Lina and Vi

Monday, January 1, 2018

Make It: DIY Spool Ornaments for Sewing Lovers

DIY Spool ornaments by

I know I'm a week late with this one, but I had some time last week to finally work on a project that I had in my mind for a while. Today I am sharing the how-to behind these DIY wooden spool ornaments I created for our Christmas tree this year. I love a tree filled with handmade and meaningful ornaments, which means that my tree is not color coordinated or themed. It is random, and I love it. These ornaments are great presents for a sewing lover or a seamstress in your life. Maybe one day I'll have a sewing-themed Christmas tree as a second tree in my home? For now, they are scattered about my tree mixed in between childhood ornaments and photo-ornaments.

DIY Spool ornaments by

I had all of the materials in my home already so this cost me nothing but time. The wooden spools I used were actual spools of thread that I had used up and saved to craft with, but didn't know yet what  I was going to make with them. Ergo, these spool ornaments came to mind. These took me an hour. The project is simple, and it just requires a few supplies. Here we go:

- Wooden spools; you can purchase these at a craft store like Joanns
- Remanent fabric
- Hot glue and glue gun
- Thread or twine
- Colorful ribbon
- Measuring tape
- Scissors

DIY Spool ornaments by


1. Start by measuring the width of your spool using your measuring tape. Then take the measuring tape and wrap it around the spool to get the length of the fabric you will need and add a half inch. Cut out a strip of fabric matching the width and length measurements you took.

2. Heat up your glue gun and when it's ready, dab two spots of glue on the spool. Press one of the short ends on the glue.

3. Wrap the fabric around the spool. Add two more dabs of hot glue to seal the end of the fabric strip to the spool.

4. Cut a long piece of colored ribbon and make a bow. Dab a little bit of hot glue in the top hole of the spool. Press the knot of the bow into the glue.

5. Cut a long piece of thread or twine and knot it into a loop. Dab a little bit of hot glue just behind where you glued the blow onto the spool. Press the knot of the twine into the glue.

That's it! If you want, you could also paint the spool before your make these to give them more color.

Hope you have a great start to your new year!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Holidays! A Year in Review

The past few weeks have been busy over here with my little Etsy shop, and I wanted to stop in to say thank you to everyone who supported my little handmade business this year. I have been working non-stop on new orders in my free time in the late evenings, even enlisting the help of my husband a couple of weeks ago. With a new baby and being back to work during the daytime, my life is very full. I'm very appreciative that I have sewing to help give me the opportunity to take time to make something creative.

Lina and Vi Burlap Tote Bags and Burlap Pillows - Metro Made Collective - Dearborn MI

This has been one of the best, if not the best, year for Lina and Vi. We added a new partner, Metro Made Collective in Dearborn, and continued to receive orders from our existing partners Bundled, Birch Wood Boutique, and Roos Roast all year long. The handmade community only exists because of the desire of our customers to buy something that was made by hand by someone locally who took the time to dream up, create, and sell their items. Handmade is definitely not the most efficient way to make a lot of things, but the character it brings cannot be replicated in mass production.

2017 was one of the most challenging years for me, both personally and professionally. As many of you know, I spent most of the year preparing for a new baby that arrived in August. Our lives are more blessed with her in our family, but along with it came some major changes in our day to day life. You may also know that while I sew everything in the Lina and Vi Etsy shop, I also work during the daytime in software development. While I do not "make" things per se, I help to manage web application projects that recently became increasingly technical in nature with the acquisition of the company I worked for in late 2016.  My position remained mostly the same, but the content of what I worked on changed, and I have had to learn new concepts that have kept me on my toes. My personal and professional life were all about changes this year, and while I did not always have the grace to handle them perfectly, I have learned a lot of lessons that I can take with me in the future. Through it all, I have continued to keep up with sewing burlap items for Lina and Vi and managing larger and larger wholesale orders this past year.

I enjoy the end of a year because it is a reminder to me to reflect on what the past year was and what I want the next year to look like. This time last year there were a lot of unknowns in my future. A year later, I am thankful for the journey that has led me here today.

With that, I hope you are enjoying some time off to spend with friends and family this holiday season. A big thank you as always for reading this blog and for keeping up with Lina and Vi.

