Lina and Vi: May 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bright Blue Great Lakes Burlap Pillow 12" x 12"

Great Lakes burlap pillow in blue by Lina and Vi Plymouth MI

 Hello and happy Tuesday! Our popular Great Lakes square burlap pillow is available in a brand new color, bright blue! This fun pillow is sewn by hand using up-cycled coffee bean burlap sacks and hand-painted with a silhouette of the Great Lakes that frame Michigan.

If you are looking to add a pop of color to your room this summer or find a unique gift, this is the perfect addition. We also feature it in Ivory or Black. Find it in our shop now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Keeping Inspired When a Hobby Turns into a Business

 I've hit the half way point with the large order of burlap bags. This is the single largest order I have ever had, and it has required a lot more planning and structure than I've used with past projects. In the last few weeks, I have spent my nights and weekends sourcing material, cutting out hundreds of pieces, printing hang-tags, and sewing everything together. The prep has been over half the time of total production time. There is burlap scattered around our clothes and home, and I'm starting to wonder if I should be concerned about the amount of interfacing glue I am inhaling at my ironing board.

It's interesting what happens to my mindset when there are deadlines, budgets, and specific requirements on a sewing project. The freedom to choose whatever designs I prefer or even take some time to work on a different project is now bounded by my customer's request and timeline, which is exactly how it should be when my customer is putting their trust in me. I am certain this is a common shift for many of us who have taken a hobby and turned it into a business.

As I enter my third week of this large project, I have begun to think more about what keeps me, and every other maker out there, inspired each day when each day begins to feel like the same.  It seems that a hobby starts to take the shape of work, like something we have to do rather than what we chose to do. Beyond that though, we keep creating. We keep making, even if it means cutting one more piece of burlap or trashing the entire sheet of hang-tags and starting over again. This goes for anything we truly love - when the going gets tough, it's really then that we decide our level of commitment. We might walk away briefly to reset ourselves, but we always come back if we really love or feel called to do something. Or maybe we stop, because we can't remember what we loved about the hobby before it turned into a business.

I just wrapped up the book, Big Magic, and I mentioned in an earlier post that I found some noteworthy quotes that I wanted to share. It seems applicable to share them here as I talk through keeping inspired day in and day out when in the midst of a longer journey. So during the many hours of cutting burlap, I reflect on the messages in this book such as the ones below:

"Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes – but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work. Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place."

"Most individuals have never had enough time, and they’ve never had enough resources, and they’ve never had enough support or patronage or reward, and yet still they persist in creating. They persist because they care. They persist because they are called to be makers, by any means necessary."

"The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is possible."

For me, these are reminders that we aren't perfect, in our craft and in our humanity. It's okay that we don't have every resources we think we need to do something, and we probably don't need them all anyway.  And, finally, I am reminded that sewing, in my case, is my choice, even if it takes on a flavor of work at times. That's okay, because I still choose it. Despite the occasional boundaries and countless hours, I still care so much about it.

A quick reminder that the last day we are accepting Etsy orders to be shipped in May is Tuesday. All shipping will resume on Monday the 6th.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

New! Pink and Brown Burlap Zipper Bag

burlap pink and brown zipper bag by Lina and Vi, Plymouth MI

Happy Sunday! This past week I have been heads down working on several custom orders, most for local businesses here in the metro Detroit area. I was able to squeeze in some time one evening to make this lovely new burlap zipper pouch featuring a chocolate brown and white tweed bottom and a bright pink and brown geometric lining.

Most of my custom orders these next few weeks are for these larger zipper cosmetic/accessory bags. Because of their size, they can be used for a variety of purposes, and they are one of our more popular burlap bag items because of their utility. I am in the middle of a very large order of these, so I have been covered in burlap all weekend as I slowly get all of my materials prepared and ready for sewing this week. I have a bunch of new burlap coffee sacks with designs not yet used in any of our other items, so there will be some new burlap bag designs for the summer coming soon!

In case you missed our Facebook post this weekend, our Etsy shop is taking a short break at the end of this month. The last day to place orders that ship in May is Tuesday 5/24. Order shipments will resume again on Monday 6/6. So hurry and stop by to place your order this week!

burlap pink and brown zipper bag by Lina and Vi, Plymouth MI

burlap pink and brown zipper bag by Lina and Vi, Plymouth MI

burlap pink and brown zipper bag by Lina and Vi, Plymouth MI

And with that, I am off to prep for this coming week! Remember to shop this listing and see our latest repurposed burlap designs in our Etsy store now.

Have a great week!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Plymouth Farmer's Market

This past weekend I participated as a vendor in the opening day of the Plymouth Farmer's Market here in Plymouth, Michigan. Thank you to everyone who stopped by my table to say hello! It was a successful (and early) morning, and it was great to be able to meet local neighbors and other small businesses. A big thank you to my parents and husband who woke up at 5 am to help me set everything up - it takes a village!

