Lina and Vi: 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Nursery Tour!

DIY peach and white baby girl nursery by linaandvi

Today I'm sharing a couple of photos of our baby girl's nursery. Most of what you see in this room has been a DIY, so although not everything here is related to sewing, I thought I would share the design in the spirit of showing what a little bit of creativity and crafting can do to spruce up a room, especially on a budget.

We converted a spare bedroom to a nursery this past spring. It was previously a room with a dark color scheme - beige and crimson with touches of dark brown and black. We decided to keep the beige on the walls and accent the color with tones of peach, white, brown, and ivory. I didn't decorate based on one specific theme for the room, but rather stuck to a color scheme throughout to give the design some cohesiveness.

The DIY elements of our baby girl's nursery include both handmade elements from myself and my husband. To start, the floating wall shelves were hand-crafted by my husband as well as the refinished crib and dresser which he changed from natural wood to a white paint using a paint plus primer product from Sherwin-Williams. Similarly, he used his woodworking skills to transform a large framed mirror from a bedroom set into a smaller, rectangular mirror by removing the mirror from the original inset, taking it to a local glass cutter to cut it down, and framing it with handmade moulding. The mirror matches the same color as the dresser and crib (not shown below).

DIY peach and white baby girl nursery by linaandvi

DIY peach and white baby girl nursery by linaandvi

DIY peach and white baby girl nursery by linaandvi


As for my crafty touches, I handmade the moon and stars mobile, which I shared in this previous post. I also used my Silhouette Cameo to cut decals of a dahlia at different scale which I used to accent the top portion of one of the walls in the nursery to give it more interest.  I also recently handmade a wooden "I Love You Sign" (not shown) to place on one of the wooden shelves for decoration.  I upcycled two frames that were used for our wedding reception (4 years ago!) to frame the watercolor prints that you see above the crib which I purchased from two different artists on Etsy.

Overall, I think the nursery turned out great! I still need to put finishing touches here and there. As you can see, there is one open spot for a frame above the crib which I plan to hang a letter once we decide upon our little one's name. That will be another DIY likely to be done after she is born, and I'm in need of a creative project in between naps and feedings.

I hope you enjoyed this short tour of our peach-themed nursery! We are three weeks away from meeting our baby, and I am both nervous and excited for her arrival.

Thank you for stopping by and have a great rest of the week!
Erica

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Swiss Water Burlap Yoga Mat Tote Bag

Swiss Water burlap yoga mat bag by linaandvi plymouth mi - www.linaandvi.etsy.com


Here we are in mid-July! How did this this happen so quickly? I'm feeling pretty pregnant these days, but the heat has been manageable so far so I'm hoping that we continue to have a mild summer here in Michigan. I'm happy to still have some energy at the end of each day to continue to sew a bit, although I will be honest that I can feel myself slowing down more and more as each day passes. I love to sew, so if I can still manage it after a full day of work, commute, and dinner, then I'll commit whatever time I can to continue to create. The bonus is that it is a huge stress-reliever for me, so as I get closer to my due date (one month away!), I will need to find alternative ways to help me relax in the evenings. Yoga, anyone?

This past week I worked on a brand new yoga mat burlap tote bag, the Swiss Water bag. It's a beautiful print that I've seen before on a burlap coffee sack, but this time around I designed a yoga mat bag around the imprint rather than a shoulder bag. The simplicity of the design with the bright blue really gives this mat bag some personality. This yoga mat bag is definitely not for the shy. If you are looking for practical and fun way to carry your yoga mat to and from the gym or studio, this is the one for you! The burlap is authentic to the original sack, and the yoga mat bag is completely handmade in Plymouth, Michigan.

Swiss Water burlap yoga mat bag by linaandvi plymouth mi - www.linaandvi.etsy.com


I opted for a solid lavender lining on the inside. It helps to reduce friction when sliding a yoga mat in and out of the bag. The top flap is a solid beige cotton canvas with a clear toggle closure so it's easy to open and close before and after class while you are setting up your yoga mat.  You can shop this bag now in our Etsy shop!

I'll be back next week sharing more photos of my DIY baby girl nusery! Enjoy your weekend and thanks for supporting my handmade business!

Erica

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Our Latest Burlap Bag: the Pyramid Market Tote

Pyramid Burlap Market tote bag by lina and vi plymouth mi - www.linaandvi.etsy.com

I'm thrilled to be able to share a new burlap tote bag with you today! This medium-sized market bag is one that I am particularly proud of. It features a simple yet modern pyramid design on the repurposed burlap front and back panels, offset with a soft, faux leather brown bottom that is trimmed with an ivory cotton canvas fabric. I'm especially proud of that ivory trim on the bottom. It took me some extra time to get it just right, and I love how the design turned out. This market tote bag is truly one of the more sophisticated burlap bags I have designed, and I am in love with how it turned out.

A couple of other details to share about this bag include the flat pocket on the interior lining for easily organizing small items and the handmade wide straps so the bag stays firmly on your shoulder. I opted for a neutral, ivory cotton canvas fabric on the interior which matches the trim on the exterior bottom and the handles. The handles turned out beautifully with a top stitch that strengthens each strap and makes them durable.

