my customer.

Today I'm sharing ten tips that I have learned from being a seller on Etsy and working with a variety of custom requests. If you're an avid Etsy shopper who's interested in custom orders but never ask or thinking about requesting custom gifts for the upcoming holidays, I hope this helps guide you through a smoother process to finalize your custom order!

1. Message directly from a listing rather than an open message. It is easier for a seller to reference an item in their shop and match it with your request.

2. Provide links to photos of colors, designs, patterns, or shapes that inspire you. Even a Pinterest board can share a lot! These help us determine the style, dimensions, and color scheme you're looking  for.

3. Be as specific as possible, especially if you need something to match a specific color, size, pattern, etc.

4. Don't link to another Etsy shop or to a big box retailer's online website asking for direct replicas. If it's helpful to explain what you're looking for, that's good, but please don't ask us to create exactly what is available by another handmade artist or from mass production.

5. Anticipate that your custom order will require additional cost and time to make.

6. On that same note, provide a budget if you have one. It helps narrow down options quickly, as we sort through material options based on your target budget.

7. Provide a deadline as part of your initial message if you have one. If you need something in a week, please say it outright to avoid continuing the custom ordering process only to get everything finalize and realize that the timing doesn't work.

8. Follow up with us if you decided to go elsewhere or if you're no longer interested. If you need to think about it, let us know and provide a date when you expect to let us know by.

9. Provide a specific shipping address if it's different than what's listed on your Etsy account.

10. Don't hesitate to reach out if you're curious whether an item can be customized! I love helping my customers, and in some cases, I may make an exception for a custom order even if the listing says no customizations.

These are a few of the big tips, and I'm sure other Etsy or handmade sellers have more to share! I enjoy making custom burlap items, and I'm excited to use my sewing knowledge to help my customers create something that fits their vision.