Things have been on full speed as I work through a set of custom orders for local shops in the metro Detroit area. Between the farmer's market and a handful of Etsy orders this weekend, I'm heads down cutting burlap, picking up new fabric, and sewing so that I can restock the Etsy shop with the most popular items and some new designs for summer.

In other news, I'm close to finishing up a new book, Big Magic. This book has been floating around many of the creative sewing and crafting blogs that I read frequently, and the timing was right when I searched for it at my local library and saw that one copy was checked in. The book is about exploring the magic in creativity and the relationship we build over time with creative work. It has been a pretty quick read so far, and I have pulled out a few really inspiring quotes that I plan to share in a future post. I'm not one to highlight or underline books, but this book has had a number of ideas that have really resonated with me that I feel eager to share. It's not just a book for 'crafty' or 'artsy' people - everyone creates something and I feel like the ideas can be applied in many different ways. Have you read this book and what did you think?

That's all for now as I head back to the sewing room. I hope you're having a good start to your week!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Silhouette Cameo Adult Birthday Banner in Black and Mint

Today I'm dropping by to share a DIY project I did recently using my Silhouette Cameo. I enjoy sprinkling smaller craft projects in between my sewing. It is refreshing to be able to use the good old paper and glue and step away from the fabric for a short period of time.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to create birthday decorations that I hung in our home for my husband's 30th birthday. Using the Silhouette Studio software, I modified shapes from a recent cupcake birthday card design that I purchased earlier in the month (find it here). I took the scalloped circle and the 3-0 numbers and enlarged them to create fun little paper die-cuts that I taped on the walls in our home.

I then used the shape tool to create a triangle for the pennant and cut them out using extra patterned card stock I had available from another project. I then cut out letters and numbers in black and mint card stock and used a glue stick to adhere them to each flag. Finally, I punched two holes at the top of each triangle which I then threaded with blue tulle also leftover from another project. I added some twine at the beginning and end of the banner that I used to tie the banner up for display.

I really loved how these paper decorations turned out, and I think my husband thought they were fun as well. The color scheme worked well, with basic black, gray, and white tones offset by a bright mint that kept it fun and fresh. I never would have thought that I'd use my Cameo as much as I have been, and I can say that I am happily amazed at the different projects I am able to make now that I have this machine! I can't even imagine what I would have done if I had this while I was planning my wedding. It would have saved me countless hours cutting out my bridal shower invites and cookie favor embellishments by hand, but that was time well spent of course!

So, a big happy birthday to my husband as he enters a new decade. Even though you I know you don't read this, thank you for your continued support with Lina and Vi and your patience with the amount of burlap that has entered and exited our home. ;-)


Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Few Updates Plus New AeroPress Burlap Cases!

 Things have been quiet over here on the blog these past few weeks, but today I am back to share a few updates! This time of the year tends to be the busiest for me plus a few unexpected events, including several birthdays scattered in a few short weeks, Mother's day, a funeral, a conference for my daytime work, and less than desirable travel schedule for my husband. I'm also gearing up for my first local farmer's market starting on Saturday in downtown Plymouth which I'm very excited about and hoping that the weather holds up. Please come visit my table and say hi if you are local!

In the midst of it all, I was happy to be able to work on a couple of custom orders during the evenings, one of which I am sharing with you today. Our friends over at RoosRoast reached out to us with a special request to design custom burlap travel cases with a waterproof interior for their popular AeroPress travel coffee brewers (I don't have an AeroPress so these photos are taken with an espresso maker). These five custom zipper cases are sewn from upcycled coffee bean burlap sacks featuring industrial text authentic to the original bags. I choose a neutral colored fabric for the bottom exterior of the bags to keep it balanced with the colorful interiors.

Each bag features a different patterned fabric interior lining along with a small slide pocket to hold the filters separate from the device. It is difficult to see in these photos, however to make the interior waterproof, I chose a thin gauge clear vinyl that I layered on top of the lining fabric so that it could easily be wiped down and cleaned out. Coffee makers, especially when traveling, may not have the convenience of being cleaned and dry before being put back into their travel case. I wanted to ensure that the interior was durable and protected. The vinyl was the best option to make it clear that it is okay to put a wet device inside the case without permanently staining the interior fabric.

From a sewing perspective, I will be honest - sewing with clear vinyl was a challenge. To test it out, I sewed one case from start to finish to see the end product, and from that experience, I was able to tweak a few things on my sewing machine and do some research online to find some useful machine hacks for making it a bit easier to sew. When all is said and done, I like how they turned out, and the best part is that I didn't have to sacrifice design in order to make the interior waterproof.

These zipper cases are made exclusively for RoosRoast and will be available for purchase in their Ann Arbor shop later this week. Stop by to grab a cup of coffee and shop their merchandise section to find my items and other handmade goods made by local artisans.

I'll be back this week sharing my recent DIY birthday banner using my Silhouette Cameo. I hope you are having a great end to your weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!