Pyramid Burlap Market tote bag by lina and vi plymouth mi - www.linaandvi.etsy.com

Pyramid Burlap Market tote bag by lina and vi plymouth mi - www.linaandvi.etsy.com

Pyramid Burlap Market tote bag by lina and vi plymouth mi - www.linaandvi.etsy.com

You can shop the Pyramid market tote bag now in our Etsy shop! I have a good feeling this one is going to go fast with its neutral color palette and organic, natural style.

This weekend is Plymouth's Art in the Park, and while we are not participating, we do have our handmade burlap pillows available to shop at Birch Wood Boutique on Forest Ave! You will find our Plymouth and Detroit stenciled pillows as well as the Michigan home and Great Lakes square burlap pillow available. Plus, everything in the boutique is on sale for the art fair! Everyone knows I love a good sale. ;-)

I hope you are enjoying your weekend. The sun is out, the temperature is cooler, and I am taking full advantage of this pleasant weather with my larger baby bump in tow. We are only 5 weeks away from welcoming our new family member - time is flying!

Thanks for stopping by,
Erica

Sunday, July 2, 2017

New in the Shop: Burlap Zipper Pouches

Lina and Vi Repurposed Burlap Zipper Pouches

I'm back at the sewing machine this week sharing a couple of new items for our Etsy shop. We closed out June with three new burlap pouches in our shop, and I'm loving the color combinations for these fun yet practical zipper bags.

Each zipper pouch is sewn from 100% repurposed coffee sack burlap bags and finished with a colorful printed or solid lining fabric. The burlap prints on these pouches are bold and completely authentic to the original coffee sack. The zippers are standard high-quality YKK zippers in both white and ivory. I love sewing these pouches because it is fun to combine different color combinations together. They are so useful for organizing small items, or even replacing a big purse, especially during the warmer summer months when there is a tendency to carry a lighter load. You can shop this set of three in our Etsy shop now. These are completely USA (and Michigan) made.

Lina and Vi Repurposed Burlap Zipper Pouches

Lina and Vi Repurposed Burlap Zipper Pouches

Lina and Vi Repurposed Burlap Zipper Pouches

In other news, we are halfway through 2017 which seems surreal. I don't know where the months went, but I do know that the second half of 2017 is going to be an exciting one. I am looking forward to welcoming our baby, adjusting to motherhood, and finding a new normal balance between sewing/career/family.  I sense a few more baby sewing projects in my near future!

I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful holiday weekend and spending time with your friends and family to both relax and celebrate for the 4th of July!

Enjoy!
Erica

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sewing Baby Clothing and Life Lately

Handmade baby bloomers by linaandvi.com

Life last weekend moved a little bit slower. My husband and I headed up to his family's cottage for a long weekend to spend fishing, boating, and enjoying the sunshine. The weather was a balance of rain and shine each day. We were able to spend the days on a little bit a slower pace, sans the early mornings, traffic, and busy schedules that come with our typical workdays. Since I knew that we were headed up north Michigan and that the activities that I can participate in at this point in my pregnancy are becoming limited, I opted to bring my sewing machine and some supplies along with a goal to sew at least one baby item.

Using free patterns found through blogs, I spent a few hours sewing up two new diaper covers, one with a floral print on a gray background and one with a fun pink and blue rocketship print. The rocketship printed fabric was leftover from the first set of pajama pants I made when I was back in high school (!!!). I clearly purchased way too much fabric for those PJ pants, and I STILL have the fabric in my stash. I don't know if I should be proud or not that I have held on to that one so long.  I feel like I'm giving off a hoarder impression! ;-) These diaper covers will come in handy under dresses and pairing with onesies to make an outfit for our baby girl. You can find the free pattern on Sew Caroline's blog here.

When a couple of other rainy hours hit, I spent some time in the cottage sewing up this cute baby girl dress. This wasn't the first time I've made this dress, and with a little bit of prior practice, it was much easier to sew the lined bodice this time around and conceal all of the inner bodice seams so that there are no exposed raw fabric edges. Even though no one will ever notice the interior of the dress, I like that the interior is clean and finished, as it means less loose threads that might annoy the baby.

Handmade baby dress by linaandvi.com

I purchased this white floral print cotton fabric at JoAnn's, and with the leftovers, I found a headband pattern to sew up a retro headband with a small elastic stretch on the back. Unlike typical baby and toddler clothing, this is made from cotton, not knit, so there is no stretch. I'm not sure how easy it will be to get on the baby, but it's cute and if she never wears it, maybe she will keep it for her own kids. You can find the free Little Geranium baby dress pattern on Made by Rae's blog here.

In other news, we are almost 7 weeks away from my due date, and I'm feeling a lot of different emotions that often change based on the day. I'm still sewing when I can, both to stock up on inventory for the Etsy shop for after the baby arrives and for my own stress relief. More and more of my time has become about preparing for the baby, and with less than two months to go left, I'm hoping for a smooth next few weeks. Summer is here, and I'm looking forward to continuing to sew up until the baby's arrival. If you have any free baby sewing patterns to share, please post them in the comments! I'd love to add them to my growing Pinterest board.

