Every month we hold our Lucky 7 Giveaway. This month it will run for two weeks from May 7th to May 21st. Our giveaway item this month is a tote bag designed and made by hand in New York by Janine Mastrorilli.
Her shop is Independent Reign and she start experimenting with her creativity while living in Hong Kong.
Fast forward a few years and she now creates amazing handcrafted accessories in New York City.
A little about Janine ( from her Shop About Page):
Around about sometime between 2006 -2007 I followed my then boyfriend all the way to Hong Kong (he was transferred there for work). I was able to continue working remotely (part time) for the New York tech firm I had been with for 10 years; although I was only logging in for about an hour or two each day. While I was certain that living in Hong Kong and having a ton of free time would enable me to: write the next great bestseller, learn Mandarin, master Karate, volunteer in some worthy causes, master chopsticks, prepare Dim Sum specialties and journal about all my great adventures; I found instead, that without direction, I floundered. Away from friends and family; and without a schedule or goal, I felt purpose-less. Exhausting the tourist spots, the hidden local spots and anywhere else my flip flops and a little red taxi could take me I soon grew restless.
One day, drifting through a town (as I was prone to do) in search of motivation, I instead found inspiration. Wandering into a tiny shop that caught my eye I discovered shelves from floor to ceiling filled with ribbons and trims in every imaginable color neatly stacked roll upon roll like giant tiered birthday cakes. Further wandering produced an entire town of tiny shops filled with sequins, beads, trims and notions in rainbows of color and pattern. I was absolutely awed by all the colors and textures. I immediately felt my mind kick into gear as I imagined what could be made with each bead or ribbon or zipper. I felt excited! Bargaining mostly in sign language with eager shop owners, I began purchasing a yard or two of the trims as an excuse to continue browsing the seemingly endless shelves and having no idea what I would use them for. Shiny satins, smooth velvets and sparkly sequins all made it into my bag!
With a bit of encouragement from a good friend I set about the endeavor of learning to sew. With a defined task and a creative challenge on my hands I found that minutes easily turned into hours while at my sewing machine. I rediscovered a creative spirit that I had somewhat knowingly pushed aside along the way. I am self-taught; although I credit many of my techniques from watching a lot of "how-to" videos online as well as A LOT of trial and error (and a fair amount of cursing seems to help too).
Fast forward a few years; and I'm back home in New York City. Unfortunately the boyfriend is out, but an adorable Yorkie puppy is in! Boring, uninspiring Wall Street job is out; sewing career is in!
I'm hooked; and I find that I'm always looking at something and thinking, "I wonder if I could make that." That goes for anything from food to furniture to clothing -- although for now, I'm sticking to accessories! New designs are never far from my mind (some good, some not so good). Often scrawled on napkins, post-its, bills, and other scraps of paper haphazardly tacked to an ever crowded cork-board hanging above my sewing machine.
When I come up with something new, I can't wait to see what it will look like when its done....and then I want to make it in 87 different colors and fabrics. It doesn't always turn out like the vision in my mind...but that's part of the process. I keep working at it, making adjustments and learning as I go. (That's actually not just a sewing lesson I've learned...its become a bit of a life lesson). I often have no idea what I'm doing when I start a project and I usually just 'wing it.' I can be hard on myself when it turns out badly; and apparently I think I'm brilliant when it comes out good the first time (a rarity).
Our May 2014 Lucky 7 Giveaway Prize Package:
One tote bag from Janine's shop Independent Reign.
We will be announcing the winner on Wednesday May 21st on our blog. You can enter to win below and also on our Facebook page. Make sure to check out all the ways you can enter and earn extra points- thus, increasing your chances of winning! Good luck!