Maker Monday

Maker Monday 006: In Blue Handmade

Wow. Where do I even start? I met Mary Lynn Schroeder almost a full year ago at Merlefest, a bluegrass music festival in North Wilkesboro, NC. I knew immediately that ML was the kind of person that could connect with anyone. Person after person would come up to buy In Blue leather goods at her booth and she would have a three or four minute conversation with each person. She seemed genuinely interested about each person that was purchasing the leather goods that she'd poured her life into. That's because she really was. Mary Lynn is one of the kindest and most invested people you will ever have the priveledge of meeting. She's assembled a team of people that she both cares about and employs, all while making new designs and running a little leather empire.

When I got up to Mary Lynn at Merlefest to buy my current thankfulness journal from her, she asked me what I did. We exchanged cards and within a week we were connecting via email. 

Since then Mary Lynn and the rest of the wonderful team at In Blue Handmade have drilled a place in my heart that I don't think they could leave anytime soon even if they tried. 

In Blue Handmade is a leather goods handcraft venture that is based out of Asheville, NC. It was started in 2008 after Mary Lynn relocated from Chicago and bought a sewing machine. The heartbeat of In Blue has always been to hand create leather goods that inspire the individual.

They are currently making the most beautiful leather goods I've seen in a long time. Flasks, journals, wallets, belts, guitar straps, you name it. And BAGS. Oh my word. The bags. Each and every one that comes out I want. My mother in law and I are enamored with them. I keep trying to get them to start making camera bags, and I'm confident my insistence will pan out eventually. 

Weekly I get to communicate with Katie Robb, In Blue's Media Relations Coordinator and Resident Party Starter, and consistently our interaction is a highlight of my week. She's amazing and hilarious. She usually has a quip or a funny story, and I look forward to her "hey lady" emails every week. 

Please go send In Blue some love, buy some leather goodies, and tell them how glad you are they make awesome stuff. 

Maker Monday 002: Little Paper Crane

Again, I'm telling you about someone I met way too late in my stay in Virginia. Anita is one of the sweetest people I've had the pleasure of meeting in a while. It took a little bit for us to finally meet up, but boy I'm glad we did. On a cold and rainy afternoon Anita invited me over to her home to snap some photos of her working. We sipped coffee, talked about Instagram, and I even got to meet her sweet daughter Eleanor. I was SO beside myself while processing the photos of our visit. It was sort of this photographer dream I had come to life: to photograph jewelry and succulents and critter skulls and big dogs and a cute baby and a maker all in one fell swoop! Anita makes jewelry out of metals using the coolest tools. My Little Paper Crane necklace is one of my favorites and it works its way into my wardrobe all the time. She's a real talent. Anita sells jewelry in her etsy shop and also at Pastiche at Main in Downtown Lynchburg, VA. 


Maker Monday 001: Petaline

There aren't enough pleasant words in the world to say about Hannah Coleman. She's incredibly wonderful, exceptionally talented, and all around a gift to be around. To put it frankly, I met Hannah far too late in my Virginia life. I would really like to know her better than I do, but I fully intend on keeping up with her even though I put some miles between us. 

The afternoon that I spent with her shooting these photos was a highlight of my last few months in Lynchburg. Our session began with an Instagram follow and a few comments and then finally I sent the email. I asked if I could come to her home and take photos of her working. She obliged and gave me an address to a farm out near the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was ecstatic to say the least. The Parkway has a huge piece of my heart and I was thrilled to get to see the mountains up close again. 

The home that Hannah has made for herself is like the perfect slice of pecan pie- warm & welcoming. Every inch of her home is infused with little bits of her personality and her likes. Isn't that how it should be? I snapped photo after photo of her home and when I drove away from her mountain retreat I felt much more calm than I did when I arrived. I think the farm has that effect on people. I told her I just wanted to drive out there one warm spring day, throw a blanket in one of the fields and curl up with Anne of Green Gables. She told me I was always welcome.

The next time I get to grace the state line of Virginia I just might. 

To live vicariously through Hannah's beautifully real life, follow her blog! To purchase her fold-over clutches, weaves, or stamps visit her Etsy or Pastiche at Main in Lynchburg, VA.