Have a great weekend,
Erica

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Baby Girl Nursery DIY Decals with Silhouette Cameo

baby girl nursery diy decals silhouette cameo florals by linaandvi.com

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking through a few ideas I had to decorate our baby's nursery, and one that kept popping in my head was flowers. I knew I wanted to do something with flowers, and if possible, I wanted to make something myself using my Cameo. There is one far wall across from the crib that was pretty empty, with just a framed mirror hanging. After searching Pinterest and other decor sites, I had the idea to make 3D paper flowers and place them randomly around the mirror to give the wall some interest and texture without making the room too busy. Our nursery room is small, and the last thing I wanted to do was introduce more decor when I knew that the room would soon fill up with baby supplies.

Late last week, I was browsing the Silhouette blog contributor list, and I came across the blog, Classy Cutter, created by two women mainly focused on DIY projects using an electronic cutter, specifically the Silhouette Cameo. By luck, I came across their DIY Floral Faux Wallpaper post, and thought it would be a great alternative to paper flowers on the nursery wall. I loved the large floral print, and I knew that I could manage to make something similar with supplies I had at home.

While I purchased the same decal template used in the Classy Cutter post ($1!), I modified my application a bit by scattering different size dahlia flowers over the top portion of the wall with more negative space in between. I did this partly because I didn't have very much white vinyl on hand and partly because I was again nervous that adding too much would make the wall too busy. I am focused on keeping the room as simple as possible to evoke calmness and serenity. (Somewhere an experienced mom is laughing at me, I know. We can all hope, right?!)

Applying the decals was tricky given that the vinyl is quite thin with many cutouts. I would describe it like applying a spider web sticker onto a flat surface at a large scale - there were several areas that would fold over from static cling and stick together which I had to spend time carefully pulling apart. With a little help from my husband to apply the decals high up near the ceiling, this whole project took about four hours total spanning a couple of weeknights. Aside from the image purchase, I had all of the supplies already on hand.

baby girl nursery diy decals silhouette cameo florals by linaandvi.com

baby girl nursery diy decals silhouette cameo florals by linaandvi.com

baby girl nursery diy decals silhouette cameo florals by linaandvi.com

There is still a lot to do with this nursery, but it is coming together slowly but surely. By the end of the month, I hope to have much of it complete, with the exception of the organization of the closet, which will take some time and may change when the baby arrives since I'll quickly figure out what I will need access to the most.

I hope this DIY project inspires you to tackle a project at home that you have been wanting to complete but have been hesitant to start. Make Pinterest your friend and start small - when the inspiration strikes, you will be surprised what you can do!

Thanks for letting me share my latest baby DIY with you!
Erica

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Plymouth Farmer's Market 2017


Hello, friends! It's been a couple of weeks, and things have been busy! This past weekend I participated in the downtown Plymouth Farmer's Market. It was great to be able to meet many local customers, hear feedback on our burlap bags and pillows, and see some familiar faces from last year's farmer's market. The weather was warm, sunny, and beautiful so it was a great morning being able to be part of the local community here in Plymouth. Although this past weekend will be the only time Lina and Vi will be at the market this year, I hope to have a table next year with baby along for the ride. I'm sure my husband and I will be walking the market later this summer, and I hope to run into some of you then as well.  Speaking of my husband, a huge shoutout to him for helping me unload, setup, and repack everything yesterday despite the heat!

Aside from the market, I have been working on a number of custom burlap pillows these past few weeks both for local customers and customers in other states. It is fun to see where our Etsy orders originate, especially for our Michigan-based stenciled burlap pillows. It always sparks my curiosity to know how someone in another state has a connection to Michigan, so it can be really interesting to receive orders from around the country, not just local Michiganders. Keep them coming!

I announced on the Lina and Vi Facebook page a couple of weeks ago that we will be pausing all custom wholesale orders after June 15th. We are a few days away from that date, so if you are interested in placing a wholesale order for delivery prior to August, please email us at linaandvi at gmail dot com. I will be taking a couple of months off from wholesale orders to welcome our new baby in August, and I hope to be back accepting wholesale orders by the end of September. In the meantime, our Etsy shop will remain open as we have a number of ready to ship pillows, bags, and zipper pouches. Thank you for understanding and your continued support of our small, handmade business!

This week I will be focusing on a sewing a large order of our popular 4" by 6" burlap zipper pouches. We are thrilled to be working with Bundled again, and these are headed over to them to include in their ladies gift bundles later this summer.  I'm working with solid and printed fabric in a variety of vibrant colors, perfect for the summer months. Stay tuned for more updates on progress through our Facebook page.

I hope you are out enjoying the start of summer. I will be back soon sharing a new baby nursery DIY project that involved my Silhouette Cameo - I can't wait to share this one with you!

Erica


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Make It: DIY Sewn Felt Cloud Mobile

DIY Cloud and Moon Mobile - baby nursery - linaandvi.com

If you follow our Facebook page, you will know by now that I am expecting a baby girl in August. As I gear up for everything new ahead, I am trying to find ways where I can create something handmade or buy handmade to decorate our nursery. Today I want to share a short DIY that I worked on a couple of weeks ago for a felt cloud baby mobile. 

