// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mad Skills: Janel's Handmade Bags and Purses


Christmas 2007, my wife Janel received her first sewing machine. She's often considered getting one, but for any number of reasons we never pulled the trigger. Since that time, she's been working diligently in her free time to learn how to use it. She plans to take classes, but thought she would fool around a bit to get some basics nailed down first.

Well, she did way more than nail down the basics. In fact, for nearly every weekend she's had free time since Christmas, and on some weekday nights, she's began making purses and over-the-shoulder bags of all shapes, styles, colors, and sizes. From the look of things, you would think she's been sewing all her life. In fact a few weeks back, a group of dear friends organized a purse party for her and she somewhat timidly boxed all her new creations up, hoping they would be well received. Well received they were, and she sold almost every one! Almost 40 bags in total! The purpose of the party was to raise funds for our El Salvador adoption fund.

Take a look at her purses in our Flickr set, or the Pictobrowser gallery I made (above) for this post. To see them bigger, go directly to the Flickr set I just mentioned, or click on the word "Link" in PictoBrowser and it will take you to the Flickr page I have set up. These are literally the first thing she has ever sewn. I am super proud of her. For one, she is really talented. I think her ability to sew so well was as big a surprise to her as it was me. Secondly, she had her mind set on learning how to sew so she could make enough bags to sell. Since selling them all since, she has made another 12 more bags for people who have seen them and asked for their own.

I can't wait to tell our children someday about how driven she was to make these bags. She did it with these children in mind. Children we don't yet know, but one's God has planned for our family. Janel is an amazing wife, and she encourages me by how faithful she is, and how much she already loves her children. The one's we have not yet met.


These bags are a tangible example of Janel's loving nature and her desire to glorify God. I am so proud to be her husband and so looking forward to helping her raise the children God places in our care.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Liz Ness said...

WOW! These are stunning -- she is an amazing artist (great design and well done)! YUM-O!

Just wanted to say, too, that your children are going to be so blessed just by being your children! I love that you two have such an awesome bond, such a love for Him, and so much love to share with others -- like your future children. So cool!

11:08 AM  
Blogger Liz Ness said...

Ooops...meant to ask about ordering/pricing, too, in my last comment. Would you mind sending an email tomorrow with info about these BEAUTIFUL purses? Thanks Barry and keep on sewing, Janel!

=)

11:10 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Pretty cool,huh? Yes, I will follow up with you via email. Thanks Liz.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Nevis said...

BEAUTIFUL bags! I love the first photo -the asian one. I would totally buy that. Does she have an Esty shop?

9:12 AM  
Anonymous jubilee furniture susan said...

Wow - Janel's purses are beautiful! And I can't believe she just recently started sewing! I, too, would like prices. I'm also wondering about a display at Jubilee Furniture? Barry - what do you think?

8:22 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Susan - Wow. I will share your kind words and ideas with Janel today. I am starting to worry that I am turning her into a sewing sweatshop. Time will tell as to her fitness for doing these, but I am grateful you and others have been so encouraging, and are interested in supporting her newfound skill. Having said that, I will share this with her. The purses range from 25 to $45 each depending mainly I believe on her material cost.

Also, a web community called Live Journal somehow just spiked for the Jubilee posts. I'm getting several hundred new eyes stopping at BarryBlog beginning yesterday. I hit my daily visit average by 10am this morning already. Hope that translates to this Friday Saturday sales. Just a head's up.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Wow, Janel is amazing! I, too, love that first asian-print bag in the set, and that's a beautiful photo.

Hey, a woman I know from church emailed me out of the blue last week to say she's working on Jubiliee's brochure, and saw that I had mentioned them on my blog. Small world.

6:59 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Hi Jess

I put that one on the Pictobrowser first cuz I like it too. That is bizarre that you know someone doing work for Jubilee. I didn't know they were doing a brochure. That's cool.

I went their today and they had a couch, love seat and chair that looked straight from Miami Beach. Rattan, and in perfect shape. Thought it was Heywood Wakefield, but it was called Capri Furniture company. For sure from the 50's. It would look awesome with your fabric. Also, they have a cherry Room & Board couch and love-seat in. Grey, Square. Contemporary. Understand.

Take care.

12:07 AM  
Blogger jen said...

a few days late in the game, but just wanted to say those bags are really great design…congrats to Janel for teaching herself how to sew so amazingly well!! I, too, got a sewing machine for Christmas but after two projects got distracted (by something good!) and haven't turned the thing on in months. I'm re-inspired! I look forward to hearing more about how God works out your adoption story!

8:32 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Thanks for encouraging Janel. She is really talented and she has a lot of patience. Some distractions are better than others, and yours sounds joyous. I'll leave it at that!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Love these! Great bags : ) Check out my site http://luvsandlife.blogspot.com/ to win some fun stuff!

12:45 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Brandy

Thanks for stopping by. I wish you well with your new etsy shop!

7:18 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Gorgeous handbags, Janel! You are very talented.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm ready to put an order in. Send me details! :)

4:09 PM  

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