Happy Holidays,

Monday, November 27, 2017

Announcing Lina and Vi + Metro Made Collective

I've been busy these past few weeks working on large burlap pillow order for a brand new pop-up shop in downtown Dearborn, Michigan - Metro Made Collective! This new holiday shop has a variety of gifts made by local makers and businesses, just in time for the holiday season! I'm thrilled to have Lina and Vi burlap pillows included in this new shop, and I am excited for this endeavor to be located in the downtown Dearborn area. I grew up in Dearborn Heights and spent time downtown Dearborn, so I am even more thankful to be supporting this area. It is all about small business supporting small business, and in my mind, that is what makes a downtown community thrive. If you are local to the southeast Michigan area, please stop on by Metro Made Collective to see what they have in store! They will be open until the end of January. Visit their website here for more details on location and hours.

With the Thanksgiving holiday over, I am now in full swing working through holiday Etsy orders. Small business Saturday was a success, and I hope that you were able to support a local shop or handmade business while you were picking out gifts for your loved ones this year. I am trying to be more conscious of what and where I am purchasing my gifts. While I am still "shopping big" (if you will), I have selected a few gifts from handmade and small business shops this year. Even if it's one or two gifts or even a gift to supplement something larger, it is worth it to me to support this community.

I announced on our Facebook page today that our burlap tote bags are on clearance! Prices are reduced plus there is a holiday sale on everything in our Etsy shop now through December 1st! Some of my most cherished burlap tote bag designs are ready to ship, and the prices are fantastic. If you were considering a coffee burlap sack purse or tote bag for you or someone you know, grab it this week while you can combine the clearance prices with the holiday sale. I'm hoping to start the new year focusing the Lina and Vi Etsy shop solely on our burlap pillows and pouches.

Lastly, I am focused on spending this last week at home with my baby before I head back to my full time job next week. Time is flying, she is growing, and we will be adjusting to changes ahead. I'm looking forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks, but for now, stay tuned to our Facebook page for more frequent updates.

Enjoy your week and happy holidays!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Burlap Coffee Sack Bag Collection Round Up

Happy Monday! If you read our last post, you will know now that I am discontinuing our burlap bags for the time being to focus only on creating burlap pouches and pillows. Since this will be the final collection of burlap bags, I wanted to share a round up of the designs we have available today for purchase in our Etsy shop. These bags are some of the best designs I made in the Grounds collection, and I am proud to say that I handmade these during the last year. So let's jump into these five unique burlap coffee bags!

1. Gold and Navy Blue Branch Burlap Zipper Clutch

This medium-sized clutch is amazing. I know I am bias since I made it, but I wanted it to be practical. I use clutches sparingly and it's mostly because I often find that they are impractical. They are too small or don't stay closed. I wanted to solve these problems with the design of this clutch by making it large enough to fit the essentials with room to expand if needed, which is what the flap top allows. The zipper keeps everything secured inside the bag, and the magnetic snap keeps the flap top down as needed. The patterned blue and gold cotton fabric is one of the most beautiful fabric designs I have worked with yet.

2. Swiss Water Burlap Yoga Mat Bag

This yoga mat bag is simple yet interesting. First of all, using an upcycled coffee burlap sack to tote your yoga mat is pretty unique. To add to it, the Swiss Water blue imprint is a clean and modern logo that is the focus of the entire bag. It's a fresh take on a casual, utilitarian bag.

3. Blue Sound Crossbody Burlap Bag

This crossbody bag is one of my favorites because of the warm color palette and the handmade wooden button. I'm loving crossbody bags right now because it's one less thing to carry in my hands with all of the baby gear. This medium-sized crossbody bag has a colorful herringbone watercolor print flap top that secures shut. Your items are always within reach while on the go.

4. Oakland Burlap Tote Bag

This rectangular shoulder bag is all about the industrial text. With bold black text and a thick woven green stripe, this bag is designed to catch the eye. I chose a solid cream fabric on the interior with a slight pop of yellow at the bottom of the interior lining. This shape of bag is my favorite. With thick belting straps, this bag is made to withstand the wear and tear of everyday.