I spent a couple of days searching for ideas on Pinterest, and I landed on this DIY post for how to make a cloud mobile on Apartment Therapy. I decided to make a couple of modifications, but all in all, I am happy with how it turned out. I won't spend time walking through a tutorial here since you can find the tutorial in the link above but I will share a couple of highlights on how I modified the design slightly.

First of all, I did not hand-stitch the felt. I busted out my sewing machine and switched to a small zigzag stitch. I do not have the patience or talent to sew well by hand, and I knew the machine would be much faster and easier for me to control.

DIY Cloud and Moon Mobile - baby nursery - linaandvi.com

Second, I opted for stars in lieu of raindrops, since I had yellow scrap felt already on hand. I searched for a quick rounded start template, printed it out, and traced it onto the felt. I used metallic gold thread for the zigzag seams on the stars which gives them a bit of sparkle. I also added a peach moon shape so that I could incorporate some peach in the mobile. 

DIY Cloud and Moon Mobile - baby nursery - linaandvi.com

Last, I used an embroidery hoop to hang the plush items. I painted it in a light peach to match the nursery's color scheme and used clear fishing line to tie everything together. It took me a couple of nights to get everything sewn up and hanging just right. I stuffed these with small bits of polyfill and cotton balls. I am now in search of a hanger to place the mobile, which will be much easier than trying to hang it using another method from our ceiling. I'm excited to have this handmade mobile in our baby's nursery, and I'm equally glad to have been able to flex some of my sewing skills to create it!

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek in my nursery and found some new inspiration for sewing for a new baby in your life. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Erica



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Springtime Purple...and Cats!

Handmade upcycled coffee burlap sack zipper case by LinaandVi Plymouth MI

What do purple, cats, and burlap have in common you may ask? Well, they are all included in two of our latest burlap zipper bag designs! This past week, I was busy sewing up two new large burlap cosmetic bags. I must have had purple on the mind because both of these fun new zipper bags feature a pop of this color mixed in with the warm tan tones of the upcycled coffee bean sack burlap and faux leather. I'm loving the way these new bags turned out, and they are examples of exactly what I strive for with all of the Lina and Vi designs - simplicity on the outside and fun on the inside!

While both of these burlap zipper bags feature the same buttery faux leather bottoms and bold black printed burlap, they each are lined with unique fabric. I decided to take a risk (those are good to take every now and then, right?!) and opted to use a kitty cat printed purple fabric from Cotton+Steel's collection for the first bag. These cats are so much fun with their little white faces scattered about the fabric. And this burlap zipper bag is purrr-fect (I had to ;-)) for cat lovers!

Handmade upcycled coffee burlap sack zipper case by LinaandVi Plymouth MI

Handmade upcycled coffee burlap sack zipper case by LinaandVi Plymouth MI

Handmade upcycled coffee burlap sack zipper case by LinaandVi Plymouth MI

The second larger burlap zipper case is lined with a tan, white, and purple wave abstract pattern that I have used in past designs and is my go-to for lining burlap bags. This fabric is thicker, like a twill, and it has a nice, soft hand that is a great contrast against the rough text of burlap.  Both of these new designs are available in our Etsy shop and ready to ship! They are completely handmade in Plymouth, Michigan using upcycled coffee burlap sacks.

We're having another busy weekend around here, but we are making progress with our garden, our nursery, and sewing! Tomorrow is mother's day here in the U.S, and I hope that every mother is able to enjoy her special day with her family and friends.

Thank you for your continued support!
Erica

Friday, May 5, 2017

USDA Organic Burlap Zipper Large Pouch

https://www.etsy.com/listing/185312144/usda-organic-printed-burlap-zipper-pouch?ref=shop_home_active_2

Where is the time going? I spent the first few days of May on a short babymoon to west Michigan, where my husband and I stayed at a local B&B in Saugatuck. Although the weather was a bit cold and rainy, we hopped in the car and drove the coast of Lake Michigan to visit the downtown area of Holland and the beautiful, large beach in Grand Haven. It was much needed rest and relaxation - a few days away from work, email, traffic, our pup, and the daily rush. We enjoyed some amazing food in downtown Douglas and fantastic shops in Saugatuck, as well as gourmet breakfasts. If you need a B&B recommendation in Saugatuck, I have one for you!

With a baby on the way, it feels like we are busier than ever. My mind is constantly running with projects and to-do's, and although the progress feels slow, I think we are right on track. I'm still feeling good, and everyone is healthy, which is most important.  On that topic, I recently completed a new DIY for our nursery that I plan to share in the next couple of days. This one involved my sewing machine, some felt, and a bit of fishing line, so if you have a baby on the way or need a gift, stay tuned for my upcoming DIY post.

Last week, I wrapped up a brand new burlap zipper pouch that is now available for purchase on Etsy and ready to ship. I decided to focus on sewing a larger zipper pouch, as these are so versatile and can be used for a variety of things. Please welcome the USDA Organic burlap zipper pouch featuring Cotton+Steel red and gold striped cotton fabric! This zipper pouch has a buttery soft faux leather bottom that sharpens the bag's style and provides a structured balance against the fuzzy burlap panels. The USDA Organic original print is big and bold, perfect for anyone looking to make a statement with this eclectic accessory. You can find this bag in our Etsy shop here.

USDA Organic burlap zipper pouch by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

USDA Organic burlap zipper pouch by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

If you saw our recent Facebook post, the local Plymouth Farmer's market opens this weekend, tomorrow Saturday May 6th from 7:30 - 12:30. Although we will not be participating tomorrow, I encourage you to stop by to see the local artisans and shop everything from plants to coffee, to baked goods. I'll be joining the crew one upcoming Saturday when the weather is a bit warmer, so stay tuned to our Facebook page for the dates.

I hope you have a great weekend!
Erica

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New in the shop: Burlap Zipper Pouch Sets

burlap zipper pouches by linaandvi.com

Hello and happy Thursday! It's been another busy week around here, but despite the packed days, I have had some time to sew and update our Etsy shop this week. First, I finished up several new sets of burlap zipper pouches. We now have sets of two and singles available in the 4" by 6" size. Visit our Burlap Zipper Pouches and Burlap Zipper Pouch Sets shop sections to see the latest designs. With Mother's Day coming up in a couple of weeks, these handmade, upcycled burlap pouches are a great gift alone or wrapped up in a gift basket. If you choose to fill it with someone's favorite goodies, you will have the gift and packaging all tied into one!

Speaking of burlap zipper pouches, our friends over at Bundled Michigan were kind enough to feature our pouches in their recent Facebook post. They are now restocked with several new Lina and Vi burlap pouches. Their ladies bundles make unique gifts for Mother's Day with the added bonus of handling the shopping, packaging, and shipping for you. It is a super simple way to give a thoughtful gift to show how much you appreciate that special someone.

Second, I updated all of our Etsy listings to make them more reader friendly. You will notice that the descriptions are split into multiple sections, making it faster to pinpoint the information you are looking for rather than having to skim the info in whole. Even after three years, I am still learning more how to best present the Lina and Vi handmade items so you can find it easy to shop our products, despite not being able to physically touch them.

Lastly, many of our burlap pillows are restocked and ready to ship! I have stocked up our most popular burlap pillows for the spring. Shop our burlap pillow section to see the latest ready to ship options.

I am looking forward to sewing a new custom crossbody burlap bag for a local customer this weekend. While it seems like everything is high gear right now, I know that in a couple of months, I will need to slow down and prepare for this little one to enter the world. I am spending as much of my free time preparing for the changes that are coming ahead. It truly is a season of change in my life, and while I admit that I am nervous, I am just as excited to enter a new phase.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week - thank you for stopping in!
Erica


Monday, April 10, 2017

April Update + New Certified Crossbody Burlap Bag

Certified Burlap Crossbody tote bag by Lina and Vi, Plymouth MI

Welcome to April! I realize I am over a week late with this sentiment, but things have been moving fast these past few weeks. Although I've been pretty quiet here on the blog, I have been busy in the background working on restocking a number of our burlap stenciled pillows, designing a new burlap bag, filling custom orders, and preparing for a new baby! The best way to describe it is a feeling that things are moving fast but the day to day is slow.

With the new month comes warmer weather, so it is more of a decision now to stay inside to sew when the weather is nice. I do feel that when I am at my sewing machine, I get the best of both worlds as I am facing a big, bright open window with the afternoon sunshine filling the room. I am looking forward to the start of the summer craft fair and farmer's market season ahead, and I'm hoping that you will see me again at my local Plymouth farmer's market on an upcoming Saturday. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more updates on the schedule if you are local to the Plymouth, MI area.

Certified Burlap Crossbody tote bag by Lina and Vi, Plymouth MI

Certified Burlap Crossbody tote bag by Lina and Vi, Plymouth MI

Last week, I introduced a new burlap crossbody bag to the Grounds Collection, the Certified burlap tote. Crossbody bags are some of my favorites, as I am a big fan of the no-hands bag especially during the warmer months when I tend to be outdoors on a walk and want to keep my hands free of stuff. This medium zipper bag was fun to make and features pops of blue with the polka dot Cotton+Steel cotton fabric lining. I keep gravitating to a fun interior balanced with a subdued exterior, so that my designs can work with any style any day, which is my overall design goal. You can shop this new burlap crossbody bag in our Etsy shop now.

I started to sew for my little one, although I have been focused mainly on updating our spare room and cleaning the bedroom closet this past week. I am looking forward to sewing more handmade baby items in the next few months. If you have any recommendations for baby patterns, please send them my way!

This week I'll be focused on sewing up a handful of new burlap zipper pouches for our friends over at Bundled Michigan, while hopefully still making progress on wrapping up the final steps of cleaning out the closet for baby.  I hope you have a great week ahead as well as a fantastic Easter! I will be back shortly with more updates about what is happening behind the scenes and new sewing projects!

Thanks for reading,
Erica





Friday, March 24, 2017

New! Oakland Burlap Shoulder Tote Bag

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

I'm wrapping up another busy week sharing a short update about our latest burlap tote bag - the Oakland! It's been many, many months since I last created a shoulder bag for the Grounds Collection. Burlap pouches and pillows have been popular orders lately, but I was glad to be able to jump back into the bag-making process and sew up this new medium burlap tote bag for spring.