5. Pyramid Burlap Tote Bag

Finally our newest burlap tote bag is one of the most modern designs I have created for the Grounds collection. I selected the off-center simple green pyramid print to be the focus of the burlap on both the front and back of the bag. To keep the focus on that element, I lined the bag's bottom in a light beige faux leather trimmed with cream canvas. I opted for a solid, neutral lining to keep it fresh and clean. At the time when I made this bag, I didn't know that it would be the last burlap bag I would make for the collection. I'm proud that I'm ending with this bag as it really does showcase how far my designs and skills have come since my first burlap bag years ago.

You can find all of these for purchase now in our Etsy shop. I hope that you enjoyed this recap of our remaining handmade coffee sack burlap bags! If you have any questions about them, feel free to comment or leave a message in our Etsy shop.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Hard Decisions

A couple of weeks ago, I read a book that I've been eyeing for some time called Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. The book is a collection of stories about the author's choice to simplify her busy and often overcommitted life. The book continues to follow her journey to identify and reprioritize how she was using her time in order to align it to the things that meant the most to her.

The reason I am sharing this is that reading this book made me think more critically about where my current priorities are in my life and where I am spending my time. No, I am not about to say that I'm done sewing and closing up my Etsy shop.  In the last few months with the birth of my daughter, my personal life has significantly changed, and my priorities have shifted. What was once free time in the evening will now be dedicated to spending time with my daughter after the daily hustle of traffic, child care drop offs, and a day at the office. With my personal time at a much higher price now, I have decided to stop making burlap bags for the time being. This includes shoulder bags, totes, clutches, crossbody bags, and yoga mat bags. I will continue making burlap pouches and pillows.

I have a couple more weeks until I return to my full time job, and this period of my maternity leave has forced me to have a much slower pace in my life - a pace that I have come to appreciate honestly.  A newborn forces you to slow down, pay attention to small things, and change your expectations. I spoke about this in a prior post about how many common tasks, sewing or otherwise, now take me much longer to complete due to the constant stopping and starting and working around baby schedules. Sure, there are times when I miss the excitement of a busy day. While I think that I fought it for a while, I have now realized that I am happier when I commit myself to less and accomplish fewer, but more important tasks.

The burlap tote bags and purses are what started Lina and Vi and what convinced me to start an Etsy shop three years ago. While I love coming up with the burlap tote bag designs and challenging myself to make new styles, I cannot commit the time to it in this season of my life. Burlap tote bags take a lot of time to sketch, plan, cut, and sew, and the reality is that they are my least popular items. Selling products online is difficult, and selling articles of clothing is even more difficult. Pillows and pouches are more likely to be given as gifts than burlap tote bags, which are more personal to one's style. I love working with my partners, but my burlap bags are not easy to replicate and sell wholesale. And at the end of the day, my time is better spent elsewhere, with my daughter and with other sewing projects.

I will continue to sell the remaining burlap bags in the Lina and Vi Etsy shop until they are all sold, so if you are looking to snatch one before they are gone, stop by to shop around. I will continue to have burlap zipper pouches (large and small) and burlap pillows. I love to sew, and I want to be able to use my skill to continue to create these items and share them with others.

I hope that you continue to follow along with Lina and Vi, and I thank you for your continued support of my small handmade shop. As a reminder, I will be at a local pop-up shop on November 11th. If you are local, please email me or Facebook message me for the location in Northville.

Have a great weekend,

Friday, October 20, 2017

Burlap AeroPress Bags Behind the Scenes

This week, as well as the last three, have been focused on sewing custom AeroPress burlap bags for our friends at Roos Roast in Ann Arbor. I wanted to share a few sneak peek photos of the bags in process. My sewing room is a mess right now, but it's entirely for a good reason!

These bags are fun to make, and I am very proud of how the first batch has turned out. Since I have made so many of these, I now have template wooden pattern pieces my husband made for me. It makes the cutting process much faster as I can use the wooden template, my Gingher rotary cutter, and a cutting mat to slice through the nylon, cotton, interfacing, and faux leather quickly. Cutting is typically my least favorite part of sewing. The wooden templates help me batch the pieces out quickly and spend less time cutting and more time sewing.

This is a short update but I wanted to drop in to say hello and share my progress. I hope you have a great weekend ahead!