The Oakland is sewn from upcycled burlap that features black and green bold industrial text, which is authentic to the original burlap coffee bean sack. There is a green stripe down the center of the burlap panels which consists of woven green jute threads, so it is completely embedded into the burlap itself rather than printed. The bold text features the words 'Oakland, CA', inspiring the name for this new bag. You will notice that the print appears at a slight angle, and that is due to the fact that the text was applied without being aligned to the thread grain. Rather than ignore the grain to preserve the text alignment, I opted to ignore the text alignment in order to follow the thread grain, which prevents the burlap from fraying and strengthens the entire bag.

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

This burlap bag's exterior bottom features a sleek faux black leather outlined in white top-stitching. On the inside, the lining is sewn from a beige cotton canvas that provides more structure and balance the bold exterior. I added a small pop of interest and color on the interior bottom using a woven yellow and cream fabric perfect for spring.

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

Oakland burlap tote bag by Lina and Vi Plymouth Mi

This tote is a classic design - one that is very similar to the bag that I have carried myself for the past 1.5 years and still going strong! It's large enough to fit a few extras while I'm on the go, but it's not overly large to where it's too heavy to carry. It's quick to grab what I need without having to unzip a zipper but at the same time, I can snap it shut to keep the major contents from rolling out. I am tempted to keep this Oakland burlap tote all to myself but I want to share it with someone else who is looking for a new go-to everyday bag for spring and summer. Maybe I can swing a new bag as part of my growing list of things to sew? Hmm, maybe so! Seems like I will need to adding a diaper bag to my everyday load before a new bag....

I hope you are having a great start to the weekend! Spring has started, and I can't wait for the warmer season. You can find this Oakland burlap tote bag for sale in our Etsy shop here.

Enjoy!
Erica

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Custom Burlap Coffee Yoga Mat Bag with Florals



Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

This past weekend, I worked on a custom ordered yoga mat bag which turned out great! As I mentioned in my previous post, I used a variety of tools, so there were a number of times I was stopping to switch feet on my machine. I am proud by how much using specialized feet has really has elevated the quality of my sewing, especially with the top-stitching on the handle of this bag. 

This yoga mat bag is sewn from an upcycled coffee bean burlap sack that features bold, black text with a touch of a green logo. The accent fabric is a colorful, floral Cotton+Steel cotton fabric. I had a fat quarter left from the bundle I purchased at Pink Castle Fabrics back in December. The fabric worked great to give this yoga mat bag a whimsical, yet delicate feel. It is a fun contrast to the bold text on the burlap. I matched the floral color scheme with a solid, silky purple interior lining. I opted for a toggle closure at the opening of the bag, so it is easy to secure. Finally, the handle is sewn from a cream utility canvas fabric that is durable enough to withstand heavier wear. Overall, I really like how the florals balance out the burlap design to give the entire yoga mat bag an organic and natural yet feminine style.

Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

Burlap Coffee Bean Sack Yoga Mat Bag Floral by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

Although this yoga mat bag is already sold, I do have one available in the Lina and Vi Etsy shop that is ready to ship now. You can find the Indonesia Burlap Yoga Mat bag here.

In other news, I was able to squeeze in a bit of sewing for baby last week. If you follow us on Facebook, I shared a quick photo of the burp cloths I made in black and white geometric snuggle flannel. We are one week out from finding the gender of our little one, and I think it will make this experience even more real once we know! I am sure I'll be spending more time sewing for baby in the coming months once we have the gender revealed to us, and I am looking forward to making items that are stylish and practical. More to come on that in the next few months!

I hope you are having a great week!
Erica

Friday, March 3, 2017

How to Use a Walking Foot for Faux Leather



Today I am sharing a little bit about what I learned while using a walking foot to sew the faux leather bottom onto our burlap AeroPress travel zipper cases. First of all, you should know that I was reluctant to use it. I had searched and tried a couple of different hacks that I found online, like placing tape under the standard zipper foot to reduce the friction between the foot and faux vinyl leather. This worked in the past, but the latest vinyl I purchased had more texture and wasn't moving easily under the regular foot. I tried to coax it through with some tugs and pulls, but the quality of the stitches did not meet my expectations. I ended up doing a bit more research and figured I would give the walking foot a try.

My walking foot is very basic, but I'm not really sure if there are more sophisticated ones out there so maybe it is exactly as expected. This foot is pretty large, and honestly, it was pretty intimidating to me. It came with my sewing machine, but I never unwrapped it from the packaging for almost four years. Now that I've used it, I can't recommend it enough to others. The advantage of a walking foot is that it contains upper feed dogs that feed the upper fabric at the same time as the lower feed dogs located under the needle plate on your machine. The benefit is that it makes it easier to feed bulky, sticky, or silky fabric through in a more controlled manner. It is most often used in quilting, when working with batting and multiple layers of fabric, but it can really be applied to almost any type of sewing to provide ease when feeding tricky fabric through the machine.

To install a walking foot, you will need the small screwdriver that came with your machine to unscrew the bolt on the shaft. Pop off the regular foot, unscrew the bolt, and pull down to remove the shaft from the machine and place it aside. Next, you will need to line up the walking foot shaft to where the bolt hole is as well as slightly lift the right arm to wrap it around a separate, smaller bolt that secures the needle. This arm will act a lever that tells the walking foot when the needle is in an up or down position so that the upper feed dogs move the fabric at the same time and rate as the lower feed dogs. Screw in the bolt using the screwdriver and check your machine instructions to confirm if you need to use a specific stitch setting with the walking foot. Of course, if you have your sewing machine instructions, they often will contain a short description of how to attach a walking foot using diagrams that I can't provide here.

The walking foot made it noticeably easier to feed my faux leather through my machine without it sticking to my sewing foot. The only negatives of the walking foot in my opinion are that it's a bit bulky, so straight stitching is often the ideal stitch, and it is more time consuming to put on and take off than any other sewing foot. However, the time it saved me, along with the frustration of trying to coax my fabric through the machine, is greater than the time it took to set it up.

Personally, I tend to shy away from swapping out feet or tools while I'm sewing because my initial perception is that it is wasting time and makes me less efficient. But, I have learned that using the right tools not only can save you time in the long run, but they can produce a superior quality than what can be done with trying to make the tools you have work for all cases. I like being resourceful, and I pride myself on being efficient, but sometimes I need to remember that it's okay to pull out the zipper or edge stitch feet because they are made specifically for sewing in those cases. Last night, I decided to pull out my edge stitch foot for some top stitching I was working on for a new burlap yoga bag, and the final quality of stitches is beyond what I could have done freehand with a standard foot. It really gives my final product the high quality look it deserves.

If you are a sewer or maker and have any questions about the walking foot, I would be happy to share more in detail and answer any questions you may have on how to install the foot on a Brother machine. And don't forget, as I did, that having the right tools can make a big difference!

Thanks for stopping by,
Erica



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

AeroPress Bags, Valentine's Day, and a Walking Foot

Burlap Aeropress cases for RoosRoast by Lina and Vi Michigan

Hello again from the world of burlap zipper cases! I've been busy these past two weeks finishing up the first and second batches of custom made AeroPress burlap cases for our pals over at RoosRoast, Ann Arbor.  They are turning out great, and I'm happy to report that there are five more to sew up! What a month it has been. I feel very lucky to be working with such a fun, local coffee shop that supports the handmade community. Their business has expanded since we started working together this time last year, and I hope that they continue to see this same success in the years to come. We need to support our small, family-owned businesses!

We celebrated Valentine's day last week and keeping with the coffee theme, I purchased some Lobster Butter Love coffee roasted by RoosRoast themselves. My husband is a coffee lover, so I paired the coffee with a new thermal travel mug since our other travel mugs are old and leaky. He planned a weekend afternoon for us to visit the DIA in Detroit and a dinner to try out a new restaurant downtown named Grey Ghost, which was delicious. Their menu is curated, but we like that as it tends to mean that a restaurant focuses on a few really, really good items. Our choices did not disappoint, and I'm sure we will back again in the future, at least so I can try one of their cocktails!

I learned to install and use the walking foot on my sewing machine last week, and it made sewing the exterior faux leather so much easier. I plan to write up a whole post dedicated to the walking foot in case there are others, who like me, need a little extra convincing to try it out when working with faux leather or vinyl. My stubbornness got the best of me on this one, and I was sewing the hard way until I caved and gave it a try. I'll share more in a future post of how the whole process went for me.

I'm starting up the third batch of AeroPress burlap travel cases this week, so it's back to the cutting table tonight. I hope you are having a great week, and as always, thank you for stopping by to read my updates.

Erica

Monday, February 6, 2017

February AeroPress Bags and Updates

I have been slightly out of touch this past week as I have been heads down working on a new wholesale order - our largest ever! We are back at it making burlap travel AeroPress cases for our friends over at RoosRoast, Ann Arbor.  I am so happy they continue to reach out to have me sew up some fun and funky burlap zipper bags for their coffee-loving customers. Plus, since they roast their own beans in house, they have supplied some pretty awesome burlap coffee sacks that are going to look amazing. Some of these bags are incredibly unique so I am excited to be able to repurpose them into something that is practical and that highlights their beauty.

Of course, with the good comes the bad, and I was battling a winter sinus infection last week. Pregnancy and colds are not fun, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and I'm feeling better and back at the sewing machine this week!

Those are the updates I have to share today, and I'll be busy in burlap AeroPress case bonanza these next few weeks. I have some new ideas circulating my brain right now, and I'm looking forward to being able to focus on a few new items in early March for the spring and warmer temps that will soon be on their way. Speaking of spring, please take a look at the upcoming craft show schedules in your area this year and remember to shop handmade when you can. As a handmade seller, I can't tell you how fulfilling it is to know someone else appreciates your handmade items.

Have a great week!
Erica

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up: Burlap Pouches for Bundled MI

Lina and Vi for BundledMI
I spent the majority of the past week wrapping up an order of burlap zipper pouches for our partners over at Bundled Michigan. Once again, I'm thrilled to be featured in their custom handmade gift boxes. Their bundles are curated with cute items that make it easier to give a thoughtful gift, plus the added bonus of gift wrapping and shipping which are handled for you.

Back in October, I shared a bit about where you can find the Lina and Vi burlap pouches on their site under Build You Own bundle, and I'm happy to report that you can now find our pouches in their Ladies Deluxe Bundle! I am in love with how they look alongside some truly unique and special products from other talented local artisans, packaged in a wooden crate that is embellished with a beautiful gold ribbon. Photography is not my strong point, and these photos of our burlap zipper pouches are amazing!

We have a new batch of pouches headed over to Bundled Michigan this week, and they are looking great! I selected several new lining fabrics for the interiors, including a few from Cotton+Steel. They are so much fun, and I can't wait to have them included in even more bundles.

On that note, thank you for the responses to my news regarding my new bundle of joy arriving in August! To celebrate, I just wrapped up two new burlap zipper pouch sets now ready to ship in our Etsy shop.

Have a great week!
Erica

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Toddle Girls Handmade Shirt and Jean Shorts


Today I am sharing a recent sewing project that I worked on for my niece's upcoming second birthday. In a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating with her at her Minnie Mouse-themed party, and when my sister said she could use some 2T summer clothes, I thought I could spend some time sewing up an outfit for her rather than heading over to my local Carter's shop again. I'm glad I did, and I wanted to share how her handmade outfit turned out.

In a couple of hours, I sewed up this breezy, pink cross-back cotton shirt and dark jean shorts. I found the free patterns online, both in size 2T which was the sizing I needed for the summer. The cross-back shirt pattern can be found here and the jean shorts pattern can be found here. I would describe them both as beginner level sewing patterns, and the difficulty will change based on the fabric selection and any optional trim.





Speaking of fabric, I had all of these fabrics in my stash and wanted to give them a new life. The dark jeans fabric is a thick, non-stretch jean fabric. I love how the shorts turned out but the heavyweight jean was a pain to work with at times to be honest, especially when trying to thread the elastic through the waist casing. As mentioned earlier, the shirt is a lightweight cotton that I backed with a gray leopard print on the inside to provide some contrast. The tank-top style will work great to keep my niece cool during the hot summer months this year. I found some extra floral trim I had on hand and sewed it like an applique right onto the cross-back top as the finishing touch, and I love how it gives the top a bit more interest.

In a couple of hours, I was able to use to materials I had on hand and prepare a handmade gift for my niece. It can sometimes be difficult to find children's clothing patterns online for clothing that does not call for stretchy material, because most children's clothing is made from knit so that it fits growing bodies easily. Admittedly, like adults love their leggings and t-shirts, children love the comfort of a soft, stretchy knit but it doesn't mean that there are times, like in the summer, when a knit can even be too hot and heavy.

I hope that my niece loves the outfit, and that I can see her wearing it in the summer this year. If you have made a similar toddler outfit, I would love to see it - leave a link in the comments!

Have a great weekend,
Erica





Sunday, January 15, 2017

New! Gold and Navy Blue Branch Burlap Wristlet

Gold and Navy Blue Branch burlap wristlet by Lina and Vi - linaandvi.etsy.com - Rifle Paper Co for Cotton+Steel

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by a local fabric shop and picked up a handful of colorful, printed fat quarters. Without a real plan in mind, I knew they would be fun to sew with and to accent our burlap bags. Today I'm sharing the first burlap bag in the Grounds Collection to use a fun Cotton+Steel print, the Gold and Navy Blue Branch burlap wristlet.

I wanted to design something that was nearly identical to the Blue and Gold Fold-over Snap Burlap Wristlet I had made back in November which sold in a matter of weeks just before the holidays. I found my old sewing notes for that design and started with choosing the cuts of burlap and accent fabric I wanted to use to make a new wristlet. I opted for the gold and navy blue branch printed cotton because I loved how modern and sophisticated it looked, as well as just how interesting the print was to the eye. It turns out that this branch patterned fabric is one of the Rifle Pattern Co. designs for Cotton+Steel. If you aren't familiar with Rifle Pattern Co., they are known for their colorful floral graphic design that tends to decorate paper, notepads, cards, and even phone cases.

With the exterior fabric set, I opted to pair a sage/light green solid cotton on the interior to keep with the warmer tones of the bag. It turned out to be a great pair. With the different patterns on the exterior, I wanted something simple to balance the interior.

I love this wristlet design because it combines functionality with style. The fold-over flap keeps the bag small enough to fit in one hand, the magnetic snap ensures the flap doesn't move around, the zipper keeps the contents inside, and the removable wrist strap allows the bag to be carried in two different ways.

Gold and Navy Blue Branch burlap wristlet by Lina and Vi - linaandvi.etsy.com - Rifle Paper Co for Cotton+Steel

Gold and Navy Blue Branch burlap wristlet by Lina and Vi - linaandvi.etsy.com - Rifle Paper Co for Cotton+Steel

Gold and Navy Blue Branch burlap wristlet by Lina and Vi - linaandvi.etsy.com - Rifle Paper Co for Cotton+Steel

You can find our Gold and Navy Blue Burlap Wristlet available for purchase now in our Etsy shop here.

I feel like I have non-stop ideas floating through my head right now on how to use the remaining fat quarters in the Cotton+Steel bundle I have in my stash but I am also cautious because I don't want to waste any of them! I am positive you will be seeing more of these fun prints in our Grounds Collection in the coming month.

I hope you are having a great month and thank you for reading